The Quakers, who have a strict policy of nonviolence, initially did not support the Revolutionary War (1775-83). The Georgia Quakers dismissed from their congregation men who fought in the war but allowed them to rejoin when they returned to Wrightsborough if they apologized. In 1780 and 1781 a group of patriots raided and attacked Wrightsborough; fifty people were killed and buildings were burned. During the next few decades other issues caused problems for the Georgia Quakers, including the increase of non-Quaker settlers in the area. Initially, the Georgia Quakers welcomed people of other faiths into their community, but as the non-Quaker population grew, the Quakers began to fear that their children would adopt the habits of the other religions in their presence.
Most devastating to the Georgia Quakers was the 1793 invention of the cotton gin. Previously, the Quakers' main export crop had been tobacco, which was expensive to produce. With the invention of the cotton gin, other communities bought slaves to grow cotton and began to make large amounts of money. Because of their antislavery stance, instituted in 1774, the Quakers could no longer compete in Georgia's economy. Gradually, many of them moved to midwestern states. Of the few who stayed in Wrightsborough (which continued as a town after they left), most renounced their faith.
Although Wrightsborough—the only Quaker town to survive for any length of time in Georgia—eventually
In 1955 northeastern Quakers started a group in Augusta, which remains active.
Pearl Baker, The Story of Wrightsboro, 1768-1964 (Thomson, Ga.: The Warrenton Clipper, 1965).
David S. Williams, From Mounds to Megachurches: Georgia's Religious Heritage (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008).
Jaimie L. Franchi, University of Georgia
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