While living in Wales, John Bevan’s family became members of the Society of Friends. Wishing to found a colony of Quakers in Pennsylvania, he purchased 2,000 acres from William Penn on the colonists’ behalf.
In 1683, he, his wife and family immigrated to Pennsylvania, where he began a career as Trustee for a small company of settlers in the Welsh Tract of Pennsylvania, settling in Merion and Haverford since his land was positioned in both townships. He was instrumental in founding the Merion Meeting and continued to be a devout Quaker.
On November 6, 1685, John became Justice for Philadelphia County, which later became Montgomery County in Pennsylvania. He was recommissioned November 2, 1689 and was a member of the Colonial Assembly in the years 1687, 1695, 1699 and 1700.
In 1694, he visited Wales, and his return to Pennsylvania was noted in a letter written by Rees Thomas to his father-in-law in Wales, dated 29th 3d mo. 1695:
“My unkle John Bevan came over very well and had a good voyage, he told me he had seen thee twice, etc.”
He once again visited Wales in 1704, as stated in his journal entry of later years:
“a weighty concerne to return to my native country and that chiefly on Truth’s account. I laid it before my wife and she could not be easy to stay behind me and we came over in the year 1704.”
He was accompanied by his wife and unmarried daughter Barbara, who died in Wales soon after they arrived. He died at Treverigg at 80 years of age.
The following quote from “Colonial Families of Philadelphia”, by John W. Jordan, illustrates his life and holdings in Wales.
“John ap Evan, of Treverigg, was grandfather of John Bevan, the Pennsylvania emigrant of 1683. Treverigg, in the parish of Llantrisant, was part of the original possessions of Iestan ap Gwrgan, set apart to his son, Madog ap Iestan, and descended in a direct line to John ap Evan, and is located a few miles from Cardiff, in Glamorganshire. The estate is about two miles long and one mile wide and is now divided into three farms. The ancient house in which John Bevan resided, near the little Quaker Meeting House, is still standing. The rooms, which are very large, are timbered in heavy oak and the floors are paved with stone, as usual in Wales at that time. A mill, in operation in John Bevan’s time, is also still standing. John ap Evan, of Treverigg, was born about 1585, died prior to July 19, 1630, and was buried in Llantrisant Church, where his tomb can still be seen.”
The June 27, 1630 will of John Bevan was probated July 19, 1630 and records legacies to Llandal Cathedral, Llantrisant Church, and his three daughters. He bequeathed the three farms (“three principals”) in Treverigg to his son Evan John and provided for the lifetime occupancy of his wife Elizabeth Thomas in the tenements Kae Banall and Kystille.
- Record of Merion Meeting Graveyard (1725-1746), Montgomery County, PA, Rootsweb.com online; accessed.
- Records of Merion Meeting Graveyard (1707-1724), Montgomery County, PA, Rootsweb.com online; accessed.
- Thomas Allen Glenn, Merion in the Welsh Tract: With Sketches of the Townships of Haverford and Radnor (Norristown, PA: 1896); pdf, Digital Library; accessed.
- Joshua Eyre Hannum, Genealogy of the Eyre Family of Delaware County, Pennsylvania 1958).
“Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Volumes I-III; Bevan Family,” database, Ancestry.com ; acessed; extracted from (N.p.:n.p.n.d.).
- “Pennsylvania Founding Families, 1681-1911,” database, Ancestry.com ; accessed; extracted from (N.p.:n.p.n.d.).
- Martin, John Hill. Chester (and its Vicinity,) Delaware County, in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia : WM H. Pile & Sons, 1877.
- John Woolf Jordan, “Colonial Families of Philadelphia,”, Lewis Publishing Co.