Mahlon Hockett

Mahlon Hockett (1772-1850) may have been one of the original members of Springfield Monthly Meeting. His parents were Joseph and Phebe Hoggatt. (There are several spellings of the family name, which were often used interchangeably.) Mahlon Hockett was married to Sarah Millikan (1777-1849).

According to Dan Warren, their home stood at the intersection of Surrett, Mill, and Elm Streets, on a little rise. The old Highland Cotton Mills is on his farm.

Mahlon Hockett made his living as a potter. A few of his pieces are known to survive. Sara R. Haworth said in an interview: “[In] 1890, they celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Springfield Monthly Meeting and my grandmother had a piece of Mahlon Hockett’s pottery and she tried to get some of the folks to bring some, but everybody – it was after the war, you know – and the Quakers were poor and didn’t have slaves or anything, and they were all using theirs and nobody brought any, so she was the only one who had a piece of Mahlon Hockett’s pottery there.”

According to David N. Hunt, a younger contemporary who knew him well, “At the corner of the grave yard, east of the meeting house, Mahlon Hockett hitched his horse to a small forked tree about the time the Hunts reached there, and he and grandfather [Nathan Hunt] at once walked into the meetinghouse which was a signal for meeting to set. Immediately the crowd would start from all parts of the grounds and in a short time most of the seats would be occupied.

“He was a preacher of many peculiarities, and yet there was a depth of spiritual discernment that often created a sensation in the meeting. He often told what had occurred or would occur in a short time when it was very evident that he could not have known before rising to his feet.”

From a letter by Rufina White: “He was one of the leading ministers of his day. Sometimes in the midst of his sermon he would stop and without any knowledge of the circumstances only as it was revealed to him from above and not knowing about whom or to whom he was speaking, would tell them of some things they had said or had been doing.”

From another account: “While traveling through Ohio, Hockett stopped at a meeting. He spoke in ministry to a large and prosperous body of Friends in the meeting house. He told them that a time would come that the meeting house would be the dwelling place of moles and bats. Although he was ridiculed at the time, in fact that meeting house was abandoned in the 1830s, well within the lifetime of many Friends who heard the prophecy back in 1812.”

According to Dan Warren, Sara R. Richardson told the following story which shows that Mahlon Hockett was not without a sense of humor. “A famous Methodist minister named Lorenzo Dow was renting the Jeremiah Piggott house. Lorenzo had heard of Mahlon’s talent. When the two of them met up on the way to their respective homes, Lorenzo was making fun of Mahlon, saying that folks said that he could predict the future, and that Mahlon could even raise the devil if he had a mind to. Mahlon replied, “Well, if thee says so.” They rode a ways longer and approached the Piggott/Dow house. At the edge of the porch stood a large barrel. Mahlon told Lorenzo to go and look under the hogshead. Puzzled, Lorenzo went to it and turned it over: a handsome young man had been hiding underneath. He ran to the woods where his horse was hidden. Lorenzo realized that the man had been visiting his wife. Mahlon said, “Well, thee said I could raise the devil. I guess I did. Have a good day.” And with that he rode off.”

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