Execution at Boston Common - WHO ARE THE QUAKERS?

While in England, the Dyers met George Fox, the founder of the religious Society of Friends, commonly referred to as Quakers. Fox, born in Drayton-In-The-Clay (Leicestershire, England) in 1624, thought the state should not control the Anglican Church (the Church of England). He was vocal about his beliefs.

In 1643, Fox began to give sermons throughout England, arguing people did not need consecrated buildings and ordained ministers to gain salvation. Even women were allowed to speak in worship and were also allowed to preach. This image of an undated wood engraving by Ernst von Hesse Wartegg (from the Library of Congress, General Collections) depicts a Quaker woman leading the service.

By 1656, English followers of Fox stopped attending Anglican services and refused to pay tithes. All of this unorthodox activity insured Fox serious problems with the authorities. He was arrested for his subversive teachings. One judge, before whom Fox appeared, cautioned Fox "to quake in the presence of the Lord." Ever after, his followers were called "Quakers."

Fox refused to start a new denomination even as his teachings became popular with the common man. Because of their disdain for conventional, "acceptable" forms of worship, Quakers (including Fox) were persecuted in England. During the reign of Charles II, over 13,000 Quakers were arrested and 338 died either in prison or as the result of violence directed at them during religious meetings.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Apr 30, 2019

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