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IV Quaker and a few comments
This is part IV and will get to the Quakers now. Sources The Scotch-Irish
a social history by James G. Leyburn and info from Hopewell Friends Meeting
House records, Fredericks Co. VA.
While organizing my mother-in-laws Bruce genealogy I became aware of the
early Quaker ancestors in Virginia. The families of John Bruce b.c. 1675 d.
1748 Brucetown, Fred. Co., VA, John Littler 1708-1748 s/o Samuel and Rachael
Menshall Littler; and Mary Ross d. 1744 VA d/o Alexander Ross b.c. 1670 and
Catharine Chambers were all born somewhere in Scotland.
They arrived around 1640 in a group called the ďIrish Immigrant PartĒ but
many nationalities were in the group. These people settled around
Winchester, in Fred. Co., VA. I know little about the Quaker movement and
whether they were Quakers before they left Scotland, were converted on the
ship, or became Quakers because a meeting house was set up by PA Quakers in
the area sometime after they arrived.
I donít know whether there were any Quaker Sinclairs or not but this is an
example of Scotch converstion to a really different type of worship but
I have just 3 pages from the Hopewell records and see no Sinclairs but I
thought the Ross name was interesting.
The point to all this being: as was said by Jean Grigsby that often the
place of worship was determined by what was available. They may have kept
doing many of their Presb. rituals at home but the only place to social
gathering and of worship might have been the Quaker meeting house. So
gradually the next generation took on a total Quaker view so that many
refused to bear arms in the wars, educated their slaves, and treated them
as one of the family, then set them free after a specified time. It was
many of these people that ran the Underground Rail Roads. One of the homes
of my husbandís ancestors in VA had a secret room for this purpose.
Then when there got to be more than one church in a community, that didnít
always mean that people went to just one of the churches exclusively. I
have heard of at least two situations where people in the towns would would
go to several evening services which were held on different nights.
1. My friend from a very small Mississippi town like to sing so went to all
the evening services so she could do so and visit with her friends from
school and the neighborhood.
2. Maybe your church had just a few young men, but church X had a lot more
good looking eligible men, so the young people would scout things out.
3. Iím sure that popular preachers would draw a crowd from other churches
4. Then a new preacher could suddenly be found to have an unpopular idea,
he was cross-eyed, or had some distracting nit picky thing about him or get
himself into moral trouble which would make people change churches
5. You can think of more ideas here also why people change
churches--because they are HUMANS.
But what we should know as serious researchers, contrary to what they teach
(or donít teach in schools) religion was a MAJOR reason for immigration and
migrations and other actions of our ancestors. And we must not sweep it
under the rug! They made honorable, and heroic choices and lived their
lives in an honest fulfillment of those estatic beliefs in the Lord Jesus
We also know something of the later religious movements among the
Adventists, Mormons, Shakers, etc. that swept up thousands. My g
grandparents in central WI and their cousins were swept up in such a
movement around 1900. Sold their farms and moved to Zion City, Lake Co.,
WI. where because they believed whole heartedly in faith- healing, his wife
died of an ingrowing goiter. In this day of ignorance, letís not be pulled
into the muck of bad mouthing our ancestors. They did the very best they
could to create a sound moral generation. They were willing to be the bad
guy and make their kids do their chores and do hours of home work because it
would produce good results--and it did.
I think I have only one more chapt. to say on this subject but have to wait
until my son can locate just the right book.
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