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Goose Creek Monthly Meeting

Below is some history of Goose Creek Monthly Meeting from "Hopewell Friends History" and William Wade Hinshaw's "Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy".

Hopewell Friends History

p. 69-70; Meetings Within The Verge Of Hopewell

The following paragraphs are quoted from Janney's History of the Religious Society of Friends, Vol. III, pages 248, 249:

About the year 1732, Alexander Ross and company obtained from the Governor and Council at Williamsburg, in Virginia, a grant for one hundred thousand acres of land in that colony, situated near the Opequan Creek, a tributary of the Potomac. A settlement was soon after begun there by Alexander Ross, Josiah Ballenger, James Wright, Evan Thomas, and other Friends from Pennsylvania and Elk River in Maryland. Under authority of Chester Quarterly Meeting, they established in 1744 [1735] a Monthly Meeting called Hopewell, which thus became a branch of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

In the year 1733, Amos Janney from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, removed to Virginia, and settled about ten miles south of the Potomac, near the place where the town of Waterford has since been built. In a Memorial concerning his wife, Mary Janney, he is mentioned as a valuable Friend and true helper Zion-ward; and she is described as a devoted Christian, whose meekness, gentleness, and kindness rendered her company truly agreeable and instructive.

When they came to Virginia, the neighborhood where they settled was almost uninhabited; but other Friends coming soon after, and settling near them, a meeting for worship was held at their house. A meeting-house was built for its accommodation in 1741, and called Fairfax; it being then included in the county of that name, but subsequently the county was divided, and the northern section where Friends were settled was called Loudoun [1757]. Fairfax Monthly Meeting was established in 1744.

Jacob Janney removed from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about the year 1745, and settled eight miles south of Fairfax Meeting House. He and his wife, Hannah Janney, were exemplary in their lives, and steadfast in support of their Christian testimonies. A meeting was settled near them called Goose Creek, which at first was subordinate to Fairfax Monthly Meeting, but afterwards becoming very large, it was established as a monthly meeting.

Fairfax meeting was at Waterford, Goose Creek is at Lincoln, both now in Loudoun County, Va. At this date (1935) Fairfax Meeting, at Waterford, is closed; and the few Friends remaining at Waterford are members of Goose Creek Meeting, at Lincoln.

p. 215; Places of Meetings

GOOSE CREEK Monthly Meeting is held at Lincoln, Loudoun Co., Va. This meeting was visited by William Reckitt in 1757. At Lincoln are now several Friends' meeting houses; one of stone, built 1765, now used as a dwelling; one of brick, erected in 1817; and another dating from 1880, or later. Lincoln was the home in later years of Samuel M. Janney, the poet and historian.

Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy

p. 609-614; Volume VI (Goose Creek Monthly Meeting)

