Was George Durant a Quaker?
- Bulletin of Friends' Historical Society of Philadelphia
- Friends Historical Association
- Volume 5, Number 1, Fourth Month (April) 1913
- pp. 8-14
- Additional Information
8 BULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL SOCIETY. brave to be cruel. I am glad that this production gives the Lye to this kind of malevolence.—Let us, however, cultivate benignity, both between ourselves, and with those we live amongst, and heaven will never forsake us—Adieu. [Endorsed] Doctor Jn0 Fothergill 1774 London Date 22 Decr Rec'd 21 Sept 1775 Pr Ankerwick (?) Ansd 27 Jan 1777 [In another handwriting] This very curious & sensible letter is said to have been addressed to G. Ironside then in India. WAS GEORGE DURANT A QUAKER? By Julia S. White. In "The Quakers in the American Colonies" occurs the following sentence: "William Durand who was convinced by Elizabeth Harris in 1656/7 was a member of Cromwell's commission for the government of Maryland, and was the secretary of that commission. He seems soon after—apparently at the Restoration —to have moved to Carolina and to have settled a plantation on the Roanoke, and the George Durand conspicuous in early North Carolina history was apparently his son." It was this statement which aroused new interest in George Durant and is perhaps the excuse for the present paper. The point of land in North Carolina lying between the Perquimans and Little Rivers, and jutting into the Albemarle Sound, is the section which George Durant bought from the Yeopim Indians, and is still known as Durant's Neck. The spelling of WAS GEORGE DURANT A QUAKER?g the same is with a final "t" rather than a "d." With emphasis upon the first syllable and with the variations to be found in early spelling, one can easily suppose Durand, Durant and Duren with great probability the same family name. That the father of George Durant ever came to Carolina and that the Durants came direct from Maryland to Carolina, are new suggestions. The certificate of George Durant's marriage is extant and he was married in Northumberland County, Virginia, by Reverend David Lindsay. "Parson Lindsay" in his will which was recorded in Northumberland County, Virginia, in 1667, April 8th, says, "I, David Lindsay, minister of God's word in Virginia." On his tombstone in the same county is the following: "Here lyeth the body of Mr. David Lindsay, Doctor of Divinity, etc.," so that David Lindsay must have been a "priest" in Quaker parlance. If George Durant had been a Quaker up to the time of his marriage, his method of marriage would have disowned him. Durant's immediate descendants in Carolina are found associated and identified with the Episcopal church ; and in their family records there are no hints of Quaker ancestry by the use of Quaker phraseology in naming the months or days. About the only fact which can seem to indicate Quaker principles, was that George Durant bought his land from the Indians rather than simply seized it as most early settlers did. To be sure this was a strong Quaker tenet, but that others should not have equally honest hearts and endeavor, is making the Quakers far too superior to their fellow settlers. This deed of George Durant's is still to be seen at the Court House in Perquimans County and is the oldest document in North Carolina state history. In the deed is the following statement: "Beginning at a marked oak tree, which divides this land from the land I formerly sold to Pricklove, etc." This seems to show that George Durant was not alone in this matter of purchase from the Yeopims. This was in 1662. Oldmixon says there were three hundred families in the Province in 1663. And when Henry Phillips came (1665), there must have been as many as five hundred families. Now Phillips settled on the Perquimans ioBULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL SOCIETY. River some fifteen or twenty miles further up the river, and when William Edmundson visits this family in 1672, he distinctly says "they wept for joy, not having seen a Quaker for seven years." Is it possible that a Quaker should have lived seven years in a place where people of like faith were near him without once visiting them or trying to have a meeting? And that, too, where the whole area was not more...