History of Sadsbury Friends Meeting

Sadsbury was once part of a vast wilderness traversed by the Shawnee and Susquehanna Indians. Original settlers in Sadsbury Township were Scotch Irish Presbyterians and Friends. Friends attended the New Garden Monthly Meeting of Chester Quarterly Meeting.

The original meeting house was built in 1725. In 1747, a larger meeting house, the present stone building, was built. The building suffered damage during the Revolutionary War. The woodwork was burned, but Joseph Guest restored the meeting house, putting a ceiling where the galleries had been.

Friends took part in anti-slavery activities using their homes as “stations” of the Underground Railroad. They were also active in the Christiana Resistance of 1851, and during the time of the Civil War. A schoolhouse once existed on the property but was torn down when the public road was straightened in 1907. At one time the Maple Grove Mennonites used the meeting house for their own gatherings. Sadsbury is very proud of that association.

In 1974, Sadsbury Meeting was remodeled again, creating a community room.

More detailed history about Sadsbury Meeting and The Religious Society of Friends can be gained from these publication excerpts. (click to expand.)

History of Lancaster County by Ellis and Evans, 1883

Excerpt from History of Lancaster County by Ellis and Evans, 1883 page 1036 (source Southern Lancaster County Historical Society )

Sadsbury Friends Meeting (Hicksite)

In 1724, Andrew Moore and Samuel Miller petitioned for the establishment of a meeting of worship in Sadsbury. It was done in 1725, and twelve years later, or in 1737,the Sadsbury Monthly meeting was established. A log meeting-house was built in 1725, and this was the place of worship till about 1760, when the present house was erected. It was a stone building of a sufficient height for two stories, and the carpenter work was done by Joseph Guest. About the time of the Revolutionary war the wood work of the building was burned, and Joseph Guest was again the carpenter who rebuilt it within the same walls. At first there were high galleries in this building, but when it was rebuilt a floor was put in the place of Galleries, converting it into a proper two story building. It had only ordinary repairs since that time.

Among the ancient members of this meeting the names are remembered of Andrew and James Moore, Nail Mooney, James Clemson, James Clemson, Jr., Anthony Shaw, Jane Jones and daughter Sarah Metcalf, Isaac Taylor, Samuel Miller, John, Aaron, and Thomas Musgrave, Robert Moore, Calvin Cooper, John Truman, and Asshel Walker. The lot on which the church was originally built was purchased from the “Servants’ Tracts”, now called Christiana tract. To this an addition was afterwards purchased from Thomas Richard and John Penn, increasing the amount of land owned by the meeting to about seventy acres. When the division into Hicksite and Orthodox branches of the Friends occured the former retained control of the property

Sadsbury Friends’ Meeting (Orthodox)

After the separation of the Friends into Hicksite and Orthodox branches, the latter branch erected a meeting house near the line between Sadsbury and Bart , a short distance from the house that had been built in 1825, where they worshiped till 1880, when the meeting was laid down, and a meeting house was built at Christiana, where the society has since worshiped. It is a brick structure, thirty feet square and one story in height. The meeting has six families.

History of Chester County, Pennsylvania by J.Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, 1881

Excerpt from History of Chester County, Pennsylvania by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, 1881 page 239 (source  Southern Lancaster County Historical Society )

Society of Friends Sadsbury Meeting

Samuel Smith says that in 1724 Samuel Miller and Andrew Moore made application on behalf of themselves and their friends settled about Sadsbury for liberty to build a meeting house, which being granted by the Quarterly meeting, they built one in 1725, which goes by the name of Sadsbury.

In 1722 a committee appointed by Chester Quarterly Meeting visited Friends of Conestoga and Octorara and reported that they inclined to meet together. In 1723 it was reported that at Octorara were some “of a contentious spirit, and not worthy to be esteemed of our society”. In the latter part of 1723 “meetings” are mentioned at both places, but they were probably of an informal character. 9th month 9, 1724, things at Octorara are reported hopeful, and in the 12th month they desire a committee to help fix on a site for a meeting house. The committee failed to settle the question, but on 9th month 8, 1725. “This meeting being informed that those friends of Sadsbury have agreed amongst themselves of a place to Build a meeting house on which this meeting approves of”.

