It is good to remember that "meetinghousesold and new, pastoral and nonpastoralas well as burial grounds and other structuresare as important a part of Quaker heritage as any written documents. Structures are merely another kind of record." [Silas B. Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses Past and Present (Richmond, Ind.: Friends United Press, 2001), xi.]
Thus far this page has pictures of some old meeting houses and/or short histories of older Friends meetings in Delaware, Maryland, New England, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and one in Washington, D.C.. More will be added in time. The time will be shorter if readers have photographs they would be willing to let me use, or documentation about a meeting's history. Please e mail to .
There are also pictures and histories of some old meeting houses in Pennsylvania.
There is a current list of mostly "unprogrammed" Friends meetings (i.e. without pastors, gathering in "silent expectant waiting worship") in the United States and Canada with their locations and times for worship. So far the list includes mostly meetings affiliated with Friends General Conference plus some independent meetings.
Warning: this page is still under construction and not all the photographs or accompanying data have been posted. Most of the citations are given in brackets and smaller font.
Some old meeting houses in New Jersey
Although Europeans first settled in what is now New Jersey as early as 1630, and Friends ministers traveled through the area from time to time as early as 1656, the first Friends to actually settle appeared along the Raritan River in 1663. Quaker settlements followed at Piscataway, Woodbridge, and Newark, then in Shrewsbury, where a meeting was settled by 1670. Many of these Friends in northeastern New Jersey were originally from New England.
To make a longer story short, a group of Quaker trustees, among them William Penn, took over administration of West Jersey for the benefit of Friends and like-minded people. The "Concessions and Agreements of the Proprietors, Freeholders, and Inhabitants of West Jersey, in America" were signed March 3, 1676/7. They "gave to the spirit of liberty a wider range than had heretofore been the case in any record of Anglo-Saxon organic law." [Rufus M. Jones, The Quakers in the American Colonies (London: MacMillan and Co., Ltd., 1911), 362-64, the quotation is from page 364.]
Friends became a major presence in West Jersey starting within the arrival of the Griffin from London in 1675/6, with Friends who began the settlement of Salem. In the summer of 1677 the Kent arrived from London with 230 English Quaker settlers on board. They landed on what was then an island off the east bank of the Delaware River, fifty miles north of Salem. They named it Burlington. Within eighteen months some 800 Friends had emigrated to West Jersey. By 1681 there were about 1,400 of them.
What became Philadelphia Yearly Meeting met first in 1681 in Burlington, before the city of Philadelphia had been founded. Then sessions were held alternately in the Burlington meeting house and in Philadephia from 1685 to 1760. From then until recent years it met annually in Philadelphia. [William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (1938) Vol. 2: Philadelphia, 163.]
New Jersey, especially the original "West Jersey", has a wealth of old Friends meeting houses. Entries have been started for these meetings, although not all of them are complete: Alloways Creek at Hancock's Bridge, Arney's Mount in Springfield Township, Bordentown, Burlington, Cropwell near Marlton, Crosswicks (also known as Chesterfield), Evesham (also known as Mount Laurel), Greenwich, Haddonfield, Kingwood (now known as Quakertown, in Quakertown, Hunterdon County), Little Egg Harbor (also known as Tuckerton), Mt. Holly, Medford (formerly known as Upper Evesham), Moorestown, Mullica Hill, Pilesgrove or Woodstown, Princeton (also known as Stony Brook), Rancocas, Randolph, now Dover-Randolph in Morris County, Salem, Trenton, Upper Evesham, Upper Springfield, Westfield in Cinnaminson, and Woodbury. Many do not have pictures posted yet. This is certainly not all of the old meeting houses in New Jersey, or even in southern New Jersey. If a reader has a photo they would like to offer, please send e mail to kwg "at" cwru.edu.
The map (dating from ca. 1850) shows many of the towns that had Friends meetings in New Jersey. It is a detail from James Bowden, The History of the Society of Friends in America (Vol. II: Pennsylvania and New Jersey (London: W & F.G. Cash, 1854), opposite p. 1.
Alloway's Creek Meeting is at Hancock's Bridge, but in the early days the meeting moved around a bit. In 1678 John Denn, Christopher White, Samuel Wade, Joseph Ware, Richard Hancock, Nathaniel Chambless, James Daniel, and Edward Bradway along with their families and other Friends settled around Alloway's Creek. They held meetings for worship and business at John Denn's house until 1684 when a meeting house was built on the north side of the Creek. It cost £40. But crossing the Creek was difficult so about 1710 another meeting house was built on the south side. Then in 1754 the present building was erected on land donated by William Hancock. The meeting house received an addition in 1784. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 45; Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 677. Newberry gives the date of 1756 for construction of the current meeting house.]
The photograph to the left, taken by Mary Waddington, shows the stairway that goes up to the balcony or gallery of the meeting house. It is used here with her kind permission.
The meeting house is to the right of the Hancock House (now a museum). William Hancock (son of Richard) built the house in 1734. His and his wife Sarah's initials are in the gable end. During the Revolution, on 21 March 1778, the builder's son William, a judge who was crippled in both arms, along with three other elderly Friends, were asleep in their beds. About 20 militiamen were assigned to guard the bridge, and had their headquarters in the house. That night some "Jersey volunteers" (i.e. American Tories) led the British by back ways to the house. Upon entering they bayonetted everyone, including the four old Quakers sleeping upstairs. All 20 militiamen and four elderly Quakers were killed. [Robert H. Wilson, Philadelphia Quakers, 1681-1981 (Phila. Yearly Meeting, 1981), 61. A somewhat different version of the story is given by Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 329, 676. There, it is William, not his son, and he sympathized with the Tory position. William fled during the rebel occupation of the area. When returning home on the evening of 20 March 1778 the revolutionaries seized him, and as many as 90 quartered themselves in his house that night. At that point Major Simcoe and 200 troops crept up to the house, crashed in both doors and systematically killed everyone who was unable to escape. Hancock and his brother were among those killed.]
The soil of the area turned "sour" by the end of the 18th century, and people started leaving. Discovery of marl as a fertilizer, which was very common in that part of South Jersey, stopped the exodus. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 329.]
Arney's Mount is one of three old meeting houses in Springfield Township, Burlington County. It was built by Samuel Smith in 1775, and his name is scratched into a stone to the left of the main door. He quarried the New Jersey sandstone right on the site. It is small, only thirty by thirty-five feet. Hand-made rivetted iron bolts hold the wooden benches together. Neither they nor the walls have ever been painted. A steep hill rises behind the meeting house, where the burial ground is located. [Gail T. Boatman, "Arney's Mount", Burlington County Times, May 6, 2006, B1-2.]
The building is virtually unchanged from the late eighteenth century, which is why it was one of two New Jersey meeting houses chosen in 1999 for further study by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the National Park Service. [Boatman, "Arney's Mount", Burlington County Times, May 6, 2006, B1.]
Meeting for worship is still held there twice a month, even though there is no heat or electricity in the old building. There is a wood stove in the center of the main meeting room. Poplar wood pillars support the "gallery", or balcony. [Boatman, "Arney's Mount", Burlington County Times, May 6, 2006, B1.]
Some twenty years ago a 15-year old boy living nearby, Jeff Nixon, wrote a letter to the meeting asking if he could take care of the meeting property. Permission was gratefully granted, and he has been tending the grounds ever since. [Boatman, "Arney's Mount", Burlington County Times, May 6, 2006, B2.]
Bordentown Monthly Meeting was established under Chesterfield Meeting. In 1736 Joseph Borden offered some land for a meeting house, which was built as a one and a half storey building in 1741. A second storey was added later.
The meeting was laid down in 1907. In the 1970s the meeting house had become part of the Bordentown Bank on Farnsworth at Walnut Streets. [300 Years of Quaker Meeting in Burlington County, NJ (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 2. I am very grateful to Betty Trumbower for sending it to me.]
Ruth Bonner writes that the meeting was organized in 1739, with the meeting house on W. Farnsworth Avenue constructed the following year. She says it was laid down in 1905, and the building now houses the Historical Society. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 65.]
In the 20th century, after the meeting had been laid down, the building was moved to the back of the lot and connected to the neighboring bank by a breezeway. The first floor of the historic building was used for offices and the second floor for an apartment. In 1999, Summit Bank donated the site to the Bordentown Historical Society as its permanent home. The building has been used for community events and as exhibit space. In December 2012 the New Jersey Historic Trust approved a $50,000 capital preservation grant to stabilize the building, repair wall cracks and crumbling masonry, and address interior dampness. ["philly.com" The Inquirer Fri., Dec. 2012. The photo is a detail from one accompanying the article, taken by Tom Gralish, Staff Photographer.]
Burlington Monthly Meeting was established in "West Jersey", with its first "meeting for discipline" (as early "meetings for business" or church governance were called) held 15 Fifth Month 1678. Meetings for worship had begun the previous year. Meetings were first held in tents made for the purpose out of the sails of the Kent, then were held in the homes of Thomas Woolston, and Thomas Gardner and his widow. In 1682, the year of the great influx of Friends to Penn's new colony across the Delaware River, Friends agreed to build a meeting house with six sides, "forty feet square from out to out". It was the largest (only?) public building in town, and was at first used for public events as well as for Friends meetings. This eventually became a problem, and in 1691 Friends minuted that they "should not suffer the court to be kept in our meeting-house any more." [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 35-6.] Another source reports that it was John Woolston's house [not Thomas], "the first framed house in Burlington", along with Thomas Gardiner's house, that were used after the tent until a meeting house could be built. [Thomas Balch, ed., Letters and Papers Relating Chiefly to the Provincial History of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Crissy & Markley, Printers, 1855), cxxiii.]
The drawing to the right shows the hexagonal brick meeting house in 1686. [From Robert H. Wilson, Philadelphia Quakers, 1681-1981 (Phila. Yearly Meeting,1981), 7.]
In 1783 a new meeting house was built in front of the older meeting house site. The new one was large enough for quarterly meetings. It is situated on High Street. The photo to the left shows it as seen from the burial ground, which actually predates any of the buildings. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, 2-3; mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library??]
After the Separation in 1827 the so-called Hicksites met at an old cocoonery from 1827 until 1845, when they built a meeting house on High Street south of Federal. The so-called Orthodox retained the older building, but had dwindled to the point that in 1910 they leased it to the Polish-Lithuanian (All Saints) congregation who remodeled it and used it until they built their own church in 1936. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, 2-3; mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library??]
In 1995 the meeting house was renovated and enlarged with a whole new wing (photo taken during the construction process), and now serves as a conference center.
Photo of construction by Michael Hayes, in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting News, March/April 1995.
Cropwell Meeting, is near Marlton. The land where the meeting house is located was originally in Waterford township, Gloucester County. The preparative meeting built a school in 1786, and used it as a meeting house until the present brick building was constructed in 1809. There is an adjoining burying ground. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 4.]
Crosswicks Meeting, also known as Chesterfield Meeting, was settled in 1680. The first log meeting house was built in 1692. The second one, of brick, was built in 1706 on Ward Avenue. The present building, at Front and Church Streets, was completed in 1773.
Thomas Chalkley, a Friends minister who had recently emigrated to Pennsylvania, spoke to a "very large meeting" held under the trees at Crosswicks. There Edward Andrews was "mightily reached" and in time built up Friends in the area of Little Egg Harbour. [Rufus M. Jones, The Quakers in the American Colonies (London: MacMillan and Co., Ltd., 1911), 388.]
During the Revolutionary War the meeting house was used briefly as a barracks by the Hessians. During a skirmish at the North Crosswicks bridge, a cannon ball fired by the rebel troops was imbedded in the meeting house wall. I think it is still there.
At the 1827 Separation the Hicksites retained possession of the meeting house. The Orthodox first built a frame meeting house in 1831 on Ward Avenue in Chesterfield, replaced by a brick one two years later. It is now the home of the Chesterfield Township Historical Society. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 4.]Postcard sent to Lydia B. Dunning, 6 Aug. 1906
Evesham Monthly Meeting, also known as Mount Laurel Meeting, was authorized by Haddonfield Monthly Meeting in 1759. The meeting house was built of native sandstone in 1760. It was occupied by the British in June 1778. The western end was added in 1798. At the time of the separation, the newer end was used by the Hicksites while the Orthodox used the older end.
The township of Evesham was established in 1688, and originally included all of Mt. Laurel and Medford Townships and parts of Lumberton, Hainesport and Shamong Townships. It was named for Thomas Eves, who bought a large tract there as a Friend and one of the West Jersey Proprietors, although he probably did not actually live there. The first families to reside in the township came in 1684, soon followed by other Quakers. In 1694, the first Friends meeting in Mt. Laurel was held in the home of William and Elizabeth Evans, from Wales. Shortly thereafter, in 1698, the first meeting house was built at Mt. Laurel. See the Evesham Township web page.
In the 1970s only one or two old tombstones were visible in the adjoining yard. The burying ground is now located a short distance down the road to the south. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 8.]
There is a list of marriages under the care of Evesham Meeting, 1703 -1769, of Friends who were members of Evesham Meeting.
In the 1930s Evesham meeting house was named, by the U. S. government, an Historic American Building. It is constructed of bog iron stone. The massive lock on the south door measures 8" by 11" and is two inches thick. It is fastened to the door with iron bolts. The key, equally massive, weighs nearly a half pound. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 15.]
Greenwich Meeting is in the village of Greenwich. The land was deeded to the meeting on 12 Fourth Month [June] 1686, and the first, log, building was erected the following year. The present building was constructed in 1779. The wall separating the meeting house yard from the street came across the ocean as ballast. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 51.]
Friends living in and around Greenwich met for worship as early as 1694. Mark Reeve and others were the first Friends there. At first they were members of Salem Monthly Meeting. About 1770 Salem set off Greenwich Monthly Meeting which was made up of Greenwich Preparative Meeting and Alloway's Creek Preparative Meeting. Later, preparative meetings at Maurice River and Cape May were added. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 45-46.]
Haddonfield Meeting is, not surprisingly, in Haddonfield. The story of Elizabeth Haddon will (in time) be included here. For now, here is an old picture of the meetinghouse, from James Bowden's History of the Society of Friends in America, vol. II, 1854.
Both the town and the meeting took their name from Elizabeth Haddon. The meeting house is built on land donated by her husband, John Estaugh, in 1721. As early as 1695 Friends were worshipping in the area, probably at the house of Thomas Shackles, and known at first as Gloucester Meeting. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 117-8, 119.]
Kingwood or Quakertown Meeting is at County Route 579 and White Bridge Road in Quakertown, Hunterdon County. It is right across White Bridge Road from the Quakertown post office.
Friends first began to settle in the area about 1726 or 1727, coming from Chesterfield Meeting in Burlington County. A minute of that meeting for 10 Fourth Month [June] 1729 stated:Thomas Williams, Samuel Schooley, and others made application to this meeting that, whereas, their settlement being remote from Friends, they request Friends approbation and consent to meet together at one of their houses every First day of the week to worship God; whereupon this meeting, well knowing the advantage the people of God have in meeting together in His name, approve of their so doing until there be an established meeting nearer to them, or until Friends see some inconveniency in their so doing. [James W. Moore, Records of the Kingwood Monthly Meeting of Friends, Hunterdon County, New Jersey (Flemington, NJ: H. E. Deats, 1900), 5.]
In 1731 overseers were appointed for "Bethlehem Meeting". In 1733 Jacob Doughty deeded four acres of land to the meeting's trustees, and presumably a log meeting house was built, probably about thirty yards southwest of the present building. Burlington Quarterly Meeting minuted that "after deliberate and weighty consideration" it does "now consent and agree that as they live very remote from any Monthly Meeting which must needs be on Several accounts inconvenient to them. They have Liberty to hold a Monthly Meeting among themselves". Kingwood held its first meeting for business on 10 Seventh Month [September] 1744. Five months later local Friends decided they needed a new, larger meeting house and agreed to take the matter to Quarterly Meeting. Burlington Quarter agreed on 25 Twelfth Month 1744/5, suggesting that the building should be made of stone, 36 feet long by 26 feet wide. Two years later, on 14 Third Month [May] 1747 local Friends reported to the Quarterly Meeting that "We are building our new Meetinghouse here thirty nine feet long & twenty seven feet wide and we expect by computation that the cost will amount to one hundred and fifty pounds and have but yet one hundred pounds subscribed". I do not know why the local Friends changed the suggested dimensions. It wasn't until two years later, on 17 Seventh Month 1749 that Burlington Quarterly Meeting paid £3.15.00 toward construction costs. It seems that the project had some difficulties. In Second Month [April] 1752 four men were appointed to agree "with suetable workmen to repair the Meetinghouse of Friends in Kingwood (known by the name of Bethlehem Meetinghouse)". Then in Fifth Month [May] 1754 Friends reported to Chesterfield Quarterly Meeting:We have to general satisfaction finished rebuilding our Meetinghouse according to the former model as we were advised by the Quarterly Meeting so far that we hold our meetings there, it being about as near completion as it was before it was burnt the whole cost of rebuilding amounts to upwards of one hundred and seven pounds and we fall short in payment about twenty three pounds which is disbursed to the workmen by one of the managers in behalf of this Meeting and we are but a small number and several of us not of ability to pay much more than what they have lately paid towards building and rebuilding of it. We desire that Friends of the Quarterly Meeting will be pleased to help us once more therein.
Four months later it was reported that the Friend had been reimbursed £25.5.05. [Moore, Records of the Kingwood Monthly Meeting of Friends, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, 6-8.]
In 1747 the name was changed, as Michener notes "in consequence of a division of the township of Bethlehem, &c." The Monthly Meeting consisted of Kingwood and Hardwick preparative meetings. From 1759 until 1797 monthly meetings alternated between the two, when Hardwick was made a monthly meeting with Mendham. In 1859 the name of Kingwood Meeting was changed to "Quakertown Monthly Meeting of Friends, New Jersey". [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 80-81.]
At first, the monthly meeting of Kingwood and Hardwick belonged to Burlington Quarter. In 1786 at the request of Shrewsbury Quarterly Meeting, and with the consent of the Kingwood and Hardwick Preparative Meetings, it was transferred to Shrewsbury Quarter. Then in 1832, after Kingwood and Hardwick had separated, and the Orthodox-Hicksite schism had divided Philadelphia Yearly Meeting meetings, Kingwood asked to be joined to (Hicksite) Bucks Quarter, which was formalized the following year. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;, 81.]
