Joseph Brinton Family Papers, 1758-1931

(6 linear ft. )

RG5/233


©Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College 

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Abstract
Joseph Brinton, an outspoken member of the Society of Friends from southeastern Pennsylvania, was active in the Wilburite schisms in the 1850s and 1860's. His family papers include his own journals, as well as his extensive correspondence. This collection also includes the correspondence of his two wives, Mary H. Brinton and Anna H. Brinton.

Background note:
Joseph Brinton, an outspoken member of the Society of Friends from southeastern Pennsylvania, was active in the Wilburite schisms in the 1850s and 1860's. Born in 1828, the son of William and Gulielma Cooper Brinton of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, he attended Westtown School from 1837 and was an assistant teacher there in 1849. Brinton moved to Newport, Rhode Island, in 1851; he lived in the household of Thomas B. Gould, a prominent Wilburite minister, and was employed in his mill.

Joseph was appointed Clerk of Rhode Island Monthly Meeting (Conservative) in the early 1860's, but returned to Pennsylvania in 1863. He continued to meet for worship and business in his own home and retained the records of the Meeting until after 1867. He was disowned by Nantucket Monthly Meeting in 1866 although he disputed the authority of the Annual Meeting in New England which had laid down Rhode Island into Nantucket.

Before he moved south, Joseph married Mary Homans Howland in a Friends ceremony in Newport. Mary was the daughter of David P. and Anna Robinson Howland of Vassalboro, Maine. Mary H. Brinton died in 1870 after the birth of her fifth child. A year later, Joseph married her sister, Anna M. Howland, despite initial disapproval by his own family; Joseph and Anna had five children of their own. The family first lived near Gap in Lancaster County and then at Spring Hope near Ercildoun, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was a dairy farmer and operated a mill. Joseph rejoined Friends at Ercildoun from 1882 with a certificate from South Kingston Monthly Meeting, but resigned again in 1896 due to the fact that he felt Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was too conciliatory to the Gurneyites. He died of a stroke in 1917 at the age of 89.

Scope and content
The collection consists primarily of the journals of Joseph Brinton, his correspondence, and that of his wives, Mary H. and Anna H. Brinton. Although the latter spans the entire period, the bulk is from two time periods, 1857-68 and from the later 1880's to about 1900.

Joseph's journals document his experiences and religious philosophy. The earlier books, 1848-49 and 1849-50, focus on his early time at Westtown and other local schools, including a detailed chart of hours spent in sleep, study, and "idleness." The 1850-56 manuscript includes his daily bible readings. The later journals are rich in details of the Wilburite separations, with comments on personalities, events, and justification of his own actions. There are in-depth accounts of the General Meetings of Primitive Friends at Fallsington and Baltimore, including description of meetings for worship. The last journal, 1878-1916, relates contemporary events but also includes Joseph's reflections on the earlier events in his life.

Of particular interest in Series 2 is the communication between Joseph and other Wilburite Friends in New England in the 1850's and 1860's. This correspondence stops after Joseph's disownment in 1867 from Nantucket Monthly Meeting (Conservative). The year before Joseph himself was disowned two "dear Friends," Thomas Lamborn, a Wilburite minister from Poplar Ridge, and James Kite from Fallsington (Primitive), were also disowned. Joseph W. Maule and a portion of Ohio General Meeting ceased communication with Fallsington, Poplar Ridge, New England, and Nottingham as many of the Wilburite groups splintered. Joseph Brinton continued to hold a meeting for worship in his own home for family and friends.

Letters written between 1882 and 1884 from George Pollard and David C. Henderson, both of Norwich Monthly Meeting in Canada, describe some of the difficulties of Canadian Friends during this period.

There is a particularly long series of letters from Jacob Dingee, Jr. Dingee was granted a certificate from New Garden Monthly Meeting in Pennsylvania to Linn Monthly Meeting in Iowa in 1857. While there, he had particularly public marital problems, culminating in a letter from his Quaker neighbors to Joseph Brinton documenting his side of the dispute. By 1876 he was back in Pennsylvania where he was disowned in 1877 for "getting divorced from his wife; also marrying her again in a manner not according to our discipline; and is lately separated from her again; and has contracted debts."

