Written By Himself ...
I was born on the eighth of the twelfth month, in
the year 1673, in the town of Plymouth, in the county of Devon: my
father was of the family of the Crokers of Lyneham, being by birth one
called a gentleman; and he married Anstice, the daughter of Nicholas
Tripe, a shopkeeper at Kingsbridge, in that county.
They were both early
convinced of the blessed Truth, and stood boldly for it in the time of
persecution, many times to the loss of their goods and imprisonment of
... my father, who was kept a prisoner sometime at Exeter,
forty-four miles from home, and my mother was at the same time a
prisoner in the Bridewell at Plymouth. ...
In the year 1686, some
Friends of Plymouth being about to remove to Pennsylvania, and I being
willing to go with them, my father and mother concluded to bind me
apprentice to a Friend, one John Shilson, by trade a serge maker, but
who also professed surgery; ...
[LONG ACCOUNT OF HIS TIME IN AMERICA AND
ADVENTURES ON RETURN]
... and I set myself at work in my elder
brother's trade, being a serge weaver; and to combing of wool I went,
and earned six or seven shillings a week by my work, which brought me in
money for a time.
It was not long before my father bought an estate in
the county of Cornwall; he was a tobacconist, and it being war time he
laid down all business, and retired into the country, and lived in a
house with my elder sister, who was married to Francis Fox, a shopkeeper
at Germains, where my father and mother remained until their death, and
then my eldest brother went thither...
Soon after this period, (viz.
about the year 1695,) the Lord was pleased to deprive me of my dear and
honourable mother, who was in her day a noble woman for Truth, and who
retained her integrity to God, and love to Friends to the end: I doubt
not but she resteth in peace with the Lord.
This was a trying time to
me, and it made an impression on my very countenance. I then retired
into the country to my father, who was soon after brought to his bed by
reason of a sore distemper in his feet. So I waited on him, and to keep
myself from idleness and get a little money, I put forward some small
business, which was spinning of tobacco, my father's former
I now began to think of a settled life, and I had cast my
eye on a virtuous young woman, the daughter of John and Margery Peters,
of Minver, in the county of Cornwall. ... Now being come to the
twenty-second year of my age ... we were united. ...
[A Brief Narrative
of the Life of John Peters by Thomas Gwin of Falmouth (1709)...
was interred the thirteenth of the Seventh month, 1708, at the burying
ground of our Friends at Minver.] ...
Thus, for about three years I
passed my time, in the enjoyment of a tender and affectionate wife, who
truly feared the Lord, and with whom I had great comfort; and we were a
strength and rejoicing to each other. But at length it pleased the Lord
to take from me my dear wife in child-bed, in the year 1699. ...
two years a widower... we had the company of our friend Elizabeth Gates
... I returned with my father and friend Elizabeth Gates to her
father's at Horsham ... The Yearly Meeting in 1702 approaching... we
might be married soon after ... So we came down into Cornwall, took a
house, and settled at Liskeard ... and my father Gates, happening to die
about the same time, there seemed to be a want of some person in his
So, after nine years, having had four children, whereof three were
living, we gave notice of a sale of our shop and household goods, and
soon disposed of the sam ... we left the country, [in the Third month,
1711;] being only myself, wife, and three children, a friend J. S.,
[removed to Sussex]
[About a year after his removal into Sussex, he
wrote a letter to his sister, Tabitha Fox, (formerly Croker,) widow of
Francis Fox, of Germains, in Cornwall; from which the following is an
Horsham, the 20th of Ninth month, 1712. Dear Sister, My desire
is.... I conclude with our true love to thee and thy children, hoping
that, as they grow in years, they may grow in the fear of the Lord. ...
[NOTES ... his son Charles, probably the eldest of the
family ... We had two sons at home... and departed this life, the
twenty-ninth of the eleventh month 1727, at Horsham, in the county of
Sussex, aged very nearly fifty-five years; and was buried in Friends'
burying ground at Horsham, the first day of the Twelfth month.