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Connections between the English, Irish and colonial Poe Families

William Poe



The following summarizes findings concerning possible connections between the English, Irish and colonial Poe families. Data have been entered into a separate database at that reflects the evidence as outlined below.  While every connection matches existing historical records, assumptions (or even “leaps”) were made in this analysis.  For instance, I am assuming that the Edward Poe listed in the Ulster Muster Roll of 1630 is the same Edward Poe found later in Nottinghamshire. This Edward Poe baptized a son named Samuel Poe.  Broader leaps than this are made when attempting to connect Poe family members in late 17th century Pennsylvania and early 18th century Virginia Poe families. Still, short of a miraculous discovery of historical documents, the arrangement I have made fits the extant data without violating common sense.


Most of the data from England and Ireland comes from the book entitled The Family of Poë or Poe by Sir Edmund Thomas Bewley, published in 1905 (recently re-examined on microfilm at the Library of Congress). Each record in the charts states specific citations from Bewley or other sources.


My best research indicates that I am a descendant of Simon Poe, Sr, (1707/8 – 1793). Simon Poe Sr is found in the records of Caroline County, Virginia as early as 1737. It is not proven, but Simon Poe SR could be a son of the Samuel Poe who first makes an appearance in the Quit Rent Rolls of Essex County Virginia for the year 1704 as owner of 800 acres of rich tobacco farming land. A broader goal is to determine where Samuel Poe came from and how he had the resources to acquire so much land, given that he was not of the gentry class. In fact, he was quite the thorn in the side of the royal authorities and landed gentry.


Samuel Poe and the other Poes who can be found in Essex County and Caroline County, Virginia (Essex County was divided in 1732 and the Poe lands became part of Caroline County) were constantly harassed by the upper classes. Samuel Poe was accused of blasphemy and saddle thieving and publicly whipped in 1720. Simon Poe, Sr was accused of violating tobacco planting laws (tending seconds) and fined many thousands of pounds of tobacco. This harassment ultimately played a role in driving Simon Poe's family out of Virginia into North Carolina, Kentucky and elsewhere. A remnant of the Poe family held onto 105 acres in Caroline County into the nineteenth century.


For many years, I have been aware that Poe family members, allegedly of Irish origin, settled in Pennsylvania by the early 18th Century. Recent research demonstrates, however, that the Pennsylvania Poe family was established in Chester/Delaware County by 1692, twelve years before evidence reveals Samuel's presence in Virginia. It seemed to me that that Samuel Poe must have been related to the Pennsylvania Poes. But how? Researchers of the Chester/Delaware and Bucks County, Pennsylvania Poe families felt sure their men were from Ulster, Northern Ireland. Researchers of Samuel Poe's heritage felt, on no evidence, that he hailed from Nottinghamshire. Many have used the work of Edmund Bewley to support their position.


It turns out that we were all correct. The Ulster Poes were not truly Irish, not Celts. The Irish Poes were Englishmen taking advantage of the drive by Charles II to settle Ulster with protestants. Already in Ulster by 1630, three men, William, Anthony and Thomas, sons of Anthony Poe of Papplewick, Nottinghamshire, England, took up arms to put down the Ulster Rebellion of 1641. They became captains and lieutenants in the Parliamentary Army, both in England and Ireland. Later, they were rewarded with lands, but holding onto those lands proved complicated for many reasons.


Two generations later, sons of Richard Poe of Belleen, County Tipperary, who was a son of Lieutenant Thomas Poe of Cloghan, King's County, Ireland, son of Anthony Poe of Papplewick, Nottinghamshire, appear to have left Ireland for the New World. Some of these men are apparently found in the records of Pennsylvania - William Poe, Thomas Poe and Essex County, Virginia, Robert Poe. A cousin, Samuel Poe, baptized in St. Mary's Parish, Nottinghamshire in 1659, son of Edward and Mary Poe and first cousin of the brothers William, Anthony and Thomas appears to have migrated with them. This is the Samuel Poe who died in Essex County in 1725.


