Welcome to the first edition of The Foulke Family Herald. This semi-annual newsletter is a publication of the descendants of Edward and Eleanor Foulke - 300th Year Family Reunion Committee. The newsletter will be full of many things that you will find interesting, informative, educational and even amusing!
In future issues, we plan to have articles on family events (including births, marriages, graduations, etc.) and historical information of family members, events, and artifacts. We will even be including information about places of interest to the Foulke family as we have in this newsletter in the article on Rhiwaedog. And, of course, an important goal of the newsletter will be to keep all family members abreast of Reunion Committee activities and plans.
We hope that you will enjoy reading and learning from this newsletter as much as we have enjoyed researching and compiling it. The committee is always open to suggestions, information and contributions. Please feel free to contribute any ideas, thoughts, stories, research, etc., that you may possess. We will put it all to good use!
Visitors to this Community are sometimes interested in how the name "Foulkeways" was chosen. The questions can be answered easily by those who know its history.
To begin with, Foulkeways is unique among most retirement communities, for the record of the land on which it is built goes back about 300 years. In 1682 when William Penn received from the King of England the land which we know as Pennsylvania, he gave or sold much of it to his friends and others interested in coming to the "New World". One of these friends was an Irishman named Robert Turner, who was given a large tract in the general area of what is now Gwynedd. People from England and other countries began to emigrate to America, among them Robert Turner who settled in Philadelphia.
By 1698, a group of friends and neighbors in Wales, Great Britain, decided to come together and find homes for themselves in Pennsylvania. They sent over two brothers named Evans to purchase land for their settlement. In Philadelphia, they met Robert Turner and he sold them the tract of land given him by William Penn. Foulkeways stands on part of that land today.
After a long, stormy voyage across the Atlantic, the first of these Welsh settlers arrived and began the task of clearing ground and building shelters. The settlement was named Gwynedd, a well-known Welsh place-name. Only a few of them were Quakers, but struggling together, singing and worshipping together, they finally joined in building the first Friends Meeting House and adopted the Quaker faith and practice. They were dedicated, hard-working farmers. Their industry soon paid off and the settlement grew and prospered. One of the farms was the land on which Foulkeways is built. In the 1700s Dr. Foulke bought the farm from the neighboring blacksmith. Dr. Antrim Foulke was an outstanding resident of the general area, serving the people with dedication and concern. He was well-known in Quaker circles for his interest in all that concerned the welfare of people.
Years passed and eventually Dr. Antrim's granddaughter, May Foulke Beaumont, inherited the farm. At first she used it as a summer home, for she lived in Philadelphia. Later she remodeled the house and lived here permanently in the large house which is seen on Meetinghouse Road.
Sometime after her death, her husband, Charles Beaumont, made a will leaving the house and farm to Gwynedd Friends Meeting. After his death, the meeting was faced with the responsibility of deciding how the land was to be used. They wanted to be good steward of the bequest, and spent years of study, meditation and discussion before making a decision. At last, someone suggested that they explore a new venture in retirement homes for the elderly that had been experimented with in other parts of the country. A member of the committee visited such a community in California and reported favorably. The decision was made and a continuing care community was set in motion.
A Board was appointed; later duly incorporated. Its members set about the tasks of construction details, advertising and all the other labor necessary to such an undertaking. Unbelievably, the new continuing care community opened as promised, November 10, 1967. What a milestone that was in the lives of so many; the planners, the courageous Meeting members, the area Religious Society of Friends, and especially those first residents. It was a pioneer venture become a reality.
This pioneering spirit has been kept up at Foulkeways, for as a need arises, the Administration goes ahead to meet it. For example, from one Health Center building at the beginning, we have added three: Abington House, Owen Wing and Lloyd Wing. The community is a beautiful example of its kind, affording interested groups the opportunity of seeing the concept of continuing care in action. Much of the responsibility for maintaining this efficient operation has rested with our employees, who soon catch the spirit of the place, as they work along with the Administration and residents in a spirit of friendship and concern. Finally the residents, a very important part of the entire program, share in its accomplishment. Sharing and caring combine to form the keynote here.
Now we can go back to the question of its name. Dr. Antrim Foulke was widely recognized for his special concern and caring service as a physician. That is the "Foulke" part. He also rendered service to the developing settlement in many "ways". It is appropriate that a Community which strives to do the same should keep alive the memory of Dr. Foulke in the use of his name. The community from Gwynedd Friends Meeting chose wisely. From the ground up, Foulkeways is a meaningful place to live and work.
