NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

April 16, 2013

Quakeress strips to show nakedness of her 'religious' prosecutors

(Continued)

To dodge the fussbudget herds, the Wardwells moved to Shrewsbury, N.J. Eliakim became one of the first Quaker ministers in the town. Perhaps the family wrested some satisfaction from the fact that the judgment of Heaven would fall upon their persecutors (a belief shared by the Puritans). It is bemusing to think that the Puritans, who left Mother England to escape similar persecution, would exact such brutal tactics of torment on the Quakers.

Even more of a mystery is the whereabouts of Lydia’s petticoat left for safekeeping with Gov. John Easton. Lydia was wrapped in cloth and shuffled off to Hampton very abruptly without her garments. Though her petticoat may never be found, Lydia Wardell certainly taught us that the naked truth is always better than a well-dressed lie.

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Melissa Berry of Beverly likes to write about local historical figures.

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