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BOOK REVIEWS Quakers in the Founding of Anne Arundel County, Maryland. By J. Reaney Kelly. Baltimore: The Maryland Historical Society. 1963. x, 146 pages. $6.00. This attractive volume will be a happy hunting ground for historians and genealogists, both Quaker and non-Quaker, interested in the "old families" of the eastern seaboard. Lists of names from the earliest records of Friends in Maryland, records that go back to 1662, those on wedding certificates, deeds, and wills, are of great value to researchers seeking connecting clues going back into the sixteen and seventeen hundreds. Mr. Kelly at one point lists the names of seventy-eight Quaker families who were among the founders of Anne Arundel County. Maryland has always been of special interest to the writers of American Church History because of its famous Act of Tolerance, passed in 1649, guaranteeing religious freedom, and because there was established here the second oldest Yearly Meeting of Friends in the colonies. Here grew one of the roots of Presbyterianism in the South, and here was the birthplace of the Methodist and Methodist Protestant Churches. Mary Fisher and Ann Austin are usually credited with bringing Quakerism to the North American continent in 1656, although Rufus Jones states in The Quakers in the American Colonies that Elizabeth Harris came to Maryland the same year. Mr. Kelly has found documentary evidence which indicates that Elizabeth Harris was in the Province of Maryland in 1655. In any case, while Mary Fisher and Ann Austin were held in prison in Boston, unable to speak with other than the jailor, Elizabeth Harris was free to travel throughout Anne Arundel County, making many converts to Quakerism. Reaney Kelly draws a very pleasant contrast between the manner in which Friends were received in New England and in Maryland. The story of the treatment of members of the Society of Friends in Massachusetts is well known; they were imprisoned, fined, stripped naked and examined for marks of witchcraft , hounded out of the Province, tied to the end of a cart and whipped through each town, and had their ears cropped. Four were hanged in Boston. When Elizabeth Harris arrived in Anne Arundel County, it was temporarily ruled by a Puritan government directed from Virginia, but she was received without religious or governmental opposition. She made a tremendous impression with her message, and convincements were many, William Fuller, the resident Governor, and William Durand, the Secretary of State, became Friends, and "this would seem to have been the only occasion in history that the leading officials of an American province were converted to a new religious way of life while in office" (p. 23). Following the example of these important officials, seven members of the Assembly, including the Speaker of the House and the Secretary of the Commissioners, also joined Friends. 47 48Quaker History Elizabeth Harris returned to England in 1657, to go to Venice and the Middle East, but came back to Anne Arundel County after 1660 to settle with her husband near South River. The individuals who came to Friends through her persuasion and that of other early Friends founded three strong Monthly Meetings in the County; West River, where house meetings were held as early as 1657, Herring Creek, settled before 1671, and Indian Spring, organized before 1792. In 1672, at the call of John Burnyeat, a "General Meeting" gathered at West River. George Fox, sailing from Barbados, came in time to be present at the Yearly Meeting—the first such General Meeting George Fox attended on the mainland of America. In addition to the fascinating story of the work of the founder of Quakerism in Anne Arundel County, Reaney Kelly devotes a chapter to each of the three Monthly Meetings of the area, and tells the story of six of the beautiful homes owned by Friends in Anne Arundel in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. This section of the book is made additionally interesting with fullpage photographs of the site of the first General Meeting, the Indian Spring Meetinghouse, which stood within the present area of Fort George G. Meade, six of the early Quaker homes to which reference has been made, and three portraits of Friends...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 47-48
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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