Scope and Contents
The Burr Collection includes manuscripts which document the Hicksite position during the Separation of 1827/28 in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and the trial over the Crosswicks School Fund. It is directly related to the Southard Papers/RG5/312, which contain a more complete description of the controversy. It also includes Burr's manuscript on the History of the Society of Friends which he compiled for Southard as background in preparing his case representing the Hicksite position.
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
This collection was probably formed as part of an overall effort by Representative Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Hicksite) to gather materials relating to the Separation in the Society of Friends. As early as 1827, Thomas McClintock had written to William Poole to solicit his correspondence "which may contain some facts that would be useful in the present occasion" (Letter dated 7mo 28 1827). Evidently the collection of letters was forwarded (to McClintock?) after 1828. A receipt which is included in the collection indicates that George Burr gave manuscripts to Joseph Parrish and James Martin, Jr., for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Hicksite) in 1836. Samuel Southard was asked for his documentation of the Crosswicks trial by Benjamin Davis in 1838 but apparently kept his correspondence and the notes relating to the case (See Southard Papers/RG5/312). Davis had been appointed to a Committee for that purpose with Charles and Isaac Townsend.
William Poole (1764-1829), son of William and Elizabeth Shipley Poole of Wilmington, was a Friend who was active in government, business and philanthropic activity. Originally apprenticed to a silversmith, he subsequently became a miller. In 1791, he married Sarah Sharples of Middletown, daughter of Benjamin and Martha Mendenhall Sharples. Poole was elected a member of the Delaware State House of Representatives from New Castle County in 1802 and was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Wilmington. He was a close friend of Elias Hicks and helped to spread his ideas within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. His correspondence documents his central role and the views of other Friends, particularly William Wharton and Thomas McClintock, on Elias Hicks.
George Harris Burr (1791-?), a Philadelphia merchant, was involved in the preparation of the defense of the Hicksite position in the trial over the Crosswicks School Fund in New Jersey. George H. Burr was one of twin sons born to William and Rebecca (Harris) Burr of Mt.Holly Monthly Meeting in New Jersey. His father died in 1795 when George was only four, and it is doubtful that his twin survived infancy. Rebecca and two minor children, Sarah Dilwyn and George H., received a certificate to Philadelphia Monthly Meeting for the Southern District in 1807 and to Philadelphia MM for the Northern District by 1809. In 1824, the latter disowned George Burr for accumulating a substantial unpaid business debt. It is not clear whether he was reinstated by a Hicksite Meeting after the Separation, but in 1828 Burr had sufficient authority to engage the services of Samuel L. Southard, prominent politician and lawyer. The last record that we have of Burr at this time is his annotation of the 1704 manuscript discipline of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 12 mo 1837.