Quakers in Indiana in the Nineteenth Century

Author: Sheryl Vanderstel


Followers of British religious reformer George Fox, called Quakers, Children of Light or Friends in Truth, were known among themselves as the Society of Friends. Fox and his followers looked to the silence within for the Inner Light they felt would lead them to religious truth and righteousness. Fox was also an activist. His followers were reformers who sought equality and care for all of mankind regardless of their race; peace and social justice for all regardless of class or economic situation. (See Hamm: Chapter 1)

It was this spirit of justice and reform that brought the first Friends to the Territory of Indiana. After a delegation of Miami and Potawatomis visited with President Jefferson in 1802, a delegation from the Baltimore Yearly Meeting also conferred with them regarding their plight in the territory. The Meeting officially protested to Congress as to the unjust practices of the governments’ "Indian Policy" and then sent farm equipment to the Miami living near Fort Wayne. The spring of 1804 found a group of Friends in the area setting up a demonstration farm for the Native Americans. This act of caring and generosity ultimately failed due to the power struggles of the two Indian Agents in Ft. Wayne and the Friends returned to Baltimore in 1810. (Rudolph:194-195)

At about the same time, some in the Society were urging Friends in North and South Carolina and Virginia to leave the slave south and move to the newly established, free Northwest Territory. Land here was cheap, fertile, and abundant. Many moved to the southern part of Ohio and then in 1806, the son of a North Carolina Quaker newly settled in Montgomery County, Ohio traveled just west into the Indiana Territory. He recorded in his Memoirs that he had "…found the country we had been in search of. Spring water, timber and building-rock appeared to be abundant, and the face of the country looked delightful." David Hoover convinced his father, Andrew, as well as fellow Quakers Jeremiah Cox and John Smith to move their families into what is now Wayne County, Indiana. Because all three men were looked upon as leaders by fellow Friends and because Friends tended to settle together in order to limit their contact with "outsiders", there was suddenly a great rush to the valley of the Whitewater. David Hoover, made a wise choice in moving to Indiana. He prospered in his adopted state. He laid out the city of Richmond and later became the judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court. (Rudolph:196) (See Hamm: Chapter 2 The Great Migration and 3 The Beals Family)

What kind of people were these new citizens of Indiana? On the whole, these first Quakers settlers had only a limited education. Few were completely illiterate but, as David Hoover explained in his Memoirs, educational opportunities in North Carolina had been limited. He illustrated this lack by stating "…I never had the opportunity of reading a newspaper …until after I was a grown man." As to wealth, the elder Hoover, Smith and Cox arrived with outfits valued between 2 and 3 thousand dollars. Few others could boast a worth even close to this. Most were poor farmers with nothing more than what could be crammed into a single wagon. (Rudolph:196)

Quaker migration to the area was spirited and, by 1807, the Friends living near Jeremiah Cox’s home petitioned the West Branch, Ohio Monthly Meeting for an "indulged meeting" at Cox’s Settlement. By 1808, these Friends had a log meeting house and by 1809 they were organized as the Whitewater Monthly Meeting, with over 200 members. This was the first official Meeting od Friends in Indiana. Through the years of 1809 to 1812 more than 800 Friends were admitted into the meeting. North Carolina Friends, under the leadership of William Hobbs, settled at the headwaters of the Blue River, near present day Salem in 1812, while another group settled at Lick Creek in present day Orange County. (Rudolph:196)


Through the years of the War of 1812, Quaker migration to the Indiana Territory slowed to a trickle. But at the cessation of hostilities, southern Quakers now came straight to the Quaker settlements of Indiana. Most traveled from the south, as Elijiah Coffin did, in groups to 30 – 40 made up of family members and friends. The wagon trip from the Carolinas took about a month, traveling through the Cumberland Gap on the Wilderness Road, blazed nearly 50 years earlier for the earliest western settlers. (Rudolph:198) New Friends settlements sprang up in other areas of the state. A meeting was established on the Wabash River, south of Terre Haute in 1820. That same year, when central Indiana was opened to settlement, Friends established meetings in Morgan and Jackson Counties. Within a decade The Society of Friends had also established meetings in Randolph, Henry, Marion, Boone, Hendricks and Parke Counties. (Rudolph:197)

