did early Quakers in America use tombstones?

+8 votes

Grace's profile recently had the birth year changed from 1673 to 1663, citing her gravestone. I recall reading somewhere that early Quakers did not erect tombstones (and of course I can't find that now). Am I recalling correctly? Or would any gravestone be a memorial one, not erected at the time of death?


edit: found the page I was remembering - [Philadelphia burials]

Still need sources for either 1663 or 1673 birth, and locations, but the changes for Grace's profile were based solely on the Find a Grave memorial (not on any tombstone purported to be for her)

edit 2: I had closed the question with the note "question answered/mystery solved (sources still needed)" but that was about Cooke-1388, not the broader question of whether early Quakers in America used tombstones & I was asked to reopen the question.

WikiTree profile: Grace Hollingsworth
asked in Genealogy Help by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (308k points)
edited by Liz Shifflett
Her bio says - Note: GRACE HOLLINGSWORTH, wife of Thomas Hollingsworth, Sr. appears many times in women's committees, especially after her husband's death (2nd April 1717/28) and for many years. The last appeaance of her name, often referred Grace Senior since her dt bore the same name, is in the minutes on pge 162, dated 3 mo 2, 1741.

So it's not a death date at all but an after this date - Why would that be on a tombstone?

from the comments . . . the birth/death info was changed & I commented that both the old & new needed better sources. I received a private message reply, also posted as a comment:

followup on my previous comment... I received a private message reply with the source of the new birth/death information, which said in part:

"The info is based on Find A Grave listing as well as my personal visit to the Cemetery. The dates are as inscribed on the gravestones."

I found her Find a Grave memorial - https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=153217258 - but it doesn't have a picture of a tombstone, and it was my understanding that Quakers did not erect tombstones. Perhaps it was a memorial stone? The Find a Grave memorial states "[Burial information from Familysearch and Rootsweb family trees citing Friends Monthly Meeting records.]"

No, we did not. In fact, I have a bit of a funny story regarding Quakers and tombstones.

Up home, I attend Fallsington Meeting. Down here, I steer clear of the Meetinghouse two blocks away, because this Virginian group has become way too "California Quaker" for the 370 years' worth of Quaker blood running through my veins. Ugh! The Religious Society of Friends is not Unitarian Universalist. But, I digress.

One Sunday, as I was making my way up the hill to my car, well over an hour after the meeting, I noticed a couple walking toward me. So, I greeted them, let them know they missed the meeting and asked how I could be of assistance.

They had driven all the way up from Phil Campbell, Alabama on a genealogy quest and had come to Fallsington in search of William Cooper. and wondered if he was there because they hadn't seen a tombstone.  So, I asked, "which William Cooper? I am descended from both." And, they said, "the one who married Thomasine Porter." And, that's when I had to explain the lack of the tombstone.

Sam Snipes was still in the Meetinghouse that day, so I took the couple inside and we showed them a few records. Then, I took the couple for a walk around Fallsington, and after a while, the woman began to giggle - causing her husband and me to stop talking for a moment. Apologizing, she explained that she was laughing because her husband and I were like 9th cousins who, in spite of growing up 945 miles apart and never meeting until that day, had the same facial features, facial expressions, body language, body structure, sense of humor, etc. Yes, we are still in contact to this day.

What a great story! Thanks for sharing :D
Thank you.
Early Quakers in America marked their burial sites with stones, mostly plain stones, some with initials.  Speaking of Falls MM, they maintained records of burial dates, and located them on a burial plot map which was retained at the MM.  I can speak with authority on this after many visits to said burying ground, and visually sighting the burial map.  

As time passed, the great majority of the stones placed on burial sites have sunk into the ground and can no longer be seen, as nature has covered them over.
Thanks very much for this information on the possible existence of a burial plot map.

When visiting the Quaker burying ground at Mobberley, Cheshire, England, which my husband’s Janney ancestors helped to purchase, we found only a very few flat stones still visible, even fewer with initials carved on them. The sinking of any other stones into the ground over time since the late 1600s makes a lot of sense, though it is also probable that other early burials lacked any marker.

In the Lambertville cemetery in Monroe Co., MI, his later Quaker Janney ancestors did have small tombstones in the mid- to late 1800s.
I failed to mention that it was in the 1980's that I was visiting ancestors' graves.  When visiting Fall burying grounds, I was very surprised to see several cows grazing there.  Burlington burying grounds (NJ) had a grave of an American Indian (he was a friend, not a Friend).  The old Robins burying ground was so full of ticks and overgrown weeds that I was glad to get out of there, even if an a relative of Abraham Lincoln was cataloged there by earlier visitors.  Those were the days!
We visited the Friends Burying Ground at Mobberley, Cheshire in 1996, by then part of a horse farm and riding stables.

I’d like to add that my maternal MD and SC Mobley (originally Mobberley) ancestors were from this same tiny village, and, unfortunately, were probably some of the Anglicans whose persecutions forced my husband’s maternal Janney ancestors to emigrate to Pennsylvania in 1683.

3 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
Probably Not:

Reference: http://quakerspeak.com/how-are-quaker-cemeteries-different/


C'est Bon Magnifique ..
answered by Jerry Baraboo G2G6 Pilot (494k points)
selected by Keith Hathaway
+6 votes

mystery solved. The changes to Grace's profile were made based solely on the Find a Grave memorial. It was a different person he was working on whose gravestone he saw.  From followup private message:

Sorry, my error. I was working on two families and got them mixed up. I did get the information via Find a Grave site though.

answered by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (308k points)
I thank all of you for the information on the lack of Quaker Tomb Stones......I am not familiar with Quaker Customs and wondered why I could not find any tombstones for my HANKINS Tree members in early New Jersey.  This explains it totally!   

Evelyn Murray McKelvey

I've been tracking down Quakers in my tree, making and linking profiles, many of them appearing with FindaGrave photos.  One family appears in both Mennonite and Quaker records, and eventually a Mennonite and a Quaker tree join, with my ggf coming from it.  He and his wife (a Mayflower descendant, whom I remember) declined in their will to be interred with gravestones, saying it would be too presumptuous, although their parents and grandparents appear on FindaGrave.  I have suggested to relatives that we make a FindaGrave memorial explaining the disposition of their cremains, if only to satisfy the curiosity of genealogists, in part because the obituary appears to be only on a pay site, but I don't arouse any interest.
+1 vote
I northern new York there are several Quaker cemeteries
answered by Dave Kaufmann G2G1 (1.9k points)

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