by Asa Moore Janney, delivered before an audience in 1862, published in The Bulletin of the Loudoun County Historical Society, Volume IV, 1965
A Short History of the Society Of Friends in Loudoun County
Delivered Before the Loudoun County Historical Society, November 16, 1962
By Asa Moore Janney
The members of the Religious Society of Friends were the last of the three elements which make up our county to arrive. With the coming of the Friends, the Germans were pretty well settled in that part of the county north and northwest of Waterford, and the slave holders were to the southeast of the Catoctin Hills and in the southwestern part of the county.
Loudoun’s Friends were introduced to the county, no doubt, by the settlement of Friends along the Opekon Creek in what was then Orange County, now Frederick, before the year 1732. In 1734, when George Washington was two years old, these Friends from Pennsylvania and Elk River in Maryland, applied for and were granted from East Nottingham Meeting in Cecil County, Maryland, a meeting for worship which they called Hopewell. The next year this was enlarged to a monthly meeting for business and discipline under what came to be called Concord Quarterly Meeting, composed of East Nottingham and Chester Quarterly Meeting held at Concord, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and attached to Philadelphia Meeting. At nearly the same time a Meeting at Monocacy, Maryland, just across the Blue Ridge due east of Hagerstown, Maryland, in Prince George County, was included in Hopewell Meeting. Without a doubt it was this proximity of Hopewell Meeting to Loudoun County which prompted Friends from the same meetings in Pennsylvania and Maryland who established Hopewell to set up their meetings in Loudoun.
The good word that there were fine lands in Prince William County got around, for in February of 1730 Samuel Marksberry ran a survey for his grant “on Kittockton Mountain near the Thoroughfare or Hunting Path thru said Mountain.” This place we now call Clarks Gap. Lower down the Catoctin Creek the Irishman, Asa Moore, had in 1732, according 30to tradition, built a home on the South Branch of Catoctin and called it after his native Waterford. While Moore probably had neighbors, unknown to us to-day, it was not long before Amos Janney in 1733 left his home at the Falls of the Delaware in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and settled in the Waterford community along with several Janneys, Thomas John, Edward Morton, Samuel Harris, Thomas Bourne and others.
Since John Mercer, land speculator, and Catesby Cocke, clerk of Prince William County and later of Fairfax, had already been granted the land around Waterford, these early Friends must have leased or bought from them, for we find in the Fairfax County, records that David Potts in 1746 leased 866 acres of land on “Kittockton Run from Catesby Cocke for (5) five Shillings, paid in Hand, with the right to Purchase and an annual Rental of one Ear of Indian Corn.”
According to the Register of Pennsylvania, edited by Samuel Hazard, in Vol. VII, printed in 1831—About the year 1733, Amos Janney from Bucks County, and soon after divers other Friends, settled about 40 miles lower in Virginia than the Opeckon, who obtained leave to hold a meeting for worship on first days, which was held at the said Amos Janney’s and other Friends houses till the year 1741 when a piece of land was purchased, and a meeting-house built thereon called Fairfax, whose meetings have since been held twice a week.
Janney’s History of Friends notes in a memorial concerning his wife Mary Janney, “he (Amos) 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 soon coming after and settling near them, a meeting for worship was held in their house.”
At first, in 1733, Amos Janney was authorized to hold an “Indulged Meeting” by East Nottingham Monthly Meeting; then the Waterford Meeting was organized in 1735 as a Preparative Meeting, under the auspices of Hopewell Meeting. Soon its membership increased and when the first meeting house was built, probably of logs in 1741, the meeting applied to Hopewell to be allowed to proceed as a monthly meeting. The application was allowed, and in 1744 Fairfax Monthly Meeting was set up along with Monocacy Preparative Meeting, just two years after Fairfax County came into being. At the first Monthly Meeting six couples requested permission to marry. Jane Hogue was clerk of Women’s Meeting with Elizabeth Norton and Mary Janney as overseers; Samuel Harris and Jacob Janney were overseers and Amos Janney clerk of the Men’s Meeting. Monocacy Meeting was laid down in 1762; there is more of its history following this date, but since it is out of our scope, we will leave it where it lies.
Meanwhile the yeast of settlement was working, and about ten years from the coming of the first settlers to Waterford we find them bringing in their friends from up North and East. People were coming from Bucks and Chester Counties in Pennsylvania, from New Jersey, Calvert County, Maryland, and direct from England and Wales. Pressing out at the southwest they found unclaimed land, some which, even that indefatigable 31amasser of Loudoun County land, George Slater, had missed; rich and valuable, between the North and Beaverdam Forks of Goose Creek. Here they established themselves in settlements called Harmony, now Hamilton, and Goose Creek, now Lincoln.
