The Emlen Family Bible

The image to the left is a page from the Emlen Family Bible, as reproduced in the 1911 book Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania.

The Emlen Bible was printed in London in 1603 by Robert Barker, "Printer to the Kings". It is a "breeches" Geneva bible, meaning the garments that Adam and Eve made from fig leaves in Genesis 3:7 are referred to as "breeches", as opposed to the words "loincloths", "aprons" or "coverings" that other versions of the Bible have used. The Bible is not in its original binding, and the first 25 chapters of Genesis are missing.

Despite the age of the Bible, there is nothing to indicate that George Emlen brought the Bible with him from England. It contains no family information from there. The earliest date written in the Bible is 1686, when George was already in Philadelphia. George could have purchased the Bible in Philadelphia, or it could have been brought from England by his first wife Eleanor Allen or her family.

The Bible was handed down in the family and ended up in the hands of John Griscom Bullock (George—>George—>George—>James—>Samuel—>Ann Emlen & William Rockhill Bullock, b. 1854, d. 1939), a noted photographer as well as an avid genealogist. After John G. Bullock died, his daughter Marjorie donated the book to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The John G. Bullock Collection at Haverford College Library (MC# 1251, Box 1, Emlen family folders), has a letter from the HSP thanking Marjorie for the donation, as well as a letter from John Thompson Emlen (George—>George—>George—>James—>James—>Samuel—>James, b. 1878, d. 1955) saying he had visited the Bible at the HSP.


When I visited the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (located at 1300 Locust Street in Philadelphia) in July 2016, the Bible could not be located when I asked to see it. One of the Research Services staff at the HSP attempted to locate the Bible in the weeks following my visit, but was unsuccessful. He does believe that the Bible is still with the HSP and will turn up eventually.

However, the HSP does have photostat copies of the family information written in the Bible readily available. I haven't yet asked for permission to reproduce the images here, but instead I have attempted a transcription of the information, which you will find below. I have attempted to replicate the old fashioned spellings as best I could. Keep in mind that in the years prior to 1752 the new year started in March, so "1st month" is March, "2nd month" is April, "8th month" is October, etc.:

The oldest piece of information records the births of the first two children of George Emlen and his first wife Eleanor Allen. Eleanor died shortly after the birth of their third child, and the date of her death, the death date of the second child, and the birth/death of the third child are not recorded. This block of text is lightly 'X'ed out, but is still mostly legible, although I have trouble reading some of the handwriting.

Ann Emlen was'd Bourne the
sixteenth day of the Eight month
1686 being the seventh day of the
week, A bout Eight in the Evening
& dye'd A bout 8 months After
--- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Lyddya Emlen was'd bourne the 13th
of the 5th m: 1688 being the 6th day of the
week, About sun rising in the morning

Ann was born 16 Oct 1686 and died about Jun 1687. Lydia was born 13 Jul 1688. I'm not sure about the "sun rising" part... that's as best as I can make it out to be.

Eleanor died in 1690 and George married Hannah Garrett in 1694. They recorded the births of their children on a different page from the above, and they started the page with some background information on George:

George Emlen was educated a Presbyterian &
expected to inherit a handsome Estate by a Maiden
Aunt who had adopted him, [?]
on his becoming convinced of friends
principles & adherence thereunto, was disinhier-
-rited & tossed[?] out of doors; when he remove'd
to America with Wm Penn & settled in
Philadelphia & Marryed Hannah Garrett of

George soon of George & Hannah
Emlen was'd Borne the 7th day
of the 5th month being the first
day of the week about Eight in the
morning in the year 1695
--- --- --- --- --- --- ---
                     soon of George & Hanah Emlen
Sameull Emlen ^ was'd Born the
15 day of the 2 month being the
5th day of the week 1697
A bout one 10 in morning
--- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Caleb soon of George & Hannah
Emlen was'd Borne the 9th day
of the 4th m: 1699 ^siet[second?] day of the week A bout 3 or 4
in the After noon
--- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Joshua soon of George & Hannah
Emlen was'd Born the 14th day of
the 2 m being the 2 day of the week
about Eight in the morning in the year 1701

The next three children, Hannah, Ann and Mary, don't seem to be recorded anywhere. The youngest, Sarah, is recorded on a different page:

Sarah dagtor of George and Hanah
Emlen was'd Borne the 19 day of
the first month 1709/10 A bout
the 4th oure in the After noon

On that same page are some doodles, possibly by Sarah Emlen, as she appears to be practicing her signature. It may have been in the year 1733, when she was 24 years old, as she appears to do the math to calculate her age:


She also appears to be interested in cryptography, as she writes:

away to Rite ones name with figgures

   a e i o u l m n r
is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

And then she writes the name "John Dean" in this code:

J4hn D21n

Going back to the page that had the 1686-1688 info for Ann and Lydia, there is some more doodling in the middle section of the page, with the name "John Dean" appearing again. The name "Hannah" is also written a few times. And finally, this addition of some monetary amounts (shillings & pence):

1 - 8
1 - 4
  - 6
3 - 6

The bottom section of the page contains the information on the second generation of Emlens:

George son of George
and Marey Emlen was borne
21'd of 6 mo 1718 about one
a Clock in the morning

Hannah Emlen Deagter of George
and Marey Emlen was Borne 1 day
of 4 mo 1722 (marryed Wm. Logan)

Joseph Emlen Son of George and
Marey Emlen was Borne 1 day 5 mo
1728 (Dyed a young man)

On another page, in what looks like the same handwriting as above, this is written:

4 mo
Memorandom that Sum Days
ago my wife was at Richard
Walls and in a bibell of his
her Age was Entered which
was that she was Born
in the year of our Lord 1692
11 day 4 mo

That must be the handwriting of George Emlen the 2nd, and the date of his wife Mary Heath's birth is 11 Jun 1692.

The information on the third generation of Emlens is written on another page. It looks like it was written all at once, not individually as the children were born.

George Emlen was born 21st of Augt. 1718
Anne Reckless was born 4th of Octr. 1720
& were married the 25th of Decemr. 1740
They had children as follows
George Emlen born 25th of Febr. 1741
Caleb Emlen do. 15th of Septemr. 1744
Mary Emlen do. 19th of Octr. 1745
Joseph Emlen do. 28th Octr. 1748
Margt. Emlen do. 15th Febr. 1750
Anne Emlen do. 30th April 1755
Saml. Emlen do. 28th Augt. 1757
James Emlen do. 26 of June 1760
Anne Emlen senr. died the 4 day of 2nd mo. 1816 in 96th year of her age

The birth date of George Emlen 4th differs from what in his family Bibleā€“it's 25 Feb 1741/2 here, and in his Bible it's 8 Mar 1741/2. I have no explanation for the 11 day difference. The birth months for Caleb, Mary, Joseph and Margaret are also different from the dates in the Frank Leach article, which might be attributed to confusion with the new year beginning in March prior to 1752. But it isn't clear if the confusion was on the part of the person who wrote the dates in the Bible, or on the part of Leach's source for the dates.

For the next generation, the Bible seems to have been passed down to James instead of George 4th:

James Emlen son of George & Anne Emlen was
born 6th mo. 26th 1760 -
Phebe Emlen daughter of Caleb & Ann Pierce
was born 12th mo. 11th 1758 -
They were married 4th mo. 23rd 1783 &
had children as follows -
Anne Emlen born 6th mo 9th A.D. 1784
Joshua Emlen do. 12th mo 22nd 1785
Mary Emlen do. 8th mo 13th 1787 dec'd
Samuel Emlen do. 3rd mo 6th 1789
Phebe Emlen do. 8th mo 30th 1790
James Emlen do. 6th mo 17th 1792
Phebe Emlen senr. departed this life 10th mo 25th 1796
James Emlen senr. departed this life the 3rd
of the 10th mo 1798.

Like the block of text above it, this appears to be written all at one time, instead of individually as the children were born. According to Quaker meeting minutes, the elder Phebe Emlen actually died in 1793, not 1796 as is written in the Bible.

On another page, a small piece of paper is pasted in, containing these three death dates:

Samuel Mifflin died 8th mo. 9th 1824
Mary Beveridge died 9th mo. 20th 1820
Phebe Emlen died 10th mo 5th 1826

Samuel Mifflin is the son of Anne Emlen (daughter of George Emlen & Anne Reckless) and Warner Mifflin. Mary Beveridge is the daughter of George Emlen and Anne Reckless, and Phebe Emlen is the daughter of James Emlen and Phebe Pierce.

The last bit of family data is on a piece of lined paper pasted into the Bible. It's information on the Valentine family, which must have been added after the Bible was passed down to Dr. Samuel Emlen and his wife Beulah Sansom Valentine. Curiously, the Bible does not contain records of Samuel and Beulah's children.

Charles Valentine born 30th of 9th mo. 1742 died
22nd of 3rd mo. 1815. Mary Frost born 6th of 8th mo. 1746
died 13th of 6th mo. 1805. Jacob Valentine born 29th
of 12th mo. 1763, died 2nd of 7th mo. 1816. Lewis 17[rest of date cut off]
Elizabeth 1773. Theodore 1776. David 1783

No further family information is recorded in the Bible, which was eventually passed down to Dr. Samuel Emlen's grandson John Griscom Bullock, and then donated to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania by Bullock's daughter after he died.

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