Tyler White, Luke Bohmer // AMH 4112.001 – The Atlantic World, 1400-1900
Mary (Becket) Bowne (c. 1670-1707) was born around the early 1670s in England.1 Mary was adopted at a young age by Roger and Elinor Haydock in England, due to her biological mother’s death early in her life.2 She migrated across the Atlantic Ocean in 1682 during one of the waves of immigration prompted by William Penn, Quaker and founder of the Colony of Pennsylvania. When she arrived, she lived with Phineas and Phebe Pemberton and their children in Philadelphia until her marriage to Samuel Bowne, at which point she moved with her husband to Flushing, New York.3 Mary bore ten children (two of whom died in infancy) over the course of their marriage.4
The specifics of Mary’s life prior to her immigration to Pennsylvania have been mostly lost to time. Mary was not born into a family of Quakers; rather, she was baptized in the Anglican tradition. At some point after her adoption, she converted to Quakerism. Her adoptive father, Roger Haydock, was a prominent Quaker minister in England, who preached extensively despite the danger of violence against members of the Society of Friends. He ultimately sent Mary to Pennsylvania, along with a few other members of the Haydock family.5
The Haydocks corresponded with the Pembertons extensively before and during Mary’s voyage to Pennsylvania, expressing their genuine love for their adoptive daughter. During her transatlantic voyage, Roger Haydock wrote: “Along wth [with] ye [the] bearer hereof cometh daughter Mary as by ye [the] contents of ye [the] enclosed to thy fathr [father], Which on purpose I leave unsealed, thou [you] may understand, to yor [your] care wee [we] commit her…& place you as in our stead.” He expressed his trust in the Pembertons when he wrote “wee [we] rest in hope you will take upon you, that is a fatherly & motherly care over her, who we truly love & who comes in her owne [own] inclinations.”6 Therefore, Mary already had a home to go to when she arrived in America. She lived with the Pembertons for about nine years before her marriage to Samuel Bowne in 1691.After Mary married Samuel, she moved in with him and his father, John Bowne, in Flushing, New York.7 John Bowne was a wealthy man who was a Quaker and major benefactor to the local meeting; he donated the home that would house the congregation and that became known as the Quaker Meeting House.8 Mary kept a close relationship with the Pembertons even when they lived a colony away from each other. Her letters are filled with longing for connection and a sense of hope to see them again. In 1693, she wrote: “deare [dear] phebey [Phebe] I greatly want thy [your] company and assitanc [assistance].” Mary recently had learned she was pregnant and thought Phebe’s “motherly advise [advice] would be a great comfart [comfort] to mee [me].”9
She continued to be a member of the Pemberton family for the remainder of her life. She refers to them as her true parents on multiple occasions throughout the letters. Abigail, daughter of Phineas and Phebe, took the time to write to Mary as well.10
Mary spent the rest of her life taking care of her children. She died around the age of thirty-four in 1707, the same year as the birth of her last child, Benjamin.11 Unfortunately, Benjamin died the same year, but there is no information on the cause of death for either Benjamin or Mary. Mary more than likely died of childbirth complications. Though Mary’s life was short, she left an indelible mark on the people who knew her, including the Haydocks, Pembertons, and Bownes, who constantly remarked on her gentleness and kindness.12
- Darrin Lythgoe, “Mary Becket,” Long Island Surnames, https://longislandsurnames.com/getperson.php?personID=I4023&tree=Pearsall.
- Allen C. Thomas, “Samuel and Mary Bowne, of Flushing, and their Friends—III: (Concluded),” Bulletin of Friends’ Historical Society of Philadelphia, 8, no. 2 (1918): 70-76, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41945101.
- Charles Boetsch, “Mary Beckett Bowne,” Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/136232152/mary-bowne.
- Lythgoe, “Mary Becket” https://longislandsurnames.com/getperson.php?personID=I4023&tree=Pearsall; Allen C. Thomas, “Samuel and Mary Bowne, of Flushing, and their Friends,” Bulletin of Friends’ Historical Society of Philadelphia, 7, no. 3 (1917): 85-91, www.jstor.org/stable/41945060.
- Allen C. Thomas, “Samuel and Mary (Becket) Bowne and their Friends, II. Concerning Mary Becket,” Bulletin of Friends’ Historical Society of Philadelphia 8, no. 1 (November 1917): 16-17, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41945081.
- Roger Haydock and Elinor Haydock, Warrington, Lancashire, England, to Phineas Pemberton, [Bucks County, Pennsylvania], 1684-06-17; 1684-06-26, vol. 2, pg. 57-58, Pemberton Family Papers, 1641-1880, 0484A, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PRINT, 15952, https://stars.library.ucf.edu/printmigrationnetwork-pemberton/387/. See also Thomas, “Samuel and Mary (Becket) Bowne and their Friends, II,” 16-17. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41945081.
- Thomas, “Samuel and Mary Bowne,” 85, www.jstor.org/stable/41945060.
- Boetsch, “Mary Beckett Bowne,” https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/136232152/mary-bowne
- Mary Bowne, n.p., to Phebe Pemberton, n.p., 1693, vol. 2, pg. 98b, Pemberton Family Papers, 1641-1880, 0484A, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PRINT, 16167, https://stars.library.ucf.edu/printmigrationnetwork-pemberton/404/.
- Thomas, “Samuel and Mary Bowne,”www.jstor.org/stable/41945060.
- Lythgoe, “Mary Becket,” https://longislandsurnames.com/getperson.php?personID=I4023&tree=Pearsall.
- Thomas, “Samuel and Mary Bowne, III,” 72-74, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41945101.