Lucretia Mott

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Lucretia Mott (Coffin)

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: Died in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas Coffin and Anna Coffin
Wife of James Mott
Mother of Anna Hopper; Maria Davis; Thomas Mott; Elizabeth Cavender and Martha Lord
Sister of Sally Coffin and Martha Wright

Managed by: Paul Douglas Van Dillen
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Coffin Mott was born 3 January 1793 in Nantucket, Massachusetts and died on 11 November 1880 near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was an American Quaker, abolitionist (Underground Railroad), social reformer, and proponent of women's rights.

Parents: Thomas Coffin and Anna Folger. Her youngest sister was pioneering rights activist Martha Coffin Wright.

  1. Married on 10 April 1811 in Philadelphia to James Mott (1788-1868), schoolteacher, son of Adam and Anne Mott.

Children of Lucretia Coffin and James Mott:

  1. Anna, born in Philadelphia, 6th of 8th month, 1812 ; died at York, Me., 3d of 8th month, 1874; married, 24th of 4th month, 1833, Edward Hopper, born 2d of 12th month, 1812, son of Isaac T. and Sarah (Tatum) Hopper, of New York.
  2. Thomas, born 23d of 7th month, 1814; died l0th of 4th month, 1817.
  3. Maria, born 30th of 3d month, 1818; married, 26th of 10th month, 1836, Edward M. Davis, born in Philadelphia 21st of 7th month, 1811 ; died in Boston, 26th of 11th month, 1887;son of Evan and Elizabeth Davis of Philadelphia, and grandson of Samuel Davis of Plymouth, Montgomery County, Pa.
  4. Thomas Mott, born 8th of 8th month, 1823 ; married, 28th of 7th month, 1845, Marianna Pelham, born 20th of 8th month, 1825 ; died in Switzerland, 3d of 7th month, 1872.
  5. Elizabeth Mott, born 14th of I2th month, 1825, died 4th of Qth month, 1865 ; married, in 1845, Thomas S. Cavender.
  6. Martha Mott, born 30th of 10th month, 1828 ; married, 8th of 6th month, 1853, George W. Lord, born 7th of 1st month, 1830, died 14th of 2d month, 1880.

Biographical notes

In 1821, before Lucretia Mott was 30 years old, she was designated as minister in the Society of Friends. Recognized for her exemplary character and her eloquence, she soon became not only a respected Quaker minister but one of the leaders in the reform movements of the 19th century. As a public speaker she declared that her religious convictions were founded on intelligent interpretation of the Bible and independence of thought and that her pleas for human brotherhood and world peace were expressions of her convictions.

Lucretia had a cheerful disposition and was inclined to talk overmuch. "Long tongue" was Anna Coffin's name for her second daughter. She began preaching in 1818.
In the 1830's Lucretia was looked upon as a fount of wisdom and as a woman capable of giving guidance to those beset by religious problems.


Recorded about Lucretia: "Her noble countenance was radiant as the morning; her soft voice though low, was so firm that she was heard to the farthest corner, and her sermon as philosophical as it was devout; Send forth thy light and thy truth was her text."



In public tributes appearing after her death, she was cited as "the greatest American woman" and "the noblest of them all".

Biographical Excerpt

Editorial, Time and Tide (9 July 1926):

Beginning with Mary Wollstonecraft in the late 18th century, the feminist movement owed its next big impetus (in the eighteen forties and fifties) to Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony, of New England. It was Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth C. Stanton who organised the first Equal Rights Convention which was held in New York in 1848; and it was Lucretia Mott who laid down the definite proposition which American women are still struggling to implement today: 'Men and Women shall have Equal Rights throughout the United States.'

Quotations

by Lucretia Mott:

"There is no true peace that is not founded on justice and right."


Quotes About Lucretia Mott

• Ralph Waldo Emerson about Lucretia Mott's antislavery activism:

She brings domesticity and common sense, and that propriety which every man loves, directly into this hurly-burly, and makes every bully ashamed. Her courage is no merit, one almost says, where triumph is so sure.

• Elizabeth Cady Stanton about Lucretia Mott:

Having known Lucretia Mott, not only in the flush of life, when all her faculties were at their zenith, but in the repose of advanced age, her withdrawal from our midst seems as natural and as beautiful as the changing foliage of some grand oak from the spring-time to the autumn.

  • Carl Schurz first met Mott in 1854. He described her in his autobiography published in 1906:

Lucretia Mott, a woman, as I was told, renowned for her high character, her culture, and the zeal and ability with which she advocated various progressive movements. To her I had the good fortune to be introduced by a German friend. I thought her the most beautiful old lady I had ever seen. Her features were of exquisite fineness. Not one of the wrinkles with which age had marked her face, would one have wished away. Her dark eyes beamed with intelligence and benignity. She received me with gentle grace, and in the course of our conversation, she expressed the hope that, as a citizen, I would never be indifferent to the slavery question as, to her great grief, many people at the time seemed to be.

