Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ezekiel Harlan (1679-1731), Quaker, Yeoman, and Land Speculator

Generic Colonial era sailing ship

My eighth great-grandfather was the oldest son of George Harland and Elizabeth Duck, who I wrote about in January. He was born in the Parish of Donaghcloney, County Down, Ireland. He was only eight years old when his parents brought their family to the Pennsylvania colony in 1687. He had eight younger siblings, the first three of which were also born in Ireland and made the long journey to America with Ezekiel, his parents, and his uncle Michael. For a listing of his sisters and brothers, please see the post on his father, HERE.

A word about the dating used in this post before I continue with the story. Before 1752 England and its colonies used the Julian Calendar, in which the first day of the new year was March 25, and not the Gregorian Calendar (used today) in which the first day of the new year is January 1. While the Quakers followed the calendar commonly used by England, the Quakers designate months by numbers, such that in the Julian calendar First month (or 1st mo. or 1) was March. In writing dates in this essay that occur before 1752, I’ll state what the date would be in today’s calendar and then, in parentheses, I’ll include the date as I found it in the source used. [For a more in-depth explanation of the Julian calendar transition to the Gregorian calendar, and Quaker calendar see my post, Dating Induced Headaches for the Family Historian: Julian, Gregorian, and Quaker Calendars.]  Now on with the story of Ezekiel Harlan!

The main Irish ports from which ships sailed to William Penn’s new Colony were Cork and Waterford. Although while vessels did sail directly from those Irish ports, more often people took passage in ships which sailed from Whitehaven, Liverpool, or Bristol, in England, which then stopped at the Irish ports for passengers and cargo on the way. Philadelphia was the main port of entry in America from Ireland, but many settlers landed at Newcastle, on the Delaware River, and some at points in Maryland and Virginia.

The voyage from Ireland to the American colonies was a long one, ranging from six weeks to three months depending on the weather and sea conditions. Ships were often driven far off course by contrary winds and carried as far south as the West Indies. Additionally, dangerous diseases, such as smallpox, frequently occurred, and many passengers died at sea. George Harland and his wife Elizabeth (Duck) saw this new land as such a new hope and opportunity that they chose to risk their young family, children aged 4 to 8 years, in the hold of one of these ships for the long voyage to Pennsylvania. The Harlans landed and settled in Newcastle (and dropped the final “d” from their last name). Newcastle was then the largest city in the lower three counties of Pennsylvania (which later became the state of Delaware).

The first monthly meeting of friends in Pennsylvania occurred in January 1681/2, five or six years before the Harlan family arrived, thus the monthly meetings were well established when the family arrived. The congregations of the Quaker meetings  already in Pennsylvania, especially the Philadelphia monthly meeting, took special care of new immigrant Friends, welcoming them and advising them as to where to settle, and often giving needed financial assistance, especially in the payment of passage money, lending the new immigrants the money to pay the bill the ships master charged to bring them to the colony, or buying out their debt and taking them into service to work out their redemption. Once the immigrants chose their land and secured title, the family would quickly move to their chosen land so that their efforts in settlement will be well underway by the time winter season began.

The Landing of William Penn, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930), depicting Penn's arrival at New Castle.
The Landing of William Penn, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930), depicting Penn's arrival at New Castle.
In the Public Domain

The Harlans initially settled on the west side of Brandywine Creek, in the Christiana Hundred in Newcastle when Ezekiel was eight or nine years old. The Christiana Hundred was one of the original Hundreds created in 1682 and was named for the Christiana River that flows along its southern boundary. A Hundred was an old English term for a portion of land, like a County, was governed by a particular administrative or legal body. As they were joining an already existing community, there were neighbors within a reasonable distance to help and to provide more security than going further inland by themselves. In the summer they attended the Newark meeting at Valentine Hollingsworth’s house and, in the winter, because travel was treacherous, they were allowed to hold meetings in the homes of their own community.  

The whole family would have worked together to clear the forest on their land to build a house. The first dwelling built by new immigrants to the land was often a log cabin built from the trees they felled in order to make the clearing in which to build the cabin. It was built of long logs placed horizontally upon one another and notched together at the corners. The spaces between the lots were filled in or kinked with stones or wedges of wood and then plastered over with mortar or clay. The roof was covered with boards or all shingles, either pinned by wood wooden pins or held in place by weight timbers. A huge stone fireplace and chimney were built into one side of the house to be used for cooking and heat. The English and Irish Quakers made their log houses square not rectangular. As a family became more settled, and survived the first winter, with crops harvested and re-planted, they added a second floor. As they became more prosperous, the families would also build a larger and more comfortable in addition to the house of brick or stone.  A log house built, about 25 years later, in 1715, by Ezekiel’s younger brother Joshua still stands in Kennett Township, Chester County, PA and is on the National Register of Historic Places. See the picture below of Joshua’s house.

Joshua Harlan's Log House, 26' x 26',  built 1715, with 1815 19' x 15' stone addition.
Near Kennett Square, Kennett Twp, Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA, about a half-mile west of Fairville.
Smallbones / CC0 

George Harlan moved his family about ten miles up the creek further into Pennsylvania to Kennett Township in Chester County Pennsylvania in 1698 after buying 470 acres of land up there. Ezekiel was 19 at the time of that move. The move would’ve been done with packhorses as there were no real roads and a wagon would not make it through the forest, even along the creek bank. The women and children and farm and household effects were loaded on the packhorses, with the men traveling on foot, leading the horses and driving their animal herds and flocks along before them. Again, they cleared land and built a new home. 

In the summer months George and his sons, including Ezekial, were busy clearing and planting their land, and keeping their livestock. In winter, if it was too cold or stormy for outside work, the male members of the family would do such tasks indoors as making shoes for the family, repairing horse tack, heating iron over the fire and berating it into farming or household implements, and making household furniture and utensils. The women of the household were even busier than the men. They would help the men in the fields and in caring for the animals, but also did the cooking for the family, washed dishes and clothes, made butter, made candles and soap and clothes, sewed quilts, picked, carded, and spun wool and flax, knit, worked in the kitchen garden, and had babies and cared for the children.

