Theories on the Origin of Thomas Felps/Phelps  d. 1758/9 Baltimore Co., Md

 Originally written before 2008; Revised 1/12/2010  Recently Revised Monday, 24. November 2014 10:00:06 PM

When copying material found here, please include this paper as the source Material found here was researched by many Phelps including Brenda Emory, Mark Phelps,, Johnny Phelps, and Doug Phelps.  Compiled and edited by Doug Phelps


The origin of Thomas Felps in northern Baltimore Co, Md,  beginning in 1699, has long been researched, often in the past naming Barbados from Ireland. To our knowledge, no primary evidence has been found to link Thomas to Barbados or Ireland.  This paper attempts to inventory various speculations and theories.  

He is not listed in From Gentlemen to Townsmen: The Gentry of Baltimore County, Maryland, 1660- 1776.  On the other hand, Thomas Felps was not identified as an indentured servant in  "Colonial Families of Maryland: Bound and Determined to Succeed" by Robert W. Barnes, 2007 



Update 2008:

Researchers should know that YDNA tests of three major Phelps lines, including the Thomas Felps line were closely related and had a common ancestor.  See the YDNA discussion on these three lines here   Included there is a discussion of their rather unique haplogroup, E1a1.  Thomas Felps is the patriarch of one of those related lines.


Since Felps'  Baltimore Co, MD property appears to be on Deep Creek at the Susquehanna River - so very close to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania  - and the indentured Parris children (to him) were from Delaware, those areas - pre-1699-  need to be researched.  Maps and other supporting evidence is at  Research on the Line of Thomas Felps of Baltimore Co and Its Move to Rowan Co, NC  (WITHDRAWN)   In May 2008 Brenda Emory and Doug Phelps began an intensive research into these new areas. Much original evidence is available online.   Especially important is the evidence  that the Limerick, Ireland Thomas Phelps, jr very likely owned property – or rights – in the area of Pennsylvania.


Research and observations of 2008  throw great doubt on a Phelps Quaker link in Barbados.  This will influence much of this paper.  Brenda Emery observed that Quakers do not observe baptisms and could not have been those seen in Barbados.  She also showed through new evidence that Thomas Jr of Limerick most likely came to Pennsylvania, married and died by 1704.   In addition D. Phelps, in comparing Limerick Quaker dated registers and other sources with Barbados records, concluded the theory of a Limerick-Barbados link to be extremely unlikely.   Therefore the  Ireland Quaker - Barbados connection is now severely doubted by Emery and Phelps. 






I.  Possible Origins Overview

Here are some candidates who were documented immigrants to colonial America. They are Thomases from an extensively researched list of Phelps immigrants, mostly indentured servants, at this web site.

  1. Thomas Phelps, artizan, of the second supply to Jamestown, 10/1608, but not seen in the later 1624/5 muster census. Source view the book  Cradel of the Republic, page 108 here 

  2. Thomas Phelps, Quaker of Limerick, Ireland, to Barbados and then to America.

  3. Thomas Phelps/Phillips of Limerick removed to Pennsylvania.

  4. Thomas Phelps, indentured, Northumberland Co, VA, indentured 1664.    Source:  W. Preston Haynie, Records of Indentured Servants and of Certificates of Land, Northumberland County, Virginia, 1650-1795 (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1996), quoting OB 1652-65, 193.     From  (There was also a James Phelps indentured about 1671 in Virginia, Lancaster Co.  )

  5. Agent Thomas Phelps who had an indentured servant William Jones from Bristol, England April 24 1667  It is not clear if this Thomas actually made the trip.     Source Virtual Jamestown web site.. 

  6. Tho Felps, "imported" 4/21/1690 - probably indentured - Middlesex Co, VA, (formerly Lancaster)  with 15 others by Christopher Wormly (Wormeley).  Source: Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants. Vol. 2  1666-1695    A review of  Research on the Phelps in Early Barbados gives possible support to the Middlesex county importation location from Barbados. Also see the Wormely plantation item  

  7. Captain Thomas Phelps, Master of the Dolphin of Bristol of the mid to last part of the 1600s.  New research is being reported

  8. Kent Co., Delaware?    A Paris family web site   describes the 1729 bond of Parris children to Thomas Felps - and supports the movement of Moses Parris to Rowan Co where the Felps line removed.  The web site states "Edward Paris or Parris, married Susannah Molton, May 6, 1719 in Kent County, Delaware. [Kent Co. DL, Deed Bk F, p.33]. They subsequently moved to Maryland where, on 27 May 1729, they apprenticed three of their children to Thomas Phelps as recorded in Baltimore County, Maryland Deeds [Liber ISK, Folio 13].  These are the only records of Edward and Susannah which have been found to date."            Additionally the researcher for the Paris web site reported there were Parris in Barbados.



