Truman and Jeremiah Cooper were active and efficent in the erection of this house, and it is worthy of note that Morris Cooper, the son of Jeremiah, and Phebe Barnaby were the first couple married in this house. They werer married in 1827, and they are still living at an advanced age of eighty. A large majority of this meeting adopted the views of the Hicksite Friends. The Ortodox branch erected a house of worship near , but no meeting is now held there.
This quaint stone Meeting House of the Society of Friends is situated in an attractive grove on the North-East corner of the inter-section of the road leading from Green Tree to Cooperville and that leading from Nine Points to Smyrna. Prior to 1820, Friends in this area were a part of Sadsbury Meeting north of Christiana. The minutes of Sadsbury Monthly Meeting under date of 5th of 9th Month 1820 set forth fully the reasons for the request of a number of Friends in the vicinity of Bart for permission to establish an "Indulged" Meeting.
"To Sadsbury Monthly Meeting. Dear Friends: Whereas a considerable number of the subscribers labor under great difficulty in attendance of our religious meetings, from their remote situation from those established; and the number of Friends appearing to increase has induced us to believe that an advantage would result to society and afford relief to many if a Meeting were settled about five miles from Sadsbury Meeting House up the valley. We have had several conferences and deliberately weighed this important subject and do unitedly request the privilege of holding a Meeting on the 1st and 5th days except the 5th days in those weeks in which Preparative, Monthly and Quarterly meetings are held. Said Meeting to be held in the school house belonging to Jeremiah Cooper until a more convenient place may be provided." Thirty nine signatures are attached to the request, including such familiar names as Downing, Moore, Hood, Cooper, Whitson, Barnard, Smith and others.
The request of the petitioners being favorably received and a committee to look into the matter being appointed, the Monthly Meeting of the 11th Month, after receiving a satisfactory recommendation, directed the applicants to hold their first Meeting on the third 1st day of that same Month.
The school room in which Jeremiah Cooper conducted a private school and in which the first meetings of the Bart Friends were held is now believed to be the small one-story western extension of the first farm house west of the cross-roads at Cooperville. The Meeting was known as West Sadsbury.
By late 1824 members became desirous of having an established Meeting and applied for permission to purchase a tract of land on the west side of Thomas Hood's farm on which it was proposed to erect a Meeting House to be called Hopewell. Final approval was granted by CaIn Quarterly Meeting on the 17th of 2nd Month 1825. In the meantime the name had been changed to "Bart," supposedly because it had been learned there was another Meeting by the name of Hope-well located in Virginia. The bargain with Thomas and Margaret Hood was immediately closed and the building of the new Meeting House pushed with such vigor that it was completed by November of that same year and Bart became an Established Meeting after four years as an Indulged Meeting.
The division of opinion in the Society of Friends concerning the preaching of Elias Hicks which came to a dramatic head at Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia the 16th of 4th Month 1827 was reflected in like differences of opinion in various local Meetings, including Bart. The Hicksite following retained the property while the Orthodox Friends secured another place of worship and the two groups seem to have gone their separate ways without undue contention.
A decline in attendance began to be evident toward the latter part of the Century, for in 1889 it was reported to the CaIn Quarterly Meeting that the week day meeting at Bart had been laid down. In 1919 a long winter vacation was observed with 1st day meetings being laid down during the winter months. In 1922 it is noted that Bart meeting for worship had been discontinued and the Friends of Bart were now meeting with the Sadsbury Friends at Christiana. There was, however, still business to be attended to, such as the raising of funds for the upkeep of the Meeting House, care of the grounds and the grave-yard. There were Trustees to be selected, and it was not until 4th of 5th Month 1925 that the Clerk, Anna Baker, wrote "Bart Meeting is now laid down." The Trustees are self perpetuating and are in the enviable position of having sufficient funds to provide perpetual care for the burial ground.
Although Bart Meeting has been laid down since 1925 descendants of former members, and visitors from other Meetings, assemble at the Meeting House annually on the 3rd first day of June to renew their faith, to review their rich heritage, to pay their respects to those who rest in the adjoining grave-yard and in general to receive new inspiration for the future. This is a formal group calling themselves "The Bart Historical Society." Worship and an appropriate program are provided for at this time.
It is impossible to ascertain who of the founders of this Meeting are buried here or the date of their decease since The Society of Friends at first frowned upon the placing of headstones in their burial grounds. Certainly many of them do lie here in peaceful rest and it is also certain that if they could speak to us they could relate many interesting stories of the Underground Railroad, for many are known to have taken part in that notably famous operation. Earliest dates on the gravestones are in the early 1830s. So opposed to the erection of gravestones were some of the early Friends that it is said that when the first one was placed in this yard, one venerable gentleman became so incensed that he secured a sledge hammer and attempted to demol-ish it. In this effort, however, he was unsuccessful; and since times have changed, and opinions also, we must relate that he himself now lies peacefully beneath a modest stone which proclaims his last resting place.
After Bart Meeting had been laid down for a few years the building was leased to a group of Mennonites who held services there for a number of years until they were able to build a Church of their own about two miles distant. Because of the nearness of location another event, although not directly connected with Bart Meeting, must be mentioned here. The annual Rally of the Bart Womens Christian Temperance Union was held for many years in the James Jackson grove close to the Meeting House on the west side of the road leading to Smyrna. Many able speakers, some nationally known, appeared on this platform. Large crowds were drawn to this occasion, many from a considerable distance and from both Lancaster and Chester Counties. This was an all day affair and the grove was filled with horses and carriages, for these were the "horse and buggy days." Lunch was served but many spread their own in picnic style. Water was secured from a spring a short distance down a shady path which made a pleasant stroll for young couples interested in each other.
There was often a local Brass Band on hand to strike up inspiring tunes. It would indeed be difficult to place an estimate on the value to the community derived from such gatherings. The firmness of convictions established, the inspiration for daily living, the private resolves for sober and fruitful lives can be attested to by all yet living who were present at any of these gatherings. Many of those who took an active part were, incidentally, members of Bart Meeting.