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Marple Hilary Brooks America furniture Marple Quakers Pennsylvania Chester

WHEN Hilary Brooks did an on-line search for a furniture expert to restore her dining table, she unexpectedly found a slice of Marple history.

Having googled Marple Furniture Restoration, one of the search results brought up the Marple Township in Pennsylvania.

She said: “I didn't know there was a Marple in America so I had a look at the details and found it all very interesting. As a member of the Marple Quakers, I soon realised there must be a connection between both Marple areas and the Quakers.

Quite by coincidence, three weeks later Hilary had a telephone call from an American visiting family in Chester. He too wanted to find out more about the link between Marple in Cheshire and his home town of Marple in Pennsylvania.

She said: “He found my telephone number listed in the Marple Quaker book. I was able to tell him that I knew that some Quakers had gone to America. When he enquired about a gentleman called Thomas Massey, I knew we wouldn't have any record of him in Marple because the Quaker Meeting here has only been established since 1940.

<p“All the archives are in Chester which was another coincidence as he was already in the city so was able to do some research.”

Hilary was still keen to discover more about Thomas Massey and his connection with Marple in Cheshire.

“To find out more I did my own research and contacted Paul Rich from the Historical Society in Pennsylvania to see if he had more details. He discovered that Mr Massey was born here in Marple, Cheshire about 1663 and went from Liverpool on the sailing ketch Endeavour, arriving in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1683 with the earliest group of settlers.

“They had fled from England to escape persecution and hoped for a new world of religious freedom. In August 1684, Marple was entered into the colonial court records and officially became a township.”

Its early name was Marpool after the area in Cheshire, England where many of the settlers had originated. The name appears in England as Merpill in 1287, Merpull in 1383 and Merpol in 1431.

The name means ‘the hill at the boundary’ or ‘the stream at the boundary’.

Hilary said: Paul explained that Thomas Massey became prominent in Marple, Pennsylvania as he owned 300 acres of land in Marple and another 400 acres in another township.

“Thomas Massey's house appeared under the furniture restoration search on Google because his house has recently been restored and is now a museum. I was amazed to find out all this information and how hard life had been for the Quakers who found freedom and hope in America. There is a book ‘The First 100 Years’ if anyone would like to find out more about the other Marple.”

Marple is a township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The 2010 census showed the township had a population of over 23,000.

If you are interested in carrying out your own research, see website www.marplehistoricalsociety.org For information about the Quakers in Marple, contact Hilary Brooks 0161 427 7782.