Monday, May 19, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - #20 Exercise Allen, Quaker

Not long after uploaded U. S., Quaker Meeting Records 1681-1994, I received an email from them with hints for Exercise Allen and her father Henry Allen. What a surprise! I had no idea we had Quakers in our family. Exercise is my maternal 6th great grandmother.

I've always wondered about the name "Exercise." What did it mean back then? Did it mean the same as it does now? She may have been named after her maternal grandmother Exercise Shattuck.

Exercise Allen was born on October 18, 1705, in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey, to Henry Allen and Hannah Corlies. Her siblings were Jacob (b. 1704), Moses (b. 1707), Zachariah (1709), and Patience (b. 1711). Her paternal grandparents were Jedediah Allen and Elizabeth Howland.

Exercise's mother Hannah died in early 1712, not long after the birth of Exercise's sister Patience. Exercise was only seven years old when her mother died. It must have been hard for such young children to lose their mother. Exercise's father Henry married again in about 1714 to Abigail Adams and had at least seven more children.

Exercise Allen's siblings and half siblings 
(the Shrewsbury, New Jersey, monthly meeting, 
from U. S., Quaker Meeting Records 1681-1994 on

Exercise married David Rulon, my 6th great grandfather (and great grandfather of Sarah Rulon) in 1724. I wonder if David was a Quaker, too. His father was Ruel Rulon, a French Huguenot who left France to escape religious persecution sometime in the late 1600s or early 1700s. I found a birth notice for Exercise and David's son Henry (my 5th great grandfather) in the Quaker meeting minutes, and I found several references to a David Rulon in the Quaker records. I haven't yet found if it was David who became a Quaker or if it was his father Ruel.

Exercise gave birth to at least 13 children: Catherine, Hannah, Mary, Henry (my 5th great grandfather), Eunice, Patience, Lydia, John, Phebe, Dorcas, David, Jonathan, and Abigail. The index for the Quaker meeting notes gives son Henry's birth place as Philadelphia, but I believe that's where the district meeting place at the time. "Greenwich Monthly Meeting, NJ" is typed on the first page of the digitized record, and on the page where Henry's birth is recorded, the residence is unfortunately left blank.

I have that Exercise died in 1770, but I don't know if that's correct. David died on March 15, 1778.


This post is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by genealogist Amy Crow at No Story Too Small.



  1. Hi Catherine,

    I've been a lurker on the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge. I'm still hoping
    to join it in order to get my family stories written down for my relatives. My holding back is my lack of tech savvy--hoping for a visit from daughter/son-in-law/grandchild who can help.

    I couldn't resist responding to your last effort #20
    Chris Nicholson

  2. Hi Chris,

    I'm glad to hear you want to participate in the challenge. I think you should go for it! It's a great way to get to know the ancestors :)

    I know what you mean about tech knowledge. I've had to learn as I go and make mistakes and get myself out of them (with googling for answers, of course).


  3. Hi Catherine,
    No excerise did not mean the same thing: imagine it meaning something more like "exert" or "practice" as in the statement, "Practice more discipline in your schedule and you'll find more time in your day."
    Allen, Corliss, and most of the people in the 1700s who were residing in Shrewsbury NJ were Quakers (or other "nonconformists" to the Church of England). It wasn't the norm, but it wasn't uncommon for them to marry other nonconformists.
    Many of the families who settled Shrewsbury came over there from Long Island. You might want to tap Ancestry's Quaker records for Long Island names further back.
    I happen to be loaded with Quakers in my family. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Quakers made up the 3rd largest religious group in the colonies--and exerted (exercised) influence disproportionate to their numbers.
    You can also read some about them in my 52 Ancestors Blog "pastremains.blogspot
    Charity Johnson (another Quaker first name!)

  4. Hi Charity,

    Thank you so much for the information. I'll take a look at your blog. I know next to nothing about the Quakers except what I learned in school a long, long time ago.