The Foulke Family, Part II

Last time I talked about the Foulke family settling in on what's today Lower Gwynedd Township. In the last blog, I talked a lot about the Foulke mansion, who owned it, what happened during the Revolutionary War, and where it was located before it was demolished in the 1980s. It was mostly anyone from the Thomas Foulke (1679-1762) line who owned the mansion.

Now I want to talk about the rest of the Foulke family. Let's say that they didn't live in Lower Gwynedd all their lives. The children of Edward and Eleanor Foulke were born in Wales before settling in Gwynedd. The grandchildren of Edward and Eleanor spread around the United States, making a difference. Most of the descendants came from the Hugh Foulke (1685-1760) line.

Let's take a look at their lives, and their impacts on America!

Daniel Boone (1734-1820)

Let's begin Hugh's eldest daughter: Mary Foulke (1714-1756). She was born in North Wales. She lived in the Gwynedd area until she married James Boone. They resided in Berks County, PA. James Boone was the uncle of Kentucky pioneer Daniel Boone. He and Daniel Boone's father, Squire Boone, were sons of George Boone III. His homestead is currently standing, and is now owned by the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission.

Mary and James Boone's daughter Ann Boone (1737-1807) married Abraham Lincoln and remained in Berks County, PA. Abraham was the brother of the grandfather of 16th President Abraham Lincoln. He represented Berks County in Pennsylvania's State Legislature, and in Pennsylvania's Constitutional Convention of 1790.

Hugh Foulke's Family Tree Part 1 (Mary)

Hugh's sons Samuel (1718-1797) and John Foulke (1722-1787) settled in Bucks County, PA, and were considered prominent men. John was part of the Bucks County Provincial Assembly from 1769-1775. Samuel was part of the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania. He was also the one who translated his grandfather's narrative on his removal to Pennsylvania from Welsh to English.

Hannah E. Longshore (1819-1901)

Samuel's great-granddaughter Hannah E. Longshore, MD (1819-1901) was the pioneer amongst women physicians. Hannah was the first woman to practice medicine in Philadelphia. She was raised in Maryland, and it was during the time her parents were made to "feel the blighting social conditions resulting from the practice of slavery." Her family ended up moving to Ohio knowing slavery was wrong.

Her interest in medicine began when she was examining and dissecting insects and small animals.

She married at age 22 to Thomas Ellwood Longshore. She continued to pursue her study in medicine by assisting her brother in-law, Professor Joseph S. Longshore, in Langhorne, Bucks County. He taught her to use his medical library, skeletons, and helped her with great knowledge of medicine and surgery. That was when she entered the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. She was one of the first graduating class in 1851. She was immediately elected the Demonstrator of Anatomy.

Before the women suffrage movement, women faced discrimination against men. For Hannah, male physicians won't consult with her just because she was a woman. Druggists refused to fill her prescriptions. Even the teachers from public schools instructed their students not to walk with Hannah. Hannah ended up carrying her own medicines. With so much she had done, she was forced to quit her lectures to women, and Hannah resigned her position at the Women's Medical College.

She ended up doing her practices privately in Philadelphia.

The sneers, ridicule, and obstacles she encountered at that time might have driven any one less self-reliant from the field.

Hannah travelled and lectured publicly in the US and Europe on hygiene.

Her step-sister Mary Frame Myers Thomas, MD (1816-1888) was a physician as well. She was one of the pioneer women physicians in Indiana. She began taking her first medical courses at Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania after finding care for her children. She later attended lectures at Western Reserve University in Cleveland where her husband graduated in 1854. She graduated at Women's Medical College in 1854.

She was at first not accepted by all-male medical societies until she became a pioneer in them. Her medical career focused on working with the poor. She was involved in the church, and in many charitable organizations. She was a supporter of women's rights and women's right to vote.

She was also an active mother and wife: she made her children's clothes by hand. She found time studying and practicing medicine. She also found time to do other activities.

'By the most vigorous discipline of my mind and systematic arrangement of my time.'

Dr. Mary Frame Myers Thomas

She attended lectures at Indiana Medical College in 1869-70 during the first session since opening in 1869. She faced harassment from her fellow male students after presenting about accepting women into medical schools.

Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton appointed Mary to hospital service during the Civil War. She nursed wounded soldiers at hospitals in Washington D.C. and Nashville as well as Natchez, Mississippi.

She gave a speech to the Indiana Senate in 1859 urging property rights for women and amending the state constitution to allow women to vote, but the legislation she proposed was not enacted. She edited and published a women's rights paper, The Lilly.

Mary was as an abolitionist, conducting for Aboite Devil's Hollow, a major Underground Railroad station in Aboite Township, Indiana.

Hannah's younger sister Jane Viola Myers, MD (1831-1918) was also a physician. Jane graduated from the Penn Medical College in 1853, and opened her office next to Hannah's. She operated there for 35 years. She succeeded he sister Hannah as a teacher of anatomy.

the careers of these sisters showed a high degree of initiative, intelligence, and industry.

Dr. Frederick C. Waite (Medical Review of Reviews, March 1933)

From Elizabeth Bass' "It Runs in the Family: Three Sisters Who Were Physicians" (Pg 46)
Hugh Foulke's Family Tree Part 2 (Samuel)

Hugh's son Theophilus Foulke (1727-1785) was from Bucks County, and had two sons, Theophilus, Jr. (1761-1798) and Benjamin Foulke (1766-1821), were members of the House of Representatives of the PA Assembly.

Theophilus, Jr. died tragically died from falling from a tree after detangling a fishing line. He left behind his wife and two children: Antrim and Sarah. Antrim Foulke (1793-1861) was three years old when his father died. He was in sole care of his mother.

Antrim was at first interested in coachmaker until he turned his interest in medicine at age 21. He studied medicine under Dr. Joseph Meredith of Gwynedd. He joined Dr. Meredith after completing his studies. He took over Dr. Meredith's practice after his death. Antrim remained in Gwynedd until in 1848, he moved to Philadelphia, and practiced there until his death.

From the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Volume 9 (Pg 100)

Antrim married and had 6 children. Two of them became doctors like him: John L. and William. John L. Foulke (1822-1870) was educated at Benjamin Hallowell's school in Alexandria, VA, and studied medicine with his father. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1841. He was successful at Gwynedd until moving to Philadelphia in 1859. In 1863, he travelled to Havana, Cuba. A year later her travelled to Liverpool, as a surgeon at the packet ship Saranak. After retuning to the US, he served for the country, and continued as a hospital surgeon to the end of the war. John's name was featured in the 1850 census data.

Antrim's brother William (1831-1855) was also a graduate at the University of Pennsylvania in 1854.

Hugh Foulke's Family Tree Part 3 (Theophilus)

Lastly, I talk about the ancestors of Cadwallader Foulke (1691-1743). Cadwallader was a "yeoman." He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia County in 1738.

His son Judah Foulke (1722-1776) was a Collector of Excise for Philadelphia from 1745-1750. From 1770-1772, he was a sheriff of the city and county of Philadelphia. In 1773, Judah was appointed as "Keeper of the Standards of Brass for weights and measures for the county of Philadelphia."

Judah's son John Foulke's (1756-1796) sailed to France (Port l"Orient) to further study medicine, where Benjamin Rush prepared a list of 18 suggestions for him. Rush recommended John to...

...attend lectures on natural philosophy as well as on medical subjects, visit the hospitals, noting the prescriptions and modes of treatment, spend a few hours daily for some weeks in a chemical laboratory and apothecary's shop, and acquire a library.

Rush also urged him to keep a diary. During the American Revolution, John studied at Paris. During his time in Paris, he was sending letters to Benjamin Franklin, telling him about his experiences. He attended the The University of Leipzig in the fall of 1781. John learned about older women in Europe. According to his friend George Fox...

...whether Foulke was 'as assiduous as heretofore in his visits to the bald Head and Tail Countess [possibly Mme. la Comtesse de la Mark], or has he forfeited by some inconstancy the honorable title of mon Fils.'
  • LETTER: To Benjamin Franklin from John Foulke, 12 October 1781

Reverand Father

As a child of Science, & a person who owes to you a protection & numberless attentions during my Stay at Paris which will do me profit & honor all my life—I feel toward you more than that duty & veneration which would be due to a natural parent for such obligations—
Those advantages afforded me by the many learned & honorable acquaintances wh. which your influence obliged me in France & Holland are favor’s which I mention rather to express my gratefull sense of them, than as circumstances essential to you to hear reapeted—
I shou’d have availed myself of an earlier opportunity to offer my respects to you, but the hopes of some occurrence in science or politics sufficiently interresting to merit your attention might occur, I have waited unsuccessfully untill the present period.
The coolness with which science is courted at Leipsic & a general disposition to a contentment in such discoveries as the sons of Science in France or Great Britain may throw into the world, tends to continue old usages & Theories; & such parts of the School of Leipsic, as I have at present acquaintance with appear much inferior to that of Paris & no way superior to that young seminary which owes its birth to you & which has already reflected infinite honor to its Patron reputation & utility to that Country which can alone boast of producing Doctr Franklin—
There is a school at Leipsic (where the unhappy muets of both sexes & all ages are taught to write speak & read) similar to those of Paris & Edinburgh, I was shown there by a friend—when a young pupil of fifteen enquired what countryman I was, perceiving me to be a stranger— The Master told him I was from North America & asked him if he knew what Country that was, the pupil answer’d, yes, it was Doctr. Franklins country & that it lay there, pointing to the West.
For the character, station & person of him, by whose name the dumb are even capable of distinguishing a vast powerfull western country—permit me to submit to the honor of his acceptance the profoundest sentiments of gratitude, duty—& most humble regard—& Allow me to wish that gracious heaven may, by his life & health, continue to his Country, a firm & affectionate Father, an honorable Patron to Science, an Ornament & a usefull Citizen to the Universe—& a Parent to whom, no one among the children of America can owe greater obligations, than your most Sincere friend & truly humble seat.

