Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Top 10 "History" Where to Find Friends in Delaware County

Many of the first established residents of Delaware County, then part of Chester County were the Quakers.  You can find over 10 meetinghouses that are still in existence from those days.  I have a complete list of all the ones I have found in the blog (15).  There very well may be more. Pennsylvania the "Quaker State" owes a lot to these peaceful people.

1. Chester Friends Meeting located at 24th and Chestnut Streets in Chester is the site of the First Friends Meeting in 1675 within present Pennsylvania. This was at the home of Robert Wade, who greeted William Penn  when he arrived in Chester in 1682.  The current building is dated (1829). If I have my data incorrect there was also a meeting house at 3rd and Market in Chester.  I believe that building is long gone.

2. Chichester Friends Meeting (Established 1684) is located on Meetinghouse Road in Chichester, PA. The bullets holes still on the door are remnants of the Revolutionary War (Battle of Brandywine 1777). It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. This building was erected in 1769.

3. Concord Friends Meeting (1686) The current building was built in 1728. During the Battle of Brandywine wounded soldiers took refuge inside. It was added to the National Historic Places list in 1977 and in my guestimation is the most current active meeting in Delaware County. After visiting several others, I have to retract that statement.  They all seem to have an active part in the community still be it weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings.

4. Darby Friends Meeting (1687) The third and current building on this site was built in 1805 and was used as a hospital during the War of 1812.  According to it is in its original state and will soon be able to be viewed on the National Park Service Web site soon.It was added to the list of National Historic Places in 1978.

5. Old Haverford Friends Meeting (Burial Ground Established in 1684).  According to funding began in 1688 for a meeting house that was completed in 1700. The historical marker on Eagle Rd. states William Penn worshiped here on the eleventh month 1699. It is an active faith community with services on Sunday and also offers First Day Sunday School for Children.

6. Haverford Friends Meeting (1834) and Friends School (1885) are located on Buck Lane in Haverford. It is an active faith community with services on Sunday.  The Friends School Haverford offers classes from Preschool through Grade 8 and has an outstanding reputation.

7. Lansdowne Friends Meeting was initially established as an additional meeting to the Darby Friends in 1832. It later became part of the Chester Quarterly due to lack of attendance but resurfaced again in the 20th century and also established a Friends School.

8. Media Friends Meeting is located in Media, PA. From what I am gathering from friends at the Media Friends website.  This group was an offshoot of the Chester Friends and changed its name in 1875 when it moved to Media. A school was established in 1876 and continues to operate under the Media-Providence Friends School today. Another well respected name in education for students three years old through eighth grade.

9. Middletown Preparative Meeting began in 1702 and doubled n size in 1717. According to The History of Delaware County by Ashmead Page 613 listed on the present building is not the first meeting-house erected, but it was certainly built many years before the beginning of this century.  John Pennell donated land for the Orthodox Friends' Meeting-House and the adjoining school and burial ground. You can also find a list of burials at

10. Newtown Friends Meeting established 1711, is located on Newtown Road in Newtown Square. William Dunwoody attended meeting here as a boy.  He later went on to become a silent partner in a company later to be known as General Mills. NewtownFriends is on Facebook.  It is open for First Day Sunday at 10AM.

Newtown Friends School 1885 sits next to the meeting house and looks to be a private residence now.

11.Stratford Friends School (Established in 1976) located in Newtown Square is the first Quaker school for children with disabilities.

12. Providence Friends Meeting (Established 1684) current building 1814is located in Media.  The First Day School was founded in 1881. A log meetinghouse was built on this site in 1688, on land donated by Thomas Minshall.

13. Springfield Friends Meeting (Established 1686) current building 1851. A library and a school were established here in 1832. American artist Benjamin West attended meeting here when he was a boy. Peace Center of Delaware County is located at the Springfield Friends Meeting House.

14. Swarthmore Friends Meeting ( established in 1879) is located on the campus of Swarthmore College.  The meetinghouse was constructed by funds from John Wharton a founder of Swarthmore College and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

15. Radnor Friends Meeting located on Conestoga and Sproul Rds. has been a center since 1686.  The second building built on this site around 1721 served as a officers' house and a hospital during occupation at Valley Forge according to the historical sign out front. The building has a date of 1718 listed on the roof pitch.

I am not sure if these posts are located at every Friends Meeting House but I was starting to discover they were located at many of them. The general consensus May Peace Prevail on Earth.

Swarthmore College, Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College libraries are all great sources of Quakers history and genealogy.

I am a descendant of the Pyle brothers that came to this country around 1684, just one year after William Penn.  I believe Robert was the first, followed by Nicholas and Ralph.  Robert and Nicholas were Quakers and somewhere along the line Benjamin Pyle (a descendant of Robert, if I have my ancestry correct) was disowned at the meeting for supporting the Revolutionary War effort. I am so close to pinpointing which brother I belong to.  I hope it is Ben's line.  I think he supported a noble cause. I have a personal interest in the early Quakers and need to get to the library.  There are a ton of Pyles and I think through these three men and their families everybody in Delaware and Chester County are related. Yikes! It is amazing the names I have come across. I keep telling my husband, I am somebody.  I think we all are somebody and it is interesting to look into family history.  I think??

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