Haddonfield Monthly Meeting

Haddonfield Monthly Meeting
Chirography can be so Interesting and challenging

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quakers in Early New Jersey

The following discussion of Quakers and Early New Jersey is from the Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas French, Who came to America from Nether Heyford, Nothamptonshire, England, and settled in Berlingtion (Burlington) in the Province and Country of West New Jerse, of which he was one of the original Proprietors, together with William Penn, Edward Byllynge, Thomas Olive, Gauen Laurie and Others; published in 1909, and available as a full download from Google Bookes. This Book was compiled and published by Howard Barclay French, of the seventh generation.
It is included in this Blog to help the descendants of William Hollingshead, son of Anthony Hollingshead and Elizabeth Conrow, appreciate the times and circumstances in England when William Hollingshead's Quaker Ancestors left their sometimes intollerable situation in England and came as immigrants to America and New Jersey. I also hope that the reader will obtain a greater appreciation of the spiriuality and goodness of those Ancestors.
William Hollingshead's Immigrant ancestors were:
John Hollingshead and Grace Scott
John and Elizabeth Adams
John Rudderow and Ann Jones
The parents of Lucy Stiles
Mathew Allen and the Widow Conrow, mother of Isaac and Jacob Conrow [or Connaroe]
Thomas Stokes and Mary Barnard
Isaac Horner and Lidia Wright, who came to New Jersey from Long Island.
Peter and Alice Wright parents of Lydia [they settled in Oyster Bay Long Island]
—We must also inculde along with Mathew Allen, [the Step father of Isaac Conrow], Rachel French, Matthew Allens second wife; along with her parents, Thomas French and Jane Atkins, who were step grandparents of Isaac Conrow. It would not be amiss to include, Hugh Sharp, Second husband of Rachel French and step, step, father to Isaac Conrow, along with his parents William and Hannah Sharp. Stories from the lives of many of these people have already been written and are available in 'genealogical Periodicals, published family histories, and other histories and journals. Many of these stories will be found in other blogs linked to this blog. We hope the reader will browse these materials and will enjoy learning more of the life and times and locations of these Ancestors of William Hollingshead.

William Hollings head was the father of Thomas William Hollingshead, who was born in Digby Nova Scotia. Thomas William Hollingshead is the father of Nelston Stoyell Hollingshead, who was born in York Ontario, Canada. Nelston Stoyell Hollingshead was the father of 15 children including Abraham Hollingshead, William Thomas Hollingshead, Steven Barton Hollingshead, Erastus Wyman Hollingshead, Andrew Jackson Hollingshead, who were all born in Minersville Utah. and Two sons born in Parowan, Utah and other children boys and girls.

From the Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas French:
The Colonial Dawn
THE exact date of the first settlement of New Jersey is not fixed by accepted historical records. The earliest colonists were Dutch from Holland, about 1620, who planted a colony near the presenfsite of Bergen. In 1623 another company, under Captain Cornelius M ey, settled on the east side . of the Delaware, nearly opposite where Philadelphia was located more than half a century later. They built Fort Nassau, on what is now known as Timber creek, a stream which enters the Delaware a short distance below Camden. During the ensuing forty years, Swedes, Finns, Dutch and English struggled for supremacy, until, in 1664, Charles II, of England, disregarding all rival claims, granted all the territory between the Delaware and Connecticut rivers to his brother, the Duke of York, who later succeeded him as James II, and forcibly took possession. Pending complete subjection of the country, the Duke sold all his claims to Lord Berkley and Sir George Carteret, who named the tract New Jersey, in honor of Sir George, who as governor of the island of Jersey, had loyally sustained Charles in his contest with parliament and Cromwell. There was much difficulty in establishing permanent and satisfactory local government. In 1673, Berkley sold his interest in the proprietorship to John Fenwick and Edward Byllynge, Quakers, who later conveyed a controlling interest to William Penn, who had become much interested in the project, and two other Quakers of financial responsibility, Gauen Laurie and Nicholas Lucas. In 1675, Fenwick brought over a colony of upwards of two hundred persons and [p26] established a settlement on the Delaware at an attractive place which he called Salem, in view of its peaceful and inviting aspect. In 1677 another company of homeseekers came from London, made up almost entirely of English and Irish Quakers, locating some sixty miles farther up the river, founding Burlington. Thus the permanent settlement of West Jersey was begun by strong men and heroic women.
For some years the province was divided into East and West Jersey. In February, 1682, the upper territory, as far north as the Hudson river, was purchased by William Perm and eleven associates, all men of means, high character and influence, and later twelve others were added. One of these, Robert Barclay, an able Scotchman and influential Friends' minister, was made Governor. Through wise and just administration the country became an asylum for the oppressed and entered upon an era of industrial development and great prosperity. .Under a subdivided proprietorship and governorship, however, many difficulties arose; and in 1702 the proprietors surrendered the civil government to the British crown, retaining all personal property rights in the land, under the original agreements of purchase. Lord Cornbury became the first governor, under Queen Anne.