Series 3 contains documents which relate to the Wilburite struggle, primarily in New England. Letters and other writings were contained in two envelopes marked "Letters of T.B.Gould" and "New England Friends - John Wilbur etc." In the 4th series, Charles Brinton's Creamer account book includes detailed information on the residents of the area around Ercildoun: births & deaths, schooling, and data about employment and land ownership.

Organization: Arranged into series: 1. Journals; 2. Correspondence; 3. Other Writings; 4. Financial records; 5. Miscellaneous.


Administrative and Other Descriptive Information

Restrictions
Collection is open for research.

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Acquisition Information
Gift, Christopher Brinton, 2002, 2003.

Christopher Brinton is a direct descendent of Joseph Brinton.

Processing information
Correspondence was enclosed in the original envelopes although it was clear that a few of the letters had been misplaced in different envelopes. Occasional comments in the journals by later family members.

Separated material
Family bible. Trenton, NJ: Isaac Collins, 1791. Originally owned by Joseph and Susannah Brinton, later by Joseph Brinton.

Related material


Added entries

Subjects
  • Dairy farmers - Pennsylvania
  • Baltimore Yearly Meeting Of Friends (Nottingham : 1854 1868)
  • Ercildoun (Pa.)
  • General Meeting of Men and Women Primitive Friends of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey
  • Primitive Quakers
  • Quakers - Pennsylvania
  • Quakers - Rhode Island
  • Society of Friends - Pennsylvania - Chester County
  • Society of Friends - Pennsylvania - Lancaster County
  • Society of Friends - Rhode Island - Newport
  • Society of Friends - Wilburite controversy
  • Westtown School

    Additional Authors and Contributors
  • Abby L. Chase
  • Anna Chase
  • Anna H.(Anna Howland) Brinton, b. 1843
  • Cassandra B. Harvey, 1825-1882
  • Charles Brinton, b. 1876
  • David Purinton
  • David Brinton, b. 1864
  • David C. Henderson
  • David P. Howland, 1809-1852
  • Ebenezer Austin, d. 1864
  • Ella C. James
  • Ellwood B. Conrad
  • Elma Brinton, b. 1872
  • Esther Austin
  • George Pollard, d. 1918
  • Gulielma C. Brinton, 1794-1879
  • Israel Buffington
  • J.W. (Joseph William) Howland, b. 1839
  • Jacob Dingee, d. 1919
  • James D. (James Davis) Otis
  • James Kite, d. 1917
  • Jane B. Smith
  • Jane Smith Brinton, b. 1874
  • Jesse R. Tucker
  • John C. Dillingham
  • John L. (John Letchworth) Kite, 1798-1878
  • John Wilbur, 1774-1856
  • Joseph Brinton, 1828-1917
  • Joseph E. Maule, 1817-1902
  • Joseph Walton, 1817-1898
  • Joshua Maule, b. 1806
  • Julia A. Sargent, d. 1902
  • L.A. Gould
  • L.A. White
  • Levi Chase
  • Louisa M. Doudna, 1818-1898
  • Louise D. Campbell
  • Martha G. Cook
  • Mary B. Hopkins, b. 1831
  • Mary E. Jones
  • Mary H. (Mary Howland) Brinton, 1833-1870
  • Mattie Buck
  • N.B. (Narcissa Battey) Coffin
  • Peace Jones, b. 1815
  • Rebecca E. Lippincott
  • Rebecca H. Smiley, b. 1832
  • Rowland H. Hazard
  • Samuel Morris
  • Sarah E. Mitchell
  • Sarah L. Wilson
  • Susanna Brinton, b. 1833
  • Susie W. Tucker
  • Thomas B. Gould
  • Thomas H. Whitson, d. 1907
  • Thomas Lamborn, 1821-1892
  • William Brinton, 1785-1878
  • William Brinton, b. 1869
  • William C. Meader
  • William Hampton, b. 1826

    Contact information

    Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

     


    Collection inventory

    Note to Researchers: These records may only be consulted at Swarthmore, and are not available through inter-Library loan.