During the mid1820s significant numbers of Friends began to move into southern Hamilton County. Many were from the North Carolina upcountry while others were Friends from settlements in the Whitewater Valley. These industrious farmers quickly established themselves on the lands in the vicinity of the White River. They immediately began worshipping in their homes and by 1833 the settlers of Bethlehem (6 miles south of Westfield, 1 mile north of present day Carmel) settlers requested permission to establish the Richland Preparative Meeting. In 1835 the Quakers of Westfield were granted permission to establish a Preparative meeting. (Rumer:15; Western Meeting:35-39;63-65) By the eleventh month of 1835, there were enough Friends in the Bethlehem and Westfield Meetings to be granted their own monthly meeting. (Rumer: 15)

But it was still the Whitewater Valley that held the largest concentration of Quakers in the state. In 1821, when the Indiana Friends were finally authorized to establish a Yearly Meeting, it was headquartered in Richmond. The construction of a meeting house to hold this great annual gathering was huge by standards of the day – 100 feet by 60 feet with 25 foot high walls. Built of brick, between 1822 and 1829, the huge meeting house was considered by many to be a wonder. In 1840, a New England journalist, J. Gould, made note of it in an article about the city, saying "A large part of the population are Quakers, who have a very large meeting-house in a fine grove to the northeast of town." (McCord:177)

The Plain Life

Members of the Society of Friends lived a life filled with what they referred to as their "plain ways". These plain ways of dressing, speaking and personal conduct helped maintain the separateness and discipline that was necessary for the continued existence of their religious society. "The Discipline" was a slender volume of rules that were to be kept by each Friend. The original Discipline dated back to the London Yearly Meeting of the 1660s. Each member was to have a copy, published by the Yearly Meeting of which he or she was a member. The rules varied little from meeting to meeting. These rules defined the life of individual Friends from birth to death, even dictating whether a burying ground could have gravestones and the height and form of the stones! (Hamm:37) (See Hamm: Chapter 5 The Discipline… and Chapter 8 Birth, Marriage…..)

Living close together in community gave all access to the meeting house, fellowship and, not coincidentally, the ability to have oversight of each other. (Hamm: 52) Even at mid-century, Quakers were a most rural lot, with no cities of more than 5,00 having a Quaker meeting. When Friends did live in more populated areas, it was usually a village such as Bethlehem (Carmel), Spiceland or Westfield. Living in rural or village settings avoided some of the more obvious temptations of the world such as taverns, assorted Protestant congregations or circuit riders and lawyers. (Hamm:53) It would be fair to note here that Friends were especially warned to stay distanced from lawyers as law suits against fellow Quakers were strictly forbidden along with the oaths that might be required in a court of law.

Dress was their most immediate difference from the non-Quaker Hoosiers. Men were required to wear collarless coats and wide brimmed hats of black or yellow (Rudolph:200) that were only removed in prayer. Women’s bonnets were plain cloth with stiff, deep brims. Women wore plain cut dresses, unadorned by decoration. Both men’s and women’s clothing were fastened with the plainest of buttons and then only as absolutely necessary. Children’s clothing was simply little versions of the adults. (See Hamm: Chapter 6 The Plain Life)