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II.  Phelps in Limerick Ireland research by Johnny Phelps & D. Phelps

See this link to a Limerick Ireland newsletter with Thomas Phelps Quaker reference.   A PDF paper identifies Thomas Phelps as early as perhaps 1664 and as late at 1673, 1675, 1681 (Discovered by John Phelps of Annapolis).   Key items, extracted by Johhny Phelps,  are:

Thomas Phelps, Stephen Warner, William Donsell(?) and other Friends had their meeting broken into and now(?) haled out by a guard of soldiers and committed to
prison by Colonel Inglesby's orders. 1660, Thomas Phelps, John Barnes and several other friends being peaceably met together to worship God in their usual place in Limerick were forcibly taken away, their meeting broken and turned forcibly out of this town, to depart by a day with their wives, families, and all for meeting together to wait upon the Lord.

1660 about 3rd of 2nd month - committed eight Friends to prison and there kept about three weeks for meeting about 15 of 2 month three Friends committed to prison and kept eleven days said mayor did imprison Edward Palmer.  About the 16 of eight month had Thomas Phelps, Randall Cogens and Benjamin Moore because for conscious sake they could not swear, and kept two of them in bonds eleven days and the same night following that Thomas Phelps was committed he had his shop broken up and
lost about £20 worth of goods. Notwithstanding the wife of the said Thomas Phelps told the mayor that when her husband was absent that some such hurt might be done, their servant being sick, and he in prison. And these evil dealings of the English towards friends hath been a bad example ...

Thomas Phelps passing into the country about his lawful occasions, was taken up by the ... who put a rope about his neck and almost hanged him. Then in cities and towns friends are abused and imprisoned and in the countrie robbing and danger of life attend them.

There is a large volume in the Historic Library at Swanbrook, Dublin, of all the sufferings of Friends in Ireland, including those endured by the Limerick Quakers. It was not only what was demanded but what was taken in excess of it and the damage done by the visiting tithe-monger. In England a special "Meeting for Sufferings" was formed to
help members and to compensate for their losses but in Ireland there was no such compensation.

1660  [Thomas Phelps and others met to worship and removed with their wives ...Implying a marriage by 1660. added by Doug Phelps]

1663  [a possible reference to Thomas Phelps in 1663..added by Doug Phelps]
1673: Thomas Phelps taken from him about eighteen yards of serge, worth about 33/-.

1675: Thomas Phelps - 2 reams of white paper.
1679: Thomas Phelps - yards of canvas.
1681: Thomas Phelps - piece of linsey Woolsey about 181-, 4 sugar loaves,  his shop book of accounts.

Then there are several more 'Tithes' up to 1707 but no more references to Thomas Phelps.

Which puts the last reference to Thomas Phelps at 1681.


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III. Limerick Ireland Quaker Phelps to Barbados, 1600

Largely discounted by many now, this theory was once a central theory with common names from both locations being the main evidence.  Some research on this origin can be found at  Research on the Phelps in Early Barbados


Arguments against this theory....   

If  we relate those dates to the the Barbados marriage of "Thomas Phelp and Jane Reynald  Jan 26, 1662", the concept of Limerick to Barbados to America begins to fail.  Recent 7/2008) research using the Limerick Quaker registers and the 1899 Phelps in America appear to confirm that none of the Limerick Phelps were the Barbados Phelps due to the dates and locations reported in both locations. To support this argument,  see the below section for the very detailed 2008 study.

Brenda Emery, researcher,  presents a strong argument that Quakers would never baptize in an Anglican church in Barbados, so the reported records are highly suspect for Quakers.  Douglas Phelps followed up on the official Barbados book with this information: 

I had emailed the author of the Barbados Genealogy research book for help with Quaker possibilities and slave possibilities. The responder was a professional genealogist in Barbados who told me the author was deceased.   My email was:    On page 27 of Lane's Barbados book, under "Free Colored and slaves in the records", Lane writes, "Reference in the records to the black population, both free and slaves is rare in the early years." (I asked for a better intrepretation of that.)   Lane also wrote on page 46, under Quakers, "Since Quakers refused to conform to the Anglican Church they were generally not recorded in the parish registers. They established their own registration system for birth marriage and burials. These records do not survive in Barbados."