Miss Jane Mc Cleary
Resident of Foulkeways
It seems proper that an account should be given of what happened to the Edward and Eleanor Foulke homestead at Penllyn. No Foulke descendants remained there at the time of its destruction in the early 1980's.
The oldest son of Edward and Eleanor, Thomas Foulke (?-1762), willed most of the original tract to his second son, William. Edward (1707-1770), the eldest son of Thomas, had married Margaret Griffith and was living on the Griffith tract when Thomas‘ will was written.
William Foulke (1708-1775) married Hannah Jones of Montgomery in 1734 in Gwynedd Meeting House. William Foulke probably erected the modern version of the homestead, which with later additions was called the Foulke Mansion, on the site of the earlier dwelling built by his grandfather, Edward, the immigrant. A stone flour mill built by William was torn down in 1896.
The will of William Foulke, probated in 1775, left his farm and mill to his son, Jesse (1742-1821), with a life interest in the estate to Hannah, his wife. At the time of the Revolutionary War, Hannah was living on the farm with three unmarried children. Jesse, head of the family and operator of the mill, was 35 years old, Priscilla was 33 years old and Lydia was 21.
Amos Foulke (1740-1793), an older son of William and Hannah, had gone to Philadelphia to live and had married Hannah Jones of Philadelphia. Amos died when their son Edward (1784-1851) was 9 years old and the boy's mother sent him to the old homestead at Penllyn to be raised by his Uncle Jesse and Aunt Priscilla. This Edward married Tacy Jones of Montgomery in 1810 and continued to live on the old homestead and to follow in his Uncle Jesse's footsteps in the operation of the farm and the mill.
When Uncle Jesse died, however, he did not leave the Foulke homestead to his brother Amos's son Edward, but to his sister Lydia's son Jesse (his namesake, no doubt).
Lydia Foulke, the youngest of William and Hannah Foulke's children, married John Spencer of Moreland. Their son Jesse (1790-1841) received the homestead from his Uncle Jesse in a will probated in 1821.
Jesse Spencer married Mary Custard and had five children. Their son George is the one of interest to us. He married Ella L. Shoemaker and inherited the homestead from his father. George and Ella Spencer sold the Foulke homestead (that had come to them from Jesse Foulke, the brother of George's grandmother, Lydia Foulke Spencer) to John Henry Drinker in 1855.
The Edward and Tacy Foulke family and the Jesse and Mary Spencer family left the established Gwynedd Meeting and with a few other Friends built a Meeting House on land given from the original Foulke tract, that had come to them through William Foulke, the grandson of Edward, the immigrant.
The original Foulke homestead and mansion existed at the time of the 200th Anniversary of Descendants of Edward and Eleanor Foulke held in May 1898, at the Gwynedd Meeting House. At the time of this reunion, the house was owned by Albert E. Caldwell. It was opened for visits by the attendees at the 200th Anniversary celebration.
Although little is known about the history of the mansion prior to its destruction, many old photographs do exist. It is always unfortunate when historically interesting and important buildings are destroyed before they can be saved, but the Foulke family is very fortunate. Although we no longer have the mansion or the land, we not only know the exact location of our family homestead, but we also have a rich written and pictorial history of our family homestead to pass onto future generations.
I am very excited about the 300th Year Foulke Family Reunion Committee. It has allowed me to meet many cousins from all over the United States and the World. I have received communications from many of you expressing strong support and interest in this Reunion project and also in the other Committees that are being formed.
At our first organizational meeting in November 1990, we had over 45 cousins in attendance and they expressed their input as to how the Committees should function.
Another reason why I am excited about this Committee is because it is our family and everyone has a say in what they think should be done for the Reunion.
We came up with the following official Purpose of the Committee:
The next Committee meeting will be held on Saturday, August 3, 1991 at 10:00 AM at the Foulkeways Retirement Community in Gwynedd, PA. Foulkeways is another Foulke Historical Landmark.
We are inviting all of the family to try to attend this meeting and to be a participant in this historical event. Please Write to me (address is on the Newsletter) or call me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx if you are going to attend so that arrangements can be made. This meeting will be a workshop for all of the Committees and you can pick which Committee(s) you would like to serve on or you can just come and meet some new cousins.
We plan to have a semi-annual Newsletter to keep you informed of different family events, historical background, information about our family and to keep you abreast of what the Committee is doing.
In closing, I hope to hear from everyone and look forward to seeing all of you at the 1998 Reunion.
Bruce Keller Foulke
By David Jenkins Morrison
"In May, 1698, EDWARD and ELEANOR FOULKE, with their four sons and five daughters, landed in America. In May, 1898, over five hundred of their descendants met at Gwynedd Meeting House to celebrate that event."
