American Quakers and slavery

+8 votes
I have early American Quaker ancestors who owned slaves.  I would like to find sources to better understand Quakers in the 1600 and 1700s .  I have found that Quakers often brought young slaves raised them to maturity , freed them and often placed younger slaves with freed slaves. I have also found some evidence of marriages of these slaves to each other and inter racial marriages. My father told me when I was young that one of my great grand fathers that came to this country in the 1600s was first married to an African slave.  If anyone has references that could educate me on the things listed here could you share them please. I will be availing myself of the info provided in projects and categories. Thanks.
in The Tree House by Anonymous Roach G2G6 Pilot (201k points)
As an add on I just found a 24 degree connection to Alex Haley thru my Quaker ancestors by marriage. Moving along well.
Then you and I might be related to one another, or else this 24 degree thing is just a game.
Susan we may well be related. . I am searching for more sources. But wikitree has helped me know where to look and great PEOPLE have been a big help. I probably won't ever find all the proof in my lifetime , but it's fun getting there. I found no relationship between you and I on the relationship finder but looking at your tree my stepfather also has Lamb and Lyon relatives.
Thank you, Trudy. I guess I didn't take this serious enough. I'll go back see what new things I can learn.

5 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

Bryn Mawr has some resources on Quakers and slavery.

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (614k points)
selected by Marc Snelling
Thank You Helmut. I will check it out.
+2 votes
About 1782 Slave owners were required to register their slaves and there was supposed to be limited time that they could remain slaves if they weren't registered.  Thereafter registered slaves were supposed to only be slaves till they reached a certain age.  My ancestor David Evans registered 2 young slaves at that time, and also shows a slave in the 1790 US Census.  I don't know what the circumstances were, though I Don't think he was a Quaker.
by Living Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
Thank you Dave.
+1 vote
John Woolman was a Quaker and early abolitionist:
by S Brooks G2G6 Mach 1 (15.8k points)
Thank You S. Brooks. I will read this info.
+2 votes
A topic of interest to me also - a convinced Friend, genealogy research has found Quaker ancestors. Also, it's revealed non-Quaker slave-holder ancestors. DNA tests have also introduced me to several relatives who may have been descendants of those slave-holding ancestors.  

One book I'm reading now, American Colonies by Alan Taylor, talks a bit about Quakers in general, and touches on slavery and Quakers.  He says William Penn had a few slaves - this back in the late 1600's in Pennsylvania.

He also says Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1758 barred Quaker slaveholders from leadership in Yearly Meeting - which means there were Quaker slavekeepers there and then.  In 1776 it barred them from membership.  So, nearly 100 years to bar them from leadership - another 20 to bar them from membership.  Not an easy decision, evidently.

This is very Quakerly :)  1)  Quakers being among the first to do the "right thing" in social issues 2) it taking Friends a long time to come to agreement about what the "right thing" is.  

I'd heard for some time that it took Friends 100 years to agree that slavery was wrong.  Would recommend this book. Penguin is the publisher.  Not a lot about Quakers but it puts it all into the times and reasoning going on.
by Annie Blanchard G2G4 (5.0k points)
Thank you. Annie. The subject of slavery is complex from all sides. I find the human nature aspects fascinating. The split in Quaker attitude toward owning human beings is a perfect example of who we are in this world. I will look for the book. We are 18 th once removed cousins.
Awesome (that we are cousins however far removed!)
+3 votes
Our family also has history of tri-racial ancestry, subverting slave systems (underground railroad), and complex moral stances.  In the 1600s the modern system of white/black and slavery had not fully taken hold.  My line descends from Quaker martyr Mary Dyer [[Barrett-824]] and are 3rd cousins to Barclay and Edwin Coppock.  The Coppocks joined John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry to spark a slave rebellion.  A violent break from typical beliefs of the Friends.  It seems likely the knoweldge of their own ancestry could have influenced their decisions. DNA tests done in our family support lend support to the oral history.


Eugene Debs on the Quaker Coppock Brothers:
by Marc Snelling G2G6 (8.9k points)

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