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Francis Powley was born in Holland about 1725.  He came to America with his son Johann Jacob Powley.  Jacob was born October 14, 1744 in Holland.  According to some family members, he was a resident of Schenectady New York during the War of Independence.  He fled to the Kingston area of Ontario before the war ended..  He was the first settler called Loyalist in the Kingston Area.

His son Jacob enlisted in the King Regiment, 2nd Battalion.  He later fled to Ontario and lived with the Indiana until the end of the war.  I read one story that he was captured in New York and sent over to Ontario to live with the Indians as a captive.  This took place between the birth of his 5th child, James in New York and his 6th child Hannah in 1787 in Ontario.  In late 1786 or early 1787 he returned to take his family to Ontario.  Some people have him coming back to America before 1787 and this may be true but Loyalists were not welcome back in New England.**

Our line of Powley’s follows Jacob’s third child, William Berrit, who married Annetje Van Voorst in Schenectady New York about 1744.  Annetje’s ancestors go back to King  Edward I of England and other Kings and Queens of Europe.  This is the reason we can claim King Edward as an ancestor.  He is my 22nd Great-Grandfather.  (As the saying goes, “when I nicked myself shaving this morning, I lost all my Royal Blood.”)

Our line goes through William Berrit’s first son William and then through William’s son Peter Francis, my great grand-father.  Francis in 1882 decided to move to America.  He would have taken a barge across the St. Clair River to what is now Port Huron, Michigan.  He then had to travel with his family in a wagon along the shore of Lake Huron until he took a path inward into the forest until he came to a place called Cedardale.  He then chose to homestead on what is now Mill Road in Sanilac County.

Another family, headed by William Wilson Bearss, settled across the road from the Powley’s about five years later.  Their children grew up as neighbors and friends so it is not surprising that three Bearss children married three Powley children.

James B. Bearss married Minnie Powley
Mary Alice Bearss married John Francis Powley
Ellen Ida Bearss married Charles Ezra Powley, (my grandparents)

**Most of what I wrote about Francis Powley and his son Jacob came from research done by Bonnie Rea Ferguson and Brant Gibbard.  Mr. Gibbard’s  web site is http://www.bgibbard.ca/genealogy/.

 There is a very real possibility that there may actually be two different families conflated here. It is not entirely clear that the Annatje van Vorst who married Johann Jacob Powley (my ancestor), is the same couple as the Annetje van Vorst daughter of Jillis van Vorst  who married a Jacob Paul in Schenectady. Likewise, the William Powley born in 1778 in our family may not be the same as the Wm Berrit Paul baptized in Schenectady in 1779. If these links fail, then lines running backwards from Annatje van Vorst to Europe will have to be removed.

In the records of the Dutch Reformed Church of Schenectady she is referred to as Annetje, however, when her children were baptized by Rev. John Stuart, she is referred to as Hannah. In her husband's will, she is called Nancy, and Rev. Malcolm Powley in his work c 1940 refers to her as Mary Ann.  (Per Brant Gibbard)

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