An American Family History

The Abington Meeting-Early Years

  Friends' Miscellany, Volume 9 by John Comly, Isaac Comly, Joshua Evans, and John Hunt  
Bucks County, Pennsylvania is one of three original Pennsylvania Counties and was formed in 1682. Originally it was a large territory that included all of what would later be Berks, Northampton, and Lehigh.
American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

Abington meeting of Friends, is held in the township of Abington, nine miles north of Philadelphia, and half a mile from Jenkintown, on the Old York Road. For the origin of this meeting we must go back to the early settlement of Pennsylvania. . . Abington meeting, from about the year 1700, down to the present time, has been considered a large country meeting, and has generally sustained a remarkable degree of respectability and weight of religious character.

For nearly eighty years, it was the centre of Friends in the country north of Philadelphia, as far as Bucks county. Germantown, Frankford, Byberry and Horsham meetings were united with it, and their monthly meetings for promoting the welfare of society, and the advancement of its testimonies, were held at Abington. . .

In the 12th month, 1686, it was

concluded that men and women meet apart one from the other, from time to time.

Previous to this, it seems they held monthly meetings of men and women together.... An account, not found on record, says, that Abington meeting was first held at the ancient brick house, formerly belonging to Nathan Livezey, in Lower Dublin. In the 1st month, 1697, a youth's meeting was settled at Richard Worrell's, and in the 11th month, same year, the building of a new meeting house at Abington is adverted to,—Friends in Philadelphia having rendered assistance therein. Monthly meeting, in 1702, was held at Richard Worrell's, and at Abington and Oxford,—and the next year the youth's meetings were held at Byberry, Oxford, Germantown, and Abington. Meeting houses having been built at these four places, it is probable the meetings which had heretofore been held at Friends houses, were about this time discontinued. In 1710, it was concluded that "the monthly meeting be at Abington till further orders."

The practice of Friends loaning money, at their monthly meeting, to such of their members as appeared to be in want on account of sickness or otherwise, in some instances to buy a cow, a horse, or to assist them in their business, &c. appears to have been common in those days.

In 1696, the meeting collected thirty-six pounds seventeen shillings and ten pence, towards building a new meeting house in Philadelphia; and for the use of the Yearly Meeting and the charges of books, three pounds thirteen shillings and six pence.

In 1710, a subscription of ten pounds was ordered to be raised, to build a new meeting house at Boston in New England; and in 1720, Friends of West Jersey requesting assistance towards building a new meeting house at Chester, in the county of Burlington, the old one being burnt,—it was granted. In 1726, twelve pounds four shillings was raised towards defraying the expense of some Friends that were taken captives by the Indians in New England,—they being redeemed at a great expense. These contributions carry the evidence of friendly feeling, and expansion of good will, especially when considered in connexion with their own concerns, in support of their poor—and other charges incident to society, together with the mutual assistance rendered by all branches of the monthly meeting in building their respective meeting houses
—at Oxford in 1684
—at Abington 1697
— at Germantown 1704
—at Byberry 1714
—and in 1724 at Horsham, where a meeting was first established in 1716.

In 1719, a proposition was made in Abington monthly meeting,"relating to some elders or honest Friends, to sit with the ministering Friends, when they meet," and the following appointments made— for
Oxford, Edmund Orpwood;
Germantown, Peter Shoemaker;
Abington, Morris Morris;
Byberry, Abel Hinkson;
Horsham, Richard Kinderdine.

In 1722, Joseph Elgar is chosen to accompany the ministering Friends. In 1725, elders were chosen for
Abington, Rynear Tyson;
Germantown, Thomas Roberts;
Byberry, John Duncan.

The subject of the ministry appears to have claimed Friends' weighty attention about this time—a minute of 1723 says,

ordered, that Friends of each preparative meeting take care to bring into the monthly meeting, an account of Friends newly appearing in the ministry, and approved, and whether their conversation correspond with their testimony, in order to be recommended to the Quarterly meeting.

In 1728,

Horsham, Germantown, and Abington preparative meetings signified that John Cadwallader, jr., David Davis, Isaac Davis, and Thomas Wood, are come forth, and appear in public testimony, that they have good unity with them, desiring they may be recommended to the next Quarterly meeting of ministers at Philadelphia, which this meeting approves of, and appoints Morris Morris and Nicholas Austin, on behalf of this meeting, to draw a few lines to recommend them accordingly.

John Griffith, in his journal, gives the following account of Abington meeting in 1734.

The meeting I then belonged to was large, and a valuable weighty body of Friends therein, who as far as I could observe by their carriage, did own and approve of my weak, low appearance in this service; yet they used christian prudence, not to lay hands suddenly, but gave me full opportunity to make proof of my ministry, and to feel my feet therein. About this time, a fine spring of ministry was opened within the compass of our Yearly Meeting, there having by account about one hundred opened their mouths in public testimony, in little more than a year; divers of whom became powerful, able ministers, and some of them withered away like unripe fruit. About ten appeared within that time, in the particular meeting of Abington to which I belonged.

A valuable weighty body of Friends, and ten new appearances in the ministry in little more than a year, is descriptive of a very favourable state of things at Abington about a hundred years ago.

At that time, and many years afterwards, the nomination of elders, as well as the proposition to recommend Friends in the ministry, generally originated with the preparative meetings—the result of whose deliberations was reported to the monthly meeting for its judgment and decision. The same method was practiced in regard to overseers, and Friends to be appointed to the service of visiting families.

The Society of Friends (Quakers) began in England in the 1650s, when they broke away from the Puritans. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Friends to live and practice their faith.

Lower Dublin Township was located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania and adjoined Moreland and Byberry Townships. The township was incorporated into the City of Philadelphia
During the Indian wars, some colonists were taken captive. They were killed, ransomed, or adopted into the tribe.


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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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