|Little Home Histories, Part 59 -- A Quaker Centennial.|
by Hartley, Elizabeth C.
See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 58 -- The Plummer Farm.
Mount Pleasant, Ohio, May 5th 1900. This year forms the centenary of the first meeting for worship of the Society of Friends in Ohio, and the Northwest Territory. This meeting was held five miles from this place at Concord, and was held under the spreading branches of a tree. Those who formed the gathering sat on newly hewed logs. It was held near the tent of Jonathan Taylor, who afterward moved to Short Creek near this place and then the meeting house was moved here.
The first meeting house was built in 1804. Among the early settlers in this section, the Society of Friends formed a considerable portion, in regards to numbers and influence. By their industry and thrift they soon transformed the wilderness into a community of prosperous homes. Their intense religious fervor and fidelity to defend convictions of right made them a strong power in shaping the contour of thought about them.
These Friends streamed to this section from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Those coming from the south sought a more rigorous climate that their children might grow up free from slavery associations. In 1806, the Society was prosperous and they purchased ten acres of ground, and one year later the Short Creek meeting house -- 45' by 70' -- was built at a cost of $2000.
In the beautiful burying ground at that place are to be found generation after generation of worshippers. In 1807, the Short Creek quarterly meeting was organized, consisting of the five monthly meetings of Concord, Short Creek, Salem and Miami, Ohio, and West Branch in Iowa.
The Ohio yearly meeting was set off from the Baltimore yearly meeting in 1812 and the first yearly meeting was held at Short Creek a year later. During the years 1815-16 a large meeting house capable of seating 2500 people was erected there.
The friends settled here in such large numbers and spread out to points for miles, that they still predominate these communities. This was an underground railroad station, and as early as 1817 slaves would get across the river and strike out for this place, and be helped on to Canada. These fugitives increased year after year, and as none that ever got to Mt. Pleasant were ever recaptured, this station became famous. The first anti-slavery convention in Ohio was held here in 1837. In 1821, Benjamin Lundy who lived here then, began the publication of the "Genius of Universal Emancipation", the first genuine abolition paper in the United States.
The records of 1814-15 tell of the marriage of Lundy to Esther Lewis. The mother of Anna Dickinson lived here. Shortly after 1830, Benjamin Ladd, a Quaker, established two colonies of manumitted slaves at Hayti and Stillwater. Edwin M. Stanton's grandparents were early settlers here.
The late Congressman Updegraff and the present Congressman J.J. Gill came from this stock. One of Mr. Gill's ancestors established the first silk mill in the United States here in 1841.
Abbie Flanner, the Quaker maiden with whom Fits-Green Halleck had a romantic leap-year correspondence in verse in 1836, lived and died here. This place has furnished eight members of the state legislature, two state senators, three lieutenant governors and Benjamin Stanton, once a member of the U.S. Congress from the Bellfountaine district.
The millionaire Senator William Sharon of Nevada was born near here.
Source: Copied from: Barnesville Enterprise of May 10, 1900. Written by: Elizabeth C. Hartley.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
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