Sometimes small coincidences tantalize. For example, in 1657 Quaker John Wilkinson of Cumberland undertook a significant travel in ministry to Ireland, only months after he finally joined Friends after encountering George Fox at Pardshaw Crag, where John and Eliner Hodgson were members. John and Eliner’s two sons both wind up in Ireland, likely with other Hodgson kin. Wilkerson had been a pastor simultaneously serving three churches when the Quaker movement began eroding his congregations, and had stiffly resisted Friends until the day he was among several hundred people at the outdoor event. Did Wilkinson somehow encourage their moves, spiritually and physically? We’ll never know.
However the Hodgson lineage ultimately plays out, I had originally hoped to find an intricate web of related households involved in the early Quaker movement – with roots going back to a common source. What I expected to turn up was an immediate connection between the Cumberland and Durham Hodgsons, and then older bridges elsewhere. What I’ve assembled is not nearly that streamlined. The 1642 Durham Protestation lists roughly 120 Hodgson males over the age of 18 in that shire/county alone, and the summarized Cumbria parish records for the late 1500s and the 1600s run on for pages.
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