The present meeting house was built in 1862. It is brown fieldstone. The back and sides are now plastered. The photo to the right above shows the rear of the building.
Declining attendance led to the meeting being discontinued in 1905. It was reorganized in 1957 and has been flourishing ever since. The photograph to the left above shows the current meeting house with the old carriage sheds transformed into First Day School rooms. There is now a wheelchair ramp installed for easy access into the meeting house.
The burying ground has some stones that have been reset, mostly Wilson and King family members. A few other stones have been stacked against the carriage shed wall. Many of the oldest stones are illegible.
Little Egg Harbor Meeting. also called Tuckerton Meeting, was first settled in 1704. Edward Andrews donated the land for the first meeting house, in 1708. It was constructed in 1709. In 1714 Little Egg Harbor became a preparative meeting, and the following year was given monthly meeting status. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 40; 300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 8.]
Quakers moved into Tuckahoe, on the Tuckahoe River, before 1700. It was an imprtant seaport with shipyards. [p. 686.]
When the meeting was established Burlington County extended all the way to the ocean. Now Little Egg Harbor Township is located in Ocean County.
In 1863 the old meeting house was torn down, and the present one was built. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 9.]
Medford Meeting was formerly called Upper Evesham. So, as this page is particularly interested in history, that's where its entry is to be found. But in the meantime here is an old drawing of the meeting house.
Mount Holly Meeting currently is at 81 High Street. The meeting began in 1704 when Burlington Monthly Meeting authorized meetings for worship in the vicinity of Mount Holly to be held in Friends' homes. In 1742 permission was given to hold meetings for worship in town during the winter, and in 1687 Burlington Monthly Meeting, which had the care of the new group, minuted that the mid-week meeting, held on Fourth Day [Wednesday] that had been held at the homes of Thomas Olive and John Woolman, now was to meet at Daniel Wills's house. The next step was to hold First Day worship there in the winter months rather than travelling all the way to Burlington. This step was taken in 1704, when permission was granted for worship to be held in the home of Restore Lippincott. The first meeting house was built in 1716 near Woodpecker and Woodlane Roads. The Burlington Meeting minutes noted that since there was now a meeting house in Mount Holly, the meetings at Daniel Wills's and at Restore Lippincott's would both worship in the meeting house.
It appears that there were two worshipping groups, one at what was then called Shrevesmount, to the east of present Mount Holly, and the other in what was called Bridgton, which is now Mount Holly proper. In 1742 the Bridgton group requested permission to hold a First Day evening worship in the winter. The next year the Shrevesmount Friends also requested permission to hold a meeting, although Michener's elipses prevent us from knowing the detailsuntil the actual meeting records can be checked.
Mount Holly was the home meeting of Friends minister and anti-slavery advocate John Woolman (1720-1772), grandson of the John Woolman in whose home early Friends had worshipped. Woolman's Journal is a beautiful example of deceptively simple writing describing a deeply spiritual life that bore fruit in a life dedicated to listening for divine whispers and acting upon them to increase love in the world. The house pictured to the left and below, a little outside of the village of Mount Holly on the road to Springfield, was built ca. 1783 according to the specifications of John Woolman, and lived in by his widow and daughter. In 1915 it was established as a memorial to John Woolman. [The old drawing, on the left, of "Woolman House" is from James Bowden, The History of the Society of Friends in America (London: W & F.G. Cash, 1854), 2:393.The drawing is from a note card.]
In 1763 a meeting house was constructed on Mill Street at the rear of John Woolman's property. The present meeting house at High and Garden Streets, was built in 1775. Hessian soldiers occupied it in 1776, and in 1778 it was used as a commissary for Sir Henry Clinton's army. There are still marks on the old benches made by butcher's knives when the British used it as a commissary. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 7; Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 233, 235.]
Mount Holly was set off as a Monthly Meeting by Burlington Monthly Meeting in 1776. At the time it consisted of four smaller groups: Mount Holly (Bridgton), Shrevesmount, Old Springfield, and Upper Springfield. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 40-42; 300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 7.]
The current meeting house at 81 High Street, at the corner of Garden Street, was enlarged in 1850, at which time the gallery was added. In 1910 a second floor was added to the west end. The Friends burial ground is on Garden Street. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 233, 235.]
At the time of the Separation in 1827 the Hicksites retained the meeting house while the Orthodox withdrew and built a little wooden house on Buttonwood Street. When their meeting dwindled and was laid down, the house was used as a community room until the 1950s when it was torn down. Now the site is part of a public play ground. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 7.]
See a picture taken (probably) by Norman R. Zelley in 1931.
Moorestown Meeting, originally known as Chester Meeting (not to be confused with Chester Meeting in Pennsylvania), in in the town of Moorestown. The first log meeting house, on the north side of Main Street, was built in 1700. When it burned down in 1720 it was rebuilt in stone.
The present meeting houses are on the south side of Main Street. The "East Meeting" was built in 1802 and retained by the so-called Hicksites at the time of the 1827 separation. It is used today by all Moorestown Friends.
The frame "West Meeting" was built by the Orthodox in 1827. It was torn down and replaced by the present brick building in 1897. Currently it serves as part of Moorestown Friends School, whose extensive grounds are adjacent to the meeting houses. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 6-7.]
Mullica Hill Meeting officially began on the first day of Eleventh Month 1797 when Friends from Woolwich were granted permission to hold meetings in the school house at Mullica Hill. They had been members of Pilesgrove or Woodbury Monthly Meetings. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 48.] The meeting house was built in 1808. The "hand-split shingles" were fastened with "wrought nails". During the Civil War many Friends in Mullica Hill decided that the evil of slavery was worse than the evil of war, and a complete company of Quakers from the meeting saw military action. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 659.]
The photograph of Mullica Hill meeting house and grave yard was taken by Mary Waddington and is used with her kind permission.
The town is on the banks of the Raccoon Creek. It's named for Eric Molica, or Mullica, who led a group of Swedish settlers. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 659.]
Pilesgrove Meeting is also known as Woodstown. Technically, it is in Pilesgrove Township, on N. Main Street (Rt. 45). The meeting was organized in 1720, and established as a monthly meeting in 1794. The present brick meeting house, constructed in 1785, is the second meeting house on this site. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 34.]
Princeton Meeting is also known as Stony Brook. The meeting house is east of Rt. 206 on Quaker Road. The present meeting house was built in 1760 for £150. It is a 34 by 30 feet, two-storey structure with two large chimneys, constructed of warm, yellowish sandstone quarried nearby. The battle of Princeton, during the Revolutionary War, was fought along Stony Brook on 3 January 1777, within sight of the meeting house. Both sides used it as a hospital for their wounded. George Washington sent Benjamin Rush to attend to General Mercer, who was wounded that day. But Mercer died a week later and was buried in the meeting's burial ground. The meeting house has been named an Historic American Building. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 34.]
Rancocas Meeting house was located in the burying ground on Centerton Road. The meeting was established in 1681. The first building was of logs, with a hard clay floor and a single window with four panes of bull's eye glass. Foot stoves or warm bricks or stones were brought in the winter by each family. The present brick building was constructed in the village in 1772 west of Rt. 295 near the Mt. Holly-Willingboro exit. The brick work in front is Flemish bond style. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 8; Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 18.]
Randolph Meeting house, built in 1758, is the oldest religious building in continuous use in Morris County, with one of the most intact eighteenth century meeting house interiors in the United States. It is located at the top of a hill at the corner of Quaker Church Road and Quaker Avenue, just off route 10 in Randolph. Friends are using the building once again for regular worship. Because it was situated in Mendham Township, it was originally called Mendham Meeting. In 1805 the township was divided, and as the meeting house was in the northern part which was named Randolph Township, the meeting changed its name, too. This is not the only name change as the preparative meetings making up the monthly meeting shifted over the centuries, and the monthly meeting's name changed to match. It is now known as Dover-Randolph Monthly Meeting. [Eugene A. Carrell, "Brief History of the Randolph Friends Meeting House" (1938) at www-personal.umich.edu/~msten/fmhca/archive/documents/manuscript/1938%20Brief%20History/brief_history.html]
The building is supported in part by the Friends Meetinghouse & Cemetery Association. The Meeting house is open to the public for tours on the first Sunday of each month from 1-4 pm, April to November. They maintain an excellent web site and have requested this link. They provide some photographs and a more detailed history of the meeting and of the building and its preservation.
Although northern New Jersey has natural ties with New York, Shrewsbury Quarter, to which the meeting belonged, became part of the newly formed Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1682. By the time of the separation in 1827-28, there were three monthly meetings in the Quarter: Hardwick and Randolph, Rahway and Plainfield, and Shrewsbury. They were overwhelmingly of Hicksite persuasion. In 1833 the Hicksite meetings were transferred to New York Yearly Meeting. Over the next 3/4 century membership dwindled. In the early twentieth century a movement of revitalization sparked the growth of monthly meetings in Dover-Randolph, Montclair, Ridgewood, and Summit in northern New Jersey and Rockland in New York state. These formed the All Friends Regional Meeting of New York Yearly Meeting. [Hugh Barbour, Christopher Densmore, Elizabeth H. Moger, Nancy C. Sorel, Alson D. Van Wagner, and Arthur J. Worrall, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995), 133.
Salem Meeting began with the arrival of Friends accompanying John Fenwick in 1675 on the Griffin. Fenwick and Edward Byllynge had purchased West Jersey from Lord Berkeley. As his share, Fenwick received the present Salem and Cumberland Counties.
Salem meeting minutes began on the last day of Fifth Month [July] 1676. Friends agreed to meet onthe first second day [Monday] of the weeke in every month, . . . to consider of outward business: and of such as have been convinced [i.e.those who were Quakers] and walke disorderly. That they may with all Gravitie, and uprightnesse to God and in tenderness of Spirit, and Love to their soules, be admonished, exhorted, and also reproved, and their Evill Deeds, and practice testified agst in the Wisdome of God and authoritie of Truth, wch may answere the Wittnes of God in them.
[As quoted in William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (1938) Vol. 2: Philadelphia, 17.]
In 1681 Samuel and Ann Nicholson sold 16 acres and a log building to the Meeting for £12. The meeting house, on East Broadway opposite Walnut Street, was enlarged and improved over the next few years. Then it was replaced with a brick building in 1700. In 1772 the present meeting house was built. In 1827 it remained in possession of the so-called Hicksites, while the Orthodox removed and in 1852 built themselves a smaller brick building at 107 West Broadway opposite the original burial ground. I think it is now a private house. [William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (1938) Vol. 2: Philadelphia, 18; Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 331.]
The burial ground is on W. Broadway between 4th and 5th Streets. It was laid out in 1676, a year after the town was founded. Near the main entrance is the ancient Salem Oak, under whose branches John Fenwick bartered with the Native Americans, paying them for the land. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 330.]
For more information see Salem Quarter: The Quakers of Salem Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in Southern New Jersey from 1675-1990 (Pennsville, NJ: Salem Quarterly Meeting, 1991).
Trenton Meeting is at the corner of East Hanover and Montgomery Streets in Trenton. It was built in 1739 and has since been enlarged.
In 1776 the "Convention of Congress" used the meeting house, and during the Revolutionary War it was commandeered as barracks for soldiers. The Hessians took possession of it as their headquarters while they occupied Trenton. [Elizabeth B. Satterthwaite, Trenton Friends' Meeting.]
Upper Evesham Meeting is in the town of Medford, at 14 Union Street. Medford was founded by Quakers before 1759, at the crossing of two old stage lines. The meeting is part of Haddonfield Quarterly Meeting. It seems to have started in 1760 when Friends who were living there but were members of Evesham Meeting requested that a meeting for worship be held "at the school-house near Robert Braddock's, on the first first-day and on the second sixth-day in each month". Thus things continued for some fourteen years. In 1774 "the Friends belonging to the school-house meeting requested some advice and assistance with respect to building or enlarging their meeting-place". Evesham Monthly Meeting appointed a committee to "give them what advice and assistance they find needful." Finally in 1793 Evesham Meeting proposed to join the meetings held at Cropwell and at Upper Evesham to become Upper Evesham Monthly Meeting. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 121.]
As happened so often in nineteenth century Quaker experience, after the separation there were two meetings and two meeting houses in town. It is a little difficult to tell from the drawing which meeting's house is pictured. It is from James Bowden, The History of the Society of Friends in America (London: W & F.G. Cash, 1854), 2:294.
Lida Newberry says the brick Orthodox meeting house on Union Street, one block from Main Street was built in 1814, before the separation. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 499.] The Burlington County Library pamphlet says the Orthodox Upper Evesham Meeting had a frame building and school on Union Street, and in 1849 they constructed a brick meeting house. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 6.] Its name was changed to Medford Monthly Meeting in 1850. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 121.]
The Hicksites obtained land for a meeting house and burying ground in 1834, but the meeting house was not built until 1842-43. It is on Main Street in the southern end of the village. It is now vacant and may perhaps be demolished to make way for an office complex.
In the 1970s and 1980s local Friends worshiped in the Main Street meeting in winter and the Union Street meeting in summer. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 121; 300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 6.]
Upper Springfield is one of three old meeting houses in Springfield Township, Burlington County. It was built in 1727 at the intersection of what were originally two Indian trails. [Gail T. Boatman, "Survivor", Burlington County Times, May 6, 2006, B2.]
During the Revolutionary War a number of soldiers were buried in unmarked graves. There is a large memorial marker placed there now. According to tradition, some Native Americans were also interred in the burial ground next to the meeting house. [Boatman, "Survivor", Burlington County Times, May 6, 2006, B2.]
In the late 1990s the meeting was laid down and the property turned over to the Upper Springfield Cemetery Association, which also administers the burial ground. There was a provision that the meeting could have the house back again whenever it wanted it. The building is now used as a private home. [Boatman, "Survivor", Burlington County Times, May 6, 2006, B2.]
Westfield Meeting is in Cinnaminson. The meeting got its name because it was in Thomas Lippincott's "west field". The area Quakers, most of whom were members of Chester (that became known as Moorestown) Meeting requested a preparative meeting because they lived inconveniently distant from Moorestown.
The original wooden building of 1801 burned down, and a brick one was built in 1859. When a new meeting house was built in 1963 the old one was converted to school use.
In 1827 the Orthodox built their own school about a half mile away in Pomona, and erected a meeting house there in 1848. It was sold to the Roman Catholic Church in 1963.
Both meetings used the Westfield Burying Ground. [300 Years of Quaker Meetings in Burlington County, NJ, (mimeographed pamphlet, n.d., prepared by Burlington County Library?), 10.]
Woodbury meeting house is at 120 N. Broad Street, built in 1716 with several additions over the years. It was used as a hospital during the Revolution. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 611.]
The town was perhaps named for a family of Quakers named Wood from Bury, England. [Lida Newberry, ed., New Jersey: A Guide to its Present and Past. rev. ed. American Guide Series (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1977), 610.]
Friends first began to worship at the house of John Wood in 1696, until a meeting house was built in 1716. On 15 Eleventh Month 1784 Salem Quarterly Meeting agreed to set off Woodbury as a monthly meeting with Upper Greenwich, and established Haddonfield as a monthly meeting on its own. But, the Quarterly Meeting advised, that after the division they should "feel after each other, and to sit together at their Monthly Meetings, as they may feel their minds drawn and engaged thereto, from time to time." [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 46-7.]
Some old meeting houses in Delaware
What is now the state of Delaware used to be the "lower three" counties of William Penn's colony of Pennsylvania.
William R. Cario of New York University did some work on the role of churches in the development of community from 1700 to 1750, with special emphasis on Friends in New Castle, but I have not yet had a chance to see it.
This section currently includes the following meetings. Many of their names changed over time, and it can be fairly confusing. Eventually I hope to include more. So far entries have been started for these meetings: Appoquinimink Meeting in Odessa, Centre Meeting in Camden and therefore also known as Camden Meeting, Centre Meeting near Centreville, Duck Creek also called Camden, Hockessin, Mill Creek, Murderkill near Magnolia, Old Kennett or Newark, and Wilmington.
Appoquinimink Meeting on the south side of west Main Street (rt. 299) in Odessa, is now a preparative meeting of Wilmington Monthly Meeting. The meeting house is thought to be one of the smallest in the USA. It was built in 1785 by David Wilson and presented to Friends as a gift. He followed it up with a deed to the land in 1800.
Friends lived in St. George's Hundred from about 1703. The area was originally called Appoquinimin by the First Nation people who had a village there. When the Dutch moved in, about 1640, they kept the name, as did the British after they seized it. Richard Cantwell built a toll bridge over the Creek in 1731, and in 1750 the village was called Cantwell's Bridge. In 1855, after the village had become a grain port, the name was changed to Odessa. [John S. Walker, A Story of the Odessa Quakers (1967), p. 4, as seen 10m/12/2007 on http://www.midatlanticarchives.com/cover_pages/de_newcastle_co_odessa_quakers_cover.htm]
In 1703 the first Friends Meeting was called George's Creek Meeting, then Duck Creek Meeting, and finally Appoquinimink Meeting. At the time of the separation, the meeting affiliated with the Hicksite branch. But by the end of the nineteenth century attendance had dwindled and the meeting was discontinued. The meeting house and grounds fell into disrepair until 1938 when a group of Friends rescued it. In 1946 the meeting was reorganized as Appoquinimink Preparative Meeting under Wilmington Monthly Meeting. [John S. Walker, A Story of the Odessa Quakers (1967), p. 4, as seen 10m/12/2007 on http://www.midatlanticarchives.com/cover_pages/de_newcastle_co_odessa_quakers_cover.htm]Local tradition holds that the loft was used as a stop on the underground railroad. Two local Friends who were known to be active agents on the underground railroad were John Alston and John Hunn.
Camden Meeting, on Del. Rt. 357 in Camden, near Dover, was organized in 1795, and was known at first as Centre Meeting. This, of course, creates confusion for historians and others who are familiar with another Centre Meeting in northern Delaware.
The meeting house, with a school held on the second floor, was built in 1805 on land given by Jonathan Hunn. His large holdings were later sold at sheriff's sale because he refused to sever his connection with the underground railroad. Warner Mifflin, another great Delaware abolitionist, is buried in the burying ground. [From the program, "1976 Old Dover Days" (Friends of Old Dover, Box 44, Dover, Del.), n.p.]
