Whitaker Family Bible and Oliver Cromwell

Merrill Family
(from Stiehm-Burton Family)

A Bible, and a possible ancestor, places our family right in the middle of a huge change in British history.

Our 8G Grandmother,  at least according to some, Margaret Lisle Whitaker’s family was in the heart of what is called in History, the Glorious Revolution.

The Whitaker Bible itself tells much of the story. Bruce Whitaker explains:

The Whitaker Bible is a Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible was first published in Geneva (which is now part of Switzerland) in 1558. It is also called the “Breeches Bible” because Genesis 3:7 was translated to read “… and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves breeches.” The Geneva Bible was a revision of the Great Bible which had been issued in the name of King Henry VIII. Many religious reformers fled England during the reign of Queen Mary “called Bloody Mary”. Most of them ended up in Geneva. The reformers such as John Calvin greatly influenced the translation found in the Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible was famous for its extensive marginal notes, which translated the meaning of certain words or phrases. The new Bible was accepted by Queen Elizabeth I and was very popular among the masses. William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, John Milton, the pilgrims, the puritans and almost everyone else used the Geneva Bible exclusively.

King James became King of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. James wasn’t a Christian and practiced a life style that would not be accepted even in the most liberal circles found today. The Geneva Bible hit a little too close to home for King James. He ordered the creation of a new version of the Bible that we now call the King James Bible. He had all the marginal notes taken out of the Bible. This allowed many verses in the Bible to be interpreted in several different ways. King James was able to gradually have the Geneva Bible replaced by his Bible. King James was a very unpopular king and so was his son King Charles. Charles was over thrown and replaced by Oliver Cromwell.

Cromwell is one of the more controversial of British rulers. One quick look at Cromwell is here if you need the background.

Whitaker’s story about the Whitaker Family Bible continues:

Oliver Cromwell’s Lord Chief Justice was Lord John Lisle. Lord John Lisle sentenced King Charles to death. He was beheaded on Lisle’s orders. It has been said the Whitakers descend from Lord John and Lady Alicia Lisle. I do not know if this is true or not; however Lady Alicia Lisle’s will lists a daughter Margaret who married a Mr. Whitaker. Lisle’s daughter Bridget married Leonard Hoar who became president of what is now called Harvard University.

I have found no primary source record indicating that Robert Whitaker and his wife Margaret Lisle had a son named Joshua Whitaker. So, I cannot conclusively confirm the previous information.

Still, the Bible is connected to the family. Whitaker continues:

The Whitakers were Quakers and backed Oliver Cromwell. Even if they don’t descend from Lord John Lisle, they were out of favor when the royal family returned to power. The Whitaker Geneva Bible was published in England in 1606. It was first owned by a Mr. Cock. He either died or got a new Bible. The Whitaker’s bought the Bible from Cock or his estate. This was common even to recent times. People did not have a great deal of money and were forced to buy second hand Bibles.
The earliest known Whitaker ancestors were Joshua Whitaker and his wife, Jane Parker. They were born in the 1670s. They were forced to flee England around 1710 and went to the Isle of Man, which is located between England and Ireland. They almost certainly possessed the Whitaker Geneva Bible at this time. The Geneva Bible was over 100 years old when it left England. The Whitakers were Quakers and Joshua Whitaker was killed in some minor religious skirmish around 1715. Joshua Whitaker’s wife, Jane, and their four children, William, Robert, Catherine, and Peter, fled the Isle of Man and went to Ireland. They and the Bible went first to Timahoe, Ireland. Jane Whitaker and her children lived there several years. They then requested a certificate of removal from the Quaker Church allowing them to move to Dublin, Ireland. William Whitaker, born in 1701, the oldest child of Joshua and Jane Whitaker, requested a certificate of removal in 1719 from the Quaker Church in Dublin to go to Pennsylvania. It is not known exactly when William Whitaker arrived in America, but he presented his certificate of removal to the Newark Monthly Meeting (a short time later called the Kennett Square Monthly meeting) on December 2, 1721. William’s mother Jane, brothers Peter and Robert, and Sister Catherine, as well as the Whitaker Bible soon moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania. William Whitaker married Elizabeth Carleton on February 13, 1722. William Whitaker being the oldest child got the Geneva Bible. William and Elizabeth Whitaker lived in Kennett Square from 1722 – 1734. They then moved to Bradford a few miles from Kennett Square. It was located in Chester County.

