Anne Shoebridge


See article by the Historical Society of Cartaret County, N.C. Anne Shoebridge apparently lived a heroic life.  Raised in comfort in London, she accompanied her best friend to America when the friend married Robert Williams and then, when the friend died, married Williams herself.  This would still have given her a life of material comfort, even to some extent after Robert Williams's business reversals and death, but at that point a Tory whose departure to England during the war had prevented timely payment of a debt, called in the debt with interest, leaving the family in near-poverty.  This was in 1799, and within a year, with the three children named above, she became part of the great Quaker migration to the frontier in Ohio, where the family lived in a tiny cabin built by their own hands.  Despite considerable deprivation, all prospered, and Elizabeth herself lived another 45 years, nearing the incredible age of 97 when she died.  The account by her son John (the first editor of The American Pioneer), linked below, of the family's arrival in Ohio is fascinating and well written. Writing in about 1843, he says of her:
        My mother had been weakly on our journey, and at Fredericktown was more seriously ill than I ever knew her before or since.  She still lives, a monument of the Lord's mercy, and a bright illustration of the discipline of which the human mind is susceptible.  She has been blind about eight years, and to my recollection she never complained of anything, but trusted all to Divine Providence.  She now, at the age of ninety-five, waits her change with patience, is little or no trouble to anyone; enjoys good health, a serene and sound mind, and the age of dotage seems never to have overtaken her; never gives unnecessary pain or trouble to anyone, and is pleased when by repeating verses she learned when a girl, she can add to the happiness of the social circle.  She has been a woman of strict economy and great industry, but never milked a cow, and perhaps never spun a thread in her life, and scarcely ever cooked, but was a great sewer and knitter.  This she does now with great facility, saying that if she could not knit she would be very unhappy.  She is very little of her time without her knitting, except on First Days, as she calls the Sabbath.  She was always a member of the Society of Friends.  She is much delighted with hearing the Word or any religious books read.