Quakers in Appalachia


This pathfinder contains materials pertaining to Quakers who have lived and worked in the Appalachian region. Also commonly known as “Friends,” Quakers belong to the Religious Society of Friends, a community founded in 17th century England. Persecuted in their early years, Friends were originally derided as “Quakers” because they were said to tremble with the Spirit of God. They later adopted the term to describe themselves and, today, use it and Friends interchangeably.

During the 19th century, Friends in the United States suffered a number of separations. These resulted in the formation of several different branches of Quakerism. There are differences between these branches and also similarities. This pathfinder includes resources related to all the branches of the Society of Friends that have been active in the Appalachian region. Resources related to Quaker history, testimonies (e.g., expressions of “spirituality in action”), genealogy, and information about individual Quakers and Meetings (e.g., churches) are also included.

Introductory Text: 

“Religious Society of Friends.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Society_of_Friends (Accessed 12/5/2008).

This web-based encyclopedia entry provides an introduction to Quakerism and the Religious Society of Friends. It explains how Quakerism started and describes the splits that have occurred over time. It discusses traditional Quaker testimonies (like peace, equality, and simplicity). Beliefs and practices of the Friends are also discussed. It concludes with a list of Quaker organizations, related topics, and bibliographical references.

Specht, Neva Jean. “Quakers.” Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville, TN: University of Knoxville Press, c2006. p. 1345-1347. ASU SPEC APP COLL F106 .E53 2006

This print-based encyclopedia entry provides an introduction to Quakers in the Appalachian region. It describes how early Quakers migrated to eastern Pennsylvania and then down to Virginia and the Carolinas. The article mentions similarities and differences between Friends in the Appalachian region and in eastern Pennsylvania, where many initially settled. The Quaker migration to trans-Appalachian territories is discussed, as is the decline in Quaker populations in the Appalachian region. However, the author informs the reader that, today, Quaker Meetings are once again visible. Most of these new Friends are people who have joined as “convinced” Friends.

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly relevant:

  • Quakers -- Appalachian Region
  • Quakers -- {state} -- {county}
  • Quakers -- {state} -- {county} -- Genealogy
  • Quakers -- {state} -- {county} -- Biography
  • Quakers -- {state} -- {county} -- History
  • Society of Friends -- Appalachian Region
  • Society of Friends -- {state} -- {county}
  • Society of Friends -- {state} -- {county} -- Genealogy
  • Society of Friends -- {state} -- {county} -- Biography
  • Society of Friends -- {state} -- {county} -- History

More general:

  • Quakers -- {state}
  • Quakers -- {state} -- Genealogy
  • Quakers -- {state} -- Biography
  • Quakers -- {state} -- History
  • Society of Friends -- {state}
  • Society of Friends -- {state} -- Genealogy
  • Society of Friends -- {state} -- Biography
  • Society of Friends -- {state} -- History
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • BX7637
  • BX7641
  • BX7648.N8
  • BX7648.P4
  • BX7648.V8
  • BX7649.N4
  • BX7780.H6
  • BX7790
  • BX7791
  • BX7795.L53
  • BX7795.L54

Hicks, George L. Experimental Americans: Celo and Utopian Community in the Twentieth Century. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, c2001. 272 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL HX656.C45 H53 2001.

Painter, Jacqueline Burgin. The Stackhouses of Appalachia: Even To Our Own Times. Asheville, NC: Grateful Steps, c2006. 421 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL CS71.S775 2006

Browning, Charles Henry. Welsh Settlement of Pennsylvania. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1967. Reprint of 1912 ed. 631 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL F160.W4 B8 1967

Brown, Douglas Summers. A History of Lynchburg’s Pioneer Quakers and Their Meeting House, 1754-1936. Lynchburg, VA: J. P. Bell Co., Inc, c1936. 180 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7649.L85 B7

Cochran, Wes. History of Quakertown Community, 1887, Wood County, West Virginia. Parkersburg, WV: W. Cochran, 2002. 25 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL F247.W8 C62 2002.

Worrall, Jay. The Friendly Virginians: America’s First Quakers. Athens, GA: Iberian Pub., c1994. 590 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7648.V8 W67 1994

Caudill, Rebecca. From Hardshell Baptist to Quaker. McNabb, IL: Illinois Yearly Meeting, 1979. 16 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7795.C38 A3 1979

Janney, John Jay. John Jay Janney’s Virginia: An American Farm Lad’s Life in the Early 19th Century. McLean, VA: EPM Publications, c1978. 142 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL F232.L8 J32

Levering, Samuel R. Quaker Peacemakers: Sam and Miriam Levering. Ararat, VA: Levering Fruits, 1993. 81 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7795.L54 A3 1993

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Durwood, Dunn. “Elihu Embree 1782-1820.” The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Nashville, TN: Tennessee Historical Society, 1998. http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=E018 (Accessed 11/10/2008).

