I normally write on the Bible and theology nowadays, but occasionally I still include a cultural and social article from a biblical point of view.
Dateline: 11 May 1685: Maybe the Quakers thought it prudent to honor the new king. But there was a problem–his religion. Both sides were part of European and American church history, in the colonial era. At his accession to the throne, he became James II.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1 Nov 1689: The Council debates how William and Mary became King and Queen. Let’s listen in on a near-verbatim transcription of their discussion on that day. They were part of church history, and so was the council of Philadelphia.
Dateline: 5 July 1702, Philadelphia. People in the New World thought it best to proclaim her queen in order to provide for their own defence and form a militia against invasion and for legal reasons. Both sides of the Atlantic were part of church history.
How are they defined? How many people belong to them?
Dateline: Virginia, 1652 and 1658: Despite the hardships of the earliest Virginia colonists, they still formed the House of Burgesses to discuss the running of the colony. Here are two oaths that the members had to swear. They also swore on the Bible. Continue reading
Dateline: Virginia, July 30, 1619: The Anglican Virginia colonists under Sir George Yeardley met in a plenary session to invoke God’s blessing and set out basic rules. They met in the choir of the church. This is the first official government assembly. These men were not greedy, Indian-murdering atheists.
Church history is a wide net that catches not just the famous preachers and theologians and the political reactions they caused. Here is an English-American gentleman who soon became a church warden. What did they do exactly?
Dateline: 1696 to 1763, Virginia. Ten clergymen signed a key document. These historical primary documents tell the story of the gradual, great “divorce.”
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1683: The kings and parliament in the seventeenth century fought for political power. Who would win? How does this struggle relate to new-world America?
Dateline: Philadelphia, 28 Oct 1701: Penn offers this new charter. What about religious liberty in the first article? How should the government be organized? Churches? Continue reading
Dateline: Philadelphia, 28 Oct 1701: William Penn, Proprietor and Governor of Pennsylvania and territories, says that men are happiest when they can follow their conscience, particularly liberty of religion. Except for one class of citizens….
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1707-1708. This is about the Indians of Pennsylvania. What was one of the strong motives for Christians to settle there?
Dateline: Philadelphia: 22 Apr 1701. It is best to lead by example in the Christian faith.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1694. Various clans of Indians meet in Philadelphia to discuss their friendship and their fears. The English say they want peace so they can turn their attention against their real enemy—who?
Dateline: Virginia, 1676/7: After the troubles of Bacon’s Rebellion, the Queen of the Pamunkey Natives asks for restoration of her royal position, property and rights.
Dateline: Virginia, 1663. Some Indians used to steal livestock and crops from the English plantation settlers. Here’s how the authorities handled it. Short post of primary source. Continue reading
Dateline: Ft. Stanwix, New York, 5 Nov 1768. Sir William Johnson, Baronet, appointed by George III, assures the native chiefs that borders would not be crossed. Did the deed hold? Primary source. Continue reading
Dateline: Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, 18 October 1770. Land is ceded to the Cherokee Nation by this treaty. What is so interesting about it, in addition to the history, is the Indian marks or signatures reproduced here. Primary source!
Dateline: Virginia, June 3, 1644: Not afraid to declare war, these Anglican colonists are at war yet again with the Natives.
Dateline: Virginia, 16 October 1629: After the English were massacred in 1622, the General Assembly (in this specific meeting) decides not to hold back against the Natives. Plus, how does one pay for the daily business of governing? Is church attendance required? These Anglicans decide.
Dateline, Virginia: 1654. The earliest Anglican settlers were harassed by the Natives on certain occasions. How would the earliest Americans respond? Continue reading
Dateline: 10 May 1693, Philadelphia. A small clan of Indians of the upper part of the Schuylkill River came into Philadelphia to pay their respects to Benjamin Fletcher, who was appointed by King William and Queen Mary to be Governor over Pennsylvania. Continue reading
Dateline Virginia: 1 Aug. 1619: His Majesty’s Council in Virginia enacted these laws, which mixed civil law and religious behavior. Converting Indians was valid., and so was offering them a college education in the Christian religion, if they wanted it.
Dateline: Jamestown, 4 Aug. 1619: This is the sixth official government meeting in American history. These Anglicans were expected to attend church with their guns and swords ready. They had to treat Natives fairly, but not alone–together and provide uniform treatment.
