Open main menu

The Souvenir of Western Women/Woman's Work Among the Friends or Quakers

< The Souvenir of Western Women

Woman's Work Among the Friends or Quakers

By MRS. ELIZABETH A. T. WHITE, Woodburn, Or.

WOMAN, in the Friends' Church, stands the equal with man, and is not barred from any office or any work of the church.

The late Rebecca Lewis, wife of Judge D. C. Lewis, and mother of Mrs. P. J. Mann, was the first Friend to come to Oregon. Portland was then but a small village. Rebecca Lewis formed a wide acquaintance with people of all churches. Everywhere she was known as the "Quaker Lady." She never varied from "thee and thou" when speaking to others, and always spoke of her husband as "David Lewis." For many years she was the only Friend in the state, but she was ever loyal to her faith, and rejoiced when other Friends came.

Mary B. Pinkham, of Iowa, a minister of the gospel, when almost 70 years of age, received a call of God to come to this far West and look after Friends who had migrated thither. She and her husband came and spent two years in Oregon. She soon found Rebecca Lewis, and exclaimed: "The Lord sent me across the continent to see thee."

Mrs. Pinkham held gospel meetings in various places; she visited the sick, whether their malady was in mind or in body, and was a blessing alike to rich and poor. She felt that the Lord bade her open the work of Friends in Oregon, and that others would follow her to carry it out. Long before coming here she had seen, as in a vision, Friends' meetings established.

In October, 1874, Rebecca Clawson, from Indiana, also a minister of the gospel, and a cousin of Rebecca Lewis, came to Oregon with her daughter. The wonderful meeting in far-away Oregon of the two Rebeccas, who had not met since girlhood, was a theme of which they never tired.

Rebecca Clawson resided in Oregon nine years, and was often engaged m missionary work. She preached the gospel as the Lord directed, and way was opened through invitations from the pastors of the churches. She also held services in country school houses. The chaplain of the state prison invited her to go with him and fill his place in preaching to the prisoners. It was evidently of the Lord. She went at different times. Many of her listeners were melted to tears, and there were definite conversions of men who, Ahen freed, lived changed lives, and thanked God that the prisoners had been remembered.

Mrs. Clawson was deeply interested in temperance work, as indeed most of the women Friends in Oregon have been. She organized the Portland and the Albany Unions of the W. C. T. U., and when the first state convention met in Oregon under the leadership of Frances E. Willard she was elected delegate to the national convention to be held in Philadelphia. She made ready to go, visited all her children, and officiated at the marriage of a granddaughter, Mrs. M. A. Ogden, of Portland. Finally taking leave of all, she journeyed eastward. The effort proved too great for her strength, and she passed peacefully away from earth at the home of her nephew in Indianapolis, Ind.

Frances E. Willard said of her to Mrs. White: "Few have been blessed with such a mother as was the dear soul whom you have lost and Heaven has gained. Instead of her wise counsel for us, we held memorial services for her."

Jane E. Weeden, a member of Friends' Church of Ohio, was at one time city missionary for Portland. She seemed to know just where to find the worthy poor. She practiced rigid economy that she might give from her own purse. She also gave of her time and strength freely. She, too, was a zealous advocate of temperance. Her intellect was keen and bright, and her addresses were listened to with deep interest.

The home and foreign missionary fields are receiving earnest attention from the women Friends in Oregon. They have supplied two or three missionaries in Alaska, and the one at Kobe Island is very prosperous.

As a result of these pioneer labors a large yearly meeting has been established at Newberg, Oregon; also Pacific College at the same place.

Souvenir of Western Women 0086.png

  • BLOCK HOUSE, UPPER CASCADES
  • MIDDLE BLOCK HOUSE, CASCADES W. T.
  • PIONEER PRINTING OFFICE, LAPWAI
  • CROCKETT'S OLD STOCKADE, WHIDBY'S ISLAND, PUGET SOUND