The genealogist there then wrote.... 
Dear Douglas Phelps, Geraldine Lane (sadly now deceased) meant that few Blacks or Mulatto's were registered in the early years and as the period you refer to is of the very early years, I personally do not recollect more than 2 or 3 such entries prior to 1690.    It is true that some Quakers kept separate records but some people we know from wills to have been Quakers also registered some of their civil status in the parish records. You have consulted the 3 main sources of names for this period and although there are a few references to Quakers in various lists, it seems unlikely that I would find an outstanding reference to your ancestor.




     1690  Wormeley Plantation, VA possible initial colonial location? 

Wormeley Plantation record  : "Christopher Wormly (Wormeley), Esqr., 800 acs., in Middlesex Co.,  formerly Lancaster; a mile from the river, 21 Apr. 1690, p. 62. Beg. by the Church Path from Col. Antho. Elliott's house; by sd. path from  Col. Smith's house, & c. Granted to Col. Antho. Elliott's house; by  sd, path from Col. Smith's house, &c. Granted to Leu't Col. Anthony Elliott, 26 Feb. 1661, deserted, & now granted by order, &c. Imp. of  16 pers:  Jno. Smith, Ja. Tutnell, Robert Cuningham, Jno. Cross, Sarah Cross, Robert Palmer, Wm. Witherington, Jane Roberts, Ann Finch, Tho. Felps, Adam Eland, Geo, Knott, Su. Tilley, Jno. Elliott, Wm. Rogers, Joan Sibbs."   Source: Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia land Patents by Nugent,  Vol II 1666-1695, p. 345

NOTE by Mary Galgan:  

This land grant does Not mean that Thomas FELPS  [or the others were] was in Middlesex Co., VA.  That is where the land granted to Esq. Christopher WORMLY for transports 16 people "sometime" prior to April 21 1690, was located.

Doug Phelps researched the  Limerick-Wormeley Plantation - Maryland connections and found  the below names from the Wormley Plantation record.:.




IV.  Did Thomas of Limerick actually go to Pennsylvania and marry ?   Research by Brenda Emory (edited by D Phelps)   "After a careful study of all  materials available to me at this time I believe that Thomas Phelps born 1623 did not come to America. It appears however that his son Thomas probably did come to Pennsylvania, married, and likely died somewhere by 1704.  ...  For the entire report Click here to see this extensively researched  report


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V.  County Maps of Philadelphia and Maryland - 1682 - 1689


For an animated mapping go here

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 VI.  A chronological of events of Phelps in Limerick, Ireland &, Barbados.   by Doug Phelps 

Could the Phelps of Limerick have been the Barbados Phelps?  Highly unlikely:

Thomas Jr of Limerick was born 1656, per the Quaker Limerick registers, to parents Thomas and Susanna (who had several other children later)   The Barbados Phelps marriage was 1662 so it is physically impossible for Thomas Jr to be the one married in 1662 since he was 6 years old in 1662.  
It is a coincidence  - but not that unusual - that there are two Thomases  (Thomas Sr of Limerick and Thomas of  Barbados)  - each having two sons named Thomas with the first of each dieing young.  Thomas of Limerick had a Thomas who died about 1 year of age, followed by another Thomas son.   Thomas of Barbados had a baptism of a Thomas followed by another Thomas baptism.... strongly implying the first Thomas died.  Each Thomas married a different woman.


The following is an attempt to connect by chronology the Limerick Phelps, the Barbados Phelps, and the colonial America Phelps.  Key sources were  the LDS microfilm of the Limerick Irish Quaker meetings (register of deaths, birth, marriages) complemented by the 1899 Phelps in America book narrative and the chart on page 24A  Other sources are noted.  


Note: The Phelps family in America book used several sources - some not primary .  Page 28 of that book refers to a "Record of Births, etc, belonging to Tariner's "Monthly Meeting" by J.W. Harvy"  This book has not been found and appears to be something different than the microfilm version of the Irish Quaker meeting register which has less information that reported in the Phelps book.  Also the Lemirick Paper used several sources not readily available.


There are no other Thomases recorded in Limerick in that time period except for the Thomas who died at one year of age. I RESEARCHED ALL THE MICROFILM OF ALL THE EARLY LIMERICK QUAKER REGISTERS AND COULD NOT FIND ANY OTHER THOMAS PHELPS IN ANY REGISTER THAT MIGHT APPLY TO OUR BARBADOS EVENT. 

The years are sequenced down the page......

