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Phoebe Hathaway

(1819–1902) Phoebe was a member of a Quaker family with deep roots in the Farmington community. As Quakers they were staunch abolitionists; family homes were stops on the Underground Railroad.

Phoebe was an organizer of the Cazenovia Convention on Antislavery where Frederick Douglass spoke. She was the first president of the Western New York Female Antislavery Society. In addition, she helped establish a Bird's Nest school in her town to educate black women.

Being raised in the Quaker belief where men and women were thought to be equal — where women had a “voice” — plus being surrounded by strong-willed, ambitious and hard-working family members and reformers, it is of little wonder how Phoebe’s life was influenced and how she gained the confidence and freedom to pursue her interests. Upon her father’s death, Phoebe inherited property in her own name.

In 1857 Phoebe suffered a stroke limiting her mobility. She continued to write in support of the issues she cared about; temperance, abolition and women's rights. Evidence of her life's work is found in her letters to and from Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Emily Howland. Phoebe's will stated that if she died without descendants 'it is my wish that a fund shall be expended for the education of such needy women.'

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North Farmington Friends Cemetery

250 Sheldon Road, Farmington, NY 14425

Ontario County