The story is just as intricate as one should expect from a family history. But nothing stretches the imagination. Edmund Bewley found records showing that one Richard Poe of Poesfeld, Derbyshire was listed as an under-keeper of Sherwood Forest in 1591. This Richard Poe of Poesfeld apparently had two sons Anthony Poe of Papplewick and James Poe of Nottinghamshire. The Poe brothers of Ulster, William, Thomas and Anthony, descend from Anthony Poe of Papplewick. James Poe of Nottinghamshire was father of the notable Dr. Leonard Poe, physician to James I and Charles II, and of Richard Poe whose son Edward Poe appears to be the father of Samuel Poe of Essex County, Virginia.


Edward Poe was living in Ulster in 1630 near Anthony Poe as evidenced by a Muster Roll attributed to that year. This Anthony Poe was the son of Anthony Poe of Papplewick. It appears that Edward Poe moved back to Nottinghamshire. An Edward Poe was there in 1659 as evidence by the records of St. Mary’s Parish, Nottingham (the baptism of son Samuel Poe and daughter Sarah). Another reference to Edward Poe living in Nottinghamshire can be found in court records from 1668. Simon Poe, senior (see the charts for where he fits in), of the town and County of Nottingham, cordwainer (shoemaker) filed a lawsuit. On P.5 Bewley states that, "The bill also sought to recover a legacy left to the plaintiff by one George Poe, of Gedling, son of Edward Poe, of Gedling, the plaintiff's near kinsman." George Poe also fits into the charts.


The St. Mary's Nottingham register shows two baptisms of children by Edward and Mary Poe (provided by a NottsGen researcher who examined the original Records as well as the CD collection).


11 Jul 1654     Sarah    d. of Edward POE & Mary

26 Jun 1659    Samuell s. of Edwd. POE & Mary


The date of the baptism for Samuel fits well with Samuel Poe of Essex County, Virginia who died in 1725. Samuel Poe would have known his relatives who resided in Ulster and may have lived on their lands before coming to Virginia. These were men of means, both in terms of cash and land (as evidenced by the sums and lands bequeathed in their wills).


Samuel easily could have inherited money from any number of his Irish relatives, or even from James Poe, son of Dr. Leonard Poe, who was quite wealthy, but left no male descendants. James Poe seems to have been among the overseers of William Poe’s will (son of Anthony of Papplewick, indicating the strong family connections between Ulster, Nottinghamshire and London).


Samuel may simply have shared in the family wealth as a laborer on the farms and cattle ranches that the Poes owned in Ulster. At any rate, Samuel was wealthy enough to have acquired 800 acres of prime tobacco farming land in Virginia by 1704. Until now it has been a mystery by what means Samuel Poe could have garnered the resources to purchase such lands. Samuel Poe was not of the gentry class, but seems to be from the social strata of well-to-do yeomen occupied by the Poe family in Nottinghamshire and Ulster (Anthony Poe of Papplewick and the Ulster Poes were referred to as yeoman – or farmer. Thomas Poe of Ulster raised cattle for export).


It should be noted that historical records show that the Poe families changed residency between Ulster and their homeland of Nottinghamshire rather frequently during the mid-1600s, partly due to legal and family issues and partly due to the unrest caused by the settlement policies of Charles II. The Poes became captains and lieutenants in the parliamentary forces charged by Cromwell to put down insurrections such as the Ulster Rebellion of 1641. The families of William Poe, Anthony Poe and Thomas Poe, sons of Anthony Poe of Papplewick, were all effected by the political turmoil.


See map of Ireland from 1600


and see the summary of Irish history between 1607 and 1704. It becomes clear why Englishmen who had acquired land in Ireland might have decided to seek their fortune elsewhere by the later 1600s.