Thomas Phelps "Sr"of Limerick, Ireland

Thomas Phelps "Jr" of Limerick, Ireland



1623   Thomas Phelps born Tewkesbury, England  settled in Limerick Ireland .  Became a Quaker  Two named wives


    1650    Quakers In Barbados begin freeing slaves  133 freed through 1700
1654    First Quaker meeting…William Edmondson, inspired by George Fox, comes to Ireland.     








2/1656 One year old Thomas Phelps dies, son of  Thomas and Susanna -- born apprx 2/1655  (The first Thomas)

3/11/1656   Thomas (the second Thomas)  Phelps of Limerick born (son of Thomas and wife Susanna)    (Source: The Phelps Family in Europe & Quaker Limerick registers.)  No record of his death in the Limerick Quaker registers .No record of a marriage.

(For this person to be the Barbados Phelps he would be apprx 6 years old

(For this person to be the Baltimore Felps d. 1758 he would be 102 years old.)

1658    First record of Thomas Phelps persecuted  in Limerick    
1660  Thomas Phelps named in the Limerick Quaker paper    I suggest this Thomas has to be the Thomas born 1623, not his son.

1660  8/16  and

1661    Thomas Phelps imprisoned in Limerick  (See the two sources below)  (Most likely the Thomas Sr, b 1623)


5/9/1662    Barbados baptism: Thomas son of Thomas & Jane Phelp   Christ Church Parish  135 blacks baptized here (37 free, 37 adults 42 children, 19 mulattos.   Mulattos, slaves, freemen were identified in the list. Thomas was NOT so identified.

1/26/1662     Barbados marriage of Thomas Phelp and Jane Reynald   Christ Church Parish.  

1663    Thomas Phelps mentioned in the Limerick Quaker paper    
2/1664 John Phelps born to Thomas and Susanna (source Lemirick Quaker register)   9/15/1664   Second  Barbados baptism of a Thomas son of Thomas and Jane Phelp 
7/13/1665 Joseph Phelps  born to son of Thomas and Susanna  (source Lemirick Quaker register)
    1670    George Fox, a Quaker leader had been in Limerick and now in Barbados with a delegation of Quaker Friends

1673    Thomas mentioned in the Limerick Quaker paper

1675    Thomas mentioned in the Limerick Quaker paper

1679    Thomas mentioned in the Limerick Quaker paper

1681    Thomas mentioned in the Limerick Quaker paper

7/13/1665 Joseph Phelps  born to so

Thomas mentioned in the Limerick Quaker paper

  1682    Thomas Phelps and other Quakers of Limerick are granted Pennsylvania land by William Penn.. ( He is considered to be Jr and is so indicated in the "Phelps Family of America" book.   It is later sold in 1704.    See the study, did Thomas actually come to America?.  
7/1684 Susanna, wife to Thomas,  dies  (Noted on the Quaker Limerick Register).     
  2/26/1684-5   Thomas Phelps/Phillips of Pennsylvania marries Mercy Jefferson in RI - no further record   See the study, did Thomas actually come to America?.

After 1686 Thomas "Phillips" seems to vanish from Philadelphia records.

1687  A Thomas Phelps of Limerick marries Anne Bradford after wife Susanne died in 1684. .  (Source: Quaker Limerick register)

It is unclear at present whether this Thomas or his son married Anne Bradford. 

1687  A Thomas Phelps of Limerick marries Anne Bradford after wife Susanne died in 1684. .  (Source: Quaker Limerick register)

It is unclear at present whether this Thomas or his father married Anne Bradford. 

8/1697    Thomas Phelps  of Limerick dies  (Source: Quaker Limerick register) 

The death register for Thomas has the words "husband to Susanna".   However Susanna died 1684.  So the marriage to Anne Bradford in 1684 must have been his second marriage and the note on his death simply a notation to define him better.  Also note there was no parent named when he married Anne Bradford.  If it had been Thomas jr there would have been a notation.

1698    Irish Will of  Thomas Phelpes, Limerick, merchant

  1704  John Phelps “son and heir” of Thomas Phelps (Sr) [or John Phelps Sr, records are confused here]  sells this fathers land to James Shattick and Edward Lane. (Apparently Thomas (jr) has died)  

To believe that Thomas Sr was the Barbados Thomas one would have to believe one of the following incredible and extremely improbable stories - even though they are based on recorded events - as seen in the table.  IMHO, I think these are best case stories.  Unless something huge turns up I personally put no value on either story. No doubt other scenarios could be written, but I suspect all will seem incredible.