On 22 June 2005 the Camden Meeting marked its bicentennial with an open house and special displays of Quaker wedding gowns, certificates, and photographs. The meeting house is at 122 E. Camden-Wyoming Ave. The News Journal article, posted on delawareonline.com (seen 27 June 2005) goes on to explain some history:The historic meetinghouse . . . played an important role in the effort to abolish slavery in Delaware before the Civil War.
One of the meeting's members, John Hunn, was the "chief engineer" of the Delmarva Peninsula branch of the Underground Railroad, the network of abolitionists that smuggled slaves to the North. A number of its members also were involved in the anti-slavery cause.
The meetinghouse has been named a Delaware Freedom Trail site for its role in the Underground Railroad, and it remains an active house of worship.
Centre Meeting is farther up the Brandywine Creek from the original old Newark Meeting. It was formed as Friends began moving upstream. Worship began ca. 1687 when Friends were reluctant to cross the Brandywine in winter to get to Newark Meeting. A permanent meeting was allowed in 1690. A log meeting house was built ca. 1708-11.
When new meeting houses were built, the old one was often retained as a carriage shed. This old photo shows the original Centreville Meeting house after it had been converted to shelter horses. [Photo in Robert H. Wilson, Philadelphia Quakers, 1681-1981 (Phila. Yearly Meeting, 1981), p. 103.] It no longer exists.
The present brick meeting house was built in 1796. It is at the intersection of Centre Meeting and Adams Dam Roads, near Centreville.
Color photos by MJP Grundy, 2/2001
The old burial ground, like most other old Friends graveyards, has mostly unmarked graves. Friends actively discouraged the ostentation of elaborate markers, while urging meetings to keep accurate records of who was buried where. In 1850 Friends minuted that gravestones would be acceptable if they were of plain design and less than a foot high. [Norma Jacob, ed., Quaker Roots: The Story of Western Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (1980), 16.]
Duck Creek Meeting was the main monthly meeting in southern Delaware in the early eighteenth century. There had been Friends living in the general area since at least 1680, but they were affiliated with Salem, or Philadelphia, or Newark Monthly Meetings. On 7 Sixth Month, 1704 Chester Quarterly Meeting authorized a meeting for worship at Duck Creek, near present day Smyrna. Its first monthly meeting was held 19 Tenth Month [December] 1705. Soon, as more Frends moved into the area, allowed meetings, then preparatory meetings were set off. These included Georges Creek in 1706, Murderkill in 1707, Little Creek in 1712, Cold Spring in 1720, and Three Runs ca. 1730. In 1805-'06 a new meeting house was built at Camden and Camden Meeting is now the only surviving meeting of the original Duck Creek Monthly Meeting cluster.
[Herbert Standing, Quaker-Roots-L; Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 111-2.]
Hockessin Meeting began in Second Month (April) 1730 when Newark Monthly Meeting allowed a Sixth Day (Saturday) meeting for worship for Friends in Mill Creek Hundred. They met at the home of William and Catherine Cox, just west of the present Hockessin meeting house. In 1737 they were permitted to hold worship on First Day (Sunday), and the next year a meeting house was constructed. It still exists, as the east half of the stone section of the current building, shown in the first photograph (with the modern First Day School wing on the right). Because of the increase of Friends in the area, the western half was added seven years later (the left end in the second photogaph).
On 8 September 1777 British troops under Generals Howe and Cornwallis camped on the high ground around the meeting house on their way to the battle of the Brandywine. Friends refused to participate in the military activities of either side, but both armies helped themselves liberally to all of the livestock and food supplies belonging to Friends.
At the time of the separation in 1827 the majority of Hockessin Meeting were of the so-called Hicksite persuasion. However the Orthodox group held their meetings for worship in the meeting house on Sunday afternoons, and each group held mid-week worship on different days. In 1835 the Orthodox group moved to a building that was originally a dwelling house. An influenza epidemic in the 1840s shrank the meeting that had already suffered severe attrition through disownments. In 1854 the Orthodox gave up their building and met in the home of Isaac Pyle. After his death the following year the meeting was laid down.
As early as 1875 the Hicksite Women's meeting for business proposed that the shutters that separated the Women's and Men's business sessions be opened. The men asked for more time to consider it, and took 17 years. On 2 March 1893 the last separate men's and women's meetings for business were held. Thirty years later the old partitions were entirely removed. [[Norma Jacob, ed., Quaker Roots: The Story of Western Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (1980), 26-28.]
The meeting house is about a mile inside Delaware on the Lancaster Pike, and can be reached by turning north off Lancaster Pike on Valley Road, then east at the "T". The meeting house has a recent addition for First Day School. It retains its old carriage sheds. There is a large burying ground across the street.
Mill Creek Meeting house is one mile north of Corner Ketch, in Mill Creek Hundred. The meeting began in 1838, gathering in the home of James Thompson. The meeting was established three years later. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 15.]
Friends who were members of New Garden, Centre, and Wilmington Meetings, who lived in Mill Creek, petioned New Garden Monthly Meeting for permission to have an Indulged Meeting, held at James Thompson's house. It was granted. In 1841 the meeting house was built, and the meeting became a Preparative Meeting. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 99-100.]
Murderkill Meeting house, near the present town of Magnolia, was built on an acre and a half of land sold to the meeting for 20 shillings on 12 May 1760. The meeting was discontinued in 1805, and merged with Camden Monthly Meeting. The brick meeting house was surrounded by a graveyard. According to Duck Creek Meeting records, an earlier meeting house stood near Tidbury Branch, in Murderkill Neck, but it burned to the ground before 1760.[Deed Book P, page 218, Kent Co., Del.]
Newark Meeting, or New Ark Meeting began in 1682 when several Friends' families settled on the east side of the Brandywine in New Castle County. The original log meeting house no longer exists. Its location is now Carrcroft, a modern housing development just west of Delaware Rt. 3, north of I-95. Existing minutes begin in 1686, although they seem to be of an already established meeting, so perhaps earlier minutes have been lost. [Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 93-95.]
Friends who were members of Newark Monthly Meeting didn't hold still. They, and additional new Friends who arrived, settled on homesteads farther and farther up the Brandywine and then into the surrounding countryside. As soon as a cluster of Friends families was large enough to start holding meetings for worship, they requested to be recognized as a preparative meeting of the older, larger monthly meeting. Newark Monthly Meeting soon consisted of preparative meetings at Newark (the original site), Centre, and [Old] Kennett. By 1715 there were additional constituent meetings at New Castle, New Garden, and Nottingham.
Friends who lived up the River and on the western side requested permission to hold meetings for worship in Centre when the Brandywine was too difficult to ford. Between 1704 and 1707 the monthly meeting alternated between Newark and Centre. A meeting house was built at Old Kennett in 1710; a meeting house was constructed in Centre the next year.
By the middle of the eighteenth century the original Newark Meeting had declined. It officially changed its name from Newark to Kennett in 1760, and presumably the old meeting house and land was sold. [My thanks to Pat at the Friends Historical Library for helping me get this untangled.]
In 1827 the smaller Orthodox group left (Old) Kennett meeting and in 1830 constructed their own building across the state line at Parkerville, in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Wilmington Meeting, in Wilmington, Delaware, began in 1738 when several Friends families settled in the area. They built a meeting house right away. A larger one was built in 1748. Wilmington was a Preparative Meeting of Newark/Old Kennett Monthly Meeting until 1750 when it was established as a monthly meeting with New Castle.
[Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 72, 73.]
In 1735 William Shipley, a Friend, followed his wife's vision of the area and decided to settle there. Other Friends soon followed, including the Wests, Canbys, Tatnalls, Ferrises, and others. William built a mansion "uptown" at the corner of Fourth and Shipley, and also a market house. This was in competition to the market already in use "downtown" by the settlers of Swedish descent. Both parties petitioned the governor, who compromised by issuing a charter that allowed for two markets, on Wednesday and Saturday. The new government was inaugurated in 1739 with William Shipley as first chief burgess.
This is the present (third) meeting house as it looks today.
Photo by MJP Grundy
The little brick meeting house with its single door in the center of the facade was the first building for Divine worship in the little town. By mid-century it had been outgrown and was replaced in 1748 with the square brick edifice with a cupola. This was torn down and the present large brick building was constructed in 1817.[Highlights of Wilmington, Delaware 1832-1932: Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Granting of the Corporate Charter to the Borough of Wilmington by the Delaware State Legislature (Charter Centennial Celebration, 1932), 15, 55, and Benjamin Ferris, A History of the Original Settlements on the Delaware . . . and a History of Wilmington (Wilmington: Wilson & Heald, 1846).]
The two drawings are from the Centennial booklet, 55. Note the initials B.F. on the holograph explanation of 1st mo. 1845 - Benjamin Ferris.]
Wilmington meeting house door.
Photo by MJP Grundy
In 1829 the Hicksite majority of Wilmington Friends Meeting opened a boarding school at 3rd and West Streets, under Samuel Smith, head. The signators on its advertisement included wealthy and weighty Friends from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, the DC area, as well as Wilmington. There was another Friends School in existence from 1832 to 1874.
[Highlights of Wilmington, Delaware 1832-1932: Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Granting of the Corporate Charter to the Borough of Wilmington by the Delaware State Legislature (Charter Centennial Celebration, 1932), 63.]
Some old meeting houses in Maryland
So far this section includes the following meetings: Baltimore, Baltimore - Homewood, Baltimore - Lombard Street, Bush River in Harford County, Deer Creek in Darlington, East Nottingham in Cecil County, Gunpowder in Sparks, Little Falls in Fallston, Monocacy, Neck (no longer existing) near Denton, Patuxent Cemetery near Hughesville in Calvert County, Pipe Creek in Carroll County, Third Haven in Easton, West Nottingham in Cecil County, and West River (no longer existing) near Galesville. More will be added eventually.
Baltimore Meeting started with Friends gathering to worship in Patapsco, under the care of Gunpowder Monthly Meeting. As early as 1775 Gunpowder Meeting minuted the desire of Friends to hold a meeting in Baltimore Town. The next year the minutes of Patapsco Preparative Meeting, held at Darly Hall, began. In First Month 1781 the name was changed to Baltimore Preparative Meeting.
Baltimore Town was founded in 1729 as a port and warehouse center for loading tobacco. During the Revolutionary War it grew quickly as a staging place for shipping and privateers. After the War it was poised for even more rapid growth.
On 28 Twelfth Month 1780 Patapsco Preparative Meeting asked the permission of Gunpowder Monthly Meeting to move into Baltimore, just north of the waterfront. Friends bought land in Baltimore in 1773, 1779, and then more in 1793. In Seventh Month 1779 a committee was named to collect money and gather building materials. The meeting house was built of red brick with wood shingles on its gabled roof. The interior was whitewashed, with a wooden partition that could be lowered in order to permit the Men's and Women's Meetings for Business to gather separately. The building faced on Smock Alley that became known as Aisquith Street, by which name the meeting came to be called (along with the moniker Old Town). Meetings for business began in the new building in Second Month 1781.
In 1792 Baltimore became a Monthly Meeting, separate from Gunpowder, under Baltimore Yearly Meeting.
As the city of Baltimore grew, it became necessary to build a second meeting house farther west, and divide the meeting. Usually this took place without difficulty, but in Baltimore the separation was rancorous and poisoned relationships for decades. In Fourth Month 1807 the Aisquith Street Meeting became known as the Preparative Meeting of Baltimore for the Eastern District, while the Preparative Meeting of Baltimore for the Western District met in its new meeting house on Lombard Street.
[The above information is from Barbara C. Mallonee, Jane Karkalits Bonny, and Nicholas B. Fessenden, Minute by Minute: A History of the Baltimore Monthly Meetings of Friends, Homewood and Stony Run (Baltimore: Balt. Mo. Mtg. of Friends, Stony Run and Homewood, 1992), 13-14, 44.] Photograph of the interior from Mallonee, et al, Minute by Minute, 16. View of the exterior by Joseph Cone, 1825, who did a series of vignettes of Maryland churches, from the Peale Museum, as reproduced in Esther Wanning, Art of the State: Maryland, The Spirit of America (NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1998), 49.
Western District of Baltimore Meeting, more familiarily known as Lombard Street Meeting as shown on an old post card.
The city of Baltimore expanded, and as early as Third Month 1797 Friends living in the western end of town asked for permission to hold an Indulged Meeting. The larger body did not want to divide the group, and the request was denied. The Aisquith Street meeting house, however, was increasingly too small to hold the Baltimore Yearly Meeting sessions, so in Second Month 1796 the Quarterly Meeting recommended that the Monthly Meeting secure a new piece of land and build a larger meeting house.
Finally in Tenth Month 1803 Baltimore Monthly Meeting agreed and appointed a committee to look into raising money and moving forward on the project. The building was completed by the end of 1805, and in Fourth Month 1807 the Preparative Meeting of Baltimore for the Western District met in its new meeting house on Lombard Street, while the Aisquith Street Meeting became known as the Preparative Meeting of Baltimore for the Eastern District.
The above information is from Barbara C. Mallonee, Jane Karkalits Bonny, and Nicholas B. Fessenden, Minute by Minute: A History of the Baltimore Monthly Metings of Friends, Homewood and Stony Run (Baltimore: Balt. Mo. Mtg. of Friends, Stony Run and Homewood, 1992), 41-44.
Interior of Lombard Street Meeting
Photographs from Mallonee, et al, Minute by Minute, 44 and 57.
"Moved by the Spirit: Margaretta Walton preaching" by Charles Yardley Turner. The original is in Baltimore Monthly Meeting (Stony Run).
Baltimore Monthly Meeting - Homewood was the Orthodox meeting house after the separation in 1828.
postcard ca. 1920
Bush River Meeting, on the west side of the Susquehanna River in Harford County, was one of three preparative meetings that made up Nottingham Monthly Meeting on 12 Fourth Month 1730. The other two were East Nottingham and West Nottingham. However, before that, in 1722 Bush River was a Preparative Meeting of the newly established New Garden Monthly Meeting.
A monthly meeting had responsibilities to give advice when needed, and on 21 Third Month [May] 1748 Bush River asked Nottingham for assistance in settling on a location for a new meeting house, since the old one was not only dilapidated, but stood on ground to which Friends did not have title. So men were appointed, who later reported back that they "gave them the best advice they were capable of, and that the Friends seemed pretty unanimous in their agreement on the place where to build." [Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, Calvert, Cecil County, Maryland, 1701-1901 (Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Printing Company, 1902), p. 50.]
In 1760 it became a Preparative Meeting of Deer Creek Monthly Meeting. However, eventually the entire Quaker community around bush River moved away or dropped out, and the meeting no longer exists. [James E. Pickard, A Brief History of Deer Creek Friends Meeting.]
There was also a Bush River Meeting in Newberry County, South Carolina, but I have no intention of including South Carolina meetings at this point. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 211.]
Deer Creek Meeting is at 1212 Main Street, Darlington, Harford County. It is about five miles northwest of Port Deposit, five miles southwest of Broad Creek, and four miles southwest of Conowingo Bridge. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 214.]
James E. Pickard wrote A Brief History of Deer Creek Friends Meeting from which most of the data for this is taken. In the early decades of the eighteenth century Friends moved north from Bush River and south from Pennsylvania to the area around Darlington on Deer Creek.
There may have been Friends' families worshipping in the area as early as 1706. By 1737 they had a meeting house on 3.5 acres of land purchased from Nathan Rigbie for £28. This was probably an already existing building converted for use as a meeting house. At first Deer Creek Preparative Meeting was part of Nottingham Monthly Meeting. It became a Monthly Meeting in its own right in 1760 because of the distance, and danger in crossing the Susquehanna River. William Cox was the first clerk of the Deer Creek Men's Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting consisted of Preparative Meetings at Bush River Deer Creek, and Susquehanna (near havre-de-Grace). Later Fawn (aka Fawn Grove) and then Broad Creek (near Scarboro) were also Preparative Meetings of Deer Creek Monthly Meeting. [See also Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, Calvert, Cecil County, Maryland, 1701-1901 (Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Printing Company, 1902), 53.]
After some thirty years the first house was considerably decayed, so a new one was begun in 1765. But in 1784 it was burned to the ground, probably by arson because of Friends' stand against slavery. A third meeting house was constructed, across the road, which is the one still in use. In 1888 Hugh Jewett paid for refurbishing of the building. In 2000 an addition was constructed for First Day School rooms and a dining area. The old poplar benches remain, over 200 years old.
East Nottingham Meeting, also known as the Brick Meeting, is in Calvert, Cecil County, .1 mile south of Telegraph Road (Rt. 273) at the corner of Brick Meeting House Road. It is about .1 mile west of US Rt 272 (N. East Rd.). East Nottingham was one of three preparative meetings that constituted Nottingham Monthly Meeting when it was established on 12 Fourth Month 1730. The other two were West Nottingham, and Bush River Meeting. Nottingham became the "mother meeting" for Hopewell Meeting in the Shenandoah Valley. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 214.] The old photo of the Brick Meeting house to the right is from the cover of the program booklet, Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, 1701-1901. You can see the older brick right end and the newer stone hand end of the building.
The Nottingham Lots were laid out on orders of William Penn who wanted to get a presence on the neck of land separating the Delaware from the Chesapeake Bay, since he and Lord Baltimore had been given overlapping grants by King Charles II. When Mason and Dixon finally drew the definitive boundary, the Nottingham Lots straddled the line with most of it in Maryland. Both East Nottingham and West Nottingham Meetings ended up in Maryland. [Most of the information for this entry is taken from Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, Calvert, Cecil County, Maryland, 1701-1901 (Lancaster, Pa.: Wickersham Printing Company, 1902). My thanks to Harvey Kirk for permission to use his two photos of historical markers, e mail 10m/5/2010.]
William Brown was the first to settle on his allotment, and meetings for worship were probably first held in his house in 1704. A request was sent to Concord Monthly Meeting 9 Second Month [April] 1705 requesting a meeting for worship every First Day and once a month on Fifth Day [Thursday]. This was granted. The next year it became a Preparative meeting. Thomas Chalkley travelled through the area in 1706 and noted there was "a meeting house at a place called Nottingham, which is a large meeting and greatly increasing." [Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, Calvert, Cecil County, Maryland, 1701-1901, 38-39.]
On 11 Second Month 1709 Concord Monthly Meeting minuted the existence of a meeting house "at East Nottingham" and therefore granted them a weekly mid-week meeting for worship. Nottingham Meeting was the first organized religious body in Cecil County. Their nearest neighbors were Newark Meeting, Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, and Bush River Meeting to the south.