The produce and handicrafts of the farm were carried to Philadelphia, Chester, or Newcastle, on horseback to be sold in markets or fairs or exchanged for goods the household could not make themselves. They also met and socialized with other Quakers on these trips.  Despite the difficulty in travel the Friends visited with each other regularly at harvests and huskings, barn and house raisings, weddings and funerals, and at the twice weekly meetings on First-day and Fifth-day. Quakers also met for quarterly and yearly business meetings that brought in Friends from distant areas, which led to more socializing. The Quarterly Meetings lasted for several days.  The Yearly Meeting for the Harlans’ area of Pennsylvania and Delaware, as well as parts of New Jersey and Maryland, was held in Philadelphia for a week or more each year.

The twice weekly Meetings were very important in a Quaker’s life for worship and quiet socializing. At the meeting, the congregation sat on hard, unpainted, un-cushioned benches, with women on one side and the men on the other. After some moments of silent worship, from the raised seats in the gallery facing the body of the meeting [congregation] where the ministers and elders sat, a minister would stand and give a spiritual message. Often the speaker was a travelling friend from England, Ireland, or other distant places.

In 1700, when Ezekiel was 21 years of age, he married Mary Bezer (in the below record, Mary Bazer), by ceremony of Friends at the Concord Monthly Meeting in what is now Delaware County Pennsylvania. Her family had come to the colony in 1683 when she was only 1-year-old, settling in the area of that Meeting.

Ezekial Harlan & Mary Bazer, Marriage Intention,  13 Jan 1700 (the 13th of  the 11th month 1700)  Minutes of Concord Monthly Meeting, Delaware PA
Ezekial Harlan & Mary Bazer, Marriage Intention,
13 Jan 1700 (the 13th of  the 11th month 1700)
Minutes of Concord Monthly Meeting, Delaware PA

Quakers required that marriage took place within the auspices of the meeting; it was not something to engage in lightly or quickly. Companionship and friendship were viewed as the proper base of a marriage. Romance was not condemned but was conditioned upon a shared devotion to God. Men and women chose their own spouses after months of corresponding and visiting. Parents could not force their children into marriage. However, a man and woman were required to have the approval of parents and their meetings to marry.  To do this, the two first appeared before the local women’s meeting. The records show the two chose the Concord Meeting that Mary attended. The women’s meeting appointed two people to meet with the couple separately to question them to ensure that neither of them were already married, were nonQuakers, or were otherwise unsuitable spouses. Friends believed that the wife and husband should be supportive of the other’s spiritual growth. Both partners were also expected to be capable of contributing to their household and to raise their children as Quakers. If the couple were found to be “clear of all entanglements” they were allowed to marry according to the good order of Friends. The couple then had to appear at at least two Men’s Meetings to declare their Intent to Marry before obtaining approval to do so. These early Friends did not believe that a priest or magistrate, or even a Quaker meeting, could perform a marriage. Only God could do that. Marriages took place in a silent meeting where the man and woman rose and affirmed their commitment to each other before God. Those present signed a certificate witnessing that the marriage had actually taken place. Careful records of witnesses were kept so courts would recognize the marriage and the legitimacy of the children in it, to avoid later challenges to inheritance.

Ezekiel and Mary had only one child, William, my seventh great-grandfather, who was born 1 Nov 1702 (9, 1, 1702) , died 22 October 1783, m. 14 Feb 1721 (12, 14, 1721). Unfortunately, Mary died shortly after his birth, in 1702 in Christiana Hundred, New Castle, Pennsylvania.

Four years later, in 1705/6, Ezekiel married Ruth Buffington in a ceremony of Friends. They had six children: Ezekiel, born July 19, 1707 (5, 19, 1707), died 1754, married Hannah Oborn, December 23, 1724 (10, 23, 1724); Mary, born June 12, 1709 (4, 12, 1709), died June 7, 1750 (4, 7, 1750), married Daniel Webb, November 28, 1727 (9, 28, 1727); Elizabeth, born July 19, 1713, died ?, married William White, August 8, 1728 (6, 8, 1728); Joseph, born August 14, 1721, died ?, married Hannah Roberts May 21, 1740 (3, 21, 1740); Ruth, born March 11, 1723 (1, 11, 1723), died ?, married Daniel Leonard, May 28, 1740 (3, 28, 1740); and Benjamin, born October 7, 1729, died October 1752 (8 Mo. 1752), at sea, unmarried.

Ezekiel and Ruth lived in Kennett in Chester County, on property directly north of the Old Kennett Meetinghouse. The Old Kennett Monthly Meetinghouse was built in 1710 by Ezekiel Harlan, on land deeded from William Penn. The bicentennial history for the old Kennett meetinghouse states that he “must have” conveyed the land for the meetinghouse, but the deed had been lost. Ezekiel was described in a few sources as a farmer and a land speculator. He dealt in lands throughout Chester County and adjoining counties. He was appointed constable for the Township in 1706. In 1715, he was the heaviest taxpayer in the Township, paying 12 shillings and sixpence, or approximately six days wages for a skilled tradesman. 12 shillings and six pence appear to be about double what most of the other people listed in the record paid that year.

I lost him for about fifteen years after that. But in 1731, he went to England, regarding what most sources described as “tradition holds was business in connection with his father’s estate.” Before he left for England, in an abundance of caution, he drafted his will. This was a tradition before any long sea voyage. He survived the sea-crossing to England, but while there, he contracted smallpox and died, at age 51, on 15 June 1731 (15 of 4 mo. 1731). He was buried two days later near Bunnhill Fields, in Devonshire, England.

The Will of Ezekiel Harlan, signed 14 Nov 1730. Probated 31 Jan 1732.
(found in PA Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Collection on Ancestry.com)

The Will of Ezekiel Harlan (transcription)

In the name of God Amen. I Ezekiel Harlan of the County of Chester in the province of pennsivania in America Yeoman being in reasonable health of body and of perfect mind and memory Thanks be to God for the same and being about to take a voyage into old England and Calling to mind the uncertainty of this life for the settling of my Temporal affairs I do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say first committing my soul to God I will order and appoint my boddy to be buried in a Decent matter at ye Discretion of my Executrix hereinafter mentioned and Touching such Worldly Estate and Substance were with God has Blessed me I give and appoint and bequeath to my son William Harlan the sum of five Shillings and to my son Ezekiel Harlan the sum of five shillings and my daughter Mary the wife of Daniel Webb the sum of five Shillings and to my daughter Elizabeth the wife of William White the sum of five Shillings and my sons Joseph and Benjamin Harlan and to their heirs and assigns forever I Give and Bequeath Five hundred acres of land to be equally divided between them share and share alike that is to say 250 acres each to be laid out at the direction of my executrix hereinafter named which said Five hundred acres of land is to be part and parcell of the Tact of Land which I now Dwell upon and to my daughter Ruth Harlan the sum of Fifty pounds Current money of pennsilvania or the value in goods at the market price and in any case any of my last mentioned three children viz Joseph, Benja, and Ruth should happen to Dye before they attain the age of Twenty one yeares or marry then and it is my will that the share or shares of each Child or Children so dying shall be Equally Divided between the survivor or survivors of them and my Executrix Share and Share alike.

