HISTORY OF QUAKERS
The name "Quaker" had its origin in the middle of the 17h century in England. It was a period of religious and political turmoil. During this time, George Fox's interpretation of the scripture emphasized "Truth" and guidance by the "Inner Light". These nonconformists suffered much early persecution, at which time they were dubbed "Quakers", but their "Society of Friends" thrived on adversity, grew strong, and left its mark on subsequent generations. Quakers became known for fairness and tolerance for others' religious beliefs. The movement rapidly increased in numbers and spread throughout the British Isles, Germany, and the American colonies.
HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL SOCIETY, DESCENDANTS OF EARLY QUAKERS
The Discovery that one of the most neglected areas of historical studies among hereditary societies was that of the "Quakers". One evening, over the dinner table in a Chinese restaurant, I presented the idea of a hereditary society dedicated to our early Quaker ancestors to Dr. and Mrs. Clifton R. Brooks and my husband. It was on that day, the 10th of September 1980, the National Society Descendants of Early Quakers was founded.
With the organizing abilities of Mrs. Agnes Brooks, more and more men and women became interested in preserving the memory of their early Quaker ancestors. With the mother-daughter team of Mrs. Thomas J. McClendon (Mildred) and Miss Bonita Dee Miller, contact was made with prospective members and papers were processed. Mrs. Della Greenbury and Mrs. Lois Ellis were invaluable consultants and authorities regarding the structure of the Society of Friends. Dr. Clifton R. Brooks and Lloyd F. Wheeler were loyal and dependable in their efforts on behalf of the society. The late William F. Mendenhall was also a staunch supporter on the society's behalf. Mrs. Edward (Ann) Hungerford was the first editor of "PLAIN LANGUAGE".
Research has shown that the most basic institution in the colonies was the family; therefore, as William Frost said: "Knowledge of the Quaker family structure is useful for the insights it provides about the religious group" . Also, to continue with Frost: "To be a Quaker meant to share certain values about the family. Since the Society of Friends was never a purely American denomination, and since colonial Quakers retained close contacts with Friends in the British Isles, one ought not to treat American Quakers in isolation. Wherever they lived, all Quakers held essentially the same beliefs."
This brief sampling of historical facts shows us just how much we have to learn about our early Quaker ancestors and their background. In the years to come we will study together in the pages of "PLAIN LANGUAGE" the people and their events. What an interesting time we shall have.
Sincerely yours in friendship and kinship,Geraldine Hartshone Wheeler
Founding National Clerk January 1984
(taken in part from Vol. 1, No. 1, - the January 1984 issue of PLAIN LANGUAGE.)
FOUNDING EXECUTIVE BOARD
Mrs. Lloyd Franklin Wheeler
Founding National Clerk
*Mrs. Clifton Rowland Books
Founding National Presiding Clerk
*Clifton Rowland Brooks, M.S., MPH
Founding National Overseer
*Mrs. William F. Medenhall
Founding National Trustee
*Miss Bonita Dee Miller
Founding National Recording Clerk
*Mr. Lloyd Franklin Wheeler *Mrs. Tom J. McClendon
Founding National Keeper of the Funds
Founding National Inquirer
PAST NATIONAL PRESIDING CLERKS
*Mrs. Clifton R. Brooks (Agnes) 1980-1987
*Clifton R. Brooks 1987-1989
*Mrs. Paul von Kempf (Margaret S.) 1989-1991
Mr. C. Owen Johnson, J.D. 1991-1993
Mrs. Joseph Lajus Brady (Turalu R.) 1993-1995
Mr. Richard H. Calendine 1995-1997
Mrs. Carleton B. White (Rita L.) 1997-1999
Mrs. Richard C. Silman (Jo) 1999-2001
*Mrs. Frederick J. Licht (Lilla) 2001-2003
Mrs. C. Lamar DeuPree (Grace F.) 2003-2005
Mrs. William W. Belcher (Carole D.) 2005-2007
Mrs. John W. Palm (Louise A.) 2007-2009
Mrs. Melvin D. Austin (Mary C.) 2009-2011
Mrs. Edward L. Wilkinson (Marlene R.) 2011-2013