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Archives & Manuscripts

Lightfoot Family Manuscripts

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-184
Series 1 contains the papers of Thomas and Mary Lightfoot and includes correspondence received and sent (drafts) while they were at the Great Nemaha Reservation, as well as business and legal documents, including accounts with the Government, agreements, reports, and several census. Letters sent to Mary from members of the Indian Aid Association document the kinds of assistance and support offered by Philadelphia Friends.

Series 2 includes the journal of Mary (Bonsall) Lightfoot (1707-1777), a prominent Quaker minister and the wife of Jacob Lightfoot. It describes her journey to visit meetings in Concord Quarter in 1757. Three other journals (typescript copies) have been attributed to Thomas Lightfoot (1728-1793) on the basis of contextual detail. These accounts document visits to meetings in the mid Atlantic region, New Jersey to Virginia, from 1757 to 1760. A 1781 testimony concerning Susanna (Hatton) Lightfoot, Thomas' wife, and copies of Samuel Lightfoot's commissions complete the Series.

Series 3 includes genealogical charts of the descendents of Quakers who were members of Maiden Creek Meeting, compiled by Thomas M. Lightfoot (1865-[1959?]).

Dates

  • 1737-ca. 1948

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to the Repositories. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the individual Meeting or its successor. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Repositories as the holder(s) of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Overview

The Lightfoot family was a Pennsylvania Quaker family descended from Thomas Lightfoot, a Quaker minister who emigrated from Ireland to Kennett Monthly Meeting in 1716 with his family. The collection includes three journals which have been attributed to his grandson Thomas on the basis of contextual detail. These accounts document visits to meetings in the mid Atlantic region, New Jersey to Virginia, from 1757 to 1760. Jacob Lightfoot, a son of Thomas and Sarah Lightfoot, married Mary Bonsall, a prominent Quaker minister. The journal of her 1757 religious visit with Grace Fisher to Quaker meetings in the Concord Quarter is included in the collection. Mary and Jacob's grandson, Thomas Lightfoot, was an Indian Agent in southeastern Nebraska during the period of Quaker involvement in President U.S. Grant's "peace policy." Another descendent, Thomas Montgomery Lightfoot, did extensive genealogical research on the Quaker families that settled in Maiden Creek. The papers of Thomas and Mary Lightfoot include correspondence received and sent while they were at Great Nemaha, as well as business and legal documents, including accounts with the Government, agreements, reports, letters from the Indian Aid Association, and several census.

Biographical / Historical

The Lightfoot family was a Pennsylvania Quaker family descended from Thomas Lightfoot (d. 1725), a Quaker minister who emigrated from Ireland to Kennett Monthly Meeting in 1716 with his second wife, Sarah Wiley, and nine children. His son Samuel (1701-1777) was a prominent surveyor and married Mary Head of New Garden Monthly Meeting. They had four children. Son Thomas (1728-1793) was an Elder in Goshen Monthly Meeting and accompanied visiting ministers such as Susanna Hatton from Ireland.

Susanna Hatton Lightfoot (1720-1781), eminent Quaker minister, was born Susanna Hudson in Ireland to a poor Quaker family. She traveled to America in the ministry with Ruth Courtney in 1737, and in 1742 married Joseph Hatton. He died in 1759, and in 1760 she made a second trip to America where she met Thomas Lightfoot. They married in Ireland in 1763, and she became a member of Uwchlan Monthly Meeting and continued her ministry in America. Thomas Lightfoot became a minister after his wife’s death in 1781, and he married a second time, to Rachel Hunt, in 1785.

Jacob Lightfoot (1707-1774), also a son of Thomas and Sarah Lightfoot, married Mary Bonsall (1707-1777) of Darby Monthly Meeting in 1735. Mary Bonsall Lightfoot was a prominent Quaker minister. In 1757 she made a religious visit with Grace Fisher to Quaker meetings in the Concord Quarter. The family settled in Maiden Creek, Pa.

Their grandson, Thomas Lightfoot (1821-1896), was an Indian Agent in southeastern Nebraska during the period of Quaker involvement in President U.S. Grant's "peace policy." He was a the son of Benjamin W. and Rachel S. (Lee) Lightfoot. In 1846, Lightfoot married Mary Bonner Cadwallader (1820-1907), daughter of Yardley and Christianna (Moore) of Upper Dublin, Pa.. They had four children, two of whom survived to adulthood: Sallie C., born 1851, who married Albert L. Green, and Lee Garrigues.

Thomas Lightfoot was appointed Agent to the Great Nemaha Reservation in 1869 and served until 1873. The Indians for which he was responsible included Iowas as well as Sacs and Foxes. Mary B. Lightfoot established a mission school, and her husband attempted to promote agriculture and a "civilized" life style among the native Americans.

Thomas Montgomery Lightfoot (1865-[1959?]) was also descended from Jacob and Mary Bonsall Lightfoot. He was the son of Jesse Lightfoot (1818-1894) and Hannah Eliza Montgomery. Jesse Lightfoot’s parents were Jacob and Elizabeth Willets Lightfoot, and Jacob’s parents were Thomas Lightfoot (1742-1821) and Hannah Wright. Thomas M. Lightfoot graduated from Swarthmore College, Class of 1888, and was a teacher.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Libraries' online catalog: http://tripod.brynmawr.edu

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposit.

The bulk of the collection was donated by Thomas Lightfoot's son-in-law, Albert Lamborn Green, in 1935. A copy of the letter which describes the transaction (original in Albert Lamborn Green Papers, RG 5/175.) is included with the administrative information on the collection. There is no record of when Mary Lightfoot's Journal was given to FHL or its source; it was reprinted in Friends Intelligencer on 10mo 5 1895, and may have been received by Friends Historical Library through Philadelphia Yearly Meeting some time after that. In 1943, Thomas Montgomery Lightfoot, who was a descendent of Jacob and Mary Bonsall Lightfoot and Swarthmore College, Class of 1888, donated the typescript journals (the originals of which were still in family hands) and the facsimiles of Samuel Lightfoot's commissions. Five years later he donated his Maiden Creek genealogical research to the Library.

Related Materials

RG 5/175 Albert Lamborn Green Papers.

RG2 Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Hicksite). Indian Committee.

RG4/031 Friends Indian Aid Association

Diary of Mary Bonner Lightfoot : Great Nemaha Agency, 1869 , edited by Mary Bloodgood. Nebraska History. Vol. 72, no. 1 (1991)

Separated Materials

Parts of the collection are microfilmed. See: Film MS-F13.
Title
Lightfoot Manuscripts, 1737-ca. 1948
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2016: This electronic finding aid was updated in Summer 2016 by Abdulrezak Kemal in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace, to conform to current markup standards and the ArchivesSpace data model.

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