The Records of Henry Reynolds and Prudence Clayton, Chester County, PA, 1681-1728

He was active in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in and out of courts, and incurring large debts. His last Will and Testament, however, shows him to have a lot of land.

This post shows how people lived back then, in early America.

He was in numerous lawsuits that often went nowhere (e.g. they were withdrawn), so they are not included here.

RCCC = Records for the Court of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1681-1697;
Carol Bryant, Abstracts of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Land Records, vol. 1, 1681-1730

March 14, 1681

In an action of Trover (lost and found and wrongfully converted to one’s own use)

Hans Woolson v. John Johnson

William Clayton Jr. is on the jury

“Henry Reynolds testified the plaintiff made a demand, but could not aver that the sow when she came first into the defendant’s possession was bigger than a suckling pig”; …

Verdict: “jury finds for the defendant and gives him his cost of suit”

RCCC p. 11

Same date

“Henry Reynolds having appeared at this court to answer for his selling strong liquors by small measure in his house contrary to the governor’s and council’s order: upon his submission to the court, was discharged.”

RCCC p. 13

June 27, 1683

“Ralph Withers and Henry Reynolds are admitted to administer upon the goods and chattels of one John Hazelgrove who deceased intestate; the inventory of which good etc. amounting to 11£ 12s 6d; appraised by James Brown, John Phipps, taken by Thomas Usher”

RCCC p. 27

August 22, 1683

Henry Reynolds v. Matthias Vanderhoyden

Lawrence Headings deposes “that the plaintiff brought certain skins to him upon his master’s account (the def’t) but that he this deponent did not accept them for the said def’t. because he judged they were not merchandisable”;

Sabrant Folk: he deposes “that he was present when the said skins were brought and laid down; and after Lassy Cock came in, and said they were not merchandisable; the aforesaid Lawrence Headings would not accept them, whereupon the said Reynolds said, then let them lie, till said Vanderhoyden come himself”;

John Cock deposes “that Reynolds (the plan’t) agreed with the aforesaid Headings (servant to the Def’t) that if the skins aforementioned were not merchandisable he said the plaintiff would change them”;

Verdict: “the jury finds for the defendant and gives him six pence damage and his cost of suit; judgment is awarded.”

RCCC p. 30-31

October 17, 1683

Henry Reynolds’ suit against Matthias Vanderhoyden: “The sheriff made return … one against Henry Reynolds at the suit … which was satisfied by his attorney Capt. Cocks, order to G. Andrews.”

RCCC p. 33

August 6, 1684

“Henry Reynolds made usual complaint for not being admitted to the estate of George Andres: ordered that before he be admitted he bring George Andrews in place.”

It looks like from other cases that George Andrews was a landowner who had some debts.

RCCC p. 38

September 2, 1684

Henry Reynolds testifies in the case of Thomas Withers v. William Taylor

September 2, 1685

Thomas Wither, sheriff, plaintiff
William Taylor, defendant

Jury: no one we know, so they are omitted

Modernized transcription begins:

The testimony of Jeremy Collett, who being attested declares that William Taylor did at the house of Henry Reynolds [married Prudence Clayton, daughter of William Clayton] declares that William Taylor did at the house of Henry Reynolds declare that Thomas Withers did abuse his servant and that he, meaning Thomas Withers, was a rogue and rascal and other bad language and said furthermore if he went to England he should be killed.

Sarah Wisherie being attested declares that William Taylor, coming to the house of Thomas Withers, inquired whether she the said Sarah had any more letters from England & thereupon told her that if she humored her master and mistress she could not go of under a great ransom, but that he would carry her to Maryland and secure her there from her master’s service and custody;

Robert Moulder being attested declares that Thomas Withers’s maidservant, coming to Wooly Rosen’s [Rawson’s] and meeting with William Taylor, the said William Taylor asks the said servant what she did there, and calling her idle slut, bid her go home to her master and mistress;

The testimony of James Brown [our direct line], who being attested declares that Thomas Wither did report in his hearing that his the said Withers’ maidservant was so great a liar that he could not believe one word she said;

The jury find for the plaintiff and give him the penalty of his bond being 40£ [a super-huge amount] and also find that the 29th law preserving the rights of the magistracy of this province is broken, hereupon judgment is granted

Transcription ends.