The first meeting house was constructed of "hewn logs" and was located to the south of the present building. Next, a meeting house was built to accommodate Friends living in the western part of the Nottingham Lots, so then they were called East Nottingham and West Nottingham. The latter was given land in 1727 and constructed a building the following year.
As Friends moved into the general area, the institutional affiliations of various local meetings changed, sometimes in bewildering ways for later historians to unravel. Until 1715 Nottingham was part of Concord Monthly Meeting. Then, complaining of the distance and danger of crossing the Brandywine and other streams, Nottingham was joined to Newark Monthly Meeting. In 1718 New Garden Monthly Meeting was formed, and Nottingham became part of it.
In 1724 the brick meeting house was built, and is essentially the brick part of the present building. The woodwork, however, has been burned twice, and much repaired, while the brick walls have remained. [Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, Calvert, Cecil County, Maryland, 1701-1901, 42.]
Increases of population continued to result in shifting affiliations of local meetings. In 1722 both Nottingham and Bush River were Preparative Meetings of New Garden Monthly Meeting. In 1730 Nottingham became a Monthly Meeting, consisting of Preparative Meetings in East Nottingham, West Nottingham, and Bush River. John Piggott and Joseph England served as the first treasurers when 54 shillings were collected at the second monthly meeting, held 17 Eighth Month [October] 1730. By 1736 Deer Creek Preparative Meeting was also part of Nottingham Monthly Meeting. [Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, Calvert, Cecil County, Maryland, 1701-1901, 46.]
When the meeting house burned in about 1748, the south wall was taken down and an extension built in stone that doubled the size of the building. The whole thing was given a slate roof. The ministers gallery [raised platform] in the old building was continued along the new north wall. But the narrow youth's gallery [balcony] was greatly enlarged in the new southern section. The Brick Meeting was then probably the largest meeting house south of Philadelphia, and hosted half-yearly meetings. [Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, 51.]
Little Britain Meeting in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, became a Preparative Meeting of Nottingham in Fifth Month 1758. [Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, 52.]
From Nottingham Meeting Friends began the inexorable move west. First they moved to Monoquesy in Frederick County, Maryland. From there to Hopewell. Their descendants moved on into western Pennsylvania as part of Redstone and Westland Monthly Meetings, then into Ohio and farther and farther on west. [Bi-Centennial of Brick Meeting-House, 47.]
The so-called Lafayette Oak, in the photo to the right, is named because Gen. Lafayette supposedly slept under it when his army bivouacked in the woods there on their way to meet up with Gen. Washington and Rochambeau at Yorktown. This is the only one of the big oaks left around the meeting house, and is probably now officially the oldest tree in Maryland. It dates back to William Penn's days. [My thanks to Harvey Kirk (posing by the oak) for permission to use this photograph.]
Gunpowder Monthly Meeting, while technically in the town of Sparks, is on the west side of I-83, at the intersection of Quaker Bottom Road and Priceville Road. It has its own webpage.
A brief history of Gunpowder Meeting was offered to the Friends Historical Association on 2 May 2004 by Marshall Sutton. Most of the material here is taken from it.
Photographs by MJP Grundy, 10/2003
During the 1680s and 1690s Friends' families moved up the Patapsco and Gunpowder Rivers. In 1738 visiting Friends' minister Thomas Chalkly noted a new meeting house that wasn't large enough to contain all the people who came to worship. That meeting house no longer exists.
Gunpowder Monthly Meeting was established in 1739 by Western Quarterly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting consisted of Preparative Meetings at Patapsco and Gunpowder. In 1773 Gunpowder Friends built a meeting house on Beaver Dam Road. It was 20 x 40 feet, two and a half storeys high, with fireplaces in diagonally opposite corners. It was built of brown field-stone, although the original cedar shingles were burned in the 1886 fire. There were two doors on the front, each opening into a square room, with a moveable partition separating them. There was a "little boxed, winding staircase" with a "batten door at the bottom" only 4 feet ten inches high. These two features were "hangovers from the Middle Ages" along with the "great summer beams and posts carved with lamb's tongues". The facing benches had "two rows of fixed pine seats, pegged together, having their ends carved with Gothic ogee arch profiles." The exterior doors had "diagonal boards backed by vertical boards inside" and were supported "by great strap hinges". There were "thumb latches, great iron-rim locks, and wooden bars which can be slipped into wrought-iron fasteners on the door frames, in the manner of old castle-doorway bars." [Henry Chandlee Forman, Tidewater Maryland Architecture and Gardens (New York: Bonanza Books, 1956), 174.]
Architectural historian Henry Chandlee Forman, writing in the 1950s decried the decay of the old meeting house. He described it as "the finest example of the persistence of Medieval Style into the eighteenth century in Baltimore County, and one of the half dozen best examples in the State." [Forman, Tidewater Maryland Architecture and Gardens, 172.] Apparently the building has been repaired and still stands, but has been converted to a private residence.
After the Revolutionary War Patapsco Preparative Meeting moved to Baltimore, and Little Falls had become a Preparative Meeting. It became a Monthly Meeting in 1815. In 1821 Gunpowder Meeting decided to build a new meeting house on higher ground on Priceville Road, closer to the railroad station at Sparks. The building is 56 x 32 feet, and cost $1,396. It burned down in 1886 and was rebuilt the same year, using native field stone. This is the present meeting house, with recent additions of two rooms, inside plumbing, and a new porch.
Little Falls Meeting, at 719 Old Fallston Road, in Fallston. I understand that a history, The Little Falls Meeting of Friends, 1738-1988 was prepared for its 250th anniversary, but so far I have been unable to locate a copy. The booklet apparently includes lists of members, marriages, clerks, and cemetery records.
William Amos was walking in the woods one Sunday in the 1730s when, "for rest and reflection, he sat down on a fallen log. Legend has it that he became absorbed in a near-worshipful experience. On successive weeks others joined him and they realized they were engaged in worship in the manner of Friends." They approached the closest Friends meeting, at Gunpowder, and were settled as a Preparative Meeting in 1738. [Friends Historical Association spring outing flyer, May 7, 2006.]
There was the usual succession of buildings, first a log one constructed in 1749, followed by one of stone in 1773, and finally the present larger stone one in 1843. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 50.]
Rear of the meeting house from the cemetery. Photographs by MJP Grundy, 10/2003
Monocacy Meeting, often spelled Monoquesy in its early days (along with other spelling variations) was on or near the Monocacy River in Maryland. See the map of the meeting's location across the Potomac from the Shenandoah Valley. Hopewell Meeting was a part of Monocacy until 1744. Monocacy Meeting was laid down in 1762, when most Friends had left the area. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 214.] The few remaining Friends were joined to Pipe Creek Meeting.
Neck Meeting, near Denton, Maryland, no longer exists. As a memorial of sorts, here is the page of an old book describing it.
Patuxent Friends Burial Ground is near a meeting that no longer exists. In 1871 a group of Orthodox Friends from Baltimore Yearly Meeting settled Patuxent Meeting. It had a minister named __ Neave, and he served until his death in 1929. The Meeting had 28 members in 1876 and a peak of 36 members. Membership dwindled to two or three families by the time of World War II, and the meeting was laid down in 1942. The meeting house was torn down, but the small cemetery remains. There are 31 graves with mostly illegible names, within a plot that is less than an acre, off Luke's Lane in Hughesville, Calvert County. These were nineteenth century Friends, not a continuous group from the seventeenth century.
However a new Patuxent Meeting was established in 1980 and it cares for this old cemetery. Friends gather to worship at 12175 Southern Connector Boulevard, Lusby.
Photos by MJPGrundy, 6m/4/2013.
Patuxent Friends Burial Ground is near a meeting that no longer exists. In 1871 a group of Orthodox Friends from Baltimore Yearly Meeting settled Patuxent Meeting. It had a minister named __ Neave, and he served until his death in 1929. The Meeting had 28 members in 1876 and a peak of 36 members. Membership dwindled to two or three families by the time of World War II, and the meeting was laid down in 1942. The meeting house was torn down, but the small cemetery remains. There are 31 graves with mostly illegible names, within a plot that is less than an acre, off Luke's Lane in Hughesville, Calvert County. These were nineteenth century Friends, not a continuous group from the seventeenth century.
However a new Patuxent Meeting was established in 1980 and it cares for this old cemetery. Friends gather to worship at 12175 Southern Connector Boulevard, Lusby.
Photos by MJPGrundy, 6m/4/2013.
Pipe Creek Meeting, is in Carroll County, Maryland, about forty miles west of Baltimore, at 455 Quaker Hill Road, a half mile from Union Bridge Station. Worship began in 1736 under the care of Fairfax Meeting. In 1759 it became a Preparative Meeting under Western Quarterly Meeting. It became a monthly meeting in 1772 when it was set off from Fairfax, and consisted of two preparative meetings, the one at Pipe Creek and Bush River Preparative Meeting, with meetings for business held alternately between the two. In 1776 the few remaining members of Monocacy Meeting were joined to Pipe Creek after the former was laid down. [My thanks to Mary McIndoe, e mail 12m/6/2007, for this information from the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College.] Probably soon after the land was deeded to the meeting this meeting house was built. On the photo it states that the building was 116 years old. A photographer named Mr. Thomas was working in the area around that time, but I have no proof that he took this image. [My thanks to Harvey Kirk for the old photograph of the meeting house, from the unofficial town historian. E mail 12/2012.] My guess is that the small structure to the left under the porch roof was a pair of privies.
At the Separation, Pipe Creek Friends identified with the so-called Hicksite branch. That may be the reason that, according to the authors of the history of Hopewell Meeting, Pipe Creek wast laid down. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 222.] That is, the Orthodox minority meeting was laid down by the Orthodox branch. While the Hicksite membership certainly dwindled over time, in fact it was never discontinued. The meeting has revived. In 1972 it became a united meeting, and is once again thriving. Pipe Creek Meeting is now a part of Baltimore Yearly Meeting.
The area used to be very rural and the meeting house site is still heavily wooded. On one side of the meeting is a housing subdivision. On the opposite side, a quarter mile away a portland cement plant was constructed in 1911 on top of a high-quality limestone deposit. It adds a large, modern 500-ft high preheating tower to the landscape. The company donated money some years ago to re-roof the meeting house and do other needed repairs. Judging from the pitch of the roof in the photograph of the old building compared to the roofline of the present building, at some point there was considerable work done on it. I do not know if this was the result of the new roof to which the Lehigh Portland Cement Company donated, or not. [E mail Harvey Kirk, 10m/4/2010, 12/16/2012.]
There are still some tremendously old large trees on the meeting house grounds. In the photo on the left below is an ancient cedar. There is a huge oak in the corner of the property. [My thanks to Harvey Kirk for permission to use his photographs of Pipe Creek Meeting house and burying ground.]
Third Haven Meeting at 405 S. Washington Street, Easton, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland was originally known as Tred Haven. It is one of the oldest continuously used houses of worship in the United States. The oldest existing minute is dated 24 First Month [March] 1676, and obviously the meeting had been in existence for some time before that. Until 1698 probably all the early meetings on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake, such as Bayside, Betty's Cove, Cecil, Chester River, Choptank, Marshy Creek, Sassafras, and Tuckahoe, belonged to a single monthly meeting. In 1698 Friends in Cecil and Kent Counties were set off to form a new, separate, monthly meeting.
[Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism;... (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1860; reprinted facsimile, Washington, DC: Cool Spring Publishing Company, 1991), 109-11.]
The old postcard, shown to the right, was incorrectly cut.
The meeting house is on the Tred Avon River, which became the meeting's first name. Pronunciation changed, and the meeting became known as Trad Haven, Tread Haven, and now Third Havenall of which are correct for their own specific period. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 15.]
The Berry brothers, members of Third Haven Meeting, were slave holders, who, in the late eighteenth century freed their slaves and became active in the struggle to free society of slavery. [See Kenneth L. Carroll, "The Berry Brothers of Talbot County, Maryland: Early Antislavery Leaders," in Maryland Historical Magazine 84:1 (1989), 1-9.]
Third Haven Meeting maintains its own excellent web page (click on "History" once there), with a much more complete account by Quaker historian Kenneth Carroll. It would be nice if someone in every meeting that still uses an old meeting house would have a similar account of its history on the web. We are stewards of both the living tradition of faith and practice and the outward physical structure that holds the community.
In 1797 the building was widened by lengthening the rafters on one side of the ridgepole. The result is the distinctive lopsided roof line seen today. The front gabled porch entrance was added later. The original approach was from the river side. In the seventeenth century the meeting owned some rowboats for ferrying visitors to and from the mainland. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 10.]
The old meeting house has no electricity or heat. It is used when weather permits. These three photographs show the side, end, and interior of the old building. In 1880 Friends built a new brick structure nearby which is used for worship and other meeting activities during the winter. It is still referred to as the "new" meeting house.
The above three photos by MJP Grundy; the following two are by Ralph Young, and used by permission. The first shows Friends in the meeting house immediately after meeting for worship, and was posted with the Third Haven Monthly Meeting Announcements for the week of June 1, 2008. The second is the burial ground by the light of a full moon, and was posted with the Third Haven Monthly Meeting Announcements for the week of June 15, 2008.
West Nottingham Meeting house is east of Colora, about one mile south of Harrisville at the intersection of Cox and Cowen Roads. It was set off to accommodate Friends living in the western part of the Nottingham Lots, so they were called West Nottingham. The latter was given land in 1727 and constructed a building the following year. It was also sometimes called the "Little Brick" meeting in contrast to the "Brick Meeting" in East Nottingham. [My thanks to Harvey Kirk for his photograph, used with permission.] Apparently the meeting has been laid down and the building is now owned by the Cecil Historical Trust which is restoring it. [My thanks to Gene Zubrinski, e mail 1m/4/2012, for this link to the National Register of Historic Places Inventory application.]
In 1730 Nottingham became a Monthly Meeting. [Norma Jacob, ed., Quaker Roots: The Story of Western Quarterly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (1980), 53.] Nottingham Monthly Meeting was made up of three preparative meetings: East Nottingham, West Nottingham, and Bush River west of the Susquehanna River in Harford County, Maryland. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 211.]
West River Meeting no longer exists. All that is there, near Galesville, is the West River Quaker Burial Ground. On September 29, 1994 the burial ground was returned to the care of Friends after some 150 years under the control of community trustees. This historical marker is on Muddy Creek Road just north of the intersection with the Owensville/Galesville Road.
The Burial Ground was the site of a "General Meeting of Maryland Friends" held in April 1672, called by John Burnyeat and attended by George Fox:. . . and we had a very large meeting, which did continue for several days; and a Men and Women's Meeting for the settling of things, that Men and Women's Meetings might be established in the Province, according to the blessed order of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, which Friends by the power thereof, were gathered into in most places. And George Fox did wonderfully open the service thereof unto Friends, and they with gladness of heart received advice in such necessary things, as were then opened unto them, and all were comforted and edified.
[The Truth Exalted in the Writings of that Eminent and Faithful Servant of Christ, John Burnyeat, as quoted in Quaker History, Vol. 84, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 86.]
One not-so-old meeting house in Washington, D. C.
Friends Meeting of Washington has been known as the Florida Avenue Meeting because the meeting house is at 2111 Florida Ave., NW. There are three meetings for worship on First Days, 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 6:00 p.m. Although the meeting house has a traditional style, it is not all that old.
A few old meeting houses in Virginia
The first incursions of Friends into the lower Chesapeake in the mid seventeenth century were met with hostility from the English authorities in Virginia. A number of these early Friends moved north to Maryland where they were (sometimes) welcomed. In the eighteenth century Friends migrated from Pennsylvania and Delaware into the areas east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and then west of the mountains into the Shenandoah Valley. The establishment of meetings in the eighteenth century followed this settlement pattern.
Fairfax Meeting was located on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains south of the Potomac River, and opposite Monocacy Meeting, which was north of the river, in Maryland. A town was later built at the site of Fairfax Meeting and called Waterford. Hopewell Meeting was on the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some forty or fifty miles from Fairfax Meeting. [Hinshaw, Vol. 6, as transcribed on http://www.geocities.com/mckyrbnsn/meetings/fairfax.html]
The Virginia Yearly Meeting (later disbanded and attached to Baltimore Yearly Meeting) comprised thirteen monthly meetings and all the particular meetings ever established within the state of Virginia with the following exceptions: (1) those particular meetings west of the Blue Ridge in the Valley of Virginia and those immediately south of the Potomac (belonging to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and later Baltimore Yearly Meeting), and (2) the nine particular meetings in the extreme southwestern part of the state (belonging to North Carolina Yearly Meeting). The records of fifteen monthly meetings are included in William Wade Hinshaw's Vol. 6: Alexandria, Black Water, Camp Creek, Cedar Creek, Chuckatuck, Crooked Run, Fairfax, Goose Creek (Bedford Co.), Goose Creek (Loudoun Co.), Henrico, Hopewell, Pagan Creek, South River, Upper, and Western Branch. Not all of them are still in existence, either as functioning meetings or as historical buildings. The map, below, indicates there were even more meetings, although not all of them may have ever attained the status of monthly meetings.
Hopewell set off a number of smaller meetings, most of which are no longer in existence. They were laid down one by one as Friends migrated further west. By 1817 Hopewell received a report on the situation of the property deeds of some of these little meetings most of whose whose trustees had either died or moved away. New trustees were proposed, and disposition of some of the properties recommended. [Report as transcribed by Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 92-93.]
In addition to those included in Hinshaw, there was Back Creek Meeting, Bear Garden Meeting, Berkeley aka Bullskin Meeting, Centre Meeting, Dillon's Run, Lower Ridge, Middle Creek, Mill Creek, Mt. Pleasant, Potts's Meeting, Smith Creek, South Fork Meeting, Tuscarora aka Providence Meeting, and Upper Ridge Meeting.
Today there are more than 30 Friends meetings in Virginia, most affiliated with Baltimore Yearly Meeting and a few with North Carolina (Conservative) Yearly Meeting. There are also a few Friends churches with pastors and programmed worship affiliated with Evangelical Friends International, Eastern Region. A lot more work remains to be done on this section.
Alexandria Meeting was first held near Woodlawn, in what is now Fairfax County. Later it moved to Alexandria. I think it began in Ninth Month 1802. Later still it moved to 1811 I Street, NW, Washington, D.C. It retained its old name even though no longer in Alexandria.
Back Creek Meeting was east of the Back Creek, and northwest from Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley. It was in the present day village of Gainesboro, Frederick County. [The photograph is from Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), opposite page 224.] See the map of meeting locations in the Winchester area.
The Back Creek meeting house was built in 1777. By 1817 not only had all the trustees named in the Title Bond died, but so had the grantor, so the title was in limbo. New trustees were appointed and instructed to clear things properly. The meeting was laid down in 1829. In the first third of the twentieth century the Friends Burial Ground was enlarged to become a community cemetery, and surrounded with a stone wall. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 93, 209.]
There was also a Back Creek Meeting in North Carolina, but I haven't even begun to think about including North Carolina meetings.
Bear Garden Meeting, in Hampshire County (now West Virginia) was at the eastern foot of Bear Garden Mountain. See the map of meeting locations in the general area. There was a meeting for worship there as early as 1767. It was "indulged" in 1780, and "established" in 1794. Things don't seem to have gone too well, for it was re-established in 1804. Probably all that is left now is a burying ground about two miles north of Rt. 50. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 209-10.]
Berkeley Meeting, was originally called Bullskin, the name of a nearby stream. The meeting was located three and a half miles southwest of Charles Town. See the map above. Originally the meeting was in Frederick County, but in 1772 Berkeley County was set off, and the meeting changed its name two years later. Then in 1801 the county lines were changed again and the meeting found itself in Jefferson County; it decided to keep its Berkeley name. The meeting house was half a mile northwest of the old road between Charles Town and Rippon, between the forks of the Bullskin River, but slightly closer to the south fork. The meeting is no longer in existence. In the 1930s a visitor could make out the site because the grave yard had a stone wall around it, much overgrown with trees and vines. I have no idea what it is like today. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 89, 210-11.]
Centre Meeting, or Center, is now at the corner of N. Washington and W. Piccadilly Streets in Winchester, Virginia. See the map of meeting locations in the Winchester area.
Soon after Hopewell Meeting was settled a small group of log cabins sprang up seven miles to the southeast at Shawnee Springs. It had been a Native village or encampment, and grew to become the city of Winchester. In 1776 permission was given to hold worship there. ["The Meeting Houses at Hopewell and Center", in Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 149.]
The original meeting (later referred to as Old Center) used a building constructed southwest of town, near the homes of the Parkins and Hollingsworth families who were active Friends. But in about 1819 it was moved into town in the 600 block (it had the whole square) on the west side of S. Washington Street. The building was destroyed during the Civil War. The report prepared Ninth Month 1865 describes the destruction, with typical Quaker care for accuracy:. . . it was first occupied as a Hospital by the Southern Army in the summer of 1861 for a few weeks, but it was left by them in pretty good condition. Meetings were held there afterwards, until about the 12th of 3rd Mo. 1862, on which day Banks Army arrived in Winchester.
As near as we can ascertain on the next day (the 13th) the Military authorities demanded the Key and took possession of the Meeting House. Friends never used it afterwards.
The entire fencing around the lot and a portion of the inside work of the Building were destroyed by Banks Army during the time that he occupied Winchester.
We next find that in the winter of 1862-1863 while Gen. Melroy occupied the town the balance of the inside woodwork including window frames and door frames was destroyed by the troops under his (Melroy's) command. The walls remained standing until about the 9th month 1863 then they fell down. After the fall of the building the remaining materials were used or destroyed by a portion of the Citizens of the Town. There was no army here at that time.
Your committee upon examining the premises find no part of the Building left, except a small part of the foundation wall. . . .
We would also express the opinion in which we believe the entire Meeting will unite, that the new Meeting House should be located in a more convenient and central part of the Town. [Report as transcribed by Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 150-51.]
After the war building materials were in short supply and prices were high. In Eleventh Month Fairfax Quarterly Meeting, held at Goose Creek agreed that each monthly meeting open a subscription to raise money for rebuilding. The old lot was sold and a new one purchased. In 1870 or 1871 the present building was constructed, pictured here. On 7 Twelfth Month 1871 Treasurer Dr. Richard Sidwell reported that he had received $5,349.75 in donations with $354 in pledges still outstanding. He had paid out $5,206.58, with $934.89 in unpaid bills. The first monthly meeting was held in this building on 8 Second Month 1872. The burying ground at Old Centre continued to be used for many years. As of the 1930s it could still be located, although its stone wall had been dismantled. [Hopewell Friends History, 151-52, 227-28.]
I think that this view, which now appears to be the front of the meeting house, facing the parking lot, was originally the rear of the building. The original front probably faced the main street.Photo by MJP Grundy, 8/2000
Crooked Run Meeting, was located near the village of Ninevah, now in Warren County, on the old main road between Winchester and Front Royal. See the map of Meeting locations in the Shenandoah Valley area. It was about thirteen miles from Winchester and seven from Front Royal. There was a meeting house built there sometime before 1759. The monthly meeting was settled in 1781-82. It was laid down in 1810 because there were so few Friends left in the area. However, since Friends had the land on a ninety-nine year lease, in 1817 new trustees Samuel Swayne and Amos Lupton were appointed and instructed to "rent out the property and after defraying the expense of repairing the graveyard and buildings pay the surplus (if any) to this [Hopewell] meeting." [Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 93, 213.]
A school house stood on the meeting lot at an early date. ["Schools and Cultural Activities", in Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 156.]
Fairfax Meeting, is (or was) located on the eastern side of Waterford, Loudoun Co. Va. on Old Waterford Road. It is now a private residence. See the map of meeting locations in the general area. The adjoining graveyard is still intact. [http://www.geocities.com/mckyrbnsn/meetings/fairfax.html] Fairfax Meeting was in Fairfax County, Virginia, until 1757 when Fairfax County was divided, leaving Fairfax Meeting in Loudoun County, the new county set off from Fairfax County.
The meeting began ca. 1733 or 1735 when Amos Janney and his wife Mary left from Falls Meeting in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to settled in the frontier area of Waterford, (originally Prince William County, it became Fairfax County until 1757 when Loudon County was set off), about 40 miles lower in Virginia than Opeckon. As other Friends joined them, beginning in 1735 they gathered for worship in one another's homes, as an Indulged Meeting, under Hopewell Monthly Meeting. In 1741 a log meeting house was built. Three years later it was combined with Monoquesy/Monocacy in Maryland and set off as Fairfax Monthly Meeting.When Fairfax Monthly Meeting was established and set off from Hopewell Monthly Meeting in 1744, a line was established between the two monthly meetings which was roughly on top of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range; thus, all Friends living east of the Blue Ridge Range were automatically transferred to Fairfax Monthly Meeting. Since this transfer was without certificates of removal, we have no way of knowing exactly who all of the Friends were as no list of these Friends was made at the opening of Fairfax Monthly Meeting. Friends who were then members of Monoquesy Preparatory Meeting and of Fairfax Preparatory Meeting simply met together on the 26th of Fourth Month 1745 and proceeded to organize Fairfax Monthly Meeting. At this opening meeting, representatives from each of the two preparative meetings, "being called, they appeared". Temporary overseers of the new monthly meeting were appointed to serve "until further notice"; Samuel Harris and Jacob Janney were appointed overseers for the men's meeting of Fairfax Preparatory Meeting, and Mary Janney and Elizabeth Norton were appointed overseers for the women's meeting; Jane Hague was appointed clerk for the women's meeting; Henry Maynor and John Wright were appointed overseers for Monoquesy Particular Meeting; Francis Hague and John Hough were also early overseers. Amos Janney was appointed elder in 5th month 1745, for Fairfax Preparative Meeting and also as clerk of Fairfax Monthly Meeting, being the first clerk appointed for the men's meeting; Jacob Janney was later appointed clerk. [Hinshaw, Vol. 6, as transcribed on http://www.geocities.com/mckyrbnsn/meetings/fairfax.html]
In 1761 the log meeting house was rebuilt. In 1771 it was doubled in size, to 36 feet by 72 feet. See a photograph. It has been used as a private residence since 1939. [Hinshaw vol 6, and ]
Warrington-Fairfax Quarterly Meeting was established in 1776 and held its first quarterly meeting at Warrington Meeting house, York County, Pennsylvania on the 18th of Third Month 1776. For the next ten years meetings were held alternately between Warrington and Fairfax each quarter, until 1786, when Fairfax Quarterly Meeting was set up. On 19th of Third Month 1787 the last meeting of Warrington and Fairfax Quarterly Meeting was held. In 1789 both Warrington and Fairfax Quarterly Meetings were transferred from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to Baltimore Yearly Meeting. [Hinshaw, Vol. 6, as transcribed on http://www.geocities.com/mckyrbnsn/meetings/fairfax.html]
The need for a school was felt, and in 1779 funds began to be collected. A school was built in 1805-6.
In the 1827/28 separation in the Society of Friends, Fairfax Monthly Meeting joined in a body with the Hicksite branch, as did Hopewell, Goose Creek and Alexandria Monthly Meetings, only a few members left and organized new meetings known as Orthodox Friends of Hopewell and Goose Creek. Almost all Friends of northern Virginia identified with the Hicksite branch; those Friends living in Lower Virginia identified with the Orthodox branch. [Hinshaw, vol 6, as transcribed on http://www.geocities.com/mckyrbnsn/meetings/fairfax.html]
During the Civil War both sides commandeered the meeting house, at different times. Southern soldiers were quartered there for months at a time.
In the late nineteenth century the meeting house was damaged by fire, but in spite of declining membership it was rebuilt. The meeting was laid down in 1927 and two years later the building was sold as a private dwelling.[from an article by Asa Moore Janney, on http://www.waterfordhistory.org/history/waterford-quaker-settlement.htm] The remaining members were transferred to Goose Creek Meeting.
Because Waterford was first settled mainly by Friends, its culture resembled that of Pennsylvania rather than of plantation Virginia. But because from the beginning Pennsylvania welcomed diverse people, Waterford was never an exclusive Quaker community. Because Friends discouraged slave labor, Waterford developed with smaller farms and the establishment of towns to supply goods and labor. Over time Waterford came to include slave-holders and free Blacks, merchants and farmers, Union and Confederate sympathizers, Quakers, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. [http://www.waterfordhistory.org/history/waterford-culture-influenc.htm]
Goose Creek Meeting, 18204 Lincoln Road, Lincoln, Loudon County, is two miles south of Rt. 7, Purcellville. See the map of meeting locations in the general area. It was organized about 1738, when the first meeting house was built of logs. The second one was constructed of stone in 1765, which eventually became the caretaker's home. The present meeting house was constructed of brick across the street in 1817. It is built of brick. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 48.] As of the 1930s, three meeting houses were still standing in Lincoln: the old stone one as a private dwelling, the brick one in use as a meeting house, and the Orthodox one. [Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Va.: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 215.]
See a photo, although the building is fairly obscured by shrubbery. [ http://www.geocities.com/mckyrbnsn/meetings/goosecreek.html]
When the schism starting in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1827 reached Goose Creek, most of its members adhered to the so-called Hicksite branch. Only a few members left and organized a new meeting known as Orthodox Friends of Goose Creek. They apparently later built a house ca. 1880.
Other Friends met on a Goose Creek south of the James River, and the Goose Creek Monthly Meeting in Bedford County was set up in 1794. It was laid down in 1814. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 216.]
Hopewell Meeting house is at 604 Hopewell Road, Clearbrook, Frederick County. Clearbrook is seven miles north of Winchester on Route 11. The meeting house is about 1 mile west of Route 11 on Hopewell Road; a large stone sign marks where to turn west.
In 1730 Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan headed a "company" to acquire land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a Quaker settlement. Soon a number of Friends families were settling near the Opeckon Creek. Obviously they were in need of a meeting for worship. At a monthly meeting held at East Nottingham on 18 Third Month 1734 [OS] it was minuted, "Alexander Ross hath Proposed to this meeting on behalf of ffriends att Opeckon that a Meeting for worship may be Settled among'st them which is under ye Consideration & Care of this Meeting Untill a Suitable time to Give them a Visit." Things moved along and on 17 Sixth Month, Jeremiah Brown, William Kirk, Joseph England, and John Churchman were appointed to visit them. At a monthly meeting at East Nottingham on 21 Tenth Month they reported the visit had been made and "that they think it Would be of Service if a Meeting were Settled there, which this Meeting doth Acquiesce with, and Orders that it be Sent to ye Next Quarterly Meeting." Chester Quarterly Meeting approved on 10 Twelfth Month 1734/5, and the meeting for worship became official. Six months later Friends at Opeckon and Monoquacy requested permission to hold meetings for discipline, and 10 Ninth Month 1735 the Quarterly Meeting set them up as a monthly meeting. The meeting was first called Opequon (with a variety of spellings). [Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Va.: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 45-49, 147.]
The first meeting house was built in 1739. Nothing is left of this one, which was replaced in 1759 by a stone building measuring 44 by 33 feet. It was enlarged in 1788, with an additional 44 by 30 feet, nearly doubling the size of the meeting house. In 1910 the whole thing was repaired and most of the older wall rebuilt, although a considerable part of the south wall is the original 1759 "ruble masonry" construction. In 1910 the older pine shingles were replaced with slate. ["The Meeting Houses at Hopewell and Center", in Hopewell Friends History, 146.] The old sketch of the meeting house, above, was presumably made after 1870 when the graveyard wall was built. The photo below shows the stone in the dry stone wall with the initials "WDL" for the stonemason, W.D.Lee. One of the old benches was put outside on the porch, when more comfortable seating was acquired. Notice the lack of back support on the old bench which would require sitting up straight.
Friends travelling in the ministry visited Hopewell and many of the particular meetings; some visited in the meeting families, as well. One such visitor in 1772 was David "Fairris" and his travelling companion Robert Vollentine". [ in Hopewell Friends History, 107 the minute is interpreted to mean David Ferris and Robert Valentine set out from Hopewell; instead I think they were members of Wilmington Meeting in Delaware, visiting Friends "in the Southern Colonies".]
During the Civil War the meeting house was comandeered for use as a guard house or storage depot. While it was occupied, Friends held worship in a Friend's home. [Ruth E. Bonner, Quaker Ways (author, 1978), 49.]
The meeting house has changed very little in the past 130 years. To the right is an old post card view of Hopewell Meeting house. Note the misspelling of "Quaker". Next to it is a current view of the meeting house. The tree is larger, the vine is gone, and the paint has been renewed. But the basic structure remains.
At the separation in 1827-28 only a few members left to organize a new meeting known as Orthodox Friends of Hopewell. Families associated with the Orthodox meeting included Griffith, Hoge, Joliffe, and Wright, among others. Unlike too many meetings where the separation was marked with extreme bitterness and rancor, in Hopewell the two groups continued to use the same building, worshipping at different ends. In 1910 when the meeting house needed to be repaired and refurnished, the two groups began to worship together. They discovered "that there was a richer, more abundant life to be gained by trying to blot out the past, after nearly a century of division; and we have continued worshiping together, having the same Heavenly Father, and aiming to fashion our lives after the same great Master, Jesus Christ." ["The Separation of 1827-1828", in Hopewell Friends History, 142, 162-63.]
The beginning of a First Day School, held by David Branson in the 1870s in his own house on First Day afternoons, was not met with enthusiasm by the children who were brought in from their play. But in 1886 a First Day School was organized to meet after worship during the summer months. When the Hicksite and Orthodox meetings began to worship together in 1910, they merged their First Day Schools, as well. ["Schools and Cultural Activities", in Hopewell Friends History, 161.]
Date and initials of the stone mason WDL 1953 photo of the meeting house from the graveyard.
who built the graveyard wall in 1870. Note the stone wall.
Color photos by MJP Grundy, 8/2000. black and white photo by Lucy T. Shoe, 1953
Hopewell Meeting became the mother meeting setting off a number of smaller meetings as increasing numbers of Friends families moved into the area. Many of them were indulged or preparative meetings and never became monthly meetings in their own right. They included those shown on the map below: Back Creek Meeting, Lower Ridge, Upper Ridge Meeting, Centre Meeting, Old Center, and Mt. Pleasant. In addition there were Smith Creek and Tuscarora (also known as Providence Meeting), among others, The map is from Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Va.: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 68. The area, of course, looks very different now with interstate highways slicing through it, and strip malls, housing developments, and other evidence of "modern progress" filling the landscape.
Lower Ridge Meeting was east of the Back Creek, about midway between it and Hopewell Meeting, and north of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley. See the map of meeting locations in the Winchester area. First, Ridge Meeting was established on Apple Pie Ridge, two miles west of the Valley Pike (the old highway between Winchester and Martinsburg). The meeting house was built in 1791, near William Lupton's home, and was often called Lupton's Meeting. In Twelfth Month 1796 Hopewell Friends reconsidered the request of Friends near Joseph Hackney's house for permission to hold a meetings for worship on each First Day and Fourth Day during the winter of 1796-97. It was approved, and David Lupton, Mordecai Walker, and Isaac Smith were appointed to attend the opening meeting. It must have been satisfactory because inthe fall of 1797 Friends "on or near the Ridge near Joseph Hackney's" requested permission to meet again in the winter in "their schoolhouse". After some initial hesitation the meeting was authorized. When the request came again in the fall of 1798 a group of Friends was appointed to meet with them, and soon after "their meeting was no longer indulged" which I take to mean was not permitted. In Eleventh Month of 1813 the local Friends again requested permission to hold meetings for worship in their schoolhouse during the winter. This time the request was granted and the meeting became known as Lower Ridge, and identified as being near Joseph Hackney's house. In 1817 an investigating committee reported that "We found the title good for the lot of land on the Ridge near Joseph Hackney's, but the house thereon likely to sustain loss from decay." The assumption is that the "house", originally built as a school house, had also been used as the meeting house. The committee recommended that since trustees Joseph Hackney was deceased and David Faulkner removed to Ohio, Thomas Barrett and Aaron Hackney replace them, and "rent out the house from time to time and after paying for the useful repairs, pay any surplus of rent to this [Hopewell] meeting." [Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, "Meetings within the Verge of Hopewell", Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 89-90, 218, 223.]
At least by March 1797 Friends had a school and school house at Lower Ridge. The teachers were always Friends, but classes were open to non-Quakers. "John Griffith, a Friend, born 1777, died 1870, acquired his entire education at this school, and his seven sons and three daughters received most of their training there also; and they were considered well educated according to the standard of the times." Teachers at various times included William Thornburg, Samuel F. Balderston, Mahlon Schofield, and Robert Bond. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934, 155-6.]
Mount Pleasant Meeting met first in John Fawcett's house in 1771, and was called Fawcett's Meeting. In 1785 John bequeathed two acres for the use of the meeting. It later came to be called Mt. Pleasant. [Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 84.] See the map of meetings located in the Winchester area.
