archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

EASTLAND FRIENDS MEETING

Township, Lancaster County, Pa

"Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates , Sr. printed 1968

Eastland Friends Meeting is situated in Little Britain township be-tween Wrightsdale and Kirks Mills.

In 1796 Friends in Southern Little Britain township, not wanting to travel all the way back to the Nottingham's in Chester County or north to Penn Hill, petitioned the Monthly Meeting asking permis-sion to hold a meeting of their own. Permission was granted in 1798. Meeting was first held in a log school house located on land owned by Henry Reynolds.

The present building was built in 1803 on 6% acres of land donated by Henry and Reuben Reynolds for 15 shillings. The cost of the building was 332 pounds 17 shillings and 6 pence farthing ($900) and was paid by subscription. '

The first trustees were James Harlen, Henry Reynolds Jr., and Abner Brown. The house was divided by sliding partitions because men and women held separate business meetings. They kept their own minutes and had their own discipline books. When the business was finished the partitions were lowered and they would worship together. This went on until 1892 when the separate sessions were discontinued.

In 1956 an addition was started adjoining the old building measur-ing 40 by 60 ft., consisting of, kitchen, rest-rooms and a large class room for First day school. It took several years to build it as most of the money and labor was donated by members and friends.

In 1913 for better use of the meeting house and trust funds, an application was made to the Lancaster County Court for a charter. The charter was granted under the name of Eastland Preparative Meeting of Friends. The members who signed it were: Lewis J. Kirk, Alfred Wood, Jesse Wood, Lewis Wood, James Wood, Howard Coates, Granville Coates, Hartt G. Coates, Charles S. Coates, H. Ben-nett Coates, Robert K. Wood, Aquilla Lamborn, Walter Wood, Galen Wood and Norman Wood,

The Meeting and Cemetery today is in charge of a Board of Trus-tees which is composed of Warren B. Kirk, President, James R. Wood, Vice-Pres., Norman Wood, Sec.-Treas., Howard Coates and Mercy M. Smedly.

A stone horse block in good condition is still standing. It was used by early Friends to mount their horses. At the present time the children have fun playing on it. A shed, that was apparently built about the same time to protect their horses during meeting hours, is also standing.

Eastland is affiliated with Baltimore Yearly Meeting, Friends Gen-eral Conference and in 1949 joined the World Council of Churches.

The membership at present is forty-five and the attendance is very small. The time of meeting is 11 AM. and First Day School is 9: 45 A.M. The latter was organized in 1886 with thirty-two pupils under the leadership of William W. Way and Sidney Killough. The first Superintendent was Rebecca D. King, with William King, Assistant Superintendent and Alfred Wood, Treas. The present officers are Russell M. Griest, Supt., William Cramer, Asst. Supt. and Marion Trimble, Treas. We have an average attendance of 31. A Religious Education School is held each year for a week during the summer.

The Friends kept good records as they held business meetings each Month. These records cap. be seen today at the Office of the Balti-more Yearly Meeting and Swarthmore College Historical Society. They also keep records of membership which have been eagerly sought by searchers of family ancestors.

A Cemetery is connected with the meeting and is enclosed with an iron fence. The stones are low and plain. The oldest stone is of smooth slate with "S. J. Wilson" died 3rd mo. 1838. Before that they. were unmarked and no records available. It is possible that the vacant part contains the bodies of the early Friends of the Meeting.

The Friends have no paid minister but worship mostly in silence. They have what is called recorded ministers. Among those connected with Eastland were: Howard Coates, Alice M. Coates, Seth L. Kinsey, and Charles S. Coates. They are buried in the cemetery. The members who held political office are also buried in the cemetery. They are: Lewis J. Kirk, County Commissioner, James Wood, County Commissioner, Alfred Wood, County Surveyor and Day Wood who who was a member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1865-1866.

Among our members was Wm. W. Griest who represented Lan-caster County in Congress from 1909 to 1929. He was Sec. of the Commonwealth under Governor Stone in 1889. In Congress he was Chairman of the Post Office Committee. He is given credit for start-ing rural free delivery of mail. He urged disarmament in 1914 and was father of the Lincoln Memorial. His grandparents are buried in the cemetery.

Norman Wood, a member, was a member of the Pa. House of Representative from 1922 to 1964, having served in this body longer than anyone in the history of the Commonwealth. He was chairman of the important Appropriation Committee for 18 years, instrumental in starting the Pa. Farm Museum at Landis Valley, the Wm. Penn Memorial Museum Building at Harrisburg, and the bridge across the Susquehanna River at Holtwood, now named in his honor.

Records Locations

1 roll Microfilm Lancaster County Historical Society - contains Minutes from 1836 to 1903
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