The relation of the following letter to this subject is not entirely clear if the meeting house was built in 1725.

Friend John Taylor

I have just now wrote to thee in behalf of an honest friend (Isaac Jackson) and am now further to acquaint thee with another application, made to me by one Simon Hadly, who represents that several friends being seated near that place called the Gap, in Lancaster County; they hope in a little time to establish a meeting there, in order to which they desire some vacant Land near that place may be secured for two or three friends that would shortly come and settle it. I shall not undertake here to give thee any description of the place but shall leave that to Simon himself, and shall only recommend the Request to thee as fitt to be encouraged. I am Thy real friend, J. Logan” Philada., 23, 7, 1729

The old Sadsbury meeting house is on the edge of Lancaster County, but many of the members resided in Chester County.

History of Lancaster County by Dr. Frederick Klein, 1926

Excerpt from History of Lancaster County by Dr. Frederick Klein, 1926 (source Southern Lancaster County Historical Society )

In 1724 Andrew Moore and Samuel Miller petitioned for the establishment of a Particular Meeting in Sadsbury township, and for the erection of a meet- inghouse. This was accomplished in 1725, a log house being then raised. In 1737 the Sadsbury Monthly Meeting was established, and draw Quakers from Leacock, Lampeter, and Salisbury. Leacock cooperated with Sadsbury to secure this Monthly Meeting status, and all gathered at Sadsbury until 1749, when a larger meetinghouse was built at Bird-in-Hand, East Lampeter township. Then Leacock Monthly Meeting was established, and was continued at that point until 1854, by which time so many Quakers of the Lampeters and Leacocks had moved “toward the great West,” that it was decided to take the Monthly Meeting to Sadsbury.

Sadsbury Meeting-The Sadsbury meetinghouse of the Hicksite branch, was erected of stone in 1748, it is believed. Its solid stone walls rise to a height of two stories, and when first built supported high galleries. These galleries, and in fact almost all of the interior woodwork, were burned during the Revolutionary War; and when the repairing was taken in hand by Joseph Guest, who had charge of the original carpentry, it was decided to lay a floor on the second story, in place of galleries. This arrangement has continued to the present. It is not used now, excepting occasionally for funeral services. The building was at one time used by the Amish Mennonites. Among the Quakers who were early members of this church were Andrew and James Moore, Nail Mooney, James Clemson, James Clemson, Jr., Anthony Shaw, Jane Jones, Sarah Metcalf, Isaac Taylor, Samuel Miller, John Aaron, and Thomas Musgrave, Robert Moore, Calvin Cooper, John Truman, and Asahel Walker.

The original site of the meetinghouse was part of what is known as the “Servant’s Tract,” or the “Christiana Tract.” A later addition, bringing the church property to seventy acres, was purchased from Thomas Richard and John Penn. When the division into Hicksite and Orthodox Friends occurred, the former society retained possession of the church property.

The Orthodox society soon afterwards erected a meetinghouse near the line between Sadsbury and Bart townships, only a short distance from the Bart meetinghouse which had been erected in 1825. There the Sadsbury and Bart orthodox Quakers met for worship until 1880, when the meeting was laid down, and another house erected in the borough of Christiana, a brick structure, thirty feet square and one story high.

The Sadsbury Society of Friends is not a strong body, though both the Sadsbury and Bart Friends meetings have active Sunday schools with enrollments in excess of fifty.

Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates, Sr., 1968

Excerpt from Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates, Sr., 1968 (source Southern Lancaster County Historical Society )

Sadsbury Ffriends Meeting

The Sadsbury Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends, in its long history, has known three Meeting Houses in two different loca-tions. The first is found about a mile north of Christiana on the east side of the road leading to Simmontown and Mt. Vernon. Here the first log Meeting House was built in 1725. Here also the large stone structure which replaced it in 1747 still stands surrounded on all sides by the graves of those who made this Meeting great. This is what is commonly known as “Old Sadsbury.”