From Defunct Website
1607 Flight of the Earls; leading Ulster families go into exile.
1610 Policy of plantation by colonisation begins in Ulster.
1641 Charles I's policies cause insurrection in Ulster and Civil War in England.
1642 Confederation of Kilkenny formed.
1646 Duke of Ormonde surrenders Dublin to parliamentary forces.
1649 Cromwell invades Ireland. Irish resistance crushed by 1652.
1653 England, Scotland and Ireland unified as a single Commonwealth. Under the Act of Settlement Cromwell's opponents stripped of land. Irish lands granted to soldiers and creditors of the Commonwealth.
1660 Restoration of the monarchy and dissolution of the Commonwealth.  
1662 Act of Settlement allows Protestants loyal to the monarchy to recover lands lost under the Commonwealth.
1665 Act of Explanation forces Cromwellian settlers to surrender one-third of their grants to partially compensate Catholics for losses under the Commonwealth.
1689-90 Deposed James II flees to Ireland; defeated at the Battle of the Boyne by William of Orange and flees to France.
1691 Defeat of Jacobite army at Aughrim and surrender at Limerick. 
1704 Penal Laws enacted; Catholics barred from voting, education and the military. Test Act effectively limits civic offices to members of the Church of Ireland.


Bewley could not find references in England or Ireland for several of the known children of Richard Poe, son of Thomas Poe, son of Anthony Poe of Papplewick – namely, Thomas, Robert, William, John, Richard and John.


As suggested above, some of these men may have traveled to the colonies. A Robert Poe died in Essex County, Virginia in 1722. This Robert Poe does not appear to have lived on the Samuel Poe estate, which by that time has grown to 905 acres – or else he rented land from Samuel. No one was named executor of Robert's estate, which implies that he was either estranged from or not closely related to Samuel Poe such as brother or son (or even father). Robert Poe died with a small estate of his own, but no mention of heirs has been found. A Katherine Poe, who appears in the court records around the same time may be his widow.





There seems to be a William Poe (spelled "Poes" in the record) in the Bucks county tax records for1693 – 1778, listing him as resident there in 1693.


A Thomas Poe appears in the records of Chester County, Pennsylvania records as early as 19 November 1692.


Chester Court ye 19th day of ye 11th month 1692

Wee the Grand Inquest by ye Kings Authority in ye name of ye Propriatery doe present Thomas Poe and Sarah Buller for Comitting fornication.


And a two months later:


At a Courtt held at Chester the 14th 15th & 16th days of the first month 1693. William Jenkin p'sident. Justices p'sent: John Simcocke, John Bristow, George Maris, John Blunston, Samuell Levis. Caleb Pusey Sheriff, Joshua ffearne, Clerke.

Thomas Pow Exhibited a petition to this Courtt

The said Thomas pow & Sarah his wife was called to the bar to Answer to a presentment of ye Grand Jury for Comiting fornication who submited themselves to the Court And the Court gave Judgment That the said Thomas & Sarah doe stand at the Comon whiping post and for the officer to declare theire offence to the People.

And also fines them Twenty shillings and pay ye Courts Charges


It appears that Patrick Poe, Innkeeper, and his son Edward Poe, tailor, who married Abigail Day, all of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and mentioned frequently in those records, likely are descended from the above-mentioned Thomas Poe (the William Poe(s) mentioned above never again shows up in the historical record of the area, so Thomas remains the only known candidate).


See data on the Pennsylvania Poe family at :


Of the men that Bewley could not account for in Ireland, the above records may reveal what became of William, Robert and Thomas. The others, Richard and John may have come to the colonies, but have yet turned up in the historical record. We also have evidence that Samuel Poe who died in Essex County, Virginia in 1725 is the Samuel Poe baptized at St. Mary's Parish in Nottingham in 1659 by Edward and Mary Poe. And finally, many of the English, Irish and colonial Poe families appear to be closely connected, all descending from Richard Poe of Poesfeld, Derbyshire, England. We may possibly trace the ancestry as far back as William Poe of Hoveringham who died 15 July 1557.



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