It is interesting to see how the land was granted to these later settlers; for instance, the three earliest grants in the Harmony, Goose Creek, Philomont, so called “Quaker Settlement” area were as follows: William Diggs, of Diggs Valley (of which Clarence Case’s farm was a part) acquired 1,074 acres on August 27, 1731, William Bowell, 602 acres on August 27, 1731, and George Atwood, 1,092 acres on September 24, 1737. Diggs and Bowell obtained their grants the last year Robert (King) Carter acted as agent for Fairfax, as Carter died in 1732, and Fairfax was having no more of the high handed manner in which Carter had handled the business; so, the office was closed until Lord Fairfax came over himself and issued a few grants in 1737, when the above George Atwood must have gotten his. The office was not again opened until William Fairfax, acting as agent for Fairfax, was ready for business in 1739, when the Quakers stepped in and got theirs.
Around 1745, or sooner, Jacob Janney, his wife Hannah and others came down from Bucks County and settled in the Goose Creek neighborhood. In going over the certificates of removals granted persons leaving the northern meetings and repairing to Virginia and comparing these certificates with the dates of their grants, we see that several, but not all, had been down to Virginia, taken a grant, and gone home for wife and family, for instance: On third month 2nd, 1741, Joseph Hollingsworth and wife obtained a certificate from Newark or Kennet Meeting; his grant is dated April 20th, 1742.
In the minutes of the Falls Meeting: “Abel Janney was reported at the Pertomock” on 10th Mo. 1st, 1742; his grant was dated March 17th, 1741.
George Gregg had a certificate on 5th Mo. 4th, 1740 from Newark and a grant of June 3rd, 1744. (Wonder where he was the four years).
Isaac Nichols, a certificate on 9th Mo., 1743, for wife and Herman Cox from Kennet and a grant for 560 acres on March 25th, 1743.
Jacob Janney received a certificate from the Falls Meeting of 8th Mo., the 5th, 1743, and a grant of 690 acres on June 20th, 1743. Jacob married in 1742, if he came to Virginia in 1745 as historians claim, where was he from the date of his grant in 1744 and the date of his certificate, 1743?
Some of the grants were quite large: Ames Janney—2,345 acres, John Mead 1,289 acres, Gidney Clark 3,000 acres. Four Janney families got 4,843 acres, and more too, which was possible as Amos was a surveyor for Fairfax and knew where all the “waste and ungranted lands” were.
Hannah Janney, the wife of Jacob, must have been a very strong character as shown by a memorial in the minutes of Goose Creek Meeting of 1818, the year of her death at the age of 93. It is stated that soon after their establishment in their new home she went regularly twice a week to a log in the forest where she set up an altar to her God by spending some time in silent devotion.
As early as 1746 Fairfax Quarter granted to Friends settled on the banks or tributaries of Goose Creek, which also included South Fork, at 32Union (now Unison), the priviledge of holding a meeting for worship on the third day of each month at the residence of the members. About 1750, or 51, a regular meeting was established at Goose Creek. The first meeting house was built of logs and was said to have been built on the site where Hannah held her devotions.
A traveling minister wrote in his autobiography: “On seventh day we went to their monthly meeting at Fairfax, 8 miles from Leesburg, which was large and solemn—On second day was at Goose Creek, 8 miles ye Meeting house small yet did not hold half ye pepal which was a great disc-advantage yet came away pretty Ese.”
That the French and Indian War did not overly affect Loudoun County is well known. However, the people well knew the hardship endured by the Friends in the Valley, as this bit from the “Autobiography of William Reckitt,” who was a visitor in our county in 1757 shows. “Crossing Potomac we came into Virginia to Fairfax; where we had a meeting on the second day of the week and 12th of the 12th month. It was a good meeting, truth having the dominion—We lodged at Mary Janney’s, a discrete orderly woman, who had several sober, well inclined children. From hence we went to Goose Creek and had a meeting on third day; it was well. On 4th day we had a meeting at David Pole’s several Friends accompanying us. I had a travail in spirit—We left David Pole’s house on 5th day and rode over the Blue Ridge or Blue Mountains, where the Indians had done much mishief, by burning houses, killing, destroying, and carrying many people away as captives; but Friends had not hitherto been hurt: yet several had left their plantations and fled back again over the Blue Mountains, where the lands had been rightly purchased of the Indians.”
