ELDRIDGE - William - Quaker or not
William may or may not have been a Friend, but it is certain that several of his children did marry Quakers. Several of the alleged sons of Thos and their descendants lived near one another in NJ, where records of land transactions between family members are found.
Family research is complicated by the repetitious first names given to children. Eldridge children frequently married into the same families, especially the MIDDLETON, MATLACK / LOCK and LIPPINCOTT lines.
WILLIAM ELDRIDGE, b 18 Feb 1749, Evesham, Burlington Cnty, NJ, d.31 Aug 1823 Gloucester, NJ, son of Thos and Hannah DUNCAN ELDRIDGE may possibly be the grandfather of Duncan Campbell
This name first appears on the marriage license with Deborah MALANDAR or ER issued by the Provincial Sec’y of PA 6 November 1761.
Deborah MALANDER was the dtr of Swedish teacher and would-be pastor, Olof MALANDER, aka William. Record of her birth on 23 February 1741, at Piles Grove, NJ, and of her baptism the next month, are found in the Swedish Lutheran Church records at Raccoon and Penn’s Neck, NJ. William, son of an Englishman and possibly a Quaker, married to the dtr of a Swedish Lutheran Minister was curious.
Henry HUDSON discovered the Hudson and Delaware Rivers in 1609 while in the employ of the Dutch East India Co., and until 1664, the land that lay along these rivers was developed under the auspices of the Dutch who encouraged settlement by other nations.
In 1638, the first Swedish colony was established along Delaware’s coast. Under the direction of their Lutheran pastors, the Swedish colonists purchased land from the indigenous people, and built the principal town and fort at Christiana Creek near Wilmington. The colony flourished until about 1654. All of the original clergy who accompanied the first colonists had died, and the people were without leadership. They applied to the King of Sweden for aid, which he supplied until the Revolutionary War ended the Swedish colonial movement.
The Swedish colony was divided into 3 Rectorships, one in Pennsylvania, one in Delaware and one in Raccoon and Penn’s Neck in western New Jersey. The Swedish King supplied the Rectors, paid them handsome yearly salaries, and rewarded them with pensions an choice parishes upon their return to Sweden.
In 1664, King Charles of England captured the entire area and made it a gift to his brother, James, the Duke of York. James divided the land into 2 parts - East and West Jersey, and used these to satisfy his creditors. The creditors threw open the territory to settlers. East Jersey became home to the New England Colonies and Long Island, including the ELDRIDGE descendants. West Jersey, mainly Dutch and Swedes, met with a hoard of settlers from every section of the British Isles - particularly the Quakers.
These settlers had strong ideas about government, taxation and religion. The proprietors, disgusted with the lack of financial returns, sold their interest to William PENN and his Quaker followers in 1682. PENN was the wealthy benefactor of the Quaker movement, a land promoter. King George granted title to the territory which became Pennsylvania. Penn wrote a series of letters and booklets translated into three languages and distributed in England and the new continent. He wrote practical, honest, and glowing descriptions of the land and climate, promising the rights and freedoms of England. The was understood by most Europeans to mean peace and freedom to pursue whatever business / religion without fear of persecution.
Each man was allowed to purchase 5,000 acres of land for only 100 English pounds. If this was not affordable, land could be rented for 1 cent per acre per year. Each servant that came with a family would be awarded 50 acres of land when his period of contracted service expired.
The population of the colonies in 1660 was 75,000, and by 1775 - 2,500,000. PENN welcomed ships loaded with immigrants; Scotch Presbyterians, Irish Catholics, French Huguenots, Jews, German and Swiss Mennonites, and large numbers of Quakers. Business opportunities were the prime motive for immigration. Pennsylvania soon became a peaceful, prosperous colony, Philadelphia was its hub, with an international favor which rivaled any city in the world.
In 1737, the Reverend Johann DYLANDER arrived from Sweden to take charge of the Gloria Dei Church near Philadelphia. With him came Olof (William) MALANDER, a student of divinity who came from Roslagus in eastern Uppsaland, and who had graduated in 1730 from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. Olof MALANDER was to teach school until he would be ordained by Rev. DYLANDER, and assigned to a church in the Swedish Colony. However, Pastor DYLANDER died before the ordination could take place, leaving only one ordained pastor and making the ordination ceremony not possible. The members of the churches at Raccoon and Penn’s Neck were reported to be “libertine and accustomed to living without the law” and at first refused to pay Olof MALANDER as their unordained minister. Eventually they agreed to accept him and promised to pay him a yearly salary for his services. However, the two churches failed for several reasons, to keep their promise and consequently, in 1742, Mr. MALANDER was forced to leave the Swedish colony to seek employment elsewhere. He moved to Philadelphia where he worked in Benjamin FRANKLIN’s print shop. Swedish records state that Olof MALANDER left the Lutheran Church and became a Moravian minister and moved to Rhode Island where his parishioners built a church. Olof died in 1744, and his wife apparently returned to Philadelphia, Montgomery County, PA, where their daughter, Deborah, was married to William ELDRIDGE in 1761.
Theophelous Burt ELDRIDGE, born 1859, a great-grandson of William, and first cousin twice removed to Duncan C. ELDRIDGE, claimed in his brief family history, that William was born 1 April 1738, the son of Thomas Eldridge. He also claimed that William and Deborah settled and raised their family at Dennis Creek , Cape May County, New Jersey, where several other families named ELDRIDGE previously made their homes since early times. Deed records do not reflect his statement, but from the time of their marriage in 1761 until just before the Revolutionary War in 1774, the whereabouts of this family is not known.
It is ironic that the two colonies founded by Quakers on the principles of peace and non-violence should be the site of the most fierce and prolonged battles of the Revolutionary War. Quakers believed in prohibiting members from supporting either side at the outbreak of the War. (William was 38 at this time, his oldest son, Enos, was 12). The penalty for violating this tenet was expulsion. Quakers who were naturally sympathetic to the colonial cause held to this and refused to serve or support the Continental Army in any way. In the same neighborhood where Washington’s troops were starving, Quaker barns bulged with supplies. Eventually, large numbers of Friends broke with the faith to help the colonies gain independence.
The first known residence for the William ELDRIDGE family is shown in a Gloucester County deed dated 18 April 1791. William, yeoman of Gloucester, and Deborah sold land in Greenwich Township which they acquired through a sheriff’s sale on 29 October 1774. Tax records from 1773 for Greenwich, Gloucester County, list William as well as David and Little John Eldridge. In 1786, Greenwich taxed 2 William ELDRIDGEs, one identified as “saddler”, plus David, Enoch and Enos ELDRIDGE. By 1797, only one William remains to be taxed in Greenwich. Tax records for Gloucester Township for 1789 list a William ELDRIDGE as well as an Obadiah and Joshua, thus indicating the family moved it’s residence about 1787.
Deborah MALANDER ELDRIDGE probably died in Gloucester between 22 March 1806 and 3 June 1897 as reflected in deed records. William made his will on 18 November 1812, giving his residence as Gloucester Town; the will was proved 26 February 1816.