The great charters of civil and religious liberty granted the settlers of New England were duplicated by the first Constitution of New Jersey, afterward reappearing in all essential particulars, in Pennsylvania. Formulated by Berkley and Carteret, and signed February 10, 1664, it was entitled: "The Concessions and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Cxsarea, or New Jersey, to and with all and every of the Adventurers, and all such as shall settle or plant there." It was provided that government should be vested in a governor, six councillors, whom, he should choose, and an Assembly, to be chosen by the people. Loyalty to the crown of England was required. The Assembly was to make all laws needful, create courts and provide for the common defense. Faithful and impartial execution of every civil trust was guaranteed. The next section was the most important of all; it declared as follows: " “That no person qualified as aforesaid, within the said province, at any time shall be any ways molested, punished, disquieted or called in question, for any difference in opinion or practice in matters of religious concernments [P 27] who do not actually disturb the civil peace of the said province; but that all and every such person and persons may, from time to time, and at all times, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their judgments and consciences, in matters of religion, throughout the said province, they behaving themselves peaceably and quietly, and not using this liberty to licentiousness, nor to the civil injury or outward disturbance of others; any law, statute or clause contained, or to be contained, usage or custom of this realm of England, to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding."
Seven years' occupancy and use of land secured permanency of title. As an inducement to industrious settlers it was provided that every freeman becoming a member of the colony at the beginning should be given one hundred and fifty acres of land for himself and one hundred and fifty acres for every able-bodied man servant, seventy-five acres for each minor servant above fourteen years, and seventy-five acres was to be given to each " Christian servant " at the expiration of his term of service.

Twelve years after the issuance of the Berkley-Carteret proclamation of settlement, the first organized movement towards acceptance of its liberal provisions was inaugurated in London. On the third of March, 1676, about one hundred and fifty earnest-minded men, including William Penn, Gauen Laurie, Thomas Lambert, Thomas Ollive, Thomas ffrench, Edward Byllynge and Henry Stacy, signed a paper entitled, "The Concessions and Agreements of the proprietors, freeholders and inhabitants of the province of West New Jersey in America," This now historic document, in the preparation of which William Penn played a large part, followed the main lines of the Berkley-Carteret paper, making still further provision for the successful planting of the new colony and its wise and efficient government. Commissioners were to be selected and appointed to represent the lords proprietors and the settlers and to have power to order and manage the affairs of the province. They were abo to divide the land into stated provisions of ten parts each, or proprieties, these to be subdivided. Future Commissioners were to be elected by the citizens. An Assembly, or legislative body, was to succeed the Commissioners, the members being chosen by the people, by ballot. An outline of governmental provisions and legislation was given, the purpose [P 28] being to found a model Commonwealth in which the largest measure of individual liberty was to be allowed, consistent with the protection of the rights of all and the maintenance of good order. Disturbers of the peace were to be regarded as public enemies and dealt with severely, but trial by jury was provided for and impartial administration of justice assured. Imprisonment for debt was forbidden. Peace with the Indians was to be faithfully maintained. There was to be free legislative discussion and open voting before the people. The section of this immortal document which will forever command the increasing admiration of mankind, was as follows :
“That no men, nor number of men upon earth, hath power or authority to r«le over men's consciences in religious matters ; therefore it is consented, agreed and ordained, that no person or persons whatsoever, within the said province, at any time or times hereafter shall be any ways, upon any pretence whatsoever, called in question, or in the least punished or hurt, either iit person, estate or privilege, for the sake of his opinion, judgment, faith or worship towards God, in matters of religion; but that all and every such person and persons, may from time to time, and at all times, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their judgments, and the exercise of their consciences, in matters of religious worship throughout all the said province." Hampton L. Carson, former Attorney General of Pennsylvania, in a recent address before the Pennsylvania Historical Society, thus spoke of " William Penn as a Law Giver " : " “He severed church from State ; secured the rights of conscience ; wedded religious liberty to civil security ; encouraged immigration ; armed the citizen with the ballot ; converted prisons into work-houses ; abolished the infamy of jailers' fees ; punished perjury and extortion ; destroyed multiplicity of suits ; overthrew the inequalities of primogeniture ; suppressed piracy ; assailed vice ; stripped the criminal law of ferocious punishments; encouraged literature; rewarded science, and thus strove to secure the peace, purity and happiness of his people."

