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Profiles

  • Jeremy Hartley (1600 - 1640)
    Cornell University Library The original of this book is in the Cornell University Library. There are no known copyright restrictions in the United States on the use of the text. In compliance with curr...
  • Robert Swan (deceased)
    Known as Swan's because the Swan (or Swann) family owned the planatuon between 1674 and 1733. 1733-35 in a Chancery suit the property (of 130 acres with 251 enslaved people) passed to (1) in 1733 Hug...
  • Richard Hall, of Mount Welcome (1635 - 1688)
    Date and place of birth have also been (erroneously?) reported to be circa 1635 in Lamborne, Berkshire, England. Date of marriage to Elizabeth Wingfield might be 1662. Place has also been (erroneousl...
  • John B Hartley (1600 - 1640)
    English Ancestors A William Hartley responded 14 July 1651 to The Pulpit guarded against XVII Arguments, a tract printed in London using perhaps for the first time in print the derogatory epithet "...

This Project is to find our Quaker Ancestors on Barbados. Feel free to join and bring your ancestor profile along.

Quakers on Barbados

  • 1655 Quakers Mary Fisher and Ann Austin traveled to Barbados and are said to have been the first Quakers in America.

"The island of Barbados was during the 17th century the great port of entry to the colonies in the western world. In the last half of the century it was a veritable hive of Quakerism. Quakers wishing to reach any part of the American colony sailed most frequently for Barbados, then reshipped to their definite locality. Quakers generally spent weeks or months in Barbados propagating their doctrines there and in surrounding islands before proceeding to their final destinations." (Gordon Trueblood)


By 1671, there was a huge community of Quakers in Barbados. Prior to the Quakers’ large-scale migration to Pennsylvania, Barbados had more Quakers than any other English colony. But on this island of sugar plantations, Quakers confronted material temptations and had to temper founder George Fox’s admonitions regarding slavery with the demoralizing realities of daily life in a slave-based economy—one where even most Quakers owned slaves.

They were one of the first Christian churches to encourage the slaves to join them resulting in the legislation of 1676 that made it illegal for blacks in Barbados to attend a Quaker meeting, and by the time a census was taken in 1680, some 500 of the 20,000 white people on Barbados were Quakers. Despite their efforts, the Quakers failed in their experiment to transform the culture of Barbados.

"Ultimately, the Quaker movement on Barbados "ended with a whimper. They challenged the very powerful plantation power structure and lost ... It was an extraordinary challenge, but today there's little evidence that they had much impact. But they did have the local government frightened for two decades."

Sources

  • Gragg, Larry D. The Quaker Community on Barbados: Challenging the Culture of the Planter Class. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2009.