I. Summary:  Thomas Sr in Limerick takes his son, Thomas, to Barbados, marries a second wife, baptizes  his son and another dead son there, and returns to Limerick to his first wife where he dies.   It ends with a single Thomas PHelps, Jr in Limerick.


His first son Thomas died at age one in Limerick,  His second son Thomas, was also born in Limerick, 1656.  This scenario has Thomas Sr,  with a wife in Limerick taking son Thomas with him to Barbados where he married a new mother.  They baptize the dead son Thomas, 7 years after his 1656 death, seeming more like Mormons than Quakers who don't baptize, especially in an Anglican parish.  They also baptize the living son. 


 After  the 5/1662 baptism of the dead Thomas, he sails to Limerick by 6/1663 to impregnate Susanna for the birth of John 2/1664 - and is there 11/1664 to impregnate her again for the birth of Joseph 7/1665.   He apparently is not present at the 9/1664 baptism in Barbados of  son Thomas (unless there is a quick sail over and back).   He  

 then dies in Limerick in 1697, before likely marrying another wife after Susanna dies.   Nothing further is heard of the wife in Barbados.   Thomas Jr. is in Limerick in 1676 and in 1682 for a land purchase in Pennsylvania and very likely removed there, married, and died somewhere by 1704 .

II.   Summary:   Thomas maintains similar families in Barbados and Limerick traveling back and forth. It ends with a Thomas Phelps Jr  in both Barbados and Limerick.

Since Thomas was in Limerick in 1660 and 1661, Thomas likely sailed to Barbados by 9/1661, leaving son Thomas in Limerick,  to conceive another Thomas, born at least 9 months before his baptism in Barbados in 5/1662.  Thomas and Jane had married 4 months earlier, 1/1662.  Since another Thomas is baptized 9/1664, the first Thomas apparently died young.  Therefore the second Barbados Thomas was likely born after the first baptism (5/1662) and before his baptism of 9/1664, with his conception 9 months earlier:  between 9/1661 and 1/1664.    Another major problem with this scenaro is that Quakers don't baptize, especially in Anglican parishes.

He apparently impregnated Jane again before early 1663 because he had to sail back to Ireland by  6/1663 to impregnate wife Susanna for the birth of their son John, 9 months later on 2/1664.  He remains there and in 11/1664 impregnates her again for the birth of Joseph 7/1665.   He apparently is not present at the 9/1664 baptism in Barbados of  Barbados son Thomas (unless there is a "quick" sail over and back).     He  then dies in Limerick in 1697, before likely marrying another wife after Susanna dies.   Nothing further is heard of the wife in Barbados, but another  Thomas Phelps, jr would remain in Barbados  or elsewhere- in this scenario .  Limerick Thomas Jr. is in Limerick by 1682 for a land purchase in Pennsylvania and very likely removed there, married, and died somewhere by 1704 .



To further question  the theory  that the Limerick Quakers were those in the Barbados marriages and baptisms, consider the improbable scenario of Richard Pearce of Limerick being the Pearce in Barbados records.  - by Phelps & Emery:


A Richard Pearce, m. Mary Reynolls 5/1669 in Barbados.     Richard Pearce is already married to a Mary in Ireland and having several children dying  (four between 1663 and 1669) before his marriage in Barbados to Mary Reynolls in 1669,.  If he were the 1669 Barbados marriage, he  would have to return to Ireland to get persecuted along with Thomas Phelps and be there for the death of his wife Mary (of Ireland) in 1775 .  oh wait! he would have had to have made a trip or two back in between since Joseph his son dies in Ireland in  Dec 1669 age 3 months. So... he impregnates Mary of Ireland in Jan or Feb  of 1669 with Joseph and then says sorry honey I have to dash to Barbados I'm getting married in a couple of months???   See the Quaker death register  for dates . 


Ancestry using the Phelps Family of America and their English Ancestors  (now free ebook viewable here)  ,  and the Lemerick and Dublin Quaker registers.   (This descendant list has not been reviewed and is under development)


The Phelps in America name the patriarch as William Phelps, his son Thomas Phelps


1. Thomas Phelps (b.1623)   Tewkesbury, England   d. 8/10/1697   Source: both Phelps in America and the Limerick Quaker register   and  his 1698 will .  See the  Index to Prerogative Wills below.      Source: Key pages to The Phelps Family in America and Their English Ancestors    Removed to Limerick, Ireland about 1646 and soon became a Quaker   Source: The Phelps Family in Europe p. 21- 22;   Had two wives and eight children    m. Susanna,  Source: both Phelps in America and the Limerick Quaker register naming her as spouse at his death;   She d. 1684 (Limerick Quaker register) ; 

m. Anne Bradford 1688    Source Phelps in America  However the LImerick Quaker register says 8/10/1687;    

Estate in County of Tipperary, Ireland, granted by O. Cromwell, confirmed by Charles II, owned until 1800s..  Twekesbury family there for 800 years.


