This page contains a short biography of Elizabeth written in 1913 for the 200th anniversary of the settlement of Haddonfield, New Jersey. There is also her Testimony to her deceased husband, John Estaugh, and a collection of links to other sources of information about this extraordinary Quaker woman.
INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF ELIZABETH HADDON
By Harriet 0. Redman Willits.
Elizabeth Haddon left no diary, so we too are obliged to be pioneers and to
blaze again the forest trails, this time through the pages of books, a few old
letters, note books and Meeting records, from which we piece together a story,
full of youth and romance and religious zeal.
Elizabeth's father, John Haddon, was a blacksmith, who extended his
trade to the making of anchors. The first five or six years of Elizabeth's life
were spent on Jacob Street in a place called Southwark, on the south bank of
the Thames, opposite London and near her father's shop.
Some of the story-and-a-half houses in that locality yet stand as they did
two hundred years ago, on partially reclaimed land, the roofs protected from
storm and time, by sturdy English tile and decorated with chimney pots. Three
little children, a boy and two girls, were sacrificed to the unhealthy locality in
which they lived. As his trade increased, John Haddon moved farther down
the River to Redriffe Parish into what was then almost open country, and here
Elizabeth's sister, Sarah, was born. A six-story grain mill, alive with modern
machinery, now occupies the spot where this later home stood and gives its name
to the street and its commercial tone to the spot from which once flowed kindly
Horselydown Friends Meeting-house was within a half-mile of this new
home. John Haddon and his wife were married in this Meeting and here
Elizabeth worshipped until she left London for America. John Haddon lived
in the times of the persecution of Friends and suffered with others from the
tyranny of those in authority. The records of Horselydown Meeting give
many little glimpses of the struggles with the King's soldiers in carrying out his
orders against Dissenter's Meeting-houses, also some of the uses to which
meeting-houses were put. In one note, dated 1671, after the destruction of
the Meeting-house by the troops, we read: "Ordered that Will Shewen doe goe
to the artillery house and demand the timber and pay reasonable satisfaction
for the buying of it, or to let them have it ;" which displays wonderful forbear-
ance and forgiveness, according to our modern standards.
Another interesting record is in regard to the care of the Meeting-house
under date of 1672; "Ordered that Thomas Parker have the key of the Meeting-
house door, and that he clean the house, set the forms to rights, open and shut
the casements and windows from time to time, and that he have all the keys
and that if any of the neighborhood do come to have leave to dry their clothes
that one have it one day, a nother another, and not two in one day for fear of
incommancys," a curious word, which may be translated "inconveniences."
Childhood was not so treasured then as now; children were early initiated
into the rudiments of learning so that by the age of six Elizabeth had probably
begun her substantial education. She was also actively interested in her mother's
charities, as well as in the tales her father had to tell of the ports his honest
anchors visited. For as she grew older, she went on modest little charitable
ventures of her own. On one occasion, so the story goes, she asked her mother
to let her have a party, and when the guests arrived, they were six tattered
youthful beggars of the most forlorn London type, who did full justice to the
cakes and fruit. When Elizabeth was about six years old, her father brought
home Friends to tea from the afternoon Meeting. One of them was a stranger,
William Penn, who told them wonderful tales of his new Colony in America
and of the green country town, Philadelphia. This impressed the little girl,
following, as it did, a discussion of the more sombre troubles the Friends were
having, and colored the rest of her childhood play until Indian dolls and moccasins
were laid aside for the more serious tasks her mature taste selected.