Mielnik, Tara Mitchell. “Benjamin Lundy 1789-1839.” The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Nashville, TN: Tennessee Historical Society, c1998. http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=L056 (Accessed 11/10/2008).

Hinshaw, William Wade. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1969- Reprint of 1936- ed. ASU SPEC APP COLL OVSZ E184.F89 H52

Abstracts and Indices: 

JSTOR covers African American Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Ecology, Education, History, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Population Studies, Sociology, and Statistics.

Project MUSE covers journals in the following areas: Cultural Studies, Economics, Education, Film, History, Law, Literature, Music, Philosophy and Religion, and Politics. Primary coverage is in Cultural Studies, History, and Literature.

WorldCat covers books from all disciplines, but also includes manuscripts, maps, films and slides, newspapers, journals, sound recordings, and videotapes. WorldCat also uses the Library of Congress Subject Headings listed above in this pathfinder, which aids in locating resources.


Dasenbrock, J. Henry. “In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginny -- Some Personal Memories of Civilian Public Service.” The Southern Friend. 14.2 (1992): 5-10. ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7648.N8 S68

Martin, Asa E. “Pioneer Anti-Slavery Press.” Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 2. 1 (1916): 509-528. http://0-www.jstor.org.wncln.wncln.org/stable/1886909 (Accessed 12/7/2008). Available online from ASU campus or from off campus with an ASU Banner ID.

Neely, Sharlotte. “The Quaker Era of Cherokee Indian Education.” Appalachian Journal. 2. 4 (Summer 1975): 314-322. ASU SPEC APP COLL F216.2 .A66

Specht, Neva Jean. “Women of One or Many Bonnets?: Quaker Women and the Role of Religion in Trans-Appalachian Settlement.” NWSA Journal. 15. 2 (2003): 27-44. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/nwsa_journal/v015/15.2specht.html (Accessed 11/10/2008).

Southern Appalachian Friend. Savannah, GA: Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association, 2001- ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7604 .S68

The Southern Friend: Journal of the North Carolina Friends Historical Society. Greensboro, NC: The Society, c1979- ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7648.N8 S68


Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. http://www.bym-rsf.org (Accessed 12/8/2008).

North Carolina Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (FUM). http://ncym-fum.org/ (Accessed 12/8/2008).

Ohio Yearly Meeting. http://www.ohioyearlymeeting.org/ (Accessed 12/6/2008).

Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association of the Religious Society of Friends. http://www.sayma.org/ (Accessed 12/8/2008).

Upper Susquehanna Quarter of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). http://www.pym.org/upper-susquehanna-qm/ (Accessed 12/8/2008).

Other Sources: 

The Emancipator (Complete), Published by Elihu Embree, Jonesborough, Tennessee, 1820. Nashville, TN: B.H. Murphy, 1932. 112 pages. ASU SPEC APP COLL E445.T3 E61

Lash, Cindi. “Penn-Craft Marking 65 Years of Self-Help.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 18, 2002. http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20020818penncraft0818p2.asp (Accessed 11/1/2008).

Weiss, Mitch. “Activist Fights for Right to Counter Recruit.” Mt. Airy News. August 30, 2008: 7A. http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:MANB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=12302749AF483B98&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=F36E7D3CBE874432B94D320B925012C4 (Accessed 11/10/2008).

Brown, Douglas Summers. A Map of Virginia, 1656-1941: Showing All Quaker Meetings that Are or Ever Were Established in this Ancient Commonwealth. Lynchburg, VA: Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church, 2003. 1 map being processed. ASU SPEC APP COLL G3881.E42 1941 .B76

Grammich, Clifford A. Appalachian Atlas: Maps of the Churches and People of the Appalachian Region. Knoxville, TN: Commission on Religion in Appalachia, 1994. p. 45. ASU SPEC APP COLL BR526 .G72 1994.

Howells, Cyndi. Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet: Quaker. http://www.cyndislist.com/quaker.htm (Accessed 12/8/2006).

Rabun, Joanne Todd. The Quaker Corner. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~quakers/index.htm (Accessed 12/8/2008).

Gragg, Larry Dale. Migration in Early America: The Virginia Quaker Experience. Thesis (PhD). University of Missouri-Columbia, 1978. 172 leaves. ASU SPEC APP COLL F235.F89 G7

Specht, Neva Jean. Mixed Blessing: Trans-Appalachian Settlement and the Society of Friends, 1780-1813. Thesis (PhD). University of Delaware, 1997. 246 leaves. ASU SPEC APP COLL BX7635 .S64 1997

Friends Meetings. http://www.quaker.org/meetings.html (Accessed 12/5/2008).

QuakerFinder. http://quakerfinder.org (Accessed 11/02/2008).

Quaker Life Meeting Directory. http://www.fum.org/QL/meeting_directory.htm (Accessed 12/5/2008).

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Kevin S. Clarke, December 2008