Archiver > PA-QUAKERS > 2000-09 > 0969838048

From: Michael and Barbara Mihalcik <>
Subject: [PA-QUAKERS] Meeting Houses of Salem County NJ
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 19:27:28 -0400


I thought this information may be of interest -

From "Open House in Fenwick's Colony - Salem County, New Jersey Established
1675" held on April 27, 1985. It was sponsored by the Salem County Historical
Society, 79-83 Market Street, Salem, New Jersey 08079.


When John Fenwick and his small band of Quakers landed at Salem in 1675, a
new era was begun. Fenwick's Colony became the first permanent English speaking
settlement in the Delaware Valley. The founding of Salem occurred a full seven
years before Penn's arrival.
Fenwick was not the fist to find this peaceful land. He followed the
Lenni-Lenape Indians, the Swedes and Finns, the Dutch, and even a small group of
Puritans from the New Haven Colony who settled briefly near the Salem Creek.
Since Fenwick's time, immigrants from many places have continued to find a
place in Salem County and in its history.

Salem Friends Meeting (1772) East Broadway, Salem

In 1772 Salem Friends purchased three acres from Colonel Robert Johnson and
William Hancock and built this patterned-end meeting house. On the west end the
date of construction is written with vitrified bricks.
The building's distinctive features include its fine proportions; its
12-over-12 window panes, many of which may be Wistarburg glass; its two saddle
doors at the rear; and its 16-inch thick walls.
British soldiers bivouacked in this meeting house in 1778. After the
Revolution, courts were held here to hear cases involving confiscation of Tory
The Salem Friends Meeting is noted for the longest continuous service of all
churches established in New Jersey.
Friends Meeting House has a beautiful cast iron fencing that is signed
'Bennett & Acton, Salem, N. J., 1900.' You wil find this on the main gate
posts. On the front pavement the iron cistern cover made by the 'Acton Foundry,
Salem, N. J., 1870.'

Old Oak Tree West Broadway, Salem

This tree is in the Friends' Burying Ground and is about 500 years old.
Under this oak, John Fenwick made a peaceful treaty with the Lenni-Lenaps Indians
in 1675. The first two Quaker meeting houses were located on this lot. The
first was originally a log house that belonged to Samuel Nicholson; he sold it,
and the land, to the Friends in 1681. The second was a brick meeting house built
in 1700 between the Salem Oak and the Salem City Library.

Woodstown Friends Meeting House (1785) North Main Street, Woodstown

The first portion of this meeting house was built in 1785 for what was then
called the Pilesgrove Meeting. Chimneys built into each of the two 18-inch-thick
side walls were used for stoves set in the aisles next to columns which still
show evidence of charring which occurred before they were protected by sheets of
iron. Timbers were cut locally and dressed and finished with hand tools. From
these were made shutters, doors, sash and, all interior trim. Vitrified bricks
were used for the construction date on an exterior wall.
The building was originally sixty feet long and just over thirty-eight feet
deep, but in 1849 it was enlarged by removing the rear wall and extending it.
The newer bricks were slightly smaller than the original bricks; the connecting
joints are visible on both exterior side walls. Members added an annex in 1907
and in the past twenty-five years have made some interior additions to create a
library and bathrooms.
Although the Pilesgrove Friends began holding mid-week worship meetings in
1722, their first official monthly meeting was held in 1794. Meanwhile, in 1725
they had erected a frame meeting house near the present structure which was later
razed. The name was changed in 1929 to the Woodstown Monthly Meeting.

Alloways Creek Friends Meeting House (1756, 1784) Hancock's Bridge

The east end of this meeting house was built in 1756 on land provided by
William Hancock. The west side was built in 1784. The buttomwood trees were
planted in 1812.
This meeting house is in remarkably pristine condition. Interior
architecture, including saddle doors, balconies, and panels that separated men
and women during Business Meetings, remain intact. The yellow pine woodwork has
neer been painted. The benches are original, with pads of homespun linen. The
cast iron wood stoves (c. 1810) are of New Jersey bog iron. Many windows still
have old glass, possibly from the Wistarburg factory near Alloway.
This was not the first meeting house for Lower Alloways Creek Quakers. They
held their first Meeting in the home of James Denn in 1679. In 1684 they built
their first meeting house and established a cemetery on one acre of ground on the
north side of Alloways Creek, about one mile upstream from the present bridge in
town. The Friends moved to the south side of the creek near Logtown, now
Harmersville, and built another meeting house, with a cemetery, in 1718.
The Lower Alloways Creek Friends Meeting was laid down in 1951 and is now
used only for special occasions by the Salem Quarterly Meeting.


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