Death at sea. It sure makes for a compelling family origin story.
And the story of the ill-fated voyage of the Matthew Banes family from Lancashire, England to Pennsylvania in 1687 is true one that has been published in annals of history.
Matthew Banes, his wife Margaret and two of their four children, Thomas and Timothy, died en route to William Penn’s Quaker colony when disease broke out aboard their ship. Two children – a son, William, and a daughter, Eleanor – were the sole survivors and later taken in by families from the close-knit Quaker community in colonial Pennsylvania.
Somehow this tragic event has become part of the family lore of another Banes: Deborah Baynes, wife of Thomas Ashton of Makefield, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.