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The Penny(ey) family of Long Island

Descendants and Ancestors of John Penny/Penney/Penni

    John Penny, eldest son of Roger , was b. in 1728 or 29 and bp. Jan. 11, 1730 at St. Nicholas, Deptford. He is first mentioned in the Dockyard records during the Lady quarter of 1746 as shipwright apprentice to Roger Penny . At that time he worked 75-1/2 days, 0 nights and 104 tides, earning £6, 6s, 0d. The total given with his father's earnings was £10, 19s, 6d. In 1747 John was again indicated to be a "servant" to Roger.
   In 1748 John was listed as "servant to the exec. (executor, his mother) of Roger Penny", and Sept. 1 he was "servant to the widow Penny". His age at this time was given as 19-1/2 yrs, suggesting he was b. in Jan. or Feb. of 1729. Since he had 3 yrs 6 mos service at this time, he must have entered the Dockyard early in the year 1745. This conclusion is supported by an entry of Jan. 1, 1777, stating he entered (the Dockyard) Feb. 19, 1745. In 1748 his behavior was described as "well". In 1749, 50, and 51 he was again listed as "servant to the ex of Roger Penny."
    The parish registers of St. Paul's, Deptford, the "new church", show John Penny, "bachelor", m. Elizabeth Rout, "spinster", Sunday, Sept. 10, 1758, "by license". Both were of that parish. From the Marriage Licence and Bond, we found that Elizabeth was the daughter of Norbury Rout, Baker, of St. Paul's, Deptford. She was bp. at St. Nicholas, Deptford, on Dec. 29, 1739. Her parents were shown as living in Flagon Row.
    John and Elizabeth Penny's first child, Elizabeth, was bp, like all their children, at St. Paul's, Oct. 17, 1759. This was the year in which the British general James Wolfe captured Quebec City from the French. Baby Elizabeth was bur. in Oct., 1760 at the same church, the first year in the reign of King George III. A second daughter, Hannah, was bp. Feb. 13 or 23, 1761. One and one-half years later, a third daughter, Elizabeth Friend, was bp. Sept. 12, 1762; however, she d. as a child and was bur. June 20, 1764.
    John and Elizabeth's first son, John, was bp. Sunday, Nov. 11. 1764. The parish entry recording his bp. used the present spelling of 'Penney', although it is first seen in Dockyard records in 1747 and 48. A second son, William, bp. April 20, 1766, d. four years later and was bur. Sept. 3, 1770. Thomas, a third son, was bp. July 31, 1768 and July 15, 1770 a fourth daughter, Ann, was bp. Thus in twelve years of marriage, 3 of their 7 children had d. young. Apparently John and Elizabeth were especially fond of the name William, since on April 20, 1772 they bp. a second child by that name. He is the one who carried on our Penney line. James Bravil was bp. March 15, 1774, but he d. 14 months later, May 23, 1775. Like the case with the two Williams, Aug. 15, 1776 a second child was bp. James. The last child to join John and Elizabeth's family was a third Elizabeth! She was b. Nov. 3, 1778 and bp. Dec. 7, 1778.
    John's name is found in the Dockyard records for 1755 and 1759. He took on an apprentice, Thomas Mason, during the first quarter of 1765. His own first son John was then still a baby. July 31st of that year he was promoted to quarterman. It was stated in 1765 that John Penny was age 35, 5' 5" tall, m. and from Deptford parish. In 1770 he was again listed as a quarterman shipwright, and training Thomas Mason. By 1775, his former apprentice having completed the required 7 years, John took on a second apprentice, George Slous. That same year the American Revolution began, including the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill.
    Jan. 1, 1777 John still held the rank of quarterman. He was said to be 5' 6-1/2" tall (repeated again in 1779 &1784) and had 7 children. The Jan., 1779 record provides three other important pieces of information about John: He served 1 yr 6 mos at sea (stated again in 1784) although we don't know when, was of "dark" complexion and was of "good character". Deptford was given as his "abode". He now had a third apprentice, his eldest son John (II), age 16, who entered the Dockyard Sept. 28, 1778. In the first quarter of 1780 and in Sept. of 1782 John was still a quarterman and was described on the latter date as a "sober, honest, good man". He was 53 yrs of age in 1783, having put in 30 yrs 6 mos of service in the Yard as a journeyman shipwright. In 1784 he was said to have been of "first class character". As of the first quarter of 1785 his son John was still his apprentice, albeit nearly finished.
    As of 1790, John Penny, quarterman, was 60 yrs of age. His apprentice was now William, age 20, his third son. This is shown very clearly in the pay book for that year. William entered the Dockyard Oct. 3, 1785, being refused Dec. 27, 1784 for "not being of age". By 1794 William was a journeyman shipwright; however, in the third and fourth quarters of that year, his "wages (were) paid to (his) father John by order". The reason for this is unknown: it must have been an interesting story. As soon as William had completed his apprenticeship in 1792, James the fourth and youngest son was taken on for training by John. James entered the Dockyard Sept. 28, 1792. In 1795 and 96, James was continuing to train in the building of ships under his father's direction.
    By June 2, 1803 John Penny was pensioned off, leaving the service at the rank of foreman and 'leading man of shipwrights'. He received £24 per annum, £6 per quarter. Of the pensioners on the list at that time, shipwrights received £20 per annum, and laborers £10 per annum. He, with with two others got the highest rate. As a "superannuated artificer", he continued to collect his pension each quarter and sign his name each time in the accounts book in a very legible hand .
    In the summer of 1802 the First Lord of the Admiralty, St. Vincent, due to temporary peace, discharged rom the Dockyards over one-quarter of the men recruited during the wars with Revolutionary France. Old and infirm men were discharged or superannuated (retired) and he ordered that no men be hired in the future over 28 years of age. When war came once again, the maximum age was raised to 35 in 1803, and 45 in 1804. In 1805 the age limit was eliminated entirely.
    The following is John's Will written in 1807 (Prob. 11/1511). It and the Death Duty record are in the collection at the Public Record Office at Chancery Lane. The contents of both records prove illuminating indeed! As with Roger's Will, the copy below accurately reflects the original.

