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From: "Martha" <>
Subject: FYI: Anybody with Quakers in Richmond Co, NC ?
Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2004 12:13:21 -0600

FYI... Anybody with Quakers in Richmond Co, NC...?
If not, please pass this info. on to others.

Includes the Cities of Rockingham, Hamlet, Ellerbe,
Hoffman, Dobbins Heights, and Norman.



Trent Strickland of Hamlet,NC started with little more than a
long-abandoned cemetery with mostly unmarked stones when he began
researching a lost chapter of Richmond County history. The cemetery was
known as "the old Quaker cemetery" near Cordova and the mostly unmarked
stones bore mute testimony to the Quaker "plain" tradition.

"It's part of the Quaker simplicity testimony. They wouldn't use
inscribed grave markers, only a plain rock or stone. They didn't make
much over dead bodies because the soul is all that counted," Strickland
said. But his search for records of Quakers in early county history
along the way also unearthed what may be the county's first settlement
and its first church and cemetery. Strickland retired as a Richmond
County Schools administrator in 1995 and had time to indulge an interest
in history, which was his first major in a long academic career. His
wife Clara comes from a Quaker family in Surry County, so he began
looking into the history of early Quakers and found evidence of a
forgotten settlement here in the county.

"I first heard about the old Quaker cemetery in the 1980s and a friend
took me to see it," Strickland said. "I was intrigued and puzzled. There
had to be a story there about a Quaker meeting." Quaker cemeteries
usually are located at Quaker churches - called meetings - but
Strickland said there were no known records of a Quaker meeting in
Richmond County. Local historical records of an early settlement known
as Hailey's Ferry did exist about half a mile from the Quaker cemetery
at a ferry crossing on the Pee Dee River."

First settlement? -
Hailey's Ferry was a ferry crossing built by a Quaker from Virginia
named William Hailey, who settled on the Pee Dee River about five miles
south of Rockingham in the early 1750s. And the crossing was also the
site of perhaps the first settlement in the area, settled by Quakers in
the Hailey, Clark and Moorman families, who all came from Louisa County,
Va. Hailey's Ferry is the earliest settlement in the county cited in
"No Ordinary Lives, A History of Richmond County, North Carolina
1750-1900" by John Hutchinson. "I don't know of any earlier
settlements," Strickland said. "It was one of the first if not the first
river crossing on the Pee Dee River," he said. "I'm sure it was the
first church and pretty sure it's also the earliest cemetery."

But it took a lot of work to find the documentation to prove those
assertions. "If there was a cemetery, there had to be a Quaker meeting,
a place to worship. And there had to be a name. I saw it as somewhat of
a mystery I wanted to solve." Where was meeting? The only two Quaker
meetings in historical records of the area are the Pee Dee and Gum Swamp
meetings, both of which were believed to have been in Marlboro County,
S.C. The Gum Swamp Meeting was believed to have been near Rowland, S.C.,
and the Pee Dee Meeting was believed to have been "somewhere on the
river close to the North Carolina line," but no exact location of either
meeting had ever been determined.

"I was convinced this had to be the location of the Pee Dee Meeting, but
I needed to prove it," Strickland said. So he began his search through
early land deeds, minutes from early Quaker meetings in North and South
Carolina and the diaries of early Quaker missionaries traveling through
the area. One of those diaries in the Quaker historical records at
Guilford College in Greensboro provided the solution to the puzzle.

The final clue -
A female missionary traveling from South Carolina to Cane Creek Meeting
near Snow Camp in North Carolina mentioned visiting a Quaker meeting on
the Pee Dee River in December 1753 and said a meeting house was under
construction. The Pee Dee Meeting was officially approved as a
preparative meeting in 1755 by Cane Creek Meeting, which also has
marriage records of the Quakers from the Pee Dee. The confusion over the
location of the Pee Dee Meeting being in South Carolina arose from a
boundary dispute between the two states which was not settled until the
1760s. Strickland submitted his research to Guilford College to the
North Carolina Friends Historical Society in 2000 and it was published
as an article in their Spring 2001 journal. He applied to the state
historical archives departments for an historical marker and that was
approved and erected in summer 2001 on U.S. 1 at Rosalyn Road near
Cordova. The N.C. Friends Society also approved funding for a marker at
the cemetery, which was dedicated in November 2001.

What happened to the Richmond County Quakers? -
Two events transpired that spelled the end of the Quaker community by
the early 1800s. A disastrous fire on Dec. 23, 1792, at Hailey's Ferry
resulted in "complete destruction of the settlement," according to Joe
M. McLaurin in "Richmond County Record" in 1999. He adds that following
the fire, the settlement "was apparently not rebuilt."

The other factor -
And perhaps even more important than the fire was slavery. Ironically,
one of the early Quakers sold the first land purchased by Gen. Henry
William Harrington, who became in the late 1700s one of the largest
slaveholders in the region.
"The Quakers were so bitterly opposed they began leaving for slave-free
territories in the late 1700s and were mostly gone by the early 1800s,"
Strickland said. Hutchinson writes that some of the Richmond Quakers
settled in Wayne County in Indiana, where the county seat is named
Richmond, perhaps by those early settlers.

- Contact reporter John Myers at 997-3111, ext.18

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