RCCC p. 4041

February 6, 1684

“Richard Crosby is further ordered an execution upon the effects of George Andres in the hands of Henry Reynolds.”

RCCC p. 45

Same date

“Henry Reynolds petitioned that the lands of George Andres might be passed over unto him by William Clayton and James Saunderlaine, whom the said Andrews made attorneys for that purpose: ordered that the matter be referred to the Provincial Council.”

RCCC p. 46

Same date

“Ordered that the inhabitants of Concord, Bethel, and Chichester do meet together on the 3rd day of the next week at Henry Reynolds’ to confer together how to provide a maintencance for Miriam Thompson and her child.”

RCCC p. 49

April 7, 1685

“Henry Reynolds sues Eustace (Justice or Justa) Anderson in an action of scandal and defamation.”

For the murder accusation, please click on “Henry Reynolds: Accused of Murder in Philadelphia, 1685“;

April 7, 1685

Modernized transcription begins:

Dennis Rochford, plaintiff
John Hickman, defendant

In action of the case

Jury returned and impaneled

Nathaniel Ervins, John Beales [married Mary Clayton, daughter of William Clayton], Joseph Bushell, Gilbert Williams, Thomas Garrett, Robert Pile, Walter Martin, Nathaniel Amplue, Wm. Cloud Jr., Wm Browne [brother of James Brown, John Kingman, Wm. Woodmansee

Henry Reynolds [married Prudence Clayton, daughter of William Clayton] being attested declares that John Sumsion told [him] at his house that he was to pay for his freedom ten pounds [a huge amount] to Mr. Dennis Rochford and further saith not

Robert Moulder being attested declares that John Sumsion came to him and desired him to carry [transport] him up to Philadelphia which the said Moulder did, delivering him to Dennis Rochford’s wife and that the said Jn’o Sumsion fell made at Peter Rambo’s house and further siath not.

Henry Hastings being attested declares that after he had hired John Sumsion, understanding the saidf Sumsion to be a servant went up to Philadelphia to treat with Dennis Rochford, whom he finding to be the said Sumsion’s master refused to employ him.

Prudence Clayton [our direct line] being attested declares that Jn’o Hickman had some goods of Jn’o Hickman had some goods of Jn’o Sumsio’s with the invoice of them and that the said Jn’o Hickman delivered to John Sumsion again

William Clayton [Sr. or Jr?] being attested declares that Dennis Rochford told him that he had agreed with and was in hopes he should be rid of a troublesome servant after which the said Dennis brought him into court at Philadelphia where he satisfied the court that his servant Jn’o Sumsion could not pay him for his freedom, according to contract, whereupon the court ordered him to return to his master.

Nathaniel Thornton being attested declares that John Sumsion came into Henry Reynold’s house and complained that he was and [sic] hungry and cold and dry, upon which he was supplied by the said Henry Reynolds with those necessaries he then wanted.

The jury finds for the plaintiff and gives him four pounds, ten shillings with cost of suit.

Whereupon judgment is granted with execution

Transcription ends.

RCCC, pp. 52-53

April 7, 1685

“Henry Reynolds passed a mortgage of his houses and lands at Chichester to James Saunderlain, for 280£, dated the 6th of 2nd month, 1685.”

RCCC p. 54

September 1-3, 1685

“Upon the petition of James Kinnerly, Coroner, it was ordered that forthwith execution be granted against Henry Reynolds for the Coroner’s fees, charge of Inquest and taking up the dead body of said Reynolds’ maid, with all other charges whatsoever thereunto belonging; ordered that the charges of James Brown (constable for Chichester) due upon the above’s [?] premises be also levied on the said Reynolds and included in the above’s [?] execution.”

RCCC pp. 58-59

October 1-3 and 6, 1685

“Jeremy Collett made return of an execution granted the last court against Henry Reynolds for coroner’s fees and constable’s charges etc. dated the 4th of 7th month, 1685 [Sept. 4, 1685], which he levied for the said ox, whereupon the court ordered him his ox again.”

“Thomas Usher presents Henry Reynolds for keeping an Ordinary contrary to law.”

RCCC p. 61

December 3, 1686

Jeremy Collett, plaintiff v. Henry Reynolds, defendant

Modern transcription begins:

Robert Moulder being attested declares that he went down to Namaan’s Cr. with Henry Reynolds in the said Reynolds’ shallop, where they found a canoe and loaded the shallop with stones with the same canoe; and further saith not;

James Brown being attested declares that he does remember he did see Jeremy Collett’s canoe at his landing and afterwards did see the same canoe hauled up at Henry Reynolds’ landing;

John Hickman being attested declares that he did hear Jeremy Collett and Richard Buffington lend the said canoe to Henry Reynolds and that he the deponent did hale up the canoe at the aid Reynolds’ landing;

Robert Moulder being attested again in behalf of the defendant declares that he did see John Hickman hale up the canoe to the said Reynolds’ landing;

Isaac Warner being attested declares that Henry Reynolds’s wife did offer to return the same canoe to Jeremy Collett;

Edward Hulbert being attested declares that he being at work at Henry Reynolds’ house, the plaintiff desired the defendant Henry Reynolds to let him have some skins and that there they came to an account and as this deponent can best remember there was about one hundred and twenty guilders due upon the defendant’s account but he does certainly affirm there was not more than one hundred and forty due;

The jury find for the defendant two pence damage upon the account of the canoe and that he shall pay to the plaintiff eighteen shillings and four pence upon balancing the accounts and that plaintiff shall pay the cost of suit; hereupon judgment is granted upon which the plaintiff makes his appeal to the next Court of Equity held for this County.

Transcription ends.

RCCC p. 79

December 5, 1686

“Jeremy Collett of this county preferred a bill to this court requiring a remedy against the verdict of jury and judgment of court in a case depending between himself and Henry Reynolds of the same county at the last Court of Common Pleas held for this County of Chester the 3rd and 4th days of this present week. Upon which it was decreed that Henry Reynolds should pay one half of the charges of court and cost of suit.”

RCCC p. 87

December 3, 1687

George Andrews v. Henry Reynolds, in an action of debt ….

Modern transcription begins:

The Declaration was read

Robert Moulder being attested declares that he knows nothing of the matter touching the plaintiff’s attorneyship to James Wroth [sic];

Nathaniel Thornton being attested declares the same as above;

The defendant pleads to have the plaintiff’s letter of attorney to James Wroth proved to be the plaintiff’s set and deed, which Thomas Usher Attorney to said Wroth not doing, the plaintiff upon the same suffered a nonsuit.

Transcription ends.

RCCC p. 110

June 3, 1688

William Hawkes v. Henry Reynolds, in an action of debt

Two members of jury of interest to us: John Beales (married Mary Clayton, William Clayton’s youngest child) and William Brown (probably James Brown’s bother)

Modern Transcription begins:

James Saunderlain being attested declares that about the latter end of March last the plaintiff meeting with this deponent the plaintiff told him he had a bill given by one Vines to the defendant and assigned by the defendant to the plaintiff who at the same time made over said bill to this deponent, who carrying the same down into the bay demanded payment for the same of the said Vines who denied payment, saying he had paid the greatest part to one Plummer by a former assignment (by one Stretcher); upon which for further information this deponent went to said Stretcher, but meeting with his bookkeeper he affirmed that his master Stretcher had paid the greatest part of said bill already to said Plummer and that he was ready to attest the same;

Edward Jonnan [sic] being attested says when the plaintiff came to an account with the defendant the defendant was indebted unto the plaintiff in the sum of two shillings and three pence which with 58s the defendant received of James Brown, made up 3£ 00s 3d with a former assignment in favor of Thomas Plummer, which the plaintiff denied to take until the defendant affirmed that said bill was never sent down for payment nor received by said Plummer, upon which the plaintiff took the bill

The verdict is they find for the plaintiff that the defendant do pay the plaintiff the sum of three pounds with cost of suit and 2d damages; hereupon judgment is granted.

Transcription ends.

