Abstract

The early American backcountry has received increased attention by historians in the last decade and a half. However, the role of ordinary families, as well as the study of religion, has received less attention than economic or political behavior. This article examines a specific group of westerly settled women who belonged to the Society of Friends. In particular it focuses on one Quaker woman, Esther Hunt, to show how religion defined and influenced the lives and choices of trans-Appalachian women and their families. It argues that religious belief was part of neither the private nor the public spheres but was intertwined and connected with all activities carried out by women such as Esther and her co-religionists. While the religious community could provide both spiritual and temporal assistance and a way to move beyond traditional gender roles, it could also limit a womanís choices and force her to decide between family and religion.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-7371
Print ISSN
2151-7363
Pages
pp. 27-44
Launched on MUSE
2003-09-04
Open Access
No
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