Common Quaker Names

Ensemble 28 Comments

Cadwallader, Milhous, Trueblood, Farlow, Sharpless, and Wilbur… what do they all have in common? They are all common historic Quaker names, remnants of a time when Quakers “married in” and families stayed Quaker for generations.

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Comments 28

  1. Corinne Pollman

    City & State
    Mobile, Al
    Fascinating…Our maternal ancestors derived from the Nantucket Coffins who were all Quakers.

  2. Virginia Douglas

    City & State
    Also, the name Stanley, from Virginia and later Ohio.

  3. Ray Regan

    City & State
    Does this video on ‘Common Quaker Names’ promote the inclusion and diversity we’re striving for?

    I usually like watching the cool videos on Quaker Speak.

    But, this one was abrasive to me. (I happen to be a 4th generation Quaker and frankly I don’t care what your name is.)

    What’s a human being name have to do with anything significant? (i. e. WTF cares what your name is?)

    It’s what we do as Friends that count – what we say, how kind we are to each other, how we treat people….our values.

    This episode on Quaker Names reminds me of the Nationalism we see building around the world- make America great again, true German’s are the best.

    The videos subtle message I got is, “we’re the originals and better”.

    Is someone with a historic Quaker name or background a better person, with better values than a New Quaker, or a loving Jew or a Muslim?

    What was the point of this piece?
    Am I missing something?

  4. Theodore Rodriguez

    City & State
    Thornton, CO
    Wonderful video! But, I am sad that Mendenhall was not included… This is the Quaker family that I am descended from.

  5. ruth kurtz

    City & State
    delray beach
    And what about Brinton, Darlington, Glass and the Irish Quakers, Morris AND Boyd, These are all names my husband is descended from.. They are old Quacker names

  6. Jean White

    City & State
    I am a descendent of Andrew Job. my great grandfather married a Hoopes, her parents were Hoopes and Smedley. Our name is White.

  7. Sallie Jones

    City & State
    West Chester, PA
    I do not know what the point of this Quaker Speak video is. Like Ray Regen, I was uncomfortable watching it. For me, there is an undercurrent of exclusivity, and that feels very unwelcoming. Watching the video brought back the following painful memory. Forty years ago, when I was very new to Quaker meeting and attended worship while visiting my husband’s family in southeastern Pennsylvania, a well-intentioned member’s first question to me at the coffee hour was who was my family. When it was clear to that person I had no Quaker ancestry, he had nothing more to say to me and walked away.

    When Quaker ancestry comes up in group conversation in meetings I have attended, I see the light go out in most people’s eyes; their attention goes elsewhere. In my experience, almost none of the people who visit a Quaker meeting because their ancestor was a Friend come back. One visit satisfies their curiosity or they go to the historical society to track down the information they are really interested in.

    I disagree with Max Carter’s statement “Most Americans, if they shake their family tree, a Quaker nut is going to fall out… ” I cringed when I heard that. Yes, Quaker nuts exist, but not in the lineage of “most Americans” in 2018, and in the past many of those Friends with the classic Quaker names left meeting because the Society disowned them or made them feel unwelcome. This video does not help me feel things have changed much since that painful moment I experienced as a newcomer 40 years ago.

  8. Trish Dorland

    City & State
    I think Ray Regan is right on. I watch and look forward to Quaker Speaks every Thursday. This one does little to express or show Quaker values.

  9. Gabriel Ehri

    City & State
    Philadelphia, PA
    As part of the team that publishes QuakerSpeak, I want to thank all of you who have commented. I want to acknowledge your critiques.

    The reason our team chose to do two videos on this topic (this is the second) is that genealogy research actually draws a huge amount of curiosity about Quakers. By creating a video that people might find when doing research on Quakers in their family tree, we create a point of entry into the rest of what we do—the other 169 QuakerSpeak videos (and counting).

    No one QuakerSpeak video is intended to represent all Quakers, all of QuakerSpeak, all of Friends Publishing. Our strategy is to look at what people are actually searching for on the internet, and then create points of entry for them to discover Quaker experience more fully, through all our other work. We know not all of it is for everybody. (If this, or any other single video topic is not for you, that’s ok!) Our data tell us that each one has the potential to bring in new subscribers who will continue to explore Quaker experience with us.