Family notes

Coffin Family

The Coffin family in England is traced back to the time of William the Conqueror, when a Norman Knight, Sir Richard Coffyn, accompanied William in his invasion of England. The knight doubtless had his reward, for " Sir Richard Coffyn of Alwington in Devonshire," became an hereditary name for centuries — from the reign of Henry I. to that of Edward VI. Richard Coffyn was Sheriff of Devonshire in the time of Henry VIII. Curious agreements in relation to boundaries between Sir Richard Coffyn and the Abbot of Tavistock are still preserved. In one of them the Abbot grants the privilege of his church to the Coffyn family.

The first of the family in America was Tristram Coffyn, as he still spelled the name, son of Peter and Joanne (Thimber) Coffyn of Brixham Parish, in the town of Plymouth, in Devonshire.

Mott Family

from "Adam and Anne Mott" by Thomas Clapp Cornell

James Mott

[Husband] James Mott, the second child and eldest son of Adam and Anne Mott, was born at " the old place," the old Mott Homestead on Cowneck, on the 20th of 6th month, 1788, and died in Brooklyn, N. Y., of pneumonia, while on a visit to his daughter, Martha M. Lord, on the 26th of 1st month, 1868, in his eightieth year, clear in mind and memory, and in good bodily health until a few days before his death. He had married in Philadelphia, l0th of 4th month, 1811, Lucretia Coffin, born 3d of 1st month, 1793, in Nantucket, died at "Roadside," near Philadelphia, 11th of 11th month, 1880, having nearly completed her eighty- eighth year, clear in mind to the last, although in failing strength, daughter of Thomas and Anna (Folger) Coffin, of Nantucket and subsequently of Philadelphia.

Thomas Mott

Thomas Mott [son of Lucretia Coffin and James Mott] at the time of his marriage, was in the wool business with his father, and they prospered; and after the retirement of his father he made other business connections, and after one or two reverses, from which they promptly recovered, he retired from business in 1863 with a handsome competence. He has since spent considerable time in Europe, and of later years much time in Newport, R. I. He now makes the home of his family at Radnor near Philadelphia in the winter, and at Newport in the summer.

Edward Davis

His [Edward Davis, son in law - married to daughter Maria Mott] grandfather was Captain in the American army in the Revolution, and his father was Captain in the war of 1812, although both were members of the Society of Friends, and Edward M. Davis himself was on the staff of General John C. Fremont in Missouri during the Rebellion, with the rank of Captain.

Edward M. Davis, at the time of his marriage, was a merchant in Philadelphia, and was deeply interested in the anti-Slavery movement, and in various other efforts of reform. For all the later years of his life, his home was at " Roadside." Their eldest daughter, Anna Davis Hallowell, is the author of the biography of James and Lucretia Mott above mentioned, and her husband, Richard P. Hallowell, has written two or three small volumes in defence of Quakerism and of Freedom : one, " The Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts;" the second, "The Pioneer Quakers," and a third, " The Southern Question." In recognition of these services, their portraits are introduced in this volume. Their home is at West Medford, near Boston, Mass.

George Lord

George W. Lord [son in law (married to daughter Martha Mott] was a clerk in the Bank of North America in Philadelphia at the time of his marriage. He subsequently went into the wool business in New York, from which he retired about 1874 on account of ill health, but with a competence.

Town named in her honor

LaMott, Pennsylvania

After the [Civil] War, the little old lady, by then well in her seventies, remained as active as she could, attending woman's rights meetings and furthering the cause of racial equality. When President Grant visited Jay Cooke in 1873, Mrs. Mott, at the age of 80, paid him a visit to plead for the lives of Indians condemned for refusal to move onto a reservation in California.

When she died on November 11, 1880, Lucretia Coffin Mott left America a legacy of valuable accomplishments and lofty goals not yet accomplished. Of all the tribute bestowed upon that noble little Quaker lady, none is more meaningful than the naming of the village of LaMott, a community where men and women, black and white, live together proudly and peacefully--a living example of the equality she sought for all people.


Weblinks

Further reading

Mott, Lucretia, Beverly W. Palmer, Holly B. Ochoa, and Carol Faulkner. Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott. Women in American history. Urbana, Ill: University of Illinois Press, 2002. Print. find in a library

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Lucretia Mott's Timeline

1793
January 3, 1793
Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts, United States
1811
April 10, 1811
Age 18
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
1812
August 6, 1812
Age 19
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
1818
March 30, 1818
Age 25
1823
August 8, 1823
Age 30
1825
December 14, 1825
Age 32
1828
October 30, 1828
Age 35
1880
November 11, 1880
Age 87
Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States