Obvious errata in Fore-
word are due to the fact
that the author was not
sent proofs for correc-
A QUAKER EXPERIMENT OF LONG AGO
IN THE TROPICS
OF PHILADELPHIA, PA., USA.
"A period of forty-five years cover the birth, the
activity, the decline, and the death of this obscure
and interesting episode in our Quaker history"
z40, Bishopsgate, E.C.2
This volume is issued
as Supplement No. 13 to
THE JOURNAL OF THE
FRIENDS HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Portions of it formed the
Presidential Address of the Society,
delivered in London, May, 1922.
The Journal, edited by Norman
Penney, F.S.A., is issued half-
yearly from Devonshire House,
London, E.C.2. Price 5/- ($1.25)
for the year.
FOREWORD TO THE READER
The author of a panoramic history is faced with the
task of covering a great deal of elapsed time in a short
space while assuring his publisher, reader, and critic that
his research has been painstakingly careful. Generalities
may be pointed up by specific examples of incidents,
trends, or theories. While basic source material must be
used, space may necessitate the elimination of the most
interesting and meaningful detail in the final manuscript.
This difficult situation might make it appear that the
historian of a specific subject or period has a relatively
pleasant prospect when he takes pen in hand. The converse
is not necessarily true.
Charles Jenkins' gem Tortola is an example of the lat-
ter, a story covering but forty-five years-concerned with
only Quakers on one small island of the West Indies. A
more narrow history could hardly be written The research
led him from London to New York to the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C., and to the island itself.
Haverford and Swarthmore College libraries divulged
secrets. Philadelphia Meeting records were perused. All this
footwork gleamed for him only seventy-one pages for this
tiny volume. Time, carelessness, hurricanes, and fires had
destroyed valuable records, meaning that some frustrating
gaps are yet-and never-to be filled. As you read, note:
what was Dorcas Lillie's maiden name? Was her third
husband of the New England shipping family of that
name? Why are so many present day East End Tortolians
named Penn. believing without doubt they are descendants
of William Penn although all evidence is to the contrary?
And so on. How Charles Jenkins must have wished he
could ferret out these details, because he was an exacting
historian. In researching for another project, I have had
cause to retrace Jenkins' steps and repeat his inspections of
journals, letters, maps, records, and manuscripts. The
thoroughness of his work is astounding. I have found
almost nothing concerning this "Quaker Experiment"
which he had not already discovered.
Why the West Indies? During the 1650's the Quakers
were sorely persecuted both in England and the American
Colonies. The British Colonies in the Indies were some-
what more lenient in their attitudes. During the latter half
of the 1600's, Quakers came in great numbers to Barbados
and Jamaica principally, becoming hardworking trades-
men, shippers, and often wealthy plantation owners. Their
relatively peaceful existence was not all it might seem, as
their religious beliefs often ran them afoul of the law for
refusing to pay tithes, refusing to "doff the hat" to
superiors, refusing to serve in the militia, and for holding
religious services for their own slaves.
The development of the Virgin Islands as plantations
(estates) and trading centers came later than in the more
prosperous southerly islands. Thus the Quakers were not
organized as a meeting in Tortola until the 1740's. Jenkins
reviews in Chapter I what preceded the foundation of this
meeting. What must be kept in proper perspective is the
fact that Americans (and Quakers) are not taught the
social and economic importance of the role of the vast
Caribbean in the history of the world, including mainly
England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United
States. The West Indies was the bread-basket, the gold
mine, the prime position in natural trade routes. The wars
of Europe were fought in the Caribbean sea. The diabolical
slave trade brought the labor and used the islands as a
jumping-off place for the slave supply to the American
colonies. We live with the result today. France depended
on a large part of its wealth from Haiti. Thus we acquired
the Louisiana Purchase for a pittance. This is panoramic
history. Jenkins' story points up in detail one incident of
the social-economic interdependence between England, the
West Indies, and the American Colonies. Although this
book deals with the birth and death of a single religious
group, one may read between the lines and appreciate the
tremendous importance of the exportable crops which
were, during this period, preferably sold to American
merchants. Perhaps Jenkins' interest was stimulated as his
hometown, Philadelphia, was one of the most vital ports
on the east coast and a high percentage of the shipping
merchants were Quakers. It is a personal thesis that the
American Colonies could not have survived to become the
United States without the economic strength created by
the productive West Indies. It was a two way street: the
now eastern states were able to provide necessary flour,
barrel stays, lumber, and foodstuffs in exchange for cot-
ton,. rum, brandy, spices, and sugar (the real king!). With-
out this exchange, relationships with mother England
would probably have been even more untenable. It is
interesting to speculate what today would be without
The Indies provided more than edibles. The island of
Nevis gave the United States Alexander Hamilton. Empress
Josephine was born in Martinique. Admiral Nelson found
his wife Frances Nisbet in Nevis. Jenkins tells us of three
Quakers who came from Tortola to various positions of
acclaim-Humphrey, Lettsom, and Thornton. It is unfor-
tunate here that this specific history could not have been
more generous in space to these men. Lettsom, for exam-
ple, became a famed physician in England at a time when
medical knowledge was becoming more of a scientific art
and less of a catch-all for old wives' tales. Jenkins suggests
his greatness and leaves his life story to a later biographer.
A mere footnote on page 58 gives a hint as to the real
man Tortolian William Thornton was to become. Known
for 'architecting' our capital buildings and his running
squabble with Benjamin Latrobe who appears to have
envied Thornton's skills, Thornton was an accomplished
artist, friend of the famous (George Washington, Thomas
Jefferson, etc.), a dedicated botanist, an active abolitionist,
ingenious inventor of an international alphabet, and
worker for the liberation of the Spanish colonies in South
America. Only a complete biography-one is now in the
making-could do justice to a man of so many talents.
During the 1740's and '50's, a Quaker traveling from,
say Philadelphia, could reach Tortola in a sailing ship in
seventeen to nineteen days, with any kind of luck. Today
the jet shortens this to four hours. Being the thorough and
curious man he was, Jenkins could not resist the pilgrim-
age. In 1913, Jenkins and his son made the trip in some-
what over five days. Ten years later-when this book was
first published-he tells us that there are many changes in
Tortola. In 1960, I found it much as he had described it.
Ten years later, there are real and glaring changes. Yet a
taxi will deposit one at the edge of Fat Hog Bay. With a bit
of inquiry, the interested can walk through the fields to
see the Quaker rubble-no longer resembling a Meeting
House and graves. But nearby stands a footnote to
history-a broken grave stone which reads: Sara Penn
Is there nothing more left of this short-lived but sincere
group? Just several years ago, the school children of Road
Town held a pageant which included a parade. A Tortolian
marched in this parade dressed as Thomas Chalkley. This
seemingly odd twist to history pleaded for investigation.
No facts can support my findings, but logic may prevail. I
am told that the Methodists followed the Quakers and
they became strong in membership. Their respect for what
had preceded them kept alive the memory of some of the
earlier religious leaders-thus, Thomas Chalkley is revered
two hundred years after his death.
In Jenkins' leather-bound copy of his own book are
tucked several letters from appreciative readers. One, dated
1953, seems a proper commentary on the spirit with which
these early Quakers met the vicissitudes of life, never less
in the tropics-
"...a carpenter here named Alvanley who had been
one of your guides discovered after you left, a grave
with a marker which read-'There lies Ruth Lettsome
who died January in the year of Our Lord 1809 in
the 47th year of her age. Like Charity feeding the
poor and healing the sick, she attained praise and the
rites of the grave duly given her. The present genera-
tion rightly praises her, offering those deeds for them
to contemplate. The heavens still living and by her
virtue and glory [sic], she is without death."
There is little doubt that this reprint of Jenkins
Tortola-exactly as the original-shall be of great interest
to an audience of Quakers, historians, and West Indians.
Harriet F. Durham
St. Lucia, West
I.-TORTOLA AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
II.-FRIENDS IN THE WEST INDIES
III.-THE AWAKING IN TORTOLA -
IV.-THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING
V.-APPLYING THE DISCIPLINE
VI.-JOHN PICKERING -
VII.-DR. JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM
VIII.-SLAVERY IN TORTOLA -
IX.-THE END OF THE MEETING
X.-THORNTON AND HUMPHREYS
XI.-LATER VISITORS -
I.-BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS 73
II.-LIST OF ADULT MEMBERS 76
III.-MINUTES AND RECORDS OF TORTOLA MONTHLY
IV.-PARTIAL LIST OF MANUSCRIPTS AND RECORDS
IN DEVONSHIRE HOUSE, LONDON 83
V.-THOMAS CHALKLEY'S LETTERS TO HIS WIFE 84
VI.-TIMES OF HOLDING MONTHLY MEETING
VII.-JOURNAL OF JOHN BRINGHURST -
VIII.-EXTRACT FROM AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DR. LETTSOM
IX.-DR. AND MRS. WILLIAM THORNTON
X.-INFORMATION FROM WILL OF RICHARD HUMPHREYS
XI.--PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRESI-
DENCY, 1919 TO 1921 -
Episcopal Governors Civil Govern-
of London Yearly Meeting, 1742 -
MAP OF TORTOLA AND SURROUNDING ISLANDS Frontispiece
From a Survey of Virginia Islands," by George King,
PART OF ROAD TOWN AND HARBOR 2
From a modem photograph.
LETTER FROM JOHN PICKERING TO ISAAC BROWN 18
From the original in the collection of Lydia T. Morris,
BIRTHPLACE OF DR. LETTSOM ON LITTLE JOST VAN DYKES 50
From the Gentleman's Magazine Supplement, Ixxxv.
pt. ii. p. 577-
EAST FRONT OF THE CAPITOL, WASHINGTON, D.C. 60
FAT HOG BAY 66
Showing the graves of Thomas Chalkley, John
Cadwallader, John Estaugh and Mary Hunt (marked
with the figure I). The foundations of the meeting-
house show at the right. The figure 3 indicates Long
Look, the home of Samuel and Mary Nottingham.
This illustration is from a lithograph, which, in turn,
was made from a drawing on the spot by George
Truman, of Philadelphia, in 184o.
STREET IN ROAD TOWN 70
With the Harbor in the distance. From a photograph
taken in 1912.
WEDDING CERTIFICATE OF JOSEPH RYAN AND REBECCA
TIMBERMAN, 1743 76
From the original in the fireproof at 304 Arch Street,
Note: In the original printing, the illustrations were placed
facing the pages indicated above. In this reprint, they are
placed after the Index.
D=Friends' Reference Library, Devonshire House, Bishopsgate,
zorfofa anmb ($ Tirgin J3fanbs
XTENDING down on the map from the Florida Keys, the
Land's End of the United States, like some irregularly
placed garden steps and stones, are the Greater and
Lesser Antilles, making an almost continuous chain connecting
North with South America, and enclosing the tropical garden
of the Caribbean Sea.
First, there is a rather long stride to the largest island, Cuba,
then a little lower and farther to the east, the frog-shaped island
containing the black republics of Haiti and San Domingo. The
third step in the same general direction and distance is to Porto
Rico, for many years one of the Spanish pearls of the Antilles,
now a part, but not a part, of the United States. Still another
step down to the east and south, and some fifty miles from
Porto Rico, are the Virgin Islands, now divided in ownership
between Great Britain and the United States. Here the Greater
Antilles end and the Lesser Antilles begin.
Until the United States purchased the rights of Denmark in
the West Indies, in 1917, the three most important islands, St.
Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, were known specifically as the
Danish West Indies. Ribald folks have a jest that this group is
indeed a holy one, composed exclusively of Saints and Virgins.
Of the group, St. Thomas with Charlotte Amelia, the capital
town, is the most important and best known. But almost
adjoining St. Thomas to the east, and within sight from its
interior hill tops, is a group distinctively called the British Virgin
Islands, belonging to Great Britain. These were discovered by
Columbus on his second voyage in 1493, and it is thought, having
been sighted on her saint day, Columbus named them in honor
of St. Ursula and her following of eleven thousand martyr
virgins. Other historians have suggested they were named by
Sir Francis Drake in honor of Queen Elizabeth, while his ships
lay in the harbor, since called the Bay of Sir Francis Drake,
at the time he made his expedition against San Domingo in I58o.'
A native told me, however, that the islands took their name from
an outstanding, hilly island of the group, Virgin Gorda, which
roughly resembles a woman of matronly proportions lying on her
back in the water.
Of the scores of islets and rocks composing the British Virgin
Islands, Tortola is the largest, being about twelve miles long
And three miles wide at its broadest part, the total area being
about twenty-one square miles. Its name means Land of the
Turtle Dove, from the brown colored doves which make their
homes on the rocky hillsides. These doves are different in plum-
age and smaller than the turtle dove we know in the United States.
On all sides of the Island the land rises abruptly from the water's
edge, the rugged hills seeming to come up out of the sea, the
slopes covered to the summits with trees and undergrowth.
These hillsides are cut by ravines and lagoons in every direction,
so that the coast line is twenty miles or more from end to end
of the Island. The general effect of the group is that of a partly
submerged volcanic mountain range, the higher peaks forming
the larger islands and the islets and detached rocks, the lower
summits. "She sits among the group of surrounding islets
like a tall girl with her little brothers and sisters grouped around
her" is the way an early visitor describes Tortola. The only
settlement is Road Town, along the shores of Road Harbor, a deep
bay on the southeast side of Tortola, and almost directly under
Sage Mountain, the highest peak, which rises boldly 1650 feet
in the air. Here the houses seem to cling desperately to the
steeply rising hillside and there is barely room for the single
street, and its lining of buildings, which extends close along the
shore. A little, widening of the beach makes room for the market-
place in front of the custom-house, at the principal landing.
Tortola was first owned by the Dutch, who are said to have
built a fort there as early as 1648. It was taken from them by
the English, recaptured by the French and Dutch, and finally
retaken by Colonel Stapleton, forEngland, in 1672. He demolished
the fort, removed the guns and brought away about eighty
subjects, Irish, English and Welsh, removing them to the more
I The Present State of the West Indies, London, 1778.
TORTOLA AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
important island colony of St. Christopher. The Virgin Islands
then were regarded as of small importance, or none at all.'
About the close of the seventeenth century, some English
settlers with their families came from the comparatively nearby
island of Anguilla, and made a permanent settlement.
"This busy and industrious race of men," said Chief
Justice Suckling in 178o, were not deterred by beholding
the amazing craggy rocks and lowering mountains without
one river, and very few springs of good water. In a few
years, from the incessant toils of these people, cotton and
sugar cane might be seen flourishing on the sides of the
mountains and in the lowlands ginger was cultivated and
indigo works appeared."2
In the days of the buccaneers and freebooters, these rocky
islets and hidden bays and lagoons, with their dangerous reefs
and shoals, furnished a safe hiding place. The great roadstead
off Tortola-Sir Francis Drake's Passage-was also called the
Virgin's Gangway; and the names, less sanctified than those
applied by Columbus, given to some of the nearby islets, are
reminiscent of pirates and the buccaneers-Rum Island, Beef
Island, Dutchman's Cap, Dead Man's Chest, Prickly Pear and
Broken Jerusalem, are typical.
It was on this rough and religiously infertile soil, about the
middle of the eighteenth century, that-like flames smothered
in the ashes of the fireplace, which sometimes relight the newly-
laid logs-a little Meeting of the Society of Friends came into
existence, carried on its work for a generation or more and
finally passed away. While it existed, its importance and
possibilities seem at this distance out of all proportion to the
interest which it aroused, and to the care and effort bestowed
upon it. Several of our prominent and valued Friends lost their
lives in visiting the Island and three of them are buried there.
Itinerant ministers, harkening to the call for service, came to it
from England and the American Colonies; and it was the fact
that a venerated ancestor, with a concern to visit this little
Meeting, was taken ill on the voyage home to Pennsylvania,
I Account of Lord Willoughby of Statia, Sabea and Tortola, in a letter
to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Read i8th of May, 167.7
Historical Account of the Virgin Islands, by George Suckling, London
died and was buried at sea, that first aroused my interest in
Tortola. A visit to the Virgin Islands in 1913 further stimulated
the desire to gather the facts that follow.
Any account of Friends in the West Indies commences at a
date but little after the rise of the Society in England. The
island of Barbados, early settled by Englishmen, some of them
Friends, was a fertile field when, in 1655, Maiy Fisher and Anne
Austin reached it on their way to their sufferings in New England.
Many were convinced through their labors and by those of other
Friends who soon followed.
John Burnyeat and William Simpson, leaving England in
1670, were among those who had great and weighty service in
the West Indies. William Simpson was taken with a fever, died
after a short illness and was buried in Barbados. The year 1671
was memorable on account of the large number of ministers from
the mother country who visited America. It was in this year
that George Fox, with twelve more of the fathers and mothers
of the Church, for there were two women in the party, sailed from
Gravesend in the yacht, Industry, bound for America by way of
the West Indies. They were chased by a Barbary pirate ship,
which, being a faster sailer, was ready to board them; but a
cloud covering the moon and a fresh gale springing up enabled
them to escape. They were seven weeks on the voyage, and on
his arrival at Barbados, George Fox was down with a fever, but
meetings for Church discipline were held in the house where he
lay. Religious meetings were held throughout the island and
" many sweet and precious things were opened by the spirit
and power of the Lord to the edifying, confirming and building
up of Friends."'
The passengers on the Industry, called to different fields of
religious labor, separated soon after their arrival in Barbados,
some going to the neighboring islands of Antigua and Jamaica
and to Nevis, where they were not allowed to land. George
Fox recovered, visited Jamaica with William Edmondson, Robert
Widders, Solomon Eccles and Elizabeth Hooton. Here they
found three of their fellow-voyagers already at work and together
they traveled up and down the beautiful island, where there
was a great convincement and many received the truth."' While
1 Journal of George Fox.
TORTOLA AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
on this service, Elizabeth Hooton was gathered to her reward and
buried in Jamaica.
In Barbados the Society grew rapidly, increasing by settlers
from England and by convincements, until it became an influen-
tial body of Friends. These included Thomas Rous, formerly
a lieutenant-colonel, whose son, John, traveled in the ministry
and later married Margaret, daughter of Margaret Fell; Lewis
Morris, formerly a colonel and member of the Council; Ralph
Fretwell, an important judge; and others. Five meeting-
houses were built throughout the island to accommodate the
several hundred Friends. There was frequent communication
by trading vessels with the American Colonies, and many of our
prominent settlers reached Pennsylvania after varying lengths
of stay in the West Indies. But Quakerism did not, I will not say
could not, flourish under the heated shade of the palm tree and
the exotic conditions of the tropics. The undermining effects
of slave holding, a certain laxity of morals, the apparent necessity
of military participation, the temptations of illicit trading, the
ease with which wealth was accumulated, and the unhealthfulness
of the climate, all combined to weaken the spiritual life and to
reduce and scatter the membership. It was not long until the
only settled Meetings in the West Indies were in Barbados, the
most healthful, prosperous, and important British island at that
By the time of Thomas Story's visits in 1709 and 1714, the
declension of Friends in Barbados was very evident, and when
Edmund Peckover visited the island in 1744, there were scarce
a hundred Quakers left, including children, and there was no
In Jamaica many Friends perished and the meeting-house
was destroyed when Port Royal was engulfed by the great earth-
quake of 1692. The only Friends saved were those attending
a Monthly Meeting fourteen miles away. A meeting-house was
afterward erected in Kingston, but in 1728 only one faithful
member, John Reynell, remained, and although alone, he attended
meeting regularly until his removal to Philadelphia.
In 1726, Joshua Fielding with William Piggott left England
on a religious visit to the American continent. Joshua Fielding
I Journal Friends Historical Society, vol. i (1904). p. io8.
reported, with the exactness to be expected of a London merchant,
to the Yearly Meeting, on his return in 1729, that he had traveled
21,ooo miles, to 480 meetings in 952 days.' In passing through
the wilderness from South Carolina, he had journeyed alone several
hundred miles through the forests, with only a small pocket
compass to guide him when the sun and stars were overcast.2
It was in the course of this extensive and laborious journey,
which covered all the British West Indies, that Joshua Fielding
visited the Virgin Islands, and it was due to his labors and
ministry that Quaker zeal was kindled in one little spot in the
Leeward Islands. He had arrived from the island of Anguilla,
stopping first at Spanishtown or Virgin Gorda Island, just across
the bay from Tortola. Here the governor lived at that time and
Joshua Fielding reports large meetings at the governor's house
and elsewhere on the island. He then crossed over to Tortola,
spending three weeks traveling up and down the Island,
having many large and comfortable" meetings among what
he calls a sober, friendly people. Joshua Fielding spent Fifth
Month 30th to Sixth Month i2th, 1727, on Virgin Gorda and
Sixth Month i2th to Seventh Month 2nd on Tortola, leaving
thence for St. John and St. Thomas, which, with true Quaker
simplicity, he calls John's Island and Thomas's Island."
He was detained in Jamaica by ye hurricane," finally taking
leave for Charleston, S.C.3
The three islands, Anguilla, Spanishtown or Virgin Gorda,
and Tortola, were reported in 1734 as being the only islands of
the Virgin Group fully inhabited by His Majesty's subjects.
They had no immediate intercourse with Great Britain or any
part of Europe. Their commerce was so inconsiderable as not
to deserve the appointment of custom officers. There were but
eighty-five white men in Anguilla, seventy-eight in Virgin Gorda
and an even hundred in Tortola.4
x Minutes of London Yearly Meeting, vol. iii. p. 6j, in D.
2 As related by Samuel Bownas in his Life, 1756, pp. 138, 139.
3 The account of his Travells in America is in London Yearly
Meeting Minutes, 1729, vol. iii. p. 61, in D, and seems never to have been
4 Report of the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations to the House
of Lords, dated Whitehall, January, 1734/5.
,rifenb in ett Qiket nbie
T is in a letter from John Pickering, sometime lieutenant-
governor of Tortola, that we learn of the influences which
caused the awakening of Quakerism in this obscure corner
of the vineyard. It is dated Tortola, Ioth April, 1741, and
addressed to David Barclay, Jr., in London.'