These words prefaced the elegantly printed book, "Edward and Eleanor Foulke: Their Ancestors and Descendants: 1698 to 1898: A Memorial Volume," which was distributed to all who attended.
In addition to describing the occasion in entertaining detail, the book reviewed our Foulke Welsh ancestry as far back as King Cunnedda Wledig of Gwynedd, who reigned in 330 A.D., and then proceeded to enumerate the American progeny of those 11 adventurous Foulke immigrants. Although the 1898 turnout was remarkable, it represented but a small fraction of living Foulke descendants, known and unknown.
It's safe to say that for some 17 centuries, the family has done a better than average job of keeping track of itself.
The 1898 reunion was largely the inspiration of Howard M. Jenkins, a publisher and historian whose home, "Avalon," was on ancestral Foulke property adjoining the Gwynedd Meeting House. (Edward Foulke was a founder of Gwynedd Friends Meeting and he and Eleanor were buried there.) Howard shared credit for the reunion idea with Lydia A Foulke of Wenona, Illinois.
While the upcoming tricentennial reunion, wisely, will enjoy seven years of preparation, the 1898 committee gave themselves barely five months. At a January 7 meeting of some of the descendants at his Philadelphia office, Howard Jenkins was elected chairman of the executive committee. An association of descendants of Edward and Eleanor Foulke was formed at the next meeting, with William Dudley Foulke, of Richmond, Indiana, elected chairman.
The reunion was a day-long affair scheduled for Monday, May 30, which, for all except farmers, was the end of a three-day weekend.
Though Lydia's and William Dudley's interest suggests nationwide participation, the vast majority of participants still lived in Southeastern Pennsylvania, close to their Gwynedd roots.
To accommodate relatives coming from Philadelphia, a special train was engaged to depart Reading Terminal at 9:04 AM. A 45-minute layover at Penllyn Station permitted the travellers to visit the original Foulke homestead and be given an explanation of its artifacts and environs.
Arriving at Gwynedd Station, the group was ushered up to the Meeting House, "where the exercises will be held." An exhibit of old letters, pictures, manuscripts and the like was held "in the parlors of Mrs. Charles O. Beaumont, a short distance away."
At 11:30, two trees were planted on the Meeting House grounds, one each for Edward and Eleanor Foulke. This was followed by the taking of the official family photograph.
At Noon, lunch was served in a tent, for which tickets were made available to all registered members of the Association.
Following lunch, "exercises" lasting nearly three hours were conducted in the Meeting House.
The program began with an address by president William Dudley Foulke. The Foulke ancestral history, by Charles M. Ffoulke of Washington, DC, was read by Eleanor Foulke of Quakertown. Howard Jenkins gave a narrative of Edward Foulke's "removal" to America, and Edward M. Wister of Philadelphia narrated "A visit to Coed-Y-Foel, the Welsh home of Edward and Eleanor Foulke."
Susan Foulke Lukens of Conshohocken spoke on Edward and Eleanor Foulke's Descendants, who early in the history of America became prominent in politics, steelmaking, medicine and the settlement of the frontier. Among other anecdotes, she told of that minority of relatives who spelled their name ffoulke. It seems one finicky ffoulke so looked down on capital letters, saying such names "belonged to lately invented families," the family was certain he would die a bachelor. Alas, he met and married a widow, Mrs. ffaringdon, "and it was all owing to her two little fs."
Following an opportunity for "general remarks by those present (limited to five minutes each)," the final topic was the reading, by Samuel Emlen of Germantown, of "Edward Foulke's Exhortation Addressed to his Children." This remarkable essay, composed in about 1725 at about age 75, offered sage advice on human relations, personal conduct, prayer, business ethics, the influence of good books, the threat of corrupt temptations, and the generosity of the Lord.
Though generations had passed, Edward Foulke's "exhortation" no doubt remained equally pertinent to his descendants in 1898 as they closed their reunion with a reflective moment of silence.
As they left that ancient Meeting House and boarded their special train, that ubiquitous symbol of an already mature industrial age, the distance between the Seventeenth Century and the dawning Twentieth must have been ripe for measurement by more than a few brilliant Foulke minds.
David Jenkins Morrison, a member of the 300th Reunion Executive Committee, is the great-great grandson of Howard M. Jenkins, the five-greats-grandson of Sarah Foulke Jenkins, and the eight-greats-grandson of Edward and Eleanor Foulke.)
