archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

SADSBURY FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE

Located in Sadsbury township, Lancaster County, Pa

It was part of New Garden Monthly, later became a monthly meeting itself.

From " History of Lancaster County" by Ellis and Evans 1883 page 1036

Sadsbury Friends Meeting (Hicksite)

In 1724, Andrew Moore and Samuel Miller petitioned for the establishment of a meeting of worship in Sadsbury. It was done in 1725, and twelve years later, or in 1737,the Sadsbury Monthly meeting was established. A log meeting-house was built in 1725, and this was the place of worship till about 1760, when the present house was erected. It was a stone building of a sufficient height for two stories, and the carpenter work was done by Joseph Guest. About the time of the Revolutionary war the wood work of the building was burned, and Joseph Guest was again the carpenter who rebuilt it within the same walls. At first there were high galleries in this building, but when it was rebuilt a floor was put in the place of Galleries, converting it into a proper two story building. It had only ordinary repairs since that time.

Among the ancient members of this meeting the names are remembered of Andrew and James Moore, Nail Mooney, James Clemson, James Clemson, Jr., Anthony Shaw, Jane Jones and daughter Sarah Metcalf, Isaac Taylor, Samuel Miller, John, Aaron, and Thomas Musgrave, Robert Moore, Calvin Cooper, John Truman, and Asshel Walker. The lot on which the church was originally built was purchased from the "Servants' Tracts", now called Christiana tract. To this an addition was afterwards purchased from Thomas Richard and John Penn, increasing the amount of land owned by the meeting to about seventy acres. When the division into Hicksite and Orthodox branches of the Friends occured the former retained control of the property

Sadsbury Friends' Meeting (Orthodox)

After the separation of the Friends into Hicksite and Orthodox branches, the latter branch erected a meeting house near the line between Sadsbury and Bart , a short distance from the house that had been built in 1825, where they worshiped till 1880, when the meeting was laid down, and a meeting house was built at Christiana, where the society has since worshiped. It is a brick structure, thirty feet square and one story in height. The meeting has six families

From "History of Chester County, Pennsylvania" By J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope 1881 page239

Society of Friends Sadsbury Meeting

Samuel Smith says that in 1724 Samuel Miller and Andrew Moore made application on behalf of themselves and their friends settled about Sadsbury for liberty to build a meeting house, which being granted by the Quarterly meeting, they built one in 1725, which goes by the name of Sadsbury.

In 1722 a committee appointed by Chester Quarterly Meeting visited Friends of Conestoga and Octorara and reported that they inclined to meet together. In 1723 it was reported that at Octorara were some "of a contentious spirit, and not worthy to be esteemed of our society". In the latter part of 1723 "meetings" are mentioned at both places, but they were probably of an informal character. 9th month 9, 1724, things at Octorara are reported hopeful, and in the 12th month they desire a committee to help fix on a site for a meeting house. The committee failed to settle the question, but on 9th month 8, 1725. "This meeting being informed that those friends of Sadsbury have agreed amongst themselves of a place to Build a meeting house on which this meeting approves of".

The relation of the following letter to this subject is not entirely clear if the meeting house was built in 1725.

"Friend John Taylor"

"I have just now wrote to thee in behalf of an honest friend (Isaac Jackson) and am now further to acquaint thee with another application, made to me by one Simon Hadly, who represents that several friends being seated near that place called the Gap, in Lancaster County; they hope in a little time to establish a meeting there, in order to which they desire some vacant Land near that place may be secured for two or three friends that would shortly come and settle it. I shall not undertake here to give thee any description of the place but shall leave that to Simon himself, and shall only recommend the Request to thee as fitt to be encouraged. I am Thy real friend, J. Logan" Philada., 23, 7, 1729

The old Sadsbury meeting house is on the edge of Lancaster County, but many of the members resided in Chester County.

From the History of Lancaster County by Dr. Frederick Klein, 1926

In 1724 Andrew Moore and Samuel Miller petitioned for the establishment of a Particular Meeting in Sadsbury township, and for the erection of a meet- inghouse. This was accomplished in 1725, a log house being then raised. In 1737 the Sadsbury Monthly Meeting was established, and draw Quakers from Leacock, Lampeter, and Salisbury. Leacock cooperated with Sadsbury to secure this Monthly Meeting status, and all gathered at Sadsbury until 1749, when a larger meetinghouse was built at Bird-in-Hand, East Lampeter township. Then Leacock Monthly Meeting was established, and was continued at that point until 1854, by which time so many Quakers of the Lampeters and Leacocks had moved "toward the great West," that it was decided to take the Monthly Meeting to Sadsbury.