I received the favour of yours by Dr Turnbull & wrote
you four days ago in much haste by Capt Purcell who goes
directly for London, this goes by the way of Lancaster to be
forwarded by my Good friend Miles Birkett. The Character
the Doctor gives of you answers to the Opinion I have
always had of your Profession ever since I have had the
Comfort of being acquainted with any of their writings,
which is now about 14 years Since One Joshua Fielding a
friend Visited us, as he did all the English West India
Islands, his Stay here was but about a week or ten Days, in
which time he preached Several times, & twice at my
house, And after he got home he Sent me but three Books,
Namely Barclay's Apology, The Mite in the Treasury,2 and
No Cross, No Crown, in which I found great Satisfaction:
At that time, I don't remember, One in this Island that was
any way learning that Way but my Father,3 who lived
here as Lot did in Sodom. For my Part, I owned the Way,
but never lived any way answerable to it, but had always
a great Love & tenderness for them People above all
SEpistles Received, vol. iii. p. 54. London Yearly Meeting Records,
2 The Mite into the Treasury, by Thomas Lawson, London, I68o.
3 Abednego (?) Pickering, formerly of the island of Anguilla, where in
1716, he is listed as having in his family one white woman (presumably
his wife), three children, ten negroes, of whom five were "working negroes."
From List of Inhabitants of Anguilla, referred to in General Hamilton's
Letter, October 3rd, 1716, in Caribbeana (Magazine), vol. iii. (1914) p. 255.
others, and believe then could have lost my life for them,
and has had many Quarrells in Vindication of them, as
my Father's being one, was often hove in my Teeth.
He Dying about five years ago, there was but One
that Lived any thing to the Way, A tender hearted Young
Man, who had served my Tfather a little before his Death
as an Overseer and by whose Conversation he was in some
Measure Convinced, and he, after my Father's Death,
Lived a very Sober & Exemplary Life, by which and his
good Conversation, with the help of some good Books, he
had, several of his Neighbours began to Copy after him &
believed much in that Way, about which time being about
three Years ago, one James Birkett a friend a young man
from Lancaster came to this Island with a Cargoe of Dry
Goods to Trade with us, and finding about half a dozen
or more owned & allowed that to be the true Way of
Worship which the People called Quakers hold with, he
persuaded us to appoint Meetings, which we readily Con-
curred with, And I Offered my house, and eversince we have
Constantly & Strictly kept up Meetings twice a week, & I
think it was the Third time we met, that the Lord was
Pleased to show forth his Power amongst us, & opened the
Mouth of One to Speak to his Glory to our great Comfort,
and Since two others, by which I am Convinced that God
is a God at hand, and that He is the Same God to Day as
ever, to Raise up poor fishermen or tradesmen to Speak
with the Same Power as when he was present with them.
The thing Soon made a great Noise that I had turned
Quaker, and was Soon Buzzed in the Generals Ears, on
which He wrote me, He heard that I had turned Quaker
and if so, he thought me not a Proper Person to Govern
an Island: In answer to which I wrote him, That it was
a Religion or Society I owned & Loved above all Others,
and that I was Endeavouring with God's Assistance to Live
up to, tho' I had not yet got over or seen beyond that of
Self Preservation or defending my Country or Interest
in a Just Cause, with some Reasons for my holding with
their Principles, and that if he did not like my holding
the commission on them Terms, he might give it to whom
he pleased, for I should not alter my opinion or Religion
for all the Honours he could confer on me nor all he could
take away. In answer to which he wrote me very contrary
to what I expected, that he was very well Satisfied with the
Reasons I had given him for holding with them Principles,
and that he should for ever Esteem me, and that he believed
a good Quaker bid fairer for Heaven than a wicked
FRIENDS IN THE WEST INDIES
Protestant of his own Religion, and ever since has Continued
to write very friendly to Me.
I thought from a letter I received from the Dr whilst
in Ireland, that we should have had a Discreet friend out
with him to Instruct us in Church Discipline, he wrote
me to that Effect, we are very Ignorant of True Order that
I Believe is kept in the friends Meetings, Especially the
Manner of Marriages, and the Intent or what is meant by
Mens or Womens Meetings, as I find no Book we have
Clears that up fully, tho we have a great Number of the
most Noted Books.
The Little flock begun with has Increased to near
thirty in number. The Reason of my enlarging on this
Subject is to let fJriends know the present State we are in,
and the first Rise of them Sort of People in this Island,
which if you may think proper you may communicate to
Excuse the stile being never accustomed to write in
Thy Real friend,
Supplementing this account, with some additional details, is
a letter written the year before, by James Birkett.' It envisions,
from the angle of an outsider, the awakening of the Islanders :
Relating some Convincement in the Island of Tortola.-
Tortola is a Small Island about Twenty Leagues East
of Porto Rico which belongs to the Spaniards. Tortola has
been settled above Twenty Years and the first that
Professed our Principles there, was the present Governour's
Father, his Name Pickering,2 he came from
Anguilla where formerly a Small Meeting was held & he at
times frequented the same. After his Settling in Tortola, he
was Instrumental in Convincing his overseer or Steward, who
is now a very conscientious honest friend, and an Example
worthy of Imitation by those who Enjoy far greater
Priviledges: When I was first there, they had not held
any Meetings, tho' Several were, pretty fully Convinced of
our Principles; But last year as their number Increased
z Dated Dublin, ioth of Twelfth Month, 1740. Addressed to John
Dilworth, of Lancaster. Epistles Received, vol. iii. p. 52. London Yearly
Meeting Records, in D.
2 Probably Abednego Pickering, as this name appears in some of the
early records of Anguilla.
they were concerned to meet together in Silence on First
Days, and Sometime after on Week days also, which they
still keep up, and attend very well considering how remote
from one another: One woman friend whose name is
Dorothy Thomas has a Publick Testimony to bear amongst
them and appears pretty frequently: Their Meetings are
very Broken & much tenderness appears amongst them,
not only during the Testimony of Our said friend, but also
in Silence; there is also abundance of Love, Regard '&
Condescension amongst them one towards another: which
with the many Renewed Visitations I have Witnessed in
their Meetings Confirms me in the belief of their being upon
the Right Foundation, for saith Our Lord, by this shall
all men know that your' my Disciples if ye Love one
The friends hold their Meeting at the Governour's
house, whose name is John Pickering, one First Day, &
the other First Day at Townsend Bishops, and the Week
day's Meetings at each place Seperate on Fifth Days. The
Governour is a very Loving honest man, but does not give
up to the Rules of friends, Yet has a tender Regard for
them, and is a diligent Attender of Meetings, not only
when they are kept at his Own house, but also when they
are held at Townsend Bishops, which is Seven Miles asunder
& bad Road, and is not ashamed to vindicate our Principles
against any that Doth Oppose them, and has frequently
Expressed the Satisfaction he has in reading friends books
and is come to see thro' many things which he formerly
seem'd to blame us for, as being of little Moment: But
since would often say after a Meeting, O this would have
been a Joyful Day to my Poor father if he had been yet
While meetings were now being held regularly, as yet no
outside assistance had reached the groping little Meeting. They
deeply felt the need of advice on Meeting organization and matters
of discipline, so that about the time John Pickering was addressing
David Barclay in London, he forwarded a letter by his sloop
to Friends in Philadelphia, telling of their situation and asking
for assistance.' "We should all be very much rejoyc'd to see
S" A letter, being produced from John Pickering, Governor of the Island
of Tortola, acquainted this meeting that about thirty persons in that
island had embraced the principles of truth as professed by Friends, and
kept their meeting twice a week, was read to the comfort and satisfaction
of the meeting." Minutes Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Fifth Month
3rd, 1741. A copy of this letter is among manuscripts in D.
FRIENDS IN THE WEST INDIES
a worthy good man of yt Profession in this Island," was the
message. The receipt of this message sent a thrill through
Quaker circles in Philadelphia. It was thought to be a mani-
festation of Divine mercy and favor. Some had felt that Quakerism
was approaching its Dark Ages, but here was life in what had
seemed a barren wilderness. Even a generation later they
recalled the feeling of reverent thankfulness with which they
had first heard the good news.'
There came a prompt response. No one was better fitted
for the task than that valiant minister and doughty sea-captain,
Thomas Chalkley.2 In the thirty years following 1707, when he
made his first visit to the West Indies, he made upward of
twenty-one voyages there. He knew the islands ; he knew of the
people ; and, no one knew better than he, the tides and winds and
dangers of the journey. The average passage from Philadelphia
to Barbados, with the little vessels of the period, was about
thirty days; several of his voyages continued six weeks. Of a
trip home in his own vessel, the New Bristol Hope, in 1730, he
says, with pardonable pride: The shortest from land to land
that I ever had, 14 days and 14 hours." When the passage was
smooth and comfortable he spent much time writing, thus preserv-
ing many intimate details of these mixed trading and preaching
voyages. His Journal is replete in details of social intercourse,
appointed meetings, the sufferings of Friends and other Quaker
matters, enlivened with adventures of storms, water spouts,
shipwreck, press-gangs, piracy and the like perils of the sea.
It is no wonder that the Whittier family, sitting around the
blazing hearth of the hill-hidden Massachusetts farmhouse, listened
with, absorbing interest to the evening reading, by Abigail
Whittier, from The Journal of Thomas Chalkley, as recorded in
Or Chalkley's Journal, old and quaint,-
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint !-
Who, when the dreary calms prevailed,
And water-butt and bread-cask failed,
x Endorsement and message to the surviving Friends in Tortola, on
Samuel Wyley's certificate on his return to that Island, by Philadelphia
Monthly Meeting, 31st of Third Month, 1769.
s Born at Southwark, England, 1675, died in Tortola, 1741. A
member of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for over forty years. His home
was in Frankford, now a part of the City of Philadelphia.
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
His portly presence, mad for food,
With dark hints muttered under breath
Of casting lots for life or death,
Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
To be himself the sacrifice.
Then, suddenly, as if to save
The good man from his living grave,
A ripple on the water grew,
A school of porpoise flashed in view.
"Take, eat," he said, and be content;
These fishes in my stead are sent
By Him who gave the tangled ram
To spare the child of Abraham."
This incident which Whittier has poetically paraphrased from
the Journal occurred on the homeward voyage in 1716, on the
Thomas Chalkley, answering the call for help, left Philadelphia
in the sloop John, a trading boat belonging to Governor John
Pickering, on the 19th of Seventh Month, 174I, and in nineteen
days reached Tortola. John Pickering and his wife, Dorcas,
at their home on the shore of Fat Hog Bay, saw the sloop as it
hove in sight. They met me at the water side and Lovingly
Embraced me," says Chalkley. He did not know as he stepped
ashore that he was destined to end his days under the shade of
the Island's palm trees. It is from his own account of his
voyage and labors, written at the time and found by John
Pickering in a pocket of his coat, at his death a few weeks later,
that the following graphic account of his voyage and service is
We left the Capes the 23d of 7mo & was Eighteen
Days from Land to Land, Falling in with the Island
Thomas's one of the Virgin Islands, we turn'd it up in one
Day to Tortola, which made nineteen Days in all in this
Voyage. We Saw nine Sail of vessels, but spoke with
None, had a Rough Passage, the wind being very high and
contrary for above a week, and much Rain, Yet Thro' the
z This constitutes the four and a half concluding pages of Challdey's
Journal, where the full text will be found. The descriptive and explana-
tory parts only have been included here. This account is taken from a
manuscript in D, and differs slightly from the matter appearing in the
printed text of the Journal.
FRIENDS IN THE WEST INDIES
Grace and Mercy of God, I was preserved above all fear,
Except the Holy fear of the Living Lord, in which I blessed
his holy Name.
The I2tz of the 8th Month we went a Shore to the
Governours house, where at our Landing, the Governour
John Pickering and his Spouse met me at the water side
and Lovingly Embraced me and led me up to his house;
where on the I5th of the month being the fifth day of the
week, We had a Large Satisfactory Meeting, at which was
many People, and divers not of our Profession; and hope
I may note That the Good hand of the Lord was with
The First day of the Week being the 18th of the Month,
we had another Meeting Larger than the former, altho'
that was accompted Large: The Governour told me he
never Saw such a Large Gathering on the Island on any
Accompt: My Spirit was much set at Liberty at this
Meeting, and great Openness and Brokenness was among
the People, and the Gospel was freely and Largely declared
to them: The Case of Cornelius and the Apostle Peter
going to his house was treated on, with divers other things
tending to Edification: I was so Affected with the Power
Spirit & Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when the Meeting
was over, I withdrew & went in private and poured out
my Soul before the Lord, and begged that he would Please
to manifest his Power and Glorious Gospel more & more.
At this Meeting there was a Woman that Suffered
much on account of going to Meetings, Her Husband a
Proud haughty man, beat her to the drawing of Blood,
he also drew his Sword and Presented his Pistol, and
threatened to kill her; But She thanked God that she
was Enabled to Lose her Blood for Christ's Sake. This
Woman had some Words in Supplication in this meeting
in a very broken manner. There was another Beautiful
young Person, a woman of this Meeting whose father
turned out of Doors for coming among friends, and coming
to Meeting, who is an hopeful young Plant.
We went to visit a few families up the Mountains had
a Meeting at which the Governour and his wife were, at
this Meeting there was great brokenness & tenderness in
time of Prayer.
Second Day we visited Several families in the Division
called the Road, to which we went by water in a Coble,
somewhat like our Canoes, there were four of these in
x This was Dorcas Powell, first clerk of the Women's Monthly Meeting.
Company, five People in two of them and Seven in the
other two, who had been at the Meeting.
In this Meeting of families the People came and filled
the Rooms and we had Seasonable Meetings: The People
were so Loving and so Affected with the Meetings, that
We could Seldom go in a friendly way to visit our friends,
but they would presently fill their Little Rooms and we
scarcely could depart without having a time of Worship.
Next day we went to visit a young man's habitation
who had not yet finished his house, and the Neighbours
coming in as usual, we had a good Meeting, and I cannot
but hope, the Hand of the Lord was with us; and I felt
his visitation as fresh and Lively as ever, for which I was
truly thankful, and thought, If I never saw my Habitation
again, I was Satisfied in this Gospel Call and Religious
Visit;-tho' being in Years it was sometimes a little
troublesome in the Flesh being in the Sixty Sixth year of
my age, Stiff in my Limbs, and hurt with many falls and
Bruises, but as to my Natural health, I had it better now
than for many Years Past, for which I humbly am thankful
to Him in whom we live and have our Being.
Third and Fourth Days. Visited Several families
and had divers good Opportunities, in one of those Meetings
a young man named Jeremiah Martin spoke a few words
in Prayer, in which Season I think, we were all Broken in
Fifth day being the Week day Meeting, it was larger
than was ever known of a week day there at that place,
there being divers friends who came from an Island Called
Joes Vandikes, and many Neighbours and Sober People,
all whom were very attentive.
Sixth Day, was at Several Peoples houses & had
Religious Meetings, which we could not well avoid, the
People were so loving and Desirous to hear what might be
Spoken to them. They being many of them like thirsty
Ground wanting Rain, and our Good and Gracious Lord
gave us Celestial Showers which were very Refreshing to
us and which we thankfully Received.
Seventh Day, I went with Several friends to the House
of One who with his wife had been at our Meeting on fifth
day. He kindly invited me to his house, his Name was
Blake. He and his Wife were Loving, tho' he had formerly
wrote against Tfriends, he was now better informed. from
his house I went to Townsend Bishop's, and on the First
day of the Week, being the 25t of the Month, we had
FRIENDS IN THE WEST INDIES
Larger Meetings than Ordinary, and in Expectation of
Larger Meetings than usual the Governour John Pickering
had made several New Forms to Accommodate the People
at his own house, which he sent six miles on mens heads,
the Road not being passable for Carts or other Carriage:
This I thought worthy of noting, that their Zeal might be
had in Remembrance when I and they may be laid in the
Cold Grave, and that others may be provoked or stirred
up to a more Religious Concern, who will hardly go Six
Steps to a Religious Meeting, Nay, (that is) they will not
go at all. .
After this Meeting we went by Water from the Road,
an Harbour so called, to Fat-hog Bay, where the Governour
lives, there were three Cobles in company: In this meeting,
Dorcas, the Wife of the Governour, Spoke to the People,
They behaved soberly & gave good attention to what she
So we came home to friend Pickering's, I call it home
because I was like to make it my home chiefly for this
Winter, where I meet with an hearty welcome, as I did also at
divers other Places: Having a little over-run the Time, I
must go back to the Seventh Day night at friend Bishops,
There were divers friends from another Island, in so much
that some were obliged to Lay on Forms & some on Chests,
as for my Part I chose an Hammock as I mostly did and
do in the Carribbees ; Here with this People in the Evening
I had a most Comfortable Tender Broken Meeting.
These Two Weeks time I spent in this Island of
Tortola to my Great Satisfaction.
Here the Journal ends. Much of it may have been written
on the 27th, which he devoted chiefly to writing. Two days later,
at the breaking up of the mid-week meeting, he found himself
much indisposed--a hot fever upon him. This continued off and
on for six days until he passed away, the 4th day of the Ninth
Month, 1741, at 3 o'clock in the morning, and was buried the
same evening, in Friends' burial ground at Fat Hog Bay,
" accompanied to the grave by most friends and many others,"
is the comprehensive record.' It was prophetic that he had
concluded his last public testimony in the words of Paul: I
1 John Pickering's letter to Thomas Chalkley's wife, giving a minute
account of his illness, death and burial, is to be found as a supplement to
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept
From two letters written to his wife' we get a more intimate
picture of home life among the Islanders:
The father who turned his daughter out-of-doors for attending
meeting complained that he had been to all the expense to buy her
fine clothes and had her taught to sing and dance and now, alas,
all for nothing.
The exertion and stimulus of the trip was such that, he was
able to write, he found his health better than it had been for
several years, which he accounted a great blessing.
There was one matter he confides to his wife, but does not
mention in his Journal. The information was for those women
who wear hoops. The Governour's wife, her two Sisters, Capt
Hunt's Wife, and the young Woman whose Father turn'd her
out of Doors, wore Hoops before they were Convinced of the
principles of our Friends," but they now felt obliged to lay them
off, and by this example others did the same; though on account
of the heat, they had as good an excuse to wear them all the year
as the girls at home had in the summer-time. The Great Lord
of all Gird our Youth with the Girdle of Truth," he feelingly
exclaims, "and then they will not need those monstrous, pre-.
posterous Girdles of hoops." He called them monstrous because,
"If Almighty God should make a Woman in the same shape her
hoop made her, Everybody would say she was a monster in
Nature, and they would say Truly, so according to this Real
Truth, they make themselves Monsters by Art."
This is an Island of as great Plenty of the Country Produce
as any in these parts, and in times of want it has supply'd divers
other adjacent Islands of which there are many," he writes, and
tells of Townsend Bishop, though not by name, who, in a very
scarce time with corn at six shillings a bushel, would take no
more than. three shillings, the usual price.
Of his labors he says he never experienced such openness,
love and increase, except once on the island of Nantucket.
I have not had access to the originals. Copies are in the possession
of Haverford College. There are two letters, the first dated Tortola,
ye 16th 8th Mo. 1741 "; and the second, Tortola, 28th 8th Mo. 1741."
Copies of both letters are also in D. The first is printed in Comly's
Friends' -Miscellany, with the statement that it is the last letter written
1 by Chalkley. This is a mistake. (See Appendix v.)
FRIENDS IN THE WEST INDIES
Thirty persons had joined themselves to the Meeting. He found
the Island much more populous than he had anticipated.1
He tells of Jeremiah Martin coming out in the ministry and
calls him a Young Innocent lad." There might be some who
would be afraid- that all this sudden zeal "is too hot and too
Quick to hold," but he hopes it will both hold and also grow.
One effect he surely noted: that even those who had been
opposed to Friends up to the time of his visit, are now better
satisfied and had lovingly received and invited him to their homes.
Two great men in the Island, who exceedingly disliked his
principles, entertained him in their homes.
He then concludes with this note of a final farewell: Thus,
brokenly & abruptly I am obliged to Conclude with Love
unfeigned to thee, my Dear, and to my only Daughter Rebecca,
and all thy Children, who I love and wish well, as I do all who
Sincerely Love our Lord Jesus Christ." He signed himself:
"Thy faithful, Loving Husband,
and added a postscript written under the dark shadow of his
P.S. I do not Expect to be at home these five or Six
months, if ever."2
Governor Pickering had donated a plot of ground near his
home for graveyard purposes and was erecting a meeting-house
nearby. This was land formerly known to have been his father's,
adjoining the place where the governor lived. It was enclosed
with a prickly pear fence and contained about one-half acre,
also a house within the enclosure furnished with the conveniences
for a meeting-house, all of which he freely gave to the people
called Quakers, as long as there were any Friends in the Island,
which he earnestly hoped would be as long as Tortola remained
z Bryan Edwards's History of the West Indies, vol. i. chap. 4, gives the
population in I756 as 1236 whites and 6121 blacks.
2 In the Supplement to Chalkley's Journal will be found John
Pickering's account of his illness, death and burial, with considerable
detail. There is preserved in D a copy of a letter from Dorcas Pickering
to the widow of Thomas Chalkley, dated Third Month 2nd, 1742. It
gives an appreciative account of his services on the Island and records his
3 A copy of this deed, dated Sixthday of Ist MQ. 1741 /2," is given
in the minutes of Tortola Monthly Meeting, 1742.
At Road Town, Townsend Bishop set aside a quarter of an acre
in his own yard, immediately adjoining his dwelling; it, too,
was to belong to Friends as long as any remained in the Island.'
In addition to these two Meetings, there was a Particular
Meeting on the island of Jost Van Dykes. One hundred Friends,
at the time of Chalkley's death, were considered as belonging and
regularly attending on First-days.
It was John Pickering's sad duty to write to the widow in
her Frankford home, and also to Chalkley's married daughter.