    Series 1: Journals, 1842-1916

    Commonplace book of Joseph Brinton
    1842-1847
    (1 volume)
    Box 1

    Includes mostly school notes and essays as well as lists of Westtown students, 1842-43 & 1846-47, and "memoranda"

    Journals of Joseph Brinton
    1848-1849

    Journal
    1848-1849
    (1 volume)
    Box 1

    Journal
    1849-1850
    (1 volume)
    Box 1

    Journal
    1850-51, 1854, 1856
    (1 volume)
    Box 1A

    Journal
    1861-1863
    (1 volume)
    Box 1A

    Journal
    1864-1866
    (1 volume)
    Box 1A

    Journal
    1866-1874
    (1 volume)
    Box 1A

    Journal
    1868-1916
    (1 volume)
    Box 1A

    Series 2: Correspondence, 1828-1916

    Correspondence sent by Joseph Brinton (1828-1917)
    1857-1887

    Draft of letter to Peleg Michell and James Austin about their unease concerning his "activity"
    1866
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Anna
    1857-1887
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Mary
    1864-1866
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Correspondence sent by Mary H.(Mary Howland) Brinton (1833-1870)
    1858-1867

    Jesse & Mary Ann Tucker & family
    1867
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    "My Dear One"
    1863
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Anna
    1858-1863
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Anna
    1863-1867
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Joseph
    1864 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 2

    Correspondence sent by Anna H. (Anna Howland) Brinton (b. 1843)
    1859-1884 & n.d.

    Cynthia Hanson
    n.d.
    (copy)
    Box 3

    Mary
    1859-70 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Joseph
    1884 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Correspondence sent by other family members
    1857-1924 & n.d.

    Susanna Brinton, b. 1833
    1857-97 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Correspondence received & sent

    Jane Smith Brinton, b. 1874
    1898-1904 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Received & sent

    J.W. (Joseph William) Howland, b. 1839
    1857-95
    (1 folder)
    Box 3

    Sent

    Mary B. Hopkins, b. 1831
    1860-1915
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent

    Charles Brinton, b. 1876
    1894-95
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent

    David Brinton, b. 1864
    1885-1924 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent

    Elma Brinton, b. 1872
    1905-16 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Postcards received

    David P. & Anna R. Howland, 1809-1852
    1846-52 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent

    William Brinton, 1785-1878, & Gulielma C. Brinton, 1794-1879
    1856-77 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent

    Edward Brinton
    1901 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent>

    Jane B. Smith
    1836 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent

    William Brinton Jr., b. 1869
    1897-1908 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 4

    Received & sent

    Correspondence Received by Joseph Brinton
    1857-1909

    Miscellaneous
    1857-1905
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Sarah L. Wilson
    1860
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Joshua Maule, b. 1806
    1861
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Jacob Dingee, d. 1919
    1863-1909
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    L.A. Gould
    1863-64
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    William C. Meader
    1863-65
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Levi Chase
    1863-65
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    John L. (John Letchworth) Kite, 1798-1878
    1863-65 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    James D. (James Davis) Otis, William Hampton, b. 1826, Louisa M. Doudna, 1818-1898, Esther Austin
    1864
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Joseph E. Maule, 1817-1902
    1864
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Samuel Morris
    1864
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Thomas H. Whitson, d. 1907
    1864, 1894
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Ebenezer & Esther Austin
    1864-65
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    Thomas Lamborn, 1821-1892
    1865-67, 1888
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    George Pollard, d. 1918
    1882-84
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    David C. Henderson
    1882-84
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    James Kite, d. 1917
    1883-97 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    John C. Dillingham
    1889-94
    (1 folder)
    Box 5

    N.B. (Narcissa Battey) Coffin
    1891
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Julia A. Sargent, d. 1902
    1893-94
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Nathan & Martha G. Cook
    1894
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Joseph Walton, 1817-1898
    1895
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Ellwood B. Conrad
    1895
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Rebecca E. Lippincott
    1895-96
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Ella C. James
    1902-03
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Rowland H. Hazard
    1905
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Correspondence Received by Mary H. Brinton
    1839-1868