There was a school connected with the meeting from an early date. ["Schools and Cultural Activities", in Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934, 156.]
By 1817 the title was clear but the building was "in a state of decay" and no longer in use. New trustees Joshua Lupton and Joseph Fawcett were proposed, and authorized to rent out the property. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia, 93.]
Smith Creek Meeting is no longer in existence. It came into being to meet the needs of friends moving into that part of the Shenandoah Valley in the eighteenth century, flickered in and out as Friends moved in or out of the area, and was laid down when there were no more active Friends in the area. In 1738 Robert Scarborough wrote that he was living within a mile of a Friends meeting, and his land was on Smith Creek four and a half or five miles southwest of New Market in Rockingham County. In 1757 William Reckitt wrote in his journal about visiting Friends at Smith Creek. The records of Hopewell Meeting, under whose care Smith Creek would have come, survive from 1759 and there are occasional mentions of Smith Creek. For example, on 3/6m/1771 it was minuted that representatives from Crooked Run Preparative meeting had met several times with Smith Creek Friends about finding a more convenient place to hold their meetings, but the locals could not reach agreement. A committee was appointed to meet further with them, which also reported failure. The next year it was decided that "they build A house On or near Jackson Allens Land on the South Side of the North fork of Shannando[sic] to meet in." Smith Creek Friends were to report regularly to Crooked Run Preparative Meeting, which would, in turn, keep Hopewell Monthly Meeting informed as to Friends welfare and condition. On 2/6m/1777 a twice weekly meeting for worship was established at Smith Creek for the summer season. The following year it was recommended that the meetings be held year-around. [Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Va.: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), 72-73.]
There were apparently three different meetings houses at Smith Creek. See where two of them were on the map of meeting locations in the Shenandoah Valley area. The first was somewhere south of New Market; the second on the same, south side of the Shenandoah River, probably between the River and Smith Creek; and the third on the northwest side of the river in the angle between the river and Holman's Creek about a mile northeast of Quicksburg. [Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, Frederick County, Virginia, 73.]
In time Friends moved away and the meeting dwindled. On 5/6m/1817 a committee recommended at Hopewell that trustees be appointed to sell the meeting houses at Stafford, Southland, and Smith Creek, along with the lots on which they were built, but retaining the burial grounds at each place. However, the Smith Creek meeting house continued to be used occasionally at least through 1830, and was not sold until 1839. [Hopewell Friends History, 1734-1934, 73.]
Tuscarora Meeting, also called Providence was near the Potomac River in what is now Berkeley County, West Virginia. It was built on land from Richard Beeson two and a half miles northwest of Martinsburg. See the map of meeting locations in the Shenandoah Valley area. On 1 Twelfth Month 1760 Friends in Tuscarora, Mill Creek, and Middle Creek were given leave to hold their meetings during the winter in the "Old Meeting House of Providence". In 1768 Friends in Tuscarora were given leave to hold meetings for worship there each First Day during the winter. for Hopewell Meeting in the Shenandoah Valley. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 , 222, 226.]
There is another, earlier, Providence Meeting in Media, originally Chester County (now Delaware County), Pennsylvania.
Upper Ridge Meeting was east of the Back Creek, about midway between it and Opeckon Creek, and northwest from Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley. See the map of meeting locations in the Winchester area. In the photograph, the meeting house was at the left end, the school house at the right end of the building. A partition separated the two parts. Note in front the stone mounting block. [The photograph is from Joint Committee of Hopewell Friends, assisted by John W. Wayland, Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934 Frederick County, Virginia (Strasburg, Virginia: Printed by Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1936), opposite page 176.]
Ridge Meeting was on Apple Pie Ridge, two miles west of the Valley Pike (the old highway between Winchester and Martinsburg). The meeting house was built in 1791. In 1800 it was referred to as being near William Lupton's home, and was often called Lupton's Meeting. When a second meeting was established on the Ridge, about two miles northwest of Hopewell, it was called Lower Ridge, and identified as being near Joseph Hackney's house. By about 1813 the meeting held near William Lupton's house was called Upper Ridge. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934, 90, 218, 223.]
Upper Ridge began a First Day School about 1886, the same time that Hopewell organized one. At some point it was disbanded and the meeting laid down. The meeting house was eventually destroyed in a fire. [Hopewell Friends History 1734-1934, 161.]
A few old meeting houses in New York
This New York section has barely been started. So far there are only photographs or a few words about the following meetings: Amawalk, Croton Valley, Farmington, Flushing, Jerico, Matinecock, Nine Partners, Poplar Ridge, Purchase, Westbury, and Westchester.
In the seventeenth century the Dutch West Indies Company, which owned most of the eastern part of what is now the state of New York, rarely turned a profit for its investors. In order to attract additional settlers it generally followed the practice of the United Netherlands, which was to tolerate dissenters as long as they caused no trouble. However, the Dutch Reformed Church ministers did not look kindly on anyone who was not part of their flock and did not follow their lead. Lutherans and others were regularly expelled from the colony.
English speaking settlers who were uncomfortable with the rigid religious orthodoxy of the various jurisdictions in New England or who were seeking the more open economic opportunities and the fertile land of Long Island drifted down to Flushing and Hempstead. Flushing was already a nuisance in the eyes of Dutch authorities. In 1653 it had sent a petition or remonstrance to Governor Stuyvesant claiming that government officials should be chosen by the people. The effort was unsuccessful, but the die was cast.
In 1657 the first Friends missionaries arrived on Robert Fowler's little ship, the Woodhouse. They quickly attracted supporters in Flushing, Newtown, Westbury, and Gravesend. People in Oyster Bay, just outside of Dutch jurisdiction, were also drawn to the Quaker message.
The Dutch passed an anti-Quaker law providing for a fine of £50 for any resident who entertained Friends. Generally, however, if residents kept their beliefs to themselves they were safe. But Henry Townsend tested the law by openly entertaining English Friends. Although he was promptly arrested and fined, he gathered support from others in Flushing. The town clerk wrote a remonstrance, signed by 31 residents, arguing that Flushing residents were free to worship as they chose. The document has come down in history as the Flushing Remonstrance, an early statement of religious freedom.
Unlike in New England where tension and official violence escalated, culminating in the public execution of four Friends, the Dutch authorities backed off and they and Friends pretty much left each other alone. Things went relatively smoothly until 1662 when magistrates in Jamaica officially complained about a Quaker meeting in their community as well as one in Flushing. Forced to act, Stuyvesant arrested John Bowne of Flushing. When John refused to pay the fine, he was imprisoned. Finally in December he was released to appeal his case to the Dutch West Indies Company in Amsterdam. His appeal was successful, and in 1663 the directors ordered Stuyvesant to leave Friends and others alone to worship in peace as long as they otherwise behaved.
The next year, however, the Dutch regime was swept away when English forces seized New Netherland. Its new owner was James, Duke of York, later crowned as King James II. [The above summary history is largely from Barbour, Densmore, Moger, Sorel, VanWagner, and Worrall, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings (Syracuse University Press, 1995), 7-10.]
John BURNYEAT, a Friend from Ireland, came to Oyster Bay on Long Island in 1671, laboring with Friends to establish meetings for discipline/business. He faced serious opposition from many New York Friends who resisted formal organization. There was a small group of Friends who followed John Perrot's ideas that only the Spirit should guide folks, and there should be no human structure at all. This idea was symbolized by men refusing to remove their hats when a Friend prayed. Nevertheless Burnyeat seems to have established Flushing Monthly Meeting, thought by some to be the first monthly meeting in the northern colonies, and therefore the oldest still existing monthly meeting in the United States (although this claim is disputed by others, including Third Haven in Maryland and Sandwich and Salem in Massachusetts).
George Fox arrived the next year, and the remaining opposition to settling Friends into an orderly structure, collapsed. Fox described his journey north through what would in time become Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A Friend in Jersey took the little Quaker party across in his own boat to Gravesend, where Fox happily reported, "and there were Friends."
Next morning we set forward, though weary, . . . and got to Flushing. And the day following we reached Oyster Bay, several Friends of Gravesend and Flushing accompanying us, where there was a General Meeting of men and women Friends that held six days, and large. There we met with some of the hat spirit which was judged down and condemned. And the Truth was set over all.
And this General Meeting began on the 17th day of the 3rd month [May], which was of very great service to Friends and to the people of the world [meaning non-Friends], and did not part until the 23rd day of the month, so it was longer than used to be. On the first and second days we had public meetings for worship; on the third day were men's and women's meetings wherein the affairs of the church were taken care of. So the men's and women's meetings being over we had a meeting with some of those discontented people, and the Lord's power brake forth gloriously to the confounding of the gainsayers. And then some of them began to fawn upon me and to cast the matter upon others, but the deceitful spirit was judged down and condemned and the glorious Truth was exalted and set over all; and they were all brought down and bowed under, which was of great service to Truth and satisfaction and comfort to Friends.
And from thence we went to another meeting, and thence through the woods to Flushing where was a large meeting at John Bowne's house, who was banished by the Dutch into England. And many hundreds of the world were there and were much satisfied and desired to hear again and said that if I came to their town I should have their meeting place, they were so loving. And from thence we came to Oyster Bay again where we do wait for wind to go to Rhode Island. These meetings were in the Duke of York's dominions, and the governor heard of me and was loving and said that he had been in my company. [John L. Nickalls, ed., The Journal of George Fox (Cambridge: at the University Press, 1952), 619-20.]
Fox went on to New England, settling more monthly meetings, and a yearly meeting that eventually became New England Yearly Meeting (which is still in existence).
The map above shows the towns and meetings in New York (mostly on Long island) in 1686. It is a detail from one in James Bowden, The History of the Society of Friends in America (London: W. & F. G. Cash, 1854), Vol. I, opp. p. 29. Today there are several Friends meetings on Long Island: Bethpage (Farmingdale), Conscience Bay (St. James), Flushing, Matinecock (Locust Valley), Manhasset, Peconic Bay (Wainscott), Shelter Island, and Westbury. Not all of them have old meeting houses.
During the disruption of the Revolutionary War and for some time after, New York Yearly Meeting sessions were held in Westbury from 1778 to 1793.
Amawalk Meeting house is on Quaker Church Road north of Rt. 202/35 in Yorktown Heights.
Sometime in the 1760s Friends began to meet for worship in one another's homes in the area. By 1772 there were sufficient numbers that they requested permission from Purchase Monthly Meeting to construct a meeting house. It was completed in 1773. The following year Amawalk was recognized as a Preparative meeting of Purchase Monthly Meeting. The Revolutionary War intervened. After the turmoil and passions of the war had subsided, in 1798 Amawalk became a Monthly Meeting in its own right. By 1828 there were five preparative meetings under the care of Amawalk: Amawalk itself, Peach Pond, Salem-Bedford, Peekskill, and Croton. That year the Orthodox-Hicksite schism that had begun the year before in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, reached New York. Friends identifying with the Orthodox position walked out and eventually built a meeting house in Yorktown. By the mid-1830s there were 74 families belonging to Amawalk (Hicksite) and its preparative meetings.
Two earlier meeting houses burned down, and a new one (still existing) was constructed in 1831.
By the 1840s membership had begun to decline. In Fifth Month 1883 the preparative meetings were laid down and their members attached to Amawalk. Membership continued to decline and in 1964 the meeting house was closed.
In 1977 a small group began meeting and the meeting took on new life. Ten years later a First Day School building was completed and Amawalk again became a Monthly Meeting. In the fall of 1989 the meeting house and burial ground were placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. During the week a nursery school is held in the First Day School building. [The above information is taken from http://www.nyym.org/amawalk/history.html, as seen 9m/12/2007.
Photos by MJPGrundy, 9m/28/1993.
Croton Valley Meeting is, comparatively speaking, a newer meeting and meeting house.
Like most meetings, it began when Friends moved into the area and began to meet for worship in one another's homes. On 4 March 1804 it was recognized as a preparative meeting under Chappaqua Monthly Meeting. The first meeting house was built in 1806. This building was later sold to make way for the water impounded by the first Croton Dam.
At the time of the separation, Croton Valley Meeting identified with the Orthodox branch. But by 1854 there were too few members and it became inactive. After a while two brothers, Henry and James Wood, provided the leadership to revive the meeting. In 1900, the second meeting house was sold to New York City to make way for an enlarged Croton Dam. The present stone meeting house was constructed in 1902. It was originally built for a pastoral, programmed meeting, but has since converted to provide unprogrammed, silent waiting worship.The above meeting history is from http://www.nyym.org/crotonvalley/, seen 9m/12/2007.
Photo by MJP Grundy, 9m/26/1997.
Farmington Meeting, is in Farmington, NY. In 1789 a group of Friends from East Hoosac Monthly Meeting near North Adams, Massachusetts, migrated west into "Genesee country" of central New York state. In 1796 or 1797 they built a meeting house and in 1800 were recognized as Farmington Preparative Meeting under Saratoga Monthly Meeting, some 200 miles away. [Barbour, et al, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings, 36. There is a helpful map on p. 27,]
In 1816 the current frame meetinghouse was built. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its national significance in movements for equal rights of women, African Americans, and Native Americans. It became the site for Genessee Yearly Meeting sessions.
A windstorm in 2006 blew off the east wall of the meeting house spurring a grassroots coalition of concerned citizens to get together to preserve and restore the building. "Under the auspices of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation of Seneca Falls the coalition acquired the Meetinghouse and reached out locally and nationally to acquire the expertise and financing to restore and preserve the Meetinghouse." The building was stabilized and moved to a new site across the road. Restoration is hoped to be finished for the 200th anniversary in 2016. Donations may be sent to the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse, P.O. Box 25053, Farmington, NY 14425.
Today Farmington Friends Church thrives in its own building. Pastor Ruth Kinsey retired in 2012 and has been succeeded by Peter Crysdale.
Flushing Meeting, of Long Island Quarterly Meeting, celebrated the 300th anniversary of its meeting house in 1994. This is the meeting in which Henry Townsend and John Bowne worshipped, and in support of whose future members the Flushing Remonstrance was written and signed. The meeting house is at 137-16 Northern Boulevard, in Flushing.
See the earliest history of Friends on Long Island, arriving in the brig Woodhouse, above. Local settlers were attracted to the Quaker message, especially in Flushing and Oyster Bay. John Bowne had bought some land from the native Americans in 1651. Ten years later he built a comfortable farmhouse there for his young bride, Hannah Feake. She was already convinced of the faith and practice of Friends, and John invited Friends to meet in his house. They did so, and he was arrested. The eventual result was that the Dutch West Indies Company upheld the local right of freedom of religion. [Ann Gidley Lowry, The Story of Flushing Meeting House, rev. 1994 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary (Flushing Monthly Meeting, 1994), 10-11.
At first there was no formal structure; Friends gathered in silent expectant waiting worship. In 1671 John Burnyeat, travelling among new Friends groups in the colonies, encouraged them to establish a monthly meeting for the purpose of conducting the affairs of the group. George Fox and a small party of other Friends came the next year to strengthen the fledgling groups.
Friends in Flushing continued to meet in the Bowne house. In 1676 John Bowne arranged for a burial ground nearby, and in 1692 he and John Rodman bought three acres adjoining it to be used for a meeting house. In ninth Month [November] 1693 the meeting minuted: "It is agreed yt [that] John Bowne & Jno. Ffarington take ceare to imploy workmen to get in timber they shall see fitting ye house for Raising against ye next 1mo [March]." The building faced south for warmth, and it still has it back to the road. The first meeting for business held there was Quarterly Meeting on 24 Ninth Month [November] 1694. [Ann Gidley Lowry, The Story of Flushing Meeting House, 13, 17.]
In 1717 the meeting house was enlarged. You can still see on one of the ceiling joists the notches for studs for the outter walls of the first, smaller building. "Ship's Knees" (naturally curved part of a tree where the trunk curves up out of the root) were used in the construction. They were not from old, dismantled ships, but made from local trees--perhaps indicating that some of the workmen were familiar with ship building. A gallery was also built around three sides of the room. The building was furnished with the customary partition that could be lowered to divide the room in two so that the men and women could conduct their meetings for "discipline" [known today as meetings for business] separately. In the smaller original meeting house, the women held their meetings in the Bowne house. [Ann Gidley Lowry, The Story of Flushing Meeting House, 15-17.]
The little Quaker meetings on Long Island were affiliated with the larger body of New England Friends centered in Rhode Island. But as numbers of Friends in New York increased, and the distance to yearly meetings in Newport increasingly was seen as a difficulty, in 1695 New England set off New York as an independent Yearly Meeting. At first there was only a single monthly meeting: Flushing, which also was a Quarterly Meeting. Although their structure was roughly parallel that of other Friends groups in the colonies, New York Friends were able to go their own way in some important regards. They were a lot less concerned with enforcing the discipline, especially in regard to plainness of dress and marriage under the care of the meeting. When Flushing Monthly Meeting reported in 1734 there were apparently no discipline cases regarding "marriages out of unity" with Friends process. [Barbour, Densmore, Moger, Sorel, VanWagner, and Worrall, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings (Syracuse University Press, 1995), 20-22.]
British Friend Mary WESTON visited Long Island Friends between 1750 and 1752. She was very impressed with them. Whenever she spoke she drew large crowds, which compared well with the crowds drawn by preachers in the Great Awakening. Friends were flourishing, and gaining adherents. [Barbour, et al, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings, 20-22.]
In 1763 Flushing Friends removed the gallery and built an upper room where a free school could hold classes for the children of parents who could not afford school fees. [Ann Gidley Lowry, The Story of Flushing Meeting House, 16.]
A reform movement gathered momentum throughout Friends meetings on both sides of the Atlantic, but perhaps most powerfully in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. There was considerable resistance in New York. When, in 1760, New York Yearly Meeting decided to require written answers to the Queries, Westbury refused to participate from 1761 through 1767. Newtown Preparative meeting (part of Flushing Monthly Meeting) resisted from 1763 through 1766. When they finally acquiesed, Oblong Monthly Meeting refused to cooperate from 1771 to 1773. Eventually they all fell into line. [Barbour, et al, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents, 23-24.]
First picture is a post card photo by Nina Powell, Artvue Post Card Co.; the other two photographs by MJP Grundy, 1994. The rear of the meeting house, shown in the third photo, faces the road. The stone wall at the bottom of the picture, is modern.
