Universal Friends

The Case:

History Detectives fan from Maine has inherited a most unusual document.

The yellow, three-page record dates 1791 and reads, “Act of Incorporation of the Universal Friends.” This document has been handed down through the family for over two centuries.

The Universal Friends were an early, controversial religious group with a woman leader named Jemima Wilkinson, the first religion founded by an American born woman.

Our contributor wants to know what this document means. And was Jemima Wilkinson behind it?

History Detectives unravels the mysteries of this short-lived religious community and visits a 200-year-old graveyard where there is a striking connection to the owner of this document.

Document: Universal Friends
Read the original Universal Friends Society Act of Incorporation document.

Discuss this story

Season 8, Episode 11

Gwen Wright Location:
Pennsylvania and New York

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