Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1999-10 > 0939430591
From: "Virginia Beck" <>
Subject: Re: Quakers
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999 17:56:31 -0700
Dick: Two of my husband's lines belonged to The Religious Society of
Friends, or "Quakers". I have done a bit of reseach about the group, and
have great respect for them. The term "Quakers" is thought to have come
from a saying of the founder, George Fox, "Tremble at the word of the Lord".
The sect was greatly persecuted both in England and in America. After
William Penn, also a Quaker, established a colony in PA, many of them
settled there (the King owed William's daddy a lot of money, so overlooked
his religion and gave him the land to settle the debt)..
The Society was founded in England about 1652 in protest against the
domination of the church by the state and against rituals and ceremonies
they felt had ties to Roman Catholicism. George Fox believed that there is
"that of God in every man", and that by following this "Inner Light" one can
discover true belief and righteous conduct without the help of a minister.
They adopted plain dress and plain speech to identify themselves with their
protest. I have never heard of any Quaker tradition of divorcing from one's
family. On the contrary, the families were very close knit, and the early
genealogy is recorded in the minutes of the Monthly Meetings and fairly easy
to follow, though not all documents survived.
You are correct about the relative equality of the sexes, even though
they did hold separate religious services (perhaps so there would be no
distraction during religious meditation?). The Monthly Meetings, where
minutes were taken, were primarily business meetings for each local group.
Births, deaths, marriages, removal to new areas, and acceptance of new
members were also recorded & reprimands,
suspensions, or dismissals meted out to those who had erred. Members were
expected to behave with propriety Drunkenness and brawling, or any other
improper behavior brought reprimands or suspensions, as did ostentatious
dress or ornamentation -- repetition of the error might bring dismissal.
Abject apology was the norm for a reprimand. "Marrying out" (of the
religion) was cause for dismissal from the group (no longer). There were
also larger quarterly and yearly meetings. No "collections" were taken,
either at services or meetings. A budget was drawn up at the yearly meeting
for the area, and each member assessed the amount needed for the coming year
(very small, since there were no salaries nor building funds to pay off).
The Worship services were very simple. There was no paid clergy.. The
entire meeting could be spent sitting in quiet meditation. Any member who
felt a spiritual call might offer a prayer, or speak of spiritual matters,
but it was up to each individual. Marriages were
equally simple; in the presence of friends, the couple exchanged their own
vows, and all present signed the certificate as witnesses. (Some groups
are the same today, others have a minister and a formal service held at what
are called Friends Churches. The plain dress code is no longer deemed
For a group so strict about behavior, they were and are quite tolerant
and flexible about their beliefs. Members have enormous personal choice and
may be liberal or conservative, may accept or reject the Trinity and the
divine nature of Christ. Many believe that the Bible is not the final word
of God to man, but a part of the "continuing revelation" of the Divine
Spirit. Since each member is led by his own "Inner Light", there is no
formal creed, but books are published which give the basic principles of
conduct and belief on which Friends agree, and contain queries about all
aspects of life to be studied and discussed at meetings.
Though, because of its nature, the Society takes no official position,
traditionally Quakers have opposed slavery and war. Many ran stations on
the Underground Railway (one of ours did), and were conscientious objectors
who did alternate service in the medical corps.in wartime. They formed The
American Friends Service Committee during WWI, and carried out an ambitious
program of relief and reconstruction in that war and the wars that have
followed. In 1947 this committee and the British Society of Friends Service
Council shared the Nobel Peace Prize. In peacetime the Committee works to
aid the poor and underprivileged throughout the world. It is operated
primarily by volunteers, and funded entirely by donations.
If you suspect there is a Quaker in your ancestry, locate a set of
Hinshaw "Encyclopedia of American Quaker Biography", 6 volumes.
It is a compilation of as many of the minutes of Monthly Meetings as could
be found -- as a librarian, the logistics of compiling this document boggles
the mind. It is organized by states then by monthly meeting sites. Each
volume is indexed, and has a guide to the abbreviations used in the records.
We found both the Haines and Haskit families in them, and were able to trace
several generations of the Haines line from NJ, OH, and the Haskits from
NC, SC, OH., 1692-1897. These SC Quakers sold or abandoned their land in SC
and moved to OH to remove themselves from a place where slavery was
practiced. Our last Quaker was Jim's ggf, Ner Haskit, who married a Baptist
and was dmo (dismissed for marrying out). He moved to Kansas, and was in
the forefront of the fight to have that state admitted to the Union as a
free state. (Our lot were big on odd Biblical names -- we also have a Xen,
and if I dig deeper I may find Shadrach, Meshack and Abednigo).
I hope this is not too far off topic for the list, but someone asked,
and, for once, I had the answer! Virginia.
----- Original Message -----
From: Dick <>
Sent: Friday, October 08, 1999 11:36 AM
> Hi All,
> In reading about the Quakers with great interest, since some of my
> Scotch-Irish ancestors eventually got involved with Quakerism, I wanted to
> ask if any of the rest of you encountered the Quaker tradition of
> from one's family of origin and taking on a new spiritual family? Isn't
> this practice common amongst members of the sect? If so, it would
> be an impediment to genealogical research. Also, I recall that the
> didn't call themselves "Quakers" and that they were The Society of
> referring to themselves and one another as "friend." Was this true from
> inception of the sect? I've also read that they were extremely
> regarding gender, and that although men and women were segregated during
> "meeting" they had equal voice. Am I correct? Is it also true that they
> did not have ordained ministers? If anyone knows of these matters I would
> much appreciate a reply. As it stands, I have only conjecture.
> Thank you,
> Dick Hudson