Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: October 1970 Volume 15 Number 4, Pages 54–57

The Read Family

edited by Elinor Janney Detterline; from Joseph Janney Road

Page 54

Edited by Elinor Janney Detterline from material supplied by Joseph Janney Road 6th month, 1969.

Our genial host kindly asked me to go over some Read family data a cousin had worked out for D. A. R. qualification. Some of the ancestors cited had pages in their lives which Mr. Read would like to share with you.

The first to come to this country was CHARLES READ, who came in l678 from Hull, England on the fly boat (a term meaning fast boat) "Martha", settling in Salem, N.J. Later he moved to Burlington, N.J., although his sons stayed in Greenwich.

Charles had a son THOMAS (b, about 1689, d. 3/7/1763) who is buried in the old Presbyterian graveyard in Greenwich, N.J.

Thomas's son J0SEPH (b. 1719, d. 11/25/1755) was born in Greenwich. His death was the result of being kicked in the stomach by a horse. He is buried next to Thomas. This Joseph married Dinah Read (b. 1732, d. 5/5/1788). She is buried by herself in the same graveyard.

Their son DAVID (b. 11/21/1752. d. 6/2/1838) was born in Greenwich but died in Camden. It is supposed he is buried in the Old Camden Cemetary where the original lot plan shows him owning two lots. David served in the Revolutionary War as a Private, Cumberland County Militia, and was in engagements at Cooper's Creek, Quinton's Bridge, Brandywine, etc. He enlisted in the Army at the outbreak, and remained in the service the entire period of that war. During the last year of the struggle, he was transferred with his regiment to the Army of the South, under General Lincoln, in order to slow the progress of the invading British.

(In the June 1969 Down East Magazine, p.44, we read that General Benjamin Lincoln received the sword of the British General Cornwallis in the surrender at Yorktown. The General was from Hingham, Mass, and purchased a tract of land in the Province of Maine, at Dennysville, where he erected a splendid home in 1797.)

At the War's end, David and his fellow militia were paid off in Continental money. He and two others went to Charleston, S.C. to seek passage on a vessel for Philadelphia. As Continental money was practically worthless, the captain of a ship agreed to take them aboard if they in turn would work to help pay their passage.

Page 55

This they agreed to do. While in the process of navigating the dangerous Hatteras waters, the vessel foundered and all were lost but David and his two com­panions. These three clung to a broken spar. After forty-eight hours they eventually drifted to shore, and in the darkness of night were able to drag themselves up on the strand. A light was seen in the distance, and being greatly in need of food and water, they set out in that direction. En route, one of David's comrades stepped on a bottle, which they examined. They thought it was Jamaica rum. Against protests of David, the two former soldiers drank in excess. This proved fatal. For fifteen minutes they struggled for their lives, then died. David continued toward the light, which proved to be a lighthouse. Upon his arrival he was well cared for by the attendants Upon reviving, he and his newfound friends returned to the remains of his unfortunate compatriots, and they buried them on the stormy Hatteras shore, After he had regained his strength, David returned to Charlestown, where he received money from some patriotic inhabitants, and set sail for Philadelphia. He returned to Greenwich and married Rachel Peck. Around 1800 he moved his family to Camden. Here he engaged in the pork and sausage business. [Note 1] Rachel Peck (b. l760 to 65, d. 8/20/1824) and David were married 10/3/1775?, according to the records of the Pittsgrove Baptist Church. (We note that this date does not agree with the preceeding episode). He also served as Constable of Greenwich. They had five children: Sarah JAMES; Rachel, David and Joel. James is the ancestor of our host, but let us pause and hear of his brother Joel and Joel's son Joseph J. Read.

Joel Read was the third son of David and Rachel, born in 1786. He joined the Jersey Blues, and was stationed at Billingsport, opposite Fort Mifflin, during the War of 1812. In 1812 he married Mary Jones, a member of the Society of Friends, and a descendant of the Thackaras, an early and influential family of New Jersey. They had six children. He was a brushmaker by trade, and after being in the businessa few years in Camden, moved to Philadelphia. In later life he returned to Camden. One of their sons was Joseph J. Read (we believe the J. stands for Jones). He was born in Camden, 3/24/1815. When eight years old he moved with his parents to the district of Southwark, Phila. Shortly thereafter he was employed at Jaspar Harding's printing office in Philadelphia at $1.00 per week, where he continued for two years.

