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Joseph Hoag Family Papers


Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Joseph Hoag (1762-1846) was a New York and Vermont Quaker best known for his Journal, first published in 1860, and his "Vision" in 1803 of a great Civil War which was coming in the United States because of slavery. He traveled widely in the ministry and regarded himself as a traditional Friend, opposing both Elias Hicks in the 1820s and Joseph John Gurney in the 1830s and 1840s.

Joseph Hoag was born in Dutchess County, New York. He was descended from John and Ebeneza Hoag, New England Puritans whose children became Quakers in the late seventeenth century. Joseph was the son of Elijah and Phebe Hoag, members of Oblong Monthly Meeting, Dutchess County. In 1782, he married Huldah Case at Creek Monthly Meeting. Huldah Case (1762-1850) was a convinced Friend who also traveled as a minister.

Joseph and Huldah Hoag had ten children, most of whom became Quaker ministers and/or married Quaker ministers. In 1791, the family transferred to Saratoga MM and subsequently to Ferrisburgh MM in Vermont. Joseph visited Friends in New England, the mid-Atlantic, South, and Midwest, as well as Canada.

In 1845, he decided to entrust his journals and other writing to his daughter and son-in-law, Hannah H. (1790-1849) and Ezra Battey (d. 1867). Their daughter, Narcissa Battey (born 1818), transcribed his writings. The Journal, with considerable editing, was published in 1860. This first edition was edited by William Hodgson, a Philadelphia Friend who supported the Wilburite position within the Orthodox branch of the Society of Friends. This edition precipitated a schism within NYYM at Poplar Ridge (Scipio) into two small groups known as Otisites and Kingites, so named from their clerks, James D. Otis and John King. A second version of the Journal was published in 1861 under direction of the Kingite meeting.

Interestingly, Joseph Hoag's granddaughter, Narcissa Battey (who transcribed his Journal) inadvertently had precipitated a separation in 1849 in Vermont within the Ferrisburgh Quarterly Meeting into Orthodox (Gurneyite) and Wilburite groups; her marriage to Wilburite Friend Alexander G. Coffin was allowed by Starksborough MM (O), leading to a laying down of that meeting by NYYM and then subsequent revival by Ferrisburgh Quarter (Wilburite).

In addition to the manuscript Journal transcribed by Narcissa Battey and multiple printed and manuscript versions of Joseph Hoag's vision, this collection also includes a small group of family correspondence and miscellaneous family papers. Of particular interest are a letter written by Huldah Hoag to her children, a letter from Joseph Hoag describing his experiences in New Bedford in October 1831, and a letter from Lindley Murray Hoag to his sister with poetry and family news. Lindley Murray Hoag (1808-1880) was the youngest of the ten siblings. He was a very active minister, traveling widely and eventually settling in Iowa Falls, Iowa, where he was a founder of Rocksylvania (Iowa Falls) MM.

The Journal was published in edited form as Journal of the life of Joseph Hoag, New York, 1860, and slightly different form in 1861. Joseph Hoag's Vision has also been published.

This collection offers a fascinating insight into a prominent New York/Vermont Quaker family at the center of mid-nineteenth century controversies within the Society of Friends in New England and Upstate New York.

The collection is divided into four series:

  1. Journals
  2. Correspondence
  3. Miscellaneous family papers
  4. Secondary material

Accession information

Donor: New York Yearly Meeting, 1997

The collection was transferred from Haviland Records Room by NYYM in 1997.

Received as one box of papers which included Joseph Hoag's Journal (bound) and two folder of miscellaneous family papers.

Material was sorted into series, described, and stored in one box in Record Group 5.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See

Collection Inventory

Autograph Manuscript.
Scope and Contents

This manuscript has been attributed by Christopher Densmore to Hoag's granddaughter, Narcissa Battey, written under the direction of Joseph Hoag and compiled from his journals and notes.

Physical Description

307 bound pp.

Lindley M. H. Battey to Huldah Knowls (his cousin), n.d.
Physical Description


Corbin, Sarah, n.d.
Scope and Contents

Note regarding personal property belonging to Sarah Knowls Corbin

Huldah Hoag to children, 1843.
Physical Description


Joseph Hoag to Nathan C. Hoag; Huldah Hoag "from thy husband.", 1831, 10 mo. 24.
Physical Description


Lindley Hoag to his sister, Jemima Hoag Knowls, n.d.
Physical Description


Unknown to Cousin Huldah Hoag Knowls, 1839, 7 mo. 26.
Physical Description


Silhouettes of Joseph Hoag., n.d.
Marriage certificate, David Knowls and Jemima Hoag, 1813, 3 mo. 10.
Marriage certificate, James Hoag and Huldah H. Knowls, 1845, 6 mo. 24.
Copy Book, Huldah H. Knowls, n.d.
Copy Book, Anna M. Knowls, n.d.
Account Book, n.d.
Scope and Contents

including inventory of the estate of David F. Knowls.

Testimony of Farnham MM on Sarah Steven, dec., ca. 1842.
Scope and Contents

Sarah Steven was the daughter of Samuel and Sally Knowls. AD (draft). According to the testimony, Sarah Steven accompanied Huldah Hoag in her ministry in about 1815 and soon after became a minister herself.

Miscellaneous poetry, n.d.
Scope and Contents

Apparently written and collected by Joseph and Huldah Hoag's children

"A dream of Joseph Hoag as related by himself a short time after taken down in his own words." AMs., n.d.
"Vision of Joseph Hoag", 1864.
Scope and Contents

Ms. copied by Philanda Nichol, with printed version.

Tribute to Elizabeth Hazard., 1838.
"The Way to be Happy in a Miserable World.".
"Self-Knowledge, Essential to Virtue and Happiness.".
Scope and Contents

On cover: "Huldah Hoag to [Jeans]? Hoag my grandson."

Report of the Meeting for Suffering, PYM, 1849.
Scope and Contents

on Division of New England Yearly Meeting. Ezra Battey's copy.

Newspaper clipping with Hoag's vision.
"A Letter, Huldah Hoag Book/Jemima Knowls.", 1830.
Miscellaneous religious tracts and The Friend, 835, 8mo. 7.

Print, Suggest