Jerico Meeting, of Long Island Quarterly Meeting, is at 6 Old Jerico Turnpike, just east of where that road splits off of the new Jerico Turnpike, route 25. Right next to the road, to the right of the driveway, is the small caretakers cottage, that used to be the meeting's school house. To the left of the drive is the old carriage shed. Beyond the meeting house is the burying ground. Coming in the drive, one sees the back, north side of the meeting house as in the photograph below.
It is thought that Robert SMITH of Southampton, Long Island, was the first Friend in the area. He became convinced of Friends' faith and practices on board a ship back to England. He returned to Long Island in 1654. Quakerism took root in western Long Island, as described above. Shortly after George Fox's visit in 1672, Anthony WRIGHT deeded a plot of land to local Friends for the construction of a meeting house.
In the 1770s Elias and Jemima (Seaman) HICKS settled in Jerico. It then had at most only a dozen houses collected around Jerico Spring Pond. Nevertheless Friends felt strong enough to petition Westbury Meeting for permission to establish a preparative meeting. This was granted, and the first piece of business in 1787 was to plan a new meeting house on a little more than an acre of land purchased for £45 from Benjamin and William Wright, whose farm lay along the road to Oyster Bay. Elias Hicks surveyed the plot. Tradition holds that he also designed the building, based on the familiar architecture of other meeting houses on Long Island. As you can see from the pictures above, it was a tall box-like structure, divided internally into a women's side and men's side so that each could conduct their own business meetings. The balcony inside is banked steeply so that Friends sitting there can see the facing benches. It is still warmed by a stove. The left photo below shows the stove, and in the upper left corner the enclosed stairway to the balcony. Under the windows are the facing benches. The center photo, looking in the other direction, shows the main benches and the closed door. The stove is on the right. The right photo shows the main front door. The porch was added in 1818. The two doors opened into the former women's and men's sides, but Friends have worshipped and held business meetings together for over a century now. [Margaret A. Brucia and Kathryn Abbe, "Jerico Friends Meeting House 1788-1988".]
Probably the most famous member of Jerico Meeting was Elias Hicks (1748-1830) born in Hempstead. After his 1771 marriage to Jemima Seaman, Elias moved to his father-in-law's farm in Jerico and eventually took it over. In 1774, at the age of 26, he had a profound conversion experience. He was recognized as a minister and travelled widely among Friends. He was an ardent abolitionist and consistently refused to use products of slave labor, including cotton and sugar. In 1811 he published (with the approval of New York Yearly Meeting) Observations on the Slavery of Africans and Their Descendants in which he asked "What is the difference whether I hold a slave, or purchase the produce of his labour from those who do?" Countering the arguments of those who whined that the actions of one individual were irrelevant (does this sound familiar today?) he wrote, "though numbers partaking of a crime may diminish the shame, they cannot diminish the turpitude." [Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye, Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice (Philadelphia: Quaker Press, 2009), 61. The second quotation is from a letter by Hicks.] His unequivocal preaching and behavior were an affront to some wealthy Philadelphia Quaker merchants, especially those who dealt in southern cotton. His opposition to canals and other modern "improvements" also rankled them. Late in life Elias began reading the new higher Biblical criticism and other liberal theological ideas coming from Europe. This scandalized those Friends who were becoming increasingly close to Methodist and other orthodox Protestant neighbors and business associates. When a rancorous separation occurred in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1827, the Orthodox faction called their opponents "Hicksites", after Elias (the most egregious person they knew). At the time of the separation, most so-called Hicksites were conservative quietists, just like the majority of the Orthodox group. The former thought the argument was about church governance; the latter thought it was about theology. There was a very small fringe group of Hicksites who were religious and political liberals. Hicks himself was a more complicated mix. Today it is often assumed that he was a modern "liberal", and that all Hicksite Friends are liberal in theology and politics, although this is not entirely accurate. [For more information, see Elias Hicks's Journal; H. Larry Ingle, Quakers in Conflict: The Hicksite Reformation (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986); and Grundy, The Evolution of a Quaker Community: Middletown Meeting, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1750-1850 (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), Chapter 8.]
Photos by MJPGrundy, June 2009
Photo of Manhasset Meeting on Northern Blvd. at Shelter Rock Road in Manhasset.
Matinecock Meeting, of Long Island Quarterly Meeting is at 267 Duck Pond Road at Piping Rock Road in Locust Valley. It is just across Duck Pond Road from Friends Academy; the old burying ground is across Piping Rock Road from the meeting house.
The meeting's history is intertwined with that of other meetings on western Long Island. Friends began to settle there in the late 1650s and 1660s. They were heartened and encouraged by the visit of George Fox and other Friends in 1672. Meetings were settled with regular times of worship and for assembling monthly to conduct the business of their religious society. They met together in various homes. The first Matinecock meeting house was built in 1725.
The meeting house burned down to the stone foundation in 1986 but was rebuilt according to the old plan. 1986 photo. See also the 698 word NY Times article, December 15, 1986, Monday, Late City Final Edition, Section B, Page 7, Column 1.
Photos by MJPGrundy, June 2009
Nine Partners Meeting, meets in rented quarters in a church in Millbrook during cold weather. The old meeting house is on Rt. 343 in Millbrook. Worship is held there from May 15 to September 15.
Poplar Ridge Monthly Meeting is off Rt. 34B east of Four Corners.
Friends began worshipping in Cayuga County in 1799 in the home of Benjamin and Mary Howland. Friends from Norway added to the mix of Quakers migrating from eastern New York, Rhode island, and southeastern Massachusetts. There were also numbers of local people who became Friends as adults. By 1828 there were nine monthly meetings and two quarterly meetings spread over a large area of New York all the way to Lake Erie. [Barbour, et al, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings, 36. There is a helpful map on p. 27,]
This area has been called the "burned over district" because of the proliferation of hellfire and brimstone evangelism as well as a wide variety of other passionately-held beliefs, including spiritualism. It was also the seedbed of the women's rights movement and had activist abolitionists. These currents inevitably influenced Friends, who suffered a number of splits and separations beginning in 1828. In time the major branches were all represented in the area: Hicksite, Orthodox, Wilburite, and Gurneyite, as well as Progressive and a few other short-lived twigs.
Eventually most of the meetings in the area dwindled, with only Poplar Ridge remaining as a pastored, programmed Gurneyite meeting. Today it is semi-programmed.
In 1974, the Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting joined with others in the region to sponsor a meeting at Auburn Prison. This meeting continues to thrive in spite of the transient prison population.
Photograph by MJP Grundy
Purchase Monthly Meeting is on Purchase Street (Route 120) at Lake Street. Meetings for worship were first held in the area in 1719 in Friends' homes. The monthly meeting was established in 1725.
In 1695 John Harrison, from Flushing Meeting, with four partners purchased land from the Indians in the area that came to be called Purchase, or Harrison's Purchase. It probably wasn't until after 1715 that Friends began to move there from Long Island. The Monthly Meeting at first consisted of local groups in Mamaroneck, Rye, and Purchase. [Barbour, Densmore, Moger, Sorel, VanWagner, and Worrall, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings (Syracuse University Press, 1995), 26-27.]
During the Revolutionary War the Purchase area was in no man's land between British troops and the Continental Army. Some young men of the Meeting were jailed for refusal to bear arms in the Continental Army. For several months in 1778 the meetinghouse served as a hospital for Washington's soldiers wounded in the battle of White Plains. The graves of British as well as Colonial soldiers are found in the meeting's cemetery along with those of several Indians.
Purchase Meeting was relatively early with its 1767 declaration that holding slaves was inconsistent with Christian spirit. Purchase Meeting is reported to have been the meeting for worship attended in 1819 by Susan B. Anthony and three African-American friends. While Friends condemned slavery, the visitors were required to sit in the gallery (balcony) rather than on the main floor.
During the 1828 separation the Orthodox left and built their own meeting house several hundred feet from the older (now Hicksite) 1727 meeting house. The old Hicksite meetinghouse was destroyed completely by arson in 1919, and was replaced by another structure. The two monthly meetings were reunited in 1937 and both meetinghouses were used. Then the 1919 Hicksite meetinghouse was destroyed by fire in 1973 and subsequently a new structure was built which incorporates the Orthodox meetinghouse. [The above thee paragraphs are from http://www.nyym.org/purchase/history.html, seen 9m/12/2007.
The oldest existing building is the two-storey section on the right in the photograph above. The old facing benches or "ministers' gallery", shown to the left, are in that part. Meeting for worship is now held in the larger, newer wing on the left.
Photographs by MJP Grundy, 5/14/2004
Westbury Meeting house is at 550 Post Avenue in Westbury, on the corner with Jerico Turnpike (Route 25), and a quarter mile north of Northern State Parkway's exit 32. Westbury Monthly Meeting, part of Long Island Quarterly Meeting, was in existence by 1671. It was one of the five original concentrations of Quakers on Long Island, the others being Flushing, Gravesend, Newtown, and Oyster Bay.
The land of Westbury was purchased from the First Nation people (Masepeague, Merricok and Roakaway Indians) in 1657 by Capt. John Seaman. It covered the area from Matta Garrets Bay to Hempstead Harbor and so to a "Pointe of Trees" (Cantiague) adjoining Robert Williams' land and "so to the South Sea", including some 12,000 acres "from Sea to Sea", and adjoined the Hempstead Deed. [Marietta Hicks, "Early History of Quakers on Long Island 1609 to 1695" (1943) as on the Meeting's web page, at http://www.westburyquakers.org/qt/archive/files/1609.htm.]
Friends increased in number and held their regular twice weekly meetings for worship and monthly meetings to conduct the business of the meeting. The earliest extant Friends minute in the new world, recorded "at a mens meet the 23d day of 3d month [May] 1671" reads as follows. "First Day" was Sunday. See explanation of Friends' dating.It was agreed that the first dayes meetings be one day at oysterbay and another day at Matinacock: to begin at or about the 11th houre: and the weekly meeting to begin about the first houre in the aftertoone
It [was] allSo ageeded [agreed] ther Shall bee a meetting keept at the wood edege [Westbury] the 25th of the 4th month [June] and Soe ever[y] 5th first day of the weeke [Natalie A. Naylor, "References to Westbury/Westbury meeting house in early Friends Minutes" (2000) on the meeting's web page at http://www.westburyquakers.org/qt/archive/files/1701-2Minutes.htm]
Friends met in the homes of Henry Willis and Edmund Titus. Although Friends on Long Island were spared the worst persecutions of the New England Puritan authorities, local English magistrates enforced laws against them. In 1678, Henry Willis was fined £10 for allowing his daughter to marry George Masters according to Friends' ceremony; when he refusing to pay it, Joseph Lee, under-sheriff, seized his "barn of corn". [John Onderdonk, Jr., The Annals of Hempsiead; 1643-to 1832 as transcribed and excerpted on http://www.westburyquakers.org/qt/archive/files/1701-2Minutes.htm]
Following the practice used in England, Westbury Monthly Meeting consisted of local meetings in Oyster Bay, Matinecock, Hempstead and Jericho as well as Westbury. The venue of Monthly Meeting would usually rotate among these locales. The Women's Monthly Meeting was "held at Jericho at the house of Mary Willets part of the time, and the remainder of the time at the house of Abigail Willets." Friends living at "The Farm" [Jericho] and "Wood-edge" [Westbury] worshipped together but alternately at the two locations. In 1672 Westbury became a Monthly Meeting.
Since we are fortunate to have some old minutes transcribed and available on the web, I will quote the Quarterly Meeting minutes that addressed the need for a larger building to hold all the Friends attending quarterly meetings. It was decided to construct it in Westbury. Most of the material in brackets was added by Natalie Naylor.At [a Quarte]rly meeting at the house of Nathane[el Sim]mons at Westbury, this 30th day, 6 month [August] 1701
It being Spoken to at this meeting Concerning bulding a meeting house Sum wheare [somewhere] Neare this plase; it is Left to Nathaniell PerSal [Pearsall], Thomas Powel, Richard Willis, Benjamin Simons, and William Willis to inspect into the plases Spoken of and to see which plase may be most Convenient, and treet [treat, i.e. negotiate] with the owner of Said land in order to Know the terms and Report the same To the next Quarterly meeting [Page 121.]
At [a Quarter]ly Meeting in the Meeting house in Flush[ing], the 29 day 9 month [November] 1701
Whereas A Meeting house to be Erected Neere Westberry for Couveinency of friends was Spoken of at the Last Quarterly Meeting in Westberry and the Place to build it on and tearmes of Purchas was then referrd to Nathaniell Pearsall, Thomas Powell, Richard Willis, Benjamin Simons, and William Willis, the Said Psons [persons] do report to this Meeting that they have Concluded of a place Suteable, therefore tis reffered to them by this Meeting to Consider of the Moddell of the house, and treat with Som persons about building the Same, and give account: accordingly to Next Quarterly Meeting [Page 123.]
At a Quarterl[y] Meeting held at Richard Willeses in Jerico, [the] 21 day 12 month [February] 1701 [O.S., 1702 N.S. See a note on Old Style Dates.]
Whereas at last Quarterly Meeting in flushing held [date illegible but was November 9, 1701], it was Spoken of to Erect a Publique Meeting house Neere Hempsted Plaines about Westbery, to be taken care of by Nathaniel Pearson, Thomas Powell, Richard Willes, William Willes, and Benjamin Simons, the Said persons have Pceeded [proceeded] So farr as to agree with Workmen to build the Same, and Sett it up in the most Convenient Place, the Drawing Deed for the Meeting house is comitted to the Care of Thomas Powell, and to be Transported unto John Titus, Samuell Bowne, and Richard Simonds and from them by Deed of uses until [unto?] Nathaniel Simonds, Benjamin Field, Thomas Person, Richard Willis, and Thomas Powell, Jr. [Natalie A. Naylor, "References to Westbury/Westbury meeting house in early Friends Minutes"]
A year later it was minuted "That Sence it hath pleased God to inCrease the number of his Dear people" Quarterly Meeting would no longer circulate to Jerico and Matinecock which did not have enough room, but beginning on 28 Twelfth Month [February] 1702/3 would meet only at Westbury.
A new fence was provided for the meeting house in 1753, and a stove was finally purchased in 1763 because it was so "tedious" to write minutes in the extreme cold. As Friends continued to prosper and multiply, in 1767 the meeting house was enlarged for the use of Quarterly Meeting. [Marietta Hicks, "The History of This Site", on http://www.westburyquakers.org/qt/archive/files/MHicksDates.htm]
At the 1828 separation, the majority Hicksites kept the meeting house, while the Orthodox withdrew and built their own close by. It is pictured to the right.
As with most older Friends meeting houses, there is a burying ground close by. Westbury also has a thriving Friends school, Nursery through grade 5, and has recently added a morning toddler program. It is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and is "a culturally diverse Quaker school for all children".
Photos by MJPGrundy, June 2009
Westchester Meeting was set off as a Preparative Meeting by Flushing Quarter in 1684. This is the first substantial evidence of a strong Quaker presence in the village of Westchester. Growth was slowed by uncertain land titles, lack of honest negotiations with the native Indian inhabitants, and intermittant warfare. [Barbour, Densmore, Moger, Sorel, VanWagner, and Worrall, eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings (Syracuse University Press, 1995), 26.]
A few old meeting houses in New England
Statue of Mary Dyer by Stephanie Judson in front of the Boston City Hall. Mary Dyer was a Quaker, one of four executed by the Massachusetts Bay authorities for the "crime" of following their religious faith.
Photograph by MJP Grundy, 8/8/1997.
Friends came to New England in the 1650s and were met with overt hostility by the authorities everywhere but in Roger Williams's Rhode Island. There are heroic tales of Friends who dared to come and share their experience of the transforming power of God, and also of the few brave souls who sheltered, succored, and listened to them. Eventually four Friends were executed by the Massachusetts authorities. In belated expiation, a statue of one of them, Mary Dyer, now graces the front of the city hall in Boston, across from the Common where she and her companions were hung. In spite of the persecution, and perhaps because of the courage and Christian fortitude in the face of it, people were convinced of Friends' faith and practice. By 1710 there were nine monthly meetings in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, consisting of 27 local meetings. The monthly meetings were Dover, Hampton, Salem, Scituate, Sandwich, Dartmouth (Apponegansett), Rhode Island (Newport), Greenwich, and Nantucket.
In 1845 Orthodox Friends in New England divided into a large Gurneyite branch that sympathized with the evangelical teaching of English Friend Joseph John Gurney and a smaller branch following Rhode Island Friend John Wilbur who tried to maintain the distinctive earlier Friends faith. After the Civil War the Orthodox Gurneyites began to accept pastors and music into their worship services so that they came to resemble those of other "low church" Protestant denominations. These Friends were called "pastoral" or "programmed", and their meeting house architecture was modified to suit their needs. These buildings departed from the Quaker tradition of two doors (one for the women's side and one for the men) and a moveable partition that could be lowered to divide the men from the women during their separate meetings for business. The new Quaker churches tended to have pews instead of benches, and a lectern rather than facing benches. They also often had an organ or piano. A few even had a small tower, although rarely an actual steeple, stained glass windows, or bells. Today some of these old Friends churches have been remodeled for unprogrammed worship, or have passed into other uses.
The map, dated 1686, shows many of the towns that had meetings in the settled parts of New England. It is a detail from James Bowden, The History of the Society of Friends in America, Vol. I (London: W & F.G. Cash, 1854), opposite p. 29. Note that only "heretical" Rhode island had clearly defined boundaries. There is a partial boundary separating Plymouth Colony from Massachusetts Bay. The geographic details are not in all cases exactly as we are familiar with them today.
Obviously this section has barely been started. If you are interested in photographs and histories as well as anecdotes and other interesting things about New England meeting houses, you might want to get a copy of Silas B. Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses: Past and Present (Richmond, Ind.: Friends United Press, 2001). In the meantime here are a very few pictures for New England. I hope that in time more may be added.
These are the old meetings that have been posted so far, although some are lacking photographs and suffer from a dearth of data. Amesbury in Mass.; Housatonic in New Milford, Conn.; the Great Meeting House in Newport, RI; North Dartmouth Mass., recently moved to Deerfield; North Sandwich in New Hampshire; Sandwich in East Sandwich, Mass.; South Starksboro in Vermont; West Falmouth in Mass.; the Westerly Meeting in RI; and Yarmouth in South Yarmouth, Mass.