Education was an issue of importance for Indiana Friends. Many coming from the Carolinas in the early migration were poor and relatively uneducated. Some, like David Hoover, the first Quaker in the state, were self-educated. But all saw the value of education in spiritual, personal and business life. In counties were Friends settled, Quaker schools were usually the first and sometimes the only schools. In 1840, when the Federal Census reveled illiteracy rates of 16% in some counties, Wayne County’s literacy was almost 100%. Friends saw a religious responsibility to provide a "guarded education" to their children. That same year, Yearly Meeting records show that the Friends were operating 114 schools in the state. (Rudolph:206) Children were to be taught by Friends to read, write, and cipher in order to fulfill the work of the Society – within the meeting and in their personal life. The monthly meeting usually had oversight responsibility for schools, hiring the teacher, choosing texts, and maintaining the building. Parents paid tuition, with the meeting encouraged to pay for educating poorer members. If a monthly meeting was not close by, or consensus could not be reached, a Quaker subscription school was established by a group of parents. They hired and paid for a teacher and regulated the school as the Monthly Meeting did. Higher education came in the form of academies, Spiceland Academy being the largest and most well-known. In 1845 a Friends Academy opened in Westfield. A year earlier a manual labor school was opened by Friends in Parke County. Through the 19th century, Friends operated nearly a dozen of these secondary schools. (Indiana Friends:23-25) The Friends Boarding School in Richmond was finally opened in 1847 and evolved into Earlham College by 1859. ( See Hamm: Chapter 10 Quakers and Education)

Quaker Worship

Quaker worship was held on first-day and again at mid week, usually about 11 in the morning. It was marked by a vast silence. There was no singing, music was thought to be a distraction from true religion. There were no sacraments, no liturgy. The members usually gathered early in the meeting house yard to visit and at the appointed time one of the elders would turn to another and together solemnly walk toward the meeting house doors. Men and boys filed in one door, women and children the other. (Hamm:73) At the front of the Meeting sat the elders, designated ministers if any, along with visiting elders and ministers. All sat in silent waiting. If a member felt moved by the Holy Spirit, he or she might rise and speak, quote scripture or pray. Children, however were not to speak. It was a solemn and weighty thing to speak during meeting. More often it was one of the elders or designated ministers that rose to speak. They usually spoke in a special, high, sing-song tone, much like a chant, that was reserved for worship. (Hamm:77) Many meetings, however, continued without anyone ever speaking. British Friend, William Talleck, wrote that meetings in the west were anything but silent. He noted that the cries of babies and fidgeting children, as well as tobacco chewers who rose to spit from an open door or window and even the sounds of the countryside disturbed the silence of these rural meetings. (Hamm:79) The meeting would last for about an hour. No clocks being in the meeting house, one of the elders would signal the close of the meeting by rising and shaking hands with an elder across the aisle. The two would then leave the building followed by the congregation. (See Hamm: Chapter 7 Ways of Worship)

The meeting houses too had a special form. The buildings were rectangular with one of the long sides serving as the front of the structure. This entry fa├žade was completely symmetrical, each half being a mirror image of the other. Two doors, usually with flanking windows, served as entrances for each of the sexes with men and boys entering the right door and women, young children, and girls the left. Each of the short sides of the building was also identical, with windows and a door that corresponded with the interior cross aisle that formed by the gallery and facing seats. If the meeting house was frame the exterior, the building was painted white. Occasionally, the building had exterior shutters.

The building interior sharply differed from the interiors of other Protestant denominations. Each entrance had a corresponding aisle that ran to the front of the building where both were intersected by a crossing aisle. Across the front of the building where 3 rows of raised seats that faced the entrance. This was called the "gallery" or facing benches and was seating for the meeting elders, overseers, ministers and distinguished guests. (Baldwin: 96-97; Reagan: 8; Unthank: 4) The members of the meeting sat in rows facing the elders. The last few rows of the congregational seats were also elevated to allow for an unobstructed view of the meeting from the back of the building. The pews were simple planed plank seats sometimes with narrow backs. Down the center of the room, from back wall to front, ran a divider. This divider was one of two types. The first was called a "partition." This was comprised of boards that formed a solid wall about one-third of the way up from the floor. Then the wall was pierced with window-like openings that had panel covers that slid up to open. (Unthank: 4; Baldwin: 96-98) The second divider type was called "shutters." These shutters were hinged panels that folded flat against the wall of the building when closed. In either case, these dividers were opened for worship and closed for the separate men’s and women’s business meetings. (See Quaker Meeting House Furnishing Plan)