The rise of the Society of Friends must ever be regarded as one of the memorable events in the history of mankind. Out of the fires of persecution arose companies of consecrated men and women who crossed the sea to set up an empire of civil and religious freedom. The settlement of Burlington was one of the links in the chain of circumstances that illustrated the most [P 29] beautiful and inspiring lessons of faith, courage and heroic endurance. Following the first ship, the Kent, in 1677, within three years came upwards of fourteen hundred persons, all eager to share the trials of the pioneers. These settled along both sides of the Delaware, from Salem to the falls, near the site of the furure state capital of New Jersey. Some were families of fair estate, for those times; others possessed very little with which to begin life in the wilderness. Others were modest tradesmen and useful artisans.
The first little company felt their way cautiously, leaving their ship some forty miles below Chygoe Island, where they finally determined to locate a town. Not an hour was lost, however. Within forty days negotiations were completed with the Indians whereby large tracts of land were possessed. The plan adopted resulted in the laying out of Burlington— or Bridlington, as it was first called — essentially as it is to-day. Lots were assigned and houses built as rapidly as possible, while farm lands were located and cleared for cultivation. The old chronicles present quaint pictures of this hopeful olony of busy and happy workers. Every day brought some new revelation.

The dominant note was one of reverent gratitude for divine guidance and protection. An early letter to friends in England said: "A providential hand was very visible and remarkable in many instances, and the Indians were even rendered our benefactors and protectors. Without carnal weapons, we entered the land and inhabited therein, as safe as if there had been thousands of garrisons, for the Most High preserved us from harm, both of man and beast." Many of the first built houses in Burlington were small wooden structures, some log huts, while a number of families for a time abode in caves along the river banks. Later substantial brick dwellings were erected and in this still old-fashioned town to-day, so quiet and restful, may be found a number of houses built in the early part of the eighteenth century and during the period prior to the Revolution. Some of these are large and imposing, showing all the distinguishing marks of the colonial era. Samuel Jennings, the first governor of West Jersey under the immigrant proprietors, had a large mansion on the river bank. He also built a fine country seat, known as " Green Hill," about two miles from Burlington, which stood with scarcely any change until a few years ago, when it was removed, but not until a picture [P 30 ] of it was' taken, which is here reproduced. Gov. Jennings was a noted Friends' minister, and at his country house meetings of ministers were often held.

That there was public worship very early is evident from the statement that open air meetings were held under sails borrowed from ships, and even marriages were thus celebrated. It was decided to organize the society in due form and the first minute, herewith given, quaintly sets forth this fact.
First Page of “Burlington Meeting Records” ´ “Since by the good Providence of God may friends with their families have transported themselves into this Province of West New Jersey the said friends in those upper parts have found it needful according to our practice in the place wee came from to settle Monthly Meetings for the well ordering the affairs of the Church it was agreed that accordingly it should be done and accordingly it was done the 15th of the 5th Month 1678
Meetings were regularly held at the houses of different members for a number of years, chiefly those of John Woolston and Thomas Gardiner. The first Yearly Meeting, taking in also Friends' societies at Salem, Shrewsbury and Crosswicks, New Jersey; Shackamaxon and Falls, Pennsylvania, was held at Thomas Gardiner's, Burlington, 6 mo. 28th 1681. Some years later the Yearly Meeting alternated with Philadelphia, until it was permanently located in the latter city in. 1760. P 31 Soon after locating in Burlington, Friends took it into consideration to build a meeting house, as the society was rapidly outgrowing the capacity of private houses. Accordingly we find the following minute, under date 12 mo. 5th' 1682: "
“It is ordered that a meeting house be built according to a draught of six square building of forty foot square from out to out for which he is to have 160 pounds, which the meeting engageth to see the Persons paid that shall disburst the same to Francis Collings." This important project seems to have proceeded slowly; in part, apparently, on account of the diligent attention the contractor paid to the attractive widow of Dr. Gosling, whom he finally secured as his second wife. In those days honorable courting, especially on the part of well-to-do widowers with young children, seems to have been regarded as a serious business. Finally the building was completed. The minute for 2 mo. 6 day 1691, says: “This day it a ordered that our First day Meetings at Burlington shall begin in the morning -at the 9th hour, and at the 2nd* hour in the afternoon ; and be held both morning and evening in the meeting house." The accompanying illustration of this historic structure is from a drawing furnished the artist, a native of Burlington. With the occupancy of the Meeting House marriages were solemnized there. Several years later a brick addition was erected, for winter use. For nearly one hundred years successive generations of Friends met in these quaint buildings for worship and counsel. .The burial ground, immediately in the rear, was used meanwhile and has been since, until very little unoccupied space is left. In 1785 the present Meeting House was built and it stands as firmly as ever, like the two great trees overshadowing it, which have stood guard for fully two hundred and fifty years. Historic relics, still in use, are the little pine table, upon which marriage certificates are signed, and the chairs, also, shown in accompanying illustrations, all more than two hundred years old and good for centuries more, though the fact is to be noted with infinite regret that the active membership of this historic Meeting is sadly reduced. In early days it was so noted for the number of ministers in attendance that it was sometimes referred to as the "School of the Prophets." The following curious minutes are taken from early Burlington records:
P 32 “At our Mens Monthly Meeting held at the House of Tho. Gardiner in Burlington the 10th of the 7th mo: 1683 — ‘Friends saw meet to take it into their Consideration that it might be necessary to have a Carriage made to Carry Such that are to be Laid in the Ground who Live in remote parts from the Burying place which is Referred to the next meeting for further Consideration.
“At our Mens Monthly Meeting held at the House of Thomas Gardiner in Burlington the 1st of the 8th mo: 1683 —Where the meeting ordered that Ja. Butcher Should make a Carriage to bear Such to the Ground that depart this Life who have Lived at a Distance from that Burying Place & their Relations do now Live.

One of the notable land marks in the graveyard — now lying flat, as the Meeting some seventy-five years ago decreed all of like elaborate character should be placed — is the tombstone of a worthy member of one of the pioneer families of Burlington, whose descendants have ever since held positions of usefulness and influence in the Society and the religious and business world. The inscription on this memorial reads as follows :
On the 30th day of July 1754 died Joseph Scattergood, Esq. aged 40 years And the next day was interred here He was a Husband Loving & Beloved A Tender parent A Kind Relative A Sincere & faithful Friend a Good Master an Honest Man This Stone is placed over his Grave by his Mournful Widow as a Tribute Justly due to his Memory
Another impressive reminder of the early days is the great sycamore tree on the bank of the Delaware river, to which immigrant vessels were moored before a wharf was built. Accompanying picture shows this forest giant as it appears to-day, nearly three hundred years old, a wonderful specimen of long-lived trees in America. Its circumference, in 1908, was twenty-one feet eight inches.

For a quarter of a century from the beginning, Friends constituted the only religious society in or about Burlington. In 1703 the Church of England established St. Mary's, first known as St. Anne's. This parish, therefore, is one of the oldest in America. The original building, erected in 1703, but not finished within for several years thereafter, has been enlarged four times and is now used chiefly for charitable purposes. The illustration given shows the front after the extension was made in 1 769. A former rector, Rev. Dr. Morgan Hills, has published an elaborate history of the church. During the first seventy-three years there were but four regular ministers, namely, Revs. John Talbot, Robert Weyman, Colin Campbell and Jonathan Odell. The first and third of these pioneer missionaries sometimes, under the spell of discouragement in consequence of many obstacles, complained to the parent society in London that the plain non-conformist people, amongst whom their lot had been cast, were too aggressive and too influential in the affairs of the province. But Dr. Odell seemed to more generously sum up the whole matter when, in 1768, he frankly declared, in a letter to his clerical superiors: " Of all Dissenters in this country, the Quakers are the most friendly to our Communion." Ten years later this zealous missionary had fresh, cause to acknowledge Quaker kindness, on account of the timely aid and protection of a noted Quaker widow, Margaret Morris, whose quick wit saved him from capture and ignominious punishment by the enemies of his king.

