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Thomas Willis writings relating to the Separation and Quaker testimonies

 Collection — othertype: SC-220
Identifier: SFHL-SC-220


These writings, apparently a draft in answer to Evan Lewis's defense of Hicks, elucidate Willis's beliefs and his account of the Separation, including his being part of the committee that presented the complaint against Hicks which culminated in the disownment of Hicks in 1829 by the Orthodox faction. Willis defends the importance of the Bible, the divinity of Jesus, and the authority of the Church. Includes a draft of a letter to Josiah Forster (1848) in which Willis refers to the Wilburite Separation in New England Yearly Meeting and to a proposal presented at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to hold a meeting of representatives from all American yearly meetings and also a draft of a letter of advice (1807) written by Thomas Willis to an unnamed young woman in his role as Elder.


  • Creation: 1807-1848


Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is available for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Willis (1771-1864), Quaker minister, was the son of Fry and Anne Willis of Westbury Monthly Meeting. In 1789 Jericho Monthly Meeting was set off from Westbury, and in 1795 Thomas married Phebe Searing (d. 1845) under the care of Jericho Monthly Meeting. Anne, Thomas, and Phebe Willis, all Elders in the Meeting, had serious concerns about the views of fellow member and minister, Elias Hicks. In 1827, Phebe Willis asked Elias Hicks to respond in writing to specific questions about his beliefs. His reply was published and touched off a bitter debate. After the Hicksite Separation in 1828, the Willises remained members of Westbury and Jericho Monthly Meeting (Orthodox). In 1829, Evan Lewis published a defense of Elias Hicks in a pamphlet in which he argued that Hicks was following the "ancient testimonies.".


.1 linear ft. (.1 linear feet (2 folders.))

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--New York Yearly Meeting. Method of acquisition--Gift of; Date of acquisition--1997.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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