Scrapbook of Quaker History

Please feel free to contribute to this collection
of interesting snippets from our Quaker heritage.

Send electronic mail to: joannerabun@comcast.net

Date: 02-02-96
From: MICHAELL@MICHAELL.SEANET
Subj: Dunkards
Conf: ROOTS-L

    Rooters,

    Thanks to the many who responded to my post regarding "Dunkards"...
    below are some of the answers I extracted from emails received:

    "A Dunkard isn't really directly associated with the Quakers."

    "Dunkard was another name for the Church of the Brethren."

    "A "Dunkard" is not a Quaker. They were considered german baptists."

    "A "dunkard" is a Baptist. It is a reference to the Baptist practice of immersing ("dunking") someone for baptism."


Date: 12-12-95
From: LINDA VIXIE
To: ALL (Fidonet Genealogy Conference)
Subj: Quaker Burial Practice

Here's an odd snippet of Quaker history I ran across while reading an even odder book: "Bodysnatchers: A History of the Resurrectionists 1742-1832" by Martin Fido (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988).

When medicine started to become more than a barber and some leeches, the practitioners needed cadavers to do anatomical studies. These were not readily available in the quantities needed, so an underground trade of graverobbing in Great Britain sprang up to supply the demand. The populace greatly feared becoming the target of these bodysnatchers after they died, and many means were employed to thwart their attempts. Here's a quote that explains how some Quakers did it:
"Mortsafes were a peculiarly Scottish device. These were heavy iron cages erected over graves and firmly embedded in the soil. They were a most effective means of inhibiting disinterment, and thrifty owners used a block and tackle mounted on three sheer-legs to hoist them out of place and use them over again on new graves when necessary.
"The Quakers of Kinmuck were thriftier still. They made a stout cage of wrought iron in two halves which could be bolted around the coffin and buried with it. When the body was deemed to have putrefied beyond being any use for the surgeons, the coffin was dug up, the portable mortsafe was unlocked and taken back to the Meeting House, and there it waited for the next Friend's death. it did at least mean that the poorest member of Kinmuck Preparative Meeting was assured of resting in peace."
--page 20.

What did they do -- prop up this device in a spare corner? A constant "memento moria" indeed.

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