The background of this Meeting is most interesting. At the time of its indulgence in 1723 this area was, and continued to be, Chester County until 1729, when Lancaster County was organized and the Township of Sadsbury established in the newly formed County. In addition to its present boundaries, Sadsbury embraced also what was to become Coleraine in 1738, Bart in 1743 and Eden in 1855. This was the Province of Pennsylvania and George I was on the throne of the mother country, England. Sir William Keith was Lieutenant Governor of the Province. Since William Penn was himself a Friend and had offered a place of refuge to all those persecuted persons of whatever sect, it was only natural that members of the Society of Friends, formerly known by such terms as “Children of Light,” “Friends in the Truth” and, in derision, “Quakers,” should be among the first to settle in the Province. We find therefore that a Friend, one John Kennerly, settled near what is now Christiana in the year 1691. He is believed to be the first white man to settle in what was to become Lancaster County. This was nine years before William Penn met with the Indians at the large spring around which the village of Gap now clusters. Here he made a treaty with them in 1700 and directly south of this spring surveyed a tract of 1000 acres, calling it the “William Penn Tract.” On this tract was located an Indian village. At this time also he laid out an adjoining tract of 1050 acres, which was known as the “Servants Tract.” This tract included that land on which the Borough of Christiana is located, and on which the first Sadsbury log Meeting House stood. About this same time Isaac Tay-lor, surveyor for William Penn, located on adjoining land and it is of interest to note that this name, whether his or his son’s, appears on the list of early Friends at Sadsbury, along with Moore, Mooney, Shaw, Jones, Cooper, Walker and others.

Prior to 1723, Friends in this locality belonged to and attended New Garden Monthly Meeting. In order to provide a more conveni-ent place of worship, an Indulged Meeting was set up at this time. It, presumably, met in a private home until 1725 at which time a log Meeting House was erected and Sadsbury Preparative Meeting was set up. This first Meeting House was located on the hillside just north of the large spring, on a portion of land which they expected to receive from the Penns. In 1737, Sadsbury Monthly Meeting was set up, and by 1747 the membership had outgrown the log building and a large stone structure was erected. It is a two story building, the second story being for galleries. Joseph Guest did the carpenter work, but we are not told the name of the mason who built the walls. Not yet having received title to the land, Andrew Moore and Calvin Cooper, on behalf of the Meeting, filed a petition for a tract of land on which it was supposed the Meeting House stood.

Under date of 1749, a tract of fifty six acres was deeded to them “in trust for the people commonly called Quakers residing in this and adjoining Townships.” The consideration was 8 pounds, 3 shillings and 6 pence. The patent was signed by James Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania. Twenty years later it was discovered that the Meeting House was not located on this tract and four more acres were purchased from the “Servants Tract” for a nominal sum in shillings. This land was located on the western side of the first purchase. In 1820 another small plot of two acres was added, on which a log building was erected for the shelter of horses.

This ancient house of worship still stands, a monument to the workmanship of those early builders. Its walls have withstood two fires; first about 1776 the interior woodwork burned and Joseph Guest again was employed to rebuild it, making it as it appears today. Some years later it again suffered from fire but not much damage resulted at this time. It is believed to be the oldest House of Worship in Lancaster County still standing. This is indeed a “Shrine of Quakerism” and deserves to be preserved as such.

Early Friends were pioneers in education, conducting schools in private homes and later erecting school houses. Such a one was located about fifty feet west of the Meeting House. It is supposed that this did not function too long after the establishment of the Public School System in Pennsylvania, but it was revived again for two years in 1893 and ’94, offering advanced education to an en-rollment of from forty to sixty scholars. The building was torn down in 1907 when the road on the west side was straightened, the stones being used in completing the cemetery wall.