Item I give and Bequeath unto my Dear and well Beloved wife Ruth Harlan the remaining part or parcel of my plantation or tract of land on which I now dwell after the said Five hundred acres is laid out to my two sons Joseph and Benjamin in the manner aforesaid Together with all my personall Estate of what kind or sort soever in order the better to Enable her to pay and satisfy all my just Debts and funeral expenses and towards bringing up maintaining and Educating of my children during their minority and lastly do a ordain constitute and appoint my dear and well beloved wife Ruth Harlan soul executrix of this my last will and Testament here by Revoking and making void all other and Former Will or Wills heretofore made or published by me.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Fourteenth day of November in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred and Thirty.
Signed Sealed                                                                                              Ezekiel Harlan. (Seal) 
and published in the
Presence of

Joseph Robinson.
William Webb Junior
Wm Henderson.

An inventory of Ezekiel Harlan’s goods, filed January, 1/31/32, and signed by Joseph Gibbons and James Taylor, places the value of his worldly effects at the time of his death at 208 pounds 17 shillings. Appraised on February 1, 1743/44, and signed by Jno. Marshall, Benjamin Taylor and Samuel Sellars, the amount of the estate which passed to his widow, Ruth, amounted to 182 pounds, 19 shillings, six cents. In the report of the Executrix filed on 5 May 1734 by Ezekiel’s widow, Ruth Harlan, she listed 37 people to whom money was paid in the administration of the will. Ruth outlived Ezekiel by about twelve years. She died before 2 Feb 1743, which is when her will was probated.

The Will of Ruth Harlan (transcription)

Be it known to all men by these presents that I Ruth Harlan of Kennett in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty-three being sick & weak of body but of sound and perfect Disposing mind & memory do make and ordain this my Last Will & Testament in manner and form following that is to say first and principally when it shall have pleased Almighty God to call my Soul to his mercy that my Boddy be Decently interred at the Discretion of my Executors hereinafter named, and in the next place my will mind an order is that all my just Debts and funeral expenses shall be paid and discharged as soon as possible after my decease And after all my Just Debts and funeral expenses are paid and discharged I do devise and bequeath unto my son Ezekiel Harlan of West Marlborough in the said county and province the sum of Five shillings to be paid to him or his assigns within one year after my decease. Also I Devise and Bequeath unto my son Joseph Harlan of Kennett aforesaid the sum of Five shillings to be paid under him or his assigns within one year after my decease and also I Give and Bequeath unto my son Benjamin Harlan the sum of Five shillings to be paid under him when he shall have arrived at the age of 21 years. Allso I Devis and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Webb & relict of Daniell Webb Late of Kennett deceased the sum of Five pounds to be paid to her or her heirs within one year after my decease. Allso I devise & Bequeath unto my said daughter Mary Webb my sattin Gown to be delivered to her immediately after my decease. Allso I devise and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth White my Gown made of wool & worsted and my quilted Petticoat and the Remainder of my wearing apparrall l I give Devise and Bequeath to my daughter Ruth the wife of Daniel Leonard. Allso I get devise and bequeath the wooll of my sheepe to be Equally divided between my two Daughters namely the above-mentioned Elizabeth White the wife of William White and Ruth the wife of Daniel Leonard. Allso I give devise and Bequeath unto my said daughter Ruth Leonard the seventeen acres of Land by me reserved out of the Lands left me by my husband Ezekiel Harlan Deceased & the House where I now Dwell & allso the orchard and a piece of Meadow called the Calf Passture & a piece of Wood Land at the Discretion of my executors so that the whole of the land in orchard Meadow Ground Woodland &c shall not exceed Seventeen acres To hold to the said Ruth Leonard during her Natural Life and after her decease I Give devise and bequeath the seventeen acres of Land & Premises above-mentioned to my son Benjamin & his heirs and Assigns forever, and the Remainder or Overplus of my Estate after my Just Debts funeral expenses & the above mentioned Legacies are paid and discharged I do Will in order to be Equally Divided between my two above mentioned Daughters, namely, Elizabeth White and Ruth Leonard.

Also my will mind and desire is that my son Benjamin be put to apprentice in a Convenient Time after my Decease to my Brotherinlaw Charles Turner of Birmingham untill he be the age of Twenty years to learn the Trade and art of Cordwainer & I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Ezekiel Harlan above-mentioned to be the sole Executor of this my Last Will and testament and my soninlaw* William Harlan of West Marlborough aforesaid to be Overseer & Trustee for the performance thereof but without the power of admintr except in case it shall so happen my son Ezekiel shall die before he shall have accomplished and fulfilled the performance of his Administration & Executorship to this my Last Will & Testament.
And I do hereby revoke Disallow & make void all and all manner & other and former Wills & Testaments by me heretofore made, hereby ratifying and confirming and declaring this and no other to be my Last Will & Testament.
In witness whereof together with the publication hereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day in the year first above written.
Witnesses: John Walker. RuTH X Harlan. (Seal)
Thomas Worrall. Mark
proved February 2, 1733/4

*"soninlaw" is now called stepson


Quaker meeting records, 1681-1935, ancestry.com, Provo, Utah, USA;  Estate Papers, 1713-1810; Author: Chester County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Chester, Pennsylvania, collection at Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah, USA; Wills Proved at Philadelphia 1682-1692, pp. 51-52. No. 14, John Bezer, Publication of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Volume 1, 1896, No. 2; History and Genealogy of the Harland Family in America, and particularly of the descendants of George and Michael Harlan, who settled in Chester County PA, 1687, compiled by Alpheus Harlan (The Lord Baltimore Press 1914); The History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with genealogical and biographical sketches, by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope (Philadelphia, Louis H. Everts 1881); Immigration of the Irish Quakers in Pennsylvania, 1682-1750, with their early History in Ireland, by Albert Cook Myers, member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (The Author, Swarthmore PA 1902); Bi-centennial of Old Kennett Meeting House, Kennett Township, Chester Co., Pa., seventh day, ninth month, twenty-fourth (Walter H Jenkins, 15th and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia); The History of the Society of Friends in America, Vol. II: Pennsylvania and New Jersey, by James Bowden (London: W & F.G. Cash, 1854); https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/#currency-result; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Kennett_Meetinghouse ; https://www.southernchestercountyweeklies.com/news/the-many-quaker-meetinghouses-of-chester-county/article_db570d2d-e806-5dc3-a313-6e0b36998a32.html; http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/portal/communities/pa-heritage/our-first-friends-early-quakers.html

Thursday, January 23, 2020

George Harland/Harlan, 1650-1714, Quaker Yeoman Farmer

Kennett Monthly Meeting, Pennsylvania, record of baptism of George Harlan
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George Harland, my 9th great grandfather, was the second son of James Harland, a yeoman* and a member of the Episcopal Church in Bishoprick, nigh Durham, England. James was born around 1625, and lived his entire life in that area of England. While he was likely married, I have no idea who his wife was as only James is listed in the baptism record of his three sons, Thomas, George, and Michael  -- I don’t know if there were any other children in the family. Thomas was born about 1649 (m (1). Katharine Bullock [?-1690], April 7, 1680 (7, 2 mo, 1680) by ceremony of Friends at Sego, Armagh, Ireland; m. (2) Alice Foster [?-1702], Armagh, Ireland, dd. ?). George was the second son, born in approximately 1650 and baptized on March 11, 1650 ** (11 First 1650) in the Episcopal Church; And Michael born about 1653 (m. Dina Dixson in Pennsylvania, dd. 1728). All three brothers were baptized in at the Episcopal Church at Monkwearmoth, Durham, England.

Climbing My Family Tree: St. Peters Church & Monkwearmouth Monastery, built 675 AD. Public Domain.
St. Peters Church & Monkwearmouth Monastery, built 675 AD. Public Domain.
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George lived with his parents in Bishoprick, nigh Durham, England until he reached adulthood. When he reached adulthood, he and his brothers moved, with some others, to County Down, Ireland. I have been unable to find anything that says definitively whether he converted to Quakerism while in England or after he moved to Ireland. I know that he was a member of the Quaker meeting in Ireland. However, the move to Ireland would make sense if they had converted to Quakerism while in England.

The Religious Society of Friends (commonly known as the Quakers), was founded by George Fox around the time that George Harland was born. By 1660, it is estimated there were 50,000 Quakers in England. Among the new and radical spiritual beliefs held by the Quakers were that a direct experience with God was available to all people without mediation through hired clergy; that God could move anyone to speak and that all Christians could and should be ministers, including women, but they had no official pastors or priest; and that the sacraments were purely spiritual and they did not take physical communion with wine and bread or baptize with water. These views were not popular with either Catholic or Protestant clergy. The Friends also annoyed civil authorities and the upper classes with their belief in the equality of all. The Quakers lived this belief by refusing to use honorifics in addressing others (addressing all simply by their name), refusing to salute others, and refusing to remove their hats before a social superior among other things. They also refused to take oaths, because they believed people should always tell the truth, which left the King doubting their loyalty since they refused to swear fealty to him. Additionally, the Quakers refused to pay tithes to the established church, which were required of all people.

The century before the establishment of the Quakers was a time of religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants, starting with Henry VIII’s creation of the Church of England and split from the Catholic Church, because he wanted to get divorced, and followed by alternating Protestant and Catholic monarchs who, supported by the Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church), encouraged persecution of religions other than their own, and culminating in the Thirty Years War and the English Civil War both of which were rooted in religious differences. It was not a time of religious tolerance. Between 1661 and 1664, Parliament passed a series of laws which basically made it illegal to be a practicing Quaker. For the next two decades Quakers were heavily persecuted, while they persevered in practicing their faith.  Fox stated that there were seldom less than a thousand Quakers imprisoned during these years (total imprisoned 13,562, plus 338 deaths and 200 deported as slaves to the West Indies); Fox himself spent five years in jail.

Quakers had been moving to Ireland since the 1650s, trying to escape the persecution by the Anglican church and Parliament, with a second wave occurring in the 1670’s. The first Quaker meeting in Ireland was held in Lurgan, in County Armagh, in 1655. It’s quite possible that George Harlan and his brothers chose to move to the Lurgan area because they knew of the number of Quakers already in the area. They moved to County Down, probably to the Parish of Donaghcloney,  which immediately abuts the neighboring parishes of Shankill and Seagoe in County Armagh in northern Ireland (at that point Ireland was unified, northern is just a geographical description). While I don’t know exactly when George moved to Ireland, I know he was there by 1678.

While living in County Down, George Harlan met Elizabeth Duck, of Lurgan, who was 10 years younger than him having been born in 1660. Elizabeth and George married, by ceremony of Friends, on November 27, 1678 (twenty seventh day of ninth month, 1678), in the house of Marke Wright, in the parish of Shankill, County of Armagh. Present among the witnesses was George’s brother Thomas.

Climbing My Family Tree IQuaker Marriage Record for George Harland & Elizabeth Duck (Nov 27, 1678))
Quaker Marriage Record for Geoge Harland & Elizabeth Duck (Nov 27, 1678)
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Part 1 -Transcription of
Quaker Marriage Record for Geoge Harland & Elizabeth Duck (Nov 27, 1678)
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Part 2 -Transcription of
Quaker Marriage Record for Geoge Harland & Elizabeth Duck (Nov 27, 1678), witnesses.
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George and Elizabeth had nine children, the first four of which were born in Ireland: Ezekiel [b.  August 16, 1679 (6, 16, 1679); d. June 15, 1731 (4, 15, 1731); m. Mary Bezer and Ruth Buffington]; Hannah [b. April 4, 1681 (2, 4, 1681); d. ?; m. Samuel Hollingsworth]; Moses [b. February 20, 1683, (12, 20, 1683); d. 1747; m. Margaret Ray]; Aaron [b. December 24, 1685 (10, 24, 1685); d. November 1732 (9 mo. 1732); m. Sarah Heald].

In moving to Ireland, George did not escape the official persecution of Quakers which also spread to Ireland. Many Quakers in the area had their goods and crops confiscated, or were imprisoned, for nonpayment of tithes to the Church of Ireland or other “failures to conform”. We know that George refused to pay the required tithe to the Church. The “tithe”, was essentially a church tax and was to be a tenth of one’s income; it was the main source of income for the official Church. Quakers objected to the tithe on two levels, believing in their own practices that spiritual guidance and worship should be free, and, believing that as non-Anglicans they should not have to support the Anglican Church. Because George refused to pay the required tithe, the government forcibly seized what they determined to be an equivalent amount of his crops in lieu of payment. Noted in A Great Cry of Oppression by William Stockdale, in 1680, “George Harland, of County Down had taken from him in Tithe, by Daniel MacConnell, twelve stooks and a half of oats, three stooks and a half of barley, and five loads of hay, all worth ten shillings and ten pence."  At FindMyPast(.)com I found the original Quaker Meeting record of that confiscation. I also found that George was subject to nearly yearly confiscations. In 1682, George Harland “had taken from him for a tithe by Thomas Usher & Donald McConnol four loads of hay, sixteen stooks and a half of wheat & twenty-four stooks of oats, all worth one pound thirteen shillings six pence.” In 1683, he “had taken from him for tithe by Donnoll Mark Connoll and Johns Spont, fishmongers, two loads of hay out of his hay fields, worth two shillings.” In 1684, George “had taken from him by Hugh MacConnoll for the said priest, one stook, two sheafs of [?], eighteen stooks, nine sheafs of oats, two stooks and a half of barley, and two loads of hay. All worth 15 shillings, four pence. All on account of tithe which for conscience’s sake they could not pay.” I’ve no reason to believe the tithe confiscations ceased in 1684 but these are the records that remain. It had to be aggravating to lose so much of his farming labor’s product every year to a support religion of which he was not a member. I don’t know whether he was ever imprisoned for his refusal but if he had been it could explain why there are no more confiscation records for the next two years.

Wheat sheaves near King's Somborne, England arranged into a stook.- Trish Steel [CC BY-SA ]

About this time George would have heard about William Penn’s new colony, Pennsylvania, in the New World. In 1681, King Charles II gave over 45,000 square miles of his American land holdings to Penn to pay the debts the king owed to Penn's deceased father, and in 1682 Penn obtained from the Duke of York both a 10,000 year lease and an absolute deed of Feoffment (sale of real property) for the town of New Castle and a 12-mile circle around it, and a 10,000 year lease and an absolute deed of Feoffment for all of the land south of the twelve mile circle down to Cape Henlopen. This land included the present-day states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Penn planned to found a colony based on Quaker principles, a "Holy Experiment" as he called it, and implementing a new form of more egalitarian government. The colonial government, established in 1682 by Penn's Frame of Government, consisted of an appointed governor, the proprietor (William Penn), a 72-member Provincial Council, and a larger representative Provincial Assembly. Starting in 1681 broadsheets promoting the venture were distributed widely at Quaker meetings in Ireland. Quakers began moving to the colony.  As more people moved to the Colony, letters from the pioneers were sent home to Ireland, describing their life in America, were passed around at Quaker Meetings. The idea of a new start in a friendly land led George and Michael Harlan to think that their future lay across the ocean in the New World.

Some Irish Quakers went out to Penn’s Colony as indentured servants, selling themselves into temporary servitude usually for about four years in order to pay the costs of their transportation to Pennsylvania. Some, known as redemptioners, made agreements with the shipmaster to be sold after their arrival. The redemptioners could not be sold out of Pennsylvania without their free consent given before a judge. At the end of their service, if their behavior had been good, they received a suit of clothes, a set of tools for the field in which they were engaged, and a sum of money. Those that came over with the first purchasers of land in the colony were allowed by Penn to receive fifty acres of land at a rent, paid to Penn, of a half-penny per acre per year. Due to harsh treatment and dissatisfaction with the conditions of servitude, the redemptioners often ran away, and newspapers of the time were full of advertisements of rewards for the return of their indented servants, and much of the business of the provincial courts was hearing complaints of masters and servants. Unlike the redemptioners, the Harland brothers had enough money to purchase land in Penn’s colony before they left Ireland, but there are indications that George employed indented servants in his household in the New World.  

Province of PA - No machine-readable author provided.
Kmusser assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA]

In early 1687, George Harland, his wife, his four eldest children, and his brother Michael left from Belfast on a ship for Pennsylvania (his brother Thomas remained in Ireland). In 1686, George had bought lands in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, known as the Lower Three Counties, in an area now belonging to New Castle, Delaware. Other land in the area was bought at that time in the name of his father James, and brother Thomas, although neither ever moved to America. They settled on the west side of the Brandywine Creek in the Christiana Hundred section of Newcastle county, near the current town of Centerville. After moving to Pennsylvania, George and his brother dropped the D from their last name. Here, George and Elizabeth had five more children: Rebecca [b. October 17, 1688 (8, 17, 1688); d. October 17, 1775 (8, 17, 1775); m. William Webb]; Deborah [b. October 28, 1690 (8, 28, 1690); d. ??; m. Joshua Calvert]; James [b. October 19, 1692 (8, 19, 1692); d. ??; m. Elizabeth  ??]; Joshua [b. January 15, 1696 (11, 15, 1696); d. July 1744 (5 Mo. 1744); m. Mary Heald].

Initially, they belonged to and, in the Summer, attended the Newark Meeting in the Lower Three Counties. However, George and his family were too far from the Newark Meeting for regular and punctual attendance, especially in the winter, given the dangerousness of fording the river and made a request on behalf of his neighbors and himself for a Meeting beyond the Brandywine to be established for that reason; the formation of the Centre Meeting was granted in what is now Centerville, New Castle county, Delaware but was then the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania. For several years they held a meeting in homes in their community, often at George Harlan’s home.  George was put on a committee with Thomas Hollingsworth, Alphonsus Kirk, and Samuel Groves “to take the oversight of the building of ye Centre Meeting House requesting ye with all convenient speed to let out ye work to some workmen in order it may be more speedily done and return an acctt to ye next meeting how they proceed.” However, the Meeting House was not built until 1711.

In 1695, George Harlan was elected to the Provincial Assembly from New Castle County. Provincial Assembly elections were held annually in colonial Pennsylvania, and Assembly representatives were elected to serve a one year term. When William Penn formed the colony’s government, he created the Frame of 1682, which described a parliament consisting of two houses. The upper house, or the Provincial Council, consisted of 72 members who were the first fifty purchasers of 5,000 acres or more in the colony and had the exclusive power to propose legislation. They were also authorized to nominate all officers in church and state and supervise financial and military affairs through committees. The lower house, or the Provincial Assembly, consisted of smaller landowners. It had no power to initiate legislation but could accept or reject the council's legislative proposal only. However, in the first meeting of the Assembly the Frame of 1682 was voted down. When the Assembly convened in 1682, the Assembly sought to enlarge its role and insisted that it be granted to power to initiate legislation, as it demanded when it rejected the Frame of 1682. A compromise frame of government, called the Frame of 1683, was eventually approved by the Assembly. It provided that all laws should be passed "by the Governor and the freemen in Council and Assembly met", and granted the governor a right to approve or veto. This 1683 Frame of Government was still in effect when George served his term as the representative from Newcastle county in 1695.

In about 1698, George bought 470 acres of land further up the Brandywine Creek, and moved his family and settled in Kennett Square, Chester County, Pennsylvania (the area is now in Pennsbury Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania). While living there, George’s neighbors were a settlement of Native Americans who lived across the river in the “Great Bend” of the Brandywine River. After the Native Americans abandoned their settlement, he obtained, in 1701, a grant of 200 additional acres of land in the Bend, which was given to him for the “charge great trouble and cost he had born” in fencing and maintaining the fence for the Native Americans while living there.

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Chester County Meeting Houses
Map of Chester County Quaker Meeting Houses
Click to make bigger

In 1712 George was again elected to the Provincial Assembly, this time from Chester County. This time the Assembly was more powerful than it had been during his last term. A new Frame of Government called the Charter of Privileges was granted in 1701. It permitted Assembly members certain privileges, liberties, or powers, never before granted by Penn, most particularly, the power to enact legislation. Penn had been called back to England and was afraid of the possibility of a takeover of his proprietary colony by the Crown, and reasoned that his colony could defend itself with this new power. Another provision elevated much of the Assembly’s power to that of the governor and judiciary, creating a tripartite government. The governor’s role was reduced to management status, but still retained veto power while the Provincial Council was reduced to an advisory body to the governor. Additionally, as of 1704, the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania had withdrawn from the state and formed their own state of Delaware.

On the first day of March 1713 (1, 1, 1713), George Harlan deeded 203 acres to his son-in-law, William Webb, husband of daughter Rebecca, for a consideration of 30 pounds. On the ninth day of the same month, for “consideration of the natural affection and fatherly love which he hath” and “for divers other good causes and valuable considerations” he deeded 200 acres each to his sons James and Joshua. George died in July 1714 (Fifth Month 1714). The date of death of his wife, Elizabeth, is not known, but I know she died before he did, because in his will he requested that he be buried beside his “deare wife in the new burying grounds.”

George left a will, dated April 20, 1714 (twentieth day of the second month called Aprill in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & ffourteen) and an inventory was done of his property prior to distribution according to its terms. These documents give a good insight into the living conditions of a prominent Quaker family of the time. The will is how I learned that he had an indented servant. In it, he says that he “give[s] unto my servant woman named Mary Matthews at the expiration of her time one cow & calf & one young mare not less than three years old.” That’s a generous bequest that would help her set up her own household when the time came that her term of indenture was complete.

Transcription of Will of George Harlan

I George Harlan of Brandywine Creek and in the Township of Kennett and the County of Chester in the province of Pennsylvania, Yeoman. Being weak at this time in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory & calling to mind the certainty of Death & the uncertainty of the time thereof doe make & ordain this my last will & Testament in manner & form following, that is to say, first I yield my soul into the hands of Almighty God as unto a faithful Creator hoping through the merits sufferings resurrection & mediation of my blessed Savior Jesus Christ to find mercy & forgiveness with complete salvation & my body to be buried by my dear wife in the new bearing place on Alphonsus Kirk’s land at the discretion of my executors hereinafter named. Also my will is that all my just debts and funeral expenses be fully paid and discharged. Also I give unto my son Aaron my clock & my great brass cattle. Also I give unto my brother Michael Harlan the young Susquehanna mare. Also I give unto my servant woman named Mary Matthews at the expiration of her time one cow & calf & one young mare not less than three years old. And lastly I make nominate & appoint my sons Ezekiel & Erin Harlan executors of this my last will & testament & also appoint my brother Michael Harlan aforementioned & my son Samuel Hollingsworth trustees & assistance to my executors aforementioned in the performance & accomplishment of this my last will & testament. Also my will is that after my debts legacies bequests & expenses of words that are fully paid and satisfied that what shall then remain of my movable & personal estate if any so there be then it shall be equally divided between all my children sons & daughters share & share alike. In witness thereof I have two this my set will set my hand & seal this one & 20th day of the second month called April in the year of our Lord 1714 George Harlan (seal)

signed sealed & published & declared by the testator George Harlan to be his last Will & Testament in the presence of us who have subscribed our names as witnesses here unto his presence. Daniel McFarson, Nathan Maddock, Thomas Pierson [proven 8 Mo. 2, 1714]

The transcribed inventory of George Harlan's estate, from  History and Genealogy of the Harland Family in America, and particularly of the descendants of George and Michael Harlan, who settled in Chester County PA, 1687, compiled by Alpheus Harlan (The Lord Baltimore Press 1914)
The transcribed inventory of George Harlan's estate, from
History and Genealogy of the Harland Family in America, and particularly of the descendants of George and Michael Harlan, who settled in Chester County PA, 1687, compiled by Alpheus Harlan (The Lord Baltimore Press 1914)
Click to make bigger

* In 17th & 18th century England, a yeoman was a free man who lived in the country and owned his own land and farmed but was not gentry – sort of equivalent to the middle class today). In 18th & 19th century America a yeoman was a non-slaveholding, small landowning, independent, family farmer.

** I’ve seen a lot of trees on Ancestry(.)com referring to George’s baptism date as January 11, 1650, relying on the same record I do, a Quaker record from later in his life from the Philadelphia Meeting, in which his baptism is noted as 11 First 1650. As I explained in the last post (Dating Induced Headaches for the Family Historian: Julian, Gregorian, and Quaker Calendars), before 1752 in England, the Julian Calendar was in use, not the Gregorian Calendar which is currently used today nearly everywhere, and in the Julian Calendar, the first day of the year was March 25. Further, while the Quakers followed the calendar commonly used in the British Isles, the Quaker Calendar had its own quirks. For the Quakers, who designated months by numbers, First month (or 1st mo.) was March. In writing dates, I’ll state what it would be in today’s calendar and then, in parentheses, I’ll include the date as I found it in the source used.

 I apologize for the spacing changes. Every time I tried to fix it it got worse. I gave up.

Quaker meeting records, 1681-1935, ancestry.com, Provo, Utah, USA; History and Genealogy of the Harland Family in America, and particularly of the descendants of George and Michael Harlan, who settled in Chester County PA, 1687, compiled by Alpheus Harlan (The Lord Baltimore Press 1914); Marriage Record, quicker records collection at FindMyPast(.)com, Ireland, Society of Friends “Quaker” marriages, Ulster Friends Trustees, LTD, marriage, 1674-1750, Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) marriages, Life Events (Birth, Marriage, Death), Parrish Marriages, Ireland; “A Great Cry of Oppression” by William Stockdale (London 1693); The History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with genealogical and biographical sketches, by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope (Philadelphia, Louis H. Everts 1881); Immigration of the Irish Quakers in Pennsylvania, 1682-1750, with their early History in Ireland, by Albert Cook Myers, member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (The Author, Swarthmore PA 1902); The Quakers in America, by Thomas D Hamm, The Columbia Contemporary American Religion Series (Columbia University Press New York 2003); The History of the Hunt Family by Roger D Hunt (copyright 2011) (http://family.beacondeacon.com/the-history-of-the-hunt-family-by-roger-d-hunt-2011-at-www-k7mex-com-books-HuntBookComplete.pdf); Quakers in Delaware in the Time of William Penn by Herbert Standing (http://nc-chap.org/church/quaker/standingDH3crop.pdf); Quakers in Great Britain 1650s-1750s (https://haygenealogy.com/hay/quaker/quaker-GB.html) ; Stook (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stook); YM Sufferings c. 1665-1693, for 1680, 1682, 1683, and 1684, YM-G1, Religious Society of Friends in Ireland Archives, Findmypast.com; “Early Relations between Pennsylvania and Delaware” by The Hon. Richard S. Rodney, John Moll, and William Penn, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 54, No. 3. pp 209-240 (1930) (found on JSTOR.org); https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_of_Government_of_Pennsylvania ; Charter of Privileges https://www.ushistory.org/documents/charter.htm

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Dating Induced Headaches for the Family Historian: Julian, Gregorian, and Quaker Calendars

Calendar image from Pixabay.com

Did you know that January 1 wasn’t always the first day of the year?

Did you know that Europe and Great Britain and their colonies used different calendars for several centuries?

Did you know that while the Quakers followed the English calendar tradition, they had their own way of expressing dates, since they did not approve of the commonly used names of the months and days in the calendar?

Do you have any idea of how hard this can make the job of the family historian in figuring out whether the person they are researching is their ancestor? For instance, if I knew the death date of the man I was researching was 12 months before the birth of a particular child, I would normally feel safe in the concluding he was not the potential father of that child; however, if it was before 1752 in England or its colonies it might not be impossible at all. For example, if the man died on March 24, 1650 and the child was born March 25, 1651, that isn’t twelve months apart; that child was born one day after the man died! In another example, trying to determine the probable birthdate of my ancestor, based on a gravestone that lists his death date and his age at death, “87 years, nine months, and six days” will differ depending on whether the given ancestor is from Germany or from England, and I have to remember to apply the differences to be as accurate as I can be. In fact, I may have to re-look at all my earlier German-born ancestors when I get back to that part of the family tree in my research plan because I did not know this when I was researching them. I learned it when trying to figure out the Quaker dating system for the branch of my tree I’ll be writing about next, which is rooted in England, Ireland and the British colonies. But before I try to explain the Quaker dating system, I have to go into a little history first.

Julius Ceasar bust in the Museum of Antiquities, Turin Italy [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons,
photo by Ángel M. Felicísimo from Mérida, España, CC by 2.0 

In ancient times, each major culture or civilization at its own calendar, each with their own problems. I’m not going into them as it is really complex and they are not really relevant to this discussion. However, in 46 BC, in an attempt to fix problems with the calendars already in use then, Julius Caesar ordered the Roman Empire to follow a calendar consisting of 12 months based on a solar year because he wanted a calendar that better reflected the planting and harvesting seasons of the largely agricultural economy in the Empire at that time. The calendar was used by all of the Empire, which eventually consisted of England and most of Europe. This Julian calendar was pretty much like the calendar we have today with a 12-month year equaling 365 days, the days having 24 sixty-minute hours each (with each minute being 60 seconds long) and divided into seven-day weeks. An extra day was added every fourth year. While the Julian calendar originally began the year on January 1, after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the calendar was gradually aligned with to coincide with important Christian festivals. By the ninth century, parts of Europe began observing the first day of the year on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation (a celebration of the day that the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would become the mother of the Messiah); the last day of the year was March 24. This new alignment spread throughout Europe and the British Isles over the next couple centuries with England adopting it in the 12th century.

Climbing My Family Tree: Cover of Pope Gregory's Papal Bull, in the Public Domain
Cover of Pope Gregory's Papal Bull, in the Public Domain

However, there was also a problem with the Julian calendar, in that it was about 11 minutes too long, which doesn’t sound like much but this slight inaccuracy added one day every 128 years. By the middle of the 16th century, the Julian calendar was about 10 days ahead of the natural events it was originally based on, including equinoxes, and some church holidays, like Easter, were not occurring in the proper seasons. In October 1582, Pope Gregory issued a papal bull (declaration) implementing a correction of the Julian calendar in which 10 days were dropped from October that year and the method of calculating leap years was changed in such a way as to prevent calendar drift. Additionally, January 1 was made the first day of the new year. The Gregorian calendar is the calendar we use today.

The change to the Gregorian calendar was adopted immediately by Catholic countries. But Protestant countries (including England and its colonies), which did not recognize the authority of the Pope continued using the Julian calendar. Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Portugal, Luxembourg, Poland, and Lithuania adopted Pope Gregory’s new calendar that year. Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, and Prussia followed suit within fifty years. But England had split from the Catholic Church only 50 years before Pope Gregory’s declaration and was determined not to bow to the Catholic rule; England held out for almost two centuries.  (Some countries held out longer than England: Russia adopted it in 1918 and Greece adopted in 1922.)

Climbing My Family Tree: Lunario Novo, Secondo la Nuova Riforma della Correttione del l'Anno Riformato da N.S. Gregorio XIII, printed in Rome by Vincenzo Accolti in 1582, one of the first printed editions of the new calendar. Public Domain
Lunario Novo, Secondo la Nuova Riforma della Correttione del l'Anno Riformato da N.S. Gregorio XIII, printed in Rome by Vincenzo Accolti in 1582, one of the first printed editions of the new calendar. Public Domain

So between 1582 and 1752, there were two calendars in use in Europe and Great Britain, and their respective colonies. Moreover, because the Gregorian calendar was used in significant portions of Europe, those people in Great Britain and its colonies who were aware of the difference in calendars took to dating their documents with both dates between January 1 (the new New Year’s Day) and March 25 (the old New Year’s Day) to avoid misinterpretation, in a system known as “double dating”. The dates were usually indicated as February 14, 1650/1 or February 14, 1650-51. The first few times I saw dates like that on documents, before I was aware of this issue, I thought that the recordkeepers weren’t sure what year the thing had occurred and were giving approximate dates, not that they were being careful to clarify exactly when something occurred under two different legal calendar systems. As you might imagine, this caused difficulty for people who had business with other countries, and they put pressure on the English government to change to the Gregorian calendar.

Finally, Philip Stanhope, the Earl of Chesterfield, on 25 February 1750/1, introduced into the House of Lords an “Act for Regulating the Commencement of the Year and for Correcting the Calendars Now in Use”. The bill passed through Parliament and was signed by George II in May 1851. By this time, the calendar drift had grown to 11 days, and the bill provided that Wednesday, September 2, 1752, was to be followed by Thursday, September 14, 1752, and for New Year’s Day to move from March 25 to January 1 as was already the case in Scotland. In England and Wales, the legal year 1751 was a short year of 282 days, running from March 25 to December 31. 1752 began on January 1. Because 11 days were eliminated from September, the year 1752 was also a short year (355 days). (If anyone ever tries to tell you that something occurred on September 10, 1752, now you know that they are trying to con you as that date did not exist!}

Climbing My Family Tree: Page for September, in a 1752 Almanac
Page for September, in a 1752 Almanac 

In telling family history stories, it becomes necessary to know when the country I’m looking at converted to the Gregorian calendar and whether I must convert dates between the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar to figure out the ages of ancestors or just to make a story clear. If you are related to me or have worked with me, you know my math skills are not optimal. Fortunately, I don’t have to do that. I am eternally grateful to Stephen P Morse of San Francisco who has put a One-Step Julian to Gregorian Conversion Calculator on the Internet. The same page also has a section where you can enter a specific country from a drop-down list and be given the date they changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. (I have used his other webpages for years; he’s got a lot of very helpful one-step calculators and search tools. To explore them, click on the “my other webpages” button at the top of the calendar conversion page I linked above.)

One warning for family historians researching in early North America before I turn to the Quaker calendar. We need to be aware that certain groups in the early colonies of North America had already adopted the Gregorian Calendar before 1752, even in British controlled territory, and were using it in their civic and church records. The Dutch settlers along the Hudson River in New York and northern New Jersey were already using the Gregorian Calendar when they first came to America in the 1620s since most of Holland had been using the Gregorian calendar since 1583, and after 1660, when the English took over the Dutch colonies, the Dutch people were allowed to stay and keep their way of life. Civil and church recorders of the Dutch towns continued the use of the Gregorian Calendar, even though the British governed their settlements and had not adopted the Gregorian Calendar yet. In addition, Palatine German settlements, and some German Lutherans also used the Gregorian calendar as it had been in use in their home countries before they moved to the North American continent. Also, any French, Spanish, or Portuguese colony or settlement would have been using the Gregorian calendar from approximately 1582.

Climbing My Family Tree: Epistle sent by the London Yearly Meeting for Sufferings in 1751
Epistle sent by the London Yearly Meeting for Sufferings in 1751
Now to the Quakers! Quaker dates can be confusing because the Quakers use numbers in their dating system and not month names, and because there was no official day on which every Quaker switched to the Gregorian calendar. The Quakers used a numbering system because they objected to the names of the months and the names of the days of the week in the English calendar because they were based on pagan gods. For them, Sunday was First Day, Monday was Second Day, Tuesday was Third Day, Wednesday was Fourth Day, Thursday was Fifth Day, Friday was Sixth Day, and Saturday was Seventh Day. Until 1752 they had no problem with September through December as month names, because those names were derived from numbers, but after 1752 all months were referred to by Quakers by their number.  They sometimes used Roman numerals for this (i -xii) and sometimes used Arabic numerals (1-12).

In recording dates, in early meeting records the Quakers usually wrote the dates in year, month, day order, or 1687, 9th mo. [or ix], 28th day. After they made the change to the Gregorian calendar, they generally recorded dates in day, month, year order, or 28, 9th mo. [or ix], 1780.

Since the Quakers use a numbering system for their dates, I had to know which calendar they were using in order to know to which month they were actually referring, which sometimes meant reading quite a bit of the document in order to try to figure out from other dated events which calendar was in use.  Pre-1752, First Month was March, Second Month was April, Third Month was May, Fourth Month was June, Fifth Month was July, Sixth Month was August, Seventh Month was September, Eighth Month was October, Ninth Month was November, Tenth Month was December, Eleventh Month was January, and Twelfth Month was February. Starting in 1752, First Month refers to January, Second Month refers to February, Third Month refers to March, and so on. Fortunately, Rebecca Borden has done a handy chart for converting Quaker months to English months before and after 1752 (Julian & Gregorian calendars) and put it both on her own blog and as a post for the ancestry.com blog: Quaker Calendars and Dates: In Just Two Days, Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday. I printed it off and have used it so much in researching this branch of my tree!

In the course of writing my upcoming blog posts, where it is relevant, I will use the converted dates and put the dates as they are written in the original record in brackets immediately afterward, in an effort to make sure the story is clear and to reflect the original record.

Thanks for hanging in with me throughout this explanation. I hope you found it as interesting as I have (but not as frustrating).

http://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/colonialresearch/calendar ; https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/51370/why-our-calendars-skipped-11-days-1752 ; https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Give-us-our-eleven-days/ ; https://www.history.com/news/6-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-gregorian-calendar ; http://www.genealogyintime.com/GenealogyResources/Articles/understanding_julian_calendars_and_gregorian_calendars_in_genealogy_page1.html  ; https://www.historytoday.com/archive/gregorian-calendar-adopted-england  ; http://corsairsandcaptivesblog.com/dates-and-dating-julian-and-gregorian-calendars/ ; https://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=18500 ; https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2016/01/19/a-date-is-a-date-is-a-date-is-a-date/ ; https://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library/quaker-calendar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar