By Jane Gilbert
The patriarchs of the Gilbert family of the Old Newberry District were two brothers, Jonathan and Caleb Gilbert, born into a Quaker family in Buckingham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Their respective births in 1737 and 1740 can be found in Monthly Meeting records there. Both would arrive in Newberry County in the mid-to-late 1760s having fallen out of favor with the Society of Friends. Jonathan came to Newberry County with his wife Hannameel Cary who did remain in favor with the Quakers, and you can find miscellaneous records about her and her children in the Bush River Monthly Meeting records. Caleb arrived as a single man, and would marry a woman known only as "Ann" as present-day researchers have found no evidence of her maiden name. Caleb would live out his life in Newberry County with his wife and five children, while Jonathan had moved to the newly formed Lexington County by 1790. The present-day town of Gilbert, SC in Lexington County is named for him and his family.
Jonathan and Caleb's grandfather, Joseph Gilbert d. 1710, was the early immigrant to Bucks County, PA. He can be found in Bensalem Twp. as early as 1693. Y-DNA testing has tied the descendants of Joseph to the descendants of a John Gilbert who arrived even earlier in Bensalem in about 1683. The relationship between the two men is not currently known, but they were definitely from the same Gilbert family per Y-DNA. There is strong evidence that John was from Cornwall, England where he was a devout Quaker and remained one throughout his life. Joseph was not Quaker and is never mentioned in records, although his wife Deborah Pearson was disowned for marrying out of unity. It was Joseph's son Thomas, Jonathan and Caleb's father, who would become a Quaker and remain one until he eventually fell out of favor as well. Thomas married Lydia White of the Falls Monthly Meeting in Bucks County, but they would settle on the land in Buckingham purchased by Joseph. They would have nine children between 1726 and 1743 all documented in Quaker records.