Friday, November 13, 2009

Quaker Schoolmasters

Re Hugh Pugh (b. 1747-d. aft 1807) the pen artist who made the 1801 "True Lover's Knot" for my great great great grandmother Mary Fisher, was an itinerant Quaker Schoolmaster by profession. He migrated from southeastern PA's Chester County westward into Bedford and later Washington Counties, beginning around 1770 and into the early 19th c.

Reading about Chester Co. Quakers in the 18th c. from the book West Chester to 1865: That Elegant & Notorious Place. (Douglas R. Harper, Chester County Historical Society, 1999) Apparently, school teachers at the time were often "selected not so much for their learning but because they were men incapacitated for farm work by the effects of diseases or injuries."

Hugh was born with "but one hand" (per a mention by his father—Hugh Pugh Sr.'s last Will & Testament in the Chester Co. Archives), thus his career was essentially decided for him @ birth. His father specifically stipulated in his will that his youngest son—who was only about 2 years of age at his father's death—be educated so that he could make a living. Making it still more wondrous that he was such an excellent draftsman.

His father bequeathed him a sum of money—£80 pounds—to be dispersed to him at age 21 as well, but no property. £80 of unskilled wages in the latter 18th c. calculates to an equivalent worth in today's dollars of somewhere around $69K.