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Sheppard Family papers

Identifier: HC.MC-858

Scope and Contents

Papers consist of letters, minutes, accounts, memorials, deeds, marriage certificates, wills, and other documents. Noteworthy among the letters are those from a group of Irish Friends, including James Wansborough (fl. 1700-1728), especially political information, e.g. reporting hardships suffered under the Catholic monarchy and the coming to power of William of Orange, Robert Dawson, Joseph Armitage, and Thomas Sheppard to Thomas, Moses, and Ann Wansborough Sheppard, in America, 1700-1741; letters of John Sheppard to son Clarkson and future daughter-in-law, Anne Garrett, 1841- 1843; letters of Nathan Cook, Joseph Kite and Mary Kite, telling of the Wilburite controversy in Ohio, Philadelphia, and other Yearly Meetings, 1846-1856; letters from John Wilbur to Rebekah [sic] Walton, 1848-1851. Documents include notes and extracts from Minutes of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1827-1861, including mention of the Separation of 1827-1828, accounts, memorials, deeds, marriage certificates, wills, and two records, 1656-1843, of Friends in the ministry who visited America from Europe, and vice versa as well as a list of ministers in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, 1831-40.


  • Creation: 1656 - 1887


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

The collection is open for research use.

Copyright and Rights Information

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17)

Biographical / Historical

John Wilbur (1774-1856), a minister in the Society of Friends, was born in Rhode Island, but visited England and Ireland twice on religious service. The controversy that divided him from Joseph John Gurney was on the interpretation of Truth. He opposed bible schools, as "tending to beget a too literal knowledge of Truth", and objected to foreign missions as supports to a ministry appointed by humans. In 1843, Wilbur was disowned, which led to a separation in New England Yearly Meeting. He was the author of several works.


.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes)




The collection particularly provides connections between the Irish and Philadelphia Friends in the 18th century, especially by the Sheppard and Wansborough families who intermarried. Included are letters of John Wilbur, central in the Gurney-Wilbur controversy.

Sheppard Family papers, 1656-1887
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