Daniel Staunton in “Life, Travels and Gospel” reports that in December of 1760, “We went forward crossing the Patowmac into Virginia: the next Meetings were Fairfax, Goose Creek, Potts’, or the Gap, some of which were largely favored with solid comfort and satisfaction, there appearing many dear Friends with whom I had unity in Spirit: from the last place we traveled till we got over Shanandore river, and lodged at John Vestal’s.”
The Potts’ or Gap Meeting to which Staunton alludes, was held at Hillsboro and was a meeting held under Fairfax. It was a constant source of disputation and trouble to its Monthly Meeting, delegations often being sent to try to straighten things out with the Potts and Janneys of that section, but to no avail; for instance, Fairfax minutes report in 1761—“As Friends of Goose Creek and Friends of the Gap have not attended business meetings—this meeting appoints Mary Janney, Rachel Hollingsworth and Sara Janney to visit (them) to excite them to more diligence.” In 1765 “—if any disorder appear this meeting appoints David Potts to supervise.” Still in 1765 “—this meeting takes no note of the great deficiencies of the Gap Friends in several particulars—” Meetings were held in the home of David Williams until finally the Gap Meeting came through with a meeting house, as this minute from Goose Creek testifies: “Friends of the Gap reporting that they have built a house for the conveniency of holding their meetings in, and got it now nearly ready, this meeting concurs with their proposal in 1770 of holding it therein accordingly.” The land was two acres conveyed by Mahlon Hough to Stephen Gray, Isaac 33Nichols, Jr., Thomas Smith and William Hough, “to permit Such People Called Quakers to erect a Meeting House, Schools, Yard and Place of Burial.” In 1804 it is noted that the Gap Meeting is small and in 1805 it is laid down. Sic transit mundi.
South Fork Meeting was another meeting which did not long survive, despite the observation of the traveling minister John Comly in 1829 that it was strong and healthy. Yardley Taylor states that the meeting was active in 1853. A later minister reported that all they thought about was cock fighting and horse raceing. South Fork’s “worldiness” caused “concern” for its members “drank to excess,” “fought, gambled”, “took to horse raceing,” and “were lax morally.” This meeting was laid down shortly after the Civil War, and the administration of its graveyard on a small budget has been a head ache to Goose Creek Meeting ever since.
In 1757, while the Goose Creek Meeting was bursting out of its log meeting house, the county of Loudoun was formed from Fairfax. The trustees acted quickly. “On the 31st day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven, between William Hatcher of the County of Loudoun and Colony of Virginia, planter of one part, and Issac Nichols, Jacob Janney and Thomas Clows, of the said county, planters of the other part, for five shillings sterling, together with all trees, woods, underwoods, ways, paths, waters, watercourse, easments, profits, commodities, advantages, emoluments, hereditaments, rights, members and appurtentences whatsoever to the same belonging”—were handed over to the said Nichols, Janney and Close for one year in consideration of “one pepper corn in and upon the feast of St. Michael the Archangel if demanded.”
The object of this, one of the first deeds in the Clerk’s office of Loudoun County, was to conform to the Statute of Uses and Possession, for on the very next day, September 21st, 1757, William Hatcher sold to Isaac Nichols, Jacob Janney and Thomas Clows for thirty shillings the very property he had rented them the day before, “to said grantees. In TRUST to suffer and permit such of the people called Quakers—inhabiting said County, to erect and build so many Meeting Houses, School-Houses, Yards or Places of Burial—as they see fit—for the worship of God, the instruction of youth and burial of the dead.” One day had evidently been enough to show that the property was in use by the Religious Society of Friends.
As new settlers and babies arrived in the neighborhood the log meeting house was found too small to accommodate the members, and the stone meeting house across the road, according to the best information, was erected between 1765 and 70. A minute of Fairfax Monthly held on ye 24th of ye 9th month, 1774 reads: “This meeting received a copy of a minute of our Quarterly Meeting dated the 15th of last month, granting the request of Goose Creek Friends, a preparative meeting. This meeting is willing to assist them as far as capable, and appoints Mahlon Janney, Jonathan Myers, John Schooley, Moses Cadwalader, and William Williams to go and sit with them at their first preparative meeting.”
