circa 1760 - circa 1827
The origins of the name Sutch are unclear. It was once thought to be of Hollander origin since it can be found in the Dutch settlements of Bucks County. But it’s also believed to be a variant of Such, which has many possible origins. It may be an English habitational name of Norman origin referring to a small area in France called La Souche, which is Old French for “tree stump”. Or it might be an Eastern European name (Polish, Czech, Slovak, and German) from “suchy” meaning “dry” or, when applied to a person, “thin”.
Our Sutch family begin with Daniel Sutch, who was probably born in the mid to late 18th century. Sometime in 1788, Daniel had an affair with a Quaker woman, Ann Shoemaker, who was born in 1764 (this is a good indication Daniel was born around the same time, circa 1760). Somehow their affair was discovered, perhaps Ann became pregnant, and they were forced to marry in August or September of 1788. Daniel was obviously not interested in converting to Quakerism since he never did, but equally Ann seemingly did not wish to leave her own faith behind just because she married a non-Quaker man. She was allowed to continue attending Quaker Meetings, which she did until her death in Gwynedd Township (now Lower Gwynedd), Montgomery County, Pennsylvania on September 23, 1827.
Daniel and Ann lived in Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and had four known surviving children, all girls:
There may have been some miscarriages and/or infant or child deaths during the large, 13 year gap between Ann and Hannah.
Jane married Charles Gilbert Sr. sometime before 1818 and had several children (see the Gilbert Family Chapter for more information). Sarah married William E. Davis but died childless in 1853. Ann married a man named Homer Dubree and had three children with him, one of whom (Daniel S. Dubree) moved out to Centre County, Pennsylvania. Hannah married and had eight children with Joseph Amber, though there is no indication that is a misspelling of Ambler and therefore a relation to Mary Johnson Ambler, whom the town of Ambler, Pennsylvania is named after. In 1850, Hannah and Joseph were living next door to two Shoemaker families, who may have been relations of Hannah’s mother.
In 1789, Daniel purchased 132 acres of farmland from John Johnson for £550 (about $14,500 today according to measuringworth.com) which would later become known as the Marple Farm after Reuben Marple who bought it in 1865. For sake of ease, it will be referred to as such (though it was not called such during Daniel’s ownership). By the time Marple purchased the farm, it had dwindled to 92 acres. It is located just northeast of Spring House, off what is now McKean Road (southeast side), between Welsh Road and the Fort Washington Expressway. Daniel also purchased an additional 35 acres in 1817 which later would be known as the Dannehower Farm. Daniel died in 1821, at which point the house and 57 acres of the Marple Farm went to his daughter Sarah and son-in-law William E. Davis, while the rest was divided among his other daughters. The Dannehower Farm and 10 extra acres (presumably of the Marple Farm) was left to his wife, Ann, who died in 1827. In her will, she instructed that all her real estate apart from 3 acres she left to her daughter Ann Dubree be sold in a public sale, which was then bought up by her son-in-law William E. Davis and therefore the previously divided Marple Farm was rejoined. Upon William’s death in 1837, Sarah took over ownership until her own death in 1853. Sarah’s brother-in-law Charles Gilbert and her nephew Daniel S. Dubree became the administrators and sold 92 acres of the land out of the family to Joseph Amber for $5,980. This would have been about $165,000 today, however its “prestige value” was closer to 2 million dollars. The property then went through several owners until 1865 when it finally came into possession of the Marples.
Daniel probably died suddenly in 1821 because his will was noncupative, meaning it was an oral will likely given on his deathbed. Additionally, it appears whoever he named as administration of his will died before the will was completely administered which may have delayed the proceedings before someone else, known as a de bonis non in legal terms, could be appointed. The last inventory for his administration records was filed December 13, 1823.
His wife Ann left a written will in which she gave her brass kettle to her daughter Hannah, still unmarried, and her eight day clock and her bed and all its bedding to her daughter Ann. She also instructed that of the proceeds of the public sale of her real estate, five hundred dollars of it should go to her daughter Ann and another five hundred to Hannah, with the remaining to be split equally among her four daughters. It’s understandable why the unmarried Hannah was given extra proceeds, since she had to now support herself on her own, but it’s unknown why daughter Ann was also given extra. She named her brother, Richard Shoemaker, as the executor of her will. The will was dated September 2, 1827 and was proved on October 13, 1827 which means she died between these dates. One of the witnesses was named Joseph Shoemaker, who could have also been a brother or another relation of Ann’s.
In 1850, a 15 year old boy named Charles Davies was living with Jane’s family and it’s possible that he was a relation of William Davis. This suggests the Gilberts and Davis’ remained close even after William’s death.
To read more about Jane and Charles Gilbert’s married life, see the Gilbert Family Chapter.
© Robin Bauer 2010-2014
Sutch Photos and Documents
An 1893 land ownership map overlaid onto Google Maps showing the 92 acre Marple Farm highlighted in red, previously owned by Daniel Sutch. At the time of his ownership, it was 132 acres and probably extended either up to Welsh Road or down near Fort Washington Expressway.