We are lucky in Virginia that all the records for all our Quakers were at a single meeting -- Hopewell (originally called Opeckan) in Frederick (originally part of Orange) County. We are unlucky in that all the first record books were lost in a fire in 1759; only the first book of Births and Deaths was saved from that fire, which I (DLH) assume is incorporated into Hinshaw's encyclopedia and into the books of early records of Hopewell. The only other records for Hopewell for 1734-1759 are references to it in the record books of other meetings in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and these are very few. All Quaker genealogists, myself included, owe a huge debt to William Wade Hinshaw (1867 IA-1947 DC) for spending the last 16 years of his life compiling so many (over a half-million) records, and articulating the complex history of every meeting. It is estimated that Quakers made up more than 10 percent of the population of the original thirteen colonies, and that half of the early settlers of America had Quaker relatives. Hopewell was established by Quakers from Pennsylvania.
William Wade Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy consists of six volumes, each dealing with a different region. These encyclopedias are considered one of the premier sources of information for early American Quaker genealogy.
The volumes are arranged by meeting (church), beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. Each meeting is introduced with a brief history that includes the names of the earliest members. Next is a section listing information from the meeting's birth and death records, arranged alphabetically by family name. Following that is an abstract of the minutes of the meeting, including marriages, new memberships, transfers of membership, disownments, and restorations to membership. Again the entries are arranged alphabetically by family, and then chronologically.
Volume 1 of the Encyclopedia is the abstract of the early records of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
Volume 2 of the Encyclopedia is the abstract of the early records of New Jersey and (eastern) Pennsylvania.
Volume 3 of the Encyclopedia is the abstract of the early records of New York.
Volumes 4 and 5 of the Encyclopedia are the abstract of the early records of Ohio and (western) Pennsylvania.
Volume 6 of the Encyclopedia is the abstract of the early records of Virginia.
The encyclopedia includes approximately 500,000 entries, and each volume has a separate surname index, and there is also an index to cover all six indexes.
From the publisher:
"Almost no class of records, religious or secular, has been kept as meticulously as the monthly meeting records of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The oldest such records span three centuries of American history and testify to a general movement of population that extended from New England and the Middle Atlantic states southward to Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia; then west to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The importance of these records cannot be overstated. Not until recently have the vital statistics of Quakers been recorded in civil record offices.
Thus, for more than two centuries, the only vital records identifying these people are to be met within the Quaker records themselves. Fortunately, the monthly meeting records contain extensive lists of births, marriages, and deaths, as well as details of the removal of members from one meeting to another. (The monthly meeting, during which vital statistics are recorded, is in fact, a business meeting.)"
Painstakingly developed from these monthly meeting records, Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy is the magnum opus of Quaker genealogy. In its production, thousands of records were located and abstracted into a uniform and intelligible system of notation. The data gathered in these volumes of the Encyclopedia are arranged by meeting, then alphabetically by family name, and chronologically thereunder. Volume 1: NORTH CAROLINA Volume II: NEW JERSEY AND PENNSYLVANIA Volume III: NEW YORK Volume IV: OHIO Volume V: OHIO Volume VI: VIRGINIA"
Britton, Frost, Gibson and Howsmon Hopewell records
As stated above, all the earliest records for Hopewell (Opeckan) were lost in a fire in 1759 except for the first book of Births and Deaths. The remaining records of interest to us post-1759 are few; it appears that most of our ancestors left the Quaker faith when they decided to bear arms in the fight for independence.
|1751 map of the Great Trail (red line) from Philadelphia to Winchester then to NC; only Philadelphia to Winchester was navigable by wagon -- click on picture for larger view (or here for full size)|
|1755 marriage record from "Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934" (source)|
For our Gibson ancestors, the Gibson entries in Volume VI (VA):
(two pages of Gibsons -- did just Jacob and Robert):
Robert Gibson, VI p.639, 819.
(Our Robert Gibson lived and died in Bucks,PA and did not emigrate to VA.)
