While I was researching this cemetery chapter, and found the Boone-Sears Cemetery history was so closely related with the early Quaker community, I thought it would be good to expand my knowledge about the Society. I had spent much time working my way through Quaker families for a few years looking for my fourth great-grandmother, but I had not been exposed to their business practices as it pertained to private property or to Quaker-owned property in general.
Looking for the Townsends through Quaker documents, including the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, gave me some background as to their procedures in recording events. I also made a wise decision to subscribe to a Quaker Internet on-line mailing list which brings mail to your computer’s Inbox, and lets you respond to any messages you receive. It is a forum where you can either ask questions, find answers to questions on a particular subject, or share your research on a subject. At Rootsweb.com, it was easy to find a list for Quakers to which I subscribed. After reviewing the mail it brought for some time, I became well enough informed to at least know how to pose my questions.
Before I went to the forum, I struck up a correspondence with Carole Malisiak who has published genealogical works of her own50 and she encouraged me to pursue the project. It did not take long to find sources to document the movement of the families from the first Quaker meeting house on the Sears farm to the Quaker meeting house on the near-by Greenmont Union Cemetery land. It has been an interesting study.
Seth Hinshaw’s Report*
An old, out-of-print book published in 1954 that will no longer be let out of the Puskarich library in Cadiz, Ohio is Margaret Gunning’s “The History Of Freeport, Ohio From 1810 To 1900.” In it she writes that the first Quaker church was built by the Friends on the Sears farm. This information had been found in a 1921 county history from which we will read later. Seth Hinshaw, another researcher of Quaker history, presented on the Rootsweb Quaker-Roots Mailing List51 some important information that he had collected for this subject. He says,
"A meeting named Big Stillwater was started under the care of Plainfield Monthly Meeting in 1809. It was located on [what is now often called] the Sears farm in the NE quarter of Section 12 off Cummins Road (TR 306), two-tenths of a mile from the intersection with CR 10 (“Harrison County Cemeteries in Freeport Township,” _Our Harrison Heritage_ Vol. V [Winter 1987], No. 4, page 1). The first meeting house is said to have been a log building, but I do not have a date of construction. This meeting was renamed Nottingham when a preparative meeting was granted by Short Creek QM on 3/5/1813. Nottingham Preparative Meeting became part of Flushing Monthly Meeting at its inception.”
Mr. Hinshaw raised an issue for which he had not yet found an answer, which was an apparent typographical error when Gunning quoted from the History of Carroll and Harrison Counties published in 1921 where she typed 1871 instead of 1817 as the date the new brick church was built.52
In actuality, my own research has clarified this, and you have also seen it in my chronological lists of ownership and events concerning the new brick church built in 1817 which was the second meeting house for this group, whose congregation previously had met on the Sears farm.
This new meeting house was built by the Quaker group on newly acquired land, located within the bounds of what became Greenmont Union Cemetery. You have also read in my chronology that the specific reason there was a relocation of their meeting place was because of the ‘highway that was changed.’ Closer to the end of this chapter, I have a report for you on that interesting topic. Mr. Hinshaw continued with his research:
“A minute of Flushing Monthly Meeting on 7/2/1819 mentioned that Nottingham Meeting had just started using the new meeting house. The next month, Nottingham was renamed Freeport Preparative Meeting (Flushing MM 8/27/1819). Freeport Township was created out of Nottingham Township on 6/6/1814, so the meeting was probably renamed to reflect this township’s creation. This location was later sold and used as a public burying ground [became Greenmont Union Cemetery]. A map [sketch] of the Greenmont Union burial ground appears in Alice H. Morton’s _Freeport Township Cemeteries_ (1988) showing what is called Black’s Lots where the [second] meeting house had stood.
“A division took place at Freeport in 1828. The Hicksite meeting met in the south side of the meeting house (formerly the women’s side). Their Flushing Monthly Meeting was weak, and by 1840 it was being held at Freeport exclusively. The monthly meeting was renamed Freeport, and it had that name from 1840 until it was laid down in 1865 (Short Creek QM [Hicksite], 11/21/1840, 8/19/1865).
“The Orthodox meeting met on the north side of the meeting house after 1828. This meeting did not have a division in 1854, and the Wilburites laid down the lapsed preparative meeting at Short Creek QM on 7/5/1855 [although Gunning stated the meeting was Wilburite rather than Gurneyite]. Once the Hicksite group disbanded, the Gurneyites were able to rebuild the meeting house. This meeting house was dismantled and reconstructed when the Gurneyite group moved the meeting house to the village of Freeport in 1878. The new location was village lot 63, and the deed for the property is in volume 28 page 502 of the Harrison County deeds. John and Mary Green donated the lot to the meeting. The Gurneyite Flushing Monthly Meeting had been moved to Freeport in 1876. The Gurney Monthly Meeting, renamed Freeport Monthly Meeting, was discontinued in 1898 although worship continued until about 1925. The meeting house was sold in 1926 and was a tire store when I visited there in 2001 Photo of Nottingham-Freeport Meeting House.
“The meeting house is an example of the “cottage plan” commonly found during the Colonial era and again in the 1850-1890 era. With the discontinuance of separate men’s and women’s business meetings, new meeting houses did not need two interior rooms with a partition and the separate doors for men and women. Other similar meeting houses dating to this era include Somerton VA, Stavanger IA, and West Philadelphia.”
*Previously published on Rootsweb’s Quaker-Roots Mailing List
Wed, 28 May 2003 07:46:00 P.M. © Quaker Roots Mailing List
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