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The Journeys of the Lippincotts

Sometimes it takes a while to find the place where you belong. Such was the experience of Richard Lippincott, my 9th Great Grandfather and another prominent Quaker ancestor. He would relocate several times before finding a permanent settlement. It would not only be a physical journey, but a spiritual one as well.

The name of Lippincott is one of the oldest English surnames of local origin, having been traced back to the "Lovecote" of the Domesday Book, a record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales commissioned in 1085 by order of King William the Conqueror. He wanted to know who owned what, how much it was worth and how much was owed to him as King in tax, rents, and military service.

Richard Lippincott was born on 15 July 1613, the son of Anthony and Margaret (nee Weare) Lippincott in Stonehouse, Devon, England.

He was considered of too mild and peaceable a disposition to be either happy or contented amidst the conditions that prevailed in England during the latter years of the reign of King Charles I. As a result, he associated himself at an early date with the settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony where he took up residence at Dorchester. He became a member of the church there and on 1 April 1640 was chosen to one of the town offices, being made freeman by the court of Boston on 13 May 1640. Three days earlier he had married Abigail Goody. Their eldest son, Remembrance, was born and baptized in September 1641.

A few years later, they moved to Boston where his second son, John, and eldest daughter, Abigail, were born and baptized there. In the records of the First Church at Boston is the entry of John's baptism on 10 November 1644, the father being noted as "a member of the church at Dorchester."

New England Puritanism proved to be of too militant in character for Richard Lippincott and he began to differ more and more with the other members of the church in regard to some of their religious doctrines. He was so tenacious about his beliefs that he was formally excommunicated on 6 July 1651.

About a year later, in 1652, Richard Lippincott and his family returned to England in the hope that he might find a greater degree of religious liberty than was obtainable among his fellow colonists in Massachusetts. Possibly in commemoration of his restoration to his native land, he named his third son "Restore" when he was born in 1652 at Plymouth, England.

Richard began to associate with George Fox and the Society of Friends, eventually becoming a member. He would frequently debate with Margaret Fell about his religious views. In 1655 he was imprisoned in the town jail by the mayor of Plymouth for attesting that “Christ was the Word of God, and the Scriptures a document of the mind of God.” Several months later, in May 1655, he, with others, testified against the acts of the mayor and the falsehood of the charges brought against them. In commemoration of this release from prison he named his next son, Freedom, born that same year.

The following few years seem to have been comparatively quiet one. The only noteworthy event in his life being the making of a home for himself and family at Stonehouse, near Plymouth, and the birth of his daughter Increase in 1657 and of his son Jacob in 1660.

In this last mentioned year he was again imprisoned by the mayor of Plymouth for his faithfulness to his religious convictions, being arrested and taken from a meeting of Friends in that city. His release was brought about by the solicitation of Margaret Fell and others whose efforts on behalf of imprisoned Friends were so influential with the newly restored King Charles II.

Compared to his treatment in Boston, Richard Lippincott's experience in Plymouth was not any better. As a result, he decided to try to make his way in the New World again. This time he moved his family to Rhode Island, a Baptist colony founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a former minister in the Massachusetts Bay Colony who was banished for his teachings. For this reason, Rhode Island was very tolerant of various forms of belief. Here his youngest son, Preserved, was born in 1663, and most likely received his name in commemoration of his father's preservation from persecution and from the perils of the ocean voyage.

In 1665, an association was formed at Newport, Rhode Island to purchase lands in East Jersey from the Indians. Of the eighty-three Newport subscribers who contributed towards buying the land and defraying the incidental expenses in treating with the natives, Richard Lippincott gave by far the largest amount, £16, 10 shillings, which was more than twice that of any other contributor except Richard Borden, whose amount was £11, 10 shillings.

On 8 April 1665, British Governor Nicolls of New York signed the Monmouth patent. One of the conditions was that the patentees and their associates would settle and farm the land with at least one hundred families within the next three years. The reason for the founding of the Monmouth settlement is given in the patent as the establishment of "free liberty of Conscience without any molestation or disturbance whatever in the way of worship." In accordance with the terms of this patent, Richard Lippincott and his family moved from Rhode Island to the new land. With him went a number of other members of the Society of Friends. They established Shrewsbury and named it after the location in England from which many had come.

In 1670, the first meeting for worship was established by the Friends, which for a long time met at Richard Lippincott's home. His residence was on Passequeneiqua Creek, a branch of the South Shrewsbury River. When George Fox visited in 1672, he was entertained during his stay by Richard Lippincott and his family.

Soon after this Richard Lippincott made another voyage to England, where he was in 1675 when fellow Quaker John Fenwick was prepared to move to West Jersey. On 9 August 1676, he obtained a patent from Fenwick for one thousand acres. On 21 May 1679, Richard Lippincott divided this plantation into five equal parts, giving each of his sons a two hundred acre tract.

Having finally found a fixed place of residence where he could live in peace and prosperity, Richard Lippincott settled down to "an active and useful life in the midst of a worthy family, in the possession of a sufficient estate, and happy in the enjoyment of religious, and political freedom." Here he passed the last eighteen years of his life of varied experiences and died on 25 November 1683.

The children of Richard and Abigail Lippincott were Remembrance, John, Abigail, Restore, Freedom, Increase, Jacob, and Preserved.

Remembrance and John remained in Monmouth County; Restore and Freedom settled in Burlington County. Abigail and Preserved died in infancy and Jacob left no descendants.


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