A few days ago, Patrick and I were going through a box in the William Warder Cadbury and Catharine Jones Cadbury papers entitled “Bound genealogical and family records,” which contains both Balderston (Catharine’s side) and Cadbury genealogical information. We came across a book about Catharine’s grandfather, Lloyd Balderston, written by two of his children, Anne and Lloyd, Jr. In the back of the book, four envelopes addressed to Catharine Jones Cadbury are pasted in the back cover, containing photographs, letters, and a handwritten family tree of Catharine Canby Balderston, the matriarch of the Balderston family and Catharine Cadbury’s grandmother.
Yellow with age, this family tree traces the Canby line all the way back to William the Conqueror and “Saint” David of Scotland. I almost didn’t believe this tree could be accurate until I spent some time researching each link drawn so thoughtfully on the piece of hundred-year-old paper. It turns out that William Warder Cadbury married, perhaps unsuspectingly, into royalty!
I reached back into my memory of freshman year Western Civ and realized that this family tree practically told the story of English history. With names like Empress Matilda of Germany, King John Lackland, the Magna Carta Barons, and even Elizabeth Griscom (better known as Betsy Ross) jumping off the page, I knew this was a very special document. I decided to look up birth, death, and marriage dates when I could find them, and continued adding to the Canby-Balderston line down to people living today to give a more complete picture of this incredible family.
Throughout history, as loyalties changed, religion also often changed. I wondered when Quakerism was introduced in this family, so I looked through the Dictionary of Quaker Biography for two last names that I suspected might have Quaker roots: Claypoole and Griscom. The Claypooles were among the first people to come to America, starting in 1682 on the Amity. James Claypoole, the great-great-great-great-great grandfather of Catharine Jones Cadbury, came to America from London in 1683 on the Concord with his wife, Helena Mercer. James and Helena were married in 1657 in Germany by a Calvinist minister, which means that they were not affiliated with Quakerism at that time, since upon marrying a non-Quaker, the Quaker would be swiftly separated from the faith. I turned again to the DQB to see if it had an answer for me, and sure enough it turns out that James was “Convinced before 1660,” which means he was, as far as I can find out, the first Quaker of the family. It seems as though James and Helena raised their children Quaker as well, since the subsequent generations are also all part of the faith.
Going a little farther down the line, in 1783 Catharine Jones Cadbury’s great-great grandfather, John Claypoole, marries a woman by the name of Elizabeth Griscom–better known to most of us as Betsy Ross. Elizabeth was also raised Quaker, but the DQB tells us that her first marriage to John Ross, an episcopalian, caused her to be separated. After John’s death, though, she rejoined the Quaker faith as a Free Quaker, supporting the war against England. Her later marriage to John Claypoole resulted in the continuation of the Quaker lineage until eventually Catharine Jones Cadbury married into another quite prominent Quaker family, the Cadburys.