John Haddon was not one of the first to become interested in the new Colony
in America, but in 1698 he bought a plantation of five hundred acres in what was
termed "West Jersey" from a Friend named Willis, who, in turn, had purchased
it a few years before from William Penn. There is no record to show his motive
for the purchase, but from that time Elizabeth's absorbing purpose was the settle-
ment of a home in the new country. A few years before this exchange of good
English coin and sheepskin, a new proselyte to Quakerism, John Estaugh,
appeared at the yearly Meeting in London town, and attracted some attention
with his preaching. Afterward he was John Haddon's guest at dinner, and,
though Elizabeth, now about fourteen, was too young to appear at the table, they
must have talked together. There is no other record of their seeing one another
In the spring of 1701, Elizabeth's desire was gratified and she too sailed
down the Thames in one of the little two-masted ships used at that time, on her
long voyage to the land of her dreams. The voyage, after weeks on the water,
was safely accomplished, and she landed in Philadelphia, where some of the
settlers were still living in caves by the riverside. Here she visited some friends,
following this sojourn by a visit to other friends at Mountwell and Burlington.
She was about twenty when she arrived in this country to assume the care
of her father's possessions, --an almost perfect type of the English Quakeress
of that period, generously educated at school as well in her own home, where
she had been trained in domestic affairs and in the judicious bestowing of
charity and where she had intercourse with the best Friends of the time, "a
citizen in the making," prepared to take up the responsibilities and hardships of
her new life and to follow with delight the star of her chosen destiny. No one,
however respectfully he may pry into Elizabeth's motives, can help thinking
that her love for John Estaugh weighed equally in the balance with her desire to
carry Christianity to the Indians and succor to the new Colony. Her devotion
to him gives a touch of perpetual youth to her story.
After resting with her friends, she went to her new home on Cooper's Creek.
The following is a quotation from a manuscript loaned by one of Eliza-
beth Haddon's kinsmen of the present day:
"Almost opposite the place where William Penn had made his Peace Treaty
with the Indian kings, there emptied a large creek into the Delaware; the
Some modem chroniclers have it that John Estaugh was rather awkward
in his love-making; however, it is a tradition in the Gill family, one closely
associated by ties of blood with Elizabeth Haddon, that the young minister,
observing the prosperity of the Haddons in England, was depressed by the
comparative humbleness of his own fortune and hesitated to make any advances.
Fortunately for romance and for us he could not disguise his feeling for Elizabeth,
and she, surmising the cause of his halting courtship, with her habitual directness
made the actual proposal easy, when he arrived in this country. Perhaps for
a moment we may indulge in historical inaccuracy and quote from "The
Theologian's Tale" of Longfellow:--
Then Elizabeth said, though still with a certain reluctance,
As if impelled to reveal a secret she fain would have guarded,
"I will no longer conceal what is laid upon me to tell thee,
I have received from the Lord a charge to love thee, John Estaugh."
And John Estaugh made answer, surprised by the word she had spoken
"Pleasant to me are thy converse, thy ways, thy meekness and spirit,
Pleasant thy frankness of speech, and thy soul's immaculate whiteness,
Love without dissimulation a holy and inward adorning.
But I have yet no light to lead me, no voice to direct me.
When the Lord's work is done and the toil and the labor completed
He hath appointed to me, I will gather into the stillness
Of my own heart awhile and listen and wait for His guidance."
Then Elizabeth said, not troubled or wounded in spirit,
"So is it best, John Estaugh. We will not speak of it further.
It hath been laid upon me to tell thee this, for tomorrow
Thou art going away, across the sea and I know not
When I shall see thee more, but if the Lord hath decreed it
Thou wilt return again to seek me here and to find me."
And they rode onward in silence and entered the town with the others.
They were married in her own home in the Tenth Month, 1702, in the pres-
ence of a Committee of Friends and a few guests, including some Indians whose
calmness matched the serenity of their Quaker brethren.
Soon after this John Estaugh became John Haddon's business agent in
this country, assuming the management of his property here, which had increased
by extensive purchases.
Elizabeth and her husband made three visits to England, for Elizabeth,
we gather, at times was homesick for London sounds and scenes and neither
pirates at sea nor land-company duties in New Jersey nor gentle admonitions
from her father, could dissuade her from making the perilous journey.1
John Haddon and his wife never came to this country though their plans
to sail at one time developed so far that a "copper furnace" was made to
be taken across the seas as a protection from our winters.
As the country became more thickly settled, a new site for a home was chosen
and twelve years after their marriage a two-story brick house was built, within
the limits of the present borough of Haddonfield. It is thus described by a
person who resided there in the year 1830:--
"The front door opened into a large hall with a fireplace at one end orna-
mented with tile, on each side of which was a cupboard with glass doors. The
small parlor had a marble mantel and hearth and opened into the garden by a
glass door and another with Venetian blinds. An entry back of the hall had a
spiral staircase leading from it. At one end of this entry was a bedroom and the
other a kitchen, with a room back of it. In the cellar was a large fireplace and
dresser and a vault under the kitchen four or five steps deeper."
Fire destroyed this house in 1842. In the garden the yew trees brought
from England still remain, silent spectators of changing times and scenes.
John Estaugh had some knowledge of medicine and he and his wife were
famous for their skill in nursing and healing. He also travelled in the ministry
and wrote some tracts, one of which was published by Benjamin Franklin after
John Estaugh's death in 1742 in the Island of Tortola.
Their hospitality was unlimited, in connection with which Elizabeth's
cheerful disposition, discretion and charity were a noteworthy feature.
Having no children of their own, Elizabeth adopted as her heir, Ebenezer
Hopkins, a son of her sister, Sarah (Haddon) Hopkins. He is the Ancestor of
the present Hopkins family.2 Elizabeth lived to be eighty-two years old, surviving
her husband twenty years.3 She retained to the last, control of her affairs, and
guided those dependent upon her by advice and assistance. John Estaugh died
while on a religious visit to the West Indies with John Cadwalader of Phila-
No act in Elizabeth Estaugh's life displayed more of her business ability
than her will, in which is shown a masterly knowledge of her estate both real
This is the framework of Elizabeth Haddon's life, from which poet and
historian have drawn inspiration and which they have adorned with the colors
of their fancy. Each investigator must be impressed with the determination
and wonderful perseverance of one who at an early age selected her path and
never deviated from it. Few annals provide such an incentive to reasonable
men and women to do the simple things well, to meet difficulties, stand up
under responsibilities and to get the best results from their chosen task.
Year after year the cherished mahogany and china, associated with Eliza-
beth Haddon, appear to increase! We name our blue-eyed children with
English roses glowing in their cheeks, Elizabeth, but does her spirit go marching
on? Are we pioneers? Does her life give us the example to dare, to blaze new
trails and to push forward to the accomplishment of high tasks and lofty ideals?
"Others I doubt not, if not we,
The issue of our toils shall see;
And (they forgotten and unknown)
Young children gather as their own
The harvest that the dead had sown."
Source: Haddonfield Publication Committee. The Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Settlement of Haddonfield, New Jersey : Celebrated October Eighteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Thirteen. Philadelphia: Franklin Printing Company, 1913.
The committee consisted of Julia B. Gill, Samuel Nicholson Rhodes, J. Linton Engle, George J. Bergan, and James I. Pennypacker, Chairman. The copyright for this book is in the name of J. Linton Engle.
Footnotes Added to the Original Article:
The following is a quotation taken from the testimony by Elizabeth to her dead husband, which was contained in the preface to his book A Call to the Unfaithful Professors of Truth, published by Benjamin Franklin in 1744, after John's untimely death:
Since it pleased Divine Providence so highly to favour me, with being the near Companion of this dear Worthy, the Author of the following Sheets, I cannot be altogether silent, but must give some small Account of the early Beginning of the Working of Truth in him. He was born in Kelvedon in Essex, in Great-Britain, on the 23d of the second Month, 1676, of religious Parents: But he grew uneasy with the religious Professions of both Father and Mother (they being of different Persuasions) and being a Seeker, fell in with the Baptists, and liked them so well he was near joining them. But a Friend, a Neighbour, being dead, it so happened, that he was invited to the Burial, where that worthy Minister of the Gospel, Francis Stamper, of London, being led to speak with Life and Power directly to his State, it made such deep Impressions on his tender Mind, that put him upon Search into the Principles of Friends; and being fully satisfied, joined with them in the seventeenth Year of his Age.
About the eighteenth Year of his Age he came forth in the Ministry, and being faithful he grew in his Gift, so that in some Time he travelled to visit Friends in the North of England and Scotland: After which he was concerned to visit Friends in America, and having the Unity of the Bretheren, embarked in the Year 1700, and was enabled by the great Hand that drew him forth, to perform that Service to the great Satisfaction of Friends, and the Reward of Peace in himself.
Being then, and for some time after, freed from any Concern to travel in the Service of Truth, we were married to each other, viz. on the first Day of the Tenth Month, 1702, and settled at Haddonfield in the County of Gloucester, and Western Division of the Province of New-Jersey. In the fore Part of his Time he travelled pretty much; but in the latter Part he was troubled with an Infirmity in his Head, which rendered him unfit for the Service; and his Good Master, that requires no Impossibilities of his Servants, favoured him with being very easy at home; where, thro' Mercy, we lived very comfortably: For I'll venture to say, few, if any, in a married State, ever lived in sweeter Harmony than we did. Oh! he was a sweet Companion indeed! A loving tender Husband; an humble exemplary Man; a Pattern of Moderation in all Things; not lifted up with any Enjoyments, nor cast down at Disappointments. Oh! what shall I say of him, but that he was a Man endowed with many good Gifts, which rendered him very agreeable to his Friends, and much more to me, his Wife -- My Loss is as far beyond my Expressing, as is his WORTH.
Now after some Years (as before is observed) of Indisposition, it pleased the Lord to restore him to a State of Health, and soon after he had a Concern to visit Friends in Tortola. This brought on him a deep Exercise, but when he was confirmed it ws really required of him so to do, he gave up to it: Home, and the Company there, which used to be so pleasant to him, he was then weaned from. He first wrote to them; but finding this would not excuse him, he durst no longer delay, but go he must. So, on the 13th of the eighth Month, 1742, we parted in the Aboundings of Love and Affection on that Occasion.
And now, the most acceptable Account I can give the Reader of his Service in Tortola, is extracted from two Letters which I received from a Friend of that Place, Directed to me, and to the Effect following, viz. That on the 8th of the ninth Month, 1742, he arrived at the House of John Pickering, with his Companion John Cadwalader, where they were received with much Love and great Joy, being madt to rejoice together in the tender Mercies and Love of God, which was greatly manifested that Day, to the Honour and Praise of his great Name, and also to the Comforting of his poor People. --- The Testimonies of these Servants of the Lord were with Life and Power, and were as Coouds filled with Rain upon a thirsty Land. ---
But to be more particular concerning thy dear Husband, whose Memory is dear and precious to me, and many more whose Hearts were open to receive the glad tidings which he brought. His godly Life and Conversation spoke him to be a true Follower of the Lamb, and Minister of Jesus Christ, whom he freely preached, and by the effectual Power of whose divine Love was he called forth to our Assistance, for which we bless, praise and magnify the God of all our Mercies : And as a faithful messenger, with much Love, in a tender Frame of Spirit, would he invite all to the Fountain which had healed him. O! the deep Humility that appeared in him in the Time of his publick Testimony ; and when in private Conversation with his near and dear Friends, as he often said we were to him, how chearful and pleasant would he be, in that blessed Freedom wherein Christ had made him free. Innocent, harmless, of cherful Contenance, yet not without a Christian Gravity, we becoming the Doctrine he preached. He was valiant for the Truth to the last, and tho' he is gone to his Grave, his Memory is sweet and precious.
He had his Health very well until the Death of his dear Companion; but going to his Burial, we were caught in a Shower of Rain, which we, and he, believed, was the Occasion of his Illness. However, he was mightily favoured with the Divine Presence, which enabled him to answer the Service of that Day; and the next, being the first Day of the Week, we had a blessed Meeting, the Lord's Presence accompanying us; and tho' thy dear Husband was so near his End, his Candle shined as bright as ever, and many that beheld it were made to glorify God on his Behalf. this was the last Opportunity on this Island, save his Farewel upon his dying Bed, where he both preached and prayed, a little before his Departure.
On the next Day, being the second of the Week, he went to a little Island, called Jos Vandicks, accompanied with several Friends; but on the third Day in the Morning he complained very much, yet was enabled to go to Meeting, where were a pretty many People, waiting to hear the Word of Life declared; and a blessed Opportunity we had together, to the tendering and melting our Hearts into an heavenly Frame.
But he, who never spared his Labour whilst amongst us, extending his Voice as a Trumpet of the Lord's own founding, was so inwardly spent he was ready to faint. However, he went on board the Sloop that Afternoon, and next Morning came ashore at our House, where he had not be long before a shivering Fit siezed him, and a Fever soon followed, which kept its constant Course every Day. This being the 1st Day of the tenth Month, he took great Notice that it ended forty Years since his Marriage with thee; that during that Time you had lived in much Love, and parted in the same, and that thou wast his greatest Concern of all outward Enjoyments. And tho' the last two Days he was in much Pain, yet he was preserved under it in much Patience and Resignation, and had his perfect Senses to the last, exhoting Friends to Faithfulness, &c. And on the 6th Day of the tenty Month, about six o'Clock at Night, he went away like a Lamb, with Praises and Thanksgivings in his Lips but about two Minutes before. --- Thus far from the said Letters,
And thus finished this dear Worthy in the 67th Year of his Age, at the House of William Thomas, on the Island of Tolrola, highly favoured by his great and good God in the very extreme Moments; the Consideration whereof, and the Account given of his Service, afford me at Times some Relief: But, Alas! my Wound is so deep, nothing but the healing Balm from above can effect my Cure. My Loss is inexpressible; yet since it is the Will of the Almighty, it becomes me to submit, tho' it be had so to do.
Oh! a sweet and blessed End indeed! to go away as in Raptures of Life, gathered by the Almighty as a choice Flower, in full Perfection and Fragrancy! For sure few, if any Man, ever left a sweeter Savour, both at home and abroad, than he has done: Having lived beloved, is gone lamented in general; and therefore it is no Wonder that I, who am so much the greatest Loser, lament and bemoan my great, my great Loss! And yet, in the midst of all, I have a secret Satisfaction, in that I was enabled to give him up (tho' so dear to me) unto the Service into which he was called. This is but just a Hint for those who may be under the like Exercise and Trial, that they may not hold back, but submit, and freely give up their All, leaving the Consequence to the wise disposing Hand, who knows for what Cause it is he is pleased so nearly to try his People, some with Life itself, others near it, and the Cause yet hid.
Haddonfield in New Jersey, the 5th 5 mo. 1743.
Source: Haverford College Library, Special Collections, Call No. BX 7624 H17 E6,
John Estaugh, A Call to the Unfaithful Professors of Truth,
bound with David Hall, An epistle of Love and Caution to the Quarterly
and Monthly Meeings of Friends in Great-Britain, or Elsewhere, [and other works]
3rd Edition. Dublin: I. Jackson, 1749.
Here are some links to other information about Elizabeth, and the Estaugh, Haddon, and Hopkins families in Haddonfield:
There is a wonderful new biography, Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh, 1680-1762 by Jeffery M. Dorwart and Elizabeth A. Lyons, that is available through the Historical Society of Haddonfield. It has a wealth of information about the Haddons and related families.
|Haddon-Estaugh-Hopkins family papers, 1676-1841||200th Anniversary Celebration||A 'Ghost' Story by Anthony C. Hopkins|
|First Settlers||Haddon Family Letters||Record of John Estaugh's burial|
This file was last updated on 5/24/2020.