The business meetings were a vital part of the lives of the members. This was the forum for oversight of personal and corporate behavior, discussion for missionary or committee responsibility and action, as well as educational needs. The Men and Women’s Meetings were on an almost equal footing, each had a clerk to take minutes and messengers to go between meetings with questions or opinions when they were discussion items of mutual concern. Decisions were reached without votes, the spiritual consensus was discerned by the clerk from the tone of the discussion and recorded in the minutes. (Rudolph:200; Hamm)

Monthly Meetings brought together Friends from a wider area and were significant to the members for the religious and social stimulus the Meetings provided. The business of Monthly Meetings included admitting new members, the enforcement of discipline and disownment. Monthly Meetings recorded births and deaths, as well as marriages. Within the Monthly Meetings were standing committees to govern education, the poor, burying grounds and meeting houses. Another important item was the annual answering of the queries. Each year the Meeting was required by the Indiana Yearly Meeting to address the nine queries of the Discipline. The answers to these nine questions were meant to be a gauge by which the Meeting and the Yearly Meeting could assess the orthodoxy of a meeting. The Society was aware that the separateness of the Quakers could only be accomplished by strict adherence to the Discipline. These queries included the conduct of the weekly meeting, adherence to doctrinal issues such as pacifism and temperance as well as personal behavior, dress, and business transactions. (Rudolph:200-201; Hamm: 39-46)

Quarterly Meetings, held four times yearly, were made up of two or more Monthly Meetings. As usual fellowship and worship were enjoyed but the business meetings were quite significant. Appeals from disciplined or disowned Friends were heard. These meetings also provided a larger forum for oversight as well as an opportunity to discuss issues of import to Friends. Quarterly meetings had oversight of the work being done for free blacks in the area. Important dignitaries, traveling ministers would be welcomed and their preaching would draw Quakers and non-Quakers alike. Families separated by long distances would come together and fellowship. It was not uncommon for more than a thousand Quakers and non-Quakers to gather for a Quarterly Meeting. (Hamm: 46-47)

The Indiana Yearly Meeting was held in Richmond and after 1858, the newly formed Western Yearly Meeting held its Yearly Meeting in Plainfield. The Yearly Meeting was a week-long event that gathered thousands of Friends together. Quakers from the entire state as well as western Ohio and eastern Illinois came together for worship, business and fellowship. As with the Quarterly Meetings, strangers, as non-Friends were called, were welcomed to the fellowship as well as worship. But they were excluded from business meetings. All the Yearly Meetings had an elaborate system of correspondence that kept other Yearly Meetings apprised of the business of each. Doctrinal issues were discussed and the Discipline was altered to reflect the meeting’s spiritual consensus. These discussions were, however, only a small part of the business of the Yearly Meeting. Institutions such as White’s Manual Labor Institute for Native American children, the Richmond Boarding School and committees on people of color, Sabbath Day Schools and mission convened. Memorials to state and federal governments were framed. These usually concerned issues of discrimination against Native Americans and blacks, war, or compulsory military service. One example of such a memorial was written during the 1838 Yearly Meeting. The Memorial was addressed to the United States Congress concerning the government’s policies on Indians. The circular noted that Indians were human beings entitled to and decent life and education. The Friends objected to the manner in which the government obtained Native American land. They opening argued against, what they termed, the theft of Indian lands and objected to the policy of placing the removed peoples on reservations. All Friends were free to take part in any and all of these meetings. Amongst all the serious work of the gathering were social activities and fellowship. Held for 2 weeks in early autumn, thousands gathered for these Meetings. In the 1850’s, the Indiana Yearly Meeting in Richmond attracted more than 10,000 people. (Rudolph:200; Hamm: 48-51; Western:5)

