The Worland Family in America and Beyond

I began my life in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, on an island filled with forests and wild rhododendrons. I was separated from my Worland family there at an early age. Recently, I was reunited with my family and learned of my heritage. And so, this journey to know my ancestors began. The Worlands, Gideons, Newtons, Conards... they were the colonists, the settlers, the pioneers. They fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War. This is their story, and the story of a nation. -Deci Worland MacKinnon

Friday, November 20, 2009

Practices of the Quakers During the Colonial Period

A couple desiring to marry had to declare their intentions before a regular weekly Meeting of their local society. Appointed overseers would then conduct an investigation of the character of each. If nothing derogatory was found, the wedding was approved.

A check was kept by the local society with respect to the wedding date and the birth of the first child. A premature baby was examined by three women from three Meetings, often resulting in society records being annotated with an "F/B" meaning "relations before marriage and an illegitimate child, or "F/M" meaning the same, but that marriage had followed. Both situations must be condemned by the involved parties if they wished to remain with the society.

Persons who died were frequently returned to a former residence for burial. Some societies condemned headstones as a sign of vanity and often removed those already in place. Often burial places were left unmarked so that Indians would not know how many had died.

Meetings of the societies were held in the daytime and attendance was checked, carefully. First-day meetings were required attendance and midweek meetings were optional; but the member was judged on his spirituality by his attendance pattern.

A "certificate of clearance" was required to marry or to move into another local society. It would not be given if there were outstanding debts.

 Prior to 1753—and unofficially for some time afterward—they followed an unusual practice of numbering the months of the year. It was forbidden to refer to the usual names given for months such as January, February, etc., because those names were of pagan derivation. The numbering system began with March and so they would use, for instance, "1 mo. 25, 1703," meaning March 25, 1703.

 Their belief in non-violence, of course, precluded their serving in any military capacity and may explain why so few of the Potts Quakers served in the Revolutionary War.

Public acknowledgement was required for all sorts of misdeeds. This usually meant condemning their own actions by confession at a local Meeting. Meeting minutes were made of all known misdeeds, confessed
or not!

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