Amesbury Meeting is at Friend and Greenleaf Streets in Amesbury, Mass. John Greenleaf Whittier worshipped here, and presumably his poem about meeting for worship reflects his experience within these walls. In 1836 he lived in a one-story house across Friends Street from the meeting house.
The first Friends meeting house in Amesbury was constructed in 1705. The second one was built on a different site, in 1803-'04 on Friends Street. John Greenleaf Whittier was clerk of the building committee that oversaw the construction of the third meeting house, the current Greek revival style white frame building. It has the dividing shutters down the center and a small balcony at the rear, that are typical of nineteenth century meeting houses. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses: Past and Present, 54.]
The meeting belonged to New York Yearly Meeting, which laid it down in the early 1980s. It was transferred to New England Yearly Meeting, and a small worship group reopened it, rehabilitated the old meeting house in 1991 and installed modern facilities. It now has a finished basement that accommodates a Head Start program and First Day School. [From Visit the Meetings of Salem Quarterly Meeting, Massachusetts (Pub. by Salem Quarterly Meeting, 1997).]
Housatonic Meeting is in New Milford, Connecticut, but is a part of New York Yearly Meeting. The meeting house is at the corner of Route 7 and Lanesville Road.
The current meeting house was built in 1805, on land deeded to the meeting in 1788. It is the second Friends meeting house in the Housatonic area. The meeting has a long historic association with Oblong Meeting in Pawling, New York. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses: Past and Present, 6.] Sometime around the end of the nineteenth century the meeting was apparently laid down.
The photograph below shows the interior of the meeting house. In the 1950s a local worship group became a preparative meeting and in 1969 acquired the then vacant building, which had been stripped of its benches. They restored the building, which opened for worship on 7 Fifth Month 1970. Two years later an arsonist set fire to the building, but it was not destroyed. Repairs were made the following year. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 6.]
The old burying ground on the hillside above the meeting house has been severely cramped by a shopping complex that carved away part of the hill and lies below. There is apparently another burial ground at the site of the original meeting house, north of the present one, as well as this one next to the current meeting house. Both are under the care of the New Milford Cemetery Association. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 6.]
Photos by MJP Grundy, 7/2005
Great Meetinghouse in Newport, Rhode Island was built in 1699 at the corner of Farewell and Marlborough Streets (or at least its cornerstone and foundations were laid in 1699). It is the oldest surviving house of worship in Newport. In 1639 Nicholas Easton built his home, facing Farewell Street, with the usual barns and outbuildings. It burned in 1641 and he rebuilt. When he died in 1676 Easton bequeathed it to Friends and it probably became their first permanent place of worship in town.
Before Easton left Friends his property, they had often met in his home, and probably also in other homes. In 1672 George Fox visited, and stayed to attend four meetings.
Construction of the Great Meetinghouse was authorized in 1689, and work began in 1699. It was "essentially a Jacobean structure with medieval framing. The original girders, which span a forty-five foot opening, are still in place. The original roof was of 'hip' construction, topped by a cupola. This construction was changed when the 'south' meetinghouse was added in 1807. This addition was nearly equal in size to the 'great' meetinghouse and contained a balcony on three sides. The 'north' meeting, a two-story structure, was added in 1729" for the women's meeting. There were enlargements in 1858 and 1867. [Silas B. Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses Past and Present (Richmond, Ind.: Friends United Press, 2001) xi.]
The building was often used for sessions of New England Yearly Meeting until 1903. In 1922 it was sold, and used as a community recreation center. It was a meeting place for the African-American community, and the Martin Luther King Center (a social service agency now located across the street) was founded here. In 1967 the building was restored to its 1807 appearance, and came into the hands of the Newport Historical Society. For more information, see Ester Fisher Benson, The Restoration of the Great Meetinghouse at Newport, Rhode Island 1699-1974 (Newport Historical Society). For more easily obtained details, see its web site which tells about the building, but is not totally accurate as to the nuances of the history of Quakerism.
The two photographs were taken at the 300th anniversary of the Great Meetinghouse, when New England Yearly Meeting gathered there for part of a day, 8m/11/1999.
Photographs by MJP Grundy.
North Dartmouth Meeting used to be at the corner of Route 6 and Tucker Road in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. But it has been moved to the Woolman Hill Conference Center, Keets Road, Deerfield, Mass. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 59.]
The first major meeting house in the North Dartmouth area was Apponegansett on Russell Mills Road, built in 1699. The North Dartmouth meeting house was built on land purchased from Perry Gifford, and built by the firm of Allen and Williston at the cost of $592.50. It is Greek Revival style. The vestibule was enlarged and a roofed porch added in 1897. Originally there were two slate-roofed carriage sheds with six stalls and a privy in each. The last one was taken down in 1985 and sold to Douglass of Westport for restoration. The last meeting for worship was held 22 Ninth Month 1996. The building was then carefully disassembled and reerected at Woolman Hill. It is used for worship, but is not the home of a formally established meeting. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 59.]
The photograph to the left shows the partition, or shutters, that could be lowered in order to separate the men's side from the women's side. The partition would be open for meeting for worship, so that both sides could hear any ministry from men or women. But it was closed so that each group could conduct its own business. This "separate but equal" practice was begun in the seventeenth century when the cultural expectation that women would be silent in mixed company was so strong that it was felt that the Holy Spirit manifesting in females would be stifled. By being responsible for their own business meetings, meeting funds, discipline, and so on, Quaker women developed skills that enabled them to become natural leaders in many of the reform movements of the nineteenth century, particularly abolition and women's suffrage. Most meetings merged the men's and women's meetings around the turn of the last century.
The photograph on the right shows the facing benches or minister's gallery. Friends who were recognized for their gifts in ministry or eldering were expected to sit in these raised seats in the front of the meeting house. In most meeting houses the acoustics were such that speakers from the facing benches could be heard clearly all around the room.
Photographs by MJP Grundy.
North Sandwich Meeting house, at 354 Quaker-Whiteface Road, in North Sandwich, New Hampshire
is the second one built in the town. The first one was constructed in 1814, a short distance northwest of the present building. When it fell into disrepair it was sold for $21.
Influenced by so-called Gurneyite ideas, the meeting began to plan worship services along the lines of other "low church" congregations. William Quimby built the present meeting house for approximately $1,000. In 1900 Friends purchased an organ for it for $75. The first pastor hired by the meeting was S. Albert Wood, who served from 1905 to 1913. After 1929 the meeting met mostly in the summer for the next half century. In the 1930s Eleanor Wood Whitman was the summer pastor. In the 1980s it became more and more difficult to find pastors willing to serve only in the summer, and unprogrameed worship became the most common form of service year round.
Friends met in the meeting house in the summer (heated only with a wood stove) and at other places in the cold months. In 1993 an addition was built that has radiant heating by gas-heated coils embedded in the cement slab under the wooden flooring, therefore permitting year-round use. The addition is wheel-chair accessible and consists of a smaller meeting room, two small classrooms, a utility room, and a dry kitchen. There is a small burial ground just east of the building. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 103.]
Photo by MJP Grundy, 8/2001.
Sandwich Meeting, Mass., is at 6 Quaker Road, north of the junction of Quaker Meetinghouse Road and Route 6A in East Sandwich. The meeting is said to be the oldest continuous Friends meeting on the North American mainland. It was founded in the winter of 1656-'57 under the influence of Nicholas Upsall.
On 20 Sixth Month [August] 1657 John Copeland and Christopher Holder arrived in Sandwich, after a four-day stay on Martha's Vineyard where the Native Americans showed them the kind of Christian charity and hospitality denied to them by the Puritans. Their reception in Sandwich was mixed, although more accepting than other Puritan towns because the Sandwich congregation had dismissed its preacher the year before. In his history, Bowden reported that some "who had long been burthened with a lifeless ministry and dead forms of religion" greeted them with joy. But the "advocates of religious intolerance" were quite upset. The two men quickly went on to Plymouth where they were soon asked to leave. The Friends told the magistrates that they felt they could not leave the colony until they had returned to Sandwich. The next morning they were arrested. Since there were no grounds for committing them to prison, the judge told them to be gone from the colony. The following morning they left for Sandwich. But on the way they were overtaken, arrested by the constable, and carried six miles towards Rhode Island. This did not deter them from turning and going to Sandwich. This alarmed the local Puritan clergy who prevailed on the Sandwich magistrates. A few days later Copeland and Holder were arrested and taken back to Plymouth. Again it was found they had broken no law, but were nevertheless ordered to leave the colony. The two men felt that "the service required of them in that part of New England was not accomplished", and told the governor they intended to return to Sandwich. This so alarmed the clergy that they pressured the governor to issue a warrant for their arrest. When they asked to see it, they were refused. William Newland, at whose house newly convinced Friends were meeting, insisted that it was illegal to not show the strangers the warrant. For this he was fined ten shillings. The two Friends were again arraigned, and "were told by the magistrates, who were urged on by the priests, that there was a law forbidding them to remain in that jurisdiction. The Friends replied that they could not promise to leave." They were then conducted 50 miles in the direction of Rhode Island, and set at liberty. James Bowden, The History of the Society of Friends in America (London: W & F.G. Cash, 1854), 1:71-73.
Early Friends in Sandwich worshipped at first in William Allen's home and possibly other venues for fifteen years. On 25 Fourth Month [June] 1672 the minutes mention that construction of a meeting house was under way. The minutes also mention that the roof was thatched. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 71.]
The second meeting house was begun on the present site in 1704. It was enlarged in 1709 and again in 1757, as the meeting grew.
The third and present meeting house was built of posts and beams cut on the Kennebec River in Maine. It is Early Georgian-Federal style. The building was dedicated 4 July 1810. It has two storeys and measures 48 by 36 feet, earning it the nickname "the Great Meetinghouse". Its balconies are now floored over, but at one time it could seat several hundred people. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 72.] The photograph shows the carriage sheds which flank it on either side.
There is a large burial ground next to the meeting house. This photo shows the rear of the building, with the carriage sheds on the right, the old privies just behind the meeting house (obscured by the tree), and on the left more carriage sheds, and the "community building" constructed in the 1990s when modern plumbing was introduced to the site.
There is an excellent web site giving the history of Cape Cod Friends. The Sandwich Monthly Meeting became the mother of other meetings on the Cape. At one time there were some eight meeting houses on Cape Cod. Today, the remaining ones, including East Sandwich PM which meets here, West Falmouth, and South Yarmouth, are all preparative meetings of Sandwich Monthly Meeting.
Color photos by MJP Grundy, 5/2009.
South Starksboro Meeting, at 7 Dan Sargent Road, off Route 7 in Starksboro, Vermont, was established about 200 years ago as Creek Meeting for Worship. By 1825 it was a preparative meeting under the care of Starksboro Monthly Meeting, which was located at the north end of town. In 1826 the present meeting house was built next to a burial ground. It is the oldest place of worship in Vermont still used by Friends. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 141.]
Like most New England meetings, at the time of the separation in New England Yearly Meeting, South Starksboro became a Gurneyite Meeting. In time a raised platform and carved table or desk for the preacher/pastor were added. The platform has since been removed, but the pump organ and desk are still there in the meeting house, even though the current meeting practices silent waiting worship.
The photo to the left below is the front of the meeting house, with the burial ground off to the right. The right-hand photograph, taken from the graveyard, shows the meeting house, behind it the smaller First Day School building, and barely seen behind that is the outhouse. The meeting has no electricity, and is heated with a wood-burning stove. The only "plumbing" is provided by the privy.
In 1850 the parent Starksboro Monthly Meeting was laid down and Creek Meeting came under the care of Ferrisburg Meeting (part of New York Yearly Meeting). The name was changed from Creek to South Starksboro Meeting in 1881. By the second third of the twentieth century the pastoral meeting had dwindled to a very few families.
Photos by MJP Grundy, 4/2006.
In 1970 Friends from Middlebury Meeting, along with a few others living in the area began to get together for worship during the summer, work days to repair the building, and other well-publicized events. In 1975 the meeting was transferred from New York Yearly Meeting to the care of Middlebury Meeting, in Northwest Quarterly Meeting of New England Yearly Meeting.
In the 1980s major repairs were needed on the meeting house and Friends raised the funds to do the necessary work. The building, which was sinking into the graveyard, was moved thirty feet to a new, solid foundation. Two years later the First Day School building was completed. In 1996 South Starksboro became a monthly meeting. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 142.]
There is an excellent description of a recent gathered meeting for worship in the South Starksboro Meeting house, in J. Brent Bill, Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality (Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 2005), pages 1-9. Brent Bill defines a "gathered meeting" as "a worship group united in feeling the movement of the Spirit in and among them" (p. 140).
West Falmouth Meeting is on Route 28A, one and a half miles south of Thomas Landers Road, in West Falmouth, Massachusetts. West Falmouth was the first town in colonial Massachusetts to exempt Friends from the tax required of any religious group that dissented from the established church. A Friends meeting was established in 1685 under the care of Sandwich Monthly Meeting. It became a separate meeting in 1709. In Fifth Month [July] 1720 Sandwich Monthly Meeting decided that West Falmouth should have a meeting house. Ten Friends in Sandwich contributed £44, and the first meeting minuted was held 2 Sixth Month [August] 1725. This first meeting house in the town was built between what are now routes 28 and 28A near the town's first Friends' burial ground (used until 1775). They were on the hill east of the present meeting house, off Blacksmith Shop Road. It was said to have been square, thirty feet on a side, with a "triangular hooper roof" with "a hole in the center to allow the smoke from the charcoal fire to escape." The site is marked with a stone post reading "FMH 1720". [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 60.]
A larger meeting house was needed for the growing congregation. Richard Lake donated land for the second West Falmouth meeting house. It was enlarged in 1794 and dismantled in 1842 to make space for an even larger building. Its frame was transported by barge to South Yarmouth to become part of a barn for Friend David Kelley. The third, larger, and present meeting house was built by Moses Swift in the then popular Greek Revival style. In 1861 Stephen Dillingham built the carriage house across the street. In 1894 the interior was modernized for use by pastoral Friends. A wood-burning furnace replaced the wood stoves, and the plain benches were replaced with pews. Dark wainscotting and a moveable platform were installed, and the balconies enclosed to make classrooms. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 60-1.]
By mid century the meeting had declined. In 1964 a new group of Friends founded an unprogrammed meeting there. Running water was added to the meeting house. In 1969 the meeting acquired the building and about two acres of land behind the meeting house. It is currently called Quaker House, and used for First Day School, retreats, and workshops. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses , 61.] The photograph shows the carriage sheds beyond the white fence, across the road.
Photos by MJP Grundy, 5/2009.
Westerly Monthly Meeting is at 75 Elm Street in Westerly, down in the southwest corner of Rhode Island. It began in 1744 as a Preparative Meeting of South Kingstown Monthly Meeting. A century later Westerly was the home meeting of John Wilbur who observed the direction that popular British Friend Joseph John Gurney was leading many Friends in the 1840s. Wilbur spoke out, warning Friends that they were in danger of losing the essential parts of their traditional faith and practice, especially in their understanding and use of the Bible, as they rushed to become more like their evangelical Protestant neighbors. In particular Wilbur clung to the earlier Friends' understanding that the inner transformation worked by Christ in each individual who was open to the Light, was more important than professing theologically correct orthodox beliefs about the death, resurrection and atonement of Jesus of Nazareth. Efforts of the majority to silence him led to about 600 Friends separating from the larger body of New England Friends in 1845. They were promptly labelled Wilburites, while the larger body were called Gurneyites. The Wilburites kept the name New England Yearly Meeting of Friends while the Gurneyites became the Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England. In time many Gurneyite meetings developed programmed worship and hired pastors; but their Yearly Meeting never officially adopted the strongly conservative theological 1887 Richmond Declaration of Faith that many other yearly meetings affiliated with Five Years Meeting (now Friends United Meeting) approved.
The photograph above shows the front of the meeting house. The photo to the right shows the rear of the building.
Westerly Meeting has its own web page with information about current Friends worship and programs.
Photos by MJPGrundy, June 2009
South Yarmouth Preparative Meeting is at 58 North Main Street, the corner of North Main and Kelley Road, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. It is the oldest existing meeting house on Cape Cod, dating from 1809. The meeting itself is believed to have started in 1681, the year before Friends began flocking to William Penn's new colony of Pennsylvania, as an allowed meeting under the care of Sandwich Monthly Meeting. As was the usual practice, Friends met for worship and meetings for church governance in each other's homes. The Dillingham and Jones families were the usual venues until 1714 when the first meeting house was constructed near the upper end of Bass River. The site and its small burial ground are still visible off of Mayfair Road in the town of Dennis. It is likely that in the late 1700s the building was moved to South Yarmouth which was becoming known as Quaker Village. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 79.]
The present building on North Main Street was constructed on land donated by David and Bathsheba Kelley in 1808. It is a substantial one-storey frame building with a large entrance foyer and double doors in Greek Revival style. It has a clock built by Ezra Kelley (1798-1895) mounted on a board from the old South Yarmouth salt works. The interior has the usual moveable partition. But the women's side is larger, possibly because so many men were away at sea for extended periods. The meeting house still has a few old whale oil lamps. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 79.]
The adjacent burial ground was laid out at the same time the meeting house was built. Now, in the southeast corner, there is a Quaker school house built elsewhere in the 1820s and moved here. It is used for First Day School and social events.[Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 79.]
The meeting house still has no plumbing, and this old pump is a reminder of that. There is also no overhead lighting, although wiring was added about 1973 to provide some light for evening events. A few front benches have been removed to make space for forced air heating vents connected to a furnace installed in the cellar. [For more information, see James Warren Gould, A New Account of The History of The Society of Friends on Cape Cod.
The meeting was laid down in 1909. But it was reestablished in 1954 and has been thriving ever since. [Weeks, New England Quaker Meetinghouses, 79.]
Photos by MJP Grundy, 5/2009.
Here are two orphan meetings (meaning that I have not yet begun to post information and photos about meetings in their states).
Cedar Grove meeting house, home of Rich Square Meeting, in Woodland, North Carolina, is seen here at the conclusion of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative)'s annual sessions, 7/17/1994.
Photo by MJPGrundy, 7/17/1994.
Hickory Grove Meeting house is on the Scattergood School campus in West Branch, Iowa. It was moved there when the freeway was built and the original floor and benches were removed and installed in the Hoover Museum. Handsome new ones have been made to replace them.
Photo by MJPGrundy, 8m/11/1996.
This page is obviously still under construction.
Last updated 6m/7/2013.