Biographical / Historical
The collection includes correspondence, journals, writing and miscellaneous papers from two branches descended from Joseph and Lydia (Lewis) Sharpless, Quakers of Pennsylvania who married under the care of Radnor Monthly Meeting in 1704. They had ten children, all of whom married. Their son Benjamin Sharpless (1709-1785) married first Edith Broom and secondly Martha Mendenhall. Benjamin and Martha's son, Joshua Sharples (1746/7-1826), was a Quaker minister. He married Edith Yarnall, also a Quaker minister. Joshua and Edith's son, Joshua Sharpless (1779-1860), married Philadelphia Drinker in 1808. She was the daughter of Joseph Drinker (d. 1809) a member of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting who spoke out at Meeting in 1795 against racism.
Jacob Sharpless (1722-1775) was a younger son of Joseph and Lydia Sharpless, and he married Ann Blakey. Their son Jesse Sharpless (1759-1832) married Joanna Townsend in 1784, and they had ten children, eight surviving to maturity. Jesse Sharpless began as a saddler and then became a Philadelphia merchant. Their son Townsend Sharpless (1793-1863), a successful Philadelphia dry good merchant, married Mary Brinton Jones (1795-1856) under the care of Birmingham Monthly Meeting in 1815. She was the daughter of Samuel Jones and Lydia Crosley Jones of Birmingham, Pa. Both were active in Quaker social causes. A younger daughter, Lydia A. Sharpless (1803-1883) did not marry and was active in Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Orthodox)
Lydia Jones Sharpless (1818-1911), the daughter of Townsend and Mary J. Sharpless, married Ezekiel Hunn in 1836 under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Orthodox). Ezekiel Hunn (1810-1902) was the son of Ezekiel and Tabitha Hunn of Kent Co., Delaware. He apprenticed under Townsend Sharpless and was received on certificate from Wilmington Monthly Meeting to Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (O) in 1835. The Hunn family in Delaware was actively involved in the Underground Railroad.
Lydia J. and Ezekiel Hunn had three children: Ezekiel Hunn, Jr., Mary Sharpless Hunn, and Townsend Sharpless Hunn. Ezekiel Hunn, Jr., (1841-1926) attended the University of Pennsylvania, served in the Pennsylvania Militia in 1863, and became a Philadelphia attorney. He married Anna Eliza Jenkins (1855-1902), daughter of Jabez and Elizabeth Jenkins of "Wild Cat", Kent Co., Delaware, in 1876. In 1891, he requested membership at Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (O) for his minor children. He is buried in Friends Southwestern Burial Ground.
Lydia J. Hunn's younger brother, Henry Hale Graham Sharpless (1823-1870), was born in 1823. In 1855, Sharpless married Mary Van Buren and was disowned by the Quakers for marrying out. Sharpless ran a dry goods business in Philadelphia, which was started by his grandfather. He died in 1870, at the age of 46.