Historical notes regarding Thomas McClintock

Contributed by Christopher Densmore, Curator Friends Historical Library

The Journal was a Hicksite Quaker publication in the 1870s and 1880s, edited by Joseph Gibbons and his daughter Phebe E. Gibbons (from Lampeter, now Bird-in-Hand, Lancaster County, PA). The Gibbons were actively involved in anti-slavery and the Underground Railroad for several generations, and their publication contains some interesting recollections of the anti-slavery times, plus news of Friends., like Joseph Dugdale, who had been active in the anti-slavery movement.

The issue of 3 Mo. 22, 1876, has an column of “Friendly Items” containing news of Quaker doings, including:

“In Philadelphia, on First-day morning lasst, 19th inst., Thomas McClintock died in his 84th year. Being at the foot of the stairs he fell in an apopletic fit and expired.

He was not originally a member among Friends, but was was united with them early in life. He learned the drug business with a well known Friend in t he southern part of our city, and I believe was a fellow apprentice of the late Henry M. Zollikoffer, who also became a member though convincement. He married Mary Ann Wilson (who survives him,) daughter of Charles Wilson, a well esteemed Friend. At the time of the separation, he took an active interest in matters then in progress. As he resided then, and for some years later at Fifth and Callowhill Streets, he was a member of Green street Monthly Meeting, but about 1837-7, removed to Waterloo, NY., and became a member of Junius meeting where his ministry was acknowleged, and I think he was at one time clerk of Genesee Yearly Meeting.

Some years later, a difficulty arising in consequence of Michigan Quarterly Meeting neglecting to comply with t he discipline the in omission to hold their select meetings, after some labor the Yearly Meeting decided to discontinue is connection with them. The action was unsatisfactory to Thomas and a number of other Friends, and looking to the organization of a separate Yearly Meeting, they separated, but as Michigan Friends declined to act with them, such action was frustrated. Junius meeting, with but few exceptions, united with Thomas and annually, for some years, a Yearly Meeting of the Friends of Human Progress, was held there.

Michigan Quarter, as might be expected, dwindled, and I think has died out. Those who remained in unity with Friends now constitute the small Bi-Monthly Meeting held alternately at Adrian, West Unity, and Battle Creek.

Some years back, Thomas’s family removed back to Philadelphia, where his continued interest in Friends was manifested by frequent attendance at our meetings, and at times he felt drawn to appear in testimony.

He was a warm friend of the slave, and in fact whatever was for the benefit of mankind had his warmest sympathies. He sought to live out his religion and was truly a righteous man whom the Lord will count when he maketh up his jewels.

Although he erred in his separation, yet he was a throughly convinced Friend and worthy of mention amongst those who sought to do their work whilst the opportunity was afforded.

The author of this was J.M.T. Jr. — almost certainly one of the Trumans of Philadelphia who were related to Jane Master Hunt and to the M’Clintocks — probably Joseph M. Truman Jr.

The “Friendly Items” column in the Journal 4 Mo. 5, 1876, included some corrections and additions:

“The following corrections are needed in reference to Thomas McClintock; and as it is desireable a fuller account of his life may be prepared for The Journal, any other errors will doubtlessly be rectified. His father-in-law was John, not Charles Wilson.

At Green Street Monthly Meeting, 7th mo. 19, 1827, amongst others who transferred their rights from the Northern District Meeting [Philadelphia], were Thomas McClintock and wife with their four children.

1st mo. 21, 1836. The subject of the frequent appearance of Thomas McClintock in the ministry was introduced by the Preparative Meeting of Ministers and Elders, which was forwarded as usual to the Select Quarterly Meeting.

9th mo. 22d, 1836. T.M. requested a certificate to Junius Monthly Meeting for himself and his family. At this time he was clerk of the Monthly Meeting, and the day it was granted the minutes say, “the clerk being absent from the city,” another Friend acted.

I haven’t been able to find the fuller account of TM’s life that JMT Jr. promised.

Christopher Densmore, Curator Friends Historical Library
Swarthmore College
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081-1929
Phone: 610-328-8499
Fax: 610-328-5728

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