CHAPTER 21
THE GREAT WESTWARD MIGRATIONS

FRIENDS in America have been a migratory people. It is not merely that their excess population has followed the frontier and that in the newly settled regions Quaker ministers and missionaries have made converts and established new meetings as other denominations have done; large sections of the Society have migrated from one section of the country to another -- sometimes almost in a body -- resulting in a great loss of members, meetings and meetinghouses in the older regions, and putting a great strain upon the financial means of Friends to build new homes, meeting-houses and schools in the new communities. Many members have been lost to the Society in these migrations because they settled in neighborhoods where no other Friends came. The Society has suffered also from the loss of the settled traditions and local interest of the older meetings,1 while gaining, on the other hand, freedom from the dead hand of the past.

Mention has been made already of certain migrations of Friends from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England, beginning about 1725.2 An important section of these migrants came from New England communities which had been largely dependent on the whale fisheries, such as New Bedford and Nantucket Island. A large proportion of these Friends moved southward, settling in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Later in the century there

____________________
1
Cf. Forster, Mem., I, 333.
2
Above chap. 16, pp. 201, 202.

-269-

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