Brandywine Valley

The rolling hills the Brandywine Valley in Delaware and Pennsyvania.
The rolling hills the Brandywine Valley in Delaware and Pennsyvania.

 I trace my maternal ancestry to their arrival in the Pennsylvania Colony in the 1680s. My ancestors were English, Welsh and Scots-Irish Quakers who followed William Penn to his Great Experiment; a place to freely and peacefully practice the beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends. They were farmers, traders and mechanicals working in the building trades, skills needed for the new settlement in the Brandywine Valley. The land near the border of Delaware and Pennsylvania was settled and worked by my ancestors for nearly 300 years. 
 They migrated little and married locally, so that my mother and I were both born in Wilmington, Delaware. My grandfather and his brothers were born to a tenant farmer on a prominent property in the early 20th century. My mother grew up on a nearby country estate which my grandfather managed for a wealthy heiress. My parents moved to New Jersey outside New York City, then Virginia outside Washington, DC, but as an adult, I returned to live in Delaware and Pennsylvania, where I often visited my grandparents as a child. 

I have no handheld objects that connect me to my immigration story. The ancestral places in the sylvan country outside Philadelphia best represent my story. For my whole life, a drive through the country roads past all the farms, stores, houses and meetinghouses with early cemeteries is a meaningful reminder of my family’s long history with this land. These places are more than familiar to me, I feel tied to them by my heritage. 

Place(s): Pennsylvania, Delaware
Year: 1682

– Libbie Hawes

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more