Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label BOORN Sarah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BOORN Sarah. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh, What a Difference a Couple Hundred Years Make!

As a member of the Religious Society of Friends in the 21st century, the expectations sound very similar, but not exactly the same as in the 18th century.

My Meeting for Worship does not have any paid clergy, and so all the responsibilities of running the church need to be taken on by everyone in the church community.  Members of unprogrammed Friends Meetings often say "we didn't get rid of the ministers, we got rid of the laity."  Individuals need to take care of all of the jobs, or parts of jobs, that a staff at a church would provide.

For example, last year a young couple in our meeting wrote a letter to the Meeting requesting to be married under the care of our Meeting.  Their letter was read at a monthly meeting for worship to conduct business.  A committee was appointed to meet with the couple to see if they were clear for marriage.

Rewind a few years, back to the 18th century:
I was reading about members of Oblong Monthly Meeting in the series of books by Frank J Doherty, The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Dutchess County, New York, An Historical and Genealogical Study of all the 18th Century Settlers in the Patent, (volumes I -X, 1990 - 2010).  It included examples couples coming to business meeting and requesting marriage under the care of the meeting and a committee of clearness was appointed.

For example:
  “The minutes of the Oblong Friend’s 
Meeting held 14th 6th month 1775 include:  “At this meeting Stephen Osborn,

son of John Osborn and Mary Osborn, deceased, and Sarah Boorn, Daughter of
Nathaniel Boorn and Freelove, his wife, appeared and offered perposals (sic)
with each other and consent of parents Being produced here this meeting
appoints Timothy Dakin and David Hoag to Inquire into the young man’s
clearness from all others in that respect and make a report next meeting.”
[volume IX, page 748]

note:  You might wonder why there wasn't a committee appointed to inquire about the woman's clearness.
Actually, that would have been done by the woman's meeting [there were separate meetings for business back then] and these were the notes from the men's meeting.

But then came the report, a big OOPS:

minutes for the meeting held at Oblong 20th 3rd month 1776 include:  “Stephen
Osborn produced to this (sic) an acknowledgment for his conduct in keeping 
Company with the woman which is now his wife, both living in one house, also
being unchast with her[,] is considered and excepted (sic) and Nathaniel
Stevenson and Reed Ferris are appointed to read it at the close of a first day
meeting at Oblong and New Milford.”
[volume IX, page 748]

Fast forward to the 21st century:
That couple in our meeting was found clear for marriage, and another committee was appointed.  This new committee was responsible to help the couple with the planning of the wedding "in the manner of Friends," taking care of the details before, during and after the wedding to make it legal in the eyes of the state, as well as, meeting the religious expectations of our Friends meeting.

A called meeting for worship was held.  The couple married each other surrounded by their family, friends and Friends in the meeting.  At the end of the meeting for worship for marriage, everyone present [all ages] signed the marriage certificate.  At the next meeting for business, the committee "shepherding" the wedding reported back to the meeting that the wedding was held and the marriage was accomplished in the manner of Friends.
That completed the jobs of the committee appointed to help with their wedding -- in the 21st century.

BUT, not so in the 18th century:

  “Ebenezer Peaslee was very active in the Oblong Friends Meeting and is noted
on 51 pages of the minutes from 1757 through 1780.  The first record was when 
he testified to the successful marriage of Joshua Sherman and Mary Soule at the 
meeting held 18th of 8th month 1757. ... Ebenezer Peaslee and Timothy Dakin
were often appointed to verify that a marriage had been consummated properly.” 

[Volume X, page 266]


“'Reuben Macy, late from Nantucket & Ruth Howard the daughter
of Edward Howard and Phebe Howard of this place came before
this (Oblong) Meeting (held 18th 8th month 1774) and proposed 
marriage to each other.'  The minutes of the meeting held 20th 10th
month 1774 show that Wing Kelly and Timothy Dakin reported 
that the marriage of Ruth Howard and Reuben Macy was decently
[Volume VI, page 720]

No one at my Meeting was appointed to investigate and report on the consummation of our young couple's marriage!

What a difference a couple of centuries makes!
I definitely have not been asked to take on the role that my GGGG'grandfather Timothy Dakin had in his Meeting.

©2012 Erica Dakin Voolich
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