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Dr. John Hammersley - England to USA

Garnet Holmes' ancestors seem to have come from a Baptist family from Staffordshire, England. Doctor John Hammersley, believed to be Garnet's paternal great grandfather, was both from Staffordshire and a staunch Baptist. John Hammersley wrote late in life from Martin's Brandon Parish, Prince George County, Virginia, a letter to Rhode Island Baptist leader Nicholas Eyers on July 28, 1742, giving an account of his brethren Baptists in Virginia. A search turns up a Baptist, and Quaker, Homersley family in Staffordshire, England during the mid to late 1600's. It is believed that Doctor John Hammersley came from that family. His last name would have been "Homersley" at birth.


In the article "Early Staffordshire Baptists" in "The Baptist Quarterly Volume XXXVIII", page 201, it states that a Thomas Hammersley of Dilhorne, Staffordshire, England, "emigrated to America where he established a Baptist Church which for some years corresponded with the church in Staffordshire from which he migrated."  Thomas' name was "Homersley" at birth.  He was baptized as an infant on 13 February 1647 in Dilhorne.


The article "Our Public Worship" in "The Baptist Quarterly, Volume VIII 1936-1937" tells of a "Baptist Church at Berry Hill (Staffordshire, England), which, by Professor Mawer of the Place-Name Society, is at last identified as a mile-and-a-half from Stone in Staffordshire..... The (Berry Hill) church changed its name to Stone."  It also tells of "Doctor John Hammersley emigrated to Albemarle Sound, on the Perqimans River at the north of Carolina..... (where) His friends resumed correspondence with the Orthodox General Baptists in 1702, and secured a gift of books to the Carolina settlers, then the sending of Ingram from Southwark to be Elder at a new Stone..."


Since Doctor John Hammersley's friends resumed correspondence with the Orthodox General Baptists in 1702, it is presumed that the new Stone church was the same Baptist Church that Thomas Hammersley established in America years earlier which corresponded with the church (Stone) in Staffordshire from which he migrated.


Paul Palmer, dubbed by many as the father of the Baptist church in North Carolina, preached at the Camden Church in Camden County, North Carolina. This church was built in 1727 and is considered the oldest Baptist church in North Carolina. It's name was later changed to Shiloh Church. But in the article "The Shiloh Baptist Church (NC) 1727-1927" in "North Carolina Baptist History" it says that there were three arms of this (Camden) church at first. www.baptisthistoryhomepage.com/nc.shiloh.200.yrs.annvrsy.html One was on the Chowan River, the next was in Perquimans County, and then the Camden (Shiloh) Church. So these three early churches probably met at “meeting houses”.


Benjamin Laker, whom some give the title of father of the Baptist church in North Carolina, rather than Paul Palmer, made his rounds all across the Albemarle Sound area, including Chowan, Perquimans and Camden counties and was widely known there prior to his death in 1702, about the same time that Doctor John Hammersley arrived to the Perquimans River.


It is almost certain that Benjamin Laker knew Thomas Hammersley. It is presumed that this Thomas Hammersley was the father of Doctor John Hammersley, and that the church Thomas Hammersley established upon arrival in America was the church in Perquimans County.


Greg Holmes


This post picked up and shared by #Genealogy News Daily on October 10 and Tweeted by Nancy Hendrickson. I and my cousins, Len and Greg Holmes, author of this post, are thrilled to have our ancestor included in this paper.li edition. Thanks so much!

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