West Jersey Lamb’s War
a Quaker family journey
Fleeing from persecution, a group of English Quakers sailed out of the Port of London in March 1677, bound for West New Jersey. Their century-long journey takes us through primitive European outposts along the Delaware River, through Native Lenape villages, and into the sweeping wilderness of Appalachia.
This is a story of first encounter and migration, using first-hand accounts and closely following the historical record. We see life through the eyes of the pacifistic Quakers, from early settlement through the turmoil and carnage of the American Revolution. First attempting to convert the world to their beliefs, then declaring themselves “a people apart,” the Quakers undertook abolition of slavery and other great American reform movements.
Researching and writing this book was a great personal odyssey for me. It began with family legends my mother told me and my siblings as children. On long summer drives, the stories became fairy tales and we were riveted. At Reed College I developed the tools to reconstruct events from historical records, and I also learned to separate myth from historical fact. Much later, I inherited some 19th century photo albums and my mother’s 20th century memoir, which reignited my curiosity. Slowly piecing together connections between my family and the Great Quaker Migration of the 17th century, the larger story unfolded. My impulse grew to share it with 21st century readers, and that is why I wrote this book. It was mother’s story-telling, more than anything else, that planted the seed of my lifelong passion for history.