By Paula Dunn
Continuing Hamilton County’s Early Quaker History . . .
As might be expected, the county’s greatest concentration of Friends was in Washington Township, with Westfield at the center of the “Rainbow of Peace.”
Founded by Quakers, Westfield held its first organized Friends meeting in 1834.
The website quakermeetings.com shows three entries for Westfield: The Anti-Slavery Friends Meeting (1835-1850,) the Conservative Friends Meeting (1835-1915.) and the Friends United Meeting (1835-the present.) The first two listings reflect periods when philosophical differences split the congregation.
(FYI, members who didn’t join the Anti-Slavery Friends Meeting weren’t pro-slavery; they just obeyed the law against aiding fugitive slaves while the Anti-Slavery Friends chose to defy it.)
Washington Township’s other meetings were smaller.
A lack of good roads to Westfield prompted Friends in the neighborhood of what is now 196th Street and U. S. 31 to organize the Chester Meeting in 1859. Long since abandoned, all that’s left of Chester is the cemetery.
Greenwood, located at 191st Street and Spring Mill Road, dates from 1851. It’s also gone, the congregation having merged with the Eagle Creek Meeting in 1892. The cemetery still exists, however.
Some former members of the Greenwood and Chester meetings later founded the Hortonville Friends Church, which is no longer active.
The Lamong Friends Meeting was organized by Friends from Union Grove (Adams Township) and Cedar Grove. Established in 1896, it was laid down in 1986.
I couldn’t find ANY information about Cedar Grove except the dates, 1893 to 1895, and a location a mile west of Lamong.
The Eagle Creek Meeting was established in Eagletown in 1841 or 1842 by anti-slavery Friends from Westfield. The church is still active.
The Pleasant View Meeting, organized in 1851, was on Spring Mill Road, just north of 161st Street. The church is gone — according to quakermeetings.com, the last meeting was in 1924 — but the cemetery remains.
The Oak Ridge Meeting was at 156th Street and Oak Ridge Road between 1859 and 1892. All traces of it have disappeared. That area is now covered by subdivisions.
Moving on to Clay Township . . .
The first gathering of Friends in Hamilton County actually took place near Carmel (then known as Bethlehem) in 1830 at the home of early settler Harmon Cox. At that time, it was decided the first public worship services, to be called the Richland Meeting, would be held in an abandoned log cabin one-half mile north of Carmel.
Later, a meetinghouse was constructed near the present-day Old Carmel Cemetery (formerly the Richland Cemetery.) A school, the Richland Academy, was established nearby.
“Richland” was changed to “Carmel” in 1892. The Carmel Friends Church is still active.
Founded in 1850, the Poplar Ridge Meeting was located on Six Points Road, a little south of 136th Street. It also once boasted a school, the Poplar Ridge Seminary. The church closed in 1933, but the cemetery still exists.
Finally, Delaware Township . . .
Located at 106th and Allisonville Road, the West Liberty Friends Church was established in 1890 by the Carmel Friends Church. Only the cemetery, now called Eller Cemetery, remains.
A footnote — This was one of the more difficult topics I’ve researched. The information was often confusing, conflicting and sometimes just plain missing. The date I’ve used for each meeting’s origin is the earliest year I found associated with that meeting and isn’t necessarily when the meeting was officially organized by the Friends Church.
And unrelated note — Master Gardener Jeanette Daniels will be holding her annual plant sale May 5th and 6th, and May 12th and 13th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. She’s on the northeast corner of State Road 32 and Durbin Road. (Jeanette says State Road 32 is closed, so you’ll need to take 191st Street or State Road 38 to get to Durbin Road.)
-Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at email@example.com