Shrewsbury Friends Meeting, Historical Perspectives

Note: "Quaker" is a nickname for "The Religious Society of Friends". Quakers refer to each other as Friends. (John 15:15)

Time Line 1607 — 1968

Events in American History Events in the life of Shrewsbury Meeting
& other relevant events among Friends.
1607 Jamestown established.

1620 Mayflower Compact; Puritans establish Plymouth, MA.

1624 New Amsterdam established by Dutch.

1631-1635 Roger Williams banished for extreme separatism; established Providence, RI.

1649-1650 English Civil War; Cromwell, Commonwealth/Protectorate 1649-60.

1652 Quakerism established by George Fox (1624-1691).

1660 Restoration of Charles II. Friends first articulate a Peace Witness.

1664 New Amsterdam captured by British from Dutch and renamed New York. Under friendly British rule, Friends begin moving into the New York area including north Jersey and Shrewsbury area.

1665 Under patent from Gov. Richard Nicolls of NY, Friends from Long Island, Rhode Island and Cape Cod move to this area and began gathering in homes for worship thus establishing NJ's first Friends Meeting. (Also described as NJ's "oldest rural religious congregation.") They establish the settlement of Shrewsbury. (Incorporated as the Township in 1667.)

1668 About this time Shrewsbury Friends Monthly Meeting for Business is established.

1672 George Fox visits and speaks at the Shrewsbury Friends 1st Meetinghouse, being built that same year. It is the town's first public building and was most likely located in what is now Little Silver.

1681-1682 Charles II charters Pennsylvania for William Penn (1644-1691); Philadelphia founded. Friends settle in Philadelphia region under William Penn. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting established. Shrewsbury Friends Meeting comes under the care of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM).

1689 Shrewsbury Meeting's current property purchased from John Lippincott with the provision that it is to be used for a house of worship or returned.

1692 Salem witch trials.

1700 Original Allen House built by Quaker, Judah Allen. About this time Friends begin the struggle for equal rights for women within the Society.

1703 Shrewsbury may have had their first Meetinghouse on the current site.

1720 John Woolman born in Northampton (Mt. Holly), NJ.

1727 First or second(?) Shrewsbury Meetinghouse built on current site.

1743 John Woolman (1720-1772), Mount Holly Friends Meeting, becomes active in Friends ministry. He articulates the Peace Testimony and an anti-slavery testimony.

1757 Shrewsbury MM independent of PYM disowns John Wardell for buying a slave. It continues to take activist action against slavery.

1758 PYM adopts advice against participation in slavery but doesn't recommend disownment.

1768 Buckingham Friends Meeting House built, Bucks Co. PA. It is the first truly two celled meetinghouse, affording women and equal separate room for Meeting for Business.

1773 Boston Tea Party

1774 The First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia.

1775 The American Revolution begins on 4/19 at Lexington and Concord, MA. 273 British and 93 Americans are killed.

1776 July 4th, Continental Congress approves Declaration of Independence. George Washington's Christmas surprise attack on Trenton, NJ. John Woolman speaks against slavery at Shrewsbury Meetinghouse for Yearly Meeting (May have been, Philadelphia YM). New Jersey Friends agree to not hold slaves.

1777 US Congress adopts the American flag.

1783 Treaty of Paris ends American Revolution.

1788 US Constitution goes into effect.

1789 George Washington elected President.

1800 Washington, D.C. becomes the capital. A Philadelphia shoemaker designs first shoes with a right and left shoe.

1803 Louisiana Purchase doubles size of US.

1804 Lewis and Clark begin their exploration of the Northwest Territory. New Jersey passes its "gradual emancipation" act.

1807 Shrewsbury Friends School established. Most likely ended in 1818.

1810 Fire destroys Shrewsbury Meetinghouse.

1816 Current Meetinghouse completed. Based on Buckingham prototype (1768), it is the first two-story double cell design in NJ.

1828 Separation between Hicksites and Orthodox Friends.

1831 The Shrewsbury Quarter Hicksites leaves PYM and join the New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) Hicksite.

1840 1830—1850 Large numbers of people, including Shrewsbury Friends move west, acquiring land in Ohio, Illinois and farther west. Shrewsbury Meeting membership is severely depleted.

1842 Shrewsbury Orthodox Friends build own meetinghouse.

1846 Slavery is permanently abolished in NJ.

1848 First woman's rights convention, Seneca Falls NY. Organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Lucretia Mott, a Quaker Minister began speaking widely for both the abolition of slavery and women's rights.

1849 Gold discovered. 80,000 rush west.

1850 Congress passes a Fugitive Slave Law.

1857 Dred Scott decision denies citizenship to African Americans. The first passenger elevator is installed in New York City.

1860 Pony Express mail service begins.

1861 Pony Express ends when transcontinental telegraphy starts. Abraham Lincoln becomes president. The American Civil War begins.

1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

1865 Civil War ends.

1869 Transcontinental Railroad established.

1880 Shrewsbury Orthodox Meeting disbands. Their meetinghouse becomes Shrewsbury Library Hall.

1900 Around this time Shrewsbury Monthly Meeting merges with Manasquan to become Shrewsbury/Manasquan MM. Both meetinghouses are maintained but most activity is at Manasquan.

1920 19th Amendment (Woman's Suffrage) ratified.

1940 Shrewsbury Meetinghouse is studied by historical architects, working for the WPA, resulting in 16 detailed drawings and placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

1943 Friends begin holding weekly Meeting for Worship in Shrewsbury.

1960 Shrewsbury Monthly Meeting separates from Manasquan and is again recognized by NYYM.

1968 Fire severely damages the East room of Shrewsbury Meetinghouse. This results in the renovations seen today.