Friends in the Quarterly Meeting of which Fairfax was one part were most cautious in extending monthly meeting status to Goose Creek, possibly from unfortunate experiences elsewhere. We find from the minutes of Warrington and Fairfax Quarterly Meeting the following report of a 34committee appointed to judge of the expedience of settling a Monthly Meeting at Goose Creek. “Most of our members have visited the preparative meetings consituting Fairfax Monthly Meeting likewise attended the service of that meeting and have since met together and agree to report that we feel most easy to encourage the division proposed—and a Monthly Meeting being settled at Goose Creek. Submitted to the Quarterly Meeting by Isaac Everett, William Ballenger, James Steer, William Kersey, Harman Updegraft, Alan Farquhar, Elisha Kirk, Nathaniel, Jonah Hollingsworth, Ruth Holland, Rachel Hollingsworth, Mary Updegraft.—It is agreed that a Monthly Meeting be settled there accordingly.”
The first monthly meeting was held 12th month 26th, 1785 and William Kenworthy was selected clerk. In the first minutes we read the following: “Joel Lewis and Sara Daniel handed their intentions of marriage before the Meeting.” “Moses Cadwalader and Isaac Nichols are appointed to inquire into Joel’s clearness of other engagements, also to make inquiry into his conversation and what else may be needful.”
About the beginning of the 19th century the membership became too large to be comfortably accommodated in what came to be called “the old Stone Meeting House.” It was not until 1812, with a war going on, that the question of the most practical way of obtaining more room was brought before the meeting. The committee appointed to undertake the building of what came to be “the large new Meeting House,” was Jonas Janney, Isaiah Brown, Israel Janney, Isaac Nichols, Samuel Nichols, Stephen Wilson, Thomas Treham, Jesse Janney, George Walter, Joseph Bradfield and Mahlon Taylor. These gentlemen saw the meeting turn down a proposal to add a log addition to the stone building and finally on 2nd month, 27th, 1817, it was decided to build an entirely new house with Mahlon Taylor, Stephen Wilson and William Kenworthy as the building committee. Kenworthy was most likely treasurer of the committee as his name is signed to all the documents connected with the building operations.
William Kenworthy took in the subscriptions, which ranged all the way from ten dollars to three hundred dollars, with the final total collected being $3,606.00. Daniel Cockrell was to do the job, furnishing all the foundings, for the sum of $3,550.00. In the final report of the committee we find:—“the house being about completed, and in a good measure answerable to the contract, we have paid him the whole of the amount. We also examined his account of expenditures, by which it appears he will suffer considerable loss, by the contract, unless he be allowed some further renumeration.” They stated that it would be difficult to ascertain the exact loss but thought the meeting should pay Cockrell an additional $500.00. A committee was formed which raised the additional amount and paid the same to Cockrell.
On 1st month 27, 1819, Jonathan Taylor, a frequent visitor to Goose Creek Friends Meeting, “Preached the first sermon in our large new Meeting House.”
Jesse Janney who was on the original building committee, never lived to see it used. His foresight, however, solved one of the problems that building a new meeting house created, as is shown by this minute in April, 1819—“The committee continued in the first month last to propose to 35this Meeting what particular purpose the donation of Jesse Janney, Dec’d, shall be applied to reported that they had agreed to propose that it be applied to enclosing a yard and erecting some necessary buildings at the back of the New Meeting House. With which the Meeting concurred.”
Jesse Hirst, Samuel Nichols, Daniel Janney, Jonas Janney, Mahlon Taylor, William Piggott and Joshua Gore were appointed, “to consider what use the Old Meeting House would be most advantageously applied to, and the probable expense.” The William Piggott named above “Were the rich Billy Piggott what had glass windows in his barn.”
By an old record these reasons are given for establishing a meeting: “Ye objects of Religious assn. are to strengthen ye bonds of love, to encourage to good works, to support ye weak, to comfort ye mourners, to watch over one another for good and to reclaim those who have gone astray.”
A few quotes from the minutes of the meetings and a short review of Friends accomplishments in Loudoun may let us see how well they attained “Ye objects of Religious Assn.” The meetings were frank and firm with their members, for when Goose Creek was “informed that Jonathan Bradfield had joined with light company in dancing,” a committee pleaded with him several times to reform his ways and at last upon his not giving satisfaction he was reluctantly dropped from the rolls.
A more unfortunate event is recorded in the business meeting of the 28th of 1st month, 1819: “A testimony was produced against S— N— which was read, approved, and signed being as follows and handed to the Women’s Meeting. S— N— who has a right of membership in the Society of Friends thru in attention to the dictates of Truth in her own Breast hath so far deviated as to be guilty of fornication for which reproachful conduct we deny her any longer a right of membership until she be enabled & make suitable satisfaction for her offence, which is our desire for her.”
