Dartmouth Quaker records

Apponagansett Assembly Home in Dartmouth. Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

We lately added a brand new database to AmericanAncestors.org, Dartmouth, MA: Quaker Records, 1699-1920. This database is a collaboration between the New England Historic Genealogical Society | American Ancestors and the Dartmouth Historic and Arts Society (DHAS).

DHAS has digitized and is transcribing the unique document books for the Dartmouth month-to-month assembly of Pals (Quakers). These transcriptions and the photographs of the manuscripts will likely be out there on the DHAS website. A lot of this content material may also be out there as a searchable database on AmericanAncestors.org.

When completed, this database will embody 16 volumes pertaining to the month-to-month assembly in Dartmouth, masking the years 1699-1920. At present, the database presents “removing data” from seven volumes. Removing data replicate geographic connections of people and households at documented occasions. Removing data can take three kinds: (1) marriage (to somebody from a distinct Month-to-month Assembly [MM], both at Dartmouth MM or at another MM); (2) quickly ‘visiting’ Dartmouth from one other MM or going to a different MM to ‘go to’; and (3) completely relocating to the Dartmouth MM from another MM or to another MM from Dartmouth. These assembly data present precious perception into the lives, travels, and residential places of early New England Quakers.

As we labored to determine this partnership, I requested Robert E. Harding, the DHAS president, to provide me some context on why this venture is necessary for researchers within the historical past of Dartmouth. Bob reached out to his colleagues, who offered a wealth of knowledge in town’s early historical past. Sally Aldrich wrote a 1987 thesis entitled “The Dartmouth Propriety: Land Possession within the Township Earlier than 1800.” She offered the next extract, highlighting how geography and faith influenced the early historical past of the city:

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Few Plymouth Purchasers determined to settle on this area, lower off from Plymouth by a troublesome overland trek and the treacherous Cape Cod waters. Nature dictated that Dartmouth ought to draw from its nearest western neighboring settlements of any dimension, Newport and Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Dartmouth maintained business and genealogical ties with these communities for a very long time afterward. Crusing to Newport was one-third the gap to Plymouth, and infinitely extra comfy. As a consequence, Dartmouth was separated geographically, and because of the Quaker affect, religiously and genealogically, although not legally, from the federal government of New Plimoth. There was little frequent floor, with both Plymouth or the remainder of Massachusetts, which was dominated by Puritans who considered Quakers as a risk to their ordered constructing of a “metropolis upon a hill.” Dartmouth truly voted to change into a part of Rhode Island in 1741, however Massachusetts refused to let the city go.

Richard W. Gifford offered some additional ideas on the historical past of Quakers in Dartmouth. He defined how lots of the early Quakers in Dartmouth got here from Sandwich, on Cape Cod. Sandwich is the oldest Quaker assembly in North America; the primary gatherings have been held in 1657. Journey and associations between Sandwich and Dartmouth continued as the 2 communities grew.

Richard additionally mentioned the geographic affect of the Dartmouth Month-to-month Assembly: “The missionary work of the Dartmouth MM was vital, most likely nowhere extra so than within the outreach to Nantucket. Peleg Slocum, the first benefactor in direction of the institution of the Dartmouth MM (and son-in-law of Christopher Holder) made a number of journeys to the island aimed toward changing Mary Coffin Starbuck, on the idea that if they might convert her, the opposite islanders would comply with.”

Dartmouth Quakers steadily migrated and traveled to conferences in Dutchess County … and Washington County, New York[.]

Dartmouth Quakers additionally migrated elsewhere, resulting in the institution of quite a few Month-to-month Conferences all through the Northeast and Midwest within the 1700s and early 1800s. Dartmouth Quakers steadily migrated and traveled to conferences in Dutchess County, New York (Rectangular MM, 9 Companions, and others) and Washington County, New York (Easton and Cambridge).

Lastly, Richard defined some variations between the New England Quakers and the Quakers who got here to Pennsylvania. William Penn arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682, greater than 20 years after the primary Quakers have been organizing in Sandwich. Richard says:

The Pennsylvania Quakers weren’t subjected to the identical governmental persecution that the Massachusetts Quakers have been. This persecution started in Sandwich, and was a major, if not the predominant, think about Sandwich Quakers eradicating to the frontier of Dartmouth within the 1680s. Then, when Plymouth Colony merged with Massachusetts Bay, the commonwealth started imposing the “minister tax” upon Dartmouth, resulting in resistance and the imprisonment of each Quakers (e.g. Deliverance Smith) and Baptists (e.g. Philip Taber Jr.), who refused to gather the tax.

So, in sum, this new database is a crucial step ahead in making the historical past of this distinctive city extra accessible to on-line researchers. Researchers fascinated with studying extra concerning the historical past of Dartmouth ought to go to the Dan Socha Memorial Digital Library at DHAS and seek the advice of the Henry B. Worth Papers Pertaining to Old Dartmouth, from the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Millicent Library, out there by way of DHAS. Additions to our database Dartmouth, MA: Quaker Records, 1699-1920 will likely be introduced on Database News, the weblog for the most recent database information and bulletins from AmericanAncestors.org.