Skip to main content

Embree-Thorn Collection

Identifier: FMS-80

Scope and Contents

The Embree-Thorn Collection consist of letters, essays, wills, and deeds from two Quaker families in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio, mainly between 1774 and 1860. They reflect especially the westward movement, antislavery activities, and business transactions of Friends.


  • 1774-1997
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1997

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials may be protected by copyright. Permission to reproduce and to publish for commercial purposes must be requested from the Archivist.

Biographical or Historical Information

The earliest documents in the collection pertain to Thomas Embree (1755-1833), who was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and moved with his parents south, first to Orange County, North Carolina, and then to the Bush River Quaker settlement in Newberry County, South Carolina. Late in the 1770s, the Embree family moved again, to the Nolachucky settlement in Washington County, Tennessee, where they were among the first Quaker settlers. In 1781 Thomas Embree married Esther Coulson (1752-1830) of Frederick County, Virginia. They lived in Virginia and Tennessee, where Thomas became a prominent ironmaster. In 1805, they moved to Green County, Ohio, settling near Oldtown. In 1824 Thomas and Esther moved to Logan County, Ohio, but remained only a year before returning to Greene County, where both died. One of the children of Thomas and Esther was Elihu Embree (1782-1820), who remained in Tennessee. In 1819 he began publishing the Manumission Intelligencier, later called the Emancipator. Thomas and Esther Embree's daughter Rachel (1786-1874) married William Thorn (1781-1853), the son of Isaac and Hannah (Shotwell) Thorn, Quakers from New Jersey who had moved to Harrison County, Ohio. William and Rachel Thorn spent most of their married life in the Green Plain settlement of Friends in Greene County, Ohio, and most of the other documents in the collection relate to them.

Note written by


1 Boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection has a number of items in a flat box. The finding aid lists them as folders, but many are not in folders. The collection is easily browsed by a researcher and the items should be in the order list in the finding aid.

Method of Acquisition

Donation, Emilou McDorman of Springfield, Ohio, a descendant of the family. Also included were copies of Embree family letters in the possession of Betty Ellis of Xenia, Ohio, research materials gathered by McDorman on the Embree and Thorn families, and transcripts of some of the documents.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Friends Collection and Earlham College Archives Repository