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Hidden Hero - Elizabeth Lawton Hazard

So respected was Elizabeth Lawton Hazard that a booklet, calling her Friend At large, was written upon her death describing how she touched the lives of many. Elizabeth was born in Poplar Ridge in the year 1889. She married Isaac Hazard who descended from a long line of Quakers. Elizabeth traveled widely over New York Yearly Meeting listening and counseling in meeting and personal affairs serving as field secretary for over 20 years. She served on numerous committees in her faith often encouraging and assisting youth. For years she served on the board of the American Friends Service Committee. During World War II as a member of the American Friends Service Committee, she helped organize conscientious objector camps in New York and often visited them in other states. She would appear in court to provide counsel and advice during conscientious objector trials. Mrs. Hazard served as a Quaker minister who officiated at many marriage and funerals in Quaker families. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Oakwood School before and after its removal from Union Springs to Poughkeepsie. Together with her husband, they were influential in the building of Camp Gregory.

These words are extracted form a tribute written by neighbor Helen Pike following Elizabeth Hazard's death in 1968.

Those of us who have lived on Park Street in Union Springs for many years have had the privilege to know a brilliant, radiant neighbor, Mrs. Elizabeth Hazard, who touched the lives of many people in the United States. She was full of life, energy and took interest in everyone. She was as excited as the Boy Scouts when a group of them took off on a fifty mile canoe trip to Camp Gregory and back. she was equally excited when she demonstrated a sugaring off for the Schlappi children. She delighted in having children in for meals. She felt that something shared was more enjoyable whether it was a letter that contained a message she thought might interest you, or a meal or a batch of applesauce.

She went before the Federal Courts in all sections of the United States on behalf of conscientious objectors. She believed one should carry the sword as long as his conscience allowed him to do it. Yet, at court, she would consider carefully both sides and try to objectively give her decision.

It has been stated by one who knew her well that "Elizabeth gave so much of herself in those activities that her health was impaired and a few months rest became necessary." After Elizabeth retired, she and her husband, Isaac, lived a quiet but fruitful life in their home at 10 Park Street, in Union Springs. Their home became a haven for visiting Friends. Betty Shockey remarked that Elizabeth opened new worlds for newcomers to Union Springs. Whether the topic was geese or garden, she was interested. If she knew you were experienced in canning, she would appear at canning time saying that an extra pair of hands would be needed. She had a reverence for fine workmanship.

When Elizabeth passed, her service was an inspirational one as the speaker emphasized how she was able to relate to everyone on an individual basis. With expectant faith, Elizabeth visioned the light, even in darkness. She left a wide fellowship of friends, who through association with her have found a meaningful and enriching sense of fulfillment.

March is women's History Month - a time to reflect on the unsung contributions of women to history. We celebrate Elizabeth Lawton Hazard as a woman who made a difference to so many.


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