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Jessup, Ann Matthews

By Treva W. Mathis, 1988

10 Oct. 1738–26 Sept. 1822

Ann Matthews Jessup, Quaker minister, missionary, and horticulturist, was born in Pennsylvania, the daughter of Walter and Mary Matthews. She married first, John Floyd, and second, Thomas Jessup, Jr., of Orange County, N.C., in 1766. During the thirteen years of her marriage with Jessup, she raised his eleven children by two previous wives, her own daughter, Elizabeth Floyd, and three of their four children, one having died in infancy.

Ann Jessup was recorded a Friends minister on 28 Sept. 1765, and for many years was a "beloved friend" in the New Garden Monthly Meeting. After her husband's death in 1783, she returned to Pennsylvania with her three children and soon became an active minister. Jessup's daughter, Sara, had married a British soldier who died on the return trip to England; she soon married a member of the Scots Guards. While visiting Sara in Glasgow, Scotland, and traveling in England over a two-year period, Ann gathered seeds and roots of vegetables, flowers, alfalfa, and cuttings of many kinds of fruit trees. She returned to New Garden in 1792, bringing with her much that she had collected, and in the spring of 1793 she engaged Abijah Pinson to work with her in grafting cuttings. Pinson established a nursery at Westfield, Surry County, from which many Quaker families bought plants and trees to carry with them as they migrated west.

In 1817 Mrs. Jessup moved to Highland County, Ohio, where she joined the Fairfield Monthly Meeting and lived with Thomas's daughter, Hannah Jessup Willis, until her death five years later. She was buried at Fall Creek Monthly Meeting Cemetery in Highland County.

References:

William Wade Hinshaw, Encylopedia of American Quaker Genealogy , vols. 1, 5 (1936)

Katherine Hoskins, "Guilford Woman Was Pioneer Orchardist," Greensboro Daily News , 21 Feb. 1960

Edna Harvey Joseph and others, "Descendants of Hunt, Woolman, Borton, Beals, Mills, Hussey, Jessup, Small, Chipman, Shields" (Typescript, Guilford College Library, Greensboro)

 

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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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