Fairfax and Goose Creek records are a mine of genealogical data. Henry B. Taylor in response to the request from a lady out west once sent her what the minutes had to say about her Quaker ancestors. Several had been “kicked out of meeting or been delt with” for drunkness, fighting and adultery. She received his letter and some time later wrote again to Henry, “that she was glad to state that her family had done better since they had joined the Methodists.”
The Meetings took care of their own, for often entries like the following are found in the minutes: “Samuel Nichols, Seir. produced his account of articles furnished for the support of Martha Scott.” Social security was unknown in those days. At Fairfax we find that a committee was appointed to divide the estate of Richard Brown, deceased; to raise a fund to settle the estate of a member who died poor and in debt; to look after the widows and orphans; to see that members paid their debts; to attend to a member “for encouraging the visits of a man not of our Society in Courtship of his daughter”; to reprove a man “for taking off his hat at a courtsmartial to gain favor with the officer in charge.”
Friends in Loudoun owned slaves in the early years and for the first quarter of a century the Fairfax minutes mention only that “Blacks in the home should be well treated,” and “African children” should be given a useful education. In 1790 a committee was appointed “to care for freed 36slaves.” Later there was considerable opposition against slavery in the meetings, several Friends were disowned for owning slaves. In 1836 a committee “treated” with William Stone for hiring a slave, and in 1856 Mary Jane Hough was disowned for doing the same, though her husband escaped a like fate by saying he was sorry and wouldn’t do it again. It was not until 1818 that the last ownership of slaves by Friends ceased in Virginia. The story is told that John Woolman talked long and earnestly with William Nichols that he free his slaves but when William died in 1804 there were slaves mentioned in the inventory of his estate. My grandfather, Francis Hogue Janney, was disowned for hiring a slave and marrying out of meeting.
A manumission society was organized in the Oak Dale schoolhouse in 1824 for the purpose of sending slaves to Haiti and Africa, though we have no information of any being sent.
It is my understanding that the small colored settlements at Rock Hill and Guinea Bridge were made on land (rocky and poor, it is true) sold cheaply to free negroes by Friends that they might build a home of their own and not be sold back into slavery.
The first county map published in what was once Prince William County was that of Loudoun by the Quaker Yardley Taylor. This work of enduring value was published in 1853 and up to its time was the finest in Virginia. Yardley was a nurseryman and the beautiful spruce trees around Lincoln are his still living legacy to the beauty of Loudoun.
Yardley Taylor was engaged in the underground railroad trade. He was castigated for it in at least one newspaper article in the fifties written in the peculiar vehemence of the time. Samuel M. Janney never said he helped a slave along physically but he was brought before the county court for publishing that “the owners had no right of property in their Slaves.” His Statement to the court, “That the more you keep this subject before the people the more they will be to my way of thinking,” had the desired effect and the indictment was squashed.
It was in 1803 that Thomas Jefferson writing to a friend said, “The county of Loudoun had been so exhausted and wasted by bad husbandry, that it began to depopulate, the inhabitants going southwardly in search of better lands—it is now become one of the most productive counties of the State of Virginia and the price given for the lands is multiplied manifold.” This was the result of the LOUDOUN SYSTEM of agriculture we have heard so much about. When Alexander Binns (no Quaker) published his little “A Treatise on Practical Farming” in 1803, the County found out what the Friends knew all along: that ground should lie in grass and clover in rotation with the corn and wheat then grown, and what’s more, that lime was a must to get the most out of the grass and clover. Israel Janney on a trip to Chester County, Pennsylvania, had brought down some crushed limestone in his saddlebags and tried it out on some oats. The oats flourished and so did the clover which Israel grew and sold to his neighbors a quart at a time to try to get them started on this grand forage plant. Binns tried all kinds of lime and plaster, he even bought a ton of Israel Janey’s lime and some of his clover seed, but the real service he did was to experiment and publish his results.
The peace testimony of Friends was constantly appearing in the minutes. 37Members were “spoken to” for attendance at muster; were “delt with” for purchasing substitutes and paying the muster tax. At first the Revolutionary War affected the Fairfax Meeting but little, however, before it was over some fifteen members had been disowned for joining the army. George Washington summed up the general attitude towards the Quakers then in his famous, “Leave the Friends alone for you cannot induce them to swear or fight for or against us. They are harmless, peaceful and industrious people who will produce bread and meat, and if they will not sell it to us, we will take it, if we need it; we need bread and meat as much as we need soldiers.”