Page 56

Thomas Watson next hired him at $1.50 per week in a biscuit and cracker "bakery. Treated harshly by the foreman, he left, unknown to his mother, after one week's wages had been earned. This he invested with his characteristic ingenuity in buttons, tape, needles and pins. Before noon of that day he had disposed of all his wares, and had a profit of fifty cents. With two dollars capital now in hand, he reinvested, and in the afternoon cleared in all $1.25. Thus ended his first day in his merchantile career. By the end of the week he had cleared $10.00. By the middle of the next week, he had $25.00 in hand, with which he invested in gilt buttons, which were disposed of in one day with a 50% gain. Two weeks had now passed since he left the employ of the bakery. His mother asked for his wages. When he drew from his pocket $30.00 in gold and silver, his mother, fearing he would get into bad company, took the money and secured for him a place on a farm in Burlington County, N. J. Although again under an employer who did not treat him well, he stayed for two years, and then returned to his home in Philadelphia. At his own wish, he secured a position to go to sea at a salary of $6.00 per month. Of the one month's wages paid in advance, half was given to his mother; with the other he purchased manufactured tobacco. This he took with him aboard the vessel which was bound for Cuba. On arrival in Cuba, he traded his tobacco for a barrel of molasses, which he failed to place on the manifest. When the ship returned to Philadelphia, the barrel had to be included in the cargo, and our entrepreneur lost all of his investment. Being desirous of learning the trade of cooper, he was bound as an apprentice for six years with a man who proved to be a hard master. One time the lad was beaten so badly by his employer, who was under the influence, that his master gave him fifty cents to go see the bell hung at Independence Hall with the understanding the youth would not tell his mother of his mistreatment. Young Read accepted the fifty cents, boarded a sloop bound for Bordentown, walked to New Brunswick and boarded another vessel for New York. Here he worked for two coopers for two years, returning to Philadelphia at the age of 21. After another term in New York, he returned to Philadelphia in 1840 and established a cooperage, which he turned into a profitable business. He built a fine $10,000 home on Pine Street, and in the course of time, owned all the property from Penn Street to Delaware Avenue. In 1861 he moved to Camden, but continued his business across the river. He retired in 1867. From that time he engaged in the real estate business as a broker and general agent, and owned many properties in Philadelphia, Camden and Atlantic City. [Note 2]

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JAMES READ (b. 5/9/1781, d, 2/29/1864) married a second time, Sarah Shiver Dunlap (b. 12/6/l80l, d. 3/6/1886). He was born in Camden and buried in Old Camden Cemetary, with his wife Sarah at his side. Sarah's father was Anae Dunlap of Scotland, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. James and Sarah had five children: Charles, James, David, William and Joseph Dunlap Read, the latter being the ancestor.

James Sr., the father, took William, David and James by covered wagon and ox team to what we call Ohio and founded Salem, named for Old Salem, N. J, Four years later James Sr. returned.

James Dunlap Read (b, 5/29/1818, d, 10/26/1900) was born and died in Camden, He married Mary D. Mannel (b,1825 in Germany, d. 12/7/1921) Our host has an original deed of 1820 when James Read purchased a lot on Queen Street (now 2nd Street), Camden, N. J. The Victor Talking Machine Co. later purchased this and other Read holdings. James Dunlap Read always wore a high silk hat: an every day one, and one for Sunday. He and Mary had four children, of which Wash­ington Dunlap Read (6/14/I846; d. 12/7/1921) was the eldest He was born and died in Camden, N. J. He married Mary Elizabeth Janney, who eloped with him at the age of 16 because she was unhappy at home. Her mother, Mary Elizabeth Mather (b. 1830, d. 1863) was married to Peter Janney (b.5/3 1823), from the Kensington area. WASHINGTON DUNLAP READ and Mary Elizabeth Janney had two children, Joseph Dunlap Read and Mary Elizabeth. They lived in Camden, moving to Beverly, N. J. where he was an agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad. They moved to Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and Mary J. Read became the ticket agent; Washington D. Read was a confidential clerk for the Railroad at Harrisburg. They were in Ardmore 35 years. When they retired they bought a home at Somers' Point, N.J. These folks were the grandparents of our host, his father being J0SEPH DUNLAP READ - the "J" in our host's name standing for "Janney."


1 & 2 - History of Camden County, New Jersey, by Prowell, Published 1886,, p. 540 &c.


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