The entries for Hopewell number two; it is unknown if these are for relatives:
• 1839, 2, 6. Rachel Gibson dis joining the Seperatists
• 1839, 2, 6. William Gibson dis joining the Separatists "some time past"
--- Robert Gibson Jr was a Captain in the Bucks,PA militia; his father and brother also served in 1775-1781. Jesse Britton served in the same unit. Ann Gibson is assumed to be the daughter of Jacob Gibson of Frederick; ancestry is uncertain but thought related to Robert Gibson of Bucks. Ann married Jesse Britton ~1781.
For our Howsmon ancestors, the Howsmon entries in Volume VI (VA):
Margaret C. Houseman, VI p.404;Margaret E. Houseman, VI p.367.
The one entry in Hopewell is for Margaret Houseman but it is way too recent:
• 1933, 11, 3. Margaret C. Houseman m John Lupton Bond, the younger
--- John Houseman served in Lord Dunmore's expedition in 1774. He married Martha Frost on March 15, 1782 in Frederick,VA
The Hopewell records that are still extant have been published in a book: Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, Frederick County, Virginia" Records of Hopewell Monthly Meetings and Meetings Reporting to Hopewell, Two Hundred Years of History and Genealogy, Volume 1, by John Walter Wayland, 2009 - History - 671 pages. This book contains a collection of history and genealogy records for the mid-1700s to the mid-1900s derived from meeting minutes, marriage, family, death and membership records; as well as, historical information about the colony.
All four of these lines, and any of our other lines that include Quakers (such at our NC Maiden line perhaps), will need to also examine the Pennsylvania Quaker records. All of our Quaker ancestors emigrated to Pennsylvania before migrating south to other states.
Summary of Hopewell (Frederick,VA) meeting history by William Wade Hinshaw in his Encyclopedia
A number of historians have written accounts of the first settlement of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by certain members of the Society of Friends, and of the establishment of various meetings on its fertile limestone soil, one of these meetings being known at first as Opeckan and later called Hopewell Meeting, it being the earliest meeting established in this particular region. The exact date of its establishment has never been settled upon. In 1875, in "An Account of the Meeings of the Society of Friends within the Limits of Baltimore Yearly Meeting", Levi E. Brown, the narrator, says: "Hopewell Meeting is situated in Frederick Co., Virginia, five miles north of Winchester and Harper's Ferry Failroad. It was established about the year 1730 and was for many years attached to Concord Quarterly Meeting, Pennsylvania". It is known, however, that Opeckan (Hopewell) Meeting for Worship was not officially established until 1734; and that Hopewell Monthly Meeting was established in 1735, all of which is definitely shown by Quarterly and yearly Meeting minutes. In about the year 1730 Alexander Ross, Morgan Bryan, and other Friends, secured a grant of land (a tract of 100,000 acres) on the Opeckan River and its vicinity to be settled by a large number of families of Friends from Pennsylvania, some of whom had already migrated to the Valley of the Monocacy, in Maryland. It stands to reason that Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan had made extensive surveys of the region in the years previous to 1730 when they applied for the huge land grant. Although this grant had not been made final until 1732, the migration of Families of Friends into the valley seems to have been started soon after application had been made for it, and that by 1732 not less than seventy such families had settled in this wild region. The heads of the families have been called "Fathers of the Colony". It has ever been the custom of Friends, upon arrival in any new settlement, to immediately hold meetings, sometimes out of doors, but usually held in the house of a Friend, as soon as such a house could be built and made available. Friends, everywhere, anywhere, had in early times, little need of shelters in order to hold meetings; their meetings were usually held in silence. When two or more Friends might meet on the road or in a forest, they were almost certain to stop and hold a meeting if circumstances permitted. They could sit down together under the shade of a tree and, "going into silence" have the experience of feeling the Presence of God amongst them. That the Friends who went first into the Shenandoah Valley held their first meeting almost immediately after they arrived, and on the very first day of their arrival, I have no doubt. For that is exactly what they would have done. The terrain was wild and entirely uncultivated; houses had to be built of logs, after clearings were made for them. But the new land, "The