Friends Come to Northern Virginia

A. Glenn Crothers

in Quakers Living in the Lion's Mouth

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780813039732
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043142 | DOI:
Friends Come to Northern Virginia

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This chapter explains why Pennsylvania Friends' settled in northern Virginia after 1730: to obtain cheap land that they believed necessary to maintain their religious households and ensure the spiritual safety of their children. Friends in Virginia established their hierarchical system of religious meetings and began enforcing the behavioral rules (the “discipline”) and cultural practices that grew out of their spiritual beliefs. Virginia authorities welcomed these frontier settlers as a defense against Native Americans; but as dissenters from the established Anglican Church and the honor-based culture of Virginia, Friends remained a suspect group. These suspicions grew during the French and Indian War when Quakers refused to serve in the militia and Virginia authorities arrested and fined individual Friends for non-service. Quakers' war experience sparked their efforts to reform the Society and tighten its discipline-including injunctions against slavery-leading to the disownment (or removal) of many members.

Keywords: Quakers; Society of Friends; Colonial Virginia; Migration; French and Indian War; Non-violence; Religious dissenters; Quaker reformation

Chapter.  12192 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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