This is the second in a multi-part series about the religious affiliations of the Carr family.
Additional articles about Spiritualism and the Carr family will be available soon.
The Carr family's Quaker heritage continued into the 1800s, but by the middle of the century Job and Rebecca left the Quaker church for various reasons.
As noted in the previous article where we met two different Caleb Carrs, the same names were frequently passed from one generation to the next in the Carr family. Job Carr's father, grandfather, and great-great-grandfather were also named Job, so tracing them through the historical record can be challenging. The Society of Friends, however, kept extensive documentation that help us follow the Carr family tree.
Following Job Carr's Parents Through the Quaker Records
The Carr family's Quaker affiliation continued into the 1800s through Job Carr's parents. The birth of his father, also named Job Carr, was recorded in Quaker meeting notes from Mount Holly, New Jersey in November 1782.
The following year, Job married Ruth Mason. Their union and the names of their parents were recorded in the Quaker meeting notes of September 1806.
Job earned a living as a carpenter. By 1813, the young family had returned to the East Coast where their extended family lived. Quaker meeting records in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey document the birth of the younger Job Carr. He was one of five children.
When the younger Job Carr came of age, he married Rebecca Pitman at a Society of Friends monthly meeting in Camden, Indiana. Rebecca Pitman was also raised in a Quaker family. The couple's church membership remained with the Whitewater congregation.
Marriage Certificate of Job Carr and Rebecca Pitman, Oct 2, 1840. From the Carr family archives.
Professor Tom Hamm, PhD. at Earlham College, a leading scholar on Quakers, reports that Job and Rebecca belonged to a group of Quakers with a progressive reputation. Many of them were actively involved in radical reform movements in the 1840s, including a utopian community, abolition, and women's suffrage.
Job and Rebecca Carr Exit the Quaker Church
Job and Rebecca's relationship with Quakerism is complex in that they were not "strict" adherents. They both took part in activities that were not approved by the Society of Friends. In 1847, Rebecca was reported by the Friends at Camden for not attending worship and "singing temperance songs." Since Quakers at the time disapproved of all forms of music, she was "disowned" or had her church membership revoked. In fact, the entire Carr family love music. While Rebecca was singing, Job and their son Anthony played the dulcimer. Their younger son Howard also wrote in his journals about playing the flute and accordion. Anthony and Howard reported frequently attending dances in the Tacoma area, another activity frowned upon within the Quaker church during the 1800s.
Job officially followed Rebecca out of organized Quakerism two years later when he was disowned for not attending worship and being "out of unity." Although not practicing a Quaker, Job did not abandon religion altogether. Instead, he lived an "unconventional" life for a Quaker. This means that he still identified as a Quaker but did not follow all of the Quaker practices or beliefs. Job Carr is reputed to have "spent many hours with his Bible. He was a constant reader of the Scripture and fairly knew it all, but he never argued it. He took it straight." He and his family, however, were abolitionists and their Quaker pacifism was at odds with their desire to join the fight against slavery. Job and his two sons enlisted with the U.S. Army during the Civil War, and Rebecca added her services as a nurse matron.
Although the legal notice does not mention the reason for the divorce, Job had already left Indiana to operate an orchard in Iowa and headed further west for Washington territory in July 1864. Family lore says that Job and Rebecca agreed to disagree by going their separate ways, but it is unlikely that this divorce would have been sanctioned by Quaker rules. It is also possible that Rebecca was already leaning in to the Spiritualist movement and its early feminist tendencies.
Find out more about the Carr Family and Spiritualism in the next article. Available soon.
About the Author
Gabi Sutton is a student at Pacific Lutheran University, majoring in history and minoring in psychology and religion. She completed an internship with Job Carr Cabin in Summer 2023. After graduation, she wants to pursue a career in the museum industry.
During her time with Job Carr Cabin Museum, Gabi learned that one of the most important aspects to effectively running a museum is outreach. She assisted with community outreach and conducted research about religion and women's roles in the late 19th century.