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Home North Carolina Northampton County City of Woodland Historical Markers Rich Square Monthly Meeting

Rich Square Monthly Meeting

Main Street, Woodland, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 36° 20' 4.9668", -77° 12' 25.6608"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Society of Friends (Conservative). Meeting was organized, 1760, six mi. S. Since 1936 has met here at Cedar Grove, a Meeting established in 1868."
     In 1760, Quakers living in Northampton, Edgecombe, and Hertford counties petitioned the Quarterly Meeting in Perquimans County. Their request to hold a monthly meeting at Rich Square was approved. Since about 1753 the Quakers in the area had been meeting in private houses. It is recorded in the Northampton County deeds of November 1759 that the Friends purchased an acre of land at Rich Square for the sum of “10 shillings current money.” The bill for the construction of the meeting house is recorded in the minutes as having totaled a little less than six pounds.

     At a time when many Quakers were moving westward, the Rich Square Monthly Meeting was able to survive. Quaker histories indicate that the “Rich Square Monthly Meeting was not affected by the tide of westward migration to the same degree as some other meetings in North Carolina . . . . They seem to have been better satisfied with their surroundings that other Friends, and hence there were few who tried their fortunes in the west.” Perhaps due to the more settled nature of the community, the Rich Square Friends grew intolerant of the new ideas forming in the western meetings. In 1903 the Rich Square Monthly Meeting withdrew their affiliation with the North Carolina Yearly Meeting at New Garden due to the latter organization introducing principals and practices “contrary to those of early Friends.” In 1904 Friends from Rich Square met with other conservative Quakers to form a new Yearly Meeting at Cedar Grove in Woodland. Members of the Cedar Grove Yearly Meeting preserved a more traditional style of worship and continued to disallow singing at meetings.

     As the town of Rich Square grew up around the Quaker meeting house, travelers began to make rest stops on the property, leaving the grounds untidy. The congregation chose to move their meeting to a more secluded spot in 1869. The original property was sold in 1877. The Rich Square Monthly Meeting moved one more time before closing the meeting in December 1936. At that time, the local Quakers transferred to the Cedar Grove Monthly Meeting.

Mary P. Littrell, A History of Rich Square Monthly Meeting of Friends (c. 1960)
Northampton County Bicentennial Committee, Footprints in Northampton (1976)
Stephen B. Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery (1896)
Francis Charles Anscombe, I Have Called You Friends (1959)
Rich Square Monthly Meeting Historical Marker Location Map, Woodland, North Carolina