III. GEORGE BOONE Third (son of George Boone Second and wife Sarah Uppey), born in 1666 at Stoak, England, a village near the City of Exeter in Devonshire; died 27 July (Old Style) or 7 Aug. (New Style), 1744, in Exeter township, Berks Co., Pa., aged seventy-eight years.
Married Mary Maugridge (b. 1669 in Bradninch, England, eight miles from Exeter in Devonshire), a daughter of John and Mary (Milton) Maugridge.
George Boone and wife Mary were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Callumpton, Devonshire, from which Meeting they took a letter of recommendation to the Society of Friends in America. Whether they were dissatisfied with their condition as Quakers in England, or whether they were impelled by that desire for adventure and travel which was later so strongly manifested in Daniel Boone and his brothers, will never be known. On the 17th of August, 1717, with six children, George Boone and his wife left the town of Bradninch in Devonshire and went to Bristol, where they set sail for America.
They had definitely decided to put the Old World, with its customs and traditions, behind them, to brave the danger and uncertainty of an ocean voyage, and to link their fortunes with the New World which beckoned so alluringly from across the sea. This momentous decision was not made without wise consideration, however, for their three eldest children, George, Squire and Sarah, had been sent to America a few years before to investigate conditions. This was in 1713 or earlier, as we have record of the marriage of George Boone, Jr., in America in 1713. There is an interesting field for thought in the question of what influences brought about this emigration which means so much to all of us who are their descendants. One tradition is that William Penn was a friend of George Boone, and had persuaded him to emigrate to America. There is no doubt that their Quaker affiliation had much to do with the matter.
George Boone was a weaver by trade, and had no doubt, by frugal living and diligent application to his trade, and we know not what other sacrifices, saved up quite a sum of money for this faring forth. Being people of simple tastes, they probably took with them only such "goods and chattels" as could be conveniently carried.
No record was left of the long and perilous voyage across the Atlantic, and even the name of the vessel is unknown. They arrived at Philadelphia on the 29th of September (Old Style) or 10th of October (New Style), 1717. We like to picture them as being met by friends as they stepped onto the crude landing place at Philadelphia. At least we can be reasonably sure that they were met with open arms by their three children, George, Squire and Sarah, who poured into their eager ears bright accounts of the wonderful new land which was to become their future home. It must have been a happy reunion for George and Mary Boone, who had been separated for several years from their three eldest children. Once more they were surrounded by all their beloved sons and daughters, who were destined to become the progenitors of a family as staunch, sturdy and typically American as any which ever helped to build our nation. The little group had come to stay; to become a part of the very root and fiber of the New World. There was no looking back-ward, or thought of returning to England with possible gains. It is reasonable to suppose that of all the family the mother may have been the only one who sometimes, in the years that followed, longed for the quiet peace of the old home village in England, with its mellow church bells, old garden hedges, and kindly gossiping neighbors.
It seems that when George Boone III and his family arrived in America they had as yet decided upon no definite location for a home. They went first to Abington, a village near Philadelphia, where the eldest son George had married and had lived since 1713. There they remained a few months; then went to North Wales in Philadelphia Co., where they lived some two years; and finally in 1720, to Oley township in Philadelphia Co. (now Exeter township in Berks Co.). There George Boone took a grant of land and founded his permanent home. When the divisions were made, in the township of Oley and County of Philadelphia, the new township was called "Exeter" in honor of the old home in England. There may also have been other families in that locality who came from old Exeter, but George Boone and his sons appear to have been the most prominent members of the community.
Soon after their arrival in America they had become members of the Gwynedd Monthly Meeting of Friends. No doubt their early residence in North Wales came within the scope of Gwynedd Meeting, which embraced also their new home in Oley. This latter section soon became a separate meeting called Oley Meeting, which name was later changed to Exeter Meeting. Several items concerning George Boone III, are found in the Friends' Records, the earliest being as follows: —
"10-31-1717" (Dec. 31) "George Boone, Sr. produced a certificate of his good life and conversation from the Monthly Meeting at Callumpton in Great Britain, which was read and well received."
