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Archives & Manuscripts

Hunn-Karsner Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG-322

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, writings, and other papers of the family of Ezekiel Hunn and Lydia Jones Sharpless Hunn, Philadelphia and Delaware Quakers. The papers were compiled by their granddaughter Katherine Hunn Karsner (1899-1993). She was a Philadelphia Quaker minister and married Joseph Reed Karsner in 1930 under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Hicksite). The bulk of the collection is composed of correspondence from their daughter, Mary Ann Karsner Kegler (1932-1983), who moved to Alaska. She was one of the founders of Chena Ridge Monthly Meeting. The collection also contains earlier family correspondence between Ezekiel and Lydia Jenkins Hunn and other members of the Hunn family. The writings include diaries and writings by Katherine Hunn Karsner, her sister Lydia Hunn Williamson, Joseph Karsner, and Mary Ann Karsner Kegler.

Dates

  • 1809 - 1985
  • Majority of material found within 1947 - 1974

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the Curator. 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.

Biographical / Historical

Jesse Sharpless (1759-1832) married Joanna Townsend in 1784 in Old Swede's Church. Both were both birthright members of Concord Monthly Meeting, but Jesse was disowned before their marriage. Joanna Townsend Sharpless made acknowledgement in 1805, and the family removed to Philadelphia where the family affiliated with the Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends.

Jesse and Joanna Sharpless had 10 children. Emily (ca. 1786-1832) married Benjamin Stephens and died in New York City. Julia (ca. 1788-1868) married Thomas Wilson. Eliza (1791-1851) married Thomas Parker under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting in 1816. Townsend Sharpless (1793-1873) was a successful Philadelphia merchant and active in prison reform. He married three times, the first to Mary Brinton Jones in 1815 under the care of Birmingham Monthly Meeting. Joseph Inskeep Sharpless (1795-1870) did not marry. Mira Sharpless (1798-1859) married Samuel Townsend in 1828 and was a prominent prison reformer and a founder of the Rosine Association together with her sister, Eliza Sharpless Parker. John Townsend Sharpless (1801-1883) was a prominent Quaker physician. The youngest, Lydia Sharpless (1803-1893) did not marry.

Townsend Sharpless and his first wife Mary Brinton Jones Sharpless had 8 children, five surviving to maturity. Daughter Lydia Jones Sharpless married Ezekiel Hunn in 1836. Ezekiel Hunn was born in Camden, Delaware, a descendant of Jonathan Hunn who established a mill on the St. Jones River. His father Ezekiel Hunn (1774-1824) was one of the sons that inherited the property that became Wildcat Manor. He married Tabitha Newell in 1815. They had six children. The youngest, Ezekiel (1810-1902), was apprenticed to Townsend Sharpless, a successful Philadelphia merchant. Ezekiel married Townsend's daughter, Lydia Jones Sharpless (1818-1911), in 1836 under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Orthodox). After the death of Tabitha Hunn, his father, Ezekiel (1774-1824), had married second Hannah Alston. They had three children including John Hunn (1818-1894) who was a prominent abolitionist and active in the Underground Railroad in Delaware.

Ezekiel Hunn (1841-1926) married Anna Eliza Jenkins in 1876 under the care of Camden Monthly Meeting (Delaware), and the family became members of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Hicksite) in 1890. Ezekiel's family was involved with the Underground Railroad in Delaware and owned a farm, "Wildcat," in Kent County. Ezekiel and Anna Eliza Hunn had nine children. Their youngest, Katherine Hunn (1899-1993) married Joseph Reed Karsner in 1930 under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Hicksite). He worked for the railroad until his retirement in 1950. Joseph and Katherine Karsner lived in Rose Valley, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Westtown in 1952. They retired to the Harned in Media, Pennsylvania in 1969. Both were active in Philadelphia Central Monthly Meeting and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting committees. Joseph especially was involved in peace concerns, serving on the Peace Committee and as a traveling minister. Katherine worked for American Friends Service Committee and wrote poetry and prose for Quaker and other publications. Their daughter Mary Ann Karsner was born in 1932 and was accepted into Quaker membership on the request of her mother.

Mary Ann Hunn Karsner attended the School in Rose Valley and graduated from Friends Central School. She went to college at the University of Alaska where she met Theodore Lewis ("Ted") Kegler. They were married in 1954 and had three children. In 1971, Mary Ann Karsner Kegler, with her husband Ted, requested membership in Philadelphia Central Monthly Meeting for her children; the clerk expressed reservations because of the distance. Beginning in the early 1950s Mary Ann and Ted with others established an unprogrammed meeting for worship in the Fairbanks area of Alaska. This evolved into Chena Ridge Friends Meeting, a member of Alaska Friends Conference. Ted and Mary Ann Kegler moved to Anchorage in 1966. Mary Ann died in 1983 in Alaska.

Extent

4.75 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language

English

Overview

The collection contains correspondence, writings, and other papers of the family of Ezekiel Hunn and Lydia Jones Sharpless Hunn, Philadelphia and Delaware Quakers. The papers were compiled by their granddaughter Katherine Hunn Karsner (1899-1993). She was a Philadelphia Quaker minister and married Joseph Reed Karsner in 1930 under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Hicksite). The bulk of the collection is composed of correspondence from their daughter, Mary Ann Karsner Kegler (1932-1983) who moved to Alaska in 1950 and was one of the founders of Chena Ridge Monthly Meeting. The collection also contains earlier family correspondence between Ezekiel and Lydia Jenkins Hunn and other members of the Hunn family. The writings include diaries and writings by Katherine Hunn Karsner, her sister Lydia Hunn Williamson, Joseph Karsner, and Mary Ann Karsner Kegler.

Arrangement

Arranged in three series: Correspondence, Journals and other writings, and Miscellaneous.

Custodial History

When Katherine Hunn Karsner, family historian and active Friend, moved into a retirement home in 1969, she sent family correspondence and photo albums to her daughter, Mary Ann Karsner Kegler who lived in Alaska. Mary Ann died in 1983, and the family papers remained in storage in Alaska. When new owners acquired the property, they contacted Hunn descendants, Alan Lytton Jones and Lydia Sharpless Hunn. The papers were shipped from Alaska to Friends Historical Library in February 2019.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the estate of Katherine Hunn Karsner, FHL 2019.009

Related Materials

Lydia Jones Sharpless Hunn Papers, RG 5/070, gift of Katherine Hunn Karsner, 1973.

Journal, MSS 003/142, of Lydia Hunn Williamson, 1907-1908, gift of Katherine Hunn Karsner.

Separated Materials

Scrapbook of meeting house photos and postcards to transfer to FHL Meeting House Picture Collection.

Photographs and albums removed to FHL Hunn-Karsner Picture Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was sorted into series by staff.
Title
Hunn Family Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Susanna Morikawa
Date
2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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