Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: 1942 Volume 5 Number 1, Page 12

Reminiscent of Quakerism

Franklin L. Burns

Page 12

This century-old message of condolence addressed to Elizabeth Burn of Tredyffrin, on the death of her seventh child, the infant Benjamin, as penned by her Mother, who gave "good satisfaction" to the Society of Friends.

It is noteworthy that from Elizabeth Kilcop of the Friends' Meeting of Devonshire House, London, and the earliest Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, there was on the distaff side an unbroken line of worthy and acceptable exponents who for nearly two hundred years by precept and example illuminated Quakerism according to the teaching of George Fox.

The second in the line of descent was the saintly Mary Roberts, nee Kilcop, minister of the Abington Meeting, who is said to have been the first female child born of English parents in the "City of Brotherly Love," and "who was educated in consistency with the principles of the Society of Friends, and of innocent behavior, circumspect and exemplary in life and conversation, and an adequate attender of religious meetings". (Cf. The Friend, xxxiii, p. 68).

Hannah Jones, nee Livezey, and her eldest daughter Elizabeth, were of the above mentioned line, and the former at the time of writing had lost by death her husband and two adult sons. The ink is unfaded, the penmanship is firm for an old lady of 76 years, and the contents of the letter exhibits a depth of feeling, though somewhat repressed in the manner peculiar to those of the Quaker faith. Of the trial and its outcome, I have no information, but the Ann mentioned was her youngest daughter, the wife of George M. Whartnaby.

"Philadelphia December 15th 1840

Dear Daughter
I send these few lines to let thee know that I am rather better than I was, I am not able to turn myself in bed, but I can sit up a little while when propped.

I have experienced many trials and I feel very much in sympathy with thee and I think it is often the case when we have to part with our relatives that we think we might have done more for them than we did.

An amiable youth lamented in terms of sincere grief the death of a most affectionate Parent. His companion endeavored to console him by the reflection that he had always behaved to the deceased with duty, tenderness and respect. 'So I thought,' replied the youth, 'whilst my Parent was living, but now I recollect with pain and sorrow, many instances of disobedience and neglect, for which, alas, it is too late to make atonement.'

Dear Elizabeth, thee must look to thy Blessed Redeemer for comfort, for he knows what is best for us. We think it hard to part with our children when small, but it is a greater trial when they are grown.

We have great trouble about the dog; the trial comes next Seventh day at 4 o'clock. Ann sends her respects. No more at present but my love. I remain thy affectionate Mother Hannah Jones."


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