As previously stated, the burying ground completely surrounds the Meeting House. Although many lie in unmarked graves, as was the custom of early Friends, many more representatives of the early fami-lies lie beneath the modest stones usually found in the graveyards of Friends Meetings. Without doubt also many stories and many secrets of the “Underground Railroad” lie forever unrevealed in the tomb with those honored champions of freedom. Although being Friends and basically men of peace, many rallied to the defence of their Coun-try in its time of crisis, as attested by the numerous American flags which decorate their graves on Memorial Day.

One cannot visit these grounds without noticing the large “Upping Block” a short distance from the front of the Meeting House. This is believed to be the largest “Upping Block” in a wide area, with its top stone a single slab more than ten feet long. It is worth making a special trip to see and, to close ones eyes and mind to the sights and sounds of todays mode of travel, see again those men and women of long ago emerge from the Meeting House, dressed in plain Quaker garb, mount their horses and proceed quietly to their humble homes after worship.

Such was, and is, “Old Sadsbury” at its original location, but a later chapter in its story is found in the Borough of Christiana.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, the greater part of the mem-bership being concentrated in and around Christiana and many no longer possessing horses and carriages, it was thought advisable to secure a place of worship more convenient. A plot of ground was secured on the corner of Pine Street and Penn Avenue. On this a modern Meeting House was erected and dedicated in 1902. They at this time departed from the traditional plainness and simplicity of construction usually found in Friends Meeting Houses by erecting a building of exceptionally pleasing architecture. It is of stone, secured from a local quarry, and the design is the most beautiful of any Church in the Borough. This undertaking was financed in part by the sale of the greater portion of the land belonging to the Meeting. Here Sadsbury Meeting continues to operate although, like many others, its membership is widely scattered yet remaining loyal. The story is told of an eight year old boy living in New York City who, upon being asked to what Church he belonged, replied without hesitation, “I am a member of Sadsbury Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.”

Children of Friends upon being registered with the Meeting at time of birth become “Birthright Members” of the Society. In the case of this particular child, the parents evidently discharged their responsi-bility with diligence, instilling into his young mind his relationship to the Meeting.

History of Lancaster County by Dr. Frederick Klein, 1926

Excerpt from the History of Lancaster County by Dr. Frederick Klein, 1926 (source Pennsylvania Dutch History, Genealogy and Culture )

The Religious Society Of Friends, Commonly Called “Quakers”

George Fox, a “sober-minded serious youth,” born in Leicestershire in i624, “early had his mind turned to religious matters.” He began to state his views, which were at least “unfamiliar” in those days of “formalism in religious observances.” But he converted many to his belief, and ere long his I and of religious enthusiasts, known as “Children of Truth,” or “Children of Light,” or “Friends of Truth,” were spreading his and their doctrines far and wide in Great Britain, on the European continent, and eventually in the West Indies and North America. The names by which this sect was known eventually crystallized into the “Religious Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers.”

The first Quakers to land in America were two women, Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, who reached Boston, by way of Barbadoes, on July 11, 1656. They were arrested, “subjected to a brutal examination to see whether they were witches,” tnd finally deported to Barbadoes. George Bishop, addressing the magistrates in 1660, said: “Two poor women arriving in your bar- bour so shook ye, to the everlasting shame of you and of your established peace and order, as if a formidable army had invaded your borders.” Within two days of their deportation, however, eight more Quakers arrived in Massa- chusetts. They were forthwith returned to England, and a religious frenzy seized the people of Massachusetts, who deemed the “horrid opinions” and “diabolical doctrines” of “that cursed sect of heretics * * * commonly called Quakers” to be a dangerous leaven of “mutiny, sedition and rebellion,” devised “to overthrow the order established in Church and commonwealth.” Virginia was as hostile to the Quakers as Massachusetts, but in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland their lot was better. However, not until William Penn established his province of Pennsylvania was the Quaker truly welcomed in America. By the way, Penn’s “Holy Experiment” was not the first attempt made to find a sanctuary in North America for the Quaker; twenty years earlier George Fox “had commissioned Joseph Coale to seek such a home in the new world.”

