Archiver > QUAKER-ROOTS > 2000-09 > 0967934728

From: "Jerry Richmond" <>
Subject: [Q-R] Essay on Disunity
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2000 17:45:28 -0500

List -

I put together this little essay on "disunity" in response to another
query awhile back. I thought it would be worthwhile to share with
the group.
Can you tell me the customary meaning of "disunity" in that time and context?
Does this mean he was not attending the Quaker Meeting or what?
If a person was not attending meetings they would eventually be
disowned for "neglecting attendance".

Unlike most other groups, in conducting business the Quakers
did NOT use Roberts Rules of Order. Everything was decided by
consensus. One of the chief duties of the Clerk as presiding officer
of the Monthly Meeting was to allow members to speak until a
consensus was reached, at least by those whose opinions were
considered to be "weighty". Once a consensus was reached, it
was the duty of the Clerk to discern what the sense of the Meeting
was, and to announce it. This had to be done very adroitly and if it
was obvious that a consensus was not being reached, the Clerk also
had to take appropriate action which might take the form of appointing
a committee to gather more "information" and report back next month.

Once a consensus was announced on a topic, all members were expected
to unite in support of the consensus view. In the vast majority of cases, that
is exactly what happened; or at least dissenting members were wise enough to hold
their tongues. On occasion, a member would rise to speak strongly on a subject
contrary to the announced consensus. Such behavior left him open to censure and
possibly disownment for "disunity". There would have to be a number of such
occurrences before disownment would be brought to bear on an individual.

That's one definition of disunity. A second is the use of "disunity" as a code
phrase to describe the reason for disownment for those members involved on the
wrong side of a doctrinal split in the Society. The major doctrinal splits have
Hicksite Separation 1828-1829 followers of Elias Hicks
Anti-Slavery 1843 Indiana Abolitionists
Wilbur/Gurney 1854 Reform/Conservative in OH
Conservative 1870 Reaction to liberalization in

The third possiblity is that "disunity" was used by the Extracter and not the
original maker of the record to cloak certain types of disownment in some measure
of vagueness. I know that Hinshaw had a tendency to do this with certain types
of sexual peccadilloes. To ascertain the specifics you would have to examine a
microfilm of the original Minutes. There might or might not be more specifics.
You may be certain that any and all gory details both for and against were known
to the committee that recommended the disownment action to the Monthly Meeting.
Their duty was to do exactly that as well as to "treat" with the charged member
to see if there might not be another way around the problem. How much of the
facts made it to the actual written Minutes of the Monthly Meeting was at the
discretion of the Clerk.

Regards, Jerry Richmond
You are cordially invited to visit "The Quaker Collection"

-----Original Message-----
From: Phyllis Selbydabbs <>
To: <>
Date: Saturday, September 02, 2000 3:49 PM
Subject: [Q-R] Abbreviation used in Monthly Meeting and info re Evesham Monthly
Meeting in New Jersey

My great grandfather was "dis disunity" in an Ohio Monthly Meeting in 1843 but I
can't find out what "disunity" means. I don't find "unity" explained in any of
the lists of abbreviations I"ve found. If you know what that means I would be
very appreciative of a response.

Also I would like to know where the Evesham Monthly Meeting was located in New
Jersey since he had previously attended those meetings. If you know of any
resource which might help me locate records of that Monthly Meeting please let me

Finally do you know what a families reaction is to a "disowning"? Is the person
likely to be disinherited ?

Thank you for any help you can give me.

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