Atlanta Newspaper Atlanta, Georgia November 2, 1902 RECORDS OF THE QUAINT DOINGS OF THE EARLY QUAKERS IN NORTH CAROLINA Fred A. Olds - Written for the Sunny South: The discovery in the office of the secretary of state of North Carolina of one of the oldest written records directs fresh attention to the Quakers, or Friends, who have yet a very considerable strength in the piedmont and northeastern sections of the state. The records thus discovered contains the reports of the monthly "meetings" of the Quakers at Symonds' meeting house in Pasquotank county, which is in the extreme northeastern section. There are 804 pages and the writing was done by many persons. The letters are formed in the style which prevailed in the days of Shakespeare. Much of the writing is admirably well done. The letters look indescribably quaint. This records begins on the "7th day. fifth month. 1699." and ends "13th day. fifth month. 1785." and covers no less that 948 "meetings." In this record there are frequent references to the "Perquimans meeting" which was yet older. [unreadable] next to the earliest record of the [unreadable] in North Carolina. The earliest [unreadable] date of 1677 and is of the Meetings in Perquimans county. It is in a specially built vault in New Garden meeting house, the largest Quaker church in the South, which will seat 3,000 persons, and where 10,000 will often gather in the great yearly meetings. It will be of interest before dipping into these old records to say somewhat about the North Carolina Quakers. There are two elements among these, the native and the foreign. The native elements lived east of Goldsboro and the Quakers of Virginia were of the same type. These were all descendants of the converts made by Edmundson and Fax in 1672. The first records of these eastern Quakers are of date 1677, in what was then part of Perquimans county, but now forms Hertford. The Quakers west of Goldsboro are mainly descendants of emigrants from Pennsylvania who came over from England with William Penn. One generation remained in that state. The next migrated to Maryland and Northern Virginia and following the line of the foot hills of the Blue Ridge southward, founded Lynchburg. One of their leaders was Lynch, from whom, strange to say, came the term "lynch law." To return to the Quaker record in the office of the secretary of state. The first entry in it is as follows: "At a monthly meeting held at ye house of Henry while ye 7th of ye 5th month 1699, it is concluded by Friends that charging two friends to attend ye monthly meeting be referred to next monthly meeting and that it have notice hereof." A third entry is quaint in the extreme: "At a monthly meeting Ralph Pierce and Damaris Nixon laid their intention of marriage before ye said meeting. Also Joseph Overman and Sarah Nicholson laid their intention of marriage. It being ye first tyme, non having aught against it, refer ye same to ye Perquimans monthly meeting." Another entry is equally odd: "At a meeting at Steven Scatt's ye 28th day of ye 4th month 1701, John Newby, by Henry White, opened his intention to marry with Elizabeth Nicholson. Friends having nothing against it, orders Henry White, Thomas Symonds and Caleb Bundy to give them a certificate and leaves them to their liberty to take each other in the order of troth." At a meeting in April 1702, Robert White and Tabithl Alford declared their intention of marriage and the record says: "Friends appoints Thomas Symonds and Caleb Bundy to examin into their clearness and make reports. Accordingly, at the next meeting, Friends appointed to make inquiry report that they have done soe and find nothing to ye contrary, but that they are clear, therefore Friends leaves them to their liberty to take each other in the order of troth." This meeting also gave rise to the following entry, which shows how tenderly scandalous things were handled by those good-hearted and slow-tempered folks, the Quakers: "Also this meeting having under consideration ye scandal that Oscran Scarborough has brought upon the blessed Truth, professions and himself, in that he hath contrary to principle and the doctrine of our blessed Lord, swear not at all, taken the oath appointed by the law, wherefore Friends, in tenderness to him and for the clearing of our holy profession think proper to appoint Thomas Symonds and Henry Heaton to visit him and admonish him to own his fault, to repent or else we cannot own him as a member of our society, and to bring their report to ye next monthly meeting." Scarborough had in a trial, or something of the kind, taken an oath, a thing very abhorrant to the Quaker mind. At a meeting held at Cale Bundy's, in the precinct of Pasquotank, on the 1st day and the 9th month, 1702-3. the record says: "Friends being sent to inspect into the affairs of the church a little book was read amongst Friends, also testimonies are given forth by Friends at the said meeting containing several things which we are against and deny." Here are other entries."Whereas, there appears to be a difference between Joseph Jordan and Mary Clark, Friends taking the same into consideration appoints three men to discourse with Joseph and make their report. "Their report is made, which is that the said Joseph doth not seem to be sorry for what he hath done, nevertheless Friends, in tenderness to him do appoint two men to visit him again and to report." "There appearing some disorder in Steven Scott, Friends thinks proper to remove the meeting from his home to Henry Keating White's next monthly meeting, by reason some Friends were missing." "It is the general mind of this meeting that Steven Scott do bring a paper of his condemnation to the next monthly meething and also publish it at the court house door in full of all he hath done." "At a monthly meeting there was a paper signed for the clearing of Friends' principles concerning fighting of wars and sheding of blood and to be set up at the court house door during the time of the court's sitting, etc., and also some things under it of Steven Scott's own putting out and giving forth. "Friends having under consideration the ill-conveniency that doth attend Friends being too late in evening to public meetings, therefore Friends do appoint to meet between the hours of 10 and 11 o'clock. It is also concluded that a meeting house be built at the charge of Friends belonging to Pasquotank upon the plantation of Joseph Jordan, also to make a suitable bridge over the little creek to maintain it." "It is also generally agreed by Friends of this meeting that a general collection be made for any occations that may happen amongst Friends; also it is concluded on that it be in silver money twice in a year, viz: on the 1st and 7th month, and Friends appoint Benjamin Pritchard to receive the aforesaid collection and dispose thereof as need shall require and Friends may order." In 1709 judgement was passed against Jeremiah Symons, Jr., for refusing to condemn his disorderly walking and actions, but not publicly disowned him, in hopes he might humble himself, and in order to which Caleb Bundy and Edward Chancy having of late had some conversation with him whom they inform the meeting was very tender and desired them to acquaint Friends that as for his disorderly conduct towards Joseph Jordan he was very sorry for and hoped he should for the time to come walk more circumspectly, the which if required will declare himself at any monthly meeting or any other." Very early in these records appear notice of the manumission of slaves and the expression of the strongest sentiments against "human bondage." There is an unceasing succession of matrimonial announcements. Along during the war of the Revolution sundry Quakers were taken to task by the "meetings" for "having arms." The writer has presented to the North Carolina hall of history the original of the much-talked-of protest of the Quakers in North Carolina "against having arms." It is addressed to the governor and the legislature and is signed by "Samuel Skinner, in behalf of the people called Quakers." It is beautifully written in quaint characters and the language is good. It was prepared by the Pasquotank and Perquimans Quakers and endorsed by those in the piedmont section. The first meeting of Quakers in piedmont or middle North Carolina was at Cane Creek, in 1751, which was fifty-two years leter than the first meetings in Pasquotank county. New Garder, near their stronghold, was established in 1754. Other Quakers passed into South Carolina and in 1770 they reached Georgia. The war of the revolution deflected their migration from southward to westward, and this westward movement was fostered and increased by their intense opposition to slavery. First they librated their own slaves and next they sought by migration to escape from the influence of slavery. This movement from North Carolina began about 1800. In 1803 the "monthly meeting" (a group of congregations) removed in a body. From other "meetings" they went singly or in families to the west and the descendants of these North Carolina Quakers are now found all over the middle west and northwest. In the same way all the "meetings" in South Carolina and Georgia were broken up, their representatives going to Ohio and Indiana. So complete are the Quaker records that it is easy to trace the migration of certain families through all of their successive removals from Pennsylvania through Maryland and Virginia to North Carolina, thence to South Carolina or Georgia, thence to Ohio and Indiana and thence to the Pacific coast. The Norht Carolina "yearly meeting" at New Garden or at High Point, in Guilford county, is the "mother" of some of the strongest "yearly meetings" in the west. George W. Julian, the "free soil" candidate for vice president of the United States in 1852, was the son of a Randolph county, North Carolina, Quaker. Charles Osborn, a Chatham county, North Carolina Quaker was the first man in the world to demand the unconditional and immediate emancipation of slaves.
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