"1811 letter from America:   Will Penn gov of Pennsylvania, granted to Thomas Pierce, Sam. Larenar, Thomas Phelps, Richard Pierce and James Craven land called Back Land, 5000 acres, and certain city lots in Philadelphia but nothing came of it"  More details are recorded in the Phelps Family pages around page 27..   This land purchase is confirmed by the deailed research of Brenda Emery in her report Did Thomas Phelps of Limerick come to Penn.


     2.     Mary Phelps  source: Phelps in America

     2.    John Phelps  b. 2/1664 Settled in Bristol, England  source: Phelps in America

            3.  John Phelps of Bristol.   There is a record in Early Penn Land records naming a Jno. Phelps of Bristol, son and heir of Jno. Phelps.
     2.    Thomas Phelps  b. 3/11/1656  merchant  O.J.E. (??)  Source: Phelps in America  Confirmed by Limerick Quaker register

     2..   Thomas Phelps died without issue Source: Phelps in America.   d. at age 1,  2/1656 Source: Limerick Quaker register
     2.    Joseph Phelps  Merchant of Limerick   b. 7/13/1665   d.1737    Will 1734  m. Hanna Taylor in England, Anne Taylor, Anna Henry(?)  Source: Phelps in America

             Marriage to Taylor confirmed by Limeric Quaker register   

            3.  Thomas Phelps b.  6/26/1711  Settled in Dublin, 1741   d. 1787    m. Sarah WIlcox of Dublin   Source: Phelps in America   Wilcox marriage confirmed and dated 1761 by Limerick Quaker register   Also confirmed as son of Joseph, Oakhampton in Limerick   Source: Dublin Quaker register     d. 1787  Source: Dublin Quaker register

                 4.   Joseph   b. 1747  d 1788   Source: Phelps in America     1788  Will-  Joseph Phelps, Moyallen, Co. Down  Source:  Index to Prerogative Wills of Ireland , p 3  Linen trade

                 4.    John  Settled in Dublin   d. 1818  Source: Phelps in America  son of Thomas and Sarah, m. Elizabeth Shaw   Source: Dublin Quaker register

                        5.  George

                        5.   Thomas

                        5.   five others

                 4.    Wilcocks   Source: Phelps in America   son of Thomas and Sarah  m. Sarah DInham in Bristol  d. 1818 husband of Sarah.  Source: Dublin Quaker register

                        5.  Joseph(?) Clark (?)     d 1816 son of WIlcocks and Sarah   Source: Dublin Quaker register

                        5.  John

                        5.  William

                        5.  Charles

                        5.  three girls

                 4.    George  Source: Phelps in America

                 4.    Johnathan  Source: Phelps in America

                 4.     Joshua  Source: Phelps in America   d. 1762 son of Thomas and Sarah   Source: Dublin Quaker register

                 4.    Thomas  Source: Phelps in America   

                 4.     several girls



The court of arms for this Phelps line is shown on page 24a and described on page 26 of the Phelps Family in America.  It is remarkably  similar to that provided to Doug Phelps' Grandfather Charles Phelps of NC d.


 1939 (who did genealogy research).  



Quaker Limerick death,birth,marriage registers  1619-1859  These (and other Irish Quaker registers) are on microfilm orderable from LDS as film numbers 0571395 through  0571398 .  Go below for the details.



Other Thomas Phelps Immigrants to Colonial America


Recordings of Phelps in Limerick with sources




1650-1700 Quakers freed 133 slaves in Barbados  Englishmen Transplanted: The English Colonization of Barbados 1627-1660  p 164

1670/71  George Fox, a Quaker leader had been in Limerick and also Barbados with a delegation of Friends.  Fox and others were there in 1671 to convert slaves to Christianity.        Quakers had begun work there earlier.  Englishmen Transplanted: The English Colonization of Barbados 1627-1660 p163  Is it possible that these slaves - or Irish children - were given Christian names like those Quakers back in Limerick?



