Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   
MAP
CHURCHES IN BUCKS COUNTY
HOME


e-mail
e-mail

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) of Bucks County

QUARTERLY MEETINGS: Abington Bucks Burlington Caln Chester Concord Haddonfield Haverford Philadelphia Salem Southern Upper Susquehanna Western

Interesting article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a proposal to build a subdivision on one of the most historic Bucks County Quaker sites

Quaker Monthly Meetings

Early Quakers and Slaidburn

THE FIRST QUAKER CHURCH


FALLS FRIENDS MEETING

The first religious organization in Bucks County was the Falls Friends Meeting, which was established in the 3rd month of 1683. The early settlers, who had gotten their land before Penn arrived, were for the most part Quakers. Many had been member\s of the Friends Meeting in Burlington, New Jersey, and when they settled in Falls they had to attend Quarterly Meeting by crossing the river to Burlington. On March 4, 1683, the Pennsylvania Quakers asked the Burlington Friends Meeting for permission to form a Monthly Meeting on the west side of the Delaware River, which permission was granted.

On May 2, 1683, at the home of William Biles, a meeting was held to set up the Falls Friends Meeting. Present atthat meeting were: William Yardley, James Harrison, Phineas Pemberton, William Beaks,William Biles, William Dark, and Lional Brittania. At the next meeting, Phineas Pemberton was appointed to keep records of births, burials,and marriages.

A building to house the Meeting was proposed in 1686, but the building was not completed until 1691 although meetings were held there beginning inSeptember, 1690. This first building was made of brick. During the years Penn was at Pennsbury Manor 1699-1691 he worshiped at the Falls Meeting.

There are three graveyards associated with the Falls Friends Meeting. The oldest part of the oldest cemetery (across the road from the 1789 Meetinghouse) has no grave markers; the Quakers at that time did not believe in grave markers. The records of who was buried in that plot were destroyed in a fire in 1910. It is a certainty that most of the first settlers of Falls are buried in that unmarked section of the Falls Friends Meeting cemetery in the community that they had started even before William Penn was granted the Province of Pennsylvania.4

MIDDLETOWN FRIENDS' MEETING

Middletown Friends meetings were first established at Middletown in 1683, and held at the houses of Nicholas Walne, John Otter, and Robert Hall. The first meeting-house was built in 1690, near Neshaminy creek, a mile west of Langhorne, whither it was removed in 1734, the present house in the town being the third. 3

It was first called the Neshamina Meeting because of its location near the Neshaminy Creek. In 1692 that area was designated as Middletown Township, and what is now Langhorne was part of Middletown Township. By 1702 the Neshamina Meeting had changed its name to Middletown Meeting to adapt its name to its locality. Names of other Quaker families mentioned in the Meeting's records during the remaining years of the 17th century included those of Allen, Atkinson, Austin, Bayns, Bennett, Boyden, Bridgmen, Buckman, Bunting, Chapman, Coats, Comeley, Constable, Cowgill, Cowin, Croasdale, Cutler, Davis, Dilworth, Doan, Eastburn, English, Fuller, Gregg, Hall, Harding, Hillborn, Jenks, Langhorne, Maller, Morris, Otter, Paulin, Paxson, Peacock, Penquite, Plumly, Potts, Poynter, Radcliff, Rodgers, Rowland, Sands, Scaife, Sharpe, Smith, Stradling, Swift, Taylor, Thompson, Twining, Wetherill, Walmsley, Wharley, White, Wildman and Woolston. 4 OTHER MEETINGS

Buckingham, members in that area sent up a paper to Middletown in 1699 alleging their unwillingnexx to attend either Neshamina or Falls, saying they belonged to neither. "Which this meeting is much dissatisfied with." But the next year they were made a Preparative Meeting under Middletown and soon after became a monthly and soon after became a Monthly Meeting.

For several years, Newtown and Wrightstown were allowed to hold their own Meetings for Worship at Newtown. As early as 1686 they were holding Meeting for worship one First Day a month, then twice a month, till eventually Wrightstown was granted leave to hold their own Meeting for Worship and to be a Preparative Meeting, first of Middletown, and then later at their request, of Buckingham (1724)

Prior to 1788 Bristol Friends belonged to Falls Meeting, in that year they became a Preparative Meeting under Middletown. From 1857 on Middletown Monthly Meeting was held alternately at Bristol and Langhorne until 1873 when Bristol became a Monthly Meeting.

Newtown Friends were a part of Middletown Meeting till 1815 when they became an Indulged Meeting (i.e.-held their own Meeting for Worship) and then in 1817 joined with Wrightstown as a Preparative Meeting.

Other Worship Groups referred to as belonging to Middletown were Friends over the Brook and Friends beyond Neshaminy (Southampton). Friends at the Lower Meeting and Friends at the Ferry, probably Yardley.

THE QUAKERS LAND IN AMERICA

3. BATTLE'S HISTORY OF BUCKS COUNTY . . . 1887
4. THE JOURNAL, NOVEMBER 1998, PUBLISHED BY THE BUCKS COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY