Between 1675 and 1725, many Quakers left England and came to the Delaware River area of Pennsylvania. There were Quakers in New England earlier, who came as Puritans and were converted by Quaker missionaries.
The Quakers in our Musgrave family line probably became Quakers in England and traveled to Ireland because of persecution. They left Ireland (thus were called Irish Quakers), not so much because of persecution (although they were persecuted), but because of economic issues.
The Quaker view of the Bible was different from the Puritan view, with an emphasis on the New Testament and no formal doctrine, no formal worship service, and no ordained ministers. With their different customs, Quakers were driven out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Rhode Island and out from there. Quaker doctrine might be described as one of love and light, at least among Quakers.
The Quakers came from the lower middle class of English society. They were farmers, craftsmen, laborers, and servants. There were fewer servants in a Quaker household, but, when there were servants, they were treated as family. Fortunately for genealogists, Quakers did have a highly organized system of meetings and record keeping.
The Quakers had a strict set of marriage customs, with approvals required by the congregation and parents. The marriage ceremony was very simple. A Quaker could not marry a non-Quaker. If they did, they were disowned, with several example of this in our later family lines.
The Quakers believed that souls had no gender. Men and women were equal and were to be helpmates for each other. So equal were they, that the Quakers even allowed women to be preachers. Their households were less male dominant. They believed that sex was to be confined to marriage and went to great pains in their style of dress to keep it that way.
The rearing of children was done in an atmosphere of loving, nurturing, and sheltering. Rewards were usually used and not punishments. Corporal punishment was rare. There was a strict behavior code and the community helped to instill it in their children. Children lived at home until married.
While many Quakers were literate, they were hostile toward public schools and home schooled their children, when possible.
Quakers lived on farms, surrounding a village. The village and surrounding farms made up a township.
- “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.
Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.