Chairperson - Bruce Keller Foulke
Vice Chairperson - Edward Sidney Foulke
Treasurer - Lawrence Ray Foulke
Secretary - Melissa Taggart Foulke
Genealogist - Margaret Ann Foulke Hellmann
Members-At-Large - Carol Foulke Laycock
David Jenkins Morrison
Genealogy - Margaret Ann Hellmann, Chairperson
Historian - Brent Edward Foulke, Chairperson
Communications - Melissa Foulke, Chairperson
Finance - Lawrence Ray Foulke, Chairperson
Exhibition - Edwin Gerhart Foulke, Chairperson
Program - Carol Foulke Laycock, Chairperson
Transportation - Terry Foulke, Chairperson
All correspondence may be directed to:
300th Year Family Reunion Committee
Bruce K. Foulke
Box 768 Worcester, PA 19490
Bruce Keller Foulke - Worcester, PA
Lynne Foulke - Pottstown, PA
Tucked away in the Berwyn Mountains, 1½ miles southeast of Bala, Wales, there is found physical evidence of the rich lineage shared by we, the descendants of Edward Foulke.
This supreme treasure is in the form of a stone mansion known as Rhiwaedog (The Bloody Hill), in which generations of one of the most powerful 12th century Lords of Wales, our ancestor, Rhird F(f)laid lived. So ruthlessly did he rule over his vast land in Northern Wales, that he was known to all as the Bloody Wolf, and he chose to display this symbol in his Coat of Arms. This same Coat of Arms is the one that we display to this day.
To enter the grounds of this structure, is to feel a great sense of awe, wonderment and feeling of being "in touch" with our ancestors who lived on this site from the 12th to 17th century.
Access to this magnificent structure is gained through a stone gatehouse, 28 feet wide and 24 feet deep, with wooden steps leading to rooms on either side of the passage. This structure, the last of its kind to survive from the 17th century, consists of a slate-covered roof of unusual beam and wind-braced construction, and gives support to two stone chimneys. That the gatehouse was used for passage, rather than as a residence, is evident from the four stone steps leading to the original studded door, and from the fact that the passage is only four feet wide.
Leaving the passage, and taking a short walk along a path of large stones, there stands the front door, over which, carved in stone, the date 1664 looms out to meet the eye.
Entering through the front door into the large stone foyer, one instantly experiences the feeling of warmth and hospitality. To the left is a hall leading to the kitchen; the right, a large room, and ahead, a few stone steps that lead onto a landing and then to massive stone stairs to the floor above. Partitions can be found adorned with the various carvings that comprise the Coat of Arms of Rhird F(f)laid.
Inspection of the cellar area reveals massive 15 foot thick walls, a well, and a subterranean passage from the mansion into the neighboring hills, which once served as a place of refuge during previous attacks from rival Welsh Tribes upon the homestead.
Not only does this structure reveal a wonderful sense of charm and antiquity, it holds its own very special history, some of which is tragic in nature. The "Brides Room" on the second floor is testimony to this. It was within this small stone and wood paneled room, with large ancient window, that a young bride—to-be; betrothed against her will, dressed for her wedding, and then chose to jump from the window to her death.
There are many other century old traditions unique only to Rhiwaedog. One such tradition is that of the passing from generation to generation of an egg-sized crystal, which, it was said, to have had the power to foretell the death of the head of the household when its brilliant color became clouded. This crystal, and other treasures belonging to Rhiwaedog, are said to still remain hidden. Many attempts have been made from time to time to find them, even with the aid of a magician searching on moonlit nights, but to no avail. These treasures, to date, still live within their secret chambers.
To experience a visit to Rhiwaedog (now serving as a Youth Hostel), causes one to feel "connected" with those past souls from whom we are descended, as well as to allow one to experience a re-discovery of our very own sense of self.
Today we live in a paper-oriented (or, increasingly, a computer oriented) world. And in most areas of today's life, things must be validated, documented and proved. Just think of balancing your monthly bank statements or proving that you've paid a bill! The job of a genealogist is no different. Although your neighborhood butcher may rely on your word, the New York credit card requires more! The same is true of family history and genealogy.
The purpose of a genealogist is to trace lines of ancestry, but a genealogist must be able to document those blood lines. Census records, birth/death/marriage certificates, church records, ships logs, tombstones, military records, are just some of the tools that can be utilized to attain the needed validation. Word of mouth or stories handed-down from Granny are excellent sources with which to begin the search, but it cannot stop there. If no actual records can be found, the "story" is acceptable for printing provided it is stated clearly that it is word-of-mouth only and no formal documentation can be located to support the story.
At a seminar in genealogy that I attended a few years ago, one instructor told me that the Welsh were known for being excellent record-keepers. When several of those in attendance were able to trace no more than three generations back because records had been destroyed (WWI & WWII, etc.), I realized just how lucky our family is and what excellent record-keepers our ancestors were.