All Chalkley's belongings were packed in his sea chest which
was forwarded to James Birkett at Antigua, with the possibility
of catching an earlier vessel to send it home.2
SA copy of this deed of gift, made the 5th day of Second Month,
1742, is given in the minutes of Tortola Monthly Meeting.
s The first Epistle to London Yearly Meeting reciting these facts and
transmitting Thomas Chalkley's account of his visit, is dated the 27th
of Tenth Month, 1741. This was in answer to one addressed to Friends
of Tortola, from the Meeting for Sufferings, dated r7th of Fifth Month,
1741, which had been accompanied by some books which were later
gratefully acknowledged. See Epistles Received, vol. iii. p. go. London
Yearly Meeting Records in D.
tet dZlming in forTofa
OHN PICKERING had written that he found it a hard
matter to be a governor and a Christian in such a place
as Tortola. In his letters, to both London and Philadelphia,
he told of the effort of the governor of the Leeward Islands, at
Antigua, in whose care rested the administration of the Virgins,
to remove him from the lieutenant-governorship of the Island.
The danger of attacks from the Spaniards, then at war with Great
Britain, was real, and Governor Matthew felt a sense of responsi-
bility for the safety of Tortola ; but as the Friends were incapable
of engaging an enemy or using offensive weapons, he would be
without excuse to His Majesty, if the inhabitants in general should
suffer through Governor Pickering continuing in office. He
therefore asked him, notwithstanding his high personal regard
for the governor of Tortola, to resign, as they were now in actual
war and danger, and he therefore commissioned Captain John
Hunt, a gentlemen of worth and resolution, to succeed you in
this troublesome post, as well as no salary or advantages."'
No appointment more distasteful to the deposed governor
could have been made. Captain Hunt's wife, Mary Hunt, had
early thrown her lot with the Quakers, and she was the woman
whose husband had drawn his sword and pistol, and beaten her
to prevent her attending meetings. Governor Pickering said
he would have quitted the office long before but for the fear that
Hunt would be appointed. He called him a very cruel enemy
to Friends, a haughty, proud, austere man whose wife had
suffered cruel persecutions on account of her being one."2
x Letter of Governor William Matthew to the Honble. Jno. Pickering,
Esq., dated Antigua, June 7th, 1742. Copy in D.
2 Letter to Philadelphia Friends, June x8, 1741.
The following year, 1742, came to Tortola John Estaugh' and
John Cadwallader2 from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Around
John Estaugh the halo of romance and poetry has gathered a
store of intimacy and sympathy, which has endeared him to
younger generations and made him one of our best-known
standard-bearers even outside the borders of the Society of
Friends. Lydia Maria Child, in her Youthful Emigrant, tells
the story of Elizabeth Haddon, her coming to the new land as a
girl of eighteen, the careful management of her father's consider-
able estate and her happy marriage with the young minister,
John Estaugh. He had become convinced at seventeen in
London, and stood forth in the ministry at the age of eighteen.
The poet Longfellow, in one of the best-known and best-liked
Tales of a Wayside Inn, sympathetically continues the story of
the religious services, proposal and marriage of John and Elizabeth
Estaugh. However, not without some liberty as to facts.
Then John Estaugh came back o'er the sea for the gift that
Better than houses and lands, the gift of a woman's affection.
And on the First-Day that followed, he rose in the Silent
Holding in his strong hand a hand that trembled a little,
Promising to be kind and true and faithful in all things.
Such were the marriage rites of John and Elizabeth Estaugh.
We celebrated on October 18th, 1913, the two hundredth
anniversary of the founding of Haddonfield, N.J., and the building
of their home, some ten miles out from Philadelphia, where the
ancient yews brought from England and planted by the young
mistress are still growing.
John Estaugh and John Cadwallader had both traveled much
Sin the ministry, both having made former visits to the West
Indies. Their hearts naturally turned toward the newly estab-
lished little Meeting in Tortola. The year before their visit, John
Estaugh had addressed a tender letter to the Newly Gathered
1" John Estaugh-a mild man desiring people to be true to what was
made known to them." (From a memorandum penned by one of the early
settlers of Pennsylvania, quoted in Bowden's History, 185o, vol. ii. p. 230.)
He was born in England 1676, died 1742.
2 A resident of Montgomery County, Pa., born c. 1676, died 1742. "He
traveled much in the exercise of his gift in the ministry in most
or all parts of this continent and crossed the seas twice to Europe and once
to the Island of Barbadoes." Collection of Memorials, Philadelphia, 1787.
THE AWAKING IN TORTOLA 21
Little Flock at Tortola,"' but he had not found this sufficient
to release him from a concern to visit them.
The two Johns landed the 8th of Ninth Month, and were
lovingly welcomed by John and .Dorcas Pickering at Fat Hog
Bay. They immediately engaged upon the labors of their
service. John Cadwallader had not been well on his arrival; he
continued poorly, and, in a little more than two weeks, he
succumbed. Those attending his funeral were caught in a
shower, from the effects of which John Estaugh was taken ill
and soon died. John Pickering, writing to Elizabeth Estaugh,
details his closing days :2
He had his Health very well until the Death of his
dear Companion, but going to his Burial, we were caught
in a Shower of Rain which we, and he, believed was the
Occasion of his Illness. However, he was mightily favoured
with the Divine Presence, which enabled him to answer the
Service of that Day; and the next, being the first Day of
the Week, we had a blessed Meeting, the Lord's Presence
accompanying us ; and tho' thy dear Husband was so near
his End, his Candle shin'd as bright as ever, and many that
beheld it, were made to glorify God on his Behalf. This
was the last Opportunity On this Island, save his Farewell
upon his dying Bed, where he both preached and prayed,
a little before his Departure.
On the next Day, being the second of the Week, he
went to a little Island called Jos Vandicks, accompanied
with several Friends; but on the 3d day in the Morning he
complained very much, yet was enabled to go to Meeting,
where were a pretty many People waiting to hear the Word
of Life declared, and a blessed Opportunity we had together,
to the tending and melting our Hearts into a heavenly
But he, who never spared his labour whilst amongst
us, extending his Voice as a Trumpet of the Lord's own
founding, was so inwardly spent he was ready to faint.
However, he went on board the Sloop that Afternoon, and
next morning came ashore at our House; where he had
not been long before a shivering Fit seized him, and a Fever
z Entitled, An Epistle from John Estaugh to the Newly gathered
Flock of Christ in the Island of Tortola," dated i5th of First Month, 1741 /2.
Printed in Estaugh's Call to the Unfaithful Professors of Truth, part iv.
p. 95, Philadelphia, Printed by B. Frandlin, 1744.
2 Estaugh's Call, p. viii.; also, slightly changed, in Collection of
Memorials, Philadelphia, 1787.
soon followed, which kept its constant Course every Day.
This being the Ist day of the ioth Month, he took great
Notice that it ended Forty Years since his Marriage with
thee; that during that Time you had lived in much Love,
and parted in the same; and that thou wast his greatest
Concern of all outward Enjoyments. And tho' the last
two Days he was in much Pain, yet he was preserved under
it in much Patience and Resignation, and had his perfect
Senses to the last, exhorting friends to Faithfulness, &c.
And on the 6th Day of the loth Month, about 6 a Clock at
Night, he went away like a Lamb, with Praises and Thanks-
givings in his Lips but about two minutes before.
Thus far from the said letters. His wife, Elizabeth, continues :
And thus finished this dear Worthy in the 67th year
of his Age; at the House of William Thomas on the Island
of Tortola, highly favour'd by his great and good God in
the very extreme Moments; the Consideration whereof,
and the Account given of his Service, afford me, at times,
some Relief. I have a secret Satisfaction in that
I was enabled to give him up (tho' so dear to me) unto the
Service into which he was called. This is but just a hint
for those who may be under the like Exercise and Tryal,
that they may not hold back, but submit, and freely give up
their All, leaving the Consequence to the wise disposing
Hand, who knows for what Cause it is He is pleased so nearly
to try his people.
In the minute book of Haddonfield Women's Monthly Meeting,
which Elizabeth Estaugh as Clerk kept for upward of fifty-five
years, a model of neatness and precision, is a blank page, 165,
between the entries of the meetings of Tenth and Eleventh
Months, 1742. It was at this time she received word of her
husband's death and burial in far away Tortola. This blank
page remains to this day-a touching tribute and mute token of
John Cadwallader had been laid by the side of Thomas Chalkley,
and John Estaugh requested that he should be placed on the other
side of him. These three valiants to be laid in the dust of our
Island has been very shocking to us," wrote the Tortolan Friends
to London Yearly Meeting.'
x Ist of Third Month, 1743. Epistles Received, vol. iii. p. 1oo.
London Yearly Meeting Records, in D.
THE AWAKING IN TORTOLA
James Birkett, the young Antigua merchant, whose part
in establishing meetings in Tortola has already been related,
continued to take a deep interest in the welfare of the little
group. He writes to the ever watchful John Barclay as follows :
Antigua, ioth of 7th mo., 1743.
Our Friends in Tortola are generally pretty well, only
our mutual friend, John Pickering's wife, has been ill above
4 weeks, and he writes he fears she is in danger. She will
be a loss to the church if she should be taken away, for they
are People in good circumstances, they are a great help to
the poor, she also is greatly beloved and respected as a
Minister-having a testimony to bear in meeting, to the
edification and confirmation of her bretheren and sisters.
I have been twice down amongst them since I saw thee and
hope to get down again towards latter end of 8th Month
when I expect Edmund Peckover here on his journey for
that Island. He leaves North America this fall and comes
to Barbadoes, from thence here and so designs for Tortola,
as above. I wish he may not have the fate of the friends
that have already visited that place,-first our dear friend
Thomas Chalkley died just at the time I arrived here. Last
year John Cadwallader and John Estaugh-they came
together and died soon after their arrival and within a few
days of one another. Three workers who laid down their
lives in the discharge of their duty; and though their labor
was soon over in that Island I believe they were instrumental
in bringing several into the right way and also in strengthen-
ing others to the glory of our great creator.
To be sure John Pickering is a man of great worth
but since he has adhered so closely to Friends and their
principles, they have taken the Government of that Island
out of his hands and given it to a very severe man which
makes the people complain heavily and wish for their
Quaker Governor again, but that will never come to pass
I am, etc.,
From Edmund Peckover's Journalz we learn the cause of his
non-arrival in Tortola; he says:
x James Birkett to John Barclay (Merchant in Dublin)." Abstract
2 Journal Friends Historical Society, vol. i (1904). p. o19.
The West Indies, I suppose, no better for Religion than
formerly. I fear there is a great Declinsion. My Intention
was for Antigua and Tortola. I was detained by Contrary
Winds some weeks in Barbados. Did at last set sail for
Antigua, but could not get forward, was about thirty six
hours beating against Wind & Strong Currents, and could
get no further than about nine 'miles. So got ashore at
Spikes', and then.I found the weight of it taken from me,
and I was thoroughly easie to give up said Voyage. So
took my things Out of the Vessel, and Embraced the first
Vessel for Europe; and I have been very Easie ever since
there about, for had I pursued it afterwards, when the
Concern was removed from me, It appeared to me like
tempting Providence. The Privateers Lurk very much in
and about those Islands.- I hear a good account of the
Friends at Tortola.
It was several years after the death of these three prominent
ministers before another came. In 1746, arrived Peter Fearon,
a much traveled minister from New Jersey and a neighbor of John
Estaugh. He was in Barbados early in that year when a concern
came upon him to visit Tortola. "He came in a needful time
as a cloud full of rain upon a thirsty land is the vivid expression
used in the large and full certificates which Tortolan Friends
sent home with him.'
Two years later, arrived two more messengers of love. These
were Daniel Stanton,' of Philadelphia, and Samuel Nottingham,3
an Englishman, who, later, was to become closely identified with
It was while attending his first meeting and under the ministry
of John Estaugh, that Daniel Stanton was drawn to Friends and
x Collection of Memorials, Philadelphia, 1787. He was born in
England, x683, died 1762, having been a minister about sixty years."
2 Born in Philadelphia, 1708. The son of Thomas Chalkley's wife's
sister. Died 1770, in the forty-third year of his ministry.
3 Samuel Nottingham (1716-1787) was born at Wellingborough in
Northamptonshire. David Sands, an eminent minister (1745-1818), in his
Journal tells of attending a meeting near Cornwall, N.Y., appointed by
" Samuel Nottingham, a Friend, from England," where the views expressed
fitted his own exercised state of mind. The plain, humble appearance
[of the preacher] seemed to him to be more than was necessary for any
man to adopt to assist him to be a Christian." See MS. Testimonies, vol. iii.
p. 30, London Yearly Meeting Records in D. For a further account of
Samuel Nottingham, see Biographical Memoirs," MS. in D.
THE AWAKING IN TORTOLA
"was greatly contrited and baptised." "It was," he says,
" a joyful day of good tidings to my poor seeking soul."
The two visitors had sailed from Philadelphia for England
by way of the West Indies. They had service in Barbados, then
in the island of Antigua. Here they lodged at the home of
James Birkett, whose early account of the convincements in
Tortola has already been cited. Fortunately, Daniel Stanton
has left us an illuminating account of the condition of the Society
in Tortola. Owing to their inability to get shipping to
England, they were greatly delayed and spent four months in
the Island and in the vicinity.
I left my habitation on the 13th day of the fifth month,
1748, after being on that day at a large meeting in our
city, with Samuel Nottingham, a Friend from Northampton-
shire, in Old-England, who was to be my companion .
We arrived safe at Barbadoes, on the 21st day of the sixth
month ; where we met with several Friends who were kind
and loving towards us. We were on this island
twenty-one days, and having seei Friends generally, and
been favoured with several edifying seasons, we departed
from thence with Captain Austin, to Antigua, in our way
to Tortola; we staid one week and a day at Antigua,
lodged at James Birket's, who was very kind to us ; but my
mind was much burthened and distressed for that place
and people, who are for the most part a wicked and sinful
generation; we had no meeting among them, there being.
no Friend on the island, except Friend Birket. .
From thence we went to Tortola, where we landed on
the 28th of the seventh month, and met with several Friends
in the evening, that were glad to see us, at the house of our
Friend John Pickering; where, and at our Friend William
Thomas's, we lodged most of the time we were upon that
island, they being truly kind and friendly to us; we were
favoured with many good edifying meetings among Friends,
there being two meeting-houses on the island, viz. one at
a place called Fat-hog bay, the other at the Road; we
attended both of them with diligence, near the space ot
six weeks, only that we were once at an island called Joes-
Vandikes, where we had a large good meeting.
On the ninth day of the ninth month, we left Tortola,
in order to return to Antigua, with design to get a passage
for England; but being in a vessel the captain of which
knew not how to manage her, we were going a contrary
course, in which if we had proceeded, we might all have
been lost; we were much tossed and driven about, and
through persuasions we prevailed with the captain to turn
back, and he brought us to Santa Croix; but our going
into the harbour called Lime-trees to drop anchor, seemed
as if it would have proved fatal to us, there lying a vessel
armed with guns, from which we were fired at three times,
and my companion had like to have been shot; it seems
they had a design to have sunk our vessel, having heard
there was a Spanish privateer on the coast, and the Governor
had given orders to keep her off; they suspected our's to
be that vessel; but our mariners being in a great fright,
made signals that we had no ill design ; when seeing we were
in distress, they forebore firing, and through the kind
deliverance of the Almighty we got safe in and dropt
The travelers found a vessel to take them back to Tortola.
Daniel Stanton continues:
We set sail, and arrived at Tortola on the 15th of the
ninth month. The Captain and sailors were a wicked
company, took some of our things from us, and demanded
considerable more for our passage than we had agreed
for, which we thought unreasonable; but they said we
could afford to pay, for that we were always going about;
we told them we had the more need to be saving of what
we had; they hoisted out the boat in an angry manner,
and we paid them more than our passage to put us on shore ;
they first took us some distance from any house, and then
landed us, which put us to the more difficulty what to do
with our chests, and other necessaries, that they might be
safe; but being seen by one Isaac Pickering' (a kinsman to
our Friend'John Pickering) he sent his lad to ask us to his
house, where we went, and he was so kind as to send for
our things, and took care of them, and lent us horses to go
to his uncle's that night, where we were kindly received,
and tenderly sympathized with on the disappointment and
x Isaac Pickering's will is dated i6th June, 1802. He seems not
to have joined the Quaker movement in the Island. He gave his plantation
in Tortola, which was not far from Road Town, to his daughter, Elizabeth,
his plantation in St. Croix, to his son, John Arthur Hodge Pickering,
and to my other son, William Pickering, my plantation in St. Croix in
the right of his mother." (Caribbeana, vol. iii (1914). p. 301.)
On the map of the Island of 1798, he is called Isaac Pickering, Tortola,
to distinguish him from his cousin Isaac Pickering of Fox Lease, Hampshire,
England, the son of John Pickering, the lieutenant-governor.
THE AWAKING IN TORTOLA
trouble, we had met with ; they were dear and affectionate
Friends to us on this island. We were at a meeting at
Fat-hog bay, the 16th of the ninth month; and on the fourth
day following, I was at one at the Road, both of them were
On the 23d of the month, I was taken ill of a fever at
the house of our Friend Thomas Humphreys, and the next
day my kind Friend John Pickering brought a man and
horse and took me to his house, where I remained very ill
several weeks, and some of the time I apprehended I should
lay down my life among them; but it was the blessed will
of the Lord to restore me again to some degree of strength,
and I attended several meetings with Friends, wherein I
had satisfaction, and on the 8th day of the eleventh month,
I went to Guana Island, with our Friends James Parke and
his wife, and staid till the eleventh of the same, and after
having a comfortable time in his family, I returned to
Tortola, it being the meeting day at Fat-hog bay, and it
proved to be a meeting to satisfaction.
After a solid sitting and parting with several at our
Friend John Pickering's, on the 21st of this month, we went
on board a vessel bound to the island called St. Thomas's
(belonging to the Dutch), accompanied by our said dear
Friend, and Thomas Humphreys, Jonas Lake, and Joseph
Ryan, and on the 22d landed there, and understood that
the Captain of the ship, bound for Amsterdam, in which
we were to take our passage, in order to get to England,
was very ill. We lodged at John Demane's one night, and
the next day went on board the vessel, where we staid
mostly till the last day of the month, and our dear Friends
above-mentioned, after seeing us placed in the ship, parted
with us in a tender, loving manner, and my heart was
affected in parting with them. In the time we lay at anchor,
the Captain died, and the chief mate, Robert Stewart,
was appointed Captain in his stead, who was very kind
to us in the many distresses we met with on our passage.
Some days before we sailed, my companion [Samuel
Nottinghaml was taken sick, which so increased, that on
the passage he seemed near unto death, which was a great
trial and exercise to me, being myself weakly and feeble,
for we were companions in tribulation, but thro the mercy
of the Almighty, he recovered.'
Happily, a chronicler, of Cork, Ireland, records the safe
arrival of Samuel Nottingham, Northamptonshire, Black Smith
I Journal of Daniel Stanton. Philadelphia, 1772, beginning p. 33.
and Daniel Stanton, Philadelphia, Ship Joiner."' Samuel Notting-
ham remained in Cork for a time, being much out of order with
his bad voyage. His long stay in Tortola was not without its
effect in another way, for he had become engaged to marry Mary
Hunt, the widow of Captain John Hunt, the former governor
of the Island.2 Six months later, he sailed from England for
Tortola, in order to marry and settle there."
So far, these visiting itinerant Friends had been men; but
about this time two earnest women from Pennsylvania felt drawn
to undertake the hazardous voyage and pay a visit in the love
of the Gospel to Tortola. Phoebe Smith,s of Bucks County,
and Mary Evans,4 of Montgomery County, in Pennsylvania,
arrived Second Month 14th, 1750, conducted by John Pickering,
Jr., in his father's sloop. They remained thirty-two days and
had good service and went well away."5
The two women Friends from Pennsylvania had hardly reached
home, when three prospective visitors sailed from Philadelphia
for the West Indies, with Tortola as one of their objectives.
These were Peter Fearon, on his second visit ; Thomas Lancaster,
a minister from Richland, Bucks County, and John Bringhurst,
a business man of Philadelphia, who was making the voyage
partly on account of his health. They reached Barbados late
I First Month 28th, 1749. Journal Friends Historical Society, vol. x
(1913). pp. 248, 249.
2 We heard that Dan' Stanton and Sam' Nottingham were well
there [Tortola] and that the latter was likely to be married to the widow
Hunt--wch was thought a little strange here, because he was remarkably
shy of women while among us, and said several times before he went away
that he has not kissed a woman in America."-From John Smith's manu-
script diary [Philadelphia], 1748, Eleventh Month 4, 4th day.
3 Phoebe Smith was the daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Jarvis) Canby,
born in Abington township, Montgomery Co., Pa., Seventh Month 19th,
1699. She married Robert Smith, of Buckingham, 1719. Upon his death,
she married Hugh Ely. She is an ancestress of the author. For further
details, see Robert Smith Genealogy, by Josiah B. Smith.
4 Mary Evans, daughter of Samuel Nicholas, of Philadelphia, born "in
or about the year 1695." Second wife of Owen Evans, of Gwynedd, Pa.,
to whom she was married Second Month 29th, 1736. She died Fifth
Month 2oth, 1769. See Collection of Memorials, Philadelphia, 1787, and
Howard M. Jenkins's Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd.
5 Minutes Tortola Monthly Meeting.
THE AWAKING IN TORTOLA
in August, and here John Bringhurst died" at the home of the
Widow Oxley in Bridgetown. It is a singular coincidence that
the widow's husband, John Oxley, had died some years previously
at John Bringhurst's house in Philadelphia.
Soon after the death of John Bringhurst, Thomas Lancaster
and Peter Fearon took passage to Tortola,2 where they labored
earnestly about three weeks. They embarked for home, but
shortly after they sailed Thomas Lancaster3 was stricken with
a fatal illness, died and was buried at sea.
It was this religious service, untimely death and watery
grave of Thomas Lancaster, my great-grandmother's great-
grandfather, that first aroused my interest in Tortola.
