The whole time I couldn't stop imagining the people I missing. What do they look like and how do they act in everyday situations? When entering new situations, I typically identify and separate a "they" and a "me". I guess I do this in order to create an illusion of uniqueness and self-importance. I remember doing it a lot when imaging college and my potential dorm-mates. All of them were from a semi-rural area in Tennessee and the images I had of them (especially after a telephone conversation with a very southern-accented suite-mate) were pretty much your typical good ol' boys.
Of course, my actual roommates were nothing like that and turned out to be more similar to me than I ever would have imagined (as I will explain below). In fact, one of them I have mentioned already -he's the one who have me the simple advice that "growing up in hard" when I was venting about my wedding- and the other two are still great pals. Before I landed in Korea, I had the image that everyone was short and that Korean girls were hungry for white men. Both of those stereotypes were proven false, but I still framed the situation like that in order to cover my own personal confidence issues.
You might be wondering what that has to do with Quakers. Well, even though I have yet to meet the Quaker group, I can take a little refuge in knowing that I come from a family with a rich Friends upbringing. I can't actually date it that far back as I am not the slightest bit talented in genealogical research, however, my uncle has given me a few leads.
My great, great grandfather was named Enoch Beals. He's standing here in 1884 at his home in Fairmont, Indiana. (He's #4)
I also found this letter from 1997...
I have recently bought a computer together with a Yellow Pages directory.
In the directory I located data on Quakers. Upon keying in the address, I
came upon genealogies of various family names, amongst them John Beals.
This document turned out to be 35 pages and of specific interest to me as I
am a great grandson of Enoch Beals born in Tennessee on Octobe4 14, 1841.
He was a civil war veteran on the union side because he lived in
Fairmount, Indiana, (Grant County).
In the documentation, Enoch Beals children are mentioned. One of these was
his second child, a daughter named Emma Cerena Beals. She was my mother's
mother, as she married James Earl Merry and resided in Dunkirk, Indiana
(Jay County) at the time of her death in April, 1914.
She had three children a son and two daughters, the youngest of which was
named Helen Cerena Merry. She married my father, Ellis Robert Lancashire
in Sept 1923. I am their third son , James Earl Lancashire.
I would be glad to correspond with you on further updating of this
genealogy of the descendants of John Beals. The original family tree which
was given to my mother in 1942 ( I was 10) spurred my interest in the
subject . It was written by a great ;uncle, John Beals and he had gotten
his data from an original genealogy by an Uncle Newton Beals who was a
brother of my great grandfather, Enoch Beals.
I also printed out the last will of William Clayton who was the father in
law of John Beals written in 1658, and found it to be very interesting also.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Jim and I have a common ancestor: Enoch Beals. More quick digging...
Enoch Beals, son of Abner, son of Jacob, son of Daniel, son of Jacob, son of John was born in Greene County, Tenn., Oct. 14, 1841 and lived there until 1861, when he came to Indiana, and settled in Fairmount, Grant County. He enlisted in the Federal army in the War of the rebellion and served until the close of the war, when he came home and went into business in Fairmount. He worked at the shoemaker trade in Fairmount from 1865 until 1874. He also had a shoe store at this time in partnership with Joel B. Wright which he sold to Joel B. and went into the brickmaking business and continued in that for about one year. He then went into the grain business and ran a warehouse abut 15 years when he sold out and retired. When a boy and a young man he had been a farmer and shoemaker and had run a flax seed oil mill for several years and was a very hard worker all his life. He did not get much of an education but was counted a first class business man. He got to be worth about $12,000. He was married to Margaret Winslow, daughter of Jonathon P. Winslow in the year 1865, July 13, with whom he lived until 1874 when she died. He was married to Eleanor Cox Feb. 7, 1875, with whom he lived several years. He was divorced from her and was married to Idellia Cox July 7, 1888 and lived with her until his death. He held an office, Justice of the Peace, several years and also that of Notary Public. He raised 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls.Alright now, he's a Tennessee boy who moved to the Indiana (probably because of his anti-slavery Quaker beliefs). His second wife, Eleanor Cox, is also pictured above (#8). His great great great grandfather was named John Jacob Beals.
John Jacob Beals was an early settler in the lower part of Ashton Township, Delaware County, Pa. He lived near Chester Creek which emptied into the Delaware River at the city of Chester. John Beals was married to Mary, the daughter of William Clayton, Sr., in 1682. They were members of the Friends' Church and so far as is known their children were. Their boys' names were John, William, and Jacob; the girls' Mary and Patience. The family after some time removed to Nottingham, Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1726.If you follow the history of the Beals', most of them were born in Greene County, Tennessee (good ol' boy?) and all of them were Quakers. As I mentioned, my uncle loves this stuff and has more information than me. He left this comment in a blog post the other day.
According to my records, your great great grandfather Enoch was forced to leave the Friends when he became a town official in Fairmount, Indiana -- because we was required to take an oath of office. He then joined a Congregational church.Alright now. If he was in Fairmont by 1861 and was a Friend until -based on the records above- the late 1870s until he was forced out, then he must have belonged to the only Quaker church at that time: Back Creek Friends Church.
However, he was forced out in the late 1800's for taking a governmental oath. That suggests that Back Creek might have been a little more conservative or had some divisions with the Ohio Yearly Meetings (Hicksite split) . Even within the progressive faction of the Ohio YM and Hicksite, there were conservative wings. The Congregational/Progressive Quakers started popping up about twenty years before Enoch Beals would have been forced out. I don't know if he was forced out though. It seems that since he fled the slave-friendly south and had divorced, he might have been too progressive for even the progressives.
In many ways these were the prototype for modern unprogrammed meetings, with virtually complete autonomy for local meetings (though not many local meetings were established), no overt restrictions on personal belief, no recognition of ministers and elders, considerable interest in Eastern religions and other more-or-less exotic spiritual practices, a heavy emphasis on political activism (especially abolition and women’s suffrage), no sharp distinction between members and non-members, etc.I guess I could keep on digging around, but for the sake of time, I think I'll stop there. In short, I have no idea what to expect next Sunday, but I do know this: there is something about the history of my family and their relationship to Quakerism that intrigues me. Enoch Beals believed deeply enough in his religion to relocate his entire life and family history from Tennessee to Indiana in order to escape "the rebellion" and fight for the side he knew was right. I didn't know a thing about my Quaker roots a couple months ago, but it goes to show that we all have something to be proud of lurking in our pasts.