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Suffragist Stanton is topic for Bethel meeting

(From The Clarke Courier dated 18 8mo 1993.)

Suffragist Stanton is topic for Bethel meeting

Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 1993.
The Clarke Courier

Dr. Elisabeth Griffith

     Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the 19th century reformer who initiated the women's suffrage movement in America, will be the topic of a talk at the 53rd annual meeting of Bethel Church, on Sunday, Aug. 22, at 11 a.m.

     Dr. Elisabeth Griffith, the headmistress of the Madeira School in McLean, Va., will be the guest speaker. She is the author of a biography of Stanton, entitled "In Her Own Right."

     Prior to Dr. Griffith's talk, there will be a short business meeting of Bethel Memorial, Inc., to report on the ongoing restoration of the 1836 building. Bethel's congregation was disbanded in the 1930s and the church is administered by an elected board of directors for the cultural enrichment of the community.

     Bethel Meeting House may have served as a church as early as 1765. A history described Old Bethel and included a reference to God's Acre on the Hill, known as Old Bethel Meeting House. There was a log building at the site in 1790, which was destroyed by fire in 1827, and three years later, the present brick church was erected.

     The building still holds the original pews, kerosene lamps and stoves. The church records, which date to 1808, and the original pewter Communion Set were presented to the Clarke County Historical Association to be permanently housed in the Association's museum.

     With a Board of Trustees governing a non-profit organization to preserve it, the site is now a memorial belonging to the people of Clarke County. Each year the annual memorial service is held, as a cultural event, and the public is invited to attend.

     Reviewing Dr. Griffith's book, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., has called it a "fine biography, combining careful scholarship with lively writing (which) splendidly restores this bold, intelligent engaging woman to 20th century America."

     "In Her Own Right" was chosen one of the 15 best books of 1984 by the editors of the New York Times book Review.

     Dr. Griffith received a PH.D in history from the American University and was named the University's outstanding graduate student in 1982. She has taught women's studies at the American University and the National Cathedral School in Washington D.C. and has been a Kennedy fellow at Harvard.

     Following the talk, a covered dish lunch is served on the church grounds. Everyone is invited to bring a dish to share. There is no charge, but a free-will offering will be accepted to help in preservation efforts on the building.

     To reach Bethel Church, take Rt. 625 south from Rt. 50, 8/10ths of a mile west of the Shenandoah River, and follow the signs to the church.

     For more information, call Prudence Squire at 837-1729.

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