Promised Land", as it were, was beautiful. Can anyone doubt that their spirits were uplifted when they reached their new homeland, which they had travelled long days to find, and that their first thought would have been to assemble together in praise and thanksgiving to God? We do not know what families formed the very first Caravan; but we must assume that Alexander Ross led them into this wilderness of beauty and fertility; and we know that however many families went in the first caravan, others soon followed, and that within two years some seventy families of Friends had settled themselves in that lovely valley, and that in their thriftiness they had soon created a large community, built houses of logs, set up sawmills and grist mills and had brought about a condition of ordered living, such as Friends have alwasys established in every new wilderness into which they migrated. One has only to read over the names of the "Fathers of the Colony", all of whom are well known to history to realize the great strength of this remarkable community of Friends. There were: Alexander Ross, Morgan Bryan, Caleb Pusey, John Wilson Thomas Curtis, Nathaniel Thomas, Isaac Perkins, John Hiatt, Thomas Anderson, John Mills, John Mills, Jr., John Beals, John Peteate, George Robinson, Richard Beeson, Robert Luna, John Richards, Giles Chapman, James Brown, Luke Emlen, Cornelius Cochrine, Josiah Ballenger, William Hogg, Benjamin Borden, John Littler, James Wright, John Frost, Thomas Dawson, Thomas Branson, George Hobson (Sr. & Jr.), Evan Thomas, John Calvert, Morgan Morgan, Hugh Parrall, James Davis, Thomas Babb, Edward Davis, John Hood, Abraham Hollingsworth, Simeon Taylor, and many others, together with their wives, sons and daughters all brought together in this wonderful Shenandoah Valley. Many others soon followed them. Is it, therefore, any wonder that this community, now a large part of what became Frederick Co., Va., became one of the greatest strongholds of the whole of America for the up-building of character and civic virtue and Faith in God and in His Truth? The generations of the early families of this community have moved on southward and westward spreading ever outward and going ever onward, generation after generation, until millions of descendants of these great families literally cover the entire face of the United States, mingling their precious blood with the descendants of other great Quaker families of Maryland, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey New York and all New England States, going on to Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and the Middle Western states and up and down the Pacific Coast, thus linking together the genealogical lineages of many millions of our sturdiest Americans of today. Ohio, once called the Northwest Territory, was the "bottleneck" (or Gateway) through which all Quaker families passed in their migrations Westward, whether from the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and/or the New England States; they all met in Ohio, where they mingled their bloods through marriages between their children; and then they migrated to Indiana, from whence they spread northward and westward until they covered all states, with the exception of a few states to the South: Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, where few Friends have ever lived, on account that the Quakers could not live contentedly where slavery existed.
the original Hopewell (Opeckan) Meeting house 1780s log cabin, representing a typical early Shenandoah Valley dwelling
Hopewell Meeting was first known as Opekan Meeting; and the records and minutes of many other meetings, both north and south, list many certificates of removal from Opekan Meeting, even as late as 1751/52. The official name of "Hopewell was given to the meeting, however, in 1734 when the meeting was authorized by the Quarterly and Yearly Meetings under which Hopewell was established. Hopewell Monthly Meeting was authorized to be established in 1735. To it were attached Hopewell Meeting and Providence Meeting, these two meetings comprising Hopewell Monthly Meeting after 1744, prior to which, both Monocacy and Fairfax Meetings belonged to Hopewell Monthly Meeting. By 1744 the Friends belonging to Hopewell Monthly Meeting had become so numerous that it was decided to divide the meetings and a monthly meeting was established under the name Fairfax Monthly Meeting which were assigned Monocacy and Fairfax Meetings.
FROM: Samuel Smith's History of Pennsylvania, a part of which was printed in the Register of Pennsylvania, Vol, VII, p. 134, edited by Samuel Hazard, is quoted here from Hopewell Friends History (1936). (Smith's History of Pennsylvania was compiled at the direction of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1752.)