Friends came rapidly to Penn’s colony. “Twenty-three vessels sailed up the Delaware during the year i1682, bringing probably 2,000 passengers. The Quakers predominated in governmental affairs in the province in the first decades; indeed it was not until the middle decades of the next century that the Quaker legislative hold on Pennsylvania was shaken, this being brought about mainly through the insistence of Benjamin Franklin and others that Pennsylvania appropriate funds to properly protect its settlers against the Indians, who were then in alliance with France, and were raiding the frontier, settlements near the Susquehanna.

The Quakers were among the first to protest against slavery. In 1688 the Friends of German origin in Pennsylvania, with which Francis Daniel Pastorius was connected, at one of their regular meetings in Germantown, “sent up” their opinion, which was that “liberty of the body” as well as of conscience should be one of the fundamentals of rightful government in Quaker Pennsylvania. They declared that “to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against.”

Among the Quakers of Pennsylvania settlement in the first decades of Penn’s government were Welsh gentry who bought a “barony” of forty thousand acres from William Penn, in London, in 1681. They began to cross the ocean in the next year, and settled mostly in Chester county, taking up what is known as the “Welsh Tract,” and thus coming very near to what became Lancaster county. The first man to settle in what is now Lancaster county was a Quaker, it seems. He, John Kennerly, settled near Christiana, in 1691, nineteen years before the first Mennonites came. And another settle- ment bordering on Little Britain township of Lancaster, but actually in Maryland, began to take shape at about the same time. A striking testimony of the early settlement of Quakers in the “East End” of Lancaster county is in the old Sadsbury meeting-house, which has withstood the ravages of the elements for one hundred and seventy-five years.

The first meeting house was erected by Sadsbury Quakers in 1725, and though the Presbyterians raised their Upper Octorara Church a few years earlier, it was not until about 1727 that the Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church was erected. The other denominations did not build churches for several decades thereafter.

In 1724 Andrew Moore and Samuel Miller petitioned for the establishment of a Particular Meeting in Sadsbury township, and for the erection of a meet- inghouse. This was accomplished in 1725, a log house being then raised. In 1737 the Sadsbury Monthly Meeting was established, and draw Quakers from Leacock, Lampeter, and Salisbury. Leacock cooperated with Sadsbury to secure this Monthly Meeting status, and all gathered at Sadsbury until 1749, when a larger meetinghouse was built at Bird-in-Hand, East Lampeter township. Then Leacock Monthly Meeting was established, and was continued at that point until 1854, by which time so many Quakers of the Lampeters and Leacocks had moved “toward the great West,” that it was decided to take the Monthly Meeting to Sadsbury.

Sadsbury Meeting

The Sadsbury meetinghouse of the Hicksite branch, was erected of stone in 1748, it is believed. Its solid stone walls rise to a height of two stories, and when first built supported high galleries. These galleries, and in fact almost all of the interior woodwork, were burned during the Revolutionary War; and when the repairing was taken in hand by Joseph Guest, who had charge of the original carpentry, it was decided to lay a floor on the second story, in place of galleries. This arrangement has continued to the present. It is not used now, excepting occasionally for funeral services. The building was at one time used by the Amish Mennonites. Among the Quakers who were early members of this church were Andrew and James Moore, Nail Mooney, James Clemson, James Clemson, Jr., Anthony Shaw, Jane Jones, Sarah Metcalf, Isaac Taylor, Samuel Miller, John Aaron, and Thomas Musgrave, Robert Moore, Calvin Cooper, John Truman, and Asahel Walker.

The original site of the meetinghouse was part of what is known as the “Servant’s Tract,” or the “Christiana Tract.” A later addition, bringing the church property to seventy acres, was purchased from Thomas Richard and John Penn. When the division into Hicksite and Orthodox Friends occurred, the former society retained possession of the church property.