John Foulke

  • LETTER: To Benjamin Franklin from John Foulke, 12 May 1782


I have the honor to enclose to your Excelly. your letter upon the little insect Ephemere which miss Alexander put into my hands to copy for her with the request to forward it immediately to your Excelly.
I have the honor to be with the most profound respect Your obliged & sincere friend & very Hl sert.—

John Foulke

He received a BM (Bachelor of Medicine) at the University of the State of Pennsylvania (now University of Pennsylvania).

John became interested in balloons while being in France, and delivered popular lectures on pneumatics. He offered courses in anatomy. His friends jokingly called him both the "Montgolfier" and the "Monro of America."

He was described as "a pedantic young Quaker" to his friends during his service during the Revolutionary War as a surgeon.

On May 17, 1784, George Washington received John's invitation to attend his lecture on pneumatics at the University of Pennsylvania, but couldn't attend:

Genl Washington presents his Compliments to Doctr Foulke—thanks him for his polite Card, & Ticket—and would with great pleasure attend his Lecture on Pneumatics; but the business which brought him to this City does not leave him at liberty, as the Members of the Cincinnati are anxious to bring it to a close.

During the Yellow Fever epidemic, he fearlessly devoted himself to the aid of those who were suffering.

Lastly, I talk about John's grandson William Parker Foulke (1816-1865). He discovered the first full dinosaur skeleton in North America. He was also an abolitionist, prison reformer, pamphleteer, philanthropist, lawyer, historian and geologist.

He was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1841. In 1846, he was one of the Visiting Committee for the Eastern Penitentiary. He struggled against popular prejudice and indifference.

In 1860, William was promoted to the Arctic Expedition under Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes.

William was an ardent and serviceable member of the Academy of Natural Sciences. He made an important discovery on the summer of 1858 when he was at Haddonfield, NJ: he discovered a gigantic fossil extinct reptile. It was named "Hadrosaurus foulkii," or "Foulke's big lizard," by Joseph Leidy. Read more about his dinosaur discovery here.

In 1856, William published, "On the Right Use of History" during his time as a member of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.

William financially supported the Academy of Music:

His hope was, by elevating the standard of popular amusements, dramatic, operatic, and musical, to aid in the purification of tastes and manners among the people at large.
Cadwallader Foulke's Family Tree

Who knew these descendants of Edward and Eleanor Foulke made an impact, in a way, in America? Most of them were doctors. Many were Quakers. Most were PIONEERS! One was married to someone who was related to a pioneer. After finding outmode about this family, I started to realize that Lower Gwynedd Township is one of the townships that should be acknowledge more. Even though most of these descendants didn't live in the township all their lives, they at least came from a family who began settlement in Lower Gwynedd in 1698.


Bass, Elizabeth. "It Runs in the Family: Three Sisters Who Were Physicians." Journal of the American Medical Women's Association 9, no. 2 (1954): 45-47.

Bell, Whitfield J., Jr. "Philadelphia Medical Students in Europe, 1750-1800." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 67, no. 1 (1943): 1-29.

"FOULKE Genealogy." WikiTree. Accessed July 7, 2020.

"Founders Online." National Archives. Accessed July 7, 2020.

Friends' Intelligencer and Journal, Volume 58. (Philadelphia: Friends' Intelligencer Association, 1901): 141, 686.

Jenkins, Howard Malcolm. Historical collections relating to Gwynedd, a township of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, settled, 1696, by immigrants from Wales, with some data referring to the adjoining township, of Montgomery, also settled by Welsh. (Philadelphia: Howard Malcolm Jenkins, 1897): 233-281, 441-442.

Roberts, Clarence Vernon. Early Friends Families of Upper Bucks with Some Account of Their Descendants, Historical and Genealogical Information About the Early Settlers in Upper Bucks County Pennsylvania. (Philadelphia: Genealogical Publication Co., Inc., 1925): 131.

"The 1898 Foulke Reunion Memorial Volume." Foulke Family Association. Accessed June 7, 2020.

The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Volume 9. (Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1831): 100.

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