A period of six years elapsed before another visiting Friend
reached Tortola, in the person of Thomas Gawthrop,4 of West-
morland, England. When leaving the Island he took with him
a minutes to Friends and Brethren at Barbados and Elsewhere,"
in commendation of his labors.
Of the two ministers on the Island, William Thomas and
Jeremiah Martin, both had service traveling in foreign parts.
William Thomas made an extensive visit to the American Colonies
in 1742/3. He traveled through Maryland, Virginia and North
Carolina with Edmund Peckover, who speaks highly of his
x Born February 25, 1691, died September 20, 1750. See Appendix vii.
2 Monthly Meeting, Fat Hog Bay, Eighth Month Ist, 1750--" At this
meeting was read two certificates from Peter Fearon and Thomas
3 Thomas Lancaster was born in England, probably 1703, and was
brought to Pennsylvania with his sister Mary, by Ann Chapman, a visiting
Minister, in 1712. He married Phebe Wardell, Eighth Month 19th, 1725.
They were the progenitors of the Lancaster family (see Lancaster Genealogy).
See also Collection of Memorials, Philadelphia, 1787. Phebe Lancaster,
the widow, was also a minister and was later three times married.
4 Thomas Gawthrop (1709-1780), born at Skipton, Yorkshire. He
was a soldier for five years in early life. He made four voyages to the
American Continent. On returning from the first, in 1747, he was captured
by a French privateer and carried into France. It was on his second
visit, 1756/7, he visited the West Indies and Tortola. In his visit in
1766/7, he was particularly concerned for the hard and suffering state of
the poor negroes. His last visit was made 1775 /8. See Henry Gawthrop's
account of Thomas Gawthrop, Friends' Quarterly Examiner, vol. xxxii (1903).
5 Dated Third Month 29th, 1756, Minutes Tortola Monthly Meeting.
companion, recording that he grew bravely in the ministry."'
He was absent from the Island nearly a year. His brother-in-law,
John Pickering, says of him : He was very young in the ministry
when he left us and had but a short testimony, but his growth
has been such that I think he comes little short of any I ever
In the same year, 1749, much to the regret of Tortola Meeting,
both these Tortolan ministers started on other voyages ; Jeremiah
Martin in a small sloop, for Philadelphia, on a religious visit, and
William Thomas in a snow for Lancaster, England, on a similar
errand.3 In 1751, Jeremiah Martin made a short visit to
Barbados with Samuel and Mary Nottingham.
j Journal Friends Historical Society, vol. i (1904). p. 97.
2 Copy of letter from John Pickering, dated 26th of Sixth Month,
1744, in D.
3 At this meeting was William Thomas, a ministering Friend from
Tortola, lately landed." Daniel Stanton's Journal, Lancaster, Eng.
et bs innufe of toe (nteing
HE business of Men's Monthly Meeting over the period of
twenty years, as disclosed by the minutes, presents but
little variety. It groups itself into five general classes-
the marriages among the members; the receipt of epistles from
London and the evident labor of committees to draft suitable
replies; the monthly searching of heart to know if all was well
with the little flock, and the meetings duly attended; toward
the last the numerous cases of discipline and disownment, and
the almost continuous plaint of the shortcomings of the Friends
on the island Jost Van Dykes.
The receipt of a considerable number of epistles from
individuals in England and America is recorded and gratefully
acknowledged in the minutes.' A Treasurer* was early appointed
to hold money for the relief of poor Friends, and this care was
extended on several occasions. For a time a collection was
taken up at each monthly meeting.
The only reference to the subject of slavery occurs early in
the history of the Meeting, when James Lake complained that
his mother-in-law had kept from him two negroes. A committee
was appointed to give the matter attention.
Friends early considered a Meeting of Ministers and Elders
to meet three or four times a year, but nothing came of it.
As the first devotion of membership passed away, breaches
of discipline became more frequent, and they reflect the wildness
and disorder of the times and place. A member from Jost Van
Dykes had been out into great excitement." He had started
I These were John Bringhurst, Philadelphia, 1742; Robert Jordan,
Philadelphia, 1743; John Bell of London, 1743; Benjamin Holme, 1744;
Simeon Walker, London, 1744; Peter Fearon, New Jersey, 1748;
Samuel Fothergill, Warrington, 176o, abounding in good wholesome
advice." Ireland Half Year's Meeting sent letters on two occasions.
s James Parke was appointed 1743.
in a coble, armed, to pursue a boat that was thought to have been
retaken by the enemy. Passing Guana Island, he had fired
ashore in the night among his friends, and had wound up by
" beating in a wicked unmanly manner, William Clandaniel,
Another important Friend was disowned, "having resolved to
take his pleasures while he lives." Later this Friend retaliated
by closing the meeting-house at The Road to the use of Friends,
despite it had been both deeded and willed to them by Townsend
Bishop. There seems to have been only one case of concern over
excessive drinking and two serious breaches of the moral law.
Two members to the great dishonor of Friends were disowned
for engaging in that odious exercise of dancing, which raises
a suspicion in the well minded that they rather fall away from grace
than become professors therein." To show the extent of the
labors of the Monthly Meeting, of the eighty-six adult members
whom we have listed, twenty-one were dealt with or admonished,
and, of the-e, nine were disowned.
John Pickering was appointed the first clerk, serving until
1753, when he was released at his request and William Strong
took his place and served until the end.
The weather and sickness played an important part in so small
a Meeting. It being a very sickly time "-" No Meeting on
account of the extremity of the weather "-" No business being
done, it being a rainy day "-" No Meeting "-" Being very
rainy weather four friends coming "-" But one friend at
meeting, no collection "-are some of the brief but expressive
entries. Towards the end, the clerk is given 3/3 for paper to
write Epistles, Certificates, Papers of Condemnation of Bad
Practices, Monthly Meeting Minutes and what other."
By Tenth Month, 1755, the clerk records: "Meetings for
business are so much neglected from a supineness among friends
that nothing more remains at present then to nominate the date
such meetings shall be held on." Yet a few months later he
says : Love still corresponds with the few Friends."
The minutes of the Women's Monthly Meeting begin three
months later than those of the Men's Meeting, the 7th day of
Twelfth Month, 1741/2, and they continued, with some omissions
for twenty years, until the laying down of the Meeting.
THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING
Their first duty was the appointment of some discreet
Friends as Overseers to "inspect Friends behavior according to
truth." Dorothy Thomas was appointed for The Road Meeting,
Dorcas Pickering for Fat Hog Bay, Ann Smith for the East End
Meeting of Jost Van Dykes Island, and Catharine George for
White Bay Meeting. It would thus appear that there were four
Meetings regularly held at this time. There was little to concern
the Meeting except occasional breaches of discipline, and month
after month we have records substantially like the following :
At our Monthly Meeting held at Fat Hog Bay in
Tortola, this, ye 6th of 8th Month, 1746.
The friends appointed in respect to the good order of
friends gives account that things in the general seems to
be pretty well and this meeting desires their care may be
Occasionally, a meeting was "disappointed by the weather
so that we could not meet." On many occasions the absence of
Friends from Jost Van Dykes prevented a full report being made.
All travelers to the Virgin Islands know of the swift currents and
tides which race through these scattered islands, and it can well
be imagined that the Smiths, Brabstons, Georges and Lettsoms
from Jost Van Dykes Island and the Lakes from Guana, often
found it unsafe and even impossible to reach the Island and
attend the meeting at Fat Hog Bay.
The Monthly Meetings alternated between The Road and
Fat Hog Bay for two years, but, after Tenth Month, 1743, were
held continuously at the latter place with one slight exception.
Men's and women's business meetings were held separately.
Under the tutelage of the visiting ministers, the procedure and
forms of long established Meetings were generally adopted. A
prospective groom, with the formality of the time, would appear
in Women's Meeting, accompanied by two men Friends, to
announce his intentions of marriage.
They undertook some care of their members, placing a daughter
of two indigent members where she could learn to read and sew
according to the good order of Friends, "for which this meeting
agrees to allow eighteen shillings by ye quarter to Elizabeth
Lake, who received the child in her home. Collections were also
made for the relief of the poor.
On Dorcas Pickering's death, Mary Hunt was appointed to
succeed her as an Overseer for Fat Hog Bay. By 1750, slackness
and breaches of discipline became more frequent. Rebecca
Powe is accused of "coldness of coming to our meeting" and
gave the committee but little satisfaction." In 1757, the
Friends appointed in Jost Van Dykes in respect to the good order
of Friends, give account that things are not as well as may be
desired." Of Friends in Tortola it is recorded that things
else seems to be as well as can be expected at present." Several
meetings were omitted through storms, of which this entry is
The Monthly Meeting of I2th Mo. 1760, we think it
necessary to mention, the cause of our omission occasioned
by much rain.
The entries by 1760 begin to savor much of present-day
minutes. "Friends are loving and duly attend meetings for
worship, but slack in attending meetings for discipline."'
The last entry in the Women's book, that of Seventh Month
25th, 1762, is prophetic of the end. It reads: Few friends
attend this meeting, it being ocationed by sickness. So we
refer to the next ."-a next that was never to arrive.
Some of the records of births are set forth in minute detail:
Benjamin Smith, son of Thomas and Ann Smith,
was born the 5th day of the Ist Month called March, 1742,
in the presence of the hand woman who assisted, Susannah
Markes and several others. The child was named by the
father and mother and called as above, Benjamin.
Signed by Testees
' Minutes, Tenth Month 27th, 1761.
AMUEL NOTTINGHAM'S marriage to Mary Hunt,
previously mentioned, had no restraining effect on his
activity in traveling in the ministry. Eight months
after the event, he and his wife visited Barbados. Again, in 1752,
he made an extended visit to England. Sometime later he and
his wife journeyed to the American Colonies, returning in 1757.
A short stay in the Island and again a two years' visit to North
It was upon his return in 1759, that he turned his attention
to matters of discipline; and, reading between the lines of the
minutes, he must have been oppressed with the necessity for
action, and the members of the Meeting not unconscious of their
shortcomings. Whether this correction was in a spirit of meekness
and love, which our modern queries demand, is not entirely
clear, but the Meeting proceeded with vigor to treat with the
slackness that prevailed and to disown several of its important
William George, of Jost Van Dykes, wrote the Meeting
explaining why he could not attend Monthly Meeting, that his
"distemper was not agreeable to catch cold upon, and for to
tarry to afternoon would be running great risk and for that reason
am anxious to get away in the forepart of the day."2
The widow Lettsom retorted, in answer to chidings for
non-attendance at meetings, that "Friends slited her and set
her at noat and she being left destitute from human help not a
I MS. Letter of William Strong to Peter Smith of Jost Van Dykes,
3d of Fourth Month, 176o. Tortola Monthly Meeting Records.
2 MS. Letter William George to William Strong, 7th of Eighth Month,
1759. Tortola Monthly Meeting Records.
negro to assist her. Meetings being at a distance and thinking
it hard to be slited by Friends in her distress, had quit attending
She had remarried, and her husband, Samuel Lane, in justifying
his sympathy for Friends, said his mother was a weighty"
Friend in Barbados and he himself spoke well of Friends. Even
John Pickering, whom we have seen for so many years carrying
the responsibility of the Meeting-Clerk of the Monthly Meeting
and Correspondent-did not escape censure, and sent a letter
to the Meeting explaining and condoning his absences.
Samuel Nottingham, having at least stirred up the Meeting,
departed for another visit to Long Island, where he had spent
much of his time on previous visits northward, and remained
away for two years. On his return the Meeting had ceased to
function as a Meeting for Discipline. The minutes of both
Men's and Women's Meetings close with the 25th day of ye
7th Month, 1762." The concluding minute of Men's Meeting
reads: No business to proceed with, and things in the general
are as our last, the meeting ends in love." The skeleton heading
for the next monthly meeting had been prepared in advance by
the clerk, but it was never to become useful.
It is from the letters, or epistles as they are called in Church
correspondence, addressed to London Yearly Meeting2 that we
get the details of the condition of the Society, painted with a
broader brush than we obtain from the more prosaic minute
Reporting on their condition in 1743, soon after the three
Quaker worthies had laid down their lives, the Meeting writes
that it can not give as good an account as they could wish :
I MS. Letter of Friends of Jost Van Dykes to Tortola Monthly Meeting,
7th of Eighth Month, 1759. Tortola Monthly Meeting Records.
2 Epistles from Tortola to London Yearly Meeting are preserved at
Devonshire House for the following years. From James Birkett, 1740.
John Pickering, 1741. From Our Monthly Meeting held at Fat Hog
Bay, in Tortola, this 27th day of the o1th Month, 1741 and for" first Day
of the Third Month, 1743," Tenth Month 6th, 1743, 1746, 1746 (original),
1746, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1752, 1753, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759, 1761, 1762,
1763. Some of the epistles from Tortola to London Yearly Meeting have
been copied into books or are on loose sheets in the fire proof at Third
and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, for the following years: 1756, 1757,
1758, 1759, 1760, 1761. See Appendix iv.
APPLYING THE DISCIPLINE
We can see great declension in some and some run quite
out, yet through mercy, we have had as many or more
added to our number, and We Still hope, and have faith
to believe that the Lord our God who has begun the Work
without the help of any outward Instrument, will Carry it
on to Our Comfort. In as much as it hath pleased God of
his infinite Goodness & Mercy, to visit a poor People in this
Remote Part of the World, who sat in Darkness and under
the Region & Shadow of Death, with the Dawnings of
that Light which shews Israel his Transgressions and
Jacob his Sins.
The reason for this falling off was explained in the next
letter. Some members were alarmed at the prospect of perse-
cution, due to a change in Government." But one of their number
suffered persecution for refusing to bear arms: He was Tyed
neck & heels, and while the Governor brought in by the change of
administration threatened the others, yet up to this time they
By 1745, these difficulties were increased by the arrival of a
"priest" whom the Islanders had employed, possibly to offset
the aggressiveness of the Friends. His coming made a great
noise in the elements, speaking great swelling words." Worse
than this, Dorcas Powell, who had been clerk of Women's
Monthly Meeting, was drawn to the newcomer, married him, and
was promptly disowned by the Meeting, the first of many similar
actions which later were to weaken the Meeting. An interchange
of letters passed between the minister and Friend John Pickering,
and the other Islanders were anxious that they should hold a
public dispute, but the priest himself, does not seem to be
forward for it, being put much to his shifts." "The Meeting
feeling its own weakness also felt that Silence to be much safer
at this time than Controversies."
The next year they again had to report great declension from
the Christian Plainness and humble deportment which our ancient
worthies were exemplary in."
The accession of one new member was reported during the
year, but, alas, before the epistle was forwarded, he had been
z This was undoubtedly the time John Pickering was discharged
from, or relinquished, the lieutenant-governorship. This office was held
under appointment from the governor of the Leeward Islands, whose seat
of Government was on the island of Antigua.
removed out of this troublesome world. They had to apologize
for the fact that for two successive years the epistles had arrived
in London too late for the Yearly Meeting, though they had used
all diligence in having them forwarded.
In this year, they regretfully reported that one that partook
of the ministry had gone out of that peaceable spirit of love,
humility and patience unto the Spirit of this World, even unto
Gaming, Buffetting and Soliciting the Government for a Com-
mission for another man to go a privateering in order to retake
a sloop he last by the Spaniards." He was disowned; but
the same day their testimony went out against him the balance
was struck by another joining in membership with the
As to their outward state, though some were sick, yet in
general they were well and hitherto they had been preserved from
the sword of the enemy." This was almost a constant peril.
The whole history of Friends in Tortola covered the period of the
Colonial Wars. First, the War of the Austrian Succession from
1740-1748, and overlapping this, the first war with France from
1744 to I748-King George's War, we call it on our side of the
water-followed after six years of peace by the French and Indian
War from 1754 to 1760 in America, and roughly coincident with
the Seven Years War in Europe.
From the days of Columbus, the West Indies and the Spanish
Main had been harried by the contending navies of Europe, as
war succeeded war. For zoo years violence and disorder were the
expected lot of the settlers in these parts. The keys and islets
were the haunts of the so-called buccaneers, who made relentless
war on Spain and all her settlements. Drake and Hawkins,
Penn and Rodney, and scores of naval officers won fame and
fortune fighting the Spanish, French and Dutch, throughout the
waters of the Caribbees. Every war brought its troop of
privateers, and privateering was but little more than piracy writ
large, as Milton might have expressed it. About the time our
little island of Tortola was settled, Blackbeard, Sprigg, Avery,
Captain Roberts and a host of lesser pirates, made the seas unsafe
throughout the islands and up the coast as far as Boston. The
peaceful merchantmen viewed with fear and suspicion every
approaching sail, and was ready on the instant to take flight or,
by superior speed, to seek a place of refuge.
APPLYING THE DISCIPLINE
Throughout all these trying times, Tortola, while often alarmed,
seems not to have actually suffered. On the breaking out of the
second war with France, some of the inhabitants of the islands
joined with English merchants concerned in the trade with
Tortola, in sending a petition to the authorities, praying that a
supply of cannon and ammunition might be sent them for their
immediate defense.' It is likely that Fort Charlotte and Fort
George, guarding Road Town on each side, were built about this
time and the cannon mounted there. These forts have long since
fallen in decay.
In writing to the Yearly Meeting of 1748, Tortola Friends
reported the loss of "several of the most worthy in our Church
who have gone (we hope & firmly believe) into the mansions of
eternal rest." There had been many alarms, but the Island had
been free from public molestation or great hurt. They expected
to suffer from the late Act of Parliament requiring every family
in the islands to keep firearms in their homes and to respond to
every alarm, as well as from an order by the lieutenant-governor
and his council to raise a great sum of money to build forts and
towers. They were unwilling to conform thereto. The governor
and his council were without legal authority2 to lay this levy, but,
nevertheless, they expected it at any time. The governor was
reported a Great Enemy and Despiser of Friends." Their
former governor had threatened as hard as this on his first
coming "; but some time before his last sickness and death, he
had spoke well of friends & their Principles and seemed to
desire their company, and appointed two Friends only his
At the end of another year (1749), they sorrowfully reported
the death of one of them, the most knowing amongst us and a
Serviceable member this way of helping out with Epistles as he
wrote well and good English." The aid they had asked of London,
in bringing pressure on the governor through the English
authorities, was bearing fruit. They reported him as carrying
himself in a general way pretty moderate," and silent as to their
z Minutes of the Board of Trade and Plantations, Tuesday, March 9,
1756. Record Office, London.
2 It was not until 1773 that a popular legislative body was set up
in the Virgin Islands with powers of taxation. Up to that time what
money was necessary for public works had been raised by contributions.
carrying arms because, he says there is no more need for it,
but some can see the Poyson of Asps yet under his Lips."
We are now approaching the time of great prosperity in the
West Indian Islands. The wars were ended, population had
increased, production grew and trade expanded. It was the
so-called Golden Age in the American Colonies. This impulse to
wealth is reflected in the letter to London of 1750-" The love
that had kept them in the fear of the Lord appears to be much
abated and the too eager pursuit after the things of this World
that choke and hinder the growth of Truth, too much sought
Two years pass and they begin to fear the constant repetition
of declension and weakness and falling away would bring only
sorrow and trouble to the hearts of their London Friends and had
they not a sincere desire to keep up the correspondence, "we
would Choose to lay our mouths in the Dust and with Rachel take
up a Lamentation and Mourning for them that are not, But are
gone astray in the World and the Vanities thereof, so that there
is small hopes of a rising generation."
The Meeting gratefully acknowledges an acceptable present
of well-collected books, and also the Act of Parliament, sent them
in 1751, for changing the Calendar from Old Style to New, which
they proceeded to do at the proper time. The New Year, 1752,"
instead of beginning March 25, according to the Julian Calendar,
was made to begin January Ist, as it had been in Catholic countries
since the sixteenth century, and the troublesome double dating
of the year between December 31st and March 25th was no longer
necessary. The accumulated overtime of eleven days was dropped
in September, the next day after September 2nd being accounted
September 14th, giving that month but nineteen days, and making
it short enough to satisfy the dullest schoolboy thumbing his
The coming of Thomas Gawthrop in 1756, the first outsider
visiting Friends for several years, gave them an encouragement
and resulted in bringing back many who had become lukewarm,
z In our Monthly Meeting the 27th of the Month called January,
in which month by the Late Act of Parliament, the date of the year from
the first day of said month alters from which henceforward is to be
accounted the first month, so was held on the 27th of ist Month, 1752.
No business done."
APPLYING THE DISCIPLINE
and some new accessions were made to the Meeting. But as
our grand enemy knows our weakest part, there he attacks closest,"
and they acknowledged that their over love of Money, which
is the root of all evil, has been our greatest hurt," and the cause
of many discords.
The war with France had been under way for four years, but
they wrote in 1758, they had been wonderfully preserved and no
evil had so far befallen them.
Their ownership of slaves is first mentioned in 1759, and they
question whether this has not been a hindrance in Divine progress.
They caution themselves that their authority over their human
chattels must be stamped with the impression of the true fear
We are now rapidly approaching the end both of the Meeting
as an existing body and of the correspondence with London.
The letter from London was read in 1760, and afforded solid comfort
to the few living members who remained. The following year
they had to report, with that candor which seems to characterize
their letters, that a spirit of wickedness and indifference prevailed
and that the present conduct is a scandal to religion; and with
the one dated 1763, the letters cease. In it, they earnestly
entreat that the Christian and brotherly care toward them be
still continued, since none ever stood in more need than they did
under their present situation, reminding their London friends
"that they that be whole have no need of the Physician."
This last letter is signed by six Friends, and heading the list is
John Pickering. He had signed the first letter and many, if not
all, that had intervened. He had been instrumental in starting
the Meeting, had carried its burdens and continued in the way
of Friends until the end.
This is interesting as being the only mention of their slaves and
slavery that I found in their records, with the exception of a case of
discipline where a Friend complained his mother-in-law was keeping him
out of two slaves.
0,, SYMPATHETIC contemporaneous account of John
Pickering by a relative and friend has been preserved.,
He was in early life brought up to a mechanical employ-
ment, but by strength of genius and dint of self-exertion,
he acquired a competent knowledge of English, and an
extensive acquaintance with Mathematics. By industry
he became possessed of a large tract of uncultivated land,
and by perseverance he covered it with Canes and Cotton,
and gradually rose to be one of the wealthiest Planters in
the West Indies. He was, about his fortieth year, made
Governor of the Island of Tortola, and held the rank of
Major in the Insular Militia: At length he publicly pro-
fessed the religious principles of the Quakers and relinquished
all his civil and military honours and employment. He
afterwards rarely attended the Courts of Judicature, unless
he thought some poor person, some orphan, or widow,
was oppressed by some more powerful neighbour, when he
voluntarily attended and publicly pleaded the cause of the
weak, if he deemed them oppressed; and his justice and
weight were such as generally preponderated.
I frequently accompanied him to his Plantations,
through which, as he passed, his numerous negroes saluted
him in a loud chorus or song, which they continued as long
as he remained in sight. I was also a melancholy witness
of their attachment to him after his death; he expired
suddenly, and when few of his friends were near him. I
remember I had hold of his hand when this fatal period
arrived, but he had scarcely expired his last breath, before
it was known to his slaves, and instantly about five hundred
of them surrounded his house and insisted upon seeing their
master. With this they commenced a dismal and mournful
yell, which was communicated from one Plantation to
another, till the whole Island was in agitation, and crowds
z Memoirs of Dr. John Fothergill, by John Coakley Lettsom. This
account of John Pickering was written by Lettsom, who was with him
when he died. It also appears in Memoirs of John Coakley Lettsom, by
T. J. Pettigrew, 1817, vol. i. p. 175.
of negroes were accumulating around us. Distressed as-
I was with the loss of my relation and friend, I could not
be insensible to the danger of a general insurrection; or,
if they entered the house, which was constructed of wood,
and mounted into his chamber, there was danger of its
falling by their weight and crushing us in its ruins. In this
dilemma I had resolution enough to secure the doors and
thereby prevent sudden intrusion. After these precautions
I addressed them through a window, assuring them
that if they would enter the house in companies only of
twelve at a time they should all be admitted to see their
deceased master, and that .the same lenient treatment of
them should still be continued. To this they assented,
and in a few hours quiet was restored. But it affected me
to- see with what silent, sullen, fixed melancholy they
departed from the remains of this venerable man. He
died in 1768, aged about sixty years. His only surviving
son, an amiable young gentleman, resides in England.'
The youngest sons of John Pickering, Senior, Isaac and
Josiah, were sent to England under the care of Samuel Fothergill,
who placed them at school at Penketh with Gilbert Thompson.
When that school was broken up, they were removed to a school
His eldest son, John Pickering, Junr., was active in trading
voyages and made several trips to the Colonies and to Great
Britain.3 Later he went to England for his health and returned
in 1761, with a certificate "from the Monthly Meeting at Hart-
shaw," Gilbert Thompson, Clerk of the Meeting. This interest-
ing clause appears in the minute :
As this part of the nation hath a considerable connec-
tion with you and several of your members have some
relation to us, we are well pleased with this instance of your
care and request you would continue to certify with such
friends as may come from you to us, that we may thereby
be better enabled to oversee, advise and assist them which we
apprehend may be of use to the particulars and mutually
satisfactory to you and us.
SThis was Isaac Pickering, of Fox Lease, in Hampshire.
s Pettigrew's Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. i. p. 12.
3 2oth of Fourth Month, 1753. John Pickering Jr. being just
returned from England, produced a certificate from the Monthly Meeting
at Lancaster, setting forth his soberly and orderly behavior while there,
and constant attendance at Meetings for Religious Worship." Tortola
Monthly Mtg. Minutes.
On the return of John Pickering, Junr., to Tortola, he married
Sarah, a daughter of Bezaliel Hodge' one of the principal planters
on the Island. This marriage was not under the care of the
Meeting and became a matter of disciplinary action, but he
made an acknowledgment and was retained as a member. He
later removed to New York.
I Pettigrew's Memoirs ofLettsom, vol. i. p. 12. After Pickering's death
she married John Purcell, of Tortola, sometime lieutenant-governor of
the Island. Bezaliel Hodge's will is dated 1787, and in it he directs that
his house at Hog Bay [sic] is to be kept up out of his estate. The genealogies
of the Hodges, Purcells, Lettsoms, Georges and other Tortolan families,
will be found in Caribbeana, vol. iii.
r. 3o0n Coade Adeftsom
S Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay,
might have been written especially for Tortola.
The constant influx of slaves and the increasing production
of sugar and cotton, sold at good prices, was pouring wealth into
the Island. Gradually the cane fields were extended and crept
up the steep hillsides, through laborious terracing by the toiling
blacks. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, practically
the whole Island was under cultivation. The stony mountain
roads, inaccessible for wheeled vehicles, were often blocked by
trains of mules bearing between them, front and back, casks of
sugar suspended on long poles. Cotton and rum, the latter mostly
shipped to the American Colonies, contributed their share of
prosperity. Shipping and trade grew by leaps and bounds and the
value of plantations greatly increased.!
Amidst this abounding wealth the little circle of Friends
struggled to maintain its orderly existence, but even the elements
made it hard to live regular and steadied lives. Hurricanes
swept over the islands, and lesser tropical storms brought
devastation in their wake. Occasionally an earthquake would
spread terror, particularly among the blacks. Tortola seems
not to have been more unhealthful than any of the other West
Indian islands; but sickness often prevailed, and children of
the well-to-do were sent at an early age to the home-lands to be,
educated, often with too much money for their best welfare, and
z In 1770, the total value of all exports from the Virgin Islands was
L72,oo00; by 1788 it had increased to A164,128. In the latter year, forty
ships sailed from the Islands, of which twenty-five were for Great Britain
and three to the United States. Bryan Edwards's History of the West
Indies, vol. i. chap. iv.
in some cases, not seeing their parents until they reached man-
hood. Life as a rule was short and hot. Liquors were plentiful
and in general use, with the burning sun taking its toll of the
intemperate. A visitor, some twenty years after Friends had
disappeared, gives this dark picture of life on the Island at that
time. He was the doctor in a slaver that had been wrecked
on the West Indies and some of the slaves were sold at public
auction in Tortola. He was contemplating marrying and settling
my diffidence of succeeding as a practitioner in the West
Indies-through want of that essential qualification, an easy
confident address-is in nowise increased by what I see of
the faculty on this island. It is well nigh the most miser-
able, worst inhabited spot in all the British possessions;
yet, although it might afford respectable employment to
two medical men, no less than six are in competition for a
practice here. And such a set of beings! Even this
unhealthy part of the globe appears overstocked with every
description of people, except honest ones. .
From sunrise every face is important with business,
real or pretended, until dinner-time, when the animal
man is recruited at five o'clock. After this, the circulation
of the wine-bottle occupies two or three hours of boisterous
conviviality, followed-if it ceases then-by the quieter
pursuits of gaming, cards, or the dice box. Late at night
they retire to sleep off the effects of debauchery, and
prepare for the same routine to-morrow. The softer sex,
without whom society can hardly be said to exist, are in
most circles altogether unknown; and no marvel, when
we consider the paucity of their number. Tortola is
supposed to contain eleven thousand inhabitants, at least
nine hundred of them white people; a friend summed
up the ladies now on the island, old and young, married
and single, and they amounted to thirteen !i
Back of and underneath these undermining causes were the
sinister influences of slavery. If Governor Pickering exclaimed
in despair that it was hard to be a governor and a Quaker, it was
still harder to be a Quaker and a slaveholder. It was against
these tremendous odds that the Meeting struggled, its member-
ships forming possibly a tenth of the total white population. Well
might Samuel Fothergill say, in addressing a letter of farewell
SA picture of Tortola in 18o3, by a young surgeon on the slaver
General Abercrombie, quoted in Letters from the Virgin Islands.
DR. JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM
to James Jolley, a fellow townsman who was about embarking
for Tortola, where he soon afterward died: "Thy lot is changed
from the warm bosom of society to a land of drought, where the
distilling of heavenly doctrine outwardly as the dew is little known
and, with many, little desired."'
Reference has been made to the island of Jost Van Dykes,
which lay to the northwest and just off the shore of Tortola.
Near Jost Van Dykes were the still smaller islets of Little Jost
Van Dykes, Green Island and Sandy Island, all belonging to
Edward Lettsom, at whose house it is probable a meeting was
held at one time. Compared with these small keys," nearby
and towering Tortola seemed like a continent. Edward Lettsom,
in addition to these home islands, which are said to have been
devoted to cotton, owned a sugar plantation on Tortola at Cane
On Little Jost Van Dykes, was born, November 22nd, 1744,
John Coakley Lettsom, later to become the successor of Dr.
John Fothergill as the most distinguished London physician of
his day. He is said to have been one of the seventh pair of boy
twins born to his mother,2 of which number he and his brother,
Edward, were the sole survivors. In the care of a friendly sea
captain, William Lindo, John was sent, as a boy of six, to Lan-
caster, England, to Abraham and Hutton Rawlinson, two brothers
who carried on an extensive business with these islands. The
vessel stopped at Dublin and no one thing impressed the little
boy more than, to him, the strange sight of carriages in the
streets and the ease and speed at which they moved.3
In the Rawlinson's home in Lancaster, Samuel Fothergill
saw Lettsom and later became, with John Pickering, Junr., his
guardian. It is said that Fothergill's attention was attracted
to the little stranger as he was performing a dance which he
had learned from the negroes at home, and for which the renowned
preacher rewarded him with a half-penny.4
x Life of Samuel Fothergill, by George Crosfield, 1857, p. 417.
2 Pettigrew's Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. i. p. 5, who says Lettsom gave
him this information.
3 Ibid. p. 6.
4 Ibid. p. 7.
He was placed at school with Gilbert Thompson at Penketh ;
and at sixteen was made an apprentice to Abraham Sutcliff, an
apothecary, at Settle, in Yorkshire. I went to Settle," he said
in after life, "a fatherless lad. I rode alone from the house of
my guardian, Samuel Fothergill, at Warrington. When we
parted he addressed me thus: Please thy master, and above all
thy mistress, and if thou turns out well, I will recommend
thee to my brother, the doctor; and never forget that to be good
is to be happy.' Completing his first five happy years of
apprenticeship at Settle, he spent a year at a hospital in London,
and on October 8th, 1767, sailed for Tortola,' for the purpose of
obtaining his inheritance, his father and elder brother having died.
The voyage covered exactly two months. He found his patrimony
much depleted, but one of his first acts was to free the slaves
belonging to the estate, although the act left him five hundred
pounds worse than nothing." It should be recalled that this was
long before the Society of Friends in England, as a body, was
actively urging the abolition of slavery.2 He remained six
months in Tortola practising his profession, and so great was his
popularity and skill that he acquired, in this short time, nearly
2ooo, half of which he gave to his mother, and with the other
half he returned to England in July, 1768, and completed his
medical education at Edinburgh. On Dr. Fothergill's death,
he succeeded largely to his practice and in a lesser degree to the
position the former held in religious, scientific and philanthropic
circles. He was a man of broad sympathies and strong individu-
alities, the "volatile Creole," he once called himself. Of him,
this bit of doggerel was long remembered and is still quoted :
I, John Lettsom,
Blisters, bleeds and sweats 'em.
If, after that, they please to die,
I, John Lettsom.
Extracts from Dr. Lettsom's Journal of a Voyage from Liverpool to
Tortola, in the brig Alice, Captain James Fazakerley, will be 'found in
Pettigrew's Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. i. p. I77.
2 Lettsom's views as to the wisdom and proper method of freeing
slaves will be found in a letter written in 18o4, printed in Pettigrew's
Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. i. p. 29. In later life he doubted the wisdom of
the immediate liberations which he had made in 1768, through the impulse
DR. JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM
Dr. Lettsom was the correspondent and friend of many
liberal minded, scientific and philanthropic persons. He dressed
plainly and simply after the manner of Friends of the day, and
was formally received by the King on more than one occasion,
without \the required court dress or sword. He enjoyed a
tremendous practice, usually dined with his wife once a week,
and while in his carriage driving from patient to patient, spent
the time in writing. He was the author of many medical treatises
and the editor of the three-volume edition of Memoirs of his
friend and patron, John Fothergill. His many activities gave
him little time for Quaker activities, yet he always regarded him-
self as a member. I was born a Quaker," he tells a corres-
pondent, and what is still more strange, I was born so within
the Tropics." Eleven years before his death, he said, I am no
bigot, ever thinking as well of other religions and sects as I do
of that in which I was born and now remain-as I believe the only
Quaker in the world a West Indian."'
After his first visit, Dr. Lettsom never returned to Tortola.
" There is a propensity, and I think it grows with age, towards
one's native soil," he writes.2 He conceived the idea of buying
back his native island and even considered having the house of
his birth taken down and shipped to England to adorn his beloved
retreat at Camberwell; but although his correspondent reported
the timbers of the house in good order, this plan was never carried
In later life a talented friend in Tortola, of whom we shall
hear more later, sent Dr. Lettsom a drawing of his birthplace4 and
the following description of it:
The place where thy parents lie is under the two tama-
rind trees which stand in the middle of the picture, a little
to the left of thy old mansion house. The view is taken
from Gros Van Dikes and represents the scene after a
shower of rain. There may be a boat in the channel between
Pettigrew's Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. ii. p. ioI.
2 MS. Letter in Congressional Library. Washington, D.C., to William
Thornton, dated July 25, 1792. Vol. i. Thornton Collection.
3 Dr. William Thornton, who was living in Tortola, 1790-1792.
4 March 5th  is arrived and so are the paintings. I am
singularly obliged to thee for Jos Van Dike's, which I value too much for
words to express." From a manuscript letter John Coakley Lettsom
to William Thornton, in the Congressional Library, Washington, D.C.
the two islands. At a little distance from the shore,
in a line with the house (in the passage between the two
islands), is the greatest variety of beautiful corals, sea
ferns, sea-eggs and various productions that I almost ever
beheld. The sea looks purple with them when very clear.
On the picture I have drawn a few plants of the great
American aloe. The whole hill abounds with them in great
perfection. I have seen some of these plants forty feet
high and could easily distinguish them seven miles.,
His youngest son, Pickering Lettsom, having been educated
for the law, settled in Tortola, and practised his profession there.
Here he married a wealthy widow, but died within a month of
his marriage and was buried near his namesake, John Pickering,
whom Dr. Lettsom2 always refers to as Major" Pickering.
Within a very short period, Dr. Lettsom lost his daughter, two
sons and their widows. Well might he exclaim in the desolation
of his heart: "My path seems to be over the ashes of my
Among these deaths was that of the widow of Pickering
Lettsom, of Tortola. Her property came to Dr. John Coakley
Lettsom and his grandson. This was a large estate in Tortola,
said to include ownership of not less than Iooo slaves and an
income of 20,000o a year.4 Lettsom, passing away November
Ist, 1815, did not live to receive the benefits of this legacy. He
is buried in Bunhill Fields Friends' Burying Ground, with George
Fox and Edward Burrough.
Letter Dr. William Thornton to Dr. J. Coakley Lettsom in Pettigrew's
Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. ii p. 549.
2 See Dr. R. Hingston Fox's delightful chapter on LettsominDr. John
Fothergill and His Friends, London, 1919, with many references to printed
and manuscript sources of information.
3 Letter of March 29, 1809, quoted in Nichols's Illustrations of Literature.
4 Pickering Lettsom married Mrs. Georges, widow of William Payne
Georges and sister of Lord Livingston," presumably in Tortola (Nichols's
Illustrations of Literature, ii. 670).
i#fifvr in Zorfota
HROUGHOUT Tortola, as everywhere in the West Indies,
slavery was general. The estimated number of blacks
in the Island about the time we are considering, was at
least ten thousand. John Pickering owned five hundred or more
at his death, and one planter a little later owned as many as a
thousand. The slave trade was bringing wealth to the wharves of
Liverpool, Bristol and London. The West Indian islands were the
principal market for these human chattels. Ships, loaded with
sugar, rum and cotton for Great Britain, completed the triangle
by sailing for the Guinea Coast, bringing their loads of stolen,
manacled and suffering blacks to be sold in the principal slave
centers, and to be further distributed among the smaller islands.
Black folks had no souls except in the Catholic islands, and Friends
had been severely punished for allowing them to attend meetings
But already here and there, little candle lights of protest were
burning in the darkness. The agitation in the Society of Friends
for the abolition of human slavery, begun in America by the
little Meeting of German Friends in my home-town of German-
town in 1688, was carried on through the succeeding years by
Ralph Sandiford, Benjamin Lay, Anthony Benezet, John Wool-
man and others. The importing and buying of negroes was made
a matter of discipline in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1754, and
the agitation against owning slaves became more and more active
In Thomas Clarkson's absorbing book, The History of the
Rise and Abolition of the Slave Trade, is a chart showing the
sources from which came the currents in this great movement.
The little springs of individual protest, uniting, form the rivulets
of organized effort, which in turn made the great rivers of public
opinion which were finally to wash the evil thing away. And
because we had slavery in our midst, there is reason that the
the American river of opposition to slavery was a mighty Amazon
with many affluents, so many in fact, there was hardly room
along its banks for the entry of any River of Doubt.
There is little information as to the treatment of slaves in
Tortola. The minutes of the Meeting mention them but once.
While Dr. Lettsom was on the Island, he was sent for by a hard-
hearted master to cut off the leg of a negro who had run away
and been recaptured. It is needless to say how greatly he was
shocked.' We have seen how John Pickering's slaves mourned
his death. The case of Arthur Hodge, of Tortola, an educated,
wealthy planter, a little later became a cause celibre. He was
hanged for the murder of a slave who had run away, whom he
had beaten so unmercifully that he died. It was shown at his
trial that this was a common practice.
In 1802, but a few years before its abolition, there were 155
vessels engaged in the slave trade, capable of carrying 40,000
blacks, four-fifths of whom went to the. British West Indies.
In 1803, a ship load of slaves arrived in Tortola and was publicly
auctioned off to the planters.
Our Abolition Society, uniting the efforts of Friends and others,
was formed in 1774, and its English counterpart, ten years later,
when Clarkson and others, building on the firm foundation which
Friends in England had laid, began the agitation which in but
little more than twenty years forced Parliament, in 1807, to pass
the first Act prohibiting the slave trade. A second generation
of devoted workers continued the work, until the liberation of
the slaves in the West Indies was decreed by Parliament in 1833,
to take effect August I, 1834. It provided for a system of
apprenticeship, of four years for house servants and of seven
years for agricultural laborers, the planters fearing that immediate
freedom would bring a cessation of all labor, the ruin of their
industries, and possibly uprisings of the blacks. None of these
evils seriously developed, and in 1838 the apprenticeship system
was brought to an end before its time, and, quoting the Act of
Parliament, Slavery shall be, and is hereby utterly and forever
abolished throughout the British colonies, plantations and
x Letter to Sir Mordaunt Morton. Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. ii. p. 41.
SLAVERY IN TORTOLA
It was indeed an unusual step, way in advance of its time,
when John Coakley Lettsom, returning to Tortola fresh from the
influences of Dr. Fothergill and other English abolitionists, freed
his slaves in 1768, as has already been pointed out. A near
relative wished to take similar action at the time, but Lettsom
discouraged him. Samuel and Mary Nottingham later followed
Lettsom's example. These Friends, having lived several years
in the freer atmosphere of Long Island, returned to Tortola
uneasy over the ownership of fellow-men. They finally manu-
mitted all their slaves and gave them their plantation, Long Look
on Fat Hog Bay, as a home, to be enjoyed by them in perpetuity
as tenants in common. The Nottinghams left the Island for Long
Island, and in 1778, removed to England. Not long after, they
wrote a letter' which shows the continuance of their deep interest
in the welfare of their emancipated slaves. This was preserved
by the blacks for many years in the nature of a title deed for their
holdings. The presence of these Nottingham free negroes was
not relished by the planters still owning slaves, and opinions
differ as to their real welfare, according to the focus of the glasses
v which viewed their progress. Some of them took to maritime
pursuits; and burning the coral rock for lime, with which they
obtained ready money in St. Thomas, was one of their vocations.
We shall see later how friendly abolitionists regarded the
SIt is dated Bristol, 3oth of Ninth Month, 1782, and is included in
both Joseph John Gurney's A Winter in the West Indies, second edition,
1846, and George Truman's A Visit to the West Indies, 1844.
tot Onb of te (nueetin
It HE closing words of the final session of Tortola Monthly
Meeting were : The Meeting ends in love." This was
in 1762, and although the business meeting had ceased
to function, meetings for worship were continued for some
years. London continued its interest, noting in 1765 that no
letter had been received from Tortola, and directing the Meeting
for Sufferings to prepare and send an epistle. The following
year a-package of books was forwarded.
Samuel Wyley traveling to Pennsylvania in 1768, the year of
John Pickering's death, took a certificate signed by three men and
three women Friends at the close of this First-day Meeting, the
small remains of Friends desiring to signify their regard for him ;
and the following spring he returned to Tortola with a certificate
directed to such friends as remain."
Samuel Fothergill, maintaining his interest, reported in 1769
that he was still in correspondence with a Friend on the Island,
who told him a few Friends remained who constantly met together
for divine worship. He again was directed to forward some books
for their use. In 1770, Thomas Humphreys, a lad who had been
apprenticed in Philadelphia, returned from a visit to Tortola,
with his membership certificate signed by only five Friends at
the close of a meeting for worship. They give a sad account of
social conditions in the Island. "We have had no meeting for
business for years past," they write, on account of the fewness
of our numbers." They speak well of the bearer, considering
his youth and the many temptations such are incident to and the
many bad examples they are surrounded with in this country,
where pride and vanity almost universally prevails." London
continued to send books from time to time, the last consignment
being in 1774.
THE END OF THE MEETING
Of just how much damage came to Tortola by the great
hurricane of 1780, no record is available, but what damage there
may have been to the meeting-house was repaired by Isaac
Pickering, the son of John. London Yearly Meeting closes its
correspondence with a letter, 1786, signed by John Coakley
Lettsom and Zachariah Cockfield, addressed to Isaac Pickering
and Samuel Wyley, who were apparently still on the Island at
that late date.
This would seem to close the official connection of either
London or Philadelphia with Tortola Friends. It makes a period
of forty-five years cover the birth, the activity, the decline and
the death of this obscure and interesting episode in our Quaker
history. With some possible qualifications, Dr. Lettsom might
truthfully exclaim, as he did in 1804, that he was the sole
surviving West Indian Quaker in the world.
It may be. recalled that the first clerk of Women's Monthly
Meeting had been Dorcas Powell,' a young widow. She early was
drawn within the little circle of seekers, largely through the two
sisters, Dorcas Pickering and Dorothy Thomas. Chalkley refers
in several places to the poor young woman whose father turned her
out-of-doors, because she had thrown in her lot with Friends.
The father becoming ill, she was permitted to visit him, and while
there met John Latham, the clergyman whom the non-Quaker
Islanders had brought in to combat the growing schism. Dorcas
Powell's father made it a condition of reconciliation with him that
she marry Latham, which she finally did. As has been recited,
the Meeting disowned her and there was much bitterness and
controversy, Latham wielding his cudgels with vigor. In later
life she stated she was anxious to retain her membership, which
she valued highly, but at the time she told the committee she had
got a very good husband and should go with much freedom to his
worship. On the death of her father, the Lathams removed to
St. Croix, one of the Danish islands nearby. Latham died in a
few years and she married Thomas Lillie. Her faith in Quakerism
was revived through family afflictions, and later her husband
shared her views. Together they built a meeting-hquse where
meetings Were regularly held, attended by a few sober-minded
x Born in Anguilla, 1721. Removed with her father to Tortola, about
1735. Married at the age of fifteen, Giles Powell, who survived his marriage
about three years.
people. Some years after the Monthly Meeting in Tortola had
disappeared, she visited the few remaining Friends on the Island,
desiring to make condemnation, even at that late date, for her out-
going in marriage. She was told she had never been disowned, which
we now know from the minutes was an error. A hurricane having
impaired their fortunes, and the husband having died, she moved
into the town of Christianstad. With the consent of the Danish
authorities and with the aid of English Friends, a new meeting-
house was started in the town, but never completed, meetings for
worship being held in her home. In 1785, she arrived in Phila-
delphia. She went about preaching without, of course, a minute,
there being none to supply it, much to the concern of the Elders
of our Philadelphia Meetings, who appointed a few "solid "
Friends to visit her and learn her story. They came away
apparently fully satisfied with her spiritual experiences and walk
It may have been due to Dorcas Lillie's visit or possibly to the
efforts which London and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings were
making to put in order the trust funds and titles to property in
Barbados, that John Parrish and James Cresson and later, Samuel
Emlen and Daniel Offley, Jr., all of Philadelphia, visited the West
Indies in 1786 and 1787.2 A great hurricane in 1780 had
destroyed all five meeting-houses on that island and the death
list had been placed at a thousand. So terrible was the tempest
and so great the consternation, that many thought the end of the
world had come.
Daniel Offley, Jr., extended his visit from Barbados to Antigua,
St. Croix and Tortola, to ascertain the conditions of the meeting-
houses and other property belonging to Friends. In Tortola,
there was but little left. He reported the one-quarter of an acre
at The. Road so situated and so trifling as not to be worthy of
The full story, as gathered by the committee, is set forth in The
Friend, Philadelphia, vol. 17 (1844), p. 310.
2 The efforts to straighten out the ownership of meeting-house and
graveyard properties in Barbados occupied the Meetings for Sufferings
and the two Yearly Meetings from 1774 on for upwards of twenty years.
The full history of the various steps taken will be found at Friends' Arch
Street Centre, Philadelphia, in a box labelled Papers Relating to Property
in Barbadoes, including much correspondence between London and
Philadelphia." See also Journal of Friends Historical Society, vol. v.
THE END OF THE MEETING 57
notice; while as to the one half acre at Fat Hog Bay, he was
informed that the title had never been vested in Friends.,
It was, however, to Daniel Offley's care that almost all the
minute books and many of the papers in connection with Tortola
Meeting were gathered up and brought by him to Philadelphia.2
SThis was an error. Copies of the deeds are in the minutes of Tortola
Monthly Meeting. See An Account of the Property of Friends in
Barbadoes, Selected from the Records of the Meeting for Sufferings,
London." Prepared 13th of Second Month, 1789. In fireproof 3rd and Arch
Streets, Philadelphia. After giving a list of those in Barbadoes, it gives,-
" An Account of the Property of Friends in the Islands, Antigua, Jamaica,
Tortola and Santa Cruz. Tortola: NN258 3/2d Mo. 1786. A lot of land
with a house in the division of the old road, I of an Acre. Given by
Townsend Bishop for the Use of Friends as long as any remain in the
Island, 4th of Second Month, 1742.
Meeting House and Grounds in Fat Hog Bay, I an Acre. In a letter
from Samuel Wyley to J. C. Lettsom, dated 3oth of Seventh Month, 1781,
said to be much ruined, given by John Pickering for the Use of Friends
as long as any remain in the Island, 6th of First Month, 1741/2. See
Samuel Wyley's Letter with Deeds of Gift.
Santa Cruz: Letter Book, vol. 5, p. 44, i8/5th Mo. 1799. A Meeting-
house built near the Church yard in Christianstadt, in Town Lot No. 33.
j6o advanced by National Stock of Friends in England toward defraying
the expense and it is proposed to register the Lands in the names of
three or four Friends of England, when instructed how to do it. See Letter
Book, vol. 5, p. 93, 24th of Ninth Month, 1780. A House on Thomas
Lilley's land, sold into other hands."
2 See Appendix iii. for a complete list of these papers. They are
deposited in the fireproof at Arch Street Centre and have been largely
drawn upon in preparation of this sketch.
Z$ornion anb 1ump$rtep
007 MONG the active early members of the Tortola Meeting
Shad been William Thornton. He had come out from
England and married a sister of the second wife of John
Pickering. His sons, Edward and William,' had been sent to
Lancaster, England, to be educated. Edward died in 1781.
William became a druggist's clerk at Ulverston, studied medicine
at Edinburgh, became the friend and warm admirer of his fellow
Tortolian, Dr. Lettsom, and like him was filled with zeal for the
enslaved Africans. Completing his studies, he returned to
Tortola; but in 1786, coming to Philadelphia as a young man
with an ample fortune, he was fired with a desire to transport
the free blacks of the North, as well as the seventy or more slaves
which had come to him by inheritance on his Tortola plantation,
to their native homes in Africa. Such a plan had been discussed
for some time by English philanthropists, including Fothergill
and Lettsom, and one or more ill-fated expeditions sailed from
England for Sierra Leone. Dr. William Thornton desired to lead
such an expedition personally, and wrote repeatedly from America,
begging Lettsom's advice and assistance in the undertaking.
"I know of no other person," he writes, who will
make the same sacrifices of family, friends, fortune and an
expensive education with the most precious years in the
prime of life, to live with the rejected and despised part
z Born Tortola, May 27th, 1761. His diary from 1777 to 1782, while
living at Ulverston and Edinburgh, contains many references to attending
meetings and of visiting Friends, etc. In the later years much of it is in
shorthand. In the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., are seventeen
volumes of Thornton papers, including the diaries, and letters from
Dr. Lettsom, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many other
distinguished men. In the Librarian's safe is a sealed packet relating to
a controversy Thornton was engaged in, which is not to be opened until
January Ist, 1925.
THORNTON AND HUMPHREYS
of mankind. I mean to give my lands in Tortola to my
mother. My estate in England, I have given the rents to
my aged grandmother and aunts for their kind and affec-
tionate care of my brother and myself during our infancy."
He had a poor opinion of Tortola, which he said was hotter
than Africa, and equally unhealthful. In another letter to Dr.
Lettsom,. he says significantly: Though I love not my country
it is so debased, it gives me a secret pleasure that thou art my
But Dr. Lettsom dissuaded him from the Sierra Leone
adventure. He advised him to return to Tortola, make himself
independent, and he then could do as he pleased. He wrote to
I have not the least doubt but in Tortola thou would
command the business of the Island. Get a sufficiency and
come to England. I hardly think that Island worthy of
thee. I must except thy Mother and Father and some few
others. (Letter dated London, Feb. 3rd, 1789, in the
Congressional Library, Washington, D.C.)
Thornton traveled to New England, furthering his plan of
repatriating the blacks. While in Wilmington, Del., he un-
successfully paid his attentions to the daughter of Governor
John Dickinson. Thornton wrote his parents in Tortola that the
Governor thought his daughter too young by several years, but
knows no objection whatever to me." He married in Phila-
delphia,2 and he and his young bride sailed three days later to
Tortola on their wedding trip. Dr. Thornton, though entirely
untrained, had considerable skill as an architect, and before
leaving Philadelphia had produced, in a competition, the winning
plan for a new building for the Philadelphia Library, which
Franklin had founded years before. It still stands, though now
otherwise occupied, its lines testifying to the ability of the amateur
designer. The Thorntons remained in Tortola for two years, he
practising his profession of physician, writing a book,3 which later
x See letters Dr. William Thornton to John Coakley Lettsom, Petti-
grew's Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. ii. pp. 497, etc., written about 1789.
2 Dr. Wm. Thornton and Anna Maria, daughter of Mrs. Brodeau, were
married October 13th, 1790. He was twenty-nine, she fifteen.
3 Cadmus, or a Treatise on the Elements of Written Language. R.
Aitkin & Son, Philadelphia, 1793.
received a gold medal from the American Philosophical Society,
and warm commendation from his friends. Nor was he idle in
carrying out his plans for freeing his slaves, petitioning the
Council' and Legislature for permission to do so and transport
them to Sierra Leone.
The new capital of the young republic was then in course of
building, in what we call the District of Columbia, and President
Washington was deeply interested in the plans for the city which
bears his name. In March, 1792, while Thornton was still in
Tortola, Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, wrote an advertise-
ment asking for plans for the President's house and for the Capitol,
which the Commissioners actually in charge of building the city
placed in the newspapers of the country. Dr. Thornton heard of
it in Tortola, decided to compete, immediately got to work and
wrote asking permission to submit plans. When he reached
Philadelphia, the competition was closed : but none of the fourteen
drawings submitted was satisfactory, and Thornton took his plan
to President Washington, then residing in Philadelphia, the
temporary capital, who was greatly pleased with it and gave him
a letter to the Commissioners, urging them to consider it. The
upshot was that Thornton's plan was accepted and the Capitol
building, probably the best known and most imposing structure
in America, was erected substantially from his plans Grandeur,
Simplicity and Convenience appear to be well combined in the
plan of Dr. Thornton," wrote Washington, while Jefferson, who
himself was no mean architect, described the plan as simple,
noble, beautiful and excellently arranged." When Jefferson
was planning the buildings for the University of Virginia, generally
I Dr. Thornton's letter to The Honorable the President and Members
of Council of the Virgin Islands is dated Tortola, February 22nd, 1791.
A rough copy is among the Thornton papers in the Congressional Library,
2 I began practicing physics when I staid in the West Indies, but
I found the climate and fatigue injurious and returned to America .
When I travelled I never thought of architecture, but I got some books
and worked a few days, then gave a plan in the ancient Ionic order, which
carried the prize [this was for the Library in Philadelphia]. The President
and Secretary published a premium of a Gold Medal of 500 Dolls. and a
lot for a house in the City of Washington for the best plan and elevation
of a Capitol for the U.S. I lamented not having studied architecture,
and resolved to attempt this grand undertaking and study at the same
time. I studied some months and worked almost night and day." (Letter
from Dr. William Thornton, dated Washington, June 25th, 1802, in the
Congressional Library, Washington, D.C.)
THORNTON AND HUMPHREYS
recognized as unsurpassed examples of Georgian architecture in
America, he solicited Thornton's aid.
For his plan of the Capitol, Thornton received the prize of
$500 and one of the Ioo city lots in the new city. Thornton
became the friend of Washington, was made one of the three
Commissioners for building the city, and in 1802 was made the
first Commissioner of Patents, which position he held until his
death in 1828. He was the organizer of this important branch of
Governmental work. Other beautiful buildings in Washington still
stand to testify to his taste, and untaught architectural genius.
In his later years, he bought a large farm outside of Washington.
Amid the exactions and controversies of his public life, he seems
to have departed from some of the principles of Friends. When
our English cousins burned the Capitol and White House in the
War of 1812, he was an officer of militia endeavoring to stop them.
Then, too, he was fond of race-horses, and on his Maryland farm
maintained a considerable race-track; and finally, among his
papers is the bill of sale for two negroes bought of John C. Calhoun
for 200 Maryland currency. But in his will he made provision
for his slaves.
When Dr. Thornton died, among the assets of his estate, which
amounted to $69,330.00, is included:
j interest in a sugar plantation in Tortola containing
12o slaves, with buildings, stock capable of making Ioo hogs.
of sugar with rum, etc., worth 6,000, but say 3,000 annually
or even 1,ooo annually, half due to me.
This was the Pleasant Valley estate, one half of which belonged
at this time to William R. Isaacs. This was presumably the old
Thornton home and it would seem likely that Isaacs had acquired
the one-half interest of Thornton's brother. An illustration of
Pleasant Valley will be found on page 26 in A Visit to the West
Indies, drawn on the spot by George Truman. Isaacs bought
Dr. Thornton's one-half interest and Joseph John Gurney and
George Truman and his fellow travellers when in Tortola (see
chapter XI) visited there and held religious meetings among the
While in Tortola, Dr. Thornton, using his skill as an artist,
made the drawing of Dr. Lettsom's birthplace,' which has already
x Published in Gentleman's Magazine, 1815, p. 577. Also in Pettigrew's
Memoirs of Lettsom, vol. ii. p. 549, and in Caribbeana, vol. iii. p. 305.
been shown. He also brought with him a complete contemporary
copy of the minutes of the Monthly Meeting at Tortola, which
are deposited among his papers in the Congressional Library at
Next to John Pickering in activity in the Meeting and faithful-
ness in his obligations to it, was Thomas Humphreys. His
wedding is the first recorded matter of business when the Monthly
Meeting was established, and his name appears in the last formal
letter addressed to London. In 1754, he made a visit to the
American Colonies for his health, but returned the next year to
the Island.' His two sons, Richard and Thomas, were sent to
Pennsylvania as boys and apprenticed, one as a goldsmith and the
other as a tanner. They married and lived in Philadelphia.
Richard acquired considerable means and on his death in 1832,
he left $Io,ooo, more than a tithe of his estate, to Trustees to -
found an institution for instructing the descendants of the African
Race in school learning, in the various branches of the mechanic
arts and trades, and in agriculture," to prepare them to act as
teachers. The outgrowth of this bequest, the Institute for
Colored Youth, was founded in 1837, and has had a long career
of usefulness, reaching a maximum attendance of 350 pupils.
In 1902, it was moved from Philadelphia to Cheyney, Pa., some
twenty miles out of the city, and its scope and activities enlarged
to make it a Normal School. In 1921, it was taken over by the
State. Its endowments, greatly augmented, have been retained
by the Trustees, who must be members of Philadelphia Yearly
Certificate from Flushing Monthly Meeting, N.Y., dated ioth Month
Richard Humphreys, Goldsmith, having taken the house in which
Philip Syng lately dwelt, hereby informs his friends and the public that he
now carries on the Goldsmith's Business in all its branches, at the aforesaid
place, a few doors below the Coffee House, where he has for sale a Neat
and General Assortment of Gold and Silver Ware."
Richard Humphreys. The subscriber having lately removed into
Upper Merion township, hereby informs his friends and former customers,
that they may be supplied as usual at his late dwelling, by the above named
Richard Humphreys, whom he hereby recommends to them as a person
qualified to serve them on the best terms, and whose fidelity in the above
business will engage their future confidence and regard. PHILIP SYNG."
Quoted from the Pennsylvania Packet, August 24, 1772, in a Special Silver
Catalogue of The Pennsylvania Museum Bulletin, June, 1921, in which
appear illustrations of the silverware of Syng and Humphreys.
THORNTON AND HUMPHREYS
Meeting, held at 4th and Arch Streets. These are now called the
Humphreys Foundation, in memory of its founder, Richard
Humphreys, of Tortola. It will be noted that of three important
Friends who had been in Tortola under the shadow of slavery-
Lettsom, Thornton and Humphreys, all turned their philanthropies
toward the amelioration of the colored people.'
I Thornton wrote to Lettsom, Boston, May 20, 1787: When I was
in England I thought the sugar sweet, but saw not the bitter tears that
moistened the ground on which it grew, but when I had been awhile in
my native country and viewed the situation of the blacks, I regretted often
that I was born a slave-holder."
OSEPH JOHN GURNEY spent three years in the Western
continent, traveling in the United States and in the West
Indies, and studying the effect of freedom, then newly
granted, upon the slaves in the West Indian colonies.'
In the closing days of 1839, in the course of his travels, he
visited Tortola, sailing from New York, and first sighting the
conical, rocky peaks of Virgin Gorda as they approached the West
Indies. He reached Tortola from St. Thomas, after an uncom-
fortable voyage. He could not but feel an intense interest in
making his first visit to a British island, peopled with emancipated
negroes, for the freeing of which he and his circle had labored so
effectively. He spent several days on the Island, visiting
different estates by boat and by horseback. The ancient
prosperity of the planters had departed, and the firm of Reid,
Irving & Co., of London, were owners by mortgage tenure of a
large part of the Island. The temporary condition of the planters
was, at the time of his visit, unfavorable, owing to a succession
of droughts. The chief industry was still sugar growing.
He visited Long Look, the ancient home of the Nottinghams,
and Fat Hog Bay, coming in contact with the descendants of the
slaves whom they had freed. They still retained the letter of
Christian advice which the Nottinghams had sent them, regarding
it in the nature of a deed to their property, which they occupied
as tenants in common. Their land was on the brow of the
mountain and a considerable part of it was under cultivation.
He held a religious meeting with them in one of the largest of their
cottages, and went away satisfied with their respectable appear-
ance and orderly behavior.
x See A Winter in the West Indies, described in Familiar Letters to Henry
Clay of Kentucky, by Joseph John Gurney, London, 184o.
At Road Town, on the First-day of the week, a Friends'
meeting was held in the Methodist church, the large congrega-
ti6n sitting in solemn silence for a considerable period before
In the year 1840, closely following upon Gurney's visit,
three Pennsylvania Friends, George Truman, John Jackson and
Thomas B. Longstreth, made a similar journey to investigate the
effects of emancipation in the West Indies.' They, too, first
sighted the Virgin Islands in the hills of Virgin Gorda. Like
Joseph John Gurney, they had an unhappy voyage from St. Thomas
to Tortola, amid the swift currents and tides of the encompassing
islets, and were all day in making the few leagues. They landed
in Road Town on the 25th of December and spent a week on the
Island, visiting prominent planters and holding meetings nearly
every day of their week's visit. They spent one day in looking
particularly for traces of the Friends who once were so relatively
important in the Island.
It was toward the end of their visit that they took a boat to
visit Fat Hog Bay. Finding a little girl at the bay side for a
guide, they set off through a. dense thicket to Long Look, the
ancient home of the Nottinghams. Here again, the Nottingham
letter to their slaves was produced soon after their arrival at the
cottage of Jasper Rabset, one of the oldest members of the little
community. It seemed to the visitors that the freedom these
colored folk had enjoyed had given them a more dignified manner
than appeared in those of their neighbors but recently released from
slavery. While many of the plantations in that part of Tortola
had long been abandoned and overgrown, this estate of the
Nottinghams was still producing a comfortable subsistence to a
happy community, which numbered at the time eighty persons,
divided into sixteen families. The Island had been visited in
1837 by one of the terrific hurricanes, and their homes, with many
of their crops, had all been destroyed. From this severe loss they
had hardly recovered. Some of the oldest of the Long Look
negroes retained an affectionate recollection of Friends, one aged
blind man telling the visitors that he had frequently attended
Quaker meetings in Philadelphia and New York.
z A Visit to the West Indies in 184o and 1841, by George Truman,
John Jackson and Thomas B. Longstreth, Philadelphia, 1844.
The visitors held a religious meeting with the negroes, after
which they were conducted by some of the young men to the site
of the meeting-house. Only its stone foundation remained.
Near it were five graves built, according to the ancient custom of
the Island, of brick, about three feet above the ground and
covered with mortar. They were not marked and there was no
way of telling in which were the remains of Thomas Chalkley,
John Estaugh and John Cadwallader. The ravages of time and
neglect were apparent everywhere. The prickly acacia spread its
branches over the tombs, making an almost impenetrable thicket,
while, nearby, a century plant was luxuriantly blooming, symbolical
of the one hundred years since the meeting-house had been built,
and the itinerant ministers had so hopefully come to give the light,
and had so willingly laid down their lives in the service of Truth.
To George Truman's pencil we are indebted for two views of
the Island. The next day these Friends concluded their labors
and quitted the Island.
So far as has been ascertained, this was the last visit of Friends,
until some seventy years later, in 1913, when the writer and
his son, A. Sidney Jenkins, journeyed to Tortola to see if there
might be any traces of the little Meeting. Taking the comfortable
steamer from New York, in five days we landed at St. Thomas.
Selecting the little motor boat, The Rest, belonging to a
Moravian missionary, and with an ancient colored man for pilot,
of whom the captain's first eager inquiry was, as he came on
board, Is Tobey drunk or sober ? we slipped out of St. Thomas
in the darkness at 3 a.m., to take advantage of the tides. Tobey
proved to be a competent pilot, steering by the stars and the
dark headlines of the little islands. We had hoped to reach Road
Town by breakfast-time, but head winds and a heavy sea compelled
us to put in at Frenchman's Bay, on the southwest tip of the
Island. All travelers who have mentioned it speak of the dis-
comfort of this short but strenuous trip in the swift currents that
sweep through the Virgins.
