George Harlan

George Harlan

County Durham, England
Death 5 Jul 1714 (aged 63)
Chadds Ford, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
Cenotaph Kennett Square, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 63840371 · View Source
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Biographical Information Provided By: Don Blauvelt

Friends (Quaker) hold that the familiar names of the calendar (e.g., January, February, etc.) are pagan in origin and use a numerical number to represent the equivalent number of the month of the year. All Quaker numerical dates prior to 1752 in Alpheus H. Harlan's History and Genealogy of the Harlan Family represent dates in the old English (Julian) calendar. England and English North America converted to the modern Gregorian calendar on Jan. 1, 1752. In the Julian calendar, the English year began on March 25th and ended the following March 24th with March the 1st, April the 2nd, January the 11th, and February the 12th months of the year. All modern genealogy programs use and dates in Find-a-grave drop-down date menus are based on the Gregorian calendar, requiring numerical-only dates prior to Jan. 1, 1752 to be converted to their equivalent named month, day and year for proper dating in the Find-a-grave system.

For example, the known Quaker record of the marriage of George Harlan and Elizabeth Buck is recorded in the Friends' certificate as the "twenty seventh day of the ninth month anno 1678." In 1678 in the old English (Julian) calendar the ninth month of the year was November, not September.[*1]


George Harlan, the eldest of two sons of James Harlan to settle at William Penn's Province of Pennsylvania, b. at Bishoprick, County Durham in far northeast England. He was baptized the 11th day of the 1st mo. 1650 [Mar. 11, 1650/1 in the modern calendar (Kennett, Chester County, Penn. Friends MM Record)] at the Monastery of Monkwearmouth within the City of Sunderland, county Durham. After reaching majority age George relocated to Northern Ireland where he became a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers.

On the 27th day of the 9th mo. (Nov.), 1678 at the Lurgan Monthly Meeting (hereafter "MM") of Friends at the Parish of Shankill, County Ardmagh, Ulster Province, Northern Ireland, George Harlan m. Elizabeth Duck, daughter of Ezekiel Duck and Hannah Hoope, b. May 5, 1660 at Lurgan. By 1687, George Harlan and wife Elizabeth relocated from Northern Ireland to near Centreville in what was then one of the three lower counties of Penn's Pennsylvania, now in New Castle County, Delaware. At or near Centreville south of the modern Delaware-Pennsylvania border is where the rest of the children were born.

In 1695 George Harlan was one of Penn's governors of the "lower counties" in present-day Delaware and after moving north along Brandywine Creek to south of present-day Chadds Fork in present-day Delaware County, PA, in 1712 George was elected a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

It is unknown when wife Elizabeth died, but some would claim it was on Nov. 12, 1712. Unforunately, no Friends MM record contains the recorded date of Elizabeth and husband George's death. George died testate and a widower calling himself in his will "of Brandywine Creek in the Township of Kennett & County of Chester in the Province of Pennsylvania," which today is in the southern portion of Chadds Ford Township, Delaware County, Penn. He died between Apr. 21, 1714 (the date of his will) and Oct 2, 1714 (the date of probate). Some claim George d. on July 5, 1714, but again no record can be found stating his actual date of death. Alpheus Harlan in his History and Genealogy of the Harlan Family claims only that George died in the "Fifth Month" (July) of 1714. Family records used by Alpheus Harlan state George and Elizabeth were buried at "the new burying grounds on Alphonsus Kirk's land, which was afterwards, and is yet today, the Center Meeting Burying Grounds" in Centreville, New Castle County, Delaware.[*2]

George Harlan and Elizabeth Duck had nine children, the first four born at the Parish of Donnahlong in County Down, Ulster Province, Northern Ireland, and the rest at present-day New Castle County, DE after arrival from Ireland. All nine children, the dates of their birth and where born, are recorded in the Kennett Friends MM Records:

• i. Ezekiel Harlan, b. "7, 16, 1679" [Sept. 16, not 6, 16, 1679 as claimed in the Harlan Geneal.] at Northern Ireland, d. testate and of smallpox 15 of 4mo [June 15] 1731 in England while attending to the affairs of his deceased father; m. 1) circa Feb. 1700/1, Mary Beezer and 2) 1, 13, 1705 [Mar. 13, 1705/6] at the Kennett Friends MM, Ruth Buffington. Seven children of the family. The old Kennett Meeting House together with the Kennett Friends Burial Ground, on the north side of Baltimore Pike (U.S. 1) east of Kennett Square, PA (the meeting house itself is now on the National Historical Register), was initially built in 1710 on land owned by this Ezekiel Harlan.

• ii. Hannah Harlan, b. "2, 4, 1681" [Apr. 4] at Northern Ireland, d. after Aug. 30, 1748; m. Samuel Hollingsworth, who d. testate Nov. 17, 1748. Five children of the family.

• iii. Moses Harlan, b. "12, 20, 1683" [Feb. 20, 1683/4] at Northern Ireland, d. testate betw. Dec. 10, 1747 and May 27, 1749 at Lancaster (now Adams) County, PA; m. Margaret Ray. Two known children of the family.

• iv. Aaron Harlan, b. "10, 24, 1685" [Dec. 24] at Northern Ireland, d. testate in Sept. 1732 at Kennett Twp., Chester County, PA; m. Sarah Heald, who d. testate in Feb. 1747/8. Seven children of the family.

• v. Rebecca Harlan, b. "8, 17, 1688" [Oct. 17], d. Aug. 17, 1775; m. "1, 22, 1709" [Mar. 22, 1709/10] William Webb, Esq., who d. testate bet. Aug. 26, 1749 and May 28, 1753. One known child of the family.

• vi. Deborah Harlan, b. "8, 28, 1690" [Oct. 28]; m. after Feb. 4, 1709/10, Joshua Calvert of the Chester MM, latter the date they were cleared by the Kennett Friends to marry. However, both the Chester and Kennett MMs required Joshua to obtain a certificate of permission to marry from his mother, implying he was not yet 21 years old. His identity as suggested in the Harlan Genealogy may not be correct.

• vii. James Harlan, b. "8, 19, 1692" [Oct. 19], d. after 1760 probably at Hopewell, Frederick County, VA; m. an unidentified Elizabeth and had ten known children.

• viii. Elizabeth Harlan, b. "8, 9, 1694" [Oct. 9], d. after Apr. 27, 1754; m. after. 9, 12, 1712 [Nov. 9, the date cleared to marry by the Kennett MM], Joseph Robinson. Alpheus Harlan claimed they married 9, 12, 1712. Seven children of the family.

• ix. Joshua Harlan, b. "11, 15, 1696" [Jan. 15, 1696/7], d. testate betw. June 22 and July 13, 1744; m. in March 1719/20, Mary Heald, the younger sister of his brother Aaron's wife. Seven children of the family.

[*1] Friends (Quakers) were not the only group to use purely numerical numbers in recording dates. Twenty years before the first acknowledged Friend appeared in North America, Gov. John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony refused to permit the written name of a month to be used in records. The vast majority of 1600s Massachusetts town and church records are recorded using only a number for the month of the year.

[*2] Friends discipline forbade grave markers, and in most places this discipline held until the mid-19th century. A gravestone for a Friend who died before the 19th century likely has have been placed by a 20th century descendant.

Bio by Don Blauvelt

Family Members



Son Aaron and family (1685-1732) - SEE #9005539,

Gravesite Details Buried at Centre Monthly Meeting Cemetery. See memorial #9004082.


Plan a visit to Kennett Friends Burial Ground?



  • Created by: Paula M Brown
  • Added: 6 Jan 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 63840371
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George Harlan (11 Mar 1651–5 Jul 1714), Find A Grave Memorial no. 63840371, citing Kennett Friends Burial Ground, Kennett Square, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Paula M Brown (contributor 47154433) .