Barbados Marriage

1662   Thomas Phelp and Jane Reynald  Jan 26, 1662 Christ Church Parish,


Barbados Baptisms

For a full analysis of Barbados view this report

Pennsylvania  1682  Thomas Phelps of Limerick buys Pennsylvania land rights.   2008  research indicates he may have been there and married, but died before 1704.  See this new research here

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 Index to Prerogative Wills of Ireland , p 375

All of the Prerogative Wills of Ireland were destroyed by a fire in the Dublin courthouse in 1922, but before that Sir William Betham had made abstracts of the genealogical data in the wills from 1536 to 1800. In 1897 Sir Arthur Vicars prepared this index to Betham's abstracts.

The index has 40,000 entries arranged alphabetically by the name of the testator, showing his rank, occupation, or condition; his town or county of residence; and the year when the estate was probated. In view of the loss of the original wills, this is one of the most useful tools in all of Irish genealogical research.

1679  Will-  Thomas Phelpes, the elder, par. St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Middlesex, Coachmaker  (Copy)   (note: this is apparently not one of the Limerick Phelps)

1698  Will-  Thomas Phelpes, Limerick, merchant


1669  Will-  Robert Phelps, Arklow, co. Wicklow, mariner

1788  Will-  Joseph Phelps, Moyallen, co. Down

1810  Will-  Thomas Phelps, Moyallen, co. Down


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 Limerick, Ireland Quaker Registers (from the LDS film library)


Death records of Quaker Limerick Phelps (from the LDS film library) Some pages too dim to display.




Limerick Quaker Marriages

Limerick Quaker marriages – Two pages – originally left to right . Thomas Phelps(6th line) m. Anne Bradford 1687 in Limerick. John Phelps (12th line) m. Hanna Perk(sp?) 1710 in Cork. Joseph Phelps (14th line) m. Hanna Taylor in England (no date but in the 1710 time frame)



Image below is a continuation of the page above and to its right..


Limerick Quaker Births .    First three are children of Thomas and Susanna Phelps:

 Sarah (likely) followed by the two Thomas boys (one died a year old).  Images viewed from microfilm are better... names correspond to those seen in other reports .



Suggested research material:


Phelps Family (Quaker Records), County Down, 1750-1800. (1951-53, p. 237


The Irish Quakers, a short history by Maurice Wigham, Now in its second edition, this book provides an outline history of the Society of Friends in Ireland and an introduction to Quakerism in general. The author, born into a Dublin Quaker family, was a teacher all his life and headmaster of Newtown School for 17 years. 170 pages with illustrations. (Paperback 260g). €10.00, £6.50, P+P Ireland €3.50, GB Eur €4.50 (1)          (Available in Guilford College)            This was used in the Limerick paper


Hatton, Helen E. 1993. The Largest Amount of Good: Quaker Relief in Ireland 1654-1921. Buffalo, NY: McGill- Queen’s University Press.


Richard S. Harrison; A Biographical Dictionary of Irish Quakers, Four Courts Press 1977
Maurice J. Wigham; The Irish Quakers, Historical Committee 1992 Isabel Grubb; Quakers in Ireland, 1654 to 1900, The Swarthnmore Press Ltd.1927
Rob Goodbody; A Suitable Channel: Quaker Relief in the Great Famine, Pale Publishing 1992
Transactions of the Central Relief Committee of the Society of Friends during the Famine in Ireland 1846 & 1847, Edmund Burke 1996
Robin G. Goodbody; Quaker relief work in Ireland’s Great Hunger (5 copies), Quaker Tapestry Booklets, 1995
Mary Leadbeater (ed John MacKenna); The Annals of Ballitore, Stephen Scroop Press, 1986
EJ McAuliffe; The Roll of the Quaker School At Ballitore (2 copies), Irish Academic Press, 1984
Richard S Harrison:
. Cork City Quakers, 1665 to 1939: A brief History Red Barn Publishing, 1992
. Richard Davis Webb, Dublin Quaker PrinterRed Barn Publishing 1993
Fiona Murdoch (editor); Victor Bewley’s Memoirs (2 copies), Veritas 2002
Mona Hearn: Thomas Edmondson and The Dublin Laundry, Irish Academic Press 2004
Billy Wigham; A Life of Usefulness
Colin Rynne; Abraham Beale & the Monard Ironworks, Sitka Press 2000
Maurice J Wigham; Newtown School Waterford: A History 1798 - 1998(2 copies), Newtown School 1998
Members of Monkstown PM, The Religious Society of Friends in Ireland Since 1654
David M Butler; The Quaker Meeting Houses of Ireland Irish Friends Historical Committee, 2004
Charles B Lamb; Love Your Neighbour as Yourself (3 copies)
John M. Douglas; The Beginnings of Quakerism in 17th Century Ireland, Irish Friends Historical Committee, 2004
Bill Jackson: Ringing True, The Bells of Trummery and Beyond, 350 years of an Irish Quaker Family, Sessions of York
J Anthony Gaughan (Ed); Memoirs of (Senator) James G Douglas, Concerned Citizen, UCD Press 1998
GEORGE FOX; John L. Nickalls (Ed): Journal of George Fox, Religious Society of Friends 1986
. Ditto (1st Volume); Anthony Prickard 1836
Rex Ambler (Ed); Truth of the Heart, An anthology of George Fox, Quaker Books 2001
Joseph Pickvance; A Reader's Companion to George Fox's Journal, QHS 1989
Lewis Benson; What did George Fox teach about Christ? New Foundation Publication 1984
. Ditto; The Truth is Christ, Ditto 1981
Early Prophetic Openings of George Fox. Tract Association of Friends, Philadelphia 1986
Douglas Gwynn; Apocalypse of the Word: The Life and Message of George Fox, Friends United Press 1986
Passages from the Life and Writings of George Fox, Philadelphia 1881
Elfrida Vipont; George Fox and the Valiant Sixty, Hamish Hamilton 1975

