Thomas and Charity Rotch: The Quaker Experience of Settlement in Ohio in the Early Republic 1800-1824
This first full length study of Quakers Charity and Thomas Rotch, early New England settlers to northeast Ohio (1811–1824) explores their role in the transformation of the frontier environment from wilderness to a prosperous market town. The book utilizes a wide selection of archival sources to provide insights into early community building in Ohio. The letters of Charity Rotch suggest that Quaker women forged particular sorts of relationships that encouraged their interconnections and interdependence. Women also recognized the significance of gender in their lives as they defined themselves collectively as women. The vocabulary and the cultural grammar that women used to reinforce kinship ties were crucial to building and maintain their faith communities over extended geographic distances.
This book will be of interest to scholars of early Ohio economic history and development, Quaker history and settlement in Ohio, gender, and the household in 19th century American history.
Barbara K. Wittman was born in Canton, Ohio. She was educated at the University of Cambridge and the University of Akron, Ohio, where she received her PhD in American Studies and Women’s History. She teaches at the University of Akron and is Archivist of the Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, Massillon (Ohio) Public Library.
"Those with an interest in the early history of Quakerism in the Ohio Valley ... have long been aware of the large collection of papers of Thomas and Charity (Rodman) Rotch at the Massillon, Ohio, Public Library. A few scholars have made use of them, but the collection cried out for book-length exploration. Now Barbara K. Wittman has supplied it, in a revision of her PhD dissertation undertaken at the University of Akron. [...] Thomas and Charity Rotch is a good introduction to two Friends who left behind a mass of documentation about their lives."
Thomas D. Hamm Earlham College Quaker Studies, 22:2 (2017)
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