Phebe Willits



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Phebe Willets


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Born: 13 Apr 1699


Married: 05 Feb 1732 Westbury, Long Island, NY


Died: 07 Sep 1782 Cowneck, Queens Co., Long Island, NY    


Richard Willets


Abigail Powell


Adam Mott


1. Elizabeth Mott

2. Adam Mott

3. Stephen Mott

Phebe Willets married Adam Mott when she was 32 and he 60. She was already a Minister in the Society of Friends. Adam died seven years later and his will stipulated that she should have the use of his houses and lands until his youngest child came of age, "for the brining up and maintaining of my children, and giving them good school learning, that is English fit for country business."

She remarried four years later to Tristram Dodge. Phebe kept up her ministry with the Quakers. She traveled a lot but was still a strong influence on her children. Her grandchildren remembered her as "Grandmother Dodge". They all attended the meeting of Friends twice a week.

"Four months before the adoption of the declaration of American Independence, Grandmother Dodge had executed the following paper:
Cowneck, 3d month 15th, 1776
"I, Phebe Dodge, of Cowneck, having for some years been under a concern of mind on the account of holding negroes as slaves, and being possessed of a negro woman named Rachel, I am fully satisfied it is my duty, as well as a Christian act to set her at liberty, and I do hereby set her free from bondage, and manumit her.
Witness, Adam Mott
Stephen Mott                                                          Phebe Dodge
Grandmother Dodge was almost the first to manumit her slave, one or two had preceded her by a few days, the earliest being James Titus, on the 8th of 3d month, seven days before her. But she was promptly followed by others. On the 7th of 1st month, 1777, her sons Adam and Stephen set free - 'the negro man Dick, about 35 years old.' - in a few years no slaves were any longer held by Friends." (*)

Adam and Anne Mott, by Thomas C. Cornell