We currently have the descendants of the Hugh Foulke line brought current to the early 1900's. As I am a descendant of this line, it is the one with which I am most familiar, so I am hoping that descendants of the remaining children of Edward & Eleanor will have similar records. If not - we'll do it the old fashioned way! We'll research them! We are especially looking forward to finding information on the daughters, as it would appear that their descendants may not have been represented at the Reunion in 1898.
There's much to be done before the big gathering in 1998, and when we formalize the genealogy committee at the August 1991 meeting, we will begin to request more specific information about you and your particular branch of the family. Please give all the information that you can, even though it may not seem important to you, it may be just the tidbit that ties other facts together. See you in August - I hope!
My great-grandfather, Edward Foulke (1834-1900), was the son of John M. and Ann Sinclair Foulke. Edward married Adelaide Colladay, the daughter of Jacob Woodward and Julia Ann Stull Colladay. Their wedding was conducted on October 10, 1864 in a Friend's ceremony held in the presence of Justice of Peace Joseph Jones, Macon County, Illinois. The home they built on the farm south of Maroa still stands, and is owned and occupied by my brother, David Llewellyn Foulke.
At the age of eleven (1852), my great-grandmother Adelaide moved with her parents Jacob and Julia, to the Philadelphia area. Jacob was a carpenter and the general contractor for the remodeling of Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1854-55.
Julia's brother-in-law, Lemuel Braddock, a paint dealer and painter, helped in this project. This is evidenced by his ledger which shows that he furnished 28 days work "with collar" (presumably with paint, "collar" meaning "color"), and 44 glass lights (window panes). The paint contractor's work was done between September and December 20, 1854.
The job continued into 1855, evidenced by the following article from the "Public Ledger" of May 31, 1855:
Independence Hall - Wings
Supreme Court Room - The alterations and improvements made in the east wing of the State House, recently, under the direction of Mr. Jacob Colladay, have resulted in a splendid room for the accommodation of the Supreme Court. The old Grand Jury room and District Attorney's office have been altered, the arches and cross walls removed, and the ceiling made square with a dome in the centre, ten feet in diameter and twenty feet high . . . The stairway leading to the Supreme Court room has been re-built, and the landing above and below is to be laid with marble tile. The improvement is an excellent one, and such as will afford ample accommodations for the Judges and members of the bar for many years to come . . .
In the course of the remodeling at least three glided carved wooden eagles were removed from the hall. The remodeling left no place for them. Great-great grandfather Jacob asked the Alderman in charge of the remodeling what was to become of the eagles. "Take them if you want them," was his reply.
One of the eagles is in the possession of Wayne V. Jones of Texas. Another, which has been handed down in our family, is currently with Kristen Newsom of Florida. The third copy was in the possession of Harriett Virginia Braddock Bell Elliff as of 1975.
The first two eagles listed above stood at the back of the rostrum occupied by the presiding officer and had rings in their beaks which were used to suspend draperies. Allegedly the Declaration of Independence was signed beneath their outstretched wings. This cannot be substantiated at this late date.
The National Park service advises that the East Wing which Jacob Colladay remodeled no longer exists. The Service further advises that he was involved in alterations to several buildings on the square over a period of at least 10 years. This would have been when my great-grandmother Adelaide was a teenager. They are convinced that the following item, again from the "Public Ledger" (September 2, 1853) was very likely his job.
Supreme Court Building
Council Chamber Fixed
Proceedings of City Council - State Meeting. Council met last evening in their Chambers, which, during the last six weeks, have been thoroughly renovated; walls and ceilings beautifully painted; members desks, chairs, and other furniture newly varnished, glistening in the gas light, chandeliers and other gas fixtures all new, bronzed, and of a beautiful pattern. The floors are covered with superb Brussels carpetings. Altogether the Councils present a beautiful appearance.
(During this period of 1853-55, and longer, it is apparent that the City Council was meeting in Independence Hall.)
Jacob Colladay also built several entire blocks of business buildings in Philadelphia.
Artifacts bring our past alive. Every branch of the Foulke Family probably has some object with historical and anecdotal significance. For this reason, the 300th Reunion Committee appointed Brent Edward Foulke as Historian and charged him with the responsibility of collecting information about such artifacts.
To share data or for further information, contact Brent Foulke, xxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx, Jacksonville, Florida 32207; (xxx) xxx-xxxx. A form has been prepared for conveniently recording information on your historical objects and sharing this information with other Foulke Descendants. A copy of this form was included with the minutes from the November 1990 meeting.