    It is true that this one video centers on the lineage of Anglo-American Quaker settlers, and this might be hurtful or seem willfully blind to many, many people whose generational history includes kidnapping, enslavement, and other atrocities. Let me put it very clearly from my perspective (and in answer to Ray Regan’s questions): being a white skinned Quaker, a “birthright” Friend, or someone from a generations-Quaker family does not give you any more measure of God than anyone else. It does not make you any more Quaker than someone who doesn’t share your gene pool or someone who became a Quaker yesterday. My team and I are truly sorry that any viewer got this impression, and your feedback will guide what we make in the future.

    I hope this sheds some light on why we decided to make this video. “Come for the geneaology trivia, stay for the experience of Quaker worship, testimony, and community today!” I sincerely regret that anyone experienced it as promoting an anglocentric or exclusionary view of who Quakers are and can be. If you look at our body of work as a whole, I hope that feeling fades, and I hope you’ll trust that we strive for improvement and take feedback to heart. I’m very glad to have your engagement.

    Yours in peace,

    Executive Director
    Friends Publishing Corporation
    Publishers of Friends Journal and QuakerSpeak

  10. Joyce Richardson

    Oops. Reading Ebony and Ivy by Craig Steven Wilder, might lead to great emotional pain re one’s Quaker lineage. Eg. William Penn and others as owners of enslaved persons.

  11. Beth Green Swallow

    City & State
    Corvallis, MT
    When I began searching for my ancestors on I discovered Quaker records go way back and provide family information from US Quaker Monthly Meeting records. I discovered that my ancestor Ann Stone Worley Pusey arrived in 1682 with William Penn on the ship Welcome. Her home (The Caleb Pusey House of Landingford Plantation) is now a museum. I graduated from Westtown School and didn’t know this information until now. Fascinating!

  12. Annette Jackson

    City & State
    I have Quaker ancestry on my maternal line when my Catholic French ancestor married a young Quaker woman in New Jersey. Most of their children and grandchildren became Protestants rather than Catholics or Quakers so I found this article very interesting. My son went to a Quaker K-8 grade school in junior high but that was the extent of our personal involvement. I did have a cousin on the other side of the family who left the Catholic church when he married a Quaker during Vietnam. I appreciate this site.

  13. Karina

    City & State
    Gabe and Quaker Speak team, thank you for this video clip and all your work. I appreciated this just as much as any of your work and it saddened me to read that anyone experienced it or associated it with negative experiences. I appreciated your thoughtful response to that and found that very appropriate.
    I think we have room in our community to celebrate “generational” Quakers, “new” Quakers and those who come seeking answers about their ancestry. I hope the comments shared will help us be aware how our actions might affect others. I for one love hearing stories of all my ancestors Quaker and non-Quaker. I also like to hear what has drawn new attenders and members and what their spiritual journey has been; always so much to offer and enrich the life of the Meeting!

  14. Sabina Fajardo Swift

    City & State
    Honolulu, HI
    Gabe and others, I find this video quite educational and entertaining. I feel you have Nothing to apologize for. I don’t get from the video a feeling that these folks were promoting exclusiveness or superiority! They were just sharing to all including to a nonwhite Asian-Pacific ISlander convinced Quaker like me the history of Quaker names! Oh, I can share with you our names from where I came from! Hilarious!

    My husband’s family is from New England MA, his ancestors home in West Falmouth. They were the Swifts. The W.F. Meeting House was built the same area fronting the W.F. Quaker Cemetery where the Swift ancestors (from the 1600s to present) were buried. And the names of Bowerman, Hoxie, Metcalfe are seen in tombstones and markers; but not as many as the Swifts. I must say some first names of Quaker women are quite unique like Hepzibah, one of my husband’s great, great aunt I believe has this name. And his grandfather and father’s first names is Willard Everett, uncommon names. I suppose maybe old Quaker names?
    I buried my husband two years ago in this cemetery where he joined his Swift ancestors. Aloha Steven!
    I appreciate this Q.GroupSpeak as always. Aloha!