    Susie W. Tucker
    1839-45
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Miscellaneous
    1850-67 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Louise D. Campbell
    1852-57
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    L.A. White
    1853-57
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Abby L. Chase
    1854-68
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Rebecca H. Smiley, b. 1832
    1855-65
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Mattie Buck
    1858-60
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Peace (b. 1815) & Mary E. Jones
    1858-62
    (1 folder)
    Box 6

    Correspondence Received by Anna H. Brinton
    1856-1909

    Miscellaneous
    1856-96
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    L.A. White
    1858-70
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Jesse R. Tucker
    1859-62
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Abby L. Chase
    1860-1900 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Susie W. Tucker
    1860-73
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Rebecca H. Smiley, b. 1832
    1862-1909
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    L.A. Gould
    1862-66
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Sarah E. Mitchell
    1863-98
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    William C. Meader
    1864-65
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Anna Chase
    1869-98
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Correspondence Received by William & Guliema Brinton
    1852

    Thomas B. Gould
    1852
    (1 folder)
    Box 7

    Series 3: Other Writings, 1829-1855

    Letters to Dr. John L. Kite
    1842-1955

    Removed from an envelope marked "Letters of T.B. Gould;" at least one was published by William Hodgson in his Selections from the Letters of Thomas B. Gould (1860)

    From T.B. Gould concerning theology
    1842
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    To "My Dear Friend" from T.B. Gould concerning theology and news from the Quarterly Meeting at Providence

    T.B. Gould concerning theological issues
    1844
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Israel Buffinton
    1850
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Israel Buffinton concerning the suit against the Gurneyites by the "smaller body" of Friends

    T.B. Gould concerning the memorial for Seth Davis
    1851
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    John Wilbur about the illness of the former's wife
    1853
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Charles Perry (sp?) about John Wilbur's essay and other related issues
    1855
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Wilburite manuscripts
    1829-1854

    Removed from an envelope with the slip: "New England Friends - John Wilbur etc."

    Draft concerning the visit of Thomas (Gould) and Israel (Buffinton) to "the boarding school" (Mt. Pleasant) and Ohio Yearly Meeting
    [1854]
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Draft concerning the visit of Thomas (Gould) and Israel (Buffinton) to "the boarding school" (Mt. Pleasant) and Ohio Yearly Meeting, with penciled remark: "James I thought this might interest thee please return it"

    Copy of letter from Joseph John Gurney
    1844
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Copy of letter from Joseph John Gurney (To the Editors of the Friend) copied by L.A. Purinton and sent to David P. Howland

    Copy of John Wilbur's letter to Ann Jones
    1848
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Copy (by Chas. E. Hill) of letter of Joseph Edgerton to William Hill
    1847
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Letter from Rachel Rickerson to "my beloved friend"
    1845
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Letter from Ann Jones to "My Dear afflected Friends and brother"
    1845
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Copy of Stephen Grellet's Sermon
    1829?
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Letter (fragment) from John Harrison to John Wilbur
    Ca.1845
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Letter (fragment to John Wilbur) from Manchester [different hand from previous fragment]
    1845
    (1 folder)
    Box 8

    Series 4: Financial Records, 1758-1902

    David Purinton - Ledger (David & Purinton)
    1758-59
    (1 volume)
    Box 8

    Ledger of lumber sales; also includes mathematics notebook (1785) and genealogical information.

    Charles Brinton - Spring Hope Creamery - Milk Account
    1900-1902
    (1 volume)
    Box 8

    Includes detailed lists of voters, school children, births, and deaths, 1905-1906, of individuals in the Ercildoun area.

    Joseph Brinton - Newport Bank record
    1858-1861
    (1 volume)
    Box 8

    Joseph Brinton -Receipts & financial correspondence
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 8-9

    Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1886-1917 & n.d.

    Ther. Account (weather), Charles Brinton
    1892-1893
    (1 folder)
    Box 9

    "The Young Endeavor" of Spring Hope School
    1891-94
    ()
    Box 9

    Poetry
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 9

    Funeral Notices
    1886-1917
    (1 folder)
    Box 9

    Miscellaneous writings of Joseph Brinton and letters marked "not sent"
    1888-1916 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 9

    Fragments, including an account of a visit to Lancaster Meeting (Pa.) in 177?
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 9