Doctrinal Schisms

Doctrinal issues divided the Society of Friends worldwide throughout the nineteenth century. Indiana did not escape the friction. The first split came in 1827, when the followers of New York Friend Elias Hicks split from the Society. When he appeared in Indiana for the 1828 Yearly Meeting, Hicks was not received by the orthodox Friends. Hoosier Hicksites then split from the Yearly Meeting. After the Civil War another doctrinal fissure opened in the ranks of the Society. Both the Western and Indiana Meetings were shaken by revivalism and holiness movements that were to last through the century. (Rudolph:207-216) (See Hamm: Chapter 4 The Separations)

It was slavery and abolition that caused great tension and a split amongst the Friends of the 1840’s and 50’s. Quakers were well-established in Indiana politics by the 1840’s. They were officeholders and state legislators, usually members of the Whig party and solidly anti-slavery. Indiana’s first anti-slavery newspaper, the "Protectionist", was published by a New England Quaker in a room over Levi Coffin’s store in Newport. Another journal published in Newport was the "Free Labor Advocate". This was the journal of the Free Labor Movement which advocated discontinuing the use of, or purchase of, any goods or foodstuffs made or raised with the use of slave labor. This cause was championed by Abolitionist leader Levi Coffin and Free Labor stores where opened by several Quakers in the Whitewater Valley. Abolitionist Friends wrote for both of the journals to the great dismay of more moderate Hoosier Quakers. They also founded, and joined, abolitionist societies. This, most moderate and conservative Friends felt, was against the Quaker notion of appropriate quiet and retiring demeanor. Membership in Abolition Societies brought far too much notoriety to such members and disrupted the notion of unity, so valued by Friends. In 1842 Levi Coffin and other influential Friends were disciplined by the Yearly Meeting for their outspoken, and very public behavior, relating to slavery. The next day the Meeting welcomed slave owner Henry Clay as an honored guest. Outraged, the Anti-slavery friends retired to Newport and formed the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Anti-Slavery Friends. Levi Coffin, Charles Osborn and Henry Weeks were among the leaders of the Indiana Anti-Slavery Friends. The orthodox Friends were much grieved by the split. But, by 1857, these Friends had become, for the most part, abolitionists themselves. That year the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Anti-Slavery Friends dissolved and most members rejoined the Indiana Yearly Meeting. (Rudolph: 203-205; See Hamm: Chapter9A. Quakers and African Americans)

The true scope of Hoosier Quaker participation in the Underground Railroad is still at question. Quaker assistance to escaping slaves grew to mythical proportions through the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Hoosier Friend, Levi Coffin implied in his 1878 Reminiscences, that he was the model for the Quaker rescuer Simeon Halliday, in spite of the fact that Stowe had years earlier named Thomas Garrett of Delaware as her model. Coffin did, however, actually aid refuge slaves as early as the 1830’s and the Indiana Yearly Meeting was not pleased with his actions. Coffin, and other Friends, did actively aid slave fugitives as best they could. Scholars now believe that the true heroes of the Underground Railroad were free blacks. Because many lived in settlements, near, or in conjunction with Quaker communities they often received aid, both monetary and physical, from their sympathetic white neighbors. (Hamm:126-129)

The Civil War and Quakers

The Civil War brought more strife to the Quakers of the state. The basic Quaker tenant of pacifism was put to a test by the war and the Federal conscription laws. Non-violent young Quakers refused to serve in the military and also refused to pay for a substitute and then refused to pay the ensuing fine. A very few had property confiscated and were threatened with jail. A group of Friends, as well as Governor Oliver P. Morton, quietly intervened and the harassment stopped. Union sympathy was very strong in the Quaker community and over 1,200 Friends, over a quarter of the Quakers of military age, volunteered for the Army. Some were read out of their meetings, other meetings quietly looked the other way. These men served and returned to their homes and most were reinstated without discipline. (Rudolph:203-204)