Sadsbury Meeting-The Sadsbury meetinghouse of the Hicksite branch, was erected of stone in 1748, it is believed. Its solid stone walls rise to a height of two stories, and when first built supported high galleries. These galleries, and in fact almost all of the interior woodwork, were burned during the Revolutionary War; and when the repairing was taken in hand by Joseph Guest, who had charge of the original carpentry, it was decided to lay a floor on the second story, in place of galleries. This arrangement has continued to the present. It is not used now, excepting occasionally for funeral services. The building was at one time used by the Amish Mennonites. Among the Quakers who were early members of this church were Andrew and James Moore, Nail Mooney, James Clemson, James Clemson, Jr., Anthony Shaw, Jane Jones, Sarah Metcalf, Isaac Taylor, Samuel Miller, John Aaron, and Thomas Musgrave, Robert Moore, Calvin Cooper, John Truman, and Asahel Walker.

The original site of the meetinghouse was part of what is known as the "Servant's Tract," or the "Christiana Tract." A later addition, bringing the church property to seventy acres, was purchased from Thomas Richard and John Penn. When the division into Hicksite and Orthodox Friends occurred, the former society retained possession of the church property.

The Orthodox society soon afterwards erected a meetinghouse near the line between Sadsbury and Bart townships, only a short distance from the Bart meetinghouse which had been erected in 1825. There the Sadsbury and Bart orthodox Quakers met for worship until 1880, when the meeting was laid down, and another house erected in the borough of Christiana, a brick structure, thirty feet square and one story high.

The Sadsbury Society of Friends is not a strong body, though both the Sadsbury and Bart Friends meetings have active Sunday schools with enrollments in excess of fifty.

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

SADSBURY FRIENDS MEETING

The Sadsbury Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends, in its long history, has known three Meeting Houses in two different loca-tions. The first is found about a mile north of Christiana on the east side of the road leading to Simmontown and Mt. Vernon. Here the first log Meeting House was built in 1725. Here also the large stone structure which replaced it in 1747 still stands surrounded on all sides by the graves of those who made this Meeting great. This is what is commonly known as "Old Sadsbury."

The background of this Meeting is most interesting. At the time of its indulgence in 1723 this area was, and continued to be, Chester County until 1729, when Lancaster County was organized and the Township of Sadsbury established in the newly formed County. In addition to its present boundaries, Sadsbury embraced also what was to become Coleraine in 1738, Bart in 1743 and Eden in 1855. This was the Province of Pennsylvania and George I was on the throne of the mother country, England. Sir William Keith was Lieutenant Governor of the Province. Since William Penn was himself a Friend and had offered a place of refuge to all those persecuted persons of whatever sect, it was only natural that members of the Society of Friends, formerly known by such terms as "Children of Light," "Friends in the Truth" and, in derision, "Quakers," should be among the first to settle in the Province. We find therefore that a Friend, one John Kennerly, settled near what is now Christiana in the year 1691. He is believed to be the first white man to settle in what was to become Lancaster County. This was nine years before William Penn met with the Indians at the large spring around which the village of Gap now clusters. Here he made a treaty with them in 1700 and directly south of this spring surveyed a tract of 1000 acres, calling it the "William Penn Tract." On this tract was located an Indian village. At this time also he laid out an adjoining tract of 1050 acres, which was known as the "Servants Tract." This tract included that land on which the Borough of Christiana is located, and on which the first Sadsbury log Meeting House stood. About this same time Isaac Tay-lor, surveyor for William Penn, located on adjoining land and it is of interest to note that this name, whether his or his son's, appears on the list of early Friends at Sadsbury, along with Moore, Mooney, Shaw, Jones, Cooper, Walker and others.

Prior to 1723, Friends in this locality belonged to and attended New Garden Monthly Meeting. In order to provide a more conveni-ent place of worship, an Indulged Meeting was set up at this time. It, presumably, met in a private home until 1725 at which time a log Meeting House was erected and Sadsbury Preparative Meeting was set up. This first Meeting House was located on the hillside just north of the large spring, on a portion of land which they expected to receive from the Penns. In 1737, Sadsbury Monthly Meeting was set up, and by 1747 the membership had outgrown the log building and a large stone structure was erected. It is a two story building, the second story being for galleries. Joseph Guest did the carpenter work, but we are not told the name of the mason who built the walls. Not yet having received title to the land, Andrew Moore and Calvin Cooper, on behalf of the Meeting, filed a petition for a tract of land on which it was supposed the Meeting House stood.

