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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Quakers In North Carolina

First lets look at the development of some of the counties of North Carolina. It's important to see how they developed because one place will be in a county one year but in a new county another year and this makes it very confusing. They didn't happen all at once. Pioneers moved west in these states and communities, districts, towns, counties followed.

Bladen County, NC(Infomation from Wikipedia)

Bladen, Rowan and Anson Counties, NC

Bladen County was formed in 1734 as Bladen Precinct of Bath County, from New Hanover Precinct. It was named for Martin Bladen, a member of the Board of Trade. With the abolition of Bath County in 1739, all of its constituent precincts became counties.

Originally, Bladen was a vast territory with indefinite northern and western boundaries. Reductions in its extent began in 1750, when its western part became Anson County. In 1752 the northern part of Bladen County was combined with parts of Granville County and Johnston County to form Orange County. In 1754 the northern part of what was left of Bladen County became Cumberland County. In 1764 the southern part of what remained of Bladen County was combined with part of New Hanover County to form Brunswick County. In 1787 the western part of the now much smaller county became Robeson County. Finally, in 1808 the southern part of Bladen County was combined with part of Brunswick County to form Columbus County. Bladen County is considered the "mother county" of North Carolina because of the 100 counties in North Carolina, 55 of them at one point belonged to Bladen County. It is also the fourth largest county in North Carolina.


Rowan County, NC (Information from Wikipedia)

Old Rowan County, NC

Old Rowan County, NC became these counties

The first Europeans to enter what is now Rowan County came with the Spanish expedition of Juan Pardo in 1567. They established a fort and a mission in the native village of Guatari, believed to be located near the Yadkin River and inhabited by the Wateree. At the time, the area was ruled by a female chief the Spaniards called Guatari Mico. The Spaniards called the village Salamanca in honor of the city of Salamanca in western Spain, and established a mission, headed by a secular priest named Sebastián Montero. The Spaniards abandoned the area at some point before 1572.

The county was formed in 1753 from the northern part of Anson County. It was named for Matthew Rowan, acting governor of North Carolina from 1753 to 1754. The county seat is Salisbury. Initially Rowan included the entire northwestern sector of North Carolina, with no clear western boundary, but its size was reduced as a number of counties were split off. The first big excision was to createSurry County in 1771. Burke and Wilkes Counties were formed from the western parts of Rowan and Surry in 1777 and 1778, respectively, leaving a smaller Rowan County that comprised present-day Rowan, Iredell (formed 1788), Davidson (1822), and Davie (1836). Surry, Burke and Wilkes subsequently fragmented further as well. Depending on where the ancestor lived, you may want to look at records for some of these later counties also. Records of very early land grants in the Rowan County area will be found with Anson County

Originally, Rowan County was a vast territory with an indefinite western boundary. Reductions in its extent began in 1770, when the eastern part of it was combined with the western part of Orange County to become Guilford County, North Carolina. In 1771 the northeastern part of what remained of Rowan County became Surry County. In 1777 the western part of Rowan County became Burke County. In 1788 the western part of the now much smaller Rowan County became Iredell County. In 1822 the eastern part of the still shrinking county became Davidson County. Finally, in 1836 the part of Rowan County north of the South Yadkin River became Davie County.


Anson County, NC (Information from Wikipedia)
The county was formed in 1750 from Bladen County. It was named for George Anson, Baron Anson, a British admiral, who circumnavigated the globe from 1740 to 1744, and later became First Lord of the Admiralty.

Like its parent county Bladen, Anson County was originally a vast territory with indefinite northern and western boundaries. Reductions in its extent began in 1753, when the northern part of it became Rowan County. In 1762 the western part of Anson County became Mecklenburg County. In 1779 the northern part of what remained of Anson County became Montgomery County, and the part east of the Pee Dee River became Richmond County. Finally, in 1842 the western part of Anson County was combined with the southeastern part of Mecklenburg County to become Union County.