In order to present a clear picture of the beginnings of Goose Creek Monthly Meeting, Loudon County, Virginia, and to avoid confusion with another Goose Creek Monthly Meeting located in Bedford County, Virginia, which was short-lived, it seems appropriate to give a short historical sketch of the settlement by Friends of the Shenandoah Valley in the northern part of what was then the Colony of Virginia; for, until settled by a colony of Friends beginning about 1720, this part of Virginia was almost entirely a wilderness and uninhabited by white people. The Shenandoah Valley proper is 110 miles long and 25 miles wide and lies between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Alleghenies, and is watered by the Shenandoah River. It contains some of the finest and most fertile lands in Virginia. By 1730, Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan of Chester County, Pa. (who had doubtless made survey visits into the Shenandoah Valley previously) had formed a company to bring some 70 Quaker families from Pennsylvania to settle in this lovely region. They then applied to the Governor of Virginia for a grant of 100,000 acres of land (later augmented by 20,000 additional acres) for the purpose of settlement in the valley. Although they were not actually granted this land until 1732-1735, they had already begun settling these families in the Valley. Each of the 70 families was to have a patent to 1000 acres by their agreement with the governor. Henry and Josiah Ballinger of Salem, West Jersey, and James Wright, William Beals and others from Nottingham, Pennsylvania, had settled in 1725 in Monoquesy Valley, Prince George's County, Maryland, just across the Potomac River from Virginia, and had received liberty to establish a meeting amongst themselves to be held at the house of Josiah Ballinger and others. By 1726 this meeting to be called Monocacy Meeting. Many of these families later joined the families who had migrated to the Shenandoah Valley. Although Quakers had established themselves on the eastern shores of Maryland as early as 1656, Monocacy Meeting was the first to be established in Maryland near the Virginia border. Hopewell Meeting (now in Frederick County, Virginia) was established about 1732 on the banks of the Opeckan Creek (near Winchester, Virginia) and in 1733 Fairfax Meeting was established about 40 miles below the Opeckan by Amos Janney and others from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The meetings were held at first at Amos Janney's house. Providence Meeting was established by Richard Beeson soon after on a branch of the Opeckan called Tuscarora, the meetings being held at the house of Richard Beeson for some time, until a log meeting house was built. This meeting was also called Beeson's Meeting. Thus, these four meetings were established in this region; all of them were established under charter by Chester Quarterly Meeting, Pennsylvania, and were at first attached to East Nottingham Monthly Meeting, Cecil County, Maryland, where they left their certificates of removal on coming into the Shenandoah Valley. By 1734 so many Quaker families had moved into the Valley that it was deemed best to establish a monthly meeting amongst them, and Hopewell Monthly Meeting was organized in 1735, and given control over the four meetings which had been established, viz: Monocacy, Hopewell, Fairfax and Providence. This made Hopewell Monthly Meeting the overseer of all Friends living in this vast territory; and as they multiplied rapidly in numbers through a steady influx from Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Quarterly Meeting decided to divide the territory controlled by Hopewell into two monthly meetings, and so Fairfax Monthly Meeting was organized in 1744/45 and took control of about one half of this region of Quaker families. Monocacy and Fairfax Meetings were assigned to Fairfax Monthly Meeting and Hopewell and Providence Meetings were assigned to Hopewell Monthly Meeting. But Fairfax Monthly Meeting territory was, like that of Hopewell, still very large, its membership growing "by leaps and bounds".

In 1745 Friends (members of Fairfax) who had settled near the Middle Branch of Goose Creek requested of Fairfax Monthly Meeting liberty to hold a meeting amongst themselves during the winter season, the meeting to be held at the house of Sarah Walker, which was granted. In 1746 these Friends were granted liberty by Fairfax Monthly Meeting to hold a First Day meeting regularly at the house of Jacob Janney, Junior, with which the meetings held at Sarah Walker's were to cease until further orders. In 10th month 1749 these Friends were granted liberty to have a meeting "settled" upon them to be held at the house of Isaac Nichols on the fourth first day in the third month. As news of the great fertility of the lands on the Opeckan and Goose Creeks spread, there was a great new influx of Friends from Pennsylvania and Maryland, and an indulged meeting was authorized at South Fork and another at The Gap. In 1774 a Preparative Meeting was established at Goose Creek and an "established" meeting at South Fork. And still the membership grew so rapidly that in 1785 it was decided to divide Fairfax Monthly Meeting into two monthly meetings: Fairfax and Goose Creek Monthly Meetings. Thus, Goose Creek Monthly Meeting, Loudon County, Virginia came into existence. At this same time, South Fork Meeting was granted a preparative meeting and was attachd to Goose Creek Monthly Meeting, making two preparative meetings belonging to the new Goose Creek Monthly Meeting, viz: Goose Creek and South Fork Preparative Meetings.

An indulged meeting was allowed at South Fork located about 7 miles southwest of Goose Creek Meeting, Loudon Co., Va. about 1745. They built a meeting house on land purchased and paid for by members, and the meeting was well attended. The meeting house was 25 feet by 25 feet, on a lot of 10 acres, including the burial ground. A preparatory meeting was established in 12th month 1785 and this meeting opened satisfactorily, as reported at Goose Creek Monthly Meeting 30th of the 1st month 1786, but was discontinued by the quarterly meeting in 2nd month 1826, though the meeting for worship was kept up for some years thereafter. South Fork Meeting was a source of much concern to Goose Creek Monthly Meeting, almost every month complaints were laid against several of its members for more or less serious infractions of the rules of discipline, the complaints ranging from drinking, quarreling and fighting to marrying contrary to discipline and other grave accusations. In 1836 the meeting was reported as "very weak and low and that no regular meetings have been held there for some time"; so the meeting was laid down with the approval of Fairfax Quarterly Meeting 11th of 2nd month 1836.

In 12th month 1787 an indulged meeting was granted to Friends living at or near the Gap of the Short Hill by a joint action of Fairfax and Goose Creek Monthly Meetings, to be held during the winter season at the house of John Hollingsworth; since a part of the Friends living along this border line were members of Fairfax and a part were members of Goose Creek, this meeting was at first controlled jointly between the two monthly meetings. But later, matters became somewhat confused, and the meeting at the Gap was placed under permanent control of Fairfax Monthly Meeting by the quarterly meeting. Soon after the Gap Meeting was allowed, land was purchased and a log meeting house was built.

Goose Creek Meeting Houses: When in 1749 a meeting for worship was permanently established at Goose Creek, their meetings were at first held at the house of Isaac Nickols, but later a log meeting house was built on land donated by Isaac Nickols. In 1792 the meeting house was enlarged. Also money was subscribed to help purchase a lot to accomodate the yearly meeting at Baltimore. In 1795 Isaac Nickols executed a Deed to the ten acres of land which he had donated for use of the meeting, which was duly recorded in the names of sundry trustees. In 1817 the need for a house suitable for the accomodation of the "poor" became evident, after consideration, it was decided to build a new meeting house and arrange the old log meeting for this purpose. So, a little later, when it was available, the old meeting house was partitioned into apartments, one of which was to be occupied by the family of the caretaker, and the rest of the rooms were used to accomodate the poor. In this connection it should be stated that Goose Creek Meeting has, from its beginning, taken good care of all of its poor, even, in some cases to the paying of hospitalization in a Philadelphia Hospital, thus keeping up the tradition of the Society of Friends that each and every meeting must take care of its own poor, and that no poor member should ever be sent to a public alms house.

In the 2nd month 1817, then, the Committee reported a proposal to build the new meeting house of the size 65 feet long and 40 feet wide, and to be two stories high. A committee was appointed to make a proper contract with a responsible workman to construct the building and to raise the money to pay for it. They contracted with Daniel Cockrill to build it and furnish all materials and labor completely for the sum of $3500.00, but after the building had been completed, it was found that the builder was "out" of a considerable amount of money, and the committee instructed to raise the balance needed to completely reimburse him and to properly furnish the meeting house, which was done.

The building was of brick with a heavy stone foundation 24 inches thick. The new meeting house was indeed an imposing and durable edifice, built to stand for centuries. The complete plans of its architecture make interesting reading, but they are too lengthy to be offered here. Besides the lower floor, there is a large and commodious youth's gallery. A sliding partition in the center of the house provides for separate meetings of the men and women, and allows the whole house to be thrown open into a single room when desired, and for general First Day Meetings. The building was completed early in 1819, at a total cost of about $4000.00, which at that time was a large sum. There were other costs than those of the builder's contract, which were met as they came up. In fact, the minutes of Goose Creek Monthly Meeting show clearly that this meeting has never at any time allowed itself to fall into debt, and that every bill has been promptly met when due. Also, members were strictly required to pay their just personal debts, failure to do meant disownment, excepting under most extenuating circumstances.

School House: In 1815 a school house was built on the meeting house lot after which a teacher was hired regularly and the school was kept in session during the greater part of each year. It should also be stated that the meeting directed that all colored persons employed in the homes of members must be given a "useful school learning".

Horses: The meeting built a large stable to house the horses of members attending the meetings, also it was ordered in 1832 that two saddle houses be built, frame, 8 by 12 with shingle roofs.

Graveyard: A large graveyard or burial ground was set out and a stone wall built around it. It is one of the most beautiful burial grounds in Virginia and has been carefully tended since the beginning. In 1808 it was agreed that burials of non-members would be permitted, but "the privilege could only be granted on condition of their (those making application) conforming on those occasions to our plain way".

Joint Meetings: Separate men's and women's meetings were kept up until 1889 when it was decided to hold joint meetings between the two branches. Goose Creek Preparative Meeting had been laid down in 1881, "since there is no longer any use for it".

Marriages to non-members: In 1876 it was agreed: "That when persons not members of the Society of Friends wishes to marry a member, he or she may make application to men Friends or women Friends for such marriage; if allowed, the marriage to be solemnized in the usual manner, but this does not include receiving of said person into membership".

Goose Creek Monthly Meeting
Official website of Goose Creek Monthly Meeting

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