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Quakers!! Oh My!!

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Bruce Vail, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    My brother Tom up in New York has been working with me in trying to unearth family history that we never knew as kids (Family schisms: Don't ask).

    He just found a long-forgotten monograph on the Vails of NY and NJ that reveals the shocking truth -- in the old days, our family was full of Quakers!!

    I'm going to need to do some serious reading to sort out all the connections. But it's a big clue to why my branch of the Vails doesn't have a military history to speak of, and that we all talk funny. :smile:
     

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  3. AndyHall

    AndyHall Colonel Forum Host

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    Congratulations or condolences, as you feel most appropriate.
     
  4. nc native

    nc native Corporal

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    I have several Quaker ancestors in my family tree too. Wiley Russell who is in my
    signature married the daughter of a Quaker named Eliza Lassiter from Randolph County
    North Carolina which is right in the middle of what is known as the Quaker Belt
    in this state. The Lassiters and families that were associated with them before were
    all Quakers dating back to the 1600s in Virginia. The Russells were a Primitive Baptist
    family and Wiley didn't let his wife's Quaker faith or his large family dissuade from
    enlisting in the Confederate Army at the age of thirty nine in 1861. Wiley was
    originally from neighboring Montgomery County.
     
  5. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    The North Carolina Quaker Belt is new to me. I first read about it a couple of months ago here on CWT.

    Just learned today that Long Island, NY, was a hotbed on Quakerism 1660s-1680s. Seems that the Puritans in Massachusetts and Connecticut made the Quaker immigrants from England feel unwelcome, so many migrated to Long Island to get away.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  6. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    I don't know how to feel. I'm suffering a little shock of disbelief.

    I've met a fair amount of Vails and never detected the slightest trace of real Religion. Whiskeypalions mostly, with a strong whiff of Presbyterionisms...
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
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  7. Gladys Hodge Sherrer

    Gladys Hodge Sherrer Sergeant Major

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    Bruce, I was equally shocked when I found my family line of Quakers six generations back, and in South Carolina, which drove most of them out of the State for their slave sympathies long before the War. My line stayed in SC another generation, but their abolitionist activities went underground, and their religion became publicly known as "Baptist". I imagine they also "talked funny", occasionally falling back into saying "thee" and 'thou" like Elizabethan Englishmen.
     
  8. LoriAnn

    LoriAnn Major

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    Oh fun! :smile: I love those kinds of family surprises.
     
  9. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore Sergeant Major

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    There was a Quaker belt in northern Virginia, including these towns:

    Hamilton: At Hamilton are still many Quakers (July 1863). (Major Alex Biddle, 121st PA)

    Middleburg: July 20 (1863), started for Middleburg, which is about 13 miles distant from Hamilton. Passed through the Quaker settlement and through Circleville. Stopped at the Quakers’ houses and found them very pleasant and hospitable. (War Diary and Letters of Stephen M. Weld – aide to Maj. Gen. Reynolds)

    Waterford: Waterford was a Quaker community that was strongly abolitionist and supported the Union. (The Civil War News, January 2013)
     
  10. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    Imagine my brother Tom's reaction to learn that there was a New Jersey Quaker named Thomas Vail who sold his slaves about 1820 in obedience to the ruling of his local Meeting that Quakers shouldn't be slaveowners anymore!
     
  11. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    We may be related, in an extremely remote sort of way. The Vails were kin to the Thornes in the old days.
     
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  12. nc native

    nc native Corporal

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    We could be. My Thornes were from the Edgecombe/Wilson County area and before
    that they lived in Virginia. I'll post the story sometime in the future about how my
    Thorne Civil War ancestor had a second cousin who shared the same name. This cousin
    Martin V.B. Thorne had a family that moved to Indiana in the 1820s. He grew up there
    and fought for the 57th Indiana Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Both Martin
    Thornes died of disease during the War, the Confederate Martin R. Thorne died in
    October 1862 in Virginia and the Union Martin V.B. Thorne in New Orleans in 1865
    from Yellow Fever. I'll see if can find the last letter Martin V.B. Thorne who fought for
    the Union wrote to his family. It is interesting reading.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  13. Jimklag

    Jimklag Lt. Colonel Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Shades of Long Sol.
     
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  14. Booner

    Booner Sergeant Major

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    Daniel Boone's family were Penn. Quakers who moved to N. C.
    My earliest Penn. ancestors were originally Quakers who later became members of the Church of the Brethren, or "Dunkers," which seems to me to be rather Quaker-like, but I don't know.

    So in your ancestral quest, if you run out of Quakers, they may have done the same as mine.
     
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  15. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    We know some Quakers most famously Richard Nixon's GGf fought and died for the Union. How many Quakers violated their religious principles would be an interesting question.
    Leftyhunter
     
  16. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    card00760_fr.jpg

    Old Quaker Meeting House, North Salem, N.Y. Generations of Vails lived and died in North Salem. During the Civil War, my great great grandfather Charles Hubert Vail had a farm near the Meeting House.
     
  17. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    Well, I've been reading the monograph and it seems confirmed.

    One of my ancestors -- directly through my paternal line -- was both a Quaker and a slaveowner.
     
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  18. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Next question: how did that work out?
    Leftyhunter
     
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  19. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    I don't think it worked out for anybody. I'm sure the slaves were happy to be freed, but I seriously doubt they were compensated for their servitude, or that the racial laws and social norms of 1780 New York were much to their liking. I imagine old Tom Vail felt some religious gratification -- but would rather have had the money. As for the Vails of North Salem, they seem to have dropped their attachment to Quakerism shortly afterwards.
     
  20. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Be
    Better to be freed in New York then the South.. No micegenation laws and they could vote. New York had black civil servants way before the South. Yes there was indeed racial discrimination in the Empire State but better is better.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  21. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 1st Lieutenant

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    FYI - From the website of the Loudon Museum:

    The Loudoun Valley was broken up into smaller grants—a few in the Middleburg/Upperville region given to Tidewater planters, but most given to immigrants from an overflowing Pennsylvania—the Quakers, Scots-Irish, and Germans interested in starting small farms. The Quakers had significant influence in the central Loudoun Valley, settling in and around such communities as Waterford (now a restored historic village), Hillsboro, Goose Creek (now Lincoln), and Unison. Their stone buildings are a major feature of the Loudoun landscape. Germans settled in the northern end of the Loudoun Valley, especially in the area around Lovettsville, leaving a number of log structures as their architectural legacy. Unlike the settlers to the east, neither of these groups believed in the use of slaves, thus inaugurating a division that would be important in the years leading up to the Civil War.
     

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