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Fothergill Family Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-270

Scope and Contents

Papers of the Fothergill and related families of Yorkshire, England, and Wilmington, Delaware. Manuscripts include eighteenth and ninteenth century letters, essays, and genealogical documents. Some of the early correspondence, 1673-1842, was once bound together with linen edges. Of particular interest among these is a letter which describes the Duke of Cumberland's battles with Bonnie Prince Charlie (1745) and two anecdotes concering Quaker minister, David Sands (late 18th century). There is also a manuscript recipe book, with entries in at least two hands and dating from the mid 18th to the mid 19th centuries.

A large part of the collection is made up of original sketches and watercolors. They include works by Alexander Fothergill, his daughter, Ann, her siblings and cousins.


  • Creation: ca.1763-1995


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See

Biographical / Historical

John Fothergill (1712-1780) was an esteemed Quaker physician who was born at Carr-end in Yorkshire, England, the son of John and Margaret (Hough) Fothergill. His brother, Alexander (1710-1788), farmed the family property at Carr-end, and sister, Ann, remained single and lived in her brother John's household at Warrington. Alexander married twice, the second time to Margaret Thistlewaite (1710-1798) of Harborgill, Dent Dale, Yorkshire. Their son, William (b.1748) married Hannah Robinson; William and Hannah had five children: John, Thomas, Alexander, Margaret, and Jane. Their youngest son, Alexander, married twice, Eliza Howarth and Jane Robinson.

Alexander had at least eleven children: Hannah (b.1816), Thomas (b.1817), Sarah (b.1819), Susanna (b.1821), Eliza (b.1824), Alice Haworth (b.1826), Ann (b.1830), Mary (b.1831), Margaret (b.1835), William (b.1835), and Henry (b.1837). In 1843, the couple and their minor children were granted a certificate of removal from Marsden Monthly Meeting in England to Chester Monthly Meeting (Orthodox) in the United States, but Alexander died the same year and was buried in Wilmington, Delaware. Jane died in 1874. Ann Fothergill became a school teacher in Wilmington, Delaware. Her youngest brother, Henry, was disowned by Friends in 1860; he married Rachel Poinsett in Wilmington, in 1868, and eventually moved to Steelton, Pennsylvania.

Henry and Rachel had several children including Henry Robinson Fothergill (1873-1917), Alexander Poinsett Fothergill, and William Greenwood Fothergill. Henry Robinson was wed to Eliza Groves Quigley. After her husband died prematurely in 1917, "Bessie" married Valentine Buford Mott, an actor. Henry and Bessie had three children: Elizabeth Fothergill Graves (1899-1974), Henry Robinson Fothergill Jr. (1903-1984), and Winifred Quigley Fothergill-Quinlan (1915-2006).


2 linear ft. (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers of the Fothergill and related families of Yorkshire, England, and Wilmington, Delaware. Manuscripts include eighteenth and ninteenth century letters, essays, and genealogical documents as well as 19th century sketches and watercolors.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of David G. Quinlan Jr.

The bulk of this collection was given by Alexander Poinsett Fothergill ("Uncle Bo") to Winifred Quigley Fothergill-Quinlan in the 1950s, and after her death donated by her husband to Friends Historical Library.

Related Materials

PA 100/P7/F170. Six cabinet card portraits of Eliza Quigley Fothergill, Acc. 2010.16, gift of Bebe Geisler. Added to Individual Portraits.

Separated Materials

A number of printed books were received with the collection. Volumes written by Jesse Fothergill, a distant cousin, and by Bessie Q. Mott (Eliza Quigley Fothergill) have been added to Series 3. The following works were not retained:

  1. A Collection of Short Stories. Ed. L.A. Pittenger. The Macmillan Company: New York. 1927.
  2. A Concordance to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Reverend George Coles. Lane and Tippett: New York. 1847.
  3. Abraham Lincoln: His Story. Samuel Scoville Jr. American Sunday School Union: Philadelphia. 1918.
  4. Ambition. Sir John Lubbock. H.M. Caldwell Company: New York.
  5. An Exposition of the Controverted Doctrines of the Catholic Church.
  6. Chronicles of the Schonberg-Cotta Family. Dodd, Mead, and Company: New York.
  7. Daily Help. Reverend Charles H. Spurgeon. Grosset and Dunlap Publishers: New York.
  8. Eminent Women of the Age. S.M. Betts and Co: Hartford, Connecticut. 1868.
  9. English Grammar. Lindley Murray-H. and E. Phinney. 1825.
  10. Essays of Phrenology. George Combe. Philadelphia. 1822.
  11. Friendly Lines. Sanford Prep School and Sunny Hills Lower School: Delaware. 1956.
  12. Friendship and Love. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Grossett and Dunlap: New York.
  13. Gerty and May; or The Sayings and Doing of Little Girls Known to the Writer: A Story for Young Children. Carlton and Porter: New York.
  14. Historic Notes on the Scenic Papers of A.L. Diament and Co.
  15. History of Ackworth School. Henry Thompson. The Centenary Committee of Ackworth School: London. 1879.
  16. Just Among Friends: The Quaker Way of Life. William Wister Comfort. The Blakiston Co.: Philadelphia. 1945.
  17. Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Painters. Elbert Hubbard. G.P. Putnam’s Sons: New York. 1899.
  18. Love. William Phelps. E.P. Dutton and Co., Inc.: New York. 1928.
  19. Narrative of Ackworth Centenary. 1879.
  20. New Testament: Army and Navy Edition. American Bible Society: New York. 1917.
  21. On Going to Church. Bernard Shaw. Little Leather Library Corporation: New York.
  22. Once Upon a Time in Delaware. Katherine Pyle. E.P. Dulton and Co.
  23. Prayers of Hope and Gladness. Elinor C. Stewart. Edwin S. Gorham Inc: New York. 1926.
  24. Proceedings of the Ackworth Old Scholars’ Association, Part 27. Headley Brothers: London. 1899.
  25. Promises of Hope and Gladness. Elinor C. Stewart. 1927.
  26. Representative Men. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  27. Salome. Oscar Wilde. Dodge Publishing Company: New York. 1907.
  28. The Autobiography of Ben Franklin. American Book Company: New York. 1896.
  29. The Devotional Harmonists: A Collection of Sacred Music. Ed. Charles Dingley. T. Carlton and Z. Phillips: New York. 1853.
  30. The Greatest Thing in the World. Henry Drummond. Collins Clear-Type Press: London.
  31. The Holy Bible. American Bible Society: New York. 1854.
  32. The New Testament. American Bible Society: New York. 1864.
  33. The Quaker Approach. ed. John Kavanaugh. G.P. Putnam’s Sons: New York. 1953.
  34. The Spiritual Combat. Laurence Scupoli. Longmans, Green, and Co: New York. 1909.
  35. The Story of My Heart. Richard Jefferies. Longmans Green and Co: London. 1930.
  36. The Treble Almanack for the Year 1810. John Watson Stewart: Dublin. 1810.
  37. Visits with Laura Alberta. Lela M. Gibbs. The Village Printer: New York. 1967.
An Inventory of the Fothergill Family Papers, ca.1763-1995
Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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