At the end of the Civil War, Indiana Friends from the Indiana and Western Yearly Meeting joined with the Ohio Yearly to minister to the needs of the newly freed slaves of the south. The Committee on Freedman concentrated on an area near Clarksville Tennessee where several thousand freed slaves had gathered. They were in immediate need of food, clothing, medical care. Teachers were sent and a school was established. The group then moved to Columbus, Mississippi and repeated the gesture of good will. Thousands of dollars were sent by the Hoosier Yearly Meetings to assist in the needs of the freedmen. (Western Meeting:166-168) In 1869, in association with First Baptist Church and with the support of several of Indianapolis’ leading citizens, The Indianapolis Monthly Meeting established the Colored Orphans Home. Located in Indianapolis, it was managed almost solely by the Indianapolis Monthly meeting well into the 20th century. (Western Meeting: 213-14)

Hoosier Friends were also concerned for the needs of women. One cause of importance was the establishment of the Women’s Prison. Until this time, women had been incarcerated with male prisoners. Together with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Indiana Friends established the Hadley Industrial School for Girls. The school provided a home and education for needy girls in Indiana. The Western Yearly Meeting founded the Friend Boarding Home for Girls in Indianapolis in 1890. At the turn of the 20th century, with the financial assistance of William Ballard, a new building was purchased and the home was renamed the Bertha Ballard Home. This establishment provided a safe and comfortable home for up to 65 young working women. (Western Meeting:214-216)

Care and concern for the plight of Native Americans continued through out the late 19th century. The Committee on Indian Affairs of both Hoosier Yearly Meetings sent delegations west to asses the situation and needs of the Native Americans. In the first year of President Grant’s administration the management of several western tribes was given to the Western Yearly Meeting. In 1881, schools supported and staffed by Indiana Friends were opened in Cherokee Reservations in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. (Western Meeting: 169-170; 204-207; See Hamm: Chapter 9B. Friends and Native Americans)

In the last quarter of the 19th century the Society of Friends faced radical changes within the faith. Changes in American life began to affect the Quaker membership. The National Road had aided in the prosperity and growth of Richmond, a city of over 6,000 in 1860. It was no longer solely a Quaker community. Quaker educational institutions were expanding the horizons of Quakers and strangers alike. Young Friends were experiencing a world beyond the closed Society. After the War, more changes took place. Plain dress and language began to disappear.

The most radical change came with, what became known as the Holiness movement. Young Friends, especially, were yearning for a more active role in their faith. During the Civil War, Rhoda and Charles Coffin initiated Bible Classes and Prayer Meeting for young Friends in Richmond. Others followed in other Quaker communities. Quaker minister, Esther Frame preached eloquently and passionately at revivals attended by Friends and non-Friends. Educators and theologians began to question the old doctrines and the traditional forms of worship (See Rudolph: pages 207-217)

As this Quaker fervor, so much like Methodism spread, so did the desire for changes in the traditional form of worship. Slowly changes came to Hoosier Quakers. By the 1870’s, Quaker Meeting houses were being built that, from the exterior at least, were unidentifiable as Quaker houses of worship. The long, double entry buildings were a thing of the past. Building interiors changed more slowly, with gallery, shutters, and partitions still present. But by the time a paid ministry was accepted at the Indiana Yearly Meeting of 1897, the interior trappings of the old Quaker way were quietly disappearing too. By the dawn of the 20th century the plain life of the Indiana Quakers was a thing of the past.