The Orthodox society soon afterwards erected a meetinghouse near the line between Sadsbury and Bart townships, only a short distance from the Bart meetinghouse which had been erected in 1825. There the Sadsbury and Bart orthodox Quakers met for worship until 1880, when the meeting was laid down, and another house erected in the borough of Christiana, a brick structure, thirty feet square and one story high.

The Sadsbury Society of Friends is not a strong body, though both the Sadsbury and Bart Friends meetings have active Sunday schools with enroll- ments in excess of fifty.

Bart Meeting

The Bart meeting was in existence in 1823, and met in the schoolhouse that stood on the land of Jeremiah Cooper, near Cooperville. In 1825 they erected the meetinghouse on the State road, near the township line, but in Sadsbury township, and continued as a branch of the Sadsbury Monthly Meeting. The house was solidly built of stone, and has needed little repairs. When the division came, the majority of Bart meeting adopted the views of the Hicksite Friends. The Coopers were the most active of the founders of this meeting.

The Quaker denomination has been represented in Southern Lancaster since the beginning of settlement. Penn Hill, in Fulton township, is probably the strongest “meeting,” but Eastland meeting is also strong. The Drumore meeting, is, however, very weak in numbers.

Penn Hill Meeting-The Penn Hill meeting was the first to be estallished. Prior to 1749 the Quakers in southern Lancaster were members of the Nottingham Monthly and Particular (or weekly) Meetings, but in that year the Nottingham Monthly Meeting had to consider a request “from Friends, dwellers in Lancaster county, near Cannawingo” that they be permitted to hold meetings in Lancaster county, “both on first and week days.” In 1752 Friends “living in and near Little Britain,” were given authority to erect a meetinghouse, meeting for the consideration of this matter having been held at the home of James King. The house of worship was duly erected, and in 1758 conveyance of the site, five acres, was made by Michael King to Samuel Boyd, Joshua Brown, Isaac Williams, and Vincent King, “trustees of the Little Britain Friends’ Meeting.” Eventually a brick building took the place of the original structure. The church became known as Penn Hill, though the official title of the meeting remained as it originally was. William P. King, of Peach Bottom, was superintendent in 1922.

In 1792 a tract of land, six acres and thirty-five perches in extent, was conveyed by Henry and Reuben Reynolds, to James Harlan, Henry Reynolds, Jr., and Abner Brown, trustees of the Friends’ Meeting at Eastland, Little Britain township, for the purpose of erecting a meetinghouse. A substantial stone structure was raised upon it, and it has been the centre of a strong society of Friends ever since. Robert K. Wood, of Nottingham, is superintendent.

Orthodox and Hicksite – In 1827 a division occurred in the Society of Friends, the parts becoming later known as “Orthodox” and “Hicksite.” The Hicksite Quakers were in the majority in Little Britain, and therefore held the church property. The Orthodox Friends consequently erected a small brick meetinghouse for themselves. It stood almost on the line between Little Britain and Fulton townships, being on Soapstone Hill in Fulton. It was known as Ballance’s Meeting, but never functioned strongly.

In 1848 ground was acquired at Ashville, northeast of Oak Hill, and there a brick building was erected for the convenience of what is termed “an indulged meeting” of Friends. It was used for a number of years by Quakers, but eventually the meetinghouse was acquired by Presbyterians.

In 1816 a meetinghouse was erected in Drumore township, about half a mile south of Liberty Square, on land which originally was patented by Moses Irwin, but was then in possession of Jacob Shoemaker, who donated the site to the Society of Friends. Earlier, the Drumore Society had used an old schoolhouse about a mile westward, for their meetings. Early members of the society were Joseph Stubbs, David Parry, Jacob Shoemaker, Robert Clendenin, Isaac Smith, Isaac Bolton, Joseph Smith, Simon Pennock, George Lamborn, Amos Walton, Jesse Lamborn, James Warral and wife, and Ezekiel Atkinson. Ann A. Lamborn is the present superintendent.

