On this day, 2 April 1805, Penelope (Worden) Woodmansee (my 7th great-grandmother) passed away in Dover Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey.
Born on 24 March 1728, Penelope was the daughter of Samuel Worden and Abigail Mott. She joined her elder sister, Phebe Worden, born on 30 June 1724, and brother Benjamin, born on 7 June 1726.
Circa 1730, brother Samuel was welcomed to the family. Four years later, circa 1734, sister Sarah arrived. In 1738, sister Hannah came along. Then, circa 1740, Penelope’s final known sibling, sister Silence was born. Although little more is known about Penelope’s childhood, much is known about her birthplace.
The town in which she was born was dubbed Little Rest (now known as Kingston Village, located in modern-day Washington County, Rhode Island). The town was supposedly named for a break that militiamen took before engaging in the Great Swamp Massacre, part of King Philip’s War, on 19 December 1675. The New England militia, along with 150 Pequots, entered the Narragansett winter encampment, killing hundreds of men, women, and children, burning their abodes, and destroying their winter stores. Sadly, this massacre was a critical blow to the Narragansett from which they would not fully recover.
Founded in 1658, this village, then called Wiltwyck, was a part of the Pettaquamscutt Purchase, purchased on 20 January 1657, by John Hull, Thomas Mumford, John Porter, Samuel Wilbore, and Samuel Wilson, who received a deed from Kachanaquant, Quassuchquansh, and Quequaquenuet, chief sachems of the Narragansetts. Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch director-general of the colony of New Netherland, designed the street plan of the settlement. The main road was run along a Native American trail, and farms were set along the east slope of what would become known as Tower Hill, overlooking Narragansett Bay. Approximately four miles west of Tower Hill, another 1,000-acre tract of land designated for farming was established on a ridge and its adjacent slopes. Because the village was fortified by a 14-foot high stockade fence, many early settlers resided there for safety.
At some point in Penelope’s childhood, she and her family left Rhode Island., moving to New Jersey. We know this because Penelope’s sister Phebe Worden wed Safety Bowne on 22 April 1742, in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
The following year, in 1745, the couple welcomed their first child, son James. Circa 1746, daughter Elizabeth came along. The next year, circa 1747, son John was born.
Circa 1749, the Woodmansee family established their homestead along Cedar Creek, an 18.9 mile long tributary of Barnegat Bay in Ocean County, New Jersey. That same year (1749) son Gabriel was born.
Daughter Abigail was welcomed to their family on 4 May 1750. Son John David made his appearance on 6 July 1752. Son Jesse arrived in 1753. Son Samuel was a late Christmas gift, arriving on 27 December 1754.
Daughter Mary (my 6th great-grandmother) was born in 1755. That same year, on 30 May 1755, sister Sarah Worden married Job Cornel in Monmouth County, New Jersey. A few months later on 10 October 1755, brother Samuel Worden wed Rebecca Chamberlain.
Penelope’s final known child was named after his father David, arriving on 27 June 1760.
In 1769, daughter Elizabeth Woodmansee married Caleb Southard.
In 1773, daughter Mary Woodmansee wed Thomas Chamberlin (my 6th great-grandfather), the son of James and Lydia Chamberlin.
Circa 1774, daughter Abigail wed John Rogers.
Approximately a year later, circa 1775, son John David married Abigail Grant. Then, on April 19, 1775, approximately 250 miles away, the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired, and the American Revolution commenced.
Hearing the call to arms, husband David Woodmansee enlisted as a private in the New Jersey Militia at Toms River, Ocean County, New Jersey on 2 April 1776.
On 11 August 1776, a month after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Penelope’s mother Abigail (Mott) Worden passed away. That same year (1776), Penelope’s son Samuel wed Aulice Jeffrey.
Circa 1778, son Jesse Woodmansee wed Louisa Anne Thornburg.
In the 1780s, son David Woodmansee left home, heading to the wilds of western Pennsylvania. Circa 1788, he married Caroline Wharton in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Two decades passed, during which the Woodmansee family continued to expand. Penelope and David welcomed many grandchildren into the family and into their hearts.
Then, on 13 July 1799, heartbreak came to Penelope’s life when her husband, David Woodmansee, age 79, died near Cedar Creek, Ocean County, New Jersey. His grieving family buried him in Good Luck Cemetery in Ocean County, New Jersey.
Less than six years later, on 2 April 1805, Penelope (Worden) Woodmansee passed away in Dover Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey. She was 77 years old.