About the year 1725, Henry Ballinger and Josiah Ballinger, from near Salem, in West Jersey; and soon after them James Wright, William Beals, and others from Nottingham, settled in the upper parts of Prince George's Co., Maryland, near a large creek called Monoquesey (Monocacy). About the year 1796, they applied to New Garden Monthly Meeting for liberty to hold a meeting for worship on first days, which was granted, and held at the house of Josiah Ballenger, and others till the year 1736, when a piece of ground was purchased and a meetinghouse built, which is called Cold Spring meetinghouse, where meetings are still kept.
About the year 1732, Alexander Ross and Company obtained a grant from the Governor and Council at Williamsburgh in Virginia, for 100,000 acres of land near a large creek called Opeckan in the said colony, which about that time was settled by the said Alexander Ross, Josiah Ballenger, James Wright, Evan Thomas, and diverse other Friends from Pennsylvania and Elk River, in Maryland, who soon after obtained leave from the quarterly meeting of Chester, held at Concord, to hold a meeting for worship, soon after which land was purchased and a meetinghouse built, called Hopewell, where meetings are still held twice a week.
About the year 1733, Amos Janney from Bucks County, and soon after diverse other Friends settled about forty miles lower in Virginia than Opeckan, who obtained leave to hold a meeting for worship on first days, which was held at the said Amos Janney's and other Friends houses till the year 1741, when a piece of land was purchased, and a meetinghouse built thereon, called Fairfax, where meetings are since held twice a week.
About the year 1736, Friends in these back settlements applied to Chester quarterly meeting for liberty to hold a monthly meeting, which was granted, and was held twice at Hopewell, and once at Cold Spring, alias Monoquesy, and so continued till the year 1744, when the number of Friends being such increased, they applied to the said quarterly meeting to have the monthly meeting divided, which was granted, so that since the year 1744, Hopewell and Providence make one monthly meeting, which is held by turns at Hopewell and Cold Spring, and the meeting at Fairfax makes another.
It is apparent, from the foregoing statements that the historian was not certain of the dates, since in each paragraph begins with "About the year". Therefore, we cannot take his dates as the exact dates at which such occurrences came to pass. The full statement, however, is worth recording in any history of Hopewell and/or Fairfax.
Nottingham Monthly Meeting, in Cecil County, Maryland, was "set off" from New Garden Monthly Meeting, Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1730, and held its first monthly meeting on 20th of 4 mo. 1730. This being the nearest monthly meeting to Hopewell, Fairfax, Providence and Cold Spring (Monocacy), their monthly reports were made to Nottingham Monthly Meeting until Hopewell Monthly Meeting was firmly established in 1736. Their records of births, deaths and marriages, therefore, before 1736 should be found in the books of Nottingham Monthly Meeting, In fact, they are so found. So, to get a fair understanding of the activities of these meetings before Hopewell was established, one needs only to study the minutes and records of Nottingham Monthly Meeting. In these records we find items as follows:
1730-6-15. Alexander Ross appointed on a committee.
1730-8-17. Richard Beeson and Ann Brown declared marriage intentions
1730/31-11-16. Alexander Ross again on a committee - with John Gartrill
1730-31-1-20. John Butterfield and Mary Brown declared marriage intentions
1731-2-17. Rachel Oldham, Mary Elgar and Katharine Ross to attend quarterly meeting
1731-7-18. Katharine Ross and Dinah Brown on committee to disown Sarah Morgan.
These minutes show that Alexander Ross and others of the Shenandoah Valley were already there as early as the first above date.
1733-9-17. Elizabeth Renfro (widow of Joseph Hollingsworth) was complained of for marrying out of unity and Katharine Ross and Mary Littler were appointed to "labor with her". The first marriage at Hopewell.
1735-Oct.11. Ross, John, was married to Lydia Hollingsworth, daughter of Stephen. They had to go to Nottingham to declare their marriage intentions; such appearances had to be made before monthly meetings.
