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Quaker Names you should know - Count how many males vs. females. Count how many were highborn/educated vs. middle or lowborn and uneducated.
1-Margaret Fell Fox 1614 – 1702, Widow of a judge and a woman of means, she became the “nursing mother” of the Quaker movement. Convinced by the preaching of Fox and later married him. Prolific writer, imprisoned twice for her faith. Sentenced to the loss of her property and civil rights, she stated “Although I am out of the King’s protection, yet I am not out of the protection of the Almighty God” (Life of Margaret Fox, Philadelphia, 1859, p36)
2-Mary Dyer 1615 – 1660 British born American Quaker, felt called to preach in Boston when it was against the law for a Quaker to be in Mass. Jailed, banned, returned and was hanged with three others in 1660.
3 Isaac Pennington 1616 – 1679 Son of Puritan Lord Mayor of London. Convinced in 1658, he was imprisoned six times and forfeited much of his property. Gifted speaker, writer and encourager of the Society.
4-James Nayler 1618 – 1660, Farmer. Fought for the Puritans during the civil war. Met Fox in 1651, became convinced, as was a passionate preacher. In 1656 he rode into Bristol on a colt imitating Christ’s triumphal entry and was imprisoned and tortured for blasphemy. Repudiated by Friends including Fox until briefly before his death in 1660. His dying words were,
”I live in that Spirit that delights to do no evil” .
5-Mary Fisher 1623 – 1698, started her adult life as a servant. Traveled widely in the ministry, visited the Sultan of Turkey in 1657. The sultan received her and her message politely and asked her opinion of the prophet Mohamed. She stated that “they might judge him false or true according to the words and prophecies he spoke” (Brinton, Friends for 300yrs, pg 159). Later jailed in Boston for her faith.
6 George Fox 1624 – 1691 From the trading class with little education, he became a religious seeker at 19. He traveled widely exploring the teachings of many. In 1647, he had a personal reveltation that “there is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition” (Journal of GF). He believed that Christ would come and teach His people directly. In 1652 on Pendle Hill he preached a sermon where he said that a great people would be gathered. Which is considered the beginning of the religious society of Friends.
7 William Penn 1644 – 1718 Son of an Admiral in the King’s army, young Penn has puritan sympathies but found the Friends in the 1660’s. Locked in the tower of London for his writings, he continued to write. In 1680 given a land grant in North America to settle a debt to his father he established Pennsylvania as a Holy Experiment in religious liberty and Quakerism.
8 Robert Barclay 1648 – 1606 Scottish Friend son of a Colonel under Cromwell. A very well educated man. Convinced in 1666 after worshipping with Friends where he said he felt “a secret power among them” and found “Evil weakening in me and the good raised up” . Wrote “The Apology” the first clear and complete exposition of Friends beliefs.
9 John Woolman 1720 – 1772 Born in New Jersey. Abolitionist, his work on behalf of slaves is considered the driving force of Friends being the first major group to free their slaves. He also had concerns for Native Americans, anti-war tax resistance and the environment. He was known for a level of personal truthfulness that astounded even Quakers. His journal is one of the best examples of spiritual journals ever written.
10- Elias Hicks 1748 – 1830 surveyor and minister. Did not become a controversial figure among Quakers until late in life. He de-emphasized explicit beliefs and biblical literalism, and raised up the ideas of the Inner Light, personal experience, and continuing revelation. Because of these positions the liberal half of the great split of 1827 bore his name, though he never advocated separation, and was grieved by the controversy.
11- Elizabeth Gurney Fry 1780-1845 British Friend, sister of John Gurney. Her major work was with women in prison. She started in Newgate prison, educating and helping the women there. Spoke in meeting on a regular basis, and was formally recognized by her meeting as having the gift of vocal ministry in 1811.
12- John Gurney 1788 – 1847 Banker Biblical scholar and minister. A much traveled minister and worker for social causes, he became controversial by promoting teaching in first day schools, the supreme authority of Scripture and the need for acceptance of atonement through Christ for Salvation. The orthodox side of the great split of 1827 took their name from him.
13- Lucretia Coffin Mott 1793 – 1880 born into a Nantucket quaker family, Mott became a recorded minister at the age of 28. She worked tirelessly in the causes of abolition and women’s rights. She along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and three other Quaker women convened the Seneca Falls Convention on Women’s rights in 1848 which produced the world’s first declaration of women’s rights.
14- Levi Coffin 1798 – 1877 Raised in North Carolina and moved to Indiana. Along with his wife Catherine, they made their house a station on the ‘underground railway’. Along with others they withdrew form Indiana Yearly Meeting for 13 years because they were perceived as ‘extremists’. They worked for the rights of freedmen after the civil war.
15- Susan B. Anthony 1820 – 1906 Raised in a Quaker family, abolitionist and worker for women’s rights. Arrested for voting in 1872. Women’s suffrage came 14 years after her death, her final public words were “Failure is impossible”.
16- Rufus Jones 1863 – 1948 Born to a Quaker family in Maine. Jones became a scholar, mystic and peace worker. Instrumental in the formation of the Five Years Meeting (FUM) he spent much of his time building bridges between Gurneyite and Hicksite meetings. He was instrumental in the formation of the Friends World Committee for Consultation and the American Friends Service Committee. His final achievement was the reunification New England Yearly Meeting.