My take on the causes of decline 

There are many reasons for the closure of the Dover Friends meetinghouse after the First World War, as I note in my book, along with its reopening in the 1950s.

Dover Friends meetinghouse, erected in 1758, the congregation’s third in town.

In an even bigger picture, we could argue about the marginalization of religion in American society in general, and then extend our consideration to lessened civic involvement and association.

My short quip is that Friends became too respectable.

For now, I’ll leave it at that – at least here, in a blog post. Many other factors come into play.

Besides, it’s the basis of enough for an entirely new book, rather than the history at hand.

Just what makes us tick, anyway – individually and together?


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in an iBook edition at the Apple Store.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.


Quakers and Salem, Massachusetts

One of the early centers of religious resistance was Salem, at the north end of Massachusetts Bay. Though infamous for the witch trials that began in 1692, it had a long history of dissenters, with the Baptist pioneer Roger Williams the most prominent.

It was founded in 1626, four years before Boston, not by Puritans but rather fishermen, led by Roger Conant from Devonshire, when the English settlers of Gloucester on Cape Ann relocated to the mouth of the Naumkeag River, the former site of an ancient Native village and trading center. After witnessing the mounting fear and despair at the Plymouth colony as its leadership devolved and a quarter of its population departed, Conant was especially troubled by what he saw as the rising violence and fanaticism of its Pilgrim authorities, even after he had moved away to Cape Ann.

Conant headed the new settlement for two years before he was replaced by John Endecott on the orders of the Massachusetts Bay colony and the village renamed Salem, reflecting the Puritan ideal of a New Jerusalem. It grew into an active seaport, becoming by 1790 the sixth largest city in the new nation.

Salem was also ten miles closer than Boston to Dover and soon had had a small but significant Quaker presence.

A reproduction of the first Quaker meetinghouse in Salem sits on the grounds of the Peabody-Essex Museum.

Its early persecutions were among the most intense anywhere, yet a remnant held on. The Meeting grew and spread, eventually relocating to Lynn and reaching up the Merrimack Valley of New Hampshire.

While Salem is infamous for its persecution of witches – events that ended the Puritan strand of New England Calvinist orthodoxy – I’m convinced that a bigger picture would be a culture clash between the Devon folkways and those of the East Anglia Puritans, something I investigate in Dover to the north.

In that fullness, Salem would be a really hot story all its own.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in a Nook edition at Barnes & Noble.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.


The Hussey family and that anvil in the Quaker meetinghouse

Hampton’s 1701 meetinghouse is now a private residence.

Through the first century of English habitation in New Hampshire, the other Quaker Monthly Meeting was at Hampton, and like Dover, it soon had satellite worship groups before coalescing in today’s Amesbury, Massachusetts.

Its full history is one that needs to be told. I’d like to know more about how it and Dover interacted.

Amesbury, Massachusetts, Friends meetinghouse.
Its interior has been lovingly restored. After her marriage in Dover, Abigail Hussey worshiped in Amesbury, eventually living just down the street.

Its Hussey family was one that came to be part of Dover Meeting. The family had two well-know weddings that occurred in the present Dover meetinghouse – May 3, 1769, of Samuel Hussey and Mercy Evans, and October 3, 1804, of their daughter Abigail to John Whittier of Haverhill, Massachusetts – another of Hampton/Amesbury’s Preparative Meetings.

Dover’s Hussey farm was on Baer Road in today’s Rollinsford but Somersworth at the time of the second wedding. It’s some beautiful farming country.

John and Abigail Hussey Whittier became the parents of the influential poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier, who was a frequent visitor to Dover Friends. Her portrait, reproduced in my recent post about the Whittiers, hangs above the stairway from the main floor to the lower level of the meetinghouse.

Two stories are told about the anvil that sits in a corner of the Dover meetinghouse. One is that it was recovered from the ruins of the Otis house after the Cochecho Village massacre. Richard Otis was a Quaker blacksmith. The other is that it comes by way of the Hussey family, which turned Civil War cannons into plowshares.

The Hussey family has a significant presence in New England Quaker history. Settler Christopher Hussey, described as the most prominent man in early Hampton, was one of the purchasers of Nantucket Island in 1659, where son Stephen eventually moved as it became a Friends stronghold.

Though Christopher was not a Quaker, his other son, John, was severely fined and threatened as an early Quaker, as Elizabeth Hooton related from her American visits. He was a Friends minister, married Elizabeth Perkins from another distinctive Hampton Quaker family, and they had 17 children, mostly daughters, before migrating as Friends to New Castle, Delaware, in 1688 or 1692.

There is argument whether John and Rebecca Hussey’s son Richard (1660-1733) remained behind and moved to Dover or whether it was an immigrant. Either way, a Richard Hussey who was a weaver moved to Dover by 1691, wed Jane Canney, and had a dozen children. Among them was Joseph (1699-1762), who then married Elizabeth Robinson and sired Samuel Hussey (1714-1814), leading to the Whittier connection.

Some of the Nantucket line, however, reconnects in Berwick, Maine, complicating the picture, especially when a Hussey marries another Hussey.

Stephen Hussey’s second son, Bechelder, moved from Nantucket to Biddeford, Maine, which leads to son Stephen, who had 12 children, the last three born in Berwick.

More prominent among the Berwick Quakers were the children of Ebenezer Hussey, Stephen’s fifth son, who wed Abigail Hale.

What is known is that in 1770, James Hussey – possibly Richard and Jane’s grandson or great-grandson – moved from Dover to North Berwick. His son William (1800-1870) created an efficient plow in the 1830s.

It’s right beside the millstream. The textile mills were owned by another Quaker.

The enterprise drew on Quaker connections, beginning with Joseph David Hoag’s relocation from Charlotte, Vermont, to North Berwick in 1825. The son of famed Friends minister Joseph Hoag, he brought with him a cast-iron plow created by blacksmith Jethro Wood of Scipio, New York, another Quaker. Wood’s mother, incidentally, was Diannah Hussey, a niece of Ann Starbuck on Nantucket.

Got all that? Just go with the fact it was a potent mix.

As a farmer, William Hussey felt that the plow’s moldboard was much too short. After pouring lead to make a rough pattern of a longer board, he had castings made at a foundry in Newmarket, New Hampshire. The results were carted by horses to North Berwick, where skilled carpenter Henry Estes made the wooden framework. William then traveled among his farmer friends to sell the plows.

With the distinctive size and shape of the furrow board, the plow could be pulled by less power than its rivals. As the company’s business envelopes proclaimed, “If I don’t hold easy, draw lightly, and turn a flat furrow, after five days return me.”

In his later years, William Hussey ran the N. Hobbs Inn at Bracey’s corner, but as a staunch temperance advocate, he refused to sell liquor. He was also an ardent abolitionist.

That led his son, Timothy Buffum Hussey (1831-1913), to establish the T.B. Hussey Plow Company, now operating as Hussey Seating and the oldest business in Maine.

The company’s early headquarters.

After graduating from Friends School in Providence and teaching there, his son, Timothy Buffum Hussey (1831-1913), took over the business in 1855. With his younger brother, William Penn Hussey, he also operated a foundry nearby.

After the American Civil War, he bought up cannons and melted them down in the foundry to make plows – wryly upholding the swords-into-plowshares prophecy of the book of Isaiah.

After an 1895 fire nearly destroyed the firm, the Husseys refocused on building steel products including fire escapes and bridge supports. I like to think that the shift in focus came to their mind during Quaker Meeting.

Through much of this, Berwick was an independent Monthly Meeting – but it was still part of Dover Quarter and, thus, my history. Besides, when Berwick was laid down as a Meeting, its remaining members, including Husseys, once again were in Dover’s rolls.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in an iBook edition at the Apple Store.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.

The ‘shadow Meeting’ extended beyond official members

I’ve long been fascinated by what I’ve come to call the “shadow Meeting” – people who continued to worship as Quakers and uphold many of the values after being “read out of Meeting” for violating its discipline, usually over marriage procedures.

It’s a fact for several generations of my own ancestry in North Carolina.

One place I see it in Dover is with the Varneys.

The patriarch of this prolific Quaker line was Humphrey Varney (1636-1714), a brickmaker who moved to Dover from Ipswich, Massachusetts. He married Sarah Starbuck, widow of Joseph Austin, as her second husband.

After the Dover’s disastrous massacre, their son, Ebenezer Varney (1664-1753), married Mary Otis after her return from captivity, and their son Peter (1666-1732) wed Elizabeth Evans.

The Varney house, which stood near today’s Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, was once the largest home in Dover. After the massacre, it continued to keep its doors unlocked so that passing Natives could spend the night.

After that, well, it seems the Varneys married into all of the other Dover Friends families. Many of them also spread, most notably across Maine.

The family made its imprint on Dover, though I’m not sure how many remained Friends.

Jesse Varney was a morocco shoemaker when his store was consumed in flames in December 1810.

By 1837, Varney’s Block stood at Lower Square on Central Avenue near Washington Street. In 1844, a bigger building was erected.

In 1847, 99-year-old Eunice Varney died. She was the oldest resident and a member of the Society of Friends.

There’s Varney Road, extending Long Hill Road to Blackwater Road. And Varney Cleaners, founded by Fred Varney.

The Varney School on Washington Street, used from 1861 to 1953 and now as law offices, was named in honor of Judge John R. Varney. He died in an 1882 fire that destroyed the Washington Street Baptist Church building.

George Varney was a prominent merchant for more than 40 years and owned a drug store on Washington Street before retiring in 1920 at age 65 and passing the next year. He built a large home on Arch Street in 1913.

John R. Varney was co-owner of two newspapers – the Dover Enquirer, purchased in 1868, and the Dover Daily Republican, acquired in 1880.

My curiosity, of course, wonders how many of the Quaker values continued in their lives, as well as what directions their faith took. I like to think it worked like yeast.

The family also made a big impression in Manchester. The Varney School, now a private residence on the West Side, was named in honor of one of the city’s mayors.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in a Nook edition at Barnes & Noble.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.


What values continue after a family leaves a tradition?

One thing that fascinates me in regards to religion is the distinction between faith, based on a holy experience, and a culture, handed down within a family.

Among the Dover families that belonged to Meeting are the Tuttles, long known for their Red Barn market. Yes, Red Barn, like the name of this blog.

Three Dover Combination signers shared a tragic introduction to the New World when their ship, the Angel Gabriel, broke up in the August 14 “Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635,” either in the harbor at Pemaquid, Maine, or at the Isles of Shoals.

One was John Tuttle, who was about 17 years old at the time of the disaster. After their rescue, he arrived in Chebasco (in Essex or Ipswich, Massachusetts). By 1638 Tuttle settled in Dover, where he was known as Shipwreck John and had a farm on today’s Bellamy River – one that grew into what was long known as America’s oldest family-owned and operated enterprise. (Never mind that Thomas Roberts’ heirs nearby would have a longer claim.) Tuttle’s son Thomas was killed by a falling tree while still a young teenager, leaving John Jr. to continue the family name.

Tuttles’ Red Barn along Dover Point Road remains a landmark, even after the family finally sold the farm.

Shipwreck John’s grandson, James Tuttle (1683-1707), is believed to be the first Quaker in the family. He married Rose Pinkham (1682-1728) and they had two children before his death – Elijah Tuttle and Phebe, who married Moses Varney. Yes, these Quaker families quickly intermix.

The next four generations were very active in Dover Friends Meeting, according to William Penn Tuttle, who added that their home was always a resting place for visitors during Quarterly Meeting.

And some of the family even went abroad in missionary service.

Their farm on Dover Point Road, with its red barn, was long noted as a marketplace for fresh produce.

Across the river in Maine, one line still produces remarkable cider each fall – King Tut’s. Yes, short for Tuttle’s.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in an iBook edition at the Apple Store.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.

A touch of Philadelphia, too

Business opportunities lured some Dover Friends to more lucrative destinations within the changing economy. With their many Quakers, Lynn, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, especially, beckoned.

As a widely repeated quip goes,

Friends went to Pennsylvania to do good, and they did very well, indeed.

Among those who went to Penn’s Fair City was Lydia Brown Hanson’s nephew Moses Brown (1793-1878), who left Dover in 1815 to join his brother Jeremiah in the domestic textile trade. Moses, I should emphasize, was not the famed Rhode Island Quaker. These were the sons of William Brown and Abigail Peaslee, whose daughters Lydia, Alice, and Anna all married under the care of Dover Meeting. The brothers’ move to Pennsylvania came the year after the first textile mill in Dover was built – were the Browns selling its fabrics?

In Philadelphia, Moses had the good fortune to marry Mary Waln Wistar, a descendant of a socially prominent Quaker family, and their son Thomas Wistar Brown was born in 1826.

Described as a successful dry goods mer­chant who never went to college, T. Wistar Brown became a self-taught scholar and patron of education. A long-time manager of Haverford College and for 25 years its board president, he gave the college three professorial chairs and much of its old library and books, among his many philanthropic endeavors.

His profile calls him a quiet man of strong faith and convictions – including a refusal to succumb to the use of the telephone and automobile. As a young man he had followed Abraham Lincoln on horse­back on the way to the first inaugural, and he saw Lincoln’s Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, spattered with mud after a hairbreadth escape from an assassin’s bullet. During the Civil War he escorted the wife of his cousin, General Isaac Wistar, through enemy lines to visit her husband at Fort Monroe.

He