The Garlock-Elliott Family

The ancestors of Sarah Chamness

Sarah's Third Great-Grandfather: The Chamness Family Goes to America

Anthony Chamness, son of John and Ann Weary, was born February 17, 1713 at East Smithfield Street, London, England and was baptized when he was 18 days old in St. John's Church of Wapping. He left England for America in 1724.

In The Carolina Experience Seth Hinshaw relates an old Chamness family tale:

One fascinating story of an indentured servant is that of Anthony Chamness. As a boy of thirteen in London, while watching ships on the Thames River, he was kidnapped, brought to America, then sold as an indentured servant. During his period of servitude he fell in love with Sarah Cole, an indentured servant girl. In order to hasten her day of liberation, he volunteered to serve part of her remaining time. When at last they were free to get married (ca. 1735) their equipment for housekeeping consisted of a broken wooden bowl which she had found, and a wooden spoon which he had whittled out for her. As soon as possible they moved southward to the Cane Creek area, and joined the meeting. They reared a large family of thirteen children.5

This makes for interesting reading however the following Contract of Indenture was discovered at the Corporation of London Record Office:

Indenture Contract of Anthony Chamness

London the ninth day of February one thousand, seven hundred and twenty-four, Memorandun, that Anthony Chamness of White Chappel in County of Middlesex did by indenture bearing like herewith, agree to serve John Cooke of London Vichular or his assigns seven years in Maryland (his Majesty's Plantation in America) and did thereby declare himself to be of the age of fifteen years, a single person, and no covenant or contracted servant to any other person or persons. And the said did thereby covenant at his own cost, to send his said servant to the said plantation; and at the like costs to find him all necessary clothes, meat, drink, washing and lodging, as other servants in such cases are usually provided for and allowed.

Jurat Coran? Witness


The mark of Anthony Chamness 6

Anthony would only have been 12 years old in 1724, not 15 as stated in the Indenture Contract, since he was born in 1713. So he must have lied about his age. This contract that Anthony signed in London casts doubt on the legend of his kidnapping and being sold as an indentured servant in America. It is also unlikely Sarah was an indentured servant. In truth, her parents and paternal grandparents were both landowners in Maryland and would have been able to take care of her.

It has been reported that Anthony was in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1735 working for a Quaker family, but I have not as yet found the evidence for this statement. This was three years after he would have fulfilled his seven-year contract of indenture in 1732. It was in Baltimore County that Anthony met and married Sarah Cole, daughter of Joseph and Susannah Cole. She was born May 1, 1718 probably in Baltimore County. The Cole family had come to Maryland several generations earlier, perhaps around 1650.7

On November 24, 1735 Anthony and Sarah Cole were married in St. Paul's Parish Church in Baltimore.8 Although later records show Anthony and Sarah were both active Quakers it is not clear when or how they were first introduced to the movement. Sarah may have already been a Quaker when they met (Some of the Cole family lines were of the Quaker faith, but we don't know if Sarah's line was one of them). Anthony could have been a Quaker in England or he could have become a Quaker because of his association with a Quaker family. Or they may have decided together at a later date to join the Religious Society of Friend's.

The first Quaker record 9 found regarding Anthony and Sarah is in the birth records of their three oldest children: Elizabeth, Susanna and Joseph. Between 1737 and 1740 they appear in the Minutes of the Gunpowder Monthly Meeting (MM), located along the Gunpowder River in Baltimore County, Maryland.10

Anthony and Sarah received a certificate of transfer from the Gunpowder MM on August 26, 1741 to the Monoquesey or Manuckecy [old spelling] Preparatory Meeting. It was located in the Monocacy Valley, just north of the Potomac River near Buckeystown, 5 miles south of Frederick, Maryland. This was part of Prince George County until 1748 when it became part of the formation of Frederick County. It was nine years since he completed his indentured service and six years since his marriage to Sarah. We are not sure what prompted Anthony to move his family at this time, but Quakers often followed other members who had moved on to another area. Perhaps word filtered back as to the benefits of the "greener pastures" or better community life.

Quakerism in America

…I have always felt that the reason Quakerism took root and flourished in the colonies was because there was, and still is, something quintessentially American and profoundly democratic about this optimistic faith that declares that all people are created equal; that exalts classlessness and the perfectibility of people and institutions; that insists on the freedom to worship in whatever form one chooses--and that recognizes a direct one-to-one relationship with God.11

--Quaker Book of Wisdom.


You can read more about the Quakers and the Monoquesey, Virginia area at:

When Anthony and Sarah arrived at the Monocacy Preparatory Meeting in 1741 it was part of the Hopewell (Virginia) Meeting. In 1744 it was taken into the Fairfax (Virginia) meeting and those Minutes record the birth of Anthony and Sarah's next three children (a total of six); Sarah, Mary, and Martha. The Fairfax Minutes also show that on June 6, 1749 Anthony's entire family got a certificate of transfer to Carver's Creek MM in Bladen Co., North Carolina.12

5 The Carolina Quaker Experience by Seth Hinshaw.

6 CLRO:ATSM/62 held at: Corp. of London Records, P. O. Box 270, Guildhall, London EC2P 2EJ

7 Robert W. Barnes, Baltimore County Families, 1659 - 1759

8 Hinshaw's Encylcopedia of American Quaker Records - Vol. 1, pg. 378, Cane Creek MM Minutes, Guilford Co., NC and also in Maryland Marriages by Robert Barnes

9 Willard Heiss, Maryland Quaker Records, pg. 9 and also on microfilm at the Maryland Archives

10 So far I have not been able to find records for 1735 to 1737 -- after their marriage and before they show up in the Gunpowder Minutes.Established in 1677, the Meeting at Clifts was probably the oldest meeting in the Province of Maryland. It covered meetings over an area of four or five counties. The Gunpowder MM was set off from the Meeting at Clifts in 1737. Anthony and Sarah could have attended the Clifts Meeting until the Gunpowder MM was formed in 1737.

11 Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom, Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service and Common Sense (author is former headmaster of Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC)

12 Fairfax MM Minutes state: "Anthony & w, Sarah (Cole) & 6 ch, Elizabeth, Susannah, Joseph, Sarah, Mary & Martha, gct [got certificate of transfer] Carver's Creek MM, Bladen Co., NC 6-6-1749."

Chamnesses in England
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