Patience Hunn Jenkins Papers
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
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Patience Hunn was born 23, 8 month, 1805, the daughter of Ezekiel and Tabitha (Newell) Hunn, Quakers of Kent County, Delaware. Her younger half-brother, John, son of Ezekiel and his second wife Hannah Alston Hunn, was a "chief engineer" of the Underground Railroad. Along with Thomas Garrett, he was tried and convicted for aiding the escape of the family of Samuel Hawkins. He was severely fined by the State of Delaware and left impoverished. The siblings were very close, and Patience offered support to John and his family.
Patience Hunn first married George Washington Jenkins, son of Jabez and Patience Jenkins, of Camden, DE, and they had two daughters. He died in 1833, and in 1835, she married Jabez Jenkins under the care of Camden Monthly Meeting. The son of Thomas and Elizabeth Jenkins, he was a widower with four children. In 1844 she was acknowledged as a minister by Camden Monthly Meeting. She died 27, 4 month, 1884.
The collection contains journals, a letter book, and miscellaneous correspondence reflecting her life in the ministry and social concerns. Her brother, John Hunn (1818-1894) with whom she was very close, was a major participant in the Underground Railroad. Her journal mentions the hardships he suffered because of his commitment to the abolition of slavery and she references many Quakers active in the anti-slavery movement.
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The collection is open for research.
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Following death of her infant son, Thomas, on 6 mo 1841, and with her surviving children in mind, Patience Jenkins began a journal to record her activities and thoughts. Later that year, she was inspired to speak at meeting. The journal records her life as a committed and active Friend, including attendance at meetings (local and yearly), mention of family and fellow Quakers, and religious concerns, including slavery. In 1848, 6 month, she records a visit to her brother John Hunn to support him in his adversity.
Entries mostly on the days Patience Jenkins attends meetings and describes her visits in the ministry. Brother John Hunn is widowed with three children and comes to stay with her family. They visit the poor, and she speaks at the graveside at the burial of a neighbor, surprising some who had never heard a woman preach. The volume ends with entry 1855, 3 mo, 12, attending monthly meeting, signed Patience Jenkins, "In Another book is [sic] is continued." Some sections faded.
Mentions visit of Friends from Philadelphia including Deborah F. Wharton, Susan Parrish. 8 month, monthly meeting brother John asked to visit other meetings
Describes being sent to Westtown School. Later move to her deceased uncle Joseph Hunn's house in Camden, Delaware.
Transcription by Patience H. Jenkins of her correspondence and that of her brother, John Hunn others. She notes on the front page that John Hunn was in his 24th year in 1843. The letters are largely religious in nature.
A.L. to dear Brother, Thomas Jenkins, 1860. Others are fragments, all with religious themes