Dateline: Virginia, 1619-1663. Were the Virginia colonists secular and anti-religious? Here are their values and ideas about the Christian religion and doing ministry. What about outreach to the Native Indians?
Dateline: Virginia, 1696. This Act of the Assembly gives the answer. Short primary source for American history teachers and students.
Dateline: Virginia, 1755. How did the Lt. Gov., Council and General Assembly deal with the “act of God”? Short primary source for American history teachers and students.
Dateline: Virginia, 1758. Are the Governor, Council and General Assembly heartless or merciful in difficult times? Read the (short) Act to find out.
Dateline: Virginia, 1751. This Act of the House of Burgesses tells us. Primary source for teachers of American history on all levels and students.
Dateline: Virginia, 1756 to 1759. The Bishop stands up for the colonial clergy when the Virginians were depriving them of their set salary. Would the Virginians even care?
Dateline: Philadelphia, 21 May 1701. Gov. William Penn, who was a skeptical Quaker about the supernatural elements in Christianity, hears a strange tale. What did he do?
Dateline: in Chester Co., PA, 1689, 1695: Richard Buffington was a prominent member in the community, often serving on the jury and passing over and receiving deeds (land records). His wife Anne was not quite as stable or upstanding.
Dateline: 1683/4 Philadelphia: Did the Quakers show the way on how to deal with accusations of witchcraft in seventeenth century America?
Dateline Virginia, 1676/7: This post shows the Grand Assembly’s perspective about the revolt. Primary source offered here.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1693. Would Quaker-dominated Philadelphia contribute to their ransom money or turn isolationist?
Dateline: Jamestowne, 1666, and Philadelphia, 1703-04: Manuel (last name unmentioned) and Antonio Garcia were mulattoes who made their appeals to two colonial government councils and won. .
Dateline: Philadelphia, 11 July 1693. Black slaves met together in Philadelphia on the first day (Sunday) of the week and apparently disturbed the peace. How did the Quakers clamp down?
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1707. What did happen to the two thieves?
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1687-1688. The facts are basic and short. The Council took action.
Dateline: 25 September 1703: Servant John Noyse stole a watch, etc. and had to be punished. But how? This short primary source is perfect for students and teachers and other researchers. Continue reading
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1704 to 1705. The description of corruption and vices that these new laws assume is startling. How would the Quakers deal with the vice?
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1685 What was the result of the trial?
Dateline, Sussex County and Philadelphia: 1704. This happened rarely, but here is a sad but true case. How would these Bible-following Christians handle it?
Dateline: 1681-1688, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Some people behaved back then much as they do today. But these men were a small number, so let’s not overstate things.
Dateline: Virginia, 20 February 1745: The Executive of the Virginia Colony delivers a speech to support George II over the so-called Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charles. The title of this post is taken from words in the speech.
Dateline: Virginia, 1663. What happens when someone hangs out with Quakers? This brief post explains, in part, why the constitutional Founders adopted the First and Sixth Amendments 120 years later: Freedom of religion and no religious test.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 29 and 31 January 1704: What was to be done when the couple were already married?
In this short post, women folk were rare in 1624, so they had the upper hand in the marriage contract. They were betrothed to two or more men—usually two—by verbal agreement. They invoke the majesty of God for this new rule.
Dateline, Virginia, 1663 to 1666. The colony is growing, and they had to improve things to make money. Improve? Too much nakedness or inadequate clothing. Wolves had to be killed to protect livestock. Primary sources here. Great for teachers and students.
Dateline: 1662, Virginia. Would you get on your knees to beg for forgiveness in the Council chamber? Primary sources here. Great for students and teachers of history.
Dateline: 1666 and 1667. One had to take certain steps to become a citizen, including belonging to the right religion and having a trade. Continue reading
Dateline Virginia, March 1661/2: A husband and wife with their two servants get lashes for striking the High Sheriff. It’s one symptom of a dysfunctional family. Continue reading
Dateline Virginia: Tuesday, August 3, 1619. The earliest colonists, borrowing their customs and laws from England, did not mess around with insubordination from the lower classes. Continue reading
It is startling what they had to go through. How did the churches fare?
Dateline: Virginia, 1623/24: This is a letter written by the Governor, Council, and Assembly of Burgesses to King James I, to reply to Capt. Nathaniel Butler’s “Unmasking of Virginia.” How did the churches fare?