Because of the changes being made in Quaker worship and behavior another schism appeared in the Western Yearly Meeting. It came to a head in the Plainfield Quarterly meeting of 1877 when conservative Friends, unable to tolerate these changes, withdrew from the Meeting and formed the Western Yearly Meeting (Conservative). (Indiana Friends:24)

The 20th Century

As the 20th century began the Society of Friends were deeply committed to the traditional benevolent programs. Which might explain, in part, their unpreparedness for the outbreak of the Great War. Little had been said about the war in Europe in the 3 major publications of the church although the pages of American Friend were filled with editorials criticizing the draft. (IMH, March 2000: 51) When the United States entered the war no official response had been prepared although at the 1917 Indiana Yearly Meeting the traditional response of pacifism was emphasized.

In 1918, the Western Yearly Meeting surveyed member meetings as to the response to the draft within each. Of the 57 meetings that responded there were "787 men of draft age, 370 drafted or volunteered, 324 of these accepted combatant service, 41 accepted non-combatant service and 5 had refused any service under military direction." (Quakers Action: 16) The Indiana Yearly Meeting conducted a similar survey. Of 50 monthly meetings, 38 responded with information indicating that of 1,105 men of military age, 307 were serving as soldiers and 124 as conscientious objectors. (IHM, March 2000: 54-55) Because the tide of patriotism ran particularly high in Indiana, the Hoosier Quakers were particularly silent on the subject of pacifism and the draft. Many publicly supported the war effort and served on Defense Boards or in Liberty Loan drives. Some meetings proudly posted the names of their soldiers and had letter-writing committees to keep the soldiers informed of things on the "home front". (IHM, March 2000: 53) The Meeting prepared an official response that stated that both those serving and those refusing to serve needed their love, acceptance and prayers.

When the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting formed the American Friends Service Committee to aid the civilian victims of the war, Hoosier Quakers responded enthusiastically. Sewing and knitting groups were formed and financial assistance was provided to send food and medical supplies to civilians in Europe. Throughout the war, American Friend, a periodical published in Richmond, was filled with reports from Friends assisting civilians near the front and pleas for help. There were monthly reports from the Friends War Relief Service and Red Cross reports asking for men to volunteer for duty at hospitals on the front lines. (American Friends: 1918) Through out the 1920’s Indiana Friends were deeply involved in aid to Germany. A publication, Quakers in Action, highlighted the work of the Friends in Germany. Hospitals, feeding programs and financial aid were provided by and staffed by caring Friends.

The days of adamant Quaker pacifism had past. By the Second World War, conscientious objectors were few in number. An unofficial survey published in the Indianapolis Star in 1943 estimated 90% of Quaker men of military age were serving in one of the branches of the armed forces. With the endorsement of his meeting, one Quaker pastor left his pulpit in Spiceland to become a chaplain. (IHM, March 2000: 57) Only a few braved the bitter anger of his neighbors to become a conscientious objector. So, officially the Indiana Friends were committed to Peace while, in actuality, almost all realized that to combat the evil of Hitler they must go to war.


Hamm, Thomas, et al. "The Decline of Quaker Pacifism in the Twentieth Century" The Indiana Magazine of History, March 2000: pages 45-71.

Hamm, Thomas. Quakers in the Old Northwest. n.d., unpublished. Conner Prairie Archives.

Hinshaw, Gregory P. Indiana Friends Heritage. Richmond, Indiana: Indiana Yearly Meeting, 1996.

Jones, Lester M. Quakers in Action. New York: Macmillan Co., 1929.

McCord, Shirley, Compiler. Travel Accounts of Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1970.

Rudolph, L.C. Hoosier Faiths: A History of Indiana’s Churches and Religious Groups. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Rumer, Thomas. "Requesting the Privilege: A Historic View of Carmel Friends Meeting." Unpublished, n.d. Carmel Library.

Semi-Centennial Anniversary Western Yearly Meeting of Friends Church. Plainfield, Indiana, 1908.

Unthank, Susan B. "Annals of Spiceland Meeting School." Unpublished manuscript, 1919-1924. Indiana State Library, Indiana Division, Manuscripts Section.