RCCC pp. 124-25

Same date

“George Strode made over a lease and release for 200 acres of land unto Henry Reynolds to be taken up the lease dated the 1st day of March 1686/7 and the release dated the 2nd day of same, Instant.”

RCCC p. 127

March 6, 1688/9

Henry Reynolds is chosen constable for Chichester

RCCC p. 152

Same date

“Henry Reynolds passed over two deeds, one dated the 10th day of the 11th month 1688 [Nov. 10, 1688] for 15 acres of land in Chichester; the other dated the 14th day of the same month for 11 acres in the same township: both unto Philip Roman, his heirs, etc.”

RCCC pp. 152-53

June 3, 1689

“James Saunderlain made his appearance at this court according to recognizance to answer the complaint of Henry Reynolds and thereby saved his bail and was discharged from any further attendance”;

“Henry Reynolds acknowledged a deed for all his houses and lands therein contained and premises laying at Chichester near the River Delaware unto James Saunderlaine, dated the 3rd day of the 4th month 1689”; (June 3, 1689)

RCCC pp. 159-60

October 3, 1689

“William Clayton [Jr.?] was chosen constable for the township of Chichester in the room [place] of Henry Reynolds for the next year.”

RCCC p. 184

June 4, 1689

Isaac Warner v. Henry Reynolds

Modern transcription begins:

Isaac Warner of the County of Chester complains against Henry Reynolds of the said County, tailor, in an action on the case for that; whereas the said defendant for work and several [sic] delivered him became indebted unto the said plaintiff in the full and just sum of fifteen pounds, eighteen shillings and five pence, current money of this province as by account in court to be produced will make it appear; and the defendant has neglected to make payment unto the said plaintiff: the sum of fifteen pounds, eighteen shillings, and five pence, although often requested thereunto; whereby action does accrue to the said plaintiff notwithstanding; whereof the said defendant delays to make payment of the aforesaid sum with reasonable damage; therefore the plaintiff brings this suit and craves judgment of this court against the said defendant for the sum of fifteen pounds and eighteen shillings and five pence with the cost of suit.

Walter Martin being attested declares that he was upon an arbitration says that Henry Reynolds acknowledge that he owed Isaac Warner 8£ [sic] and Isaac Warner to give him six days work to the said Reynolds giving him 14 days warning and took hands upon it and Isaac Warner gave him time upon payment of the money till the first month [March] and said Henry Reynolds to discharge the said Warner from all dues, debts, and demands;

John Hulbert being attested declares the same

Edward Beaser declares Henry Reynolds was to pay Isaac Warner 8£ in the first month and to clear said Isaac Warner of all charges with the sheriff and clarks [clerks] with George Forman and said Warner give him six days’ work at 14 days warning;

The names of the witness taken in New Castle County before William Stockdon produced in writing;

John Grubb and John Buckley: the verdict of the jury the 4th day of the 4th month 1690, we the jury finds for the plaintiff that the defendant pay to the plaintiff eight pounds the first of March, next ensuing and cost of court with two pence damage and plaintiff pay to the defendant six days work at fourteen days warning.

Transcription ends.

RCCC p. 207-08

September 13 and 14, 1692

“Whereas complaint has been made to John Bristow, one of the justices of the peace, by William Clayton against Henry Reynolds for that the said Henry Reynolds did deny the payment of one pound, eleven shillings although the said Clayton had a bill under the said Reynolds’ hand, yet the said Reynolds denied the bill, but alleged that the money was paid in London, which does not appear as yet; and this return being made to the court, the court considered the same; and ordered that the said Reynolds shall pay the sum and all charges; and if it afterwards be made to appear that the said money be paid in London, the said William Clayton is ordered hereby to repay the same with all charges.”

RCCC p. 265

October 3, 1693

“Henry Reynolds, plaintiff, against the estate of George Andrews, defendant, by an attachment, in the hands of Richard Crosby, for the sum of forty-three pounds; the cause was called and continued till next court of Common Pleas.”

RCCC p. 301

December 13, 1693

“Henry Reynolds, plaintiff, against the estate of George Andrews, defendant, by an attachment in the hands of Richard Crosby for the sum of forty and three pounds; the cause was called and the plaintiff not appearing, Richard Crosby craved a non-suit, which the court granted.”

RCCC p. 303

June 11, 1695

In a deed from William Hews and John Beaser to Philip Roman for two tracts of land lying in the township of Chichester, it is stated that Henry Reynolds formerly owned property that contained a marsh; the deeds bear date June 10, 1695

RCCC p. 352

May 10, 1711 and October 14, 1720

Henry Reynolds and his wife Prudence are mentioned in a deed between Jonas Sandelands of Chester, Gent., and Mary his wife to John Humphreys of Chester, clerk; it says Henry Reynolds was a tailor and sold four tracts of land to Sandelands on May 10, 1711, as follows: one tract in Chichester, bounded by the Delaware R. and land of James Brown containing 75 acres; another tract bounded by Delaware R., land of Henry Reynolds, John Beasor, containing 7 acres; another tract bounded by land of James Brown, Henry Reynolds, Philip Roman, Thomas Usher, bought of Francis Chads, Olla Rawson, and Chischester Cr., containing 5 acres; next parcel bounded by land of the late Henry Reynolds and late of Thomas Usher, containing 3 acres; Jonas and Mary grant above land to John Humphreys for £150.; John Humphreys took peaceable possession of land on July 12, 1723/24 [sic] (D4:293)

May 6, 1719

Orphans Court

Henry Reynolds’s property appears in a land sale that Jacob Roman had caused to be done. The land is in the town of Chichester. The land was Henry’s but now belongs to James Sandeland. It is near the plantation of William Flower. Richard Beazor, the highest bidder, bought the land. (vol. 1, pp. 24A-25A)

April 12, 1720

Modern transcription begins:

I Henry Reynolds of the township of Chichester in the County of Chester in the province of Pennsylvania, yeoman, being of sound and perfect mind and memory, praise be given to God for the same, and having considered the mortality of mankind and that it is appointed for all men to die when it shall please the Lord to call, do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament, in manner and form following (viz’t.) First and principally I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God and my body to the earth, to be buried in such Christian and decent manner; as to my executrix hereinafter named shall seem meet and convenient; and as touching the disposition of all such temporal estate as it has pleased the Almighty God to bestow upon me I give and dispose thereof as follows:

Item: I will that all my just debts and funeral charges be faithfully paid and discharged;

Item: I give and bequeath unto my son Francis Reynolds and the male heirs of his body all my messuages or tenements and plantation, whereon I now live, situate in Chichester aforesaid, containing by estimation two hundred and ninety acres (be it more or less), together with all the improvements and appurtenances thereto; to hold to him and the male heirs of his body forever, upon condition that he pay to his brother Wm. Reynolds, when at the age of one and twenty years the sum of two [smudge] pounds, lawful money of America;

Item: I give and bequeath unto my son John Reynolds and the male heirs of his body a certain parcel of land situate on the southwest side of Middle Branch of Namaan’s Cr. in Chichester aforesaid, containing two hundred and ten acres; and together with all the appurtenances thereto; to hold to him and the male heirs of his body, forever, upon condition that he pay unto his brother Wm Reynolds, when at the age, the sum of twenty pounds, lawful money of America;

Item: I give and bequeath unto my son Henry Reynolds my plantation and tract of land in Nottingham (being a north lot), containing by estimation four hundred and ninety acres (be it more or less), together with all its appurtenances, to hold to him the said Henry his heirs and assigns forever;

Item: I give and bequeath unto my son William Reynolds my tract of land in Nottingham aforesaid (being a south lot), containing by estimation four hundred and ninety acres (be it more or less), together with the appurtenances thereto, to hold to him the said William, his heirs and assigns, forever;

Item: I give and bequeath to each of my daughters Margaret, Prudence, Deborah, and Hannah, the sum of one shilling, lawful money of America to be paid them, respectively by my executrix, hereinafter mentioned;

Item: I give and bequeath all my personal estate of what kind or nature soever it be unto my loving wife Prudence Reynolds and hereby nominate, constitute, and appoint her my said wife Prudence Reynolds, whole and solo executrix of this my Last Will and Testament, and I do hereby revoke, disannul, and make void all former and other wills and testaments by me heretofore and do publish and declare this only to be my Last Will and Testament.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this twelfth day of the second month (April) in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and twenty;

Signed, sealed and published and declared to be the Last Will and Testament of Henry Reynolds, in the presence of us:

[Signed] Wm. Clayton
[Signed] John Hanby

Transcription ends.

