Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends
A Quaker Community in Medford, New Jersey


Public ContentAnyone can view this post

Friends began worshiping in Medford, then known as Upper Evesham, in 1759, although meetings may have been held in private homes before that date. The Meeting was then known as the Upper Evesham Preparatory Meeting.

The Meetinghouse grounds were assembled through 17 deeds of conveyance and an L-shaped frame meetinghouse was constructed in 1762. The schoolhouse behind the Meeting was built earlier, in 1759. It may also have been used for early meetings for worship.

Medford Friends met in the old, frame meetinghouse for 50 years, when they realized a larger building was needed. The first meeting for worship was held in the new meetinghouse on February 15, 1815. Since the building was not completed, friends had to walk a plank from the curb to the door.

Soon after the new meetinghouse was completed, the trustees, worried about fire, contributed $1,000 toward the purchase of a fire engine. Leather buckets were bought for $8.00 apiece and hung on a fence next to the firehouse, which stood next to a well on the northeast corner of the property.

During 1845-47 the graveyard was enlarged, lobbies added, new porches constructed and the horse sheds, which stood along the northern boundary, extended to hold 34 carriages.

Members of the Meeting encouraged education by building stone school houses at Medford, Fostertown, Southampton, Hartford and at Church and Eayrestown Roads. They created a fund for each school to provide scholarships for poor children. None of these schools was under the care of Friends by 1914 and the school at the Union Street Meeting had been laid down in 1898 because of small attendance.

The Meetinghouse was painted and repaired in 1958 and oil heating was installed in 1959, replacing the old stove which stood in the center aisle for many years. A sign was erected on Union Street, also in 1959.

A PYM schism developed in 1827-28, splitting over the theology of Elias Hicks. Medford was not immune and a separate meetinghouse was constructed on Main Street in 1842 for the Hicksites, with the Orthodox Friends remaining at the Union Street building. In 1941 a committee was appointed to explore relationships. A joint First Day School was started in 1945. Finally, in 1955, the two groups came together, forming Medford United Monthly Meeting.

More details about early history are found in two commemorative booklets chronicling the 1914 Centennial and 2014 Bicentennial, both of which are available at the Meetinghouse.  To have pdf files of the booklet emailed to your address please contact the office: