The family of Penington (formerly spelled Pennington) of Henham, County Essex, and of Amersham, County Bucks (Buckinghamshire) in England, and afterward of Philadelphia, begins with one Penington who was buried at Henham before 1557: a cadet of the ancient family of Pennington of Pennington, Lancashire, and of Muncaster, County Cumberland, which had held those manors since the time of Gamel de Penington, of Penington and Muncaster, who flourished in the reign of King Henry II, and who were created Baronets in1676, and Barons Muncaster in 1783. The connection with the main stem of Muncaster is alluded to in the will of this Penington of Henham’s great grandson, Admiral Sir John Pennington who mentions therein his cousin, William Pennington of Muncaster, and who was buried at Muncaster as a relative of that family

This first Penington of Henham had, among other children, three sons, Thomas Pennington, of Tottenham High Cross, County Middlesex, Gentleman; William Pennington of London (ancestor of the Philadelphia Peningtons,) and Robert Pennington, of Plegedon, in the Parish of Henham, County Essex. The latter, whose will was dated August 20, 1557, and who was buried at Henham August 28 of the same year, was grandfather of Admiral Sir John Pennington, whose father, also named Robert, purchased land in Henham and Elsenham in 1567, and was buried at Henham November 22, 1612. The Admiral’s mother was Margaret Barfoot, whose family held Lambourne Hall in Essex. She was buried at Henham September 22, 1579. Robert and Margaret Pennington’s eldest son was another Robert, who married a kinswoman of Dean Nowell; the Admiral was the second; and there were other children, a son Josias, and several daughters


Admiral Sir John Pennington, of King Charles I’s Fleet, was also Treasurer of His Majesty’s Navy, and one of the Gentlemen of His Majesty’s Privy Chamber in Ordinary, Captain of Sandown Castle; knighted on board H.M.S. Unicorn April 14, 1634. He was baptised at Henham, January 30, 1568, and died unmarried in September 1646.

William Pennington, elder brother of the Admiral’s grandfather, was born at Henham, County Essex; was a citizen of London in 1557, and was buried at St. Benet’s, Gracechurch Street, London, November 11, 1592. His widow, Alice Pennington was interred at the same place, October 9, 1607, the burial notice speaking of her as “an ancient householder.” The children of Alice and William Pennington had eight children Jacob, Robert, Arthur, William, Mary, Thomas a daughter, name unknown, who married Daniel Shetterdon, and Anne.

Isaac Penington, the eldest of the children of Robert and Judith Penington, was born in 1588, as he was 40 years old at the death of his father in 1628. Isaac Pennington succeeded to all this father’s lands and tenements in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and also followed in the elder Pennington’s footsteps as an extensive London merchant

Being possessed of large means, Isaac Pennington devoted much of his time to civic and political affairs. He was first chosen an Alderman. In 1638 he was made High Sheriff of London. In 1640 he was elected Member of Parliament for the City, and became a leader in the House. He was made Lord Mayor of London in 1643 , and subsequently was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Tower. Having been Knighted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, he was commissioned, in 1649, a member of the Council of State

Isaac Pennington was one of the Commissioners of the High Court of Justice for the trial of Charles I, did not sign the warrant for the King’s execution. He was, however, recognized as one of the “Regicides,” and, following the Restoration, he was, in 1660, arrested and committed to the Tower, and his estates were confiscated. He was sentenced to death, but before the decree could be carried out Pennington died in the Tower, from ‘ill usage’ on December 17, 1661

Sir Isaac Pennington was twice married, first, February 7, 1614-15 to Abigail Allen, daughter of John Allen, a London merchant. It is written of her that her desires were “for the religious welfare and the establishment of the Christian character of her children,” Sir Isaac’s second wife was Mary Young, daughter of Matthew Young. His children, however were all by his first wife, and were, as follows: Isaac, Arthur, William, Daniel, Abigail, Bridget, Judith and Anne. Of these, Isaac, the father of the emigrant to America, will be mentioned here. Arthur was a Roman Catholic Priest. William, who was a merchant in London, became, like his elder brother, a member of the Society of Friends, and died April 3, 1689. Daniel, who was godson to his uncle Daniel, married, we have no information concerning him, beyond mention of him by his brother Isaac, in 1667. Of the four daughters, we only know that Anne became the wife of Richard More, of More and Larden, County Salop, who was a member of Parliament

Like William Penn, who departed widely from his father, Admiral William Penn, in religion and mode of life, the younger Isaac Penington’"who dropped an “n” from his name, which orthography will be hereafter followed in this article’"seems to have possessed none of the worldly ambitions and tastes of his militant parent. Born about 1616 in the City of London, his life in the metropolis was spent amid strenuous surroundings. Having married in 1654, he removed from London’"this was prior to the Restoration’"and made his residence in the country, probably in Berkshire

The only child of Sir William Springett, by his wife, Mary Proude, was Gulielma Maria Springett, who became the first wife of William Penn, the Proprietary of Pennsylvania

It was about ten years after the death of Sir William when the widow, Lady Springett and Isaac Penington were married. The circumstances of their conversion to the principals of the Friends we find in the words of Mrs. Penington herself, having written her memoirs for the benefit of her grandson, Springett Penn. She said:

It was not long after Isaac Penington’s conversion to the Quaker faith that troubles came thick and fast to him and to those dear to him. Oliver Cromwell died that year- September 3, 1658; in due time Charles II came to the throne; the elder Isaac Pennington was thrust into the Tower as a prisoner, where he had once been governor; he was tried and sentenced to death, after, as stated, the former Lord Mayor died of his infirmities before the day of his execution rolled around; the latter’s estate was confiscated, among other pieces of property taken being Chalfont Grange, the home of the younger Isaac Penington, which he supposed to be his, after which was, nevertheless, given to the Duke of Grafton, the illegitimate son of Charles II; though Penington was not finally dispossessed until 1666

Afterwards other and more serious troubles came to Isaac Penington, and as the direct result of his conversion. By the military order of the Earl of Bridgewater, Penington was sent to Aylesbury jail because he would not address him as “My Lord” and say “Your humble servant.” At this particular time the plague was raging in the prison. Once again, he was incarcerated by order of the Earl of Bridgewater. These two imprisonments lasted, respectively, nine and eighteen months. Again this was by no means all. Between 1661 and 1672 he spent four years and three quarters in jail, usually at Aylesbury, once at Reading

Upon one occasion he was arrested while in attendance at meeting; once while walking upon the street in a funeral procession, the coffin being thrown to the ground; at another time when in bed; again upon the occasion of the birth of one of his children; and it was while he was in prison that his family was turned out of Chalfont Grange

Again none of these things moved either Isaac Penington or Mary, his devoted wife. While in confinement, as well as the intervals between his numerous persecutions, Isaac Penington spent his time in writing pamphlets and books upon religious subjects, mainly in explanation and defence of the tenets of the Quakers. The list of his works occupies twenty-six pages in Joseph Smith’s Catalogue of Friends’ Books

Being dispossessed from the Grange, and during one of the intermissions between Isaac Penington’s imprisonments, the family lived at Bury House, near Amersham, Buckinghamshire, and it was here that William Penn came courting Mrs. Penington’s daughter by her first husband, Gulielma Maria Springett, who had been brought up in the family of Isaac Penington as one of the latter’s household. After the daughter’s marriage to Penn, April 4th, 1672, the Penington Family removed to Woodside, in the Parish of Amersham, near their former residence. Here Isaac Penington spent his remaining days in peace, dying finally October 8, 1679, at Goodnestone Court, in the Parish of Goodnestone, County Kent, where he had gone upon a visit’"Goodnestone Court being the property of his wife, which she had inherited from her father, Sir John Proude. His widow survived him three years, her death having occurred at Worminghurst, Sussex, William Penn’s home, September 18, 1682, a little more than a fortnight after her distinguished son in law had sailed out of the Downs, in the Welcome, for his new world on the banks of the Delaware. Both husband and wife were buried at Jordans, near their old home, Chalfont Grange. Beside them were laid to rest the remains of the daughter Gulielma Maria Penn, who died February 22, 1693-94. In the next grave, at due time, was buried the Founder himself. The four simple headstones side by side, can be seen at Jordans today

Isaac and Mary (nee Proude) had six children, as follows: John, Mary, Isaac, another son, name unknown, who died young; William and Edward. The eldest of the six children, John Penington, was the author of several Friends pamphlets, two of which, relating to George Keith’s schism, were published in London in 1695. His “Testimony” concerning his father is published in the collected works of the latter. He died unmarried May 8, 1710

Mary Penington, the only daughter, was born February 10, 1657-58, married November 4, 1686, Daniel Wharley, a London merchant. Some Wharleys, among the early settlers of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, were probably related

Isaac Penington, the second son, was drowned at sea in 1669, when a young man, on his return from a voyage to Barbados

William Penington, born August 3, 1665, was a merchant in London, was married and had issue. He died May 5, 1703

It was Edward Penington, the youngest of the six children, born in the Parish of Amersham, Buckinghamshire, September 3, 1667, who came to Pennsylvania and established the family name in the domain of his brother-in-law, the founder of the province

Educated at Edmunton, he followed in the footsteps of his parents as a devout, zealous member of the Society of Friends. To some extent, he wrote upon current religious subjects. He published, in London, 1695 “The discoverer Discovered,” “Rabshakeh Rebuked,” and a “Reply to Thomas Crisp” and, in 1696, “Some Brief Observations upon George Keith’s Earnest Expostulations” and “A Modern Detection of George Keith’s (Miscalled) Vindication of his Earnest Expostulations.” He was appointed, April 26, 1698, by his kinsman William Penn, Surveyor General of Pennsylvania, and he embarked not long afterwards, for that province, arriving at Philadelphia November 30 of that year. Penington filled that post until his death

The year following his arrival in America, Edward Penington married ’November 16, 1699' at Burlington Friends Meeting, New Jersey, Sarah Jenings, daughter of Samuel Jenings. William Penn is said to have been present at this wedding; although this could not have been, as he did not arrive at Philadelphia from England until December 3, 1699, seventeen days after the nuptials

Edward Penington Died in Philadelphia November 11, 1701, just three years after his arrival in the Province. His widow, Sarah Penington, married, in 1704, Thomas Stevenson, Jr. of Bucks County,

The only child of Edward and Sarah (nee Jenings) Penington was Isaac Penington, who was born in Philadelphia November 22nd 1700. His mother having remarried when he was only four years of age, he became a member of the family of his stepfather, Thomas Stevenson, Jr. and thus a resident of Bucks County, with whose history he was associated throughout his life, though also identified, to a more or less extent, with events in Philadelphia. He was commissioned a justice of the bucks County Court, September 14, 1725 and was re-commissioned September 13, 1726, September 12, 1727, December 1, 1733, November 22, 1738 and April 4, 1741, being on the bench at his death. He became sheriff of the county named, October 4, 1731 and served two terms, until October 4, 1733, his successor being John Hall. He was undoubtedly a man of education, and had inherited the literary and scholastic taste of his immediate progenitors, as we find him one of the handful of men ’Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Hopkinson and Thomas Cadwalader being among his colleagues ’ who, November 8, 1731, organized the Philadelphia Library Company, which was the parent of all American Subscription Libraries, and is still in existence. That Isaac Penington was a man of considerable wealth, as well as one of prominence and influence, is evidenced by the fact that he was an extensive landholder, chiefly in Bucks county

Isaac Penington married, November 5, 1725 Ann Biles, daughter of William Biles 2nd

The death of Isaac Penington occurred on July 5, 1742; that of his widow, Ann February 22, 1748-49. They had four children,: Edward, Mary, Sarah and Thomas,

Edward Penington, the eldest child of Isaac and Ann (nee Biles) Penington, was born in Bucks County Pennsylvania, December 4, 1726. Upon reaching manhood he removed to Philadelphia, where he engaged in business as a merchant, and in time, became one of the leaders of the local commercial world. In 1765, he erected a handsome house, built of red and black bricks, the prevailing style at that time, on a large lot which he owned at the corner of crown and Race Streets. The house, with its stable and extensive back buildings, occupied the ground to Fifth street. During the British occupancy of Philadelphia, September 1777 to June 1778, the property was occupied by Colonel Henry Johnson, of the Twenty-eighth Regiment, British Army, who as Brigadier-General, commander Stony Point at the time of its capture by General Anthony Wayne, July 16, 1777

Edward Penington was admitted to membership in the Historic Colony in Schuylkill’"still in existence’"May 1, 1748. In 1755 and 1757 he was a signer of provincial paper money. He was commissioned a justice of the Court of Common Pleas, etc, of Philadelphia county, February 28, 1761. Later in the same year he was chosen a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. In the following year, under a newly passed Act of Assembly, placing the custody of the State House and other public buildings in a board of trustees, Penington was named as a member of the same. He was admitted to membership in the American Philosophical Society November 25, 1768. In 1770 he was chosen Treasurer of the Society for the Cultivation of Silk, organized that year. From 1778 to 1779, he served as a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital

With the beginning of the controversy between Great Britain and the American colonies, Penington was confronted with the same serious problem which perplexed the other members of the Society of Friends. Devoid of all other considerations, it seemed to be a question of devotion to religious principles, on the one hand, and love of country, on the other. A majority of the Quakers determined the engrossing problem from the religious standpoint, and opposed all movements looking to revolution through a resort to arms. Others, known as the fighting Quakers, took the contrary course, and aligned themselves with the militant revolutionists


At the beginning Edward Penington evinced a disposition to contest the arbitrary action of the mother country. To this end he attended the Provincial Conference of May, 1774, at the Coffee house, which created the Committee of Correspondence, and he was also a delegate to the Provincial Convention, held in July, of the same year. Although that is as far as he was willing to go. Anything further meant war, and to war he was conscientiously opposed. He became classed among the “disaffected,” therefore, and in 1776, was ordered under arrest, although he was subsequently liberated. In September of the following year, however, upon the approach of the British Army from the Chesapeake, Penington was again arrested, by order of the Supreme Executive Council of the State, confined for a time in Freemason’s Lodge, and then, together with nearly twenty others, mostly Quakers, was sent to Virginia, under guard, where he was compelled to remain eight months, until released by order of the Continental Congress.

Penington was elected a member of the Common Council in 1790, and in the following year the Legislature designated him as one of the trustees authorized to distribute the funds payable to the French refugees living in Philadelphia

Edward Penington married, November 26, 1754, Sarah Shoemaker, daughter of Benjamin Shoemaker, Edward and Sarah (nee Shoemaker) Penington had the following children: Isaac, Anne, a second Anne, Sarah, Mary, Benjamin, Edward, a second Sarah, John and a second Mary. Of the ten, four died in infancy as follows: the first Anne, both Sarahs and the first Mary. The other six, all of whom reached maturity will be referred to in due order

The eldest of these, Isaac Penington, was born October 30, 1756. Like his father, he was among the “disaffected” during the Revolution. Isaac Penington had been placed under arrest in 1776′'being twenty years of age at the time’ and was again arrested in 1778,

After the war Isaac Penington and his brother Edward entered into business in Philadelphia as sugar refiners and merchants, which they conducted for years with success. When President Washington lived in the Quaker City, he frequently dealt with the Peningtons, his private account books showing various entries like these: “Pd I. & Ed. Penington for sugar, $80.20.” P’d I. & E. Penington in full for sugar, $135.59.”

Isaac Penington died on, April 28, 1803

The fourth son, John Penington, born September 29, 1768, graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1791, contributed to the Columbian Magazine; published in 1790, “Chemical and Economical Essays to Illustrate the Connection between Chemistry and the Arts,” and “Inaugural Dissertation on Phenomena, Causes and Effects of Fermentation.” He died unmarried September 20, 1793, having lost his life in devotion to his professional duties during the disastrous yellow fever scourge of that year

The third son Edward Penington, was the only son of Edward and Sarah (nee Shoemaker) Penington who married and had children, was born May 8, 1766. He was associated in business with his eldest brother, Isaac Penington, as already indicated. Like his ancestors, he was possessed of literary tastes, and was the owner of a library comprising over 6000 volumes. In 1834 he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. From 1805 to 1820 he was a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital. He married, September 27, 1798, Helena Lawrence Holmes, and died March 16, 1834; his widow, January 28, 1852. They had six children, all sons, as follows: John, Edward, William Le Conte, Lawrence, Henry and George

The eldest of the six sons, John Penington, had a national reputation as a scholar, antiquary and bibliophile. He was born August 1, 1799, and died March 18, 1867.

The children of John Penington, who married Lucetta Davis, were Edward, Mary Lawrence, who became the wife of Commodore John Roberts Goldsborough, United States Navy; Elizabeth Davis who married the well known writer on political economy, Henry Carey Baird, of the Waynewood, Wayne, with whom resides his only daughter, Mrs. William Howard Gardiner, one of the few surviving descendents of Edward Penington, the emigrant ancestor; and Margaret Roberts, who became the wife of Horatio Paine, M.D., a leading physician of New York

Edward Penington, the next younger brother of John Penington, was born December 6, 1800, and died January 16, 1868. He married Elizabeth Lewis, and had seven children. The eldest of the seven who survives is Mrs. Wharton Griffitts, 2208 Pine Street, with whom resides her only surviving child, Mrs. James deWaele Cookman. The second of the seven children is Mrs. Franklin Peale Griffitts, these sisters having married brothers. Another sister married Phillip Francis Chase

William LeConte Penington, brother of John and Edward Penington, was born April 13, 1803, and died August 16, 1863, married Anne Harding and had four children, none of whom married. One of the four, a son, Lawrence Penington, Jr. was killed in battle at Cold Harbor, Va., June 2, 1864

The fifth of the six brothers, Henry Penington, was born September 19, 1809, and died without issue, November 11,1858. He was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar October 21, 1828, and published, in 1847, an American edition of Holthouse’s Law Dictionary

The youngest of the six sons, George Penington, who was born July 17, 1809, died in infancy, November 10, 1809

For more in-depth information on the Pennington family : OLD PHILADELPHIA FAMILIES XLVII Penington
or alternatively the Pennington Research Website

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