Probated October 16, 1724

So he died between April 12, 1720 (will written) and the probate date.

His inventory, taken October 16, 1724, shows he owned “an old negro man” appraised at £9.5.0

He owned a lot of animals and farming equipment and household goods, totaling £180.0.0

Appraised by [signed] Robert Pyle and [signed] John Beazor

17 November 1726

Modernized transcription begins:

I Prudence Reynolds of Chichester in the County of Chester in the Province of Pennsylvania, widow, this seventeenth day of November in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and twenty-six, calling to remembrance the uncertain estate of this transitory life and that all flesh must yield unto death when it shall please God to call for them, do, make, constitute, ordain and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following—

Imprimis, My will is that all my lawful debts as at the time of my decease I shall owe or of right ought to be paid to any person or persons shall be truly ____ and paid, as the same shall become due and payable by my executor, hereafter named, as also my funeral charges;

Item, I do give and bequeath unto my daughters as many as shall be in being all my houseall [household] goods as are mentioned in my Inventory and my wearing apparel to be equally divided, and if they are not in being to be divided among my sons that are in being;

Item, I do give and bequeath unto my son Francis Reynolds [and] eldest son Henry one silver cup valued forty shillings;

Item, I do give and bequeath unto my children that are in being all and every other things, money in hand, bonds, bills and others debts due to me, not here before given, to be equally divided between them;

Lastly, I do nominate, ordain, appoint and declare my son Henry Reynolds to be my true, lawful, and sole executor of this my last will and testament; I do hereby revoking, disavowing and making frustrate and void all and every other former wills and testaments, legacies and executors by me in any ways before this time named and willed and bequeathed, ratifying and confirming this and no others to be my last will and testament, in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal

Her Mark


Prudence Reynolds

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and declared by the said testator, Prudence Reynolds to be her last will and testament in the presence of the subscribers, viz.

Rob [page torn] Howard, affixed
M [page torn] n Keasbey [sic]
Jo [page torn] Lea, affixed

Transcription ends.

In the inventory taken June 14, 1728, she owned:

Wearing apparel and money in purse (12.0.0); 2 feather beds and furniture belonging (18.0.0); table linens (2.10.0); a chest of drawers and glass case (2.0.0); 2 chests, a trunk, and six chairs (2.0.0), pewter dishes, plates, etc (3.0.0); 2 iron pots and hooks (0.15.0); one pair of hand irons (1.10.0); five shovel tongs and other utensils (0.15.0); a warming pan (0.12.0); a brass pot, a ____ dish etc. (0.16.0); 2 candle boxes and pepper [?] box (0.2.0); 2 earthenware dishes and a salt (0.4.0); 2 great earthen pots and lantern (0.4.0); 2 spinning wheels (0.7.6); bottles and other odd things (0.2.0); one cow (2.15.0); one horse (2.5.0); cash due from Henry Reynolds (9.15.0); cash due from William Reynolds (7.17.0); Cash due from John Reynolds (9.5.3);

Total: 76.8.3


John Bezer
Wm Clayton

June 22, 1734

Orphans Court

Henry Reynolds Jr. appears in the court records, called upon the make division of the property of Thomas Nixon. Henry and Jeremiah Brown are called “Gentlemen.”


Records of Joseph Clayton

Clayton Land Records in Chester County, Pennsylvania

Clayton Deed Records in New Castle County, Delaware

William Clayton’s Records

The Records of William Clayton, Jr., and Elizabeth Beazer

The Records of Henry Reynolds and Prudence Clayton

Records of John Beales, Chester County, PA

William Clayton and Prudence Lankford

Honour Clayton and James Brown

Henry Reynolds: Accused of Murder in Philadelphia, in 1685;

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