Guilford County, NC (Information from Wikipedia)
At the time of European encounter, the inhabitants of the area that became Guilford County were a Siouan-speaking people called the Saura. Beginning in the 1740s, settlers arrived in the region in search of fertile and affordable land. These first settlers included American Quakers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New England at what is now Greensboro, as well as German Reformed and Lutherans in the east, British Quakers in the south and west, and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in the center of today's Guilford County. The county was formed in 1771 from parts of Rowan County and Orange County. It was named for Francis North, 1st Earl of Guilford, father of Frederick North, Lord North, British Prime Minister from 1770 to 1782.

Friedens Church, whose name means "peace" in German, is in eastern Guilford County, at 6001 NC Hwy 61 North, northwest of Gibsonville. It is a historic church that has operated continuously since the earliest European settlers came to this area. According to a history of the church, Rev. John Ulrich Giesendanner led his Lutheran congregation from Pennsylvania in 1740, into the part of North Carolina around Haw River, Reedy Fork, Eno River, Alamance Creek, Travis Creek, Beaver Creek and Deep River. The first building used by Friedens Church was made of logs in 1745 and served for 25 years. The second building, completed about 1771, was much more substantial and remained in use until it was replaced in May, 1871. The third building was destroyed by fire on January 8, 1939. Only the columns in front survived. The structure was rebuilt and reopened in May 1939.

The Quaker meeting played a major role in the European settlement of the county, and numerous Quakers still live in the county. New Garden Friends Meeting, established in 1754, still operates in Greensboro.

Alamance Presbyterian Church, a log structure, was built in 1762, though it was not officially organized until 1764 by the Rev. Henry Patillo, pastor of Hawfields Presbyterian Church. It has operated on the same site in present-day Greensboro since then. According to the church history, it is now using its fifth church building and now has its eighteenth pastor.

On March 15, 1781, the Battle of Guilford Court House was fought just north of present-day Greensboro between Generals Charles Cornwallis and Nathanael Greene during the American Revolution. This battle marked a key turning point in the Revolutionary War in the South. Although General Cornwallis, the British Commander, held the field at the end of the battle, his losses were so severe that he decided to withdraw to the Carolina and Virginia coastline, where he could receive reinforcements and his battered army could be protected by the British Navy. His decision ultimately led to his defeat later in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia, by a combined force of American and French troops and warships.

In 1779 the southern third of Guilford County became Randolph County. In 1785 the northern half of its remaining territory became Rockingham County.

In 1808, Greensboro replaced the hamlet of Guilford Court House as the county seat.


Randolph County, NC (Information from Wikipedia)
Some of the first settlers of what would become the county were English Quakers, who settled along the Haw and Deep River. Eno Rivers.[4] The county was formed in 1779 from Guilford County. It was named for Peyton Randolph, first president of the Continental Congress. Randolph County was the original location of what became Duke University.

The county is home to one of the last remaining covered bridges in the state. The Pisgah Covered Bridge, in Union Township, is in the southwestern part of the county and was destroyed by a flood in 2003, but has been completely restored and is still standing.[5][6] In 1911, a new county called Piedmont County was proposed, with High Point as its county seat, to be created from Guilford, Davidson and Randolph Counties. Many people appeared at the Guilford County courthouse to oppose the plan, vowing to go to the state legislature to protest. The state legislature voted down the plan in February 1911.


The Albemarle District in 1663 shows with today's counties.

Perquimas County, NC
Perquimans was formed as early as 1668 as a precinct in Albemarle County. It was named in honor of an Indian tribe. It is in the northeastern section of the State and is bounded by Albemarle Sound and Chowan, Gates, and Pasquotank counties. The present area is 261 square miles.... Hertford, established in 1758 on the land of Jonathan Phelps, is the county seat. There is no description of the precinct when it was established.

Gates was formed in 1779 from Chowan, Perquimans, and Hertford.