Under date of 1749, a tract of fifty six acres was deeded to them "in trust for the people commonly called Quakers residing in this and adjoining Townships." The consideration was 8 pounds, 3 shillings and 6 pence. The patent was signed by James Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania. Twenty years later it was discovered that the Meeting House was not located on this tract and four more acres were purchased from the "Servants Tract" for a nominal sum in shillings. This land was located on the western side of the first purchase. In 1820 another small plot of two acres was added, on which a log building was erected for the shelter of horses.

This ancient house of worship still stands, a monument to the workmanship of those early builders. Its walls have withstood two fires; first about 1776 the interior woodwork burned and Joseph Guest again was employed to rebuild it, making it as it appears today. Some years later it again suffered from fire but not much damage resulted at this time. It is believed to be the oldest House of Worship in Lancaster County still standing. This is indeed a "Shrine of Quakerism" and deserves to be preserved as such.

Early Friends were pioneers in education, conducting schools in private homes and later erecting school houses. Such a one was located about fifty feet west of the Meeting House. It is supposed that this did not function too long after the establishment of the Public School System in Pennsylvania, but it was revived again for two years in 1893 and '94, offering advanced education to an en-rollment of from forty to sixty scholars. The building was torn down in 1907 when the road on the west side was straightened, the stones being used in completing the cemetery wall.

As previously stated, the burying ground completely surrounds the Meeting House. Although many lie in unmarked graves, as was the custom of early Friends, many more representatives of the early fami-lies lie beneath the modest stones usually found in the graveyards of Friends Meetings. Without doubt also many stories and many secrets of the "Underground Railroad" lie forever unrevealed in the tomb with those honored champions of freedom. Although being Friends and basically men of peace, many rallied to the defence of their Coun-try in its time of crisis, as attested by the numerous American flags which decorate their graves on Memorial Day.

One cannot visit these grounds without noticing the large "Upping Block" a short distance from the front of the Meeting House. This is believed to be the largest "Upping Block" in a wide area, with its top stone a single slab more than ten feet long. It is worth making a special trip to see and, to close ones eyes and mind to the sights and sounds of todays mode of travel, see again those men and women of long ago emerge from the Meeting House, dressed in plain Quaker garb, mount their horses and proceed quietly to their humble homes after worship.

Such was, and is, "Old Sadsbury" at its original location, but a later chapter in its story is found in the Borough of Christiana.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, the greater part of the mem-bership being concentrated in and around Christiana and many no longer possessing horses and carriages, it was thought advisable to secure a place of worship more convenient. A plot of ground was secured on the corner of Pine Street and Penn Avenue. On this a modern Meeting House was erected and dedicated in 1902. They at this time departed from the traditional plainness and simplicity of construction usually found in Friends Meeting Houses by erecting a building of exceptionally pleasing architecture. It is of stone, secured from a local quarry, and the design is the most beautiful of any Church in the Borough. This undertaking was financed in part by the sale of the greater portion of the land belonging to the Meeting. Here Sadsbury Meeting continues to operate although, like many others, its membership is widely scattered yet remaining loyal. The story is told of an eight year old boy living in New York City who, upon being asked to what Church he belonged, replied without hesitation, "I am a member of Sadsbury Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends."

Children of Friends upon being registered with the Meeting at time of birth become "Birthright Members" of the Society. In the case of this particular child, the parents evidently discharged their responsi-bility with diligence, instilling into his young mind his relationship to the Meeting.

Records Location

on Microfilm - Lancaster County Historical Society - 6 rolls includes Births deaths marriages and Mens and Womans minutes

Links to examples of records contained on these rolls
214 (Hicksite)Births , Deaths, Marriages 1733-1903 mens minutes 1737-1783
215 (hicksite)Minutes 1763-1882, removals 1764-1828
216(Hicksite) minutes 1882-1915 womans minutes 1777-1791
217(orthodox)minutes 1737-1752 1828-1907
218(orthodox)Womans min 1828-1904 births deaths marriages 1759-1902
219(orthodox)Marriages Births deaths 1733-1830 Minutes 1828-1850 joint minutes 1891-1925.

1723-1800 can be found in "Lancaster County Church records of the 18th Century"vol 3 ,by F. Edward Wright, printed 1994 by Family Line Publications

from 1730 births can be found in "Pennsylvania Births Lancaster County 1778-1800 " by John T. Humphrey, printed 1997, by Humphrey Publications

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