Unfortunately, the first book of minutes of Hopewell Monthly Meeting covering activities of the meeting from 1735 to 1759, inclusive, was burned in a fire at the house of the Clerk, Wm. Jolliffe, Jr.; but all other books from that day to this have been carefully preserved and their records and minutes have been meticulously extracted and compiled from the original books for this compilation. Since it has ever been the custom of all monthly meetings to register all certificates issued by them, and also all certificates received by them from other meetings, it has been possible to recover from those meetings closely connected with Hopewell a fairly good record of certificates of removal to and from Hopewell during that "lost" period of some 24 years. These have been collected and placed in this compilation in proper chronological order. A large number of these certificates we have taken from the historical department of a splendid book, "Hopewell Friends! History", published in 1936 by "The Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends" and printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., Strasburg, Virginia. I wish here to express my appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Walker McClun Bond, of Winchester, Virginia, who, acting for their Committee, graciously offered us the privilege of using as much of their material as we might find helpful to this compilation. They went to a great deal of trouble to collect a vast amount of historical data from other meetings and from individual descendants of early members of Hopewell Meeting to be published for their celebration of the 200th anniversary of Hopewell Meeting in 1936. Those desiring a more detailed history of Hopewell than is possible to include in this compilation will find the above named book highly informative.
During the two centuries of the life of Hopewell Monthly Meeting, there have been some 30 meetings for worship and preparative meetings which were at one time or another under its oversight. These meetings covered a large terrain, including all of northern Virginia, and all of what is now West Virginia, as well as parts of western Pennsylvania and one meeting in Maryland (Monocacy).
~1700s? Hopewell map from "Hopewell Friends History" clearly displays the proximity (~45 miles) to the Monocacy (also known as Cold Spring) Meeting in Frederick,MD - click on picture for a larger view
The original books of minutes of Hopewell Monthly Meeting show almost a complete record of certificates of removal to and from that meeting with the exception, as stated, of its first 24 years. The books of records of births and deaths, however, are incomplete, and only a comparatively small part of all births and deaths are listed. This was probably caused by the fact that so many families belonging to meetings for worship lived so far away (hundreds of miles in many cases) that it was scarcely possible to send in the family records to be recorded. Travel was exceedingly difficult over mountainous roads running through wild terrain fraught with great danger. Committees were appointed periodically to go out and collect such data; but although they made faithful efforts to do so, they could not visit all families living in so many remote places. Marriage records covering the entire life of Hopewell Monthly Meeting seem quite complete. In the book of marriage records we find more than 300 full marriage certificates. Children listed as born to such marriages will be found directly under the data taken from each such marriage certificate with the dates of birth and other information alluding thereto where such has been found.
But a great number of marriages were of young people residing in remote places, and although it stands to reason that children were born to these parents, their births have not been registered. In many such cases, however, the names of such children are found listed in certificates of removal; and in other cases, names of children of parents not listed in the Register of Births and Deaths are found in their own marriage certificates which give the names of their parents. In writing up the data from marriage certificates, we have inserted the dates of births and deaths of the parties thereto, when possible, taking the dates from the record of births and deaths, doing this to aid searchers in identifications.
During the first 150 years of the life of Hopewell many families migrated to southern Virginia and to the Carolinas; when the Northwest Territory (Ohio)was opened up great numbers of Hopewell families migrated to that region, some of whom stopped enroute for a time at Redstone and Westland Meetings in western Pennsylvania, where their certificates were deposited. The names of hundreds of Hopewell families are found in the records of many meetings in Ohio and Indiana, and even on into Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and still farther west. Many hundreds of families now living in California and Oregon and other western states seek their ancestral lineages in the records of Hopewell and all other Virginia Meetings. The people now living in Virginia, Maryland, and other eastern states scarcely realize that they have some millions of cousins now living in those western states, from Ohio to the Pacific Coast.
Hopewell Monthly Meeting at Winchester, Virginia is still in existence as an active meeting; it has flourished continually since its organization over 200 years ago. Its labors and influence have spread in an ever widening and continuous wave to cover the entire United States; descendants of its early families are now living in every state of the Union. The meeting was divided by the Hicksite separation but both branches continued to use the same meeting house. In 1910 the branches began holding their services together and have continued to do so since that date.
William Wade Hinshaw
Common Quaker terms:
altm = at liberty to marry; apd = attending places of diversion; apd = appointed, appealed; apt = appointed; att = attached to, attended; b = born; BG = burial grounds; btw = between; bur = buried; bef = before; c = circa, about; cem = cemetery; cert = certificate; cd = contrary to the Discipline; ch = child, children, church; chm = condemned his/her misconduct; chr = charter; co = chosen overseer (s), county; com = complained, complained of; comm = committee; comp = complained, complained of; con = condemned; ct = certificate, certificate to; d = died, day; dau = daughter; dec = deceased; dis = disowned, disowned for; div = divorced; dp = dropped plain dress and/or speech; dr = drinking spiritous liquor to excess; drpd = dropped; dt = daughter, daughters; dtd = dated; e = east; end = endorsed; FBG = Friends burial grounds; fam = family; form = formerly; fr = from; Frds = Friends; gc = granted certificate; gct = granted certificate to; gl = granted letter; glt = granted letter to; gr dau = grand daughter; gr s = grand son; Gr Yd = grave yard; h or hus = husband; j = joined; jas = joined another society; JP = justice of the peace; ltm = liberated to marry, left at liberty to marry; lvd = lived; lvg = living; m = marry, married, marrying, marriage, month; mbr = member; mbrp = membership; mcd = married contrary to Discipline; MG = minister of the Gospel; MH = meeting house, church; mi = miles; MM = monthly meeting; mos = married out of society; mou = married out of unity; mt = married to; mtg = meeting; mvd = moved; n = north; na = not attending meeting; neg att = neglecting attendance; nmn = no middle name; NW Terr = Northwest Territory; O = Orthodox, Ohio; ou = out of unity; PM = preparative meeting; PO = post office address; prc = produced a certificate; prcf = produced a certificate from; prob = probably; Qkr = Quaker; QM = quarterly meeting; rcd = recorded; rec/rcd = receive, received; recrq = received by request; relfc = released from care for; relrq = released by request; rem = remove, removed; ret = returned, retired (rarely used); ret mbrp = retained membership; rev = reversed; rm = reported married; rmt = reported married to; roc = received on certificate; rocf = received on certificate from; rol = received on letter; rolf = received on letter from; rpd = reported; rrq = request, requests, requested; rqc = requested certificate; rqct = requested certificate to; rqcuc = requested to come under care (of mtg.); rst = reinstate, reinstated; s = son, south; sep = separated; sis = sister; temp = temporarily; transfrd = transferred; twp = township; uc = under care (of mtg); unm = unmarried; upl = using profane language; w = wife, west; w/c = with consent of; wid = widow; w/pwr = with power; wrkd = worked; y = year; YM = yearly meeting
Obituary: Hinshaw of Met dies at 80. WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 1947 (UP) - William Wade Hinshaw, 80, one-time Metropolitan Opera baritone and the father of Rep, Carl Hinshaw, R., Calif., died here yesterday. For the last 16 years Hinshaw has lived in retirement here, devoting much of his time to an encyclopedia of American Quaker genealogy he was writing. He sang in the Metropolitan from 1910 to 1913. From 1903 to 1907 he was president of the Chicago Conservatory of Music. In 1926 he gave the first Mozart Festival in the United States at Cincinnati. Hinshaw made more than 5000 concert appearances in this country and abroad. In addition to singing in the Metropolitan he produced several operas.
Hopewell (Opeckan) MM records available: Hinshaw Vol. VI (VA) and Hopewell Friends history, 1734-1934 (BX7649 .H75 1936)
More information on Quakers
Quaker research guide
Selected pages from Hinshaw's Vol. VI (Virginia)
Hinshaw index pages: B, F, G, H.