Social intercourse in and around Burlington soon brightened the lives of the pioneers. Chronicles of the time relate how the members of different communities exchanged visits and in each town or hamlet a neighborly spirit prevailed. A pleasant summer time custom was out-door teas, quite informal and therefore all the more enjoyable. The quaint little porches, generally having a short bench on either side of the doorway, were almost universal. Here elderly men and women would sit in the evening, chatting with passing friends, while the young folks would occupy rustic seats upon the side lawn, or stroll to the river 'bank. Quarterly Meeting days, vendues and local fairs were occasions of great social interest. Early marriage records show how busy cupid was uniting families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. [p34] The young men did not believe in lengthy bachelorhood, and very few spinsters beyond the age of twenty-two were to be found. Early marriages and large, healthy families, domestic peace and happiness characterized those days of nation founding. It was a period of wonderful simplicity, trustfulness, honesty, purity and genuine material prosperity and spiritual development. The civic and religious records show how each community was blessed, and industrial advancement and increasing population was supplemented by the setting up of meetings throughout West Jersey. Early meetings were Burlington, Mt. Holly, Springfield, Chesterfield (Crosswicks), Rancocas (Northampton), Chester ( Moorestown) , Haddonfield, Newton, Evesham and Woodbury. '

Definite traces of early meeting places in several instances have been quite lost; concerning others shadowy tradition points to the site of pioneer homes, as it was the custom to hold meetings in private houses until more suitable places could be provided. Old resting places for the dead have likewise been virtually obliterated. On the west bank of Pensaukin creek, near where it is crossed by the road from Camden to Moorestown, beneath a grove of trees, is an old graveyard, long since abandoned for use. A meeting house stood near by two hundred years ago. To this place the dead were sometimes brought in boats from Philadelphia. Several stones remained in position until half a century ago. Upon one was traced the faint inscription: E. C —1713 From the same place was taken a stone, which was set up in the wall of a neighboring spring house. The following inscription was copied there from:

During his visit to America, in 1672, George Fox [founder of the Quaker Movement] passed through the section afterward known as West Jersey, and wrote to his friends at home commending it as a desirable place for settlement. " It is a most brave country, with good soil," he said. He always took a lively interest in the Quaker 'colonies, and in a letter written in March, 1676, about the time of the signing of the " Concessions and Agreements," addressed to " Friends in New Jersey and those who intend going there," he said:
Let your lives and words and conversations be as becomes the Gospel, that you may adorn the truth and honor the Lord in all your undertakings. Let that be your desire, and then you will have the Lord's blessing, and increase both in basket and field and storehouse; and at your lyings down you will feel him, and at your goings forth and coming in. And let temperance and patience and kindness and brotherly love be exercised among you, so that you may abound in virtue and the true humility; living in peace, showing forth the nature of Christianity; that you may all live as a family and the church of God."