In the “Scotch-Irish in Southern Lancaster,” somereferences are made to Quaker history, in the narrative by D. F. Magee, on New Britain Township. He further states:

Returning again to the east side of this section, we find among the very earliest patents preceding the Mennonite settlement by three years was a warrant dated June io, 1707, to Edward Pleadwell, for 700 acres of land. It was in the extreme southern edge of Little Britain township, and included what is now famous as Wood’s Chrome Banks, lying on both sides of the Octorara Creek, in the bend of the creek below lec’s Bridge. Whether there was any actual settlement of this land at or about this time it is hard to determine; but that the value of the land was known and recognized and first, we may say, discovered by the early settlers of the Nottingham Quaker section, is very apparent. In this section, centrally located, on the 10th of January, 1792, was established the meeting-house and burial-ground known as “Fastland,” the founders and first trustees of which were Henry Reynolds, Reuben Reynolds, James Harlan, Henry Reynolds, Jr., and Abner Brown; and six acres and thirty-five perches of land were set aside for the purposes of the meetinghouse. The meeting, though not large, is still maintained. The meeting-house at Penn Hill was founded many years prior to this, however, and was first conducted as a branch of the Nottingham Monthly Meeting. On the 14th of June, 1749, it was erected into a separate meeting, at least the proceedings looking to that end were instituted at that time; and John Smith, Joshua Johnson, Joshua Pusey, Thomas Carleton, Robert Lewis and James Robinson met at James King’s residence and finally, on May 11, 1752, reported in favor of building a meeting-house. On March 17, 1759, a conveyance for the land from Michael King was made to Samuel Boyd, Joshua Brown, Isaac Williams and Vincent King, as trustees, and a house was erected. It is located on the sununit of the ridge between Conowingo and Puddle Duck creeks. There is a thriving congregation belonging to this meeting to this day, including many of the most prominent families of that section. Their forefathers for several generations back sleep in the adjacent cemetery, and to read the names on the lowly tombstones, dating back 150 to 160 years, is an epitome of the biographical history of that section.

It is thought that the Society of Friends had an organized meeting in the county seat as early as 1735, but offical records do not begin until almost two decades later. Reference to “Lancaster Quakers” is contained in the records of the Sadsbury Quarterly Meeting under dates in 1754-55. The first refer- ence is in “5, 13, 1754,” when the Quarterly Meeting was acquainted “that the Friends living in and near Lancaster have for some time past, by their allowance, kept meetings for worship with reputation.” It was decided to visit them, “and advise them to come under the immediate care of some monthly meeting.” At the next meeting, “8, 12, 1754,” it was found that “the Friends appointed * * * on the affairs of Lancaster and Hempfield are desired to give their further advice and assistance.” In 1755 the Lancaster meeting was given authority to erect a meetinghouse. For this purpose “two lots of ground on the east side of South Queen Street had been deeded by James Hamilton, in 1754, to Peter Worrall, Isaac Whitelock, and Thomas Poultney, “trustees for the Quaker Society in Lancaster Borough.” Between that year and 1759 the meetinghouse was built. Its cost was L551.6.3, Isaac Whitelock contributing L100. The Lancaster Society was comparatively strong until after the Revolution, and services were regularly held in that meeting-house probably until about i8io. In the latter year it was used for school purposes. The Lancaster Society apparently dwindled to such small numbers that eventually the Sadsbury meeting took charge of its property, and in i844 decided to sell same. They reserved the burying ground but sold the building, in 1845, to Ellis Lewis; and a year later Mr. Lewis sold to the Odd Fellows.

In 1754 reference was made, in Sadsbury Quarterly Meeting minutes, to a Hempfield Society. Earlier in the same year reference was made to “those Friends on this side of the Susquehanna.” It would seem that this Hempfield meeting was that with which John Wright was identified, as speaker. The Wright’s Ferry Society functioned almost independently until 1799, when the Quakers at Columbia made application to the Lampeter Monthly Meeting to hold an “indulged meeting,” on First and week days. Samuel Wright, founder of Columbia, gave the society a lot on Cherry street, near Third street. A brick meetinghouse was erected in the next year. In that building, during that summer, “the first attempt to establish a school where the higher branches were taught” was made.