William and Elizabeth Whitaker decided to move back to Kennett Square in the winter of 1739. In December 1739 William and Elizabeth were all packed up to move back to Kennett Square when their house was destroyed by a fire. The Whitaker’s lost almost everything they had in the fire, even their seed for next year’s garden. They were able to save the Geneva Bible. You can still see where the fire melted and cracked on the leather outside of the

Picture of the Whitaker Family Bible.
Picture of the Whitaker Family Bible.

Bible. The fire damage is also visible on the edges of the Bible’s pages. The Bible shows water damage as well. I do not know if this resulted from the 1739 fire when water was thrown on the Bible to put out the fire or some other event that occurred later. William and Elizabeth Whitaker were never able to recover from the disastrous fire of 1739. They were forced to accept help from the Bradford and Kennett Square Quaker Churches.

William Whitaker requested a certificate of removal from the Bradford Meeting house on July 18, 1751. He then moved his family and the Whitaker Bible to what was then Rowan (now Davidson) County, North Carolina.

  • William Whitaker’s daughter, Suzanna, married Hugh McCrary.
  • Hugh’s son, Boyd, married Anna  Merrell.
  • Daughter Phebe McCrary married Thomas Burton.
  • Son William Burton married Elizabeth Saunders.
  • Son William Burton married Hannah Lloyd.
  • Son Thomas married Gertrude Whitbeck.
  • Daughter Georgia Burton married Oliver Stiehm.

You can read the travels of the Bible itself in the rest of the article you can see Days Gone By: The Whitaker Bible Returns to Fairview by Bruce Whitaker.

You can find the hand written family records contained in the Bible here.


19 Replies to “Whitaker Family Bible and Oliver Cromwell”

  1. Hello.. fellow Whitaker here in Texas. I can confirm we do in fact descent from the Lisle family. Please email me if you’d like more info or anything I have.

    1. I am descended from Joshua Whitaker of North Carolina and, later, Pleasant Whitaker of Georgia. My grandfather, Patrick Crisp Whitaker, moved his family to Tampa where I was born in 1961 to Patrick Crisp Whitaker Jr. In 1992, my wife, Joy Thurston Whitaker, our 2 children, Clinton and Candice, and I moved to Arizona where we still live.

      1. I am a direct descendant of Robert Whitaker and Margaret Lisle as he is my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather.

      2. Are you related to any Whitacre’s from around the Muncie, Indiana area…My grandfather was Arthur James Whitacre, my Father was Arthur Gilbert Whitacre., descendants of John Whitacre from England..You can reach me at Katlady57.tg@gmail.com…Thank you
        Sincerely, Thea Green

    2. Hi James,

      I am descended from Joshua Whitaker and Jane Bannister Parker by way of their son, William Whitaker who married Elizabeth Carleton. Family history in our line has always said that William was son of Joshua and grandson of Reverend Robert Whitaker who married Margaret Lisle. The story has always fascinated me so I am curious to know what information you have confirming that we descend from Robert and Margaret Lisle Whitaker. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated.

      Kind Regards,
      Thomas Huffman

  2. Hello,

    I am doing research on Hugh McCrary (b.1719/1720), he was my 7x great grandfather. Is there any information on him in this Whitaker Bible? Who was his parents when and where was he with Susannah Whitaker? I know the basics but i am wondering if there is any further information. Thank you!


    1. Much of the information I have comes from the Fairview Town Crier (see: http://fairviewtowncrier.com/author/bruce-whitaker/page/3/ ) and the work of Mark Valsimedes (see http://www.valsamides-design.com/whitaker/williamwhitakerbible1612.html )

      Mark has some work on the ancestors.

      Here’s what I have:

      Boyd McCrary

      1. Boyd McCrary1,2, son of 2. Hugh McCrary & 3. Susanna Whitaker. Born abt 1754 in Rowan Co, , , NC. Boyd died in Buncombe Co, , , NC, on 18 Oct 1815; he was 61. Buried on 12 Aug 1823 in Howard Co, , , MO.

      In 1874 when Boyd was 120, he married Anna Nancy Merrell.

      Hugh McCrary

      2. Hugh McCrary.3,4,5,6 Born in 1720 in Ireland, , ,. Hugh died in Jersey Settlement, , Rowan Co, NC, on 14 Feb 1785; he was 65. Buried in Jersey Baptist Ch Cemetery @ Linwood NC, , ,.

      1748/49 when Hugh was 28, he married Susanna Whitaker5,7 Chester Co. PA, , ,.

      Susanna Whitaker

      3. Susanna Whitaker5,7, daughter of 6. William Whitaker & 7. Elizabeth Carleton. Born in 1727 in England, , ,. Susanna died in Jersey Settlement, , Rowan, NC, on 20 Oct 1800; she was 73. Buried in Jersey Meeting House, , Rowan, NC.

      6. William Whitaker8,9,10,11,12, son of Joshua Whitaker (abt 1676-abt 1716) & Jane Parker. Born in 1701. William died in Rowan, , North Carolina, United States, 18/2/1789; he was 88.

      William married Elizabeth Carleton13,14 Chester Co PA, , ,.

      7. Elizabeth Carleton13,14, daughter of Mark Carleton & Susana Watson. Born on 18 Apr 1701 in Balleyhakken, , , Ireland.15 Elizabeth died in Davidson, Mecklenburg, Colony of North Carolina, British Colonial America, United Kingdom, in 1760; she was 58.


      1. “Boyd Mccrary, “United States Census, 1790”,” 27 FEB 2018, 13:59:08.
      “United States Census, 1790,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XHK1-YLR : accessed 27 February 2018), Boyd Mccrary, Rowan, North Carolina, United States; citing p. 316, NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 7; FHL microfilm 568,147.
      2. “Boyd Mccrary, “United States Census, 1800”,” 19 DEC 2016, 14:07:11.
      “United States Census, 1800,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XHRW-4DM : accessed 16 December 2016), Boyd Mccrary, Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina, United States; citing p. 367, NARA microfilm publication M32, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 33; FHL microfilm 337,909.
      3. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” 06 JUL 2018, 11:53:34.
      Wills, 1663-1978; estate papers, 1781-1928 (Randolph County); Author: North Carolina. Division of Archives and History; Probate Place: Randolph, North Carolina
      4. “Hugh Mccrory, “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782”,” 06 JUL 2018, 12:01:00.
      “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/Q2WT-5JTH : accessed 3 July 2018), Hugh Mccrory, 09 Apr 1784; citing North Carolina, United States, State Archives ofNorth Carolina, Raleigh.
      5. “U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 about Hugh Mccrary,” 19 DEC 2016, 10:27:47.
      Name: Hugh Mccrary
      Gender: Male
      Birth Year: 1720
      Spouse Name: Susannah Whitaker
      Spouse Birth Year: 1727
      Marriage State: of NC
      Number Pages: 1
      6. “Hugh Mccrory, “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782”,” 06 JUL 2018, 11:59:07.
      “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/Q2WT-PHYG : accessed 3 July 2018), Hugh Mccrory, 22 Aug 1783; citing Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina, United States,State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh.
      7. “1790 Census Record,” 14 FEB 2018, 11:43:37.
      Listed as widow McCrary. Her sons, Boyd, Hugh and John, are listed are listed just a few lines above her.
      8. “U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900,” 19 DEC 2016, 12:48:50.
      Source number: 4394.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: KHW
      9. “William Whitaker Elizabeth Carlton Marriage Record,” 19 DEC 2016, 12:49:38.
      Photos in family tree
      10. “U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900,” 19 DEC 2016, 12:48:41.
      Source number: 4162.014; Source type: Family group sheet, FGSE, listed as parents; Number of Pages: 1
      11. “Whitakers 1086-1990,” 19 DEC 2016, 12:50:03.
      Genealogical data for Whitaker families in Kentucky and elsewhere, including Isaac & Susannah Whitaker family and the William & Elizabeth Carleton Whitaker family.
      12. “Norfolk, England, Church of England Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812,” 19 DEC 2016, 12:47:59.
      Northamptonshire Record Office; Northampton, England
      13. “Legacy NFS Source: Elizabeth Carleton – Individual or family possessions: Family genealogies: birth-name: Elizabeth Carleton,” 20 DEC 2016, 13:11:22.
      Individual or family possessions: Family genealogies: birth-name: Elizabeth Carleton
      Individual or family possessions: Family genealogies: birth-name: Elizabeth Carleton
      14. “Bill Whitaker’s book “Whitakers 1086-1990”,” 20 DEC 2016, 13:11:29.
      Information about Elizabeth Carleton’s marriage to William Whitaker are found on pgs 24-25. Her children with him are on pg. 26.
      15. 18 DEC 2016, 09:28:22.
      Jessica McManus