During the Civil War soldiers of both sides were quartered in the Waterford Meeting House. When meeting was going on they stepped outside and some even came to meeting and as one writer said, “When they (the Southern soldiers) first came to Waterford they seemed to entertain a strong animosity against Friends—but becoming better acquainted, some of the soldiers acknowledged (that) Friends delt with them more fairly than any they had met on their march from the South, and their prejudices were removed.” It did seem strange to Friends to hold meetings with swords hanging along the walls. A very original account of captivity during The War is given by William Williams. He and Robert J. Hollingsworth were imprisoned in Richmond for two Southerners likewise treated by the Federals. After much travel and hard work on the part of wife Mary and Friends the two were released, though not before suffering many real hardships.
Young Quaker men, being sympathetic with the Union, went North in great numbers during The War, many to Ohio; they obtained jobs and found a living away from Loudoun County and never came back to stay. It was this exodus which began the decline of the meeting at Waterford. Many Friends during the hostilities wished to travel to Baltimore in order to go to Yearly Meeting. To do so they had to run the blockade along the Potomac. Many ignored the guards at the river crossings, but many a one was turned back. Samuel M. Janney was questioned by General (Shanks) Evans after he was arrested for crossing the river during the early part of the war.
General Evans—“Don’t you know that your first duty is to your country.”
S.M.J.—“No, my first duty is to my God.”
General Evans—(After a pause) “Yes, but your second duty is to your country.”
It was just poor business arguing with Sam Janney. In fact he got so tired of arguments every time he wished to cross the Potomac he obtained a pass from the Federal President, which I have seen,—an ordinary page from a school boy’s lined tablet on which was written, “Allow the bearer, Samuel M. Janney, to cross the Potomac at any time.”—A. Lincoln. That pass was just about as all inclusive as one can be made.
Samuel Janney claims that Loudoun County did not have near the troubles of neighbor against neighbor as did East Tennessee, and it can, 38he says, be credited largely to the influence of Friends. In fact, it was not uncommon when the Confederates occupied the section for the Secessionist neighbors to help out their Union friends and vice versa when the Union occupied the county.
The War cost the Friends of Waterford at least $23,000.00, while those at Goose Creek lost over $80,000.00, including both property damage and livestock loss. In 1872 all loyal Loudoun citizens received $61,821.13 for livestock losses, nothing for property lost by burning. Friends from Philadelphia largely built back the mill of Asa M. Janney where Coit McLean now lives, known as Forest Mills. If it had not been for the generosity of Friends in the North there would have been real suffering among Friends in Loudoun after the end of hostilities.
As early as 1792 a committee on “Spiritous Liquors” was appointed at Fairfax and it must have done a good job, for by 1809 no member was reported to deal in them. In the year 1819 Goose Creek had a committee report that several members had even stopped the giving of liquor to harvest hands and found it to be such a good idea that a minute was written admonishing against its use thereafter at harvest. It was not by accident that Loudoun County was for years the center of the Womans Christian Temperance Union in the state of Virginia. When the Lincoln Lyceum Association Hall was built in 1874 a Men’s Temperance Society, the Good Templars, flourished there for some time. The first performance in the new hall was “Ten Nights in a Barroom.”
Nearly every deed to a meeting house calls for a school house, for the instruction of the young. At Fairfax a school fund was raised in 1779, but it was not until 1802 that a plan for “pious and guarded education for children of Members of the Society” was instituted. The school, built for $400.00, remained open until 1871, when the public school system took over.
At Goose Creek, on the first of 6th month 1815, a committee of William Smith, Mahlon Taylor, Jonas Janney, Stephen Wilson and Samuel Nichols, Sr., were appointed to consider the building of a school on the Meeting lot. The committee reported in favor of the building on the 27th of 6th month, and in 8th month reported to build the school for the sum of about $400.00 or thereabouts; already subscribed was $346.00.
In 8th month, 1816, the following committee was appointed to have care and oversight of the school held in the recently erected schoolhouse: Israel Janney, Amos Gibson, Mahlon Taylor, Isaac Nichols, Bernard Taylor and William Kenworthy. Jonathan Taylor was the first teacher employed.
As committees were released, new ones were appointed whose duties were care and oversight, the hiring of the teachers and visiting the school. On such an occasion, a student of the school has told us, they looked forward to the visit of the dear old Friends, kindly offering to assist with a hard lesson or difficult problem. (How they have changed since his day.) When the lessons were all through the copy books were placed before them 39for inspection and marked 1, 2, and so on, down to the one containing “pot hooks and hangers” as the curves were then called.