  15. John Robbins Hart Harrison

    City & State
    Devonshire, NJ
    I was raised as a Friend but through convincment not blood or so I thought. The stores was that Arthur Strickland my grandfather’s roommate at Penn convinced my grandfather , Earl Grant Harrison to attend Friends Meeting.
    Years later My mother told me that we were related to Elizabeth Fry through the Hill and Perkins side of her English family. My mother is still not a U.S. citizen almost 80 years since she left England as a war refugee. First day school at Moorestown Monthly Meeting, middle school at Moorestown Friends and high school at Westtown School confirmed the depth of my belief in the Friends way of life and Religious teachings.

  16. Eleanor

    City & State
    Indianapolis, IN
    Maris is one of my earliest Quaker families. From George Maris born 1632, who was an early emigrant from England to Chester Co, PA, I descend from Parkes, Hadleys, Lindleys, and more. Married into the familes are Farlows, Mendenhalls, Andrews, to name a few.

  17. Bonnie Ward

    I find genealogy and family history research to be fascinating! Having Friends Meeting records from earliest times helps paint pictures of what being a member of the Society really meant.
    The need for strict rules of behavior and marriage comes from the core beliefs of the founders. For example, plain dress. If all of the women wore simple gray dresses, no one knew if one was poor or rich during a time of aristocratic status . Marriages were overseen by the meetings and all in attendance were witnesses. This practice was due to marriage within the colonial laws were accomplished within sanctioned churches, such as Catholic/Church of England. Signing the marriage record of Quakers by Quakers could mean imprissonment if in Massachusetts. So many of the Old Quaker names being discussed were brave and risked their own life by their testimony. And yes, people were disowned for marrying out of unity, got in trouble/ warned for public behavior like…singing, dancing, wearing ribbons in their hair …all because of the strict control of the fledging religious group. Eventually Quaker became synonymous with Peace, Truth, Trust, and the simple life style. AND that women and men were equal!!
    There was a time in the 1700’s when the colonies /states were headed toward Quakers being the preponderance of religious affiliation. I think that’s what was meant by shaking the trees and a Quaker nut would fall out was referring to. Lots of Quakers were displaced/disowned because of our wars…refusing to fight on either side. And lots felt the need for independence more keenly than sitting and praying for peace. The biggest break was the civil war…many Quakers left the South to move where slavery wasn’t allowed. This did leave the remaining Quakers in dire shape and left the South as the backwater of our nation for 100 years.
    Back to the topic at hand, the information presented in today’s Quaker speak about old Quaker names…in any study of historical periods one must know “who, what, when, and why. “ And the Friends Society was unique in history.
    I appreciated the episode even tho it was my first time hearing Quaker Speak.

  18. Anne Hendrickson

    City & State
    I found Thornes who were Quakers from England in Colonial New York. Now, I am finding more. I have Cox, Heath, and Bowne ancestors. This is fascinating for those of us who do geneology.

  19. Irene Oleksiw

    City & State
    Downingtown, PA
    To Gabe’s gracious comments, I did not find this video off putting or exclusionary. On the contrary, it’s interesting to learn about the historic footprint of early Quakers who had a distinct religion and culture. For example, it turns out that Abraham Lincoln, who came from the midwest, was descended from Quakers. I see many Quaker values threaded through his analyses and treatment of others during that tumultuous time.

    On a related note, today’s Quaker religious practices have changed dramatically in the last 100 years. That’s another topic of historic interest for us to consider in the context of sustaining our faith community.

  20. Joan Cope Savage

    City & State
    Syracuse, NY
    The insight that only 20% of our membership are “generational Quakers” is actually a comfort, indicating a living interest, not just an ethnic affiliation. Surveys of the public’s religious views have found individuals who believe Quaker ideas and principles, though they do not associate themselves with us institutionally.
    I myself have one of those long Quaker lineages back to people whose surnames necessarily disappear due to the fair odds of a female descendant. My mother Ruth Trimble Balderston was descended from William Smith, a companion of George Fox, in and out of prison, but surely we would be careless to call “Smith” a uniquely Quaker name. Similarly, among my father’s and mother’s ancestors were migrants to Penn’s Welsh Tract where they gained English-style surnames derived from their fathers’ first names: Jones, Evans, Davis.

    My children have married people with names from Greece and Colombia.
    We need to be forward looking!

  21. Ray Regan

    City & State
    These comments help us understand each other and were a learning experience for me.

    Part of it is that we all want to be “right”. We like to be Right in our views and opinions, it feels good. “I’m right” means we’re valued (good). It naturally supports our ego or self-image.

    I wrote my comment to be right, too!

    The problem is when we hold on rigidly to our beliefs and worldviews (our rightness) as the only true way. When this happens all understanding and learning stops because we don’t listen to and respect, the now, other.

    On the micro level, winning the argument (sadly) often trumps (no pun intended) the value of our relationships—our marriage or a friendship can suffer.

    I’m right-your-wrong is divisive.

    And in the extreme, on the national and international level, holding rigid views drives and feeds hatred. We saw in Charlottesville and see hatreds causing war deaths all around the world.

    We can’t solve the historical world conundrum of violence, we can only solve ourselves.

    It’s soooo hard to listen without judgment, to understand the uniqueness of our different views and personalities with respect. But when we can it propagates love.

    Max Carter had no ill intend presenting the Common Quaker Names video. I love his work; he’s articulate and cool with his long white beard. And most people related positively seeing it and enjoyed learning about the Quaker history.

    But for whatever reason, I chose to speak out about ethnocentricity.

    My thanks to Gabe for a kind well thought out response. It made me think and understand the point of view and intentions.

  22. Susan

    City & State
    Easton, PA
    I have several Quaker ancestors, and they named one family branch in the Long Island list: Bowne. They helped build a very old meeting house that is still used on LI.

  23. ted leigh

    City & State
    south hampton, NH
    I live in an “historic house” in New Hampshire. I love these NE houses and the history behind them, but, like these, historic Quaker names and family lineage can be interesting, but any sense of superiority or comparative value attached contradicts the Testimonies.

  24. Lucinda Antrim

    City & State
    Many years ago, I finished Friends for 300 Years with a deep sense of recognition; the values were my values, though I had not connected them with my Quaker grandparents, who by the time I knew them were practicing other religions, or none. But the values carried down the generations, and it was good to go back and pick up that dropped stitch and connect with Quakers myself. Names weren’t initially a part of it for me, but when I saw the name “Furnas” added here on this thread I remembered my Indiana Quaker grandfather’s ice cream business, named Furnas. It had always seemed to me an unlikely name for a company devoted to a frozen product — and now finally a little piece of the past made some sense here in the present — it was a Quaker name!

  25. Barbara A. Heft

    City & State
    Bellevue, OH 44811
    I didn’t see Morris, Griffin, Campbell, Cloud, or Lamb. I’m sure there are more but they are my nearest relatives. I’ve visited the cemetery in Spiceland, IN, where many of my Quaker ancestors are buried. I’ve always known my Grandpa’s family was originally Quaker and have visited other places where my family came from, including North Carolina and Tennessee. I thought these were prominent names but maybe only to me. My Great Grandmother was a Quaker until she had to move to Ohio to live with her son. There was no meeting house so she became United Brethren because the church was less than a mile from her home.

  26. Carolyn Crist-Schwab

    City & State
    surnames in my ancestry regarding DNA are numerous, but, those that appear and are well recognized are <MOTT, KNIGHT, which branch out to the Nantucket and Little Compton families, before and after

  27. Pamela Huff

    City & State
    Omaha, NE
    I enjoyed this video! I loved hearing the surnames of Jones, Knight, and Hicks as those are names from my mother’s side. My paternal grandmother, Clara Hazel Lang O’Hara was a Quaker and attended the Bradford Meeting House. She was one of 12 Lang children from Martin’s Corner, PA.

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