We landed at Sopers Hole, which is said to have been the
unhealthful site of the original settlement in Tortola. In company
with numerous natives bringing their produce from nearby
islands, we waited until nearly eight for the arrival of the customs.
officer, Mr. Smith, so that we might pay the sevenpence admission
tax. The customs officer had, as buttons on his waistcoat, old
Tortola silver pieces, which used to pass as sixpences, being two
shilling Spanish coins cut in quarters. Road Town was ten miles
away, over a rough and winding road, so procuring two horses
we started for the capital, piloted by two young colored men named
Hodge. The road skirted the shore, then climbed over two moun-
tain ranges with magnificent views. As we jogged along, the
Island seemed almost uncultivated. Here and there a colored
farmer was working his cotton, and one with whom we chatted
over his tumbledown fence showed us the cotton bolls ready for
picking, but stained and spoiled by a red spider that was dis-
coloring it. It was a hard, hot ride over a rocky, difficult road.
Our two boys took off their shoes, so that the rough going over the
sharp stones would not scuffle them, their feet being tougher than
their Sunday shoes. They took turns in carrying the heavy bag
on their heads. A great thirst consumed us, but we were afraid
to drink of the wayside wells, so one of the boys shinned up a
cocoanut tree, detached a dozen cocoanuts, and cracked them
open with his big knife, that we might drink the milk.
There were numerous ruined sugar mills along the road and
everywhere were evidences of a bygone prosperity. Nearing Road
Town, the boys stopped to put on their shoes, to present a credit-
able appearance as we came into the town.
Our first duty was to call on the Commissioner, Leslie Jarvis,'
and as we entered his office in the Custom House and were
announced, he walked over to his outgoing mail box, took out an
official letter and handed it to us. Some months before I had
written for some information, and the Commissioner, being a
little slow in replying, was able to deliver his answer in person,
and thus save some postage. He received us very cordially, said
he knew nothing about Quakers in the Island, and as there were
no hotels or boarding-houses in Road Town, he found rooms for
us with Captain Tittley, the commander of the Tortolan navy-
the Lady Constance, the thirty-ton mail schooner and supply boat.
We called on the Island's doctor, T. L. E. Clarke, drank tea with
him, visited the Agricultural Experiment Station, where they are
trying hard to reintroduce some of the early agricultural activities.
But Tortola had sadly fallen from her days of prosperity and plenty.
1 Soon after appointed to the Presidency of Montserrat, where he
shortly after died.
Only thirty-three whites were living on the Island, with about
4,200 black and colored, and in the whole Virgins but a total of
5,562'. On Jost Van Dykes there was but a single white.
W. C. Fishlock, of the Experiment Station, was doing his best
to revive cotton growing by planting Sea Island cotton. He was
encouraging the planting of limes, cocoanuts and pineapples.
But Tortola's commerce today is practicallyTnil, the islanders
growing enough for their own use and not much more. To bring
in some outside money, Mrs. Jarvis, the Commissioner's wife, had
started lace making among the women and had aroused some
interest in the work.
Everywhere were ruined stone houses, unroofed by some former
hurricane, broken arches of one-time big estates tumbled by
earthquakes, and evidences on all sides, of a departed prosperity.
The inhabitants were living in small frame or thatch cottages,
many with the corrugated iron roof so common in the tropics.
The next morning we were wakened by the cooing of the
turtle-doves on the hillside, which rose sharply back of the house.
We had planned an expedition to Fat Hog Bay, and sailing seemed
the better way after the experience of the day before with the
island roads. So Mrs. Tittley packed our lunch and we started
on what proved a rough and uncomfortable sail on the current-
tossed Virgin's Gangway. To add to the discomfort of the trip,
the younger of two colored brothers was the captain and his older
brother the crew. As every time we tacked against the strong
trade wind the crew had to go down in the hold in his bare feet
and shift the cobble stone ballast, he objected unpleasantly. For
comfort in sailing the rights of primogeniture should not prevail
on the high seas. We approached the bay with an increasing
interest. The boat could not go in to land, so the captain and
crew carried us ashore on their backs.
The first effort was to find the ruins of the meeting-house,
and the graves we were after. But, apparently, none of the nearby
white people had ever heard of them or of the Quakers who once
loomed so large at Fat Hog Bay. We finally found a colored
family who knew where they were and Rosanna, a dusky Amazon,
SThe population in the islands, April, 1921, consists of thirty-five
whites in Tortola and one in Sonmbrero, a total of thirty-six in the British
Virgin Islands. There are 3,952 blacks and colored in Tortola and 1,o94
in the other islands of the group.
offered to pilot us. Through the dense underbush and over-
growing trees, we followed a crooked cow path, and at last came
to the hallowed spot.
The foundation of the meeting-house was plainly outlined by a
line of stones and -nearby were the ruins of two.tombs. Alas, the
others had practically disappeared. They had been built of brick,
with a plaster coating, and as all natives need brick to build their
fireplaces, they had helped themselves from time to time, so that
some of them were level with the ground and the others crumbling
with decay. Nor was it possible absolutely to determine which
grave was which. Originally the names had been placed on the
brickwork in brass letters, but these had long before been carried
off by the natives to make the names for their sailing boats, and
it is possible that some of the brass lettered names we saw at
Road Town were made from the names of Chalkley, Cadwallader
and Estaugh. So dense was the prickly pear and other thorny
undergrowth that' it was difficult to get around, and it was not
possible, on account of the shade, to take a satisfactory picture.
Ruin and desolation were everywhere, with rough Nature struggling
as only she can, in the tropics, to reclaim her own. Taking one
more brick from the tomb supposedly Chalkley's, as a memento,
we sought a nearby house to eat our lunch. This proved to be
the home of Aeneas Pickering, who welcomed us, placed his living
room at our disposal, and was genuinely glad to see us and talk to
us as we pulled our tough chicken to pieces and ate our lukewarm
melon. He knew who and what Quakers were. He did not
know who were his ancestors, but from his name and location,
he undoubtedly was descended from one of John Pickering's
The prospect of a return voyage to Road Town in the sloop
of discord and over the rough waters of Sir Francis Drake's Channel
was so painful, that we divided forces, and Dr. Clarke, who had
kindly accompanied us, and I, secured horses from Aeneas Picker-
ing and rode back home. The rough trail led over the hills seven
miles to Road Town, and was the same over which Governor
Pickering had sent his men, with the newly made forms on their
heads, to accommodate the great meetings at The Road in Thomas
Chalkley's time. On the outskirts of Road Town, the Doctor
discovered a poor leprous woman who had stolen in against
explicit orders, for a glimpse of the village life. She sat by the
roadside with her ancient and infirm father, an object of pity as
the Doctor ordered her to go back to her home.
We dined with the Commissioner on our return. He was much
interested in the details of our trip, and when he understood that
these deserted graves and this ruined meeting-house were in a
way historic landmarks of Tortola's greatness, he agreed to have
the place put in order, a neat fence built around the spot and an
effort made to stop the advance of the thorny jungle. But I
fear this has never been done, knowing as I do, the difficulties of
doing it. Commissioner Jarvis was much interested in the account
of Joseph John Gurney's and George Truman's visits, which served
us as guide books. Mrs. Jarvis had, with true hospitality and
traditional information* that Americans must have plenty of
iced water to drink, sent the Lady Constance twenty-five miles
back to St. Thomas for some ice. Head winds made it a slow
journey, and as we left our courteous hosts we encountered in the
dark two colored men with boxes of ice on their heads. As we
were ready to blow out our candles for the night, there was a knock
at the door, and the messengers had arrived with a generous lump
of ice in a cracker box, to help assuage our thirst.
Early next morning we boarded a little sloop, cleared from
the Customs House, said Good-by to the genial Dr. Clarke,
who had arisen early to see us off, and started back to St. Thomas.
Sailing out of Road Town, a heavy shower swept over us, leaving
behind as it cleared away, a rainbow with its arch over the little
town nestling under the hillside of the turtle-doves.
Since our visit in 1913, considerable improvement is reported
from Tortola. Delapidated ruins are renovated and many
new dwelling houses are erected. A market place has been laid
out in Road Town. Much improved roads throughout Tortola.
Street lamps have been erected in the main road in Road Town.
A cricket ground and race-course have been laid out on a five-acre
Recreation Ground, affording much recreation for the young folk.
A band-stand is also erected at the grounds. A bonded warehouse
has been erected and the matter of enlarging this building,
compatible with increased trade, is now under consideration.
A small hospital is now in course of erection. A library consist-
ing of some 200 or more up-to-date novels has been established.
A Peasants' Agricultural Bank has also been established. This
has proved itself a great blessing to the peasant inhabitants.
Money is loaned at reasonable rates on good securities. A motor-
boat service has been established. A thirteen-ton launch capable
of carrying thirty or more passengers with five tons of cargo
carries the mails to and from St. Thomas. The journey to and
from St. Thomas by sailing sloop is thus made less tedious.,
z Recent information as to present conditions is contained in a letter
from H. Peebles, commissioner for Tortola, to the author, 28th January,
1922. See Appendix xi.
girt0o, (Tarriageo, anb etatoe
FROM THE MINUTES AND RECORDS OF THE
MONTHLY MEETING OF FRIENDS OF TORTOLA
BALNEIVES, ALEXANDER,x and Mary Bishop, daughter of Townsend Bishop,
BALNEIVES, JERUSHA, d. Sixth Month I4th, 1747, buried Friends' Burying
Ground, Fat Hog Bay.
BALNEIVES, MARY, daughter of Alexander and Jerusha, b. Eighth Month
25th, 1746, d. Eleventh Month 27th, 1748/9, buried at The Road.
BISHOP, MARY, daughter of Townsend Bishop, m. Alexander Balneives,
BISHOP, REBECCA, wife of Townsend Bishop, d. Sixth Month i8th, 1743,
buried at The Road.
BISHOP, REBECCA, daughter of Townsend Bishop, m. Thomas Humphreys,
Ninth Month 29th, 1741.
BISHOP, TOWNSEND, m. Mary Reynolds, 1746/7. He died Seventh
Month 22nd, 1747, buried Friends' Burying Ground at The Ro6d.
BROWN, JAMES, and ELIZABETH.
Children: James, b. Fourth Month 9th, 1748.
Ann Elizabeth, b. Eleventh Month 6th, 1754.
James Thomas, b. Fifth Month 23rd, 1759.
CLANDANIEL, JOHN, m. Rebecca Daniel, 1749.
Children: John, b. Third Month 18th, 1750.
William, b. Sixth Month 2nd, 1751.
Abraham, b. Twelfth Month 2nd, 1753.
Isaac, b. Tenth Month i4th, 1755.
S" There is a very worthy man joined us in Tortola, his name is Alexander
Balneives, a Scotchman by birth. He was in Tortola y* Collector of the
Customs, a member of the Council and a Justice of the Peace, all of which
he laid down for Christ's sake."-Extract from a letter from James Birkett,
dated Antigua, 6th mo. 8th, 1745. In D.
CLANDANIEL, WILLIAM, m. SUSANNAH McGUMERY (?), 1743.
Children: John, b. Seventh Month 4th, 1745.
William, b. Twelfth Month 4th, 1746.
Mary, b. Sixth Month 3oth, 1748.
Hester, b. Fifth Month 28th, 1750.
Ann, b. Sixth Month 19th, 1753, d. Third Mlonth i5th, 1759.
Hugh Montgomery, b. Seventh Month 19th, 1755, d. Third
Month 15th, 1759.
Elizabeth, b. Sixth Month 9zth, 1758.
Hugh Montgomery, b. Fifth Month 25th, I760.
DANIEL, REBECCA, m. John Clandaniel, 1749.
DOWNING, JOHN, m. Frances Rawley (Raleigh), widow of IJames, [Rawley,
Fifth Month 4th, 1742, at the home of John Pickering.
Frances Downing d. Twelfth Month Ist, i748,.buried[at jThe
Children: Samuel, b. Fourth Month 5th, 1743.
Peter, b. Twelfth Month 2Ist, 1744/5.
Frances, b. Twelfth Month 28th, 1746.
EVERETT, ABRAHAM, and MARY.
Children: Mary, b. Eighth Month I5th, 1742.
John, b. Eighth Month 9th, 1744.
EVERETT, MEHITABLE, m. John Williams, 1746.
EVERETT, REBECCA, m. George Pow (Powe), 1749.
GEORGE, WILLIAM, and CATHARINE.
Catharine George d. Ninth Month 23rd, 1760.
Children: Catharine, b. Seventh Month 7th, 1743.
Elizabeth, b. Eleventh Month 19th, 1746.
Eleanor, b. Sixth Month 25th, 1750.
HUMPHREYS, THOMAS, m. Rebecca Bishop, daughter of Townsend Bishop,
Ninth Month 29th, 1741. She died First Month i3th, 1743, buried
at The Road. He married, second, Sarah Lake, 1744.
Children: Hannah, b. Ninth Month 4th, 1745.
Sarah, b. loth Month 6th, 1746.
Thomas, b. Eleventh Month 5th, 1748/9.1
Richard, b. Second Month 13th, 1750.2
Sarah, b. Third Month 19th, 1753.
HUNT, MARY, widow of Capt. JOHN HUNT, m. Samuel Nottingham, 1749.
Thomas Humphreys, of Northern Liberties, tanner, son of Thomas
and Sarah, late of the Island of Tortola, deceased, and Sarah Clark, daughter
of William and Beulah, Eleventh Month 24th, 1774. (Marriages, Phila.
Mo. Mtg. Recorded Book B, p. 257.) Thomas Humphreys died in
Philadelphia, Second Month IIth, 18oo, aged 52 years. Sarah, wife of
Thomas Humphreys, died Sixth Month 25th, 1795. (Records of Phila-
delphia Monthly Meeting.)
2Richard Humphreys, of the Borough of Wilmington, Delaware, gold-
smith, son of Thomas and Sarah, late of the Island of Tortola, deceased,
and Hannah Elliott, daughter of John and Annabella, of Philadelphia.
She died Second Month 17th, 1773. (Recorded Book B, p. 192.)
Richard Humphreys, of Philadelphia, goldsmith, son of Thomas and
Sarah, late of the Island of Tortola, deceased, and Ann Morris, daughter
of Daniel, of Upper Dublin. (Recorded Book B, p. 272. Marriages,
Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Sixth Month I6th, 1774.)
LAKE, JONAS, and ELIZABETH.
Children: Ann, b. Ninth Month 21st, 1745.
Miriam, b. Fifth Month 8th, 1749.
LAKE, SARAH, m. Thomas Humphreys, 1744.
LETTSOM, JOHN, and MARGERY.
Children: Benjamin, b. Sixth Month 14th, 1742.
Mary, b. Third Month 12th, 1744.
John, b. Ninth Month 19th, 1746.
NOTTINGHAM, SAMUEL, m. Mary Hunt, widow of Capt. John Hunt, 1749.
PARKE, JAMES, and BYTHA (TABITHA ? ).
Children: John, b. Tenth Month 19th, 1741, d. July 9th, 1742.
Dorcas, b. Fifth Month 3rd, 1744 (about six o'clock in the
PARKE, JAMES (widower), of "Guanah Island," m. Mary Vanterpool
(widow), "of the Island Camanders," Eighth Month Ist, 1754.
PERCIVAL, PATIENCE, m. William Strong, of the Island of Antigua,
Ninth Month Ist, I756.
PICKERING, JOHN, and DORCAS.
Children: Dorcas, b. April I8th, 1742, d. November IIth, 1742.
Zacharia, b. September 5th, 1743, d. February 12th, 1747.
Dorcas Pickering, wife of John, d. Second Month i4th, 1747, of
the measles, the ninth day after it appeared."
John Pickering, married, second, Seventeenth day of Eighth Month,
called October, 1748," Rebecca Zeagers, Junr., daughter of
Absalom and Rebecca Zeagers, of the Island of Tortola.
Children: Dorcas, b. Fifth Month 28th, 1749, d. Sixth Month i4th,
1751, and buried beside her brother, Zacharias, on the
Rebecca, b. Twelfth Month 15th, 1753.
Isaac, b. Eleventh Month 27th, 1755.
Josiah, b. 1759.
PICKERING, JOHN, JUNR., and SARAH HODGE.
Children: Sarah, b. Fifth Month 19th, 1756.
John, 3d, b. 1759 (?).
Pow (PowE), GEORGE, m. Rebecca Everett, 1749.
RAWLEIGH, JAMES, and ELIZABETH.
Child: James, b. Third Month 2nd, 1753.
RAWLEY, FRANCES, widow of JAMES, m. John Downing at the home of
John Pickering, Fifth Month 4th, 1742.
REYNOLDS, MARY, m. Townsend Bishop, 1746/7.
RICHARDSON, SARAH, m. Peter Smith, 1748.
RYAN, ANDREW, and FRANCES.
Children: Susannah, b. Sixth Month i8th, 1742.
Mary, b. Third Month loth, 1746.
RYAN, JOSEPH, of the Island of Joesvandinks," m. Rebecca Timber-
man, Eleventh Month 2nd, 1743. Rebecca Timberman was
from the same island.
Children: Eunice, b. Eleventh Month o1th, 1744.
Isaac, b.'Tenth Month 8th, 1746.
SMITH, PETER, m. Sarah Richardson, 1748.
SMITH, THOMAS, and ANN.
Child: Benjamin, b. March 5th, 1742.
STRONG, WILLIAM, of the Island of Antigua, "batchelor," m. Patience
Percival, of Tortola, widow, Ninth Month Ist, 1756, at Fat Hog
THOMAS, WILLIAM, d. Ninth Month 26th, 1757.
THORNTON, WILLIAM, of the Island of Tortola, m. Dorcas Zeagers, daughter
of Absalom and Rebecca Zeagers, of Tortola, August Ist, 1757.
TIMBERMAN, REBECCA, m. Joseph Ryan, 1743.
VANTERPOOL, MARY, m. James Parke, 1754.
VASCRAGING, JOHN, and MARY.
Children: Elizabeth, b. Sixth Month 26th, 1752.
Catharine, b. Third Month 5th, 1756.
Zacharius, b. Sixth Month i4th, 1758.
WILLIAMS, JOHN, m. Mehitable Everett, 1746.
ZEAGERS, DORCAS, m. William Thornton, August Ist, 1757.
ZEAGERS, REBECCA, m. John Pickering, October i7th, 1748.
Siot of Abutt (em er
OF TORTOLA MONTHLY MEETING MENTIONED
IN THE MINUTES AND RECORDS
The dates indicate the first and last references.
1743-176o. Admonished, 176o.
Married James Brown, 1742.
1743. Brought certificate from Lancaster
Monthly Meeting, England, Second
Month 24th, 1755.
Married Alexander Balneives, 1748.
1746. Appointed Overseer for Road Town,
1741. Died, 1747.
Dealt with, 1759.
Committee, 1749. Admonished, 1760.
CHALWILL, GEORGE, "of
CONNE (?), JEMIMA,
HARRIS, ELIZABETH, JUN
Made a member, 1746. Committee, 1753.
The Road," Admonished, 1741.
Mentioned, 1742. Committee, 1746, 1747.
Mentioned, 1742, 1746, 1747.
Married John Clandaniel, 1749.
"of The Road," Admonished, 1741.
Mentioned, 1742. Committee, 1748.
1742-1750. Appointed Overseer for Road,
1747. Disowned, 1750, Having resolved
to take his pleasures while he lives."
Married John Williams, 1746.
Married George Powe, 1749.
Overseer for White Bay Meeting, 1742.
1741-1758. Appointed Overseer for Jost
Van Dykes, 1741.
R., Mentioned, 1745.
1743-1746. his great age," 1745.
1741-1763. Appointed Overseer for Fat
Hog Bay, 1741. Visited North America
for his health, 1754. Returned, 1755.
Overseer, 1746, 1747. Committee, 1749.
Married Samuel Nottingham, 1749.
Signed Certificate, 1757.
Committee, 1748, 1757. Dealt with, 1759.
1743-1760. Appointed Treasurer, 1749.
Taken from him, 1757. Disowned, 1760.
1743-1747. About to be disowned, but
He is since dead, so ends."
LAKE, SARAH, Received as member, 1744. Married Thomas
LAKE, WILLIAM, Mentioned, 1744.
LANE, MARY (formerly Widow of Edward Lettsom), Disowned, 1759.
LAWRENCE, JOHN SCOTT,
MATTIS (MADDIX), TABITHA,
PICKERING, JOHN, JUNR.,
POWE, (Pow ?) GEORGE,
1754-1757. (Captain.) Lived in a house
belonging to Samuel Nottingham, near the
Committee, 1749. Admonished, 1759.
Sister of Mary Nottingham. Clerk of
Women's Meeting, 1744. Dealt with,
Committee, 1753. Returned certificate, 1757.
Lived on Guana Island, 1743-1759. Resigned
as Treasurer, 1749. Dealt with for his
daughter marrying out, 1760.
Married William Strong, 1756.
Overseer for Fat Hog Bay, 1741.
1752. Dealt with for marrying out, 1760.
Certificate to England, 1760. Brought
certificate from England, 1761. Removed
to New York, 1762.
Committee, 1754-1757, 1759.
1750-1753. Disowned, 1753.
1753-1763. Admonished, 1752.
Made a member, 1746. Married Townsend
Married Peter Smith, 1748.
x James Parke visited England in 1751.
Robert Lawson from Lancaster, and James Park from Tortola, came
and I spent evening with them at post office." Diary of James Backhouse,
1751, Seventh Month 28th, Journal Friends Historical Society, vol. xv.
(1918), p. 23.
RYAN, REBECCA, Committee, 1748.
SHUTE, THOMAS, 1763.
SMITH, ANN, Overseer for Eastern Meeting, Jost Van
SMITH, PETER, 1743-1749. Disowned, 1760.
SMITH, THOMAS, "of Jost Van Dykes," 1743. Disowned, 1746.
WILY (WYLY), SAMUEL,
1752-1761. Appointed clerk, 1753. Appointed
Overseer for Road Town, 1741. Committees,
1753-1759. She was the first on the
Island that was raised up to preach the
everlasting gospel (Dorcas Lillie's Life,
in Friends' Miscellany, vol. iii).
