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Isaac Post was born in 1798 on Long Island, New York. Amy Kirby Post was born nearby in 1802 to Joseph and Mary Kirby. They were both members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). About 1821, Isaac Post married Amy’s older sister, Hannah. They moved to Cayuga County, New York in 1823 and had two children before Hannah became ill. Amy moved in with them to help care for the children. Hannah soon died, and Amy stayed on, eventually marrying Isaac in 1828. He and Amy had two sons.

Soon after marrying, Amy and Isaac joined a radical wing of the Quaker church headed by Elias Hicks.  They moved to Rochester in 1836 and Isaac went into business as a druggist. In 1842, they helped found the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society. Amy organized fundraising events and group conventions. They held meetings in their home and hosted prominent lecturers including Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony. Their home was also part of the Underground Railroad.

Amy became involved in the women’s movement at the same time. She attended many conventions and signed the “Declaration of Sentiments” and “The Just and Equal Rights of Women” resolution. After the War, she became a member of the Equal Rights Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1872, she successfully registered to vote, but she was turned away at the polls.

In 1848, the Posts rented rooms to Kate and Margaret Fox, who had gained a reputation for communicating with spirits through rapping noises. They introduced the girls to their circle of friends and gave up their Quaker religion to become Spiritualists.  Amy became the Fox sister’s mentor during the early part of their careers, giving them advice, encouragement, and protection. She and Isaac attended their original weekly circle along with R. D. Jones, John E. Robinson and George Willets.

After much trial and error, Isaac became a spirit writing medium. In 1852, he published a book entitled: Voices from the Spirit World, Being Communications from Many Spirits which included messages from Benjamin Franklin and Swedenborg. Amy focused her attention on public speaking and promoting Spiritualism. The Posts became leading defenders of the Spiritualists in Rochester. Their son Willet, followed in Isaac’s footsteps, becoming a druggist and Spiritualist.

Amy and Isaac stayed active with their social reform activities until the end of their lives. Isaac died in 1872, but Amy remained active for many years afterward. Less than a year before her death in 1889, she attended the International Council of Woman Suffragists at Washington.

Additional Reading:

The Post Family Papers (1817-1918): https://rbscp.lib.rochester.edu/finding-aids/D93

Powalski, Caitlin (2009) Radical transmissions: Isaac and Amy Post, Spiritualism and Prograssive reform in Nineteenth Century Rochester Rochester History, Vol 71, No. 2, Fall 2009. Available on-line: https://www.libraryweb.org/~rochhist/v71_2009/v71i2.pdf

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