This school continued right on through the summer without any intermission except for two weeks for wheat harvest. No holidays were observed. One teacher taught ten years with only one day off and that the day of his wedding. A roll of the students of the Oak Dale School shows one-third of them to be either Taylors, Nichols, Janneys, Hirsts, or Browns, with one-half the teachers of like surnames. For many years the bequest of Isaac Nichols, deceased, was used to defray the expenses of poor children going to this school.
Early Friends had schools in other places: one a spring house on the Isaac Wilson farm, where several families pitched in together to keep school. There was a log school at Ivandale, one called Summer Hill in front of the present driveway to Thomas Taylor’s home, where P. G. Clark now lives, built of logs hauled by Josh Hatcher, who has been called Loudoun County’s first bank. Another was Flint Hill Academy at Hugesville, run by Friends.
At Springdale, in Lincoln, Samuel M. Janney had a boarding school for girls, charging $32.50 per quarter in 1839-40, with extras, pen, ink, pencils and lights 50 cents additional per quarter. Drawing and French were three dollars extras. Day students paid twenty dollars the quarter. Supplies were taken in lieu of cash. Henry S. Taylor paid his tuitions in 1842-44 with several quarters of beef, barrels of flour, a horse and sheep (the horse for transportation, not eating). Henry B. Taylor states—“dried peaches and apples were standbys in the diet of that day and hominy was the universal substantial breakfast food, one that would stick to the ribs. Samuel Janney bought hominy at Waterford mills, 5 or 6 bushels at a time. No Shredded Wheat or toasted hay for breakfast food at Springdale.”
Before 1908, Will Smith and Josh Brown and others were canvassing the county and Philadelphia neighborhood for money to build a high school. At last $15,000.00 was raised, and in 1908 Lincoln High School opened its doors. The labors and work of erecting this school, the first high school in the county, was borne mostly by Friends. When the building burned in 1926, there was agitation to take the insurance money to another town to rebuild; a lengthy hearing was held at the Goose Creek Meeting House, but people had reckoned without the canniness of the original builders as the deed stated that the money was to be used to build a school within one quarter of a mile of the meeting house and that was where it was rebuilt. For the year the rebuilding was going on the students were taught in the meeting house, the present store building, and the old Phin Janney store building in Lincoln.
Friends engaged in businesses of all kinds, of course, stores, iron foundries, such as the William H. Taylor foundry at Lincoln, where the celebrated Taylor plow, bells, and frog doorstops were made, woolen mills, flour and grist mills and the like. Though transportation was a difficult problem Friends were right up front in the first turnpike and railroad ventures. Many a Quaker trunk contained crumbling shares of the stocks. 40Israel Janney was a trustee of the Leesburg-Dranesville turnpike and Phineas Janney of Alexandria, treasurer of the road from there into Alexandria. Phineas Janney’s reports are on file at Richmond, and are referred to by one writer as being “full of these and thous and common sence.”
The meetings became a sort of Chautauqua for visiting Friends having a ‘concern’ and many came to hear these people from far off. John Woolman visited Fairfax in the early 1740’s. The famous Elias Hicks visited in 1798, and several times later; Stephen Grollet in 1801 and Richard Mott in 1801; John Kersey (the book has it Jersey Kersey), a famous Quaker preacher and author of the driest book I have ever read; Elizabeth Robson, Bartholomew Wister and Ruth Ely, 1826. Elizabeth Robson was an English Friend with very Orthodox views as was Thomas Shillitoe, another English Friend who came to Loudoun on a preaching mission in 11th month 1827. Also gracing the fronting benches of the Loudoun Meetings were Elisha Bates, John Comly, Edward Hicks, whose primitive paintings are so much in demand, and the famous Benjaman Hallowell who started Robert E. Lee in mathematics.
Stephen Grellet, Elizabeth Robson, and Thomas Shillitoe were the so-called Orthodox Friends whose ministry throughout the country helped to cause such sad havoc in Friends meetings and brought about the separation of 1827-28. Loudoun Friends at this time were little affected by the ideas advanced by these people, based mostly on theology and evangelism which at the time was traveling thru many of the churches of the land. Some eight families took off from Goose Creek Meeting only, Fairfax being affected not at all. These Orthodox Friends, as they came to be called as opposed to the so-called Hicksite Friends, built a meeting house south of the graveyard in Lincoln on the next hill, a corner now of J. C. Chappell’s heirs. Here they had a meeting until the Civil War, when it was laid down.