1743-1756. Moved from The Road to Fat
Hog Bay, 1748.
1754. Brought certificate Monthly Meeting
of Lancaster, Fifth Month 27th, 1753.
Neglected to attend Meeting, 1759. Made
acknowledgment, Sixth Month 27th, 1757.
Married Joseph Ryan, 1743.
Brought certificate from Westbury, L.I.,
Eleventh Month 3ist, 1759.
Married James Parke, 1754.
Brought certificate from Kendal Monthly
Meeting, dated 1760. Young unmarried
1754-1763. Brought certificate Monthly
Meeting of Phila. Fifth Month 27th,
1753. Requested certificate to North
America,- 1757. Certificate for England
with John Pickering, Junr., 1760.
1754-1763. Brought a certificate from
Newton, Cheshire, England, dated First
Month 7th, 1753. Received Tenth Month
29th, I753. Requested certificate to North
Married William Thornton, 1757.
Married John Pickering, 1748.
"' Thomas Woolrich, Esq., for twenty years a merchant in the West
Indies, but in the interim was twice in America, was one of the witnesses
examined by the House of Commons in favor of the abolition of the slave
trade." (Clarkson's Abolition of the Slave Trade.)
Thomas Woolrich, Esq., was in the West Indies from 1753 to 1773;
but in the interim took three trips to England, and two to America; he was
in the mercantile line, chiefly at Tortola. He was also occasionally at
Barbadoes, Antigua and St. Kitts." (From an Abstract of the Evidence
Delivered before the House of Commons, in the years 1790 and 1791.
minutes and (ecorbe of tortofa @lon f8 Utaetfing
THESE papers and records appear to have been brought to Philadelphia
from Tortola by Daniel Offley, Junr., on his return from a religious visit to
the West Indies in company with Samuel Emlen. In the course of this trip,
he visited Barbados, Antigua, St. Croix, and Tortola.
Monthly Meeting for Sufferings [Philadelphia], 19th of Fourth Month,
1787: Daniel Offley returned from visit to Barbadoes. Affairs there
referred to a Committee, who are desired also to inspect some manuscripts
brought by our said Friend from Tortola."
No report seems to have been made and the bundle apparently remained
undisturbed until Gilbert Cope repaired and mounted the loose documents
in 1887. They are contained in a box in the fire proof at 304 Arch Street,
under care of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. They have not been indexed.
They are as follows:
(1) A book, bound in raw hide with the hair still on, 71 inches wide
by 12 inches high, containing 62 pages much mutilated, but repaired, and
covering the minutes of Women's Monthly Meeting, from 7th of Twelfth
Month, 1741 /2, to 25th of Seventh Month, 1762.
(2) A little paper bound book, 7f inches wide, by 81 inches high, much
worn and mutilated, containing the minutes of Men's Monthly Meeting
from 28th of Third Month, 1750, to 3oth of Seventh Month, 1753. Sixteen
pages of the book are filled, twenty-two are blank. The minutes are not
signed and it is not disclosed who was the Clerk.
(3) A little paper bound book, 71 inches by 12i inches, of minutes of
Men's Monthly Meeting from 27th of 8th Month, 1759, to 25th of Seventh
Month, 1762. The Clerk had prepared the heading for the Meeting, the
29th of Eighth Month, 1762, but it was never used.'
(4) A record book entitled A Book to Register all Births, Burials
and Marriages of the Friends in the Island of Tortola." The records begin
with Thomas Chalkley's arrival on the Island, and continue until Ninth
Month, 1760, covering nineteen pages. These are at the front. The book,
reversed, contains copies of certificates, epistles received and sent, and
acknowledgments, covering eight pages. There are thirty blank leaves in
the centre. The book is 71 inches by 121 inches, bound in raw hide with
the hair still attached.
SA copy of the above records was made by Mary M. Cowperthwaite
for Charles F. Jenkins, and is substantially complete, with the exception of
reference, to some moral offences, which have been omitted. This copy,
contained in three quarto books, has been presented to D by C. F. Jenkins
and is now at Dev6nshire House.
In the Library of Congress at Washington, D.C., there is an almost
complete copy of the minutes of the Men's Monthly Meeting of Tortola
which is said to be in the handwriting of Dr. William Thornton. This
copy commences i ix. 1741 and ends 28 ii. 1762, thus filling the lacunae
in the original minutes in Philadelphia, but lacking a copy of the minutes
28 iii. to 29 viii. 1762.
A photostat of the Thornton copy has been presented to D by C. F.
(5) A bundle of miscellaneous, loose papers, repaired and mounted
by Gilbert Cope in 1887, as follows:
Epistles from Tortola to London Yearly Meeting :
Copy of that of 28th of Tenth Month, 1754.
S 31st of Fifth Month, 1756.
29th of Fifth Month, 1758.
3oth of Seventh Month, 1759.
29th of Sixth Month, 176o.
25th of Sixth Month, 1761.
Copies of two without date or direction.
Epistles from London Yearly Meeting to Friends in Tortola:
Copy 1 746.. From the Meeting.for Sufferings Signed by twenty-two
Original 1753. Signed by thirty-five Friends.
S1756. Signed by John Fry.
,, 1757. Signed by John Freeth, Clerk to the Meeting this
Year." Addressed to John Pickering, Merchant at
,, 1758. From the Meeting for Sufferings. Signed by thirty-four
,, 1759. Signed by Jeremiah Waring, "Clerk to the Meeting
,, 1760. Signed by John Gurney, Clerk to the Meeting this
Year." Addressed to John Pickering, "Merch't
,, 1761. Signed by William Fry, "Clerk to the Meeting this
Certificates of Membership:
From Kendal Monthly Meeting, in Westmorland, dated 8th of Eleventh
Month, 1760, for EDWARD WALKER, signed by fourteen Friends.
From Monthly Meeting of Frandley held at Newton in Cheshire,"
7th of First Month, 1753, signed by thirteen Friends, for THOMAS
WOOLRICH, a young man of orderly conversation, intending to
settle in Tortola."
From Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, 24th of Second Month, 1758,
signed by forty-five Friends, for THOMAS WOOLRICH, who is intend-
ing to return to the Island."
From Westbury Monthly Meeting in Queens County, on Nassau
Island, in the Province of New York," dated 31st of First Month,
1759, signed by seventeen Friends, for JOSEPH UNDERHILL, who
intends to remove and settle among you."
Certificates for Traveling Ministers and Members:
Copy. From Tortola to Friends in the Province of New England and
Elsewhere," dated 25th of Second Month, 1760, for SAMUEL
Copy. From Tortola to Friends and Bretheren in England," dated
29th of Sixth Month, 1760, for JOHN PICKERING, JUNR.
Original. From the Monthly Meeting of Friends held in Nantucket,
dated 29th of Sixth Month, 1761, signed by twenty-six Friends,
expressing appreciation of SAMUEL NOTTINGHAM'S visit.
Copy of Certificate of unity for THOMAS GAWTHROP "TO the several
Monthly Meetings in the Island of Barbadoes, dated 29th of Third
Original. From the Monthly Meeting of Portsmouth on Rhode Island,
dated 25th of Eighth Month, 1761, signed by twenty-five Friends,
satisfaction with visit of SAMUEL NOTTINGHAM.
Original. From Westbury (L.I.) Quarterly Meeting, 29th of Eighth
Month, 1761, signed by forty-four Friends, unity with SAMUEL
Original and copy. From the Monthly Meeting of Flushing on Long Island,
dated 4th of Fifth Month, 1758, signed by seventeen Friends, expres-
sing unity with SAMUEL NOTTINGHAM, during his residence amongst
Copy. From Flushing Monthly Meeting, dated 3rd of Ninth Month,
1757, for MARY NOTTINGHAM, who expects to return to Tortola
in company with her husband."
Letter from WILLIAM GEORGE, Jost Van Dykes, 7th of Eighth Month,
1759, to William Strong, Tortola.
Letter from FRIENDS in Jost Van Dykes, 7th of Eighth Month, 1759,
to Tortola Monthly Meeting.
Letter from JOHN PICKERING, SENR., 25th of Second Month, 1760,
to Tortola Monthly Meeting.
Copy of a letter from WILLIAM STRONG to William George, 3rd of
Fourth Month, 1760.
Letter of acknowledgment from JOHN LAKE, Fifth Month, 1744.
Application for membership from JOHN VASCRAGING, no date.
Letter of acknowledgment of WILLIAM THORNTON to the Monthly
Meeting, dated 25th of Sixth Month, 1757.
Printed copy of SAMUEL FOTHERGILL'S letter To Friends of the Island
of Tortola," dated Warrington, the x7th of Third Month, 176o.
Minute from Hartshaw Monthly Meeting in Lancashire, dated 2oth of
First Month, 1761, signed by Gilbert Thompson, Clerk, acknow-
ledging the receipt of JOHN PICKERING, JUNR.'S certificate and
offering to be of assistance to any others who might come over.
Original marriage certificate of JOSEPH RYAN and REBECCA TIMBERMAN,
2nd of Eleventh Month, 1743, signed by fifteen Friends, including
John Gardner and Suz (?) Ryan, Relations."
Sample of a blank printed marriage certificate with marriage of JoHN
PICKERING and REBECCA ZEAGERS noted.
List of thirteen queries to be answered quarterly, also some advices.
List of fourteen queries, no date. These had been forwarded to
James Birkett, Merchant, in Antigua, by the Ruby, Capt.
Ten pages of sample minutes to Serve as helps to the Clerk of the
Meeting." Six pages in possibly Thomas Chalkley's hand writing
and four by some one else.
Receipted bill, WILLIAM STRONG to Christopher Fleming, i8th of May,
1761, for work done about the Meeting house gate."
Receipted bill, WILLIAM STRONG bought of Pickering, Woolrich and
Rawleigh, hooks and hinges for use of the meeting." May x4th,
Receipt of "Pickering, Son and Thornton from WILLIAM STRONG,
Treasurer, for rent of a house, dated May 7th, 1758.
Two loose pages of the minutes of the Monthly Meeting, covering
3rd of Fifth Month, and 7th of Sixth Month, 1743.
Copy of a Testimony concerning MARY NEALE by her husband, Samuel
Neale, 3oth of Third Month, 1757.
Copy of a Memorial of Mt. Melick Monthly Meeting, in the Kingdom
of Ireland, concerning MARY NEALE, ist of Fifth Month, 1757.
Account of Friends' money taken out of JONAS LAKE'S hands by William
Strong, 29th of Third Month, 1757.
Receipted bill for rent of store house, JOHN PICKERING and THOMAS
HUMPHREYS to Samuel Nottingham, January I3th, 1758.
Receipted by Mary Nottingham.
partialt Aid of (mansrcvipts ana (s corbe
in Qeton0oire gouet, Bonbon
Extract of a letter from JAMES BIRKETT to John Dilworth, 1740, Epistles
Received, vol. iii. p. 52.
Extract of a letter from JOHN PICKERING of Tortola, 1741, to David Barclay,
Junr., Epistles Received, vol. iii. p. 54.
Account of Thomas Chalkley's Visit to Tortola, sent by JOHN PICKERING,
1741. Epistles Received, vol. iii. p. 92.
Epistles (copy) from Tortola Monthly Meeting, to London Yearly Meeting,
1741, Epistles Received, vol. iii. p. go
1743, .. ,, p. 1oo
1743, ,, ,, ,, p. 107
1746, ,, ,, p. 148
1746, ,, ,, ,, p. 152
1746, ,, ,, ,, p. 176
1748, ,, ,, p. 208
1749, ,, ,, ,, p. 242
1750, ,, ,, ,, p. 270
1752, ,, ,, ,, p. 308
1753, ,. ,, ,, p. 328
1755, .. ,, p. 374
1756, ,, ,, p. 409
1757, ,, ,, ,, p. 422
1758, .. .. P. 453
1759, ,, vol. iv. p. 27
1761, ,, ,, P P. 51
1762, ,, ,, p. 67
1763, .. ,, p. 114
Copies of Two Letters from THOMAS CHALKLEY to his Wife:
Tortola, i6th of Eighth Month, 1741.
Tortola, 28th of Eighth Month, 1741.
[Copies of these letters are also in possession of Haverford College,
Copy of a Letter from JOHN PICKERING to Friends in Philadelphia, June
Copy of a Letter from the GOVERNOR OF ANTIGUA to John Pickering, June
t oma ? C afrtey's ett er to ri, QWife
Tortola, ye I6th 8th Mo. 1741.
By this know I am well & safely arrived here at Governour John
Pickering's, who with his spouse are very Loving & Christianlike kind, &
Received me with Hearts full of Tender Love. Yesterday, we had a Large
& satisfactory Meeting at Friend Pickering's House, where were many
People, & Divers not of our Profesion, & I hope I may say, that the Good
hand of the Lord was with us. John's Wife, & sister, the Wife of one Hunt;
appeared' in this Meeting, and as my poor self, so many were much Affected
& broken into tenderness and I felt some Reward in my Bosom or heart
in undertaking this Religious Visit. Here was at this Meeting a Dear
Young Creature, whose Father had turned her out of Doors for coming
to friends Meetings, Saying, had he been at all that Charge to buy her
fine Cloaths, & taught her to Sing, & Dance, & all for nothing.
I have no Sight of any Return as yet, but as soon as I have, and have an
opportunity, I shall let thee know it. This I wrote against a Conveyance,
to be Ready when one offered.
We had a Rough passage, the wind being very high and Contrary,
with much rain for about a Week. We were from Land to Land I8 days,
which was no bad Passage, considering the bad Weather. We Saw nine
sail of vessel in our passage but spoke with None. I have no Occasion
to boast, but was & am thankful that all fear but the fear of the Lord
was taken from me. We left the Capes of Delaware the 23d 7th MO &
arrived here the 1oth, 8th Mo., was one Day turning to Windward among
Thus, I tenderly salute thee, with all our Children and Relations, as
if named & all dear Friends everywhere. Let my friends know that I
think my self to be in the way of my Daty.
I am thy Loving Husband,
x That is, spoke.
I have my health now better than I have had it for Several years,
which I take to be a great favour from him in whom we Live, Move (if we
live & move well) & have our being.
The Governour, his Wife & her Sister are dear Tender hearted Friends,
& He Seems to be better Satisfied as to Defence since I came than he was
before: I understand from the Governour, That the General hath sent
for the Warlike Arms here, Saying If the People were Quakers they would
have no need of them, that He should want them at Antigua, That a good
Quaker stood fairer for Heaven than a bad Churchman; but he liked
his own Religion Best, If they could trust Providence with their Interest,
they had a Right to do what they would with their own : And he has still
Continued Friend Pickering, Governour of the Island, to the mortification
of all the great swordsmen.
Things are yet Young & Tender here, But we hope for a Growth as
above in the best things. The great Name of the most high be praised
for his merciful visitations; so be it, saith my Soul.
I have a little more which I can't well omit, and this is for those who
wear Hoops among us. The Governour's Wife, her two Sisters, Capt.
Hunt's Wife, and the young Woman whose Father turn'd her out of
Doors, wore Hoops before they were Convinced of the principles of our
Friends, being thoroughly convinced they could wear them no longer and
Divers fine young people have left them off since, tho they have the same
excuse here all the year, as our girls have in summer.
The Great Lord of all Gird our Youth with the Girdle of Truth, and
then they will not need those monstrous preposterous Girdles of hoops.
I call it monstrous because, if Almighty God should make a Woman in the
same shape her hoop makes her, Everybody would say she was a monster
in Nature, and they would say Truly, so according to this Real Truth,
they make themselves Monsters by Art.
The Governour and his kind Loving spouse with two Friends came
out of the Country to See me this Morning, they desired their kind Love
to be remembered to thee, my Dear, & to my Daughter, and I know their
Love is to Friends.
This is an Island of as great Plenty of the Country Produce as any
in these parts, and in times of want it has supply'd divers other adjacent
Islands of which there are many.
One of these Dear friends who came to see me, In a very scarce time
& corn 6/ per Bushel, the usual price being 3 /. He would take no
more, Saying he would not Raise the Price Since he had plenty, and it is
very observable that he always has so, which the People take to be a Blessing
on him, because of his Charity. He is a good Friend, and is now since I
came, about building a Meeting house; He tells me, he believes it will
be money well laid out. The Governour intends to build another, these
are good Examples.
Tortola, ye 28th 8th MO. 1741
To-day here being Opportunity for Antigua, I gladly make up of it
to Inform thee of my health and welfare. I have been here upwards of
two Weeks on this Island, and my heart hath been much opened, as also
my mouth to the People, and here hath been an open Door to Receive
the Doctrine of the Gospel of Christ and divers added to our little Society.
Such Openness, Love and Increase, I think I never met with, Except in the
Isle of Nantucket. I have been Informed that about 30 Persons have been
so Convinced, that they Resolve to keep to Meetings, & Joyn with friends,
Since my Coming here: A Friend gave me this information last night and
yet notwithstanding all this, and a great deal more, which might be truly
written of what service this visit has been, I have nothing to boast of, it
being the Lord's Doings (as I believe) and therefore marvelous in mine
& many others Eyes.
This Island is much more Populous that I Expected.
Next Week we purpose a Monthly Meeting, here being three little
Meetings to make it up, and here is a marriage to be presented at it. Things
are but young, But as Governour Pickering wrote us, that there was a
Daily Growth & Increase, so here is. A Young Innocent lad hath spoke
Several times publicly, Since I came, Some are affected & some disturbed
at it. Perhaps it may be thought that all this is too hot and too Quick
to hold. If those Reached to and friends keep their Places, I would hope
it would hold & also grow: However this good Effect the visit hath had,
that Divers of them who were prejudiced against friends are better Satisfied,
and as to me they Lovingly Receive & Invite to their houses : One who
wrote against us and another who Exceedingly disliked our Principles,
Both great men in this Island, at whose houses I have been Kindly
As my Coming here will be pretty much talked of with you, by Reason
of my age, the Wars, and this Place being so near the Spaniards, and not
likely to come home the five or Six months, if ever, for these Reasons, I
did not care if this Letter was Spread among Friends.
Thus brokenly & abruptly I am obliged to Conclude with Love unfeigned
to thee, my Dear, and to my only Daughter Rebecca, and all thy Children,
who, I Love, and wish well, as I do all who Sincerely Love our Lord Jesus
I am thy faithful Loving Husband,
P.S.-I do not Expect to be at home these five or Six months, if ever.
Thomas Chalkley, by his will dated Second Month g1th, 1741, made a
bequest as follows:
Having spent most of my days and strength in the work and service
of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and having been joined as a.member
of the Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia for above these forty years, to
them, as a token of my love, I give my small Library of books."2
In 1742, a transcript of the clause of his will was presented to the Monthly
Meeting of Philadelphia. The number of volumes included in this bequest
was one hundred and eleven. Soon after, Anthony Benezet was appointed
Librarian, and the books were deposited in his house, where they remained
until about 1765, when they were removed to a room provided for the
purpose in a new meeting-house which had just then been erected at
Fourth and Chestnut Streets.
x The above are copied from a copy of the originals which is in the
possession of Haverford College, Penna. A copy is also preserved at
Devonshire House, London. They have been printed on various occasions
but apparently never complete. See The Friend (Philadelphia), vol.
lxxvi. (1903), p. 249.
2 This was the beginning of the Friends' Library of Philadelphia, now
located on North Sixteenth Street.
zimes of gothing (mongtpy meetingg in M otrofa
MONTHLY Meeting was held the first Ist day of every month, Beginning
Ist of Ninth Month, 1741, at Fat Hog Bay, alternating with The Road
until 6th of Tenth Month, 1743, when it was to be held at Fat Hog Bay
regularly for the convenience of Jos Vandikes Friends."
4th of Twelth Month, 1748. Monthly Meeting was altered from the
first Ist day to the last ist day in the month.
3oth of Seventh Month, 1750. Decided to alternate with The Road,
" To be held in the forenoon for worship and the next day for business at
Fat Hog Bay."
25th of Second Month, 1760. It was agreed that the business meeting
be held at the closing up of the foregoing Firstday evening meeting for
worship which will begin to sett at 3 o'clock, as our business is but little and
several friends having long journeys to perform."
0ournaf of 3o$n gringturte
JOHN Bringhurst (1691-1750), a merchant of Philadelphia, accompanied
Thomas Lancaster and Peter Fearon on their visit to Tortola and Barbados.
From his Journal the following information was taken :
8m0 31st, 174o. Robert Jordan applied to our Monthly Meeting for
a Certificate to Friends at Barbados, he having a concern to visit it & some
other islands where there is no Settled meetings of Frds which was given
him 28th 9mo following. But no companion offering to go with him, my
son John' showed a Desir to it, which increasing I did not find freedom
to forbid, finding it agreeable to Robt, Consented the 2d iomo when all was
to Provide for his Voyage, Rob' having Taken his Passage & to sail in
a Week. However we got things in pretty good order by the time, but
the Vessel was full, so gave my Son a Purs of Gould to bear his expence
and laid in a good Sea Store.
They sailed from Chester about 4 in the afternoon, the o1th, & got out
the Capes the IIth Iom. I received a Letter by the Pilot, from the Cape
Hinlopen, of his being Sea Sick in the Bay. Recd a letter from Tho'
Collins of his having been Blowen off of our Coast the 14th 9mo after
Springing his Mast & Splitting his sails, & was got to Antigua & Refitting.
"8-21 Thos Chalkley went to Tortola.
10-14 Capt" Bowers arrived from Antigua brought a letter to me
from John Pickering, Governor of Tortola, & one from Thos Chalkley to
his wife. Reported Thos Chalkley was dead at Tortola.
I1- Capt" Stamper arrived from Antigua & brought a letter from
John Pickering, Confirming the News of Tho" Chalkley's decease at his house
12- Writ to Doct- Clark & Walter Rodman inclosed Pickering's
letter of Thos Chalkley's Decease and one of John Bell's printed Epistle
to Jos. Clark.
I Born Philadelphia 1722, died there, unmarried, 1789.