Monday, January 21, 2013

QUAKERS: The Light Within

(photo: George Fox, first Quaker leader)

QUAKER ancestors from my dad's GLOVER-MYERS branch include the families of: Bowne, Beakes, Stacy, Potts. My mother's  DORT-THOMAS branch include the Quaker families of: Dyer, Hutchinson.   

Let us not forget that many of our ancestors were very early immigrants to the colonies (pre-Mayflower to early 1700).  As such, they often were affiliated with religious practices frowned upon in post-Elizabethan England.  One group, the Society of Friends, has its roots stretching across the Atlantic from England to the American colonies where the “Quakers,” as they were known, sought refuge from religious repression, fines, and imprisonment.

 At that time, the Church of England was the “official” church of the land and, as such, instituted state-mandated religious worship that was highly ritualistic and ceremonial, based on the newly published King James Bible.  The Puritans, dedicated to ‘purifying’ the Church of England, had already been emigrating to Holland and then America to avoid punishment for their form of worship while seeking the freedom of religion they sought. 

 The Quakers (originally a derogatory term they happily adopted) were also targeted as dissenters to the ‘approved’ religion of England.

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