"John Penney In the name of God Amen. I John Penney shipwright of the parish of St. Pauls Deptford in the County of Kent being of sound mind and memory but weak in body and sensible that this mortal life must end and all worldly possessions must be given up so on this 28th day of October in the year of our Lord 1807 make this my last will and testament revoking all former wills, deeds and promises made at any time or times heretofore by me that is to say first I commend my soul into the hands of my maker who gards it and my body to the earth bequeath to my well beloved son James Penney shipwright of the aforesaid parish for divers causes hereunto moving me all and every of my goods and chatels and yearly estates that I may possess at my decease and I do hereby give and bequeath to the said James Penney aforesaid all my clothes, books, china, prints, plate, and household furniture, wearing apparel effects, monies  and pension that I may be possessed of or entitled to at or after my decease the profits rents and rents and profits that may arise from my four leasehold houses situated in Dowling Street Deptford in the County of Kent to be solely appropriated for this the aforesaid James Penneys use and for his use only during his natural life and after his decease then shall the said four household (leasehold?) houses be equally divided among the other three brothers and three sisters living but if not living after time of the decease of the said James Penney then to be equally divided among the survivors of the aforesaid brothers and sisters then living and I do hereby appoint for my lawful exec. and admin Mr. John Penney of King Street Deptford, Mr. Thomas Penney of Sheerness and Mr. William Penney of Bark (Back?) Lane Deptford to execute this my last will and testament executed on this 28th day of October the year above named. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and sealed - John Penney - signed sealed, published and declared by the said John Penney as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers - Benjamin Porter(?) - Richard Porter(?). Proved at London 18th April 1811 before the worshipful John Daubany Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the oaths of John Penney and Thomas Penney the Sons and two of the executors to whom administration was granted having been first sworn duly to admin power reserved to William Penney the Son also another executor."
Some theories as to the origins of John Pinney that have been discussed

1. Riverhead History, by Virginia Wines shows John Penny and then gives us records of a ship captain in the 1650's and 1660's. Her presentation implies that they were the same person. It seems to me he could have been more likely a son or other relative of that captain, based on dates of wife, children, etc.
2. He could be a son of an earlier immigrant elsewhere in the colonies who moved to Long Island.
3. He could be the prisoner, "John Pinny", exported to Barbados from the Monmouth Rebellion, arrived in Barbadoes apparently sometime Oct-Jan 1685 (remember Jan 1685 follows Oct 1685 in the old calendar.) At first blush, this seems to blend well with the first signs of John Pinney in Southampton about 1685. Worthy of note is that there was another prisoner whose last name is given as Jasper Dyamond. A Thomas Diament / Diamont married a daughter of John Pinney.

Click here to read The Life and Adventures of Joshua Penny a native of Southold who was impressed into the British Service, his escapes and true adventures.

The Penney Family through 300 years: Deptford, Kent: Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey, Kent; and the United States of America.

* For those researching the Penny/Penney surname be sure to visit John Penny's Homepage The Penny/Penney Home Page John presents an excellent resource for all Penny researchers.Click here to read The Life and Adventures of Joshua Penny a native of Southold who was impressed into the British Service, his escapes and true adventures.

* For those researching the Penny/Penney surname be sure to visit John Penny's Homepage The Penny/Penney Home Page John presents an excellent resource for all Penny researchers.

Surrogage Records, Suffolk County, NY for Penny/Penney