The land affairs of the province of West Jersey were at first conducted by special commissioners appointed by the proprietors, who came to America with the colony in 1677. This body was vested with authority to regulate the allotment of all lands, through surveys, make rules affecting rights of ownership, public highways, etc., in strict accord with the fundamental principles laid down in the "Concessions," signed in London, in 1676. They faithfully performed this work for ten years. The whole number of proprietors had now become so large and the members were so scattered that the transaction of business had become difficult. Therefore a general meeting of proprietors was held at Burlington, February 14, 1687, at which it was determined that there should be constituted a Council of Proprietors, to consist of eleven members, afterwards reduced to nine, -to be annually chosen from among themselves. These Councillors were fully empowered to act in all such affairs as concerned the general body. They agreed upon a system of rules relating to surveys and sales of land. In this manner the land affairs of West Jersey continued to be directed for a long period, and indeed the authority so [p37] exercised is recognized to this day in connection with unlocated and unsurveyed lands. The Council meets once a year, in May, in Burlington. The early minute books are carefully preserved in the office of the Surveyor General, at Burlington, and generally are in good condition. A few leaves have been moth-eaten, as will be seen by the photographic reproduction of part of the minute of a meeting in 1687, at which Thomas French was recorded as present. Another picture shows the present Surveyor General's office, erected about one hundred years ago, in which original documents, including the " Concessions and Agreements " of 1676 are preserved. In the Surveyor General's office is the original final deed of James, Duke of York, afterwards James II, to William Penn, Gauen Laurie and others, in trust for Edward Byllynge, bearing date August 6, 1680. It is a large parchment sheet, about 30 x 35 inches, showing but little the marks of decay. It was recently photographed, for the first time, for the compiler of this book, a copy being presented to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The famous " Concessions and Agreements," beautifully written on heavy vellum and bound in book form, defies the ravages of time. It is as clear as when engrossed and signed two hundred and thirty-one years ago. Three pages of this immortal document are reproduced, the title page and two others showing the signatures of Penn, Byllynge, Laurie, Ollive, Thomas French, Matthew Allen, and other leaders of the colonization movement.

An Historical Description of the Povince and Country of West-New_Jersey in America. Printed in London, 1698
In many respects the quaintest story of the early settlement of Pennsylvania and New Jersey was written by Gabriel Thomas, an observant Englishman, who lived fifteen years in the colonies and wrote a truthful account of what he saw and heard. This little book was published in London, in 1698. Original copies are very rare and when found bring a fabulous price. About fifty years ago a liberal-minded antiquarian of New York, Henry Austin Brady, had the book faithfully reproduced by lithographic process. A photograph of the title page of the second part, dealing with New Jersey, is given. The author's special purpose, uniquely set forth, was to present such a favorable account ' of the new country that industrious persons . of good character would be induced to seek homes in a land where there was wide opportunity for every one. Interesting extracts are here presented: "
“The first Inhabitants of this Country were the Indians, being supposed to be part of the Ten dispersed Tribes of Israel; for indeed they are very [P 38] like the Jews in their Persons, and something in their Practices and Worship, for they observe the New Moons with great Devotion and Reverence. And their first Fruits they offer, with their Corn and Hunting Game they get in the whole Year, to a False Deity or Sham-God, whom they must please, else, as they fancy, many Misfortunes will befall them and great Injuries will be done them. They are very loving to one another and are very kind and civil to any Christians. The Women are very ingenious in their several Imployments as well as the Men. Their young Maids are naturally very modest and their young Women when newly married are very nice and shy. As to the manner of their Language, it is high and lofty, with a short sentence. "
Burlington is become a very famous Town, having a great many stately brick houses in it. There are many fine Wharfs and large Timber Yards, Malt Houses, Bake Houses and most sorts of Tradesmen. There are many Fair and Great Brick Houses on the outside of the Town which the Gentry have built for their Country Houses. There are kept in this Famous Town several Fairs every year. Bread. Beer, Beef, Pork, Cheese, Butter and most sorts of Fruit here is great Plenty and very Cheap. "There is G locester Town, which is a very Fine and Pleasant Place, being well stored with Summer Fruits, whither Young People come from Philadelphia in the Wherries (boats) to eat Strawberries and Cream, within sight of which City it is sweetly situated. The Air is very dear. Sweet and Wholesome; in the depth of Winter it is something colder, and as much hotter in the heighth of Summer than in England. " They have Wheat, Rye, Peas, Gates, Barley, Rice &c in vast quantities ;also Roots, Herbs and Salads in abundance. Of Fish they have many sorts in prodigious Shoals and Wild Water Fowl are numerous beyond all expectation,- and Land Fowl are in extraordinary abundance and very large, with Charming and curious Birds too tedious to specify. I might have given a much larger Account of this Country, and yet without straining or deviating in the least from the Principles of my Profession, which are Truth itself. I have no Plot in my Pate, deep Design, not the least expectation of gaining anything by them mat go thither, or losing by those who stay here. Reader, I wish thee all Health . and Happiness in this and Everlasting Comfort in the World to come."