VII.  A True Account of Captivity of Thomas Phelps (1685) - by the Moors in Barbary. -  and a possible Portuguese ancestry? -  By D Phelps

"A true account of the captivity of Thomas Phelps at Machaness in Barbary [electronic resource] : and of his strange escape in company of Edmund Baxter and others"

While this Thomas has not been previously linked to our related Phelps lines, there is a very interesting statement by Phelps as he is about to be taken as a slave on the high seas.  He writes that the captain of the Moorish vessel says "he was suspicious that I was a Portuguese"  as he had claimed about some of the crew. (See page  4 at  - or in clearer English on page 200 here 

With the recent YDNA knowledge that our related Phelps lines all have a haplogroup of E1a, rather than the expected and typical haplogroups of European origin, this accusation conceivably has new meaning.  Clearly Thomas was an educated Englishman, but apparently his physical characteristics suggested his ancestry may have been otherwise. One article comments on the Portuguese characteristics as "Most of the current Portuguese population grew from the mixture of all the peoples who have inhabited and traded in the region over the centuries. The first to settle were the Iberians, and over the years Celts, Romans, Germanic tribes, Moors, Jews, and others migrated into the area and combined to develop a people with unique physical characteristics. Most Portuguese have typical Mediterranean features like brown eyes, dark hair, and a height of less than 6 feet. Evidence of the Germanic tribes can still be seen in the north of the country, where taller, light-haired and light-eyed people are occasionally encountered, and in the south, traces of the Moorish period are seen in both the physical type and the way of life. "

On the other hand, other Phelps researchers disagree with the Portuguese track. "After all the men had been taken in twos and threes (after being accused of being Portuguese) finally Thomas Phelps and one other were the last two men on the ship and, only then, were accused of being Portuguese.  Unless they all "looked" Portuguese, it doesn't seem like the statement has much truth. It actually seems like he was using it as an example of their duplicity and being a "faithless Barbarian" Sorry to be so picky but, I really feel that in the context of the story he was using Irony for dramatic effect."


The captivity occurred between August 1684 and the published date of the article in 1685. 

English vessels could sail in the Atlantic and Mediterranean unmolested by the Algerian corsairs as long as they did not carry passengers hostile to Algiers (such as Portugal).  A treaty gave Algiers a "right of search".   Piracy, Slavery, and Redemption: Barbary Captivity Narratives from Early ... p 194  By Daniel J. Vitkus,

"By the end of the 15th century, the Portuguese and Spanish had expelled the Moors from their countries. The fall of Grenada in 1492 forever ended Muslim rule in Iberia. Exhilarated by their achievement, the Iberians were then prepared to chase the Moors from Northern Africa as well. Due to this rivalry between the Europeans and the Moors, the Portuguese were accustomed to black slave labor. Each group enslaved prisoners of war. In 1500, there were thousands of Moorish slaves in Portugal; so the Portuguese slave trade with the West Africans was a continuation of earlier contact. The additional slave labor also helped to alleviate the hard pressed labor market. Slavery in Portugal in the early 15th century was mostly domestic, and slaves could buy their own freedom."

"There were more African slaves in Portugal than in any other European country: in 1550, Lisbon boasted 10000 resident slaves in a population of 100000, and Portugal as a whole probably had over 40000 (Thomas, 1998)."