Quaker's Lawrence

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Just a few lots to the west of the two Jennings’ farm was the Pelham branch of the Quaker’s the oldest such branch in Canada. The Friends, as they call their members settled in the Niagara region in 1786 many from New Jersey in Sussex County, the same county in which Hannah was born. As Quaker’s they disavowed anything to do with violence and hence took no active part in the Revolutionary War. This stance of neutrality had members suffer double taxation and the loss of some civil rights – and not just during the war, for many sanctions continued after the war as well. Many Friends could see the advantage of moving north and, not only did so many do so, the Quakers helped many British fugitives leave New Jersey or Pennsylvania for Niagara.
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This was a problem for all able bodied men were required to do their duty. However, in respect for the Quaker’s religious beliefs they were not forced into service, but had to pay a ‘fine’ via “Militia Exemption Monies” which was paid by each Quaker head of either 4 1⁄4 bushels of wheat or the equivalent of ₤2 2d 6p. Lawrence began his payments in 1810.
Lawrence had little or no participation in 1810 and by 1811 was the recipient himself of a ‘solid visit’. On March 6th of that year the monthly meeting reported that:
Laurence Jennings Appears to have got into a turbulent disposition. Rejecting the advice of his friends and reporting things that appears to be false, part of which he saith he hath heard but Conceals his Author, and also Neglects to Attend our Meetings.
Apparently Lawrence could show some temper, not a desirable trait for a Quaker and was also not adverse to gossip, another frowned upon activity. After more months than usual to deal with such matters the ‘Committee in the Laurence Jennings Case’ finally reported on the 7th of August
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an Opportunity with him to a good degree of satisfaction as he Exprest [sic] a sorrow for what has past, they believe the Meeting would be safe in dropping his Case ...
Lawrence was immediately informed that he had succeeded in retaining his membership. It didn’t seem, alas, to bring him back fully into the fold for he, not only did not participate in any ‘solid visits’, marriages or other activities in 1812, we find that he has married again and not the right kind of woman! Here is how the June 2nd meeting of 1813 records it:
Pelham reports that Laurance Ginnings has accomplished his marriage with a woman not in membership ... and by failures to deal with him drew up a ‘testifycation against him’ . Once drawn up Lawrence was no longer a Quaker:
Laureance Ginnings having had a right of membership amongst friends but having deviated so far as to marry a woman not in membership with us for which we disown him from being any longer a member until he condems the same to the satisfaction of this meeting which that he may is our desire for him.
Signed September 9th, 1813. Lawrence did not condemn his own

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