Dateline: 1623/4, Virginia: 29 Anglican Virginians signed this document. The earliest settlers on the American shores suffered greatly in the first twelve years. What follows is their entire firsthand account of their deadly ordeal. How did the churches fair? Continue reading
Dateline: Philadelphia: 26 Jan. 1684 and 12 Feb 1698: They actually enacted laws to set up the public school of Philadelphia, with money. Girls could attend, and poor children could go for gratis. But was the school subsidized by tax payers?
Dateline: 1704: A brawl broke out in the streets of Philadelphia on the night of 1 Nov 1704. Here is the account from the Minutes of the Provincial Council. By now, a few people of church denominations other than Quakers moved into the city. Where’s the City of Brotherly Love? Continue reading
Dateline: Philadelphia, 10 Feb 1698. Or at least that’s what a letter from England claimed. How would the Philadelphia Council reply?
Dateline: 1683 to 1700, Pennsylvania and West Jersey. The head of household served in the highest level of government of the Province of Pennsylvania, but his own really bad behavior brought him down.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1700. What she do? Marry her “rapist”? Did she love him and claim rape to marry him? Or did she want to save his life by marriage to him?
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1686-1688: What happened when Luke Watson had an affair with his brother-in-law’s unnamed servant girl?
The Richardsons, even though one of them served in the highest level of Pennsylvania’s Provincial Government, were very dysfunctional. These records go from 1688 to 1689 in Philadelphia, but the murder happened in Kent County, (West) New Jersey.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1688: Peter Stewart was a yeoman who was accused of stealing a lot of money and other valuables from John Wickham. But Wickham was no angel, either. This short post reveals what daily life was like at our founding—or at least the daily life of some people.
Dateline: Chester County, Philadelphia, 1689: What did the court conclude about widow Anne Richards’ two children who were born out of wedlock?
Dateline: Chester Co. PA, 1688-90: She was used by a certain John Bradshaw and then mistreated by her father-in-law in a sexual way. How would the Quakers handle this case?
Dateline: Chester County, PA, 1683: Our earliest (Christian) Founders had to decide on how they would punish people—free or indentured—who showed contempt for the government and its authority. In the following case, they decided on a standard punishment for the times.
Dateline: Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1685-88: Samuel Rowland was most likely an indentured servant, and the court records show him either in trouble or more often the cause of it. Life wasn’t paradise in a growing and early Quaker community in Pennsylvania.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1684-85: This time the combination and interaction turned out bad.
Dateline: Chester County, outside Philadelphia, in 1689: I don’t know, but it looks like it’s the first one in the Quaker community.
Dateline: Philadelphia, 1698: Peter Baynton abandoned his wife and went back to England, where he got married. He’s now looking to get more of his estate in Philadelphia and bring it back into his possession.
Dateline: 1693 to 1694, Philadelphia. The earliest Americans, even peaceful Quakers, supported the death penalty—that’s for sure.
Dateline: Philadelphia: 1683 to 1689: We look at the records of a devout Christian and carpenter. Church history is more than just famous preachers and theologians. It encompasses everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.
Dateline: Pennsylvania: 1755-1814. Church history is more than just famous preachers and theologians. It encompasses everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. This family inspires me. Would I be this courageous to fight in a war and be a pioneer into new territory?
Church history goes wider than the famous theologians and preachers and political reactions. It embraces the common people.
He was born in 1778 and died after 1828. He attended a biracial church. These primary, old, handwritten documents say he lived a remarkable life and deserves our honor. Church history is more than just famous people.
Dateline: Edgefield County, South Carolina, 1810-1847. This is a list of church members who attended Bethany Baptist Church. Both slaves and owners went to the same Christian community. Blacks and whites attended church together.
After my mother died in 1994, I found her mother’s handwritten family history. It pointed me to the right states, counties and dates for her grandparents, who lived before and after the Civil War (1861-1865)–the Great Divide.
I’m interested in history, no matter where it leads. Call it church history, since these people claimed Christianity. This post goes from 1790-1850
These families feed into the Wilbourn lines and go from 1703 to 1854. But this post goes wider than just family history. It is now about American church history, since everyone in this post claimed Christianity. A few were church wardens.
In this post, growth is defined by reaching people and converting them and an increase in church attendance, not birthrate or immigration. Measured in that way, Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world, without a close second. Periodically updated.
Here is a list of the principal works referenced or used at this site. More will be added as time goes on, so please check back.