  3. I am trying to trace my mother’s side of the family Margaret Gray from Manchester England. Her father William Whittaker Gray, who had sisters Catherine, Rachel and a brother Lawrence who are all deceased. A relation of theirs lived in Ramsey Iom, a William Whittaker who married an Elizabeth Christian in the parish of Maghauld. They had children one being Robert Whittaker. They owned a boarding house called Sandringham in Ramsey. Would love to know more.

  4. Hi there. I love this. Very fascinating. I learning learning about my ancestors. Sarah Adelaide Whitaker Donnem is my great grandmother.

  5. My name is Robert Earl Whitaker from Martin County, North Carolina. I’ve been researching and wow! I’m not sure If I believe what I’m finding on Ancestry and Family Search. My Granddaddy was Lester Whitaker my Great Granddaddy was William Llewellyn Whitaker and if what I’ve found is correct I don’t believe there’s anyone alive with a closer blood line than myself to William Parker to The Reverend Whitaker. Please help!!

  6. My name is Robert Earl Whitaker from Martin County, North Carolina. I’m researching obviously my family and it seems if Ancestory and Family Search are correct William Whitaker is my 3rd Great Grandfather, John Whitaker Sr. my 4th. My Father was Marvin Earl Whitaker, my Grandfather Lester Latham Whitaker and my Great Grandfather, William Llewellyn Whitaker. If there is anyone who could help me here I would appreciate it cause like I said I’m not sure about this. Thank You

  7. I have been researching my husband’s Whitaker ancestors for years and because of DNA matches have finally found matches with descendants of William Parker Whitaker and Elizabeth Carleton. His ancestor seems to be the lost son John Whitaker born in 1725 in Kennet Square Pa and died in Pitt County, NC in 1785. My husband’s family has been in the area of Pitt County and Beaufort County, NC since the 1700’s. He has DNA matches to these descendants of William and Elizabeth – Marcus, Samuel, William, Joshua, Jane, Susannah, and Peter. John had a son named Abraham who stayed in Pitt/ Beaufort County NC when his brother Capt John moved eventually to Alabama. Abraham and wife Pricilla had a son named John who married Nancy. They had a son named John Alfred who married Amanda Louisa Woolard. They were my husbands great grand parents.

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