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Sydney V. James and Gail Fowler Mohanty

Brown, Moses (12 September 1738–06 September 1836), merchant and philanthropist, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of James Brown, merchant, and Hope Power. The father died the next year, leaving a variety of properties and businesses, which indicates that his family was far from poor. Moses Brown had a few years of formal schooling before being apprenticed to his merchant uncle, Obadiah, to learn the intricacies of eighteenth-century commerce and to be adopted as a son and partner. After Obadiah died in 1762, Moses managed the business, and in 1774 married Obadiah’s daughter Anna, who bore three children, two of whom lived to maturity. Moses joined his three surviving brothers in the firm of Nicholas Brown & Co. to operate the family businesses. The profits of trade were diversified by manufacturing and money-lending. The Brown brothers inherited profitable candle and chocolate works and started a plant to smelt and work iron. They also tried at least one ill-fated slaving voyage....

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Eddy, Thomas (05 September 1758–16 September 1827), Quaker reformer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Eddy and Mary Darragh, immigrants from Ireland. Raised in a Quaker family with Tory sympathies, Eddy received an elementary education and in 1771 was apprenticed to a tanner in Burlington, New Jersey. From 1779 until the end of the American Revolution, he lived in New York where, with a brother and a friend, he formed Eddy, Sykes and Company to import scarce goods from England and Ireland. He also acted as a banker, moving funds to captured British troops in Pennsylvania and building his fortune on the 6 percent commission he garnered from the large sums transferred. He married Hannah Hartshorne in 1782; they had three children. For a brief period in the mid-1780s he operated a store in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which finally went bankrupt....

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Isaac T. Hopper. From the frontispiece to Lydia Maria Child, Isaac T. Hopper: A True Life, 1853. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-75190).

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Hopper, Isaac Tatem (03 December 1771–07 May 1852), Quaker abolitionist and reformer, was born in Deptford township, near Woodbury, New Jersey, the son of Levi Hopper and Rachel Tatem, farmers. Educated in local schools, Isaac Hopper went to Philadelphia at sixteen to learn tailoring from an uncle, with whom he lived. He made his living there as a tailor and soon came to own his own shop....

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Lay, Benjamin (1681?–03 February 1759), Quaker reformer and abolitionist, was born in Colchester, England, the son of William Lay, a yeoman, and Mary (maiden name unknown), members of the Society of Friends. Some sources cite his year of birth as 1677. Lay, self-taught, spent his adolescence and early adult years working as a glove maker’s apprentice, a farmer, and a sailor, careers that were short-lived because of his hunched back and 4′ 7″ frame. In 1710 he abandoned maritime employment and returned to Colchester, where he married Sarah Smith of Deptford, also hunchbacked and of diminutive stature. The couple had no children. After being expelled from a Quaker meeting for speaking out against “hireling ministers,” Lay and his wife left England in 1718 to settle in Barbados, where Lay worked as a merchant....

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See M’Clintock, Mary Ann Wilson

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Nicholson, Timothy (02 November 1828–15 September 1924), Quaker reformer and printer, was born in Perquimans County, North Carolina, the son of Josiah Nicholson, a teacher and farmer, and Anna White. Both parents came from families long prominent in Quaker affairs in North Carolina, and by Timothy Nicholson’s own account, their influence and that of Quaker neighbors was such that he never questioned Quaker teachings. He was educated in the Quaker Belvidere Academy in Perquimans County and at the Friends Boarding School (now Moses Brown School) in Providence, Rhode Island. He married twice, first in 1853 to Sarah N. White, who died in 1865, and then in 1868 to her sister, Mary White. There were six children by the first marriage and two by the second....

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Pemberton, Israel (19 May 1715–22 April 1779), Quaker merchant and philanthropist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Israel Pemberton, a merchant and religious leader, and Rachel Read of Burlington, New Jersey. He attended the Friends Public School and then entered his father’s mercantile trade. In 1737 he married Sarah Kirkbride of Bucks County, who died in 1746; they had seven children. A year later, Pemberton married Mary Jordan. His younger brothers, James Pemberton and ...

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Wood, L. Hollingsworth (14 August 1873–21 July 1956), lawyer, Quaker, and social reformer, was born Levi Hollingsworth Wood in Mount Kisco, New York, son of James Wood and Emily Hollingsworth Morris, farmers. Wood was born and grew up in the family farm mansion, “Braewold” in Mount Kisco, and graduated from Haverford College in 1896. After graduating in 1899 from Columbia University Law School, he formed the estate law firm of Kirby & Wood in New York City....

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Woolman, John (19 October 1720–07 October 1772), Quaker leader and pioneer abolitionist, was born in Northampton, near Mount Holly, New Jersey, the son of Samuel Woolman and Elizabeth Burr, farmers. His grandfather had been a proprietor of West Jersey, and his father was a candidate for the provincial assembly. Woolman’s upbringing by intensely pious parents led to early religious experiences. His ...