Dover 1-2-3

Dover Meeting resulted from the turbulent visiting ministry of three women in 1662. Despite severe persecution and banishment, they nevertheless returned to the community — soon abetted by more vocal Quakers — and convinced about a third of the population to join with the Society of Friends in spite of the political and social consequences to themselves and their families.

For the first decades, the local Quakers worshiped in members’ homes and farms.

The first meetinghouse was built about 1680 on Dover Neck, just south of the present St. Thomas Aquinas high school and probably just north of the Pinkham family cemetery. The burial ground contains a number of Quaker-style gravestones, some in a thicket behind the maintained section.

The first Friends meetinghouse likely stood just to the north. Pinkhams were among the members of meeting.
Some headstones are seen in the thicket behind the maintained section. The view looks toward the likely site of the first meetinghouse.

A second meetinghouse was erected in 1712 near the present corner of Locust and Silver streets, and Dover Friends worshiped in both buildings as a matter of convenience until a third meetinghouse was constructed in 1768. That large structure was likely raised in a single day, the way Amish barns are today, and the two smaller houses were then sold. The first went to Eliot, Maine, where it continued use for Friends worship.

The second meetinghouse is now a private residence on Spring Street, where it was moved, likely in the 1830s.
The second meetinghouse is now a private residence on Spring Street, where it was moved, likely in the 1830s.
The 1768 meetinghouse is still in use.
The 1768 meetinghouse is still in use.

Beyond the hedge

As I said at the time:

As a technical matter, all churches are “denominational,” even if it’s only unto themselves.

Apart from that, I’m glad thee has responded to the invitations – some Friends to the contrary, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying fellowship, even fun and games. (Don’t tell thy father, but the Mennonites up here round me up and drag me along to the Orioles baseball games. Frank says they’ll never get him to go, but I wouldn’t put any money on that – even if it weren’t against our OYM Discipline.) Games kept in perspective can help keep our minds and hearts lively (and we’ve said that in our responses to the queries, too!) and at Winona in the wintertime, when we have our Meetings for Business in members’ homes, we always end the evening with board games. Imagine being a newspaper editor and getting skunked at word games by a bunch of otherwise quiet farmers! Uh . . . no, Becky, please don’t get the Scrabble out in preparation for my next visit . . . no, Becky . . . Becky? Oh, well . . . My cousins used to do pretty well in the Bible Bowls, too – different churches would pit teams against each other, to see who could most promptly and correctly identify certain passages, characters, places, etc. Sarah could wipe them all out, if Rockingham Monthly Meeting should decide to take on all comers. I nominate Faye to coach.

Voices of proclamation

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):


John the Evangelist calls him the true Light that lighteth every Man that cometh into the World, John i. 9. The other John, or John the Divine, saith, This is he which was, and is, and is to come, Rev. i. 8. And now since he is come to a Remnant, and they have believed in his Light as manifest in them, they are not ashamed to confess that in the Mind, which gives a Discovery of Sin, to be the Power of God, the Appearance of Jesus, and that the Light of the Lamb, which the Nations of them that are saved must and shall walk for ever in, according to Rev. xxi. 23, 24. Neither is this any new Doctrine, Opinion or Principle, other than that which Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with all the Holy Patriarchs of old, were led and guided by, in Things relating both to Faith, Life and Worship: For what else could be a Rule unto them in Matters of Salvation but this Divine Principle, when as they had no written Laws nor Ordinances amongst them? Which Principle is Christ, the Light and Leader of People in all Ages of the World, who is one in all, never was divided, though variously described; being the same, who by his Light sheweth unto the Wicked, and condemns them for the Vanity of their Thoughts; who also by the same Spirit comforts and consolates his Peoples Hearts, that so as many as whose Minds are turned to this Light of Jesus, and stayed in it, though it be but small in its first Appearance, yet shall they see a Growth and Increase of it.