DRUFEE, Mary B. Copy of Genesee Epistle for Westland Preparative Meeting. Farmington, [New York], 1834.
Manuscript in brown ink on paper, 4to. Four pages; previously foded as letter, a little brown-spotted.
The term ‘epistle’ was taken from the Bible’s apostolic letters to Christian groups and individuals by the Quakers and was used perhaps in the same way that one might use ‘advisory’. For the Quakers, it was perhaps a way of getting a consensus on the many civil and human rights campaigns that the Religious Society of Friends, motivated by conscience, have always participated in. This epistle is particularly interesting because it records a yearly coming together of women who “...rejoice in the assurance that the cause of the oppressed Africans is gaining increased interest in the minds of many friends… urging others to mouth their beliefs and “judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor & needy..”. The letter originated (or was copied) from an epistle written in the famous Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse, home of the Genesee Yearly Meeting of Friends and the catalyst for many a Civil Rights cause including the Underground Railroad and Women’s rights. The document was then sent to the Westland Preparative Meeting (a purely secular gathering) of Westland Ohio. The Maryland branch of the family whence this document came from were the ‘Griffiths’ of Maryland/Massachusetts and some of them established a community in Ohio, they visited one another frequently.