There were many Quakers in Lampeter township in provincial days. The Quaker meetinghouse at Bird-in-Hand, erected in 1749, was the outcome of many prior years of Quaker meetings in the Pequea and Mill Creek valleys. The minutes of the Concord Quarterly Meeting for June 13, 1722, refers to a resolution “to visit those few friends that are removed to Conestoga.” From that summer until about 1732 meetings were held with fair regularity in Lampeter township, in the houses of Friends. In 1732 it was decided “to have a meeting settled at or near Hattil Varman’s on every first and sixth days of each week.” A log meetinghouse was raised upon his land in that year. Until 1749 this “meeting” or society was known as the “Leacock Particular Meeting.” Varman’s property was situated “on a road leading from the hamlet of Shelf Level to Groff’s Mill.” It was inconveniently placed, and so a committee was appointed to find another location for meetinghouse and graveyard. They found it on McNabb’s tract in East Lampeter township, at what became Bird-in-Hand. The church was moved in that year and rerected, giving way in 1790 to a brick building. From 1749 to 1854 the Lampeter township meetinghouse was the venue of the Monthly Meeting also. It’lost its circuit status in 1854, but continued as a Particular Meeting. The Monthly Meeting was taken to Sadsbury, the weakening of the Lampeter church aris- ing from a schism in 1829, and later migration westward, mainly to Illinois, of members. The graveyard, which dates from 1749, is endowed to forever remain a burial place.

The Orthodox branch of the Society of Friends is not now represented in Bird-in-Hand, but the Hicksite Quakers are comparatively strong, under the leadership of Mrs. Marianna (Gibbons) Brubaker.

Among the prominent Quakers of the early decades of Lancaster county was Samuel Jones, one of the first judges of the county. He came to America from Wales, but seems to have lived earlier in Ireland. In the records of the Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends of Philadelphia is the following entry, under date of Twelfth Month, 29, 1711:

Several certificates was produced and read in this meeting * * * * * one from Haverford- west on behalf of Samuel Jones and his wife.

The Certificate of Removal of Samuel Jones and his wife, from the Meeting at Haverfordwest, to which reference is made, bore the date 7 month, 21, 1711, and read as follows:

About 3 years past he came over here from Ireland, 2 years of which time he lived with his father, and with ye approbation of Friends niarried. Received into Haverfordwest Meeting.

Under date of 1st Month, 27, 1713, the Minutes of the Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia read:

Samuel Jones lays before this meeting that he intends to remove to Chester County for a better
accommodation of his trade and desires of certificate in order thereto.

The Committee reported to Monthly Meeting of 2nd Month, 25, 1713, that “they hear nothing to obstruct his having a certificate, therefore Ralph Jackson is desired to write him one and bring to the next monthly meeting for approbation and signing.”

On Third Month, 29, 1713, the entry reads:

Ralph Jackson brought a certificate to this meeting on the behalf of Samuel Jones, which was read, approved and signed.

More is elsewhere given regarding the life of Samuel Jones, who took such an active part in public affairs of Lancaster county, from 1729. His daughter, Mary, married Laurence Richardson, regarding whose family some reference is made in Myers’ “Immigration of the Irish Quakers, 1682-1750″; see pages 120, 128, 162. John Richardson, father of Laurence, settled with other Irish Quakers in the neighborhood of Newcastle, Pennsylvania, in 1684, later going to Kennett township, and there establishing a meeting. Laurence Richardson came from New Garden Meeting to Sadsbury in 1729, settling at Gap, and later taking part in the Particular Meeting at Leacock, with Hattil Varman. Another of the Kennett township Quakers was Gayen Miller, father of John Miller, who comes so prominently into the early history of Old John’s of Pequea (Episcopal) Church; see Penna. Archives, Second Series, Vol. IX, p. 686.

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