In 1720, George Boone was called to account for allowing the courtship between his daughter Mary and John Webb. Just how this was contrary to the rules and regulations of the Society we are not told, but George Boone acknowledged his fault in meeting: —
"5-26-1720 George Boone has openly acknowledged in the meeting his forwardness in giving his consent to John Webb to keep company with his daughter in order to marry, contrary to ye established order amongst us."
The next record of George Boone is some eleven years later, when Gwynedd Meeting records that Oley Friends had appointed George Boone, Sr., one of two men to visit families within the verge of their meeting. This was approved by the Gwynedd Meeting.
It is difficult to find any record of the land warrant of George Boone's own property, although in the Minutes of the Proprietors of Pennsylvania, we find the following entry which seems to refer to property purchased for the son George: —
"Agreed with George Boone of Gwynedd, Sr., for his son George, for 400 acres of land at Oley, for 14 pounds per 100, and 1 shilling sterling quit rent, ye warrant dated ye 20th October, 1718." (a)
Having chosen what is now, and no doubt was then, a most beautiful piece of fertile, rolling land, George Boone built a log house upon it in 1720. The site of the original house is marked by a boulder placed there by the Historical Society of Berks County, Pa. Thirteen years later, having prospered, he erected a larger house of stone near by, which is still standing. The boulder referred to above is marked with the following inscription:
House built in 1733 by
GEORGE BOONE, grandfather of
Site of Geo. Boone's log house, built about 1720
Historical Society of Berks Co.
On May 31st, 1917, the writer visited the George Boone home, about 14 miles from Reading, Pa. This is a substantial, quaintly attractive stone house, said to be the one built by George Boone 3rd in 1733. The house is occupied by a thrifty German family which has kept everything about the place in most immaculate and "spic and span" condition, so that the place shows none of the signs of decay and disintegration which might be expected in so old a house. On the contrary it looks quite equal to another hundred years or so of wear. The original stone house is intact, but additions have been built. The angle of the original roof remains, but on one side, where the roof had at first sloped down to a very low eave over the first floor, a second floor ex- tension has been raised, without disturbing or removing the original rafters, so that the house has the appearance of having a second floor addition built on top of the roof. The side nearest the road has a long low porch the entire width of the house, which is probably an addition. At the left of this is the real front of the house (facing the sun) with a quaint gabled portico before the door. There are few windows and many of these are narrow ones scarcely a foot wide, so built, it is said, as a protection against the intrusions of red-skinned visitors. The entire house, outbuildings, and all the fences are beautifully plastered and white-washed. This is the house which George Boone 3rd built for his children, remaining himself in the first log house, which is no longer standing. The stone house is probably about forty feet square. A stone set in or near one corner of the building bears the date 1733. There are two other buildings on the property. One is a stone two-story building over the spring, which bubbles up in a cellar room and passes out through an opening in the wall through a walled-in canal or trough about ten feet wide and forty feet long, finally meandering away in a stream through the meadow. At the end of this little canal on its banks, once stood the tanners' vats used by George Boone and his family, who were tanners by trade. Directly back of the house at some distance stands another two-story stone building, now used for a corn crib and storage house. This bears a date stone over the door marked "I. B." Back of and at either side of the homestead extend most beautiful meadows and rolling, well-cultivated farm lands.
Having built the new house, George Boone refused for some reason to live in it himself, but turned it over to his children and continued to reside in the log house until his death. It is quite possible that some of his married children were then living at home with young families, and that George Boone and his wife Mary preferred the quiet of the smaller home for themselves, as they were no longer young. When George Boone III died it is said that his remains were carried into the stone house and from there to his burial in the Friends burying-ground at Exeter Meeting House. An old family Bible records the fact that "when Grandfather died he left 8 children, 52 grandchildren and 10 great- grandchildren living, in all 70, being as many persons as the house of Jacob which came into Egypt."
In accordance with the custom of the Friends Society, no stones mark the graves of George Boone III and his wife Mary, but a far greater memorial is found in the thousands of descendants who unite in honoring their memory.