... that all that part of Hertford County that lies on the North East side of Chowan River, and all that part of Chowan and Perquimons Counties, that lies on the North Side of Katherine, and Warwick Creeks, and bounded as follows, (that is to say) Beginning at the Virginia line, on Chowan River, thence down the said River to the mouth of Katherine Creek; thence up the said Creek, to the mouth of Warwick Creek, thence up said Creek to the Head, thence a direct line to the Head of the Indian Branch in Perquimons County, thence down said Branch to the Great Dismal Swamp, thence a North east Course to the Virginia line thence Westerly along said line to the beginning, and all that part of Hertford, Chowan, and Perquimons Counties, included in said lines, shall be and is hereby established a County by the name of Gates.

The lines between Pasquotank and Perquimans, and Camden and Gates were ordered to be run in 1804; because of the difficulty of establishing and marking the lines in the Dismal Swamp, they had not been previously marked.

... beginning near the fork of Little River, and running northwardly to the south-west corner of a ridge, known by the Middle Ridge, then along the west side of said ridge, crossing Colonel John Hamilton's turnpike road, to the north-west corner thereof, thence a northwardly course to a ridge in the desart known by Colonel Jesse Eason's Ridge, then a north course to the line that divides this State from the State of Virginia.

The dividing line between the counties of Chowan, Perquimans, and Gates was authorized to be established in 1805.

... That the said commissioners ... shall begin the dividing line between the counties of Chowan and Perquimons, at such place on Yeopon river, above Elliot's mills, as they may think proper, due regard being had to the former reputed line, and shall run thence along the said reputed line to Sunday ridge road, and from the said road to the intersection of the line of Gates county, and thence along the said line, as far as it extends on the heads of Chowan and Perquimans counties, and shall make or cause to be made returns of their proceedings to each of the courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the said counties to be deposited and kept among the records thereof; and the said lines when so extended and laid off, shall forever be established and confirmed as the dividing lines between the said counties.

In 1814 the act of 1805, establishing the boundary line between Perquimans, Chowan, and Gates, was amended by naming a new commissioner, which indicated that the line had not been established at that date.

In 1818 an act was passed which authorized the boundary line between Pasquotank and Perquimans to be run and marked. No description is given in the law.

The dividing line between Chowan and Perquimans was authorized to be run and marked in 1819.

... commissioners to complete running and marking the dividing lines between the counties of Chowan and Perquimons, ... shall commence running at the bridge in the lane called James Hataway's Senr. and run a direct course to Caleb Goodwin's bridge in Bear swamp, from thence a direct course to where the crane pond crosses the sandy ridge road, thence up the sandy ridge road to here the Gates county line crosses the said road ... the said commissioners shall cause to be made correct copies of their survey; one of which shall be filed in the Secretary's office and one in each of the Clerks offices of the court of pleas and quarter sessions in the counties of Chowan and Perquimons.

In 1819 the boundary line between Perquimans and Gates had not been established so as to be widely and definitely known. Therefore, an act was passed which authorized the establishment of said line. No description is given in the law.


The Quakers — more properly known as the Society of Friends — were an important group in the politics and society of early North Carolina. Founded in the 1600s by George Fox, the Friends fled persecution in England and took advantage of the religious freedom offered in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In 1657 a group of Quakers from England landed in New Amsterdam in New England (later New Amsterdam was renamed to New York). The Puritans and the Anglicans were the two dominant religious groups in England in the mid-1600s, when George Fox was a young man. While Fox shared the Puritan’s criticisms of the Anglican Church, he was skeptical of many aspects of Puritan theology, particularly their belief in the Doctrine of the Elect. Fox began a spiritual journey that would last him four years. He read religious books and spoke to religious leaders in the Anglican Church and in Puritan congregations. After several years, he came to the conclusion that none of the existing churches reflected the true teachings of Jesus. He believed that the answers to his spiritual questions could not be found in books, nor could educated men tell him the will of God. The truth was already inside of him, because the Spirit of God was in each person. For the remainder of his life, Fox would preach his interpretation of Christianity and work to build a new church. His followers would become the Society of Friends, called the “Quakers” by their critics who claimed that Friends “quaked” or shook with religious excitement when they spoke. Puritan Massachusetts was a difficult place for Quakers to live. It became illegal and 4 Quakers were executed due to their Quakers beliefs.

