Abt 1625 -
||HARLAND, James |
||County Durham, England
- Most Harlans/Harlands/Harlins alive today in America are direct descendants of Harlands who emigrated from England and Ireland. The family genealogy is documented in "The History and Genealogy of the Harlan Family" by Alpheus Harlan, originally published in 1914. The first Harlans to immigrate to the American colonies were brothers, George and Michael who came to William Penn's Colony at New Castle, Delaware in 1687. These Harlans were Quakers and came to the new world seeking religious freedom. A third brother, Thomas Harland, remained in Ireland. Over more than 310 years, the Harlans have managed to stay together as a family by maintaining a family organization, publishing a newsletter and holding national family reunions. For the most part, Harlans are average, middle-American type people. But we do have several family members who have excelled and earned a degree of renown. Among these are Senator James Harlan of Iowa, and two Supreme Court Justices, both named John Marshall Harlan - a grandfather/grandson relationship.
James HARLAND was born about 1625 in Bishoprick, Durham, England. He died in England. From "The History and Genealogy of the Harlan Family" by Alpheus Harlan: "James Harland, Yeoman and member of the Episcopal Church, was born about the year 1625 in the Bishoprick, Nigh Durham, England, and is the earliest paternal ancestor known to the family in America bearing the name Harlan. He lived and died an Englishman, and was buried upon English soil, no one to-day knows where. Tradition says that the name of his father was William That James Harland was married according to the usages of the Established Church there is no doubt. That his children were baptized and recorded therein is fully established by the fact that the earliest record we have of his son, George, is that he was 'Baptised at the Monastery Monkwearmouth' in Oald England. We have no record giving the name of the wife and mother. So far as is known, James Harland was the father of three sons. Monkwearmouth Monastery was founded by Benedict Biscop in the year A.D.672. It is situated in a town of the same name in the east division of Chester, County Durham, and one-half mile north of Sunderland. It receives its name from its location near the mouth of the river Wear. Burned and plundered time and again, only the tower and some detached parts of the church remain of the once celebrated monastery. In 1790 the parish registers, with the exception of some of the late records, were destroyed by fire, and it is probable that information of untold value perished in the flames."
James was the earliest paternal ancestor of the Harlans in America that we know much about. He was the son of William Harland. James was called a yeoman, not an aristocrat nor a gentleman, born near Durham, England, about 1625. He was the father of Thomas, George and Michael Harlan, and had his three sons baptized in the Church of England, at the formerly Catholic monastery of Monkwearmouth near Durham. Britain was in constant religious conflict all through the Reformation, when ordinary people began reading the Bible for themselves, and the Harlands took part in that turmoil.
In 1687, brothers George and Michael Harland, left Belfast, Ireland, on a ship destined for America. As young men, they and their older brother, Thomas, had lived in England and had embraced a religious movement that was sweeping over the country known as the Society of Friends. This movement drew criticism from the established churches and the English government. They considered it too radical. The Friends had no clergy, practiced freedom of worship, and frowned on all forms of violence including war and slavery. As a result, the Society underwent persecution and many members were imprisoned. Consequently, the brothers were forced to flee. They went to Northern Ireland, but they encountered the same intolerance there.
In the meantime, William Penn, the Quaker son of a British admiral, was granted lands in America where his fellow Quakers could find safe haven. Before leaving Ireland, George bought a parcel of that land. The land that George had purchased was actually located in what is now the state of Delaware. It was soon established that he was a "foremost" citizen and had leadership abilities. So when William Penn decided that the area where George lived needed its own government because it was too remote from Philadelphia, he appointed George as one of its governors. Shortly thereafter, George moved to the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania, near the home of his brother, Michael. In 1712, George was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly. Unfortunately he passed away two years later.
Michael died in 1729. Although not prominent in politics like his brother, records show that he was a very prosperous farmer. Thomas never left Ireland, but several of his descendants did cross the ocean and made America their home. Once here, most of the family dropped the final "d" from their last name. The majority of Harlans in America are descended from these three brothers who fled from persecution.
As far as can be learned, Thomas remained in Ireland, though his descendants fifty years later were living in Chester County, Pennsylvania. 
| ||1. HARLAND, Thomas, b. Abt 1648, County Durham, England |
| ||2. HARLAN, George, c. 11 Mar 1650, County Durham, England , d. Jul 1714, Kennett Twp, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA (Age ~ 64 years)|
| ||3. HARLAN, Michael, b. Abt 1660, County Durham, England , d. Jun 1729, London Grove, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA (Age ~ 69 years)|
||24 Jun 2014 |
- [S1278] Harlan Family History, Alpheus Hibben Harlan, (Gateway Press, Inc. , Repository: Personal library of Gene Wheeler) (Reliability: 2).
- [S87] Harlan Family in America, The; Website, (Accessed at http://harlanfamily.org. The Harlan Family in America is a non-profit association formed in 1987 to perpetuate and promote the Harlan family heritage and genealogy.), .../alph.htm (Reliability: 2), 9 May 2012.