- Hicks, Elias
- ( 1748-1830)American liberal Quaker leaderElias Hicks, a leader of the most liberal faction of the Society of Friends, was born on March 10, 1748, at Rockaway, New York. As a young carpenter, he was introduced to and became a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). In 1771, he married Jemina Seaman, at whose family home he lived for the rest of his life.Hicks had become an extremely popular Quaker preacher, venturing as far as Philadelphia, the center of the Quaker world. Later in life, he traveled across the United States and into Canada. Hicks's sermons called into question some commonly accepted Quaker beliefs that tied them to orthodox Christianity - the divinity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ, his saving work, and the authority of the Bible, which he opposed to the authority of the spirit within each person.Hicks's popularity made his views a matter of widespread debate, which resulted in an 1827 split in the American branch of the society, as many congregations (weekly meetings) divided. Hicksite congregations were most numerous on his native Long Island, but he found some support in most regions of the country into which the Quakers had spread - New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Ohio, and Indiana. British Quakers remained in touch with the orthodox groups and did not initiate correspondence with the Hicks-ites. Hicks had no quarrel with Quaker dress or lifestyle, which his supporters carried on. The Hicksite faction continues today as the Friends General Conference, based in Philadelphia.Hicks died on February 27, 1830.Further reading:■ Robert W. Doherty, The Hicksite Separation: A Sociological Analysis of Religious Schism in Early Nineteenth Century America (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1967)■ Bliss Forbush, Elias Hicks, Quaker Liberal (New York: Columbia University Press, 1956)■ Elias Hicks, Journal of the Life and Religious Labours of Elias Hicks, written by himself (New York: FF T. Hooper, 1832)■ Homer Larry Ingle, Quakers in Conflict: The Hicksite Reformation (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.