Quakers believed that everyone had an Inner Light and could come to know the will of God and had no need for clergy, listening to sermons, studying the Bible. They only had to pray and meditate to learn God's Will. When you died, your Inner Light would re-connect with God therefore there is no need for the saving work of Jesus Christ. And because all had this Inner Light they were connected to each other so harming someone else was harming yourself and God because all share the Inner Light which was why they believed in non-violence. Plain dressing was to keep from having pride over other fellow human beings who have the same Inner Light. Plain speaking was to refrain from calling anyone by a rank or title because all are the same. They refused to use "you" but instead used "thee" or "thou" because everyone is on equal footing with the same Inner Light. It was against their religion to swear an oath such as were required of witnesses in court, members of juries, and public office holders, and anyone could be asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the king or queen. Friends believe in peace, integrity, equality, and simplicity, and seek to live lives which witness to these beliefs. From the earliest days, Friends have stressed the importance of equal education for both boys and girls, and promoted fair and equal treatment of those of different races.

Fox instructed his followers to meet weekly but it was unlike the church services we are used to. Monthly meetings (congregations) generally kept good records of their members' vital statistics (births, deaths, marriages, changes in membership). They did not hear a sermon by a minister but sat in a circle and prayed and meditated silently. Men and Women met separately. If someone felt that God was revealing something to their Inner Light, they would stand and speak to relate it. Men and Women would select committees committees oversaw church business, such as spending donations from church members, disciplining members who had misbehaved, and deciding on a common response to political or social events. The men’s committee was in charge of the meeting house and raising money for repairs and upkeep. The women’s committee was in charge of charity to widows, orphans, and families in need of financial assistance. The committees also disciplined members who had sinned; the men’s committee disciplined men, while the women’s committee disciplined women.

A member of the Society of Friends could be disciplined for committing a sin that affected the community, such as swearing, being drunk, marrying a non-Quaker, having a child out of wedlock, being unfair in business, or being violent to a spouse or child. Major sins, such as marrying outside of the Friends community, could result in being disowned. This meant that the church had broke with that person. A sinner who admitted that he or she had behaved in a sinful manner could rejoin the church. But if the sinner denied their behavior was a sin, it was considered prideful, which was another sin that set him or her apart from other Quakers.

Quakers were some of the first settlers to move to North Carolina, because the colony had established religious freedom as early as 1672. It is the oldest European religion in NC. From Maryland and Virginia, Quakers moved to the Carolinas and Georgia. In later years, they moved to the Northwest Territory and further west. Quakers moved to North Carolina to be close to fellow believers and to escape the persecution they faced. Among the earliest settlers to make their way through the Great Dismal Swamp into the Albemarle Region of North Carolina were the families of Quakers Henry Phelps and Christopher Nicholson. Quaker missionary William Edmundson found his way to the Phelps home on the banks of the Perquimans River in the spring of 1672 and held North Carolina's first organized religious service in what is now Hertford. Some months later, George Fox himself traveled to Perquimans and found the new Quaker community finely settled. During his visit he stayed at the home of Joseph Scott on the site of what is now known as the Newbold-White House. Most Quaker communities flourished in the northeast corner of the colony, near the Dismal Swamp and the Virginia border. Quaker businessmen were successful, in part, because people trusted them. The customers knew that Quakers felt a strong conviction to set a fair price for goods and not to haggle over prices. They also knew that Quakers were committed to quality work, and that what they produced would be worth the price. Later, in the mid-1700s, Quakers would migrate from Pennsylvania to the Piedmont. During the first fifty years of British settlement in North Carolina, Quakers held a number of public offices and made up a large portion of the elected representatives in the General Assembly. One Quaker, John Archdale, became Governor of North Carolina from 1695-6. As more and more Europeans came to North Carolina, though, Quakers became a smaller minority and had less political influence. Their belief in non-violence would also become a political problem for Quakers.

The first in Meeting House in Perquimans was Wells Meeting built by 1704 on the Perquimans River, followed soon after by Little River and Old Neck Meeting houses. Quakers met weekly and the Monthly Meeting was the venue for handling the business of individual local meetings, a Quarterly Meeting was established by the 1680's to deal with issues affecting Friends across a broader area. George Fox died in 1691. In 1698 North Carolina Yearly Meeting was established to be held every year at the home of Francis Toms the elder to conduct the business of Quakers in the entire colony.

Most Quakers owned slaves when they first came to America; to most Quakers "slavery was perfectly acceptable provided that slave owners attended to the spiritual and material needs of those they enslaved.". Seventy percent of Quakers owned slaves in the period from 1681 to 1705; however, from 1688 some Quakers began to speak out against slavery until by 1756 only 10% of Quakers owned slaves. The first two prominent Friends to denounce slavery were Anthony Benezet and John Woolman. Quakers began to see slavery as evil and there was conflict as Friends sought ways to free their slaves, and to denounce the institution of slavery. From 1755-1776, the Quakers worked at freeing slaves, and became the first western organization in history to ban slaveholding. They also created societies to promote the emancipation of slaves. This struggle led many to move from the South to new free territories in the West, and the Great Migration of Friends began. This movement weakened the Quaker communities in the Albemarle, and from as many as ten meetings in Perquimans and Pasquotank Counties in the early 1800's, only one, Piney Woods, remained by the time of the Civil War. This pattern was echoed across the South as Friends migrated from Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, causing meetings to be laid down (discontinued) or moved as a complete congregation to Indiana, Ohio and other territories in the mid-west.

There were small Quaker meetings established before 1740 in North Carolina as well as in Virginia. Bradford Monthly Meeting in Chester County, Pennsylvania, reported on the 19th day 12th month 1740: "Abraham Marshall has for some time had drawing in his mind to visit Friends in Virginia and North Carolina and desired a certificate for same."

This was a typical ministerial calling for a Quaker, and the desired certificate was produced 19th day, 1st month, 1741. Abraham Marshall made his trip to Virginia and North Carolina. He was back in two months for Bradford Monthly Meeting reports:
"Third month Sixth Day 1741 "Abraham Marshall return certificate from Perquimons in North Carolina. 'His servis amongst us has been well received his testimoney being sound and atended with a good Degree of Divine power and Tendernes of Spirit and this inosent Conversation adorning his Doctrin.'" A similar certificate was returned from Pascotank County. A Virginia certificate has not been found. Abraham Marshall was 72 years old and one can only imagine the rigors of the trip. It is unfortunate that we do not know the location of the Virginia meeting as it would have been the best clue to his mode of travel. Pascotank and Perquimons in North Carolina are on the sea coast and travel might have been by ship. He might also have gone by horseback and the time frame would have allowed that. Settlements were few and far between and he would have spent many nights alone in the wilderness; he may even have had hospitality from the native Indians. Arduous horseback trips were not unknown. We do know that in 1753, Elizabeth Shipley, aunt to Abraham Marshall's sons Humphry and Jacob, made long horseback journeys to other provinces on religious missions as a Quaker minister.

Such journeys did not always end well: In 1742, another Quaker minister from Chester County, Benjamin Mendenhall, made a similar trip to North Carolina, dying in Pasquotank County at the age of 52. These ministries made their own contribution to Quaker migration, as the ministers carried news between the settlements and took back accounts of the land and the manner of living in the new settlements. Rufus Jones, in "Quaker Spiritualy" writes, "These itinerant ministers told us of life and work in far-off lands. They interested us with their narratives, and in our narrow life they performed somewhat the service of the wandering minstrel in the days of the old castles. They gave us new experiences, a touch of wider life and farther-reaching associations, and for me, at least, they made the connection with God more real..."

There were enough families for a monthly meeting to be set up at Cane Creek, North Carolina, in the central part of a large area which comprised Orange County (including present counties of Caswell, Person, Almanace, Chatham and Orange and parts of Rockingham, Guilford, Randolph, Lee, Wake, and Durham). It was authorized under Perquimans Quarterly Meeting on the coast of Carolina in 1751. The request for the meeting indicated there were upwards of thirty families settled in the area. Many of our family names are found there: Sumner, Mills, Mendenhall, Thornbrough, Hunt.

NEW GARDEN MONTHLY MEETING, Greensboro, Guilford County, NC
New Garden Monthly Meeting was set up in 1754 by direction of Perquimans and Little River Quarterly Meeting. This action of the Quarterly Meeting is recorded in the following minutes. “Perquimans and Little River Quarterly Meeting held at Old Neck in the County of Perquimans, N. C., the 25th of the 5 mo. 1754. Friends at New Garden requested this meeting to Grant them the privilege of holding a Monthly Meeting amongst them by Reason of the hardship they underwent in Attending the monthly meeting at Cane Creek; And it appeared to this meeting that there is Near or Quite Forty Families of Friends seated in them parts; In consideration of which, this meeting thought propper to grant them there request.” New Garden Monthly Meeting Minutes. “From our Quarterly Meeting held at Old Neck, in the County of Perquimans, ye 25th to ye 26th of ye 5th mo. 1754. To Friends at New Garden in Capefair:- Dear Friends: These are to inform you that your request of having a Monthly Meeting settled among you, was laid before this meeting, and Friends having weightily considered thereof, unanimously agreed to grant your request. Signed on behalf, and by order of, our aforesaid meeting by Joseph Ratliff, Clerk.”

A list of the names of some of the men embraced in the original membership of New Garden Monthly Meeting includes Thomas Beals, Binjamin Beeson, near Deep River, Wm. Beeson, Abraham Cook, Daniel Dillon, Eleazar Hunt, William Hunt, Mordecai Mendenhall, near Deep River, John Mills, Henry Mills, Hur Mills, Thomas Mills, Benjamin Rudduck, John Rudduck, Thos. Thornbrugh, (appointed first clerk) Thomas Vestal, Richard Williams. Among those who became members by the presentation of certificates during the first few months were James Brown, William Smith, wife and children, Richard Beeson and wife, George Hyatt, Isaac Cox and wife, Anthony Hoggatt and wife, Benjamin Britain, Joseph Unthank, wife and children, Samuel Pearson, wife and children, Nathan Dicks, Zacharias Dicks, Peter Dicks, wife and children, Isaac Pidgeon and Joseph Hoggatt. Robert Hodgson, Hanuel Edwards and George Hodgson were received in membership by request.

The following account of the early history of New Garden Meeting is abstracted from “Southern Quakers and Slavery,” pages 104-108.

“Of the settlers who formed the New Garden meetings the first to arrive were doubtless the immigrants from Pennsylvania by way of Maryland. They brought the name with them from Pennsylvania. It has always been a characteristic of Quakers to reproduce the names of the sections with which they have been associated in former years. Many English Quaker names are reproduced in America. There is a New Garden and a Springfield in Pennsylvania. They were carried thence to North Carolina, and from there, in turn, to Indiana.” (Dr. Albert Cook Myers, in “Immigration of the Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania,” says that New Garden Meeting in Pennsylvania was named in remembrance of New Garden Meeting in County Carlow, Ireland.)

“The first settlement at New Garden was about 1750. In 1751 a meeting for worship was granted by Cane Creek Monthly Meeting. For the next three years the monthly meeting circulated between Cane Creek and New Garden. The settlement must have grown rapidly, for New Garden Monthly Meeting was set up in 1754. It was destined to become the most important meeting in the State, and was the mother of many others. In the first year, 1754, we have settlers coming in from Pennsylvania, from Hopewell and Fairfax meetings, Virginia. During 1755 nine certificates were received, representing Pennsylvania and Virginia only. According to the official minutes, which note all certificates received, there were brought in during the sixteen years, 1754-70, inclusive, eighty-six certificates in all. Of these forty-five came from Pennsylvania, thirty-five from Virginia, one from Maryland, and four from northeastern North Carolina.

“The New Garden settlers were soon to be reinforced by other immigrants who also came from old Quaker stock. These were the settlers from Nantucket Island, Mass. This movement began in

1771, and Libni Coffin was the first Nantucket man to arrive at New Garden. During the period of five years from 1771 to 1775 there were forty-one certificates recorded at New Garden Monthly Meeting from Nantucket out of a total of fifty certificates received.”

Migration from the northward stopped suddenly at the outbreak of the Revolution. From that time the meetings were kept up by natural increase, not by new arrivals. About the end of the eighteenth century there began the great migration to the Middle West which sapped the strength of all North Carolina meetings and ended the existence of many. New Garden contributed in large numbers to the movement but had sufficient vitality to withstand the losses in membership.

The birth, death and marriage records of New Garden Monthly Meeting are in two volumes, designated as I and II. In the following abstract, page numbers without volume indication refer to records in volume I; page numbers followed by the figure 2, refer to records in volume II. The men’s minutes herein abstracted extend from 1754 to 1888; the women’s minutes from 1790 to 1878. The women’s minutes prior to 1790 were destroyed “when the house of Prudence Williams was laid waste by fire.”

DEEP RIVER MM in High Point, Guilford County, NC
We find the first account of Friends at Deep River in the minutes of the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting (near present day Snow Camp, NC). The time was the early 1750's. In 1754 the New Garden Preparative Meeting (Guilford College) granted permission to these Deep River Friends to hold monthly meetings and worship amongst themselves. Twenty-four years later, in 1778, Deep River Monthly Meeting was set off as in independent meeting. Friends had moved into the Deep River area from Pennsylvania and Nantucket just prior to 1750. They were followed over the next twenty five years by a heavy influx that may have raised the population ten fold. In the first decade of its existence, the Deep River Meeting received one hundred and fifty nine people by transfer certificate alone. Historian Cecil Haworth reports that many of these people came because of disagreements between Quakers and with non-Quakers over issues of slavery, treatment of Indians, and inadequate amounts of arable land for an enlarging population in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. They came seeking freedom to worship and to build a good life. They were serious-minded, hardworking people with a great variety of farming and construction skills, a firm work ethic, traditional honesty, and a powerful sense of independence and self-sufficiency. The existence of the Deep River was an important reason for choosing this location to settle. The first meeting house was built in 1758. It was a barn-like stricture of frame construction, and it stood in what is now the southern part of the cemetery. Since Friends had no pastors for more than two centuries, the leadership was vested in the laity and in the volunteer services of itinerant Friends. Deep River Meeting supplied its share of volunteers to this ministry. These early Friends sought a balance between freedom from dogmatic religious beliefs and adherence to a disciplined life style. Beginning with Queries formulated by George Fox, founder of the Society, and altered from time to time, primarily through Advices discussed at the annual meeting of Friends from various Meetings, a guide to behavior was slowly developed that encouraged individual Friends to not be conformed to this world. Marriage to someone outside the Friends fellowship was a major reason for disownment. Dishonesty, drunkenness, oath-taking, and engaging in violence were also reasons for chastisement. Of great importance was that an offender be dealt with kindness and understanding. These strictures began to soften in the early 19th Century.

CENTRE MM, Greensboro, Guilford County, NC
One of the most important of all the North Carolina meetings in the historical value of its records, has lost the early minutes of both men's and women's meeting-the men's minutes prior to 1835 and the women's minutes prior to 1825. A list of early members at Center, extracted from the minutes of New Garden Monthly Meeting includes John Beals, Jr., William Beals, Benj. Beeson, Isaac Beeson, Richard Beeson, James Brown, Joseph Chamness, Thomas Dennis, Jr., Peter Dicks, Jesse Henley, Robert Hodggins, Isaac Jones, Joshua Lamb, Robert Lamb, John Mills, Jr., Richard Norton, Daniel Ozborn, Matthew Ozborn, Abraham Powel, Jeremiah Reynolds.

Named for its location halfway between Cane Creek and New Garden meetings, Centre Friends Meeting began in 1757. Seven years before, William Hockett purchased 640 acres near Polecat Creek in present-day Guilford County. John Bales, Matthew Ozborn, Richard Beeson, and Peter Dix settled soon after Hockett’s 1750 arrival. Friends living in the area had to travel eighteen miles on foot to attend worship at New Garden. To relieve them of the thirty-six mile round trip, New Garden Meeting granted Centre Friends permission to hold worship. A deed for the land given by Matthew Ozborn for the meeting house to be built was made in Salisbury in 1763. At that time, the land was in Rowan County. The first building was completed in 1763. Cane Creek Meeting authorized Centre Friends as a Monthly Meeting in 1772. Centre hosted the first Yearly Meeting to be held in the central part of the state in 1787.

Since the first meeting house was built in 1763, three other structures have been built on Centre Meeting’s original land. Due to increased membership, the 1763 building was replaced in 1780. The meeting constructed a third meeting house in 1879, and the building that stands today was completed in 1950.

After the Revolution the Quakers began to move into the part of North Carolina that would become the future state of Tennessee. Utilizing the Indian trails of the Great Valley of the Appalachians brought settlers from Virginia and Maryland to Tennessee, while North Carolinians used the valleys of the Holston, Nolichucky and French Broad Rivers to arrive at the same part of eastern Tennessee. Partly the movement was an effort to escape the evils of slavery, but mostly it was simply the need to acquire land and the fear that all the good land would be taken up by those who had Revolutionary War land warrants.

When the Northwest Territory (future Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) opened up with the end of the Indian Wars in about 1814 the Quakers had their first real opportunity to move to a land that was destined to be a free state. Many migrated to the Northwest Territory (which included the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin), which was especially attractive because the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided that there would be 'neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory.' They settled especially in Ohio and Indiana. The Quaker historian Rufus Jones has estimated that by 1821, 20,000 Friends lived west of the Allegheny Mountains. Three-quarters of them had come from the southern states, 6,000 from North Carolina alone.


dmunden said...

Thank you for posting this information about the Quakers in North Carolina.

I have been doing some genealogical research about my family and have come to understand that my ancestors were among the original Quakers that settled in Northeastern North Carolina. My 5th great grandfather was Benjamin Munden (1695-1752). He was a landowner and farmer in Pasquotank County and attended Friends meetings in both Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties. Some of his descendants continued in the faith in North Carolina until the Civil War era. Many left for Indiana. I am one of the descendants whose family remained in North Carolina.

I was born and raised in Pasquotank County and never knew about the role my ancestors played in building North Carolina. The information you have provided gives me an understanding of the history surrounding the time and place they lived, which gives me a great sense of connection back to them.

David L. Munden
Youngsville, North Carolina

Switzer said...

Well done! Great history of counties and Quakers! Someone just suggested my Tedder family may have had s Me Quakes in Perquimans Co. How do I feel nd them? Ca. 1730s-40s perhaps

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