105 – Elizabeth Jervis Cookson 1653-1730

I didn’t want to write this story. I knew the day would come, but I was dreading it.

Elizabeth died in September 1730.

I’ve really grown attached to Elizabeth. She’s been at the center of this quest for Jarvis/Jervis origins. Her life story is filled with drama, struggle, success, and hard work. I’ll miss her.

Early Years

Elizabeth (8G) was born in Nantwich, Cheshire, England, in about 1653. We don’t know her family name or any details of her early life.

Marriage to John Jervis (8G)

Elizabeth married John Jervis, probably around 1670. She was young, not yet 20.

John Jervis was older, about 45. He had been married previously to Margaret, and had two children by that marriage. Margaret died in 1658.

John was a heelmaker, supplying the main trade of shoemaking in Nantwich. John and Elizabeth became Quakers.

Children Joseph (7G) and Ruth

John and Elizabeth had a son Joseph in about 1673. And Elizabeth was pregnant with daughter Ruth when Joseph died in October 1680.

John Jervis died

Elizabeth was widowed in October 1680. For the next three years, Elizabeth was destitute. Her Quaker meeting gave her a monthly stipend for a year and a half. They gave her twenty shillings to buy a bed, and they arranged a place for her to live. She was in her late 20s.

To Pennsylvania

In June 1683, Elizabeth asked the Quaker meeting for £5 to help in her journey to Pennsylvania. She had concluded that she and her children had a bleak future in Nantwich.

Later that summer, Elizabeth and 10 year old Joseph and 3 year old Ruth made the crossing from Liverpool to Chester, Pennsylvania, either in the Friendship or Endeavor. Elizabeth was 30 years old.

Her land

In Pennsylvania, Elizabeth got a warrant from William Penn for 150 acres of land along Ridley Creek in Middletown, about 5 miles inland from Chester. From a charity case in England to a woman landowner in Pennsylvania in one year. That’s amazing. Elizabeth was age 31.

Marriage to Joseph Cookson

In the fall of 1684, Elizabeth married Joseph Cookson. Joseph had his own land warrant in Delaware, but they made a home on Elizabeth’s land in Middletown. Elizabeth was about age 31.

Children Daniel, Mary, and Hannah

Elizabeth and Joseph Cookson had three children over the next decade – Daniel, Mary, and Hannah. So with Joseph and Ruth, Elizabeth had five children. Elizabeth was in her 30s.

Joseph Cookson died

Joseph Cookson died in mid-1690s. Elizabeth was about age 40.

Her home

Elizabeth continued to live in her home in Middletown. Her children grew up, married, and left home. But Elizabeth stayed, living on her land for around forty years. She spent more than half her life here, from age 31 to 74.

Later Years

In mid-1720s, Elizabeth was in her mid-70s. She moved to Caln to live with her daughter Ruth Cloud.

Elizabeth died

Elizabeth Jervis Cookson died in September 1730. She probably died at her daughter Ruth Cloud’s home in Caln, Chester County, Pennsylvania. She was about 77.

Daniel Cookson, executor

We have some conflicting citations. In a court case, Elizabeth’s son Daniel Cookson is referred to as the executor of Elizabeth Jervis’ estate.

Chester Court of Quarter Sessions – August 1730

Joseph Jervis, administrator

In probate court, Elizabeth’s son Joseph Jervis is named as the administrator of her estate.

Letter of Administration – Joseph Jervis for Elizabeth Cookson estate – 1731

I’m not sure which of these conflicting citations take precedence. But I don’t really care. I’m happy both her sons were involved.

It’s amazing that we’ve learned so much about our grandparent who lived 300 years ago.

Goodbye Elizabeth.


4 thoughts on “105 – Elizabeth Jervis Cookson 1653-1730

  1. Louise Longworth September 9, 2020 / 1:11 pm

    Oh Mark, I can understand how you must feel, having traced Elizabeth’s life from UK to US through all her early hardships and her later successes.
    Your article made me very emotional – even though she isn’t my direct ancestor. You can be very proud her- she was obviously made of stern stuff – going off into the unknown and winning through as she did.
    I think it’s just lovely that you and Celia have brought her to life again, so to speak, and told her story – a story that deserved to be told – so although your ‘Goodbye Elizabeth ‘ made me reach for a tissue – I think it should be ‘ Hello Elizabeth, we salute you .’


    • Mark Jarvis September 9, 2020 / 3:05 pm

      I like that better too – “Hello Elizabeth, we salute you.” And Louise, thanks for sharing the journey. That’s made it a lot more fun and meaningful for me.


  2. Brenda Teply September 9, 2020 / 2:55 pm

    Thank you for the recap of Elizabeth Jervis Cookson’s life. I will miss her too.


    • Mark Jarvis September 9, 2020 / 3:08 pm

      Thanks Brenda. I appreciate that you’ve followed Elizabeth, even quizzing me about her details! I wish I could have a face-to-face conversation with her, but writing her story will have to suffice.


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