Joshua Whitaker, Sr. was born January 22, 1735 in Bradford, Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of William Whitaker Sr. and Elizabeth Carleton Whitaker. His parents were Quakers and members of Bradford Meeting House. When Joshua was around four years old his parents decided to move back to Kennett Square, PA. The family packed up everything they owned and were ready to start back to Kennett Square the next morning. Their home caught fire that night and burned to the ground. One of the few things they were able to save was the family Bible. Even their seeds for the coming year’s planting were destroyed. The fire left the family almost destitute. Joshua Whitaker’s family had asked and received a certificate of removal from Bradford Meeting House to move back to Kennett Square. This was required by the Quaker Church at this period of time. Quakers could not move without their local meeting house’s approval. Since William Whitaker Sr. had received a certificate from Bradford Meeting House, that Meeting house refused to offer any assistance to the family. The Kennett Square Meeting House, also in Chester County, PA, refused to assist the family in any form because they had not actually moved to Kennett Square and presented their certificate of removal to them. The two Quaker Meeting Houses argued for months about which meeting house Joshua Whitaker’s parents belonged to. The two Quaker Churches finally decided the Whitaker family belonged to both meeting houses. The Bradford Meeting House agreed that they were one-quarter members of their church and Kennett Square said they were three-quarter members of their church. Whatever assistance the family might require, Bradford Meeting House would supply 25 percent and Kennett Square 75 percent The family felt rejected by both churches and began to question their Quaker faith. Joshua Whitaker’s family was never able to fully recover from the disastrous fire. William and Elizabeth Carlton Whitaker requested a certificate of removal to North Carolina from the Bradford Meeting House on July 18, 1751. William Whitaker’s request was granted August 15, 1751 for all his family except his eldest son Mark Whitaker. A member of Bradford Meeting house objected to Mark being allowed to move. He was not allowed a certificate of removal to North Carolina until December 19, 1752.
William and Elizabeth Whitaker never presented their certificate of removal to any Quaker Meeting House in North Carolina and neither did their son Mark. They were Quakers no more. Joshua Whitaker’s parents moved to the Jersey Creek Community of Rowan (now Davidson) County, NC. They located on land between Abbott’s Creek and Swearing Creek. The Jersey Community received its name because so many of its residents came from the New Jersey side of the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Trenton. Joshua Whitaker is listed on the 1759 Rowan County Tax list in Captain Smith’s Company. He was sharing a household with Eldad Reed who would soon become his brother-in-law. Eldad Reed married Joshua Whitaker’s sister Jane Whitaker (1745-1811) in late 1759 or early 1760. Joshua Whitaker married Mary Reed September 12, 1764. She was a sister to Eldad Reed who served as bondsman at their wedding. Mary Reed was born near Trenton, New Jersey, October 31, 1748. She was the daughter of John Reed Sr. and Hannah Davis. I do not know much about John Reed, but he must have been a strong Christian and a reader of the Bible to come up with the names of two of his sons. Reed named one son Eldad and one Madad (Medad). The names of the two sons are found in Numbers, Chapter 11, verses 26 thru 29: “But there remained two of the men in the camp; the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out into the tabernacle; and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him. Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” John Reed Sr. died between 1750 and 1753. In 1755 Hannah Davis Reed moved to Rowan (now Davidson) County, NC with her ten children, who include Mary Reed and Eldad and Madad (Medad). We suspect Eldad and Madad (Medad) were twins. Local historian Bruce Whitaker documents genealogy in the Fairview area. Contact him at 828 628-1089 or by emailing him at [email protected].