I wrote recently about the wedding of my 3rd-great-grandparents David Stephens (Stevens) and Rebecca Dickinson in Robeson Monthly Meeting. They were married 22 May 1829. Just a few weeks later on 10 July, David and Rebecca requested a certificate of removal to Short Creek Monthly Meeting in Ohio. They eventually ended up in Deerfield Monthly Meeting in Morgan County, Ohio.
Here is where some of my notions that I formed as a young genealogist (way back in the day) had to be challenged. For some reason, I never considered David and Rebecca following their Quaker faith in Ohio. Perhaps it was because at least one of their children (my great-great-grandmother Ann) had married a non-Quaker. I just never followed up on it. (Remember, I was a young genealogist when I originally discovered they were even Quakers.)
So off I went to one of the mainstays of Quaker research, William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. As I (now) expected, I found David and Rebecca’s admittance to the Deerfield Monthly Meeting on 13 January 1831. It also lists the family register in Deerfield MM for David, Rebecca, and their six children.
Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia is great in that it covers not only the vital records, but also indexes the monthly meeting minutes, which is where you find the requests for certificates of removal and various disciplinary actions. That’s when I noticed it…
1850, 3, 14. [14 March 1850] Ann dis disunity
My great-great-grandmother had been kicked out of the Quakers.
“Dis disunity” is Hinshaw’s way of saying that she was disowned (kicked out) for disunity. Unfortunately, Hinshaw didn’t bother to say what the disunity was. Was 17-year-old Ann speaking out of turn after the meeting had reached a consensus? Had she run afoul of some of the mores of the group and refused to acknowledge her wrongdoing?
In fairness, her brother Elwood and sister Elizabeth were also kicked out of the Quakers, though both of them were for “marrying contrary to discipline.” (In other words, they married non-Quakers.) This wasn’t Ann’s offense. Hers was “disunity,” plus this was a full three years before she married Eber Johnson.
I won’t know what Ann’s offense was until I can track down the Deercreek Monthly Meeting minutes. All I know right now is that whatever it was, it was enough to get Ann kicked out of the Quakers. That little troublemaker…
Ann Stephens/Stevens Johnson was born in Morgan County, Ohio 15 March 1833 and died in Lawrence County, Ohio 9 June 1923.