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The Nicholites or “New Quakers”

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  • John Horney (1749 - 1821)
    DAR Patriot #A058476: William Horney, Private in American Revolution, Nicholite by faith
  • James Horney (c.1755 - 1794)
    William Horney, Private in American Revolution, Nicholite by faith
  • Jarvis Stafford (c.1725 - 1812)
    From: A History of the Early Settlement of Highland County, Ohio By Daniel Scott Published by The Gazette, 1890 pg 97 In the fall of 1805 William Williams emigrated from Guildford county, North Carol...
  • Isaac Nichols (bef.1765 - aft.1813)
    From: R. B. Nichol Notes: This Isaac Nichols/Nicolls is listed in the Caroline County, MD Tax Assessment of 1783 as "Isaac Nicolls, of Benjamin" apparently to differentiate him from Isaac Nichols, Sr...
  • William Horney, Sr. (1756 - 1829)
    DAR Patriot #A058478: HORNEY, WILLIAM, (Greene Co.) Pvt. in Muster Roll of the 5th Md Regt, Capt William Rie Cup's Company, Aug 1780, Jan 1781. Also 1778-1789. Fur semdries from N. C. Br 1752, Caro...

Founded in the early 1760s by the charismatic preacher Joseph Nichols, the Nicholites shared many similarities with the Quakers, including dedication to nonviolence and antislavery and were one of the first religious groups in America to make the manumission of slaves a requirement of membership. As with Quaker meetings, the Nicholites’ meetings consisted of silent contemplation of the “Inner Light”, punctuated by sermons from members who felt moved to speak. However, the Nicholites differed from the Quakers in their emphasis on plainness from wearing undyed clothing to not having flowers in their gardens.

The Nicholite movement started in Delaware and quickly spread to Maryland. Joseph Nichols' ministry was brief and ended with his death in 1770. After his death, many followers chose to migrate to North Carolina, particularly the Deep River area of Guilford County. By the end of the 18th Century, most of the Nicholites in the northern states had joined the Quaker faith, but the sect continued in North and South Carolina until the early decades of the 19th Century.

List of Nicholite Surnames

  • Anderson
  • Charles
  • Chipman
  • Horney
  • Linager/Linegar
  • Nichols
  • Pegg
  • Standley
  • Wheeler
  • Willis


Joseph Nichols and the Nicholites: A Look at the “New Quakers” of Maryland, Delaware and North and South Carolina

Joseph Nichols and the Movement of the Nicholites

The Nicholites of Jamestown and Deep River (Scroll down through the family list to find the article.)

Family of Joseph "The Nicholite" Standley