Along about the early 1880 this sad chapter in Friends history had to be reopened when Richard and Mary Snowden Thomas, brother and sister from Baltimore, raised the clarion call of evangelism. At first, in 1885, the Orthodox meetings were held in the Lincoln Lyceum Hall until a house could be built. In all about eight families withdrew from Goose Creek to form this new Lincoln Monthly Meeting of Friends which occurred in April of 1887 in their new meeting house. Daniel J. Hoge, Clark and Rebecca I. Brown were appointed overseers with Joseph Pancoast as treasurer. A subordinate meeting was organized at Silcott Springs in 1894 but its life was short, being closed in the winter of 1904-5 and the building sold in 1933.
As is usual with such religious separations there was too much feeling on both sides, and I am not going to say there was not. Now we can laugh at Will Brown’s sally to one of the Orthodox driving by the old meeting to go up the road to the Orthodox meeting on a very blustery, wet day: Brown, “Well, Hoge, the new road to heaven is a damn wet one, isn’t it?” Or an Orthodox Friends referring to the Hicksites (in the words 41of a Hicksite), as “those cigarette smoking, whiskey drinking, Christ rejecting Hicksite Friends.”
Fairfax Meeting House was burnt in 1887, and in spite of the decrease in numbers it was rebuilt at a cost of $4,840.00. Its young men having gone away to the west and the opportunities limited to educated persons, as the Quakers undoubtedly were, the meeting lost members until the sad day came when it was laid down in 1926. The last paper was signed in 1929 and the final grand meeting held with many a Friend wiping away a furtive tear.
Goose Creek Friends were not paying their preacher either, for during a terrible wind and rain storm in 1943 half the roof and the west end of their meeting house was blown off and in, making the house unusable. The Orthodox Friends came to the rescue and meetings were held together in their house until the Goose Creek meeting house could be rebuilt. Friends found out they could get along together and like it. All the younger Friends wondered what it had all been about anyway, so after the grand opening of the newly reconstructed meeting house in 1948, the Goose Creek United Monthly Meeting of Friends came into being in 1950.
Friends have stepped on many toes with their advanced views, but they have been right so often as to gain much respect throughout the country. That their worship is not understood by many is well known and even as early as 1776 Nichols Cresswell went to meeting in Leesburg and reported, “Mr. Brooks and I went to the Quaker Meeting, but were too late, tho it would have been equally as well as if we had been sooner, for the spirit did not move any of them to speak. Can’t conceive what service the people can receive by grunting and groaning for two or three hours without speaking a word. This is a stupid religion, indeed.”
The Religious Society of Friends is as the name implies a group of people with the religious conviction that one’s life is the experience of love, love of God and love of one’s fellow man. It is a living fellowship rather than a sacred institution. From this view comes all of its good. It affirms that it is the Presence in the Midst—that God is everywhere—that every man is endowed with this light within. Religion for Friends is not apart from life nor for special days. The early Friends had no Christmas nor Easter, every day is equal in the sight of God. It is “the life we lead, the things we do” which count; as witness their history in Loudoun: that African children should be educated; that men should be free; a man should not demean himself by taking off his hat to another; that work is noble; that the laborer is worthy of his hire; that no man should lose while you gain; that children must be educated to live a fuller life for mankind; that no one has the right to take a life that only God can give; that the fallen should do better and come back into the fold, “which is our desire for her.”
Friends hold their meetings for worship unplanned; with no constant jumping up to do this or sitting down to do that; in a plain room without 42distracting influences, trying to find in a silent communion, enfolded by His presence, the spiritual guidance they seek.
And so I find it well to come
For deeper rest to this still room,
For here the habit of the soul
Feels less the outer world’s control;
The strength of mutual purpose pleads
More earnestly our common needs,
And in the silence multiplied
By these still forms on either side,
The world that time and space have known
Falls off and leaves us God alone. Whittier.
Sources other than acknowledged in the text: Henry B. Taylor, Howell S. Brown, Mabel N. Lybolt, L. H. Taylor, for minutes, notes, articles, manuscripts, and consultation; Landmarks of Old Prince William; Briscoe Goodhart, The Loudoun Rangers; James Head, The History of Loudoun County; Loudoun Historical Society Bulletin, 1958; Samuel M. Janney, Memoirs and History of Friends; Hopewell Friends, History of Hopewell Friends Meeting; Hinshaw, Quaker Genealogy; Frederick Gutheim, The Potomac, from “Rivers of America” series.