An unexpected New England perspective

Continuing research into topics related to my new book Quaking Dover has greatly changed my view of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in New England. And thus the greater legacy of the region itself.

And here I’d thought I was done!

When Carla Gardina Pestana’s history, Quakers and Baptists in colonial Massachusetts, presented the Salem Friends Meeting as the only Quaker body in the Puritan colonies, I was initially baffled, only to learn that it was true, including those of today’s Connecticut.

Besides Dover and Hampton in New Hampshire, the other Quaker congregations were in Rhode Island or what was then the Plymouth colony or, in Nantucket’s case, the province of New York.

Massachusetts’ unification of the Plymouth colony in 1691 does muddy the waters, but by then, the persecution by Puritans had greatly lessened.

The ultimate impact was on freedom of religion and speech and political opinions, all of which are facing renewed opposition today.

As I had said, here I thought I was done.


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