Anna J. (Frazer) Winslow was born near Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, on 5th day of 2nd month, 1848. The daughter of Alson and Hannah Frazer, Anna married Josiah W. Winslow on the 13th day of 10th month, 1864, in Henry County, Iowa. The Winslow family settled in Mount Ayr Township, Osborne County, in 1873. Anna was a lifelong Quaker minister who for nearly 40 years spread the gospel as an evangelist from North Carolina to Ohio to Kansas to Oregon, all while raising five children. She moved to El Modeno, California, on 7th month, 21st, 1907, and passed away at Huntington Park, California, on 2nd month, 21st, 1918. Anna wrote her autobiography, “Jewels From My Casket,” which details her life’s work, in 1910.
“I was born near Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, on the 5th day of 2nd mouth, 1848. My father, Alson G. Frazer, son of Henry and Mary (Otwell) Frazer; and my mother, Hannah (Rees) Frazer, daughter of Zachariah and Mary (Davis) Rees of Westfield, Indiana, were members of Sugar Plain monthly meeting of the Society of Friends, near Thorntown, Indiana. My father was one who helped to build the meeting house at that place. When I was four years of age my darling little brother, Elwood, twenty-two months old, died; and in a few months my dear mother passed away. They were laid away in the ivy-covered cemetery by a spreading beech tree, near Sugar Plain meeting house.” –
“I was a mischievous school girl and usually of a lively disposition and enjoyed the pleasures of school life very much, notwithstanding my occasional loneliness. The hardest thing for me to give up was my school life, which occurred when, on the 13th day of 10th month, 1864, I was united in marriage with Josiah W. Winslow at Cedar Creek meeting in Henry County, Iowa, according to the order of the Society of Friends, my father having removed to Iowa when I was nearly six years old. About fourteen months after I was married, my loved father died; he had pneumonia which ended with brain fever. One evening I took him some crackers, and he put his arms around me and said: ‘O, Anna, thou hast always been so good to me, and always been an obedient child.’ O how glad I was that he could say that! These words were the last rational words he ever spoke to me, for in a few moments he was shrieking with pain and was delirious with fever. Although I had a home of my own, I felt I had lost a good friend and counselor by his death, for he had of then advised me in the right way. We had been married about one and a half years when our Orestes Alson was added to the family.” – The above two paragraphs were taken from Jewels From My Casket, pages 19-20.
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HIS PRESENCE IN OUR MIDST blog
The Life and Times of Glendora Friends Church
Monday, 10th month, 13th, 2008
Anna J. Winslow
The other day my mother sent an email inquiring about a book by Quaker minister Anna J. Winslow titled Jewels From My Casket, published in 1910 by the Nazarene Publishing Company of Los Angeles. The only information she gave was that the book “was given to W. C. Gindlesberger” (my Great Grandfather on my mother’s side) and that Anna was originally from Indiana and the book mentions El Modena, a Quaker colony in Orange County, California. Mom knew she was a Quaker minister but not much else. Great Grandfather Gindlesberger was a student at the Training School for Christian Workers in Huntington Park, California at the same time Anna J. Winslow lived there, around 1915-1916. It is quite possible he acquired the book then, perhaps given to him by the author herself.
UNOFFICIAL ANNA J. WINSLOW GENEALOGY
With this information and too much time on my hands I began my internet search. One source, Pioneer Memories of the Santa Ana Valley, Vol. VIII, by Maureen McClintock Richard (October 1988) notes that Anna was born to Alson G. Frazer (the family dropped the “i” some time before) and Hannah Rees near Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana. Anna married a Quaker named Josiah White Winslow at Cedar Creek Meeting in Henry County, Iowa. Josiah was born in Grant County, Indiana. Josiah’s father was Nathan Matthew Winslow, born 15th day of 9th month, 1804 in Randolph City, North Carolina.
From Pioneer Memories: Hannah Reese was the daughter of Zacharia and Mary (Davis) Rees of Westfield, Indiana. Alson was the son of Henry and Mary (Utwell) Frazer. Hannah Rees Frazer died when Anna was about five years old. Her father married, secondly, Mary M. Hockett.
Anna J. Winslow became a Quaker minister. In her book, Jewels From My Casket, she tells about leaving her family of four children to preach in some distant place, like another state. Seemingly her absence was accepted by her husband and family. Besides daughter Geneva, the children were: Urestus Alson, Julius, Matthew, Philander, Zacharia and Lida Anna Winslow.
Anna J. Winslow came to do evangelical work in California in the summer of 1907 in the annual meeting [California Yearly Meeting]. She took up the pastoral work at El Modena on the 21st of 8th Month and resigned at the end of 1908. The family bought property in El Modena at the time. The little Quaker church still stands on Chapman Avenue near Hewes in El Modena. [El Modena Friends Church is a local city of Orange, CA historical landmark which was restored by a family and turned into a restaurant.]
The noted Quaker historian Thomas D. Hamm cites Anna J. Winslow’s book, Jewels From My Casket, as a source for his book The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907. Hamm notes on page 102, under a section titled The Revivalists: “While the revivalists of the 1870s remained prominent, a number of younger ministers also came into prominence during the 1880s. Most having been born in the 1840s or 1850s, they came largely from solid Quaker backgrounds. Among the most important were . . . Anna J. Winslow in Iowa and Kansas.”
Anna J. and Josiah W. Winslow are listed in the 1880 census as residents of Mount Ayr, Osborne County, Kansas. Anna’s occupation was listed as “Keeping House.” In the Book of Meetings By Society of Friends (1884) Anna’s name is mentioned under “List of Ministers” (p. 206): “Mt. Ayr Quarter . . . Anna J. Winslow, Mt. Ayr, Osborn County, Kansas.”
“Anna J. Winslow from Kansas” is noted in the 1885 Friends Review as having attended North Carolina Yearly Meeting. The Review includes the following: “At this time Catherine Osborne and Anna Winslow paid a visit to men’s meeting. The burden of their exercise seemed to be, exhorting husbands to make a way for their companions to attend to all their religious duties, and to encourage them in every way to be faithful in attending to whatever service the Master may call them into. Many hearts were glad of this visit, and the stirring appeals of these faithful handmaidens will not soon be forgotten, or lightly passed by.”
Anna next appears in the 1910 California Yearly Meeting of Friends Church minutes as living in El Modena, Orange County, California. In the 1915 minute book she is listed as “Anna J. Winslow, Huntington Park [California, near downtown Los Angeles]. In the 1917 minutes she is listed as “Anna J. Winslow, 125 N. Templeton St., Huntington Park.”
Finally, in the 1918 Minutes of California Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (pages 119-121), Anna’s memorial is given: Anna Jane Winslow, daughter of Alson G. and Hanna Frazer, was born in Thorntown, Indiana on the 5th of 2nd month, 1848. Her mother died when Anna was nearly five years of age, and though Anna was provided for in her father’s home, she, for years afterward, felt her loneliness, and was often much depressed by it. Her mother had given her to Jesus, and to this fact Anna often attributed much of the tender Divine care and precious guidance to which she bore a feeling testimony in her later life.
In 10th month, 1864, she united in marriage with Josiah White Winslow of Henry County, Iowa. A few years later than this through the faithful ministry of Amos Kenworthy, she was led to seek and find pardon of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Soon after her conversion she was quite clearly led to the belief that she should preach the Gospel. She shrank from this as being quite incapable of so important a service, and vacillated in her Christian experience for some time, but at length consented with her whole heart to what she was assured was God’s call. Her narrative of the influence of well known Friends toward her confirmation and establishment in the will of God, is full of interest.
Her subsequent life was marked to the close with an earnest and unceasing desire for the salvation of others. She answered many a loving call of her Heavenly Father to service quite remote from her home and under circumstances, many time, of peculiar difficulty. She traveled in the ministry quite extensively in Kansas, which for many years was her home, in Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon and elsewhere; and her ministry was marked with the Divine guidance which comes only to those who are walking closely with God in a life of prayer. The account which she gives of special providence is deeply interesting. When her means for traveling were exhausted, and she knew not how to proceed, the means often came through the persons who had no outward knowledge of her circumstances.
Her life was often imperiled by exposure and fatigue. At many times she was prostrated by sickness; sometimes when on her journeys in the service of the Lord; but even then her firm faith in her Heavenly Father, and her composure, her freedom from anxiety, was in itself a ministry for good to many souls.
She was often engaged in holding meetings of her own appointment, or in conjunction with other ministers; and wherever she labored, she left behind her precious evidences of the Divine presence and guidance in her labors. Though not educated, in the popular sense of that word, Anna Winslow gave abundant evidence of church experience in the school of Christ. The will of God respecting the time, place and character of her service, was generally made very clear to her in advance, as she was not want to allow any reasonings of own or other minds, to turn her aside from what was to her a call of the Lord.
The last few years of life she was in very feeble health and a great sufferer, but even then her habitual cheerfulness, especially in the presence of God’s children, or of those whom she sought to bring to a knowledge of Him, was blest to those who called at her home. About twenty months before her decease she met a painful accident on her way to attend the Yearly Meeting at Whittier, California. She had then been for a few years a resident of this state and for a time pastor of the friends Meeting at El Modena. Her home was in Huntington Park. Though very feeble, she was brought to the Yearly Meeting House by private conveyance, and after alighting, made a misstep, fell, and received injuries from which she never recovered. During the long weary months that followed, she lay nearly the whole time in one position, suffering not only the greatest inconvenience, but nearly all of the time much pain. Numerous friends from various parts of the country, visited her during this long shut-in period; and rarely if ever did anyone come away without a sense of having been blest in spirit by her evident rest and joy in the Lord, the power of grace wonderfully triumphing over the suffering of the flesh. Those who knew her best have questioned whether the ministry of those last months may not have been the most fruitful of here entire life.
On the 21st of 2nd month, 1918, she fell asleep in Jesus. Of her it may be safely said that though she rests from her labors her works do follow her. The memory of her heaven-sent messages and her godly life will continue to bless not only her family, but hundreds, perhaps thousands of those who have come under her influence.
To her it was given to show the world that a faithful follower of Jesus, though with limited education, limited means, a feeble and ofttimes suffering body, may accomplish a fruitful ministry in the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of believers, the great object for which our Lord sends forth His own into the world.
Her funeral was held in the Friends place of worship, in Huntington Park, the services being conducted by Eli Reece, acting pastor of Friends Church of Huntington Park. The interment was in the Whittier Cemetery.
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In 2008 Anna’s autobiography Jewels From My Casket was reprinted by Ad Astra Publishing LLC as part of their Hall of Fame series.