Saturday, May 16, 2020

52 Ancestors #20 Henry Comly of England Emigrates to Penn's Wood

Henry Comly II & Agnes Heaton (8th gr grandparents)
Henry Comly, his wife and his family (including son, Henry Jr) emigrated in 1682. The Comlys are connected to my maternal grandmother's side several times. 
The Comlys married at least two families (possibly more) she is descended from. Comlys came to the  Phildadelphia (Moreland) area and were English Quakers. For generations, they married their kind--English (as opposed to German) Quakers.
(The lineage appears at the end of this piece)

Parents: Henry Comly Sr (1615-1684) & Joan (1630-1689)
Henry Comly (II) was born in Bedminster, England. He emigrated with his parents, (Henry Sr & Joan Tyler) 1682 when he was a young boy.
Henry (Sr) bought about 500 acres of land from William Penn (1681) where the family settled (Warminster, Bucks, PA).
Only two years after arriving Henry (Sr)died and left to his son Henry                                            “two hundred acres bought by me of the Governour besides the House and Hundred which I now live in."
His mother remarried Joseph English in 1685.
Henry (Jr) Marries
In 1695 Henry married Agnes Heaton, daughter of Robert Heaton at Langhorne,  PA.
When Henry married Agnes, she brought to the marriage property which included the Manor of Moreland—two large tracts of land; together they had this as well as his Warminster property.
Agnes & Henry raised their family on the Moreland property.
Henry was active in religious life of the Friends (Quaker) Meeting and in civil affairs. In 1711 he was the collector of county taxes. In 1721 his name is found on a list of subscribers for maintaining the poor who belonged to Byberry Preparative Meeting.
Henry's name on Byberry Prep Mtg-Money needed to maintain mtg house
One descendant, a great grandson said all "of his children were married according to the order of Friends.” (Quakers).
Henry & Agnes had 11 children whose names were recorded in the Comly family bible. They were members of Abington Meeting and that Meeting has records  for at least nine of their children.

“Henry Comly appears to have and supported through his life the character of an honest and upright man. He carried his temporal concerns with vigor and was successful in his business, so that he might be regarded as wealthy for a farmer at that early period. We find that he was employed in adjusting differences about property against his neighbors and was considered a serviceable member of the religious society.” - From Comly Genealogy: John Comly, his great-grandson
Henry died at 57 year on 16 Mar 1726. (see Abington Monthly Meeting)
His widow Agnes died in 1743.

Comly, George Norwood, b. 1874. Comly Family In America: Descendants of Henry And Joan Comly, Who Came to America In 1682 From Bedminster, Somersetshire, England. With Short Account of the Ancestors of Charles And Debby Ann (Newbold) Comly. Compiled by George Norwood Comly... Philadelphia, Pa.: Priv published under supervision of J.B. Lippincott company, 1939.
PUBLIC DOMAIN; accessed 15 May 2020 at

Monday, May 11, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #18- Where There’s a Will

*Phoebe Stevens (my husband's 3rd gr grandmother)
Daughter of John Stevens (1779-1840) and Azubah Procter (1776-1840)
B 3 May 1812 Stoddard, New Hampshire
D 3 Apr 1902 Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire
Her siblings
~~John Stevens (1807–1865)
~~Henry Stevens (1808–?)
~~Azubah Stevens (1808–1852)
~~Ephraim Stevens (1814–1895)
Married *David Towne Petts (his 3rd gr grandfather)
B 25 Nov 1810, Weston, Windsor, VT
D 3 Dec 1856 in Marlow, Cheshire, New Hampshire
Their children:
~Ferdinand Petts (1834–1933)
~Rosina Petts (1835–1861)
~Lyman Gustavus Petts (1836–1927)
~George A Petts (1842–?)
~Myranda Anette Petts (1843–1917)
~*Christiane L Petts (1845–1871) (his 2nd gr grandmother)

Phoebe outlived her husband by 46 years, falling short of living to 90 years old by one month.
A wife in this period was not the automatic heir to her husband's property. The husband owned everything, including his debt.
David T. Petts died intestate (without a will). Consequently, there are a lot of records (from 1856 for at least 2 years) in New Hampshire.
But as the widow Phoebe was entitled to a “dower”-the state gave widows that much. Typically, it was 1/3 of the entire value of the estate (it was handled by the probate judge). Phoebe got slightly-very slightly-more the 1/3.
Phoebe also asked to be  the administratrix—something she had to petition the court to be. Amos Fiske was ‘commissioned’ by the court to appraise and list all belongings of David T Petts.
To settle the estate, Phoebe (as administratrix—or as widow, depending on the document) had to fill out a court document and have it approved.
She got ‘reimbursed’ for travel, but it was out of the estate.
David Petts died in 1856—the estate got bogged down by people wanting their money--and then it seems that the court suspected the family was hiding property. It finally was settled in 1858.

Phoebe auctioned the estate (apart from the ‘dower’ which was hers) and then paid back her husband’s creditors
There are two sets of inventories. One looks like the final ‘official’ inventory (has a seal on it), the other is in long hand. The inventory in long hand lists the value of each item and next to each is also has a list of names. Perhaps the longhand sheet was the worksheet for the public auction.  Several of the bidders were related to her (sons).
No other records indicate that they ran a tavern/inn.
But when you see the inventory you realize they must have. The quantity of food and alcohol, along with bedding for that time period indicates an inn. The unofficial inventory is 9 pages long. The inventory is very large for the time. (If you read on, you’ll see verification.)
I don’t know anything about antebellum New Hampshire estates, but I am guessing Amos Fiske who was commissioned by the court, may have made a profit on reselling the articles he bought at auction.
Inventory                          - $642.98
 S. for Wid. Allow. [The widow’s dower, or 1/3 of David’s property)     $200
Sold for                                          $360.08
                                  $82.98 L of S

If David Towne Petts owed his creditors more than $443.06, then the creditors could not be repaid in full. When you adjust this for inflation, $443=$14,560.
I looked at his creditors (from those who came forward after notices were posted and published), you find he owed more than $2,240. This, adjusted for inflation, is equivalent to $74,000--when he had the equivalent of $14,560.
His creditors had to accept what the court allowed.  If they were owed $5.24, they were allowed about .59 cents. Most of his creditors were “promissory notes” or IOUs.  But there were about 6 or 7  judgements on David Petts, and some of them very large. This tells me that he had borrowed money on time and had not fulfilled his obligation of repayment in a timely manner---and the creditor had to file a judgement in court against him.

David Towne Petts died intestate. His estate was INSOLVENT.

·         16 Dec 1856
(His widow) Phoebe Petts petitioned court to be the administratrix of her husband's estate.
·         16 Dec 1856
A bond for: Phebe Petts, Amos Pike, and Samuel Buss amount of $1200 to execute estate accdng to the laws of New Hamsphire.
·         6 Jan 1857
Phebe Petts, of estate of David T Petts of Marlow deceased intestate, says she is unwilling to be charged with the goods and chattles belonging to the said estate as appraised. Wherefore she prays that she may have license to sell the same at public auction. "foregoing petition is decreed granted and the license is issued accordingly"
·         6 Jan 1857
The estate of David Petts was published for 3 consecutive weeks in the Cheshire Republican (newspaper) printed in Keene, Cheshire County (NH) with additional notifications at some publick house in each of the towns of Marlow and Stoddard (for at least 40 days). - Judge of Probate 6 Jan 1857
·         Jan 1857
Phebe Petts, widow and relict of David T Petts of Marlow. "Prays your honor to make her such an allowance out of the Personal Estate of said deceased, for her present support and comfort, as may be suitable to her condition and degree, and consistent with the situation of the Estate." "Phebe Petts" (response): “January 1857  Upon the above petition, it is...decreed that the said widow be allowed in such article as she may choose, out of the Inventory of the Personal Estate of said deceased, suitable to her condition, at their appraised value, the sum of two hundred dollars, for her present support and comfort. (Judge)
 ·         Jan 1857
Several Pages of the Official Inventory & appraisal Jan 6 1857 done by 3 men
 ·         Jan 1857
New Hampshire, Cheshire County, the Judge of Probate for County; To Phebe Petts, Administratrix of the Estate of David T Petts late of Marlow in said county, deceased intestate: You are hereby licensed and ordered to sell at public auction, all the goods and chattels of said deceased, except such part thereof as has been ordered to you for your present support (see petition).
And you are directed to give notice of such sale by posting up advertisements thereof in two or more public places in said Marlow at least 10 days before said sale. If you comply with this order, and act with fidelity and impartiality in said sale, you will be credited with loss, or charged with the gain upon such sale. 6 January 1857 - Judge of Probate
·         Jan 1857
Amount of Sales at Auction of the Estate of David T Petts Late of Marlow; Deceased; by Phebe Petts Adminstratrix - Jan 29 1857
Auction - inventory

Inventory (partial)


Appraisal less widow's dower

·         Sept 1857
Creditors & Heirs at Law of the Estate of David T Petts of Marlow in Cheshire County. ... 1st Tuesday of September [1857]...and ordered that Phebe Petts give notice causing the Citation to be published 3 weeks successively in the Cheshire Republican printed at Keene in said county.

·         Sept 1857
Amos Fiske of Marlow, the commissioner of the Estate of David Petts of Marlow was given a year from 1 Dec 1857, a list of all the claimes which have been received against David Petts' estate. (Signed by the judge on 1 Sept 1857) - fig 1
1856 Expense of Administration
First, Cash paid Out
Kimball for Advertising .75
L. Tenny for services at auction $4
Samul Bress for services as appraiser and clerk $4
Elisha Bress for services as appraiser $2
Amos Pike for services as appraiser $2
AS Fiske Commissioner for services as a commissioner $8
Kimball for Advertising                       $4.75

1857 Paper 2 - Funeral Charges of the deceased
Dec  5 Paid Daniel Mack for coffin & box / recipt No 1 $8.00
Dec 5 Paid John Mellen for digging grave & box recipt No 2 $4.00
Phebe Petts, Administratrix

Second Personal Services of Administratrix
1856 [Date] For attending Probate Court expenses, to take letter      $3.50
     [Date] Expenses with appraisers                                        $2.00
1857 [Date] Attending probate court, expenses, to take license $3.50
     [Date]  Service at the sale                          $2.00
     [Date]Attending Probate Court and expenses                   $3.50
     [Date]Attending Probate Court and expenses                   $3.50
1858 [Date] Attending probate Court and expenses $3.50
     [Date] Attending probate Court and expenses      $3.50
     [Date]  Making administrative account                    .75
      --    Attending Probate Court and expenses          $3.50
1858 ?? attending count from New Ipswich to settlement  $3.50
                                                                                    Phebe Petts
Account Papers
Paper A
In trust on personal property
In trust on cash taken at sale
Collected of Amos Pike on note for property $3.64
                                    bought at sale
Collected of Ferdinand Petts on note for property bought at sale $21.52
Collected of Samuel Buss on note for property bought at sale $1.55
Collected of Elisha Buss on note for property bought at sale $1.16
*    1 March 1858-Estate was discharged...and report made by the Commissioner is accepted. - Judge
 June 15 1858

Their eldest son (who was an adult), Ferdinand Petts, was summoned to appear in court to be examined regarding his father’s estate.
I cannot figure out what the larger point was but assume that the probate court was not satisfied that the discharging the amount owed by David Petts’ estate had been handled legally. 
A horse was quite valuable at that time and the court questioned Ferdinand Petts regarding his possessions in 1856. He was also asked about this stallion.  (Interestingly he brings up the name Amos Fiske, who is the same man who was commissioned by court to do the appraisal on the estate).
Ferdinand’s testimony includes this:
“In May 1856 my father was in need of a horse to use in connection with the tavern & informed me of it & wanted I should help him to one. ?? at the same time the said stallion was a pace horse & one he should like and I told him if he could buy it. So as I --- would? be sure to not lose by it he might buy him for me. He made the trade, took & kept him until Dec 1856. Q Did you experience the horse during the negotiation for the purchase, or have anything to say as to the price or qualities of the horse?”[etc].  
The testimony goes on on property and notes.
Ferdinand is questioned about a "tavern stand" which apparently he bought. The court wishes to know where he got the money from. At this point there is some involvement-or suspected involvement-of Fiske (Amos Fiske who was also the Commissioner for the estate). 

At one point in time, the deceased, David Petts, needed money and so borrowed it from his son. And so on.
There many questions, all about money and property which go on for pages, and some of which are hard to understand due to the handwriting of the note-taker. 
There are 35 questions, but many of them are compound questions, requiring more than one answer.
Ferdinand was finally done with his testimony on July 20, 1858.
page 1 of Ferdinand's court testimony

·      *   21 September 1858
Whereas the Commissioner presented all claims allowed the sum is $2539 dollars and 39 cents; and whereas the settlement of your account, except the widow's dower, having been sold and the proceeds accounted for. There appears to be a balance of $312.96.
The creditors were notified accordingly, and you are directed to distribute the balance of 312.96 to aforesaid creditors by paying to each of them the proportion to each of their claim respectively annexed. --Judge

Friday, May 8, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #19 Legal Contracts: How They Serve Us

Law Contracts: Do they serve us or do we serve them?
A written contract in the form of a deed, a bond, a will, or some other instrument can give one a sense of security. "Posted: No Trespassing" can be nailed on a tree on your property when you have the deed to the land. Or, as a in will, you may inherit property.  But what if  you are an indentured servant? how would you feel about the contract?  Wonder if my ancestor Wigard Levering find out that being indentured contract was too much of a burden? or too long? 

I Rosier Levering and Elizabeth Van de Walle - of Leiden and Germany (Gen 1) 
~ Rosier Levering was born about 1615 in Leiden (Leyden), Netherlands. He died Mar 1674/75 in Gemen, Munster, Germany.
Leiden, Netherlands (wikipedia/opensource)
~ He married Elizabeth Van De Wall[e], the daughter of Jacobus Van De Walle and Agatha Hess in 1646/47 in Gemen, Munster, Germany.
~ Elizabeth Van De Wal[e]l was born 21 May 1626 in Wesel, Germany. She died in Gemen, Munster, Germany.
Move to Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Van de Walle's brother, Jacob Van der Walle, was a wealthy Dutch Pietist and a prominent shareholder in the Frankfort Company which owned and organized Germantown, PA.
After William Penn acquired his Pennsylvania land in 1681, he needed settlers so he traveled throughout Europe seeking settlers, particularly Friends (Quakers) and Mennonites. Penn also found partners for the venture who had agents to help acquire more settlers.
One of these partnerships, organized about 1683, was the Frankfort Company (1683) and one partner in the Frankfort company was Jacob Van De Walle, brother-in-law of Rosier Levering (whose wife was Elizabeth Van De Walle).
Children of Rosier Levering and Elizabeth Van De Walle
Rosier Levering and Elizabeth Van De Walle had several children, including Wigard (son).
II Wigard Levering and Magdalena Boeckers (Gen 2)
Their son Wigard Levering was born in 1640s in the town of Gemen, Munster, Germany.
In April 1674, he married  Magdalena Boeckers, of Wesel, Germany.
The earliest record of Wigard Levering and his wife, Magdalena Boeckers, appears in the records of the Presbytery of the Evangelical Parish of Gemen, Munster Stadt, Westphalia, Germany.
On March 22, 1674, the first wedding banns for "Wigard Levering, Rosier's son, with Magdalena Bokers, of Essen," were proclaimed.
Mulheim Germany
They lived in Gemen first, then moved to Mulheim (where son William Levering was born).
No doubt Wigard's uncle, Jacob Van De Walle, was an agent for getting Wigard Levering  into a contract with the Frankfort Company at Wesel to ship the family to Philadelphia (dated 20th of March, 1685).
Their agreement with the Frankfort Company is at the Pennsylvania Historical Society:
"We, the subscribers, do acknowledge and confess by these Presents, that we have contracted and agreed together, that Doctor Thomas Van Wylick and Johannes Le Brun, in behalf of the Pennsylvania Company, in which they, and other friends of Frankfort and other parts, are engaged, to accept or receive me, Wigard Levering, old 36 or 37 years, and Magdalena Boeckers, old 36 years, and four children, Anna Catherine, William, Amelia, and Sibella, respectively 1/2, 2 1/2, 5 and 9 years, to and for the service of the aforementioned Company, to transport by shipping out of Holland or Ingland, to Pennsylvania, upon their cost. On Their arrival in Pennsylvania, they were to report themselves to Francis Daniel Pastorius, who was general agent for the company. Written upon the margin of the instrument an agreement to include "the Contractor's brother, Gerhard Levering."
New Chapter: Wigard & Magadelena's Emigration
They emigrated that year to America with four children, sailing to Philadelphia on “Penn's Woodland” from the Netherlands. They first settled in Germantown (outside of Philadelphia).
In August, 1685, the Frankfort Company conveyed 50 acres of land in Germantown to Wigard Levering.
A recorded deed, executed in August 1685 reads: "On the tenth of that month and year, Francis Daniel Pastorius, as the attorney of Jacob Van de Walle and others, forming the Frankford Company, conveyed to Wigard Levering a lot in Germantown containing fifty acres of land. So done in Germantown, on the 10th day of the 6th month (August), in the year of Christ 1685, in the sixteenth year of the reign of King James the Second of England, and in the fifth year of the reign of William Penn.'"
Wigard and his brother Gerhard Levering became freemen in 1691.
Once Wigard was a free man, he bought 500 of land and his brother bought adjoining land, near the  Wissahickon Creek to the Schuylkill River—most of Roxborough (slightly west). They lived there for the rest of their days.
Breaking a Contract:
When they immigrated both Wigard and Gerhard Levering were indentured to the Frankfort Company. (Indentured/Redemptioned laborers who lived in servitude for a set number of years in exchange for passage to the American colonies from England or Germany. They were considered chattel that could be bought and sold until the period of their servitude expired.) And although Wigard was indebted to the efforts of others for his relative prosperity and the benefit of no longer living in the church-state of Germany, he chose to get out from his obligation to the agents by suing to break the contract a full fourteen years after his immigration. Perhaps he believed that he had fulfilled his obligation? I can't know. A document reveals how Pastorious felt:
“… He…sued the said Comp; as debtors to him & to deprive me, the now Agent of the said Company of all advice & assistance in Law, employed all the Attorneys in the Country, who pleading that he the said Wigard, his wife & 4 children are not to discount anything for their Transportation, obtained Judgment in the last County Court against the said Company, for 32L 16s 10d. Now supposing the said German Company had Intended to transport the said Wigard his wife & children gratis or free, as I have proofs to the contrary… Therefore your Petitioner in the behalf of the said German Comp. humbly entreats you to grant to have the cause tried again (a thing he thinks not so unheard of as that a Plaintiff should employ all the Lawyers to impede & hinder the Defendants to get any) And to the end that a Just Cause may not suffer by my unskillfullness in pleading & notorious want or defect to express myself sufficiently in the English tongue to the full understanding of a Jury; May it please the Govr & his Council to appoint a Person learned in the Law to patronize or manage the same. And as your Petitioner requests these things only for Justice & Truths sake, so (he hopes) it will tend to the preventing both of others, who being transported by the said Company's disbursement may probably follow the steps of Wigard; as also to the allaying of dissatisfaction of several honest hearted people in Germany and especially oblidge your Petitioner.
- F.D. Pastorious "
Wigard Levering spoke German and was unable to write. His wife Magdalena died when she was about 67, in 1717 at the age of about 67 years.
Wigard (some people called him John) died in February 1745/46. His age was estimated between 103-107 when he died and was buried upon his farm.
The location is now part of Fairmount Park of Philadelphia. Later it became the churchyard and burial ground of the Baptist Church. It is now Leverington Cemetery.
It is now Leverington Cemetery.

[In 1689, William Penn had a census taken and found about a thousand Swedes; nevertheless, the Germans outnumbered them greatly in a short span of time. The Welsh were prominent across the Schuylkill in Merion Township.]

Saturday, April 25, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #17 Influencers and Dividers

Influencer or Divider
This post was to have been on land but it won't be. It is about the amazing influence of persuading people to share your opinions.

My 4th great grandmother had two sisters who were quite happy to remain as Quakers until a powerful influencer (for lack of a better word) made remaining in the Quaker fold intolerable for them.

The two sisters (Amy and Sarah) were great supporters of abolition of slavery and there were forces inside Quakerism which felt that that was inappropriate.
Their parents (my 5th great grandparents)

Father: Jacob Kirby (Son of Willets Kirby and Hannah Titus)
B 11 Aug 1765 Jericho, Nassau, NY
D 1859 Oyster Bay New York,
Mother: Mary Seaman (Daughter of William S Seaman & Mary Jackson)
B 27 Mar 1774 Nassau Co, NY
D 21 Sep 1854
Marriage -B 24 Jun 1790 in Jericho, NY&

Their Children
*1 Mary Willis Kirby&
B 30 Jul 1791 D 1873
John Willis on 24 Dec 1812
2 William Kirby Born 17 Mar 1795 Died 19 Sep 1797
3 Hannah Kirby Born 1799–1827
4 Amy Kirby Born 20 Dec 1803 Died 1889
5 Willets Kirby Born September 1806 Died 1882
6 Edmond Kirby Born 1808
7 Elizabeth Kirby Born 21 Jun 1814 Died 1900
8 Sarah Kirby Born 16 Jan 1818 Died 1914

Three sisters of my 4th great grandmother (Mary Kirby) had a tumultuous time after leaving Long Island.
HANNAH:Hannah and Isaac Post married in Jericho, Long Island, NY in the early 1820s. In 1823 they moved to Cayuga County, NY.
In 1827, Hannah Kirby Post died.
AMY: In the meantime, sister Amy Kirby had moved upstate to nurse Hannah. The year after her death, Isaac Post (widower) and Amy Kirby were wed.
SARAH: In 1838 Sarah Kirby moved upstate and married 1st, Jefferies Hallowell in 1838 (d. 1844); Married 2nd, Edmund P Willis in 1853.
MARY (my great grandmother): Remained in Jericho, married to John Willis.

Both Sarah Kirby (Hallowell/Willis) and Amy Kirby (Post) were active in anti-slavery work (abolitionist movement).
They were members of the newly-formed Western New York Anti-Slavery Society in 1842, and worked on its many Antislavery Fairs (fundraising events).

There was quite an exchange of letters between the sisters in Rochester and Long Island.
One letter (which is in the Univ. of Rochester Library) is to Amy Kirby Post and is a recounting, or a reporting of a Quaker business meeting which took place in May 1842 in Westbury, and was written by Mary's husband John Willis.
He gives a report on the outcome of an appeal from a person who was to be disowned from the Friends meeting. I had believed until I read the background at that period that I understood why people were disowned. I learned a few things.

What caught my attention was his warning to his sister-in-law at at the end of the letter.

"Father and Mother expects to make you a visit and if you want them to have an agreeable visit you must talk something besides Abolition and George F White." (for transcription, see end of post)

John Willis to sister-in-law Amy Post

John Willis warns Amy not to mention George F White
Thanks to George F White,the Genesee Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, to which Sarah & her husband belonged, was against slavery, but its ministers and elders disapproved of the aactivities of many anti-slavery advocates.

So who WAS George F White & what was the problem with speaking of Abolition?

In the 1840s George F White was a prominent Quaker minister and followed Elias Hicks' teachings (which had created a division around 1827).
Minister George F White was “anti-Anti.” He was quite persuasive; preaching that the Quakers should not come out against anything.
For example, he was against being against slavery (anti-abolitionist), but he was not pro-slavery. White strongly warned the Friends using forceful terms, against participating in antislavery and other reform movements, which were otherwise seen as advancing Quaker ideas.
He was apparently pro-George F White.
He was highly controversial figure, creating division among the Quakers.
His influence was so strongly felt that New England & New York Yearly Meetings prohibited abolitionist speeches and later on temperance and suffrage meetings in its facilities.

Amy Kirby (sister of Mary Kirby Willis) during this time worked with Frederick Douglass in Rochester and invited him to speak at Westbury(Long Island) Meeting.
However, this was cancelled when some in the meeting objected to Douglass’ message. Frederick Douglass instead met with locals but did not speak at the Quaker meetinghouse.
George F White's influence was felt all over, and in Western New York (Rochester and surrounding areas), the ground shifted for the Quakers.
There, the NY (Hicksite) Quarterly Meeting refused to allow anti‐slavery lecturers in the meetinghouse, saying even though Quaker, they were paid by abolition societies. This broke the general Quaker rule against using a “hireling ministry” (paid).
Tensions grew over how to resolve the conflicts within meetings: George F White had created more problems than he had solved.
In Western NY some people, such as Amy (Kirby) and Isaac Post left Genesee Yearly Meeting altogether. Then in 1848 about 200 others formed a separate Yearly meeting.
The controversy that surrounded George F White’s crusade against reform movements eventually created fracture nearly every Hicksite Yearly meeting.
Going back to the letter at the beginning of the post:
The letter is John Willis' account to his sister-in-law is his own recollection of an appeal by James S Gibbons on his possible disownment. There were three people in jeopardy at this time: Isaac T Hopper, his son-in-law James S. Gibbons, and Charles Marriott. The problem? They had what was viewed as improper associations with nonQuaker abolitionist movements.
After over a year of deliberation, New York Monthly Meeting disowned the men in 1842.
A few (not all) reasons listed for disowning the men:
"1. Such activity implied that something was wrong with Friends testimonies. Faith should be sufficient to cause change; therefore, it was not necessary to form or participate in man‐made organizations.
2. Such activity ignored the slaveholders, many of whom were performing a moral good by making slaves morally good and happy; it also ignored the problems that abolition would bring to slaveholders.
3. Such activity employed strong language and harsh activities unbefitting to Friends.
4. Quakers belong to a religious society, not a benevolent society; therefore, slavery was not a proper issue for the care of the Religious Society of Friends."

The above list pretty much lays bare the problem changing things in society for the better; one of the great obstacles to change is overcoming inertia against change.

[The two sisters of Mary, Sarah and Amy, eventually left the Society of Friends (Quakers). Both Sarah and Amy were one of the many former Quakers who often gathered at the Anthony home on Sundays to discuss reform activities, including anti-slavery and women's rights.]
First and last page of John Willis' letter to Amy Kirby Post (transcribed)

Jericho 5th (May) 30th 1842
My much esteemed sister - [meaning sister-in-law-]
Amy Post
    We have now returned from our Yearly Meeting and feel something of a cold  otherwise all pretty well. Our Yearly meeting was large and the business that came before it was conducted in much harmony and brotherly love we had in the company of good many strangers  some from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Geessee [county] and Can`n`ady, and the subjects that thee may feel an interest in 

I will give some account of the first business take up in the second sitting was the appeal of TTH (?) ht meeting appointed four-from each quarterly, Westbury excepted which made 36 in number. I had objected to 3 of those that where appointed and they were accordingly released and 3 others appointed in their stead with which Isaac [Hopper] felt satisfyed [sic] in the commencement of the appointment Isaac requested that he might have the company of his son in law James S Gibbons to set with him, which was granted  then asked James S G. weather [sic] he intended to prosecute  appeal James said before he answered that question it would be necessary for him to make a few remarks. He said it never was agreeable to his judgement to appeal but he did so on consideration
to his friend (but I think such friends are not worth having) and to prosecute the appeal for the sake of controversy he had no wish to do and further  he had no wish to be a member of N. York monthly Meeting as he thought the regulations of that meeting would conflict with his duty's [sic] he therefore declined proceeding any further and would withdraw from the contest. he said a good deal more but the above is about the substance.
The Meeting then proseeded [sic] on with its usual business until Sixth Day morning when the clerk informed that there was
a report from the committee on the appeal on the table which was accordingly taken up The report was as follows that they had attended to their  appointment had heard the appellant and the quarterly Meeting committee in the case, and that 18 where [sic] for confirming the judgment of the quarterly Meeting 15 for reversing it, and three declined giving any opinion in the case. John (Rh)uman asked weather [sic] it would be thought....
-----------ETC -----------
I have wrote a considerable >this is the last (page?)< but I suppose it will not be very exceptable [sic] information to thee but thee must try to hear it for it does appear that moddern [sic] abbolitionism [sic] is on the dicline [sic] with us [meaning Quakers], not that the interes[t] in the welfare of the slave is on the dicline [sic] by any means, that and moddern abbolition [sic] is two very different subjects--- Father and Mother expects to make
you a visit and if you want them to have an agreeable visit you must talk something besides Abolition and George F White.

Effectionately [sic] thine -
John Willis

3 Quakers and Abolition, Edited by Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank, 2014, University of Illinois Press

Saturday, April 18, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #16 : What Travels Through the Air? An Epidemic. 100 Years Ago - Spanish Flu 1918-1919

Spanish Flu of 1918
The Spanish Flu of 1918 didn't stop on Dec 31, 1918. It naturally flowed into 1919. My great grandmother kept a diary off and on over the years. I haven’t found one from 1918, but she ‘resolved’ to keep on in 1919. 
The diary she kept starts New Year’s Day, January 1919. Their first born daughter, my grandmother, Elizabeth Tyson turned 15 in 1919.
Elizabeth had 2 elder brothers (Donald Charles 1902-1980 and Robert William 1903-1969).
In 1919 below her were seven children (in order):
  • Margaret Janet {Keefer, Bouchelle} 1906-1994;
  • Frederick Carroll 1908-1974;
  • Edwin Phillip 1909-1973;
  • Richard Stanley 1911-1987;
  • Chester Julian Jr 1912-1972 (called Jr. below);
  • Ralph Watts 1914-1998;
  • Paul F "Dix" 1916-2008
Two more children came later. When Bertha started the diary in January 1919, her two youngest children Alan Hawxhurst 1919-1993, and Norman Eugene 1921-2010 weren’t yet conceived. (Alan born at the end of 1919).
Echoes of today: 
Bertha was in 1919 a mother of 10 children, and her husband worked a large farm, and he was active in PA agricultural communities. 
Parallels to today include: 
* Sanitary habits. In January, she’s teaching her children to be more sanitary about their runny noses.
* Widespread. Even though she was in a rural farming area, there were friends and relatives who "are sick with the 'flue'” as she spelled it. 
* Isolation. This family though comparatively well-off (they had two cars and a phone), could only call people who owned phones as well. 
* Cancellations: "Meeting"—or Quaker worship—was cancelled several Sundays.
* Deaths: Several friends/relatives died 
Note: driving for pleasure was not really part of the equation. Esp. in winter. Then trips were mostly with a purpose. Cars were relatively new and roads were often too bad (snow, mud, ruts, etc.) in winter to go anywhere. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was opened as a "large" paved road when my mother could remember it (it opened October 1940 and was just 160 miles long).
Below is a typewritten transcript from her diary: Click on picture to enlarge.
Bertha (Hawhurst) Tyson’s Jan  & Feb 1919 Diary 
(Chester is her husband. Most people mentioned are close or distant relatives by marriage).
Wednesday 1 January 1919
No sun. Rain lasted all day. Had goose stuffed with apples and prunes, good but kids not fond of it. Most everyone one around has “flue.” [flu]
All Geo Peters family but himself & (olive?), Will & Edna (Tyson) & all colored folks,etc. Read a little & sewed. Ralph [son] wants me to get him to Uncle Ralph’s, and has been leading up to it for some time. Told me Uncle Ralph has a pony & play things for him & that he ought to ____his cousins up there! 
Resolved to keep a diary!
Thursday 2 January 1919
Rain & snow in PM. No sun. Electricians here to make changes. Made doughnuts. 
All Geo. Peters  (family) all but Olive has influenza. Olive is only caretaker. Geo. kept up as long as he could. Mary cooking as much as she could.
All well here Everyone else (nearly) is sick or has sickness in family.

Friday 3 January 1919
Snowed about 6 in. Children excited. I mended & put away, etc. 
Children have learned to be sanitary about their noses. Jr. & Stan use paper & then run quickly & burn it up! 
Boys went down to Guernsey [about 2.5 miles, depending on destination] & started generator & etc. All sick down there including the colored folks. Electricians here to make changes. 
Chester [her husband] came home feeling miserably, wen tot bed right after dinner & felt better by the time I went to bed. Big boys caught up in work too___
Saturday 4 January 1919
6 °t. Robert went up for Daisy. Froze the Ford radiator & a hole developed. Both cars out of commission. Cold all day. A little coasting Too cold for a good bread. Made tarts, good. Don went to Guernsey to fix pipes & to prevent freezing. M. J. T & Don Garretson played cards all PM.

Sunday 5 January 1919
Cold ° 8 t here ° -6 at night. 
Most of the men sick so far D--? And Don and Chester went down to clean stables & etc. 
No meeting [Quaker worship] due to flue [flu]. 
Had two meals; tea & tarts (sand)__  . W.E. read & sat in my b?. 
Tired. Clothes for the boys [side cut off]  
Sunday January 12 1919
Sunny & cold. No meeting [Quaker worship] account of flue [flu].
Chester tried to fix sitting-room fireplace so it would not smoke, it was better but not without some smoke yet. We let the fire go out. 
After dinner, Chester, Fred & I went to Mapleton and looked at the cows & their m__, and the office. I wrote his [Chester’s] letters. 
Children at home, everything more or less in disorder!

Marg. Koser’s husband died very suddenly at Middletown. 
Mrs. Warren on the Annex very sick; a nurse, hardly expects her to live thru the in night.

Wednesday 15 January 1919
Cloudy in AM Sunday a little while in PM.
Chester still has a cold. Went to the office about 9:30. 
Lizzie Garretson here to mend rug & etc. Electricians here to finish but didn’t quite. 
Mended everything, took all day.
Everything running out. 
Chester not yet feeling good. 

Thursday January 16 1919
Sunny all day. Electricians still here. Will Deardorf here to repair.  Lizzie S here to mend quilts. Daisy & I cleaned 4 roosters & canned them in 1/2 gal jars. Lovely & warm. 6 eggs gathered. Cleaned lots of nice celery. 
Chester not feeling well. (he) had supper in bed.
Children called me to see a beautiful mackerel sky in the eve. I told them it would rain.
Dix [the youngest at this time] threw a spoon into the fireplace. I scolded & I found I had consented (absentmindedly) when he asked me if he could!

Friday 17 January 1919
Cloudy all day. Didn't feel good all day & accomplished nothing! Electricians here. Finishing at last. They can kill time faster than anyone else I ever saw, walk slowly & sit on their jobs.
Eliz. has been calling [little brother] Ralph "Sweetheart" & he answers by calling her "Ducky-love" but he didn't want to be called that last night but wanted "Window"! Everything he does is concerned with "States-College," he has a suitcase that is to go to States-College, and then  he is to ? send it back? Dix..___

{Jump to the following month}

Saturday 1 February 1919 
Clear & warm. So nice. 
We went to Gettysburg in PM over good roads but such stones in it! Margaret was sick in AM but went with us. Got home just before 5 and had supper of beans & hot doggies. Went to bed and asleep. Chester phoned at 9 o’clock from Harrisburg. 
Sunday 2 February 1919
Clear & warm. Ground was frozen. 
Mary Rush came over on the 10:45 train and left at 5 o’clock. A short day but well worthwhile. The clutch [on the car] is still slipping so did not go for Chester [to train station]. Elizabeth [my grandmother] is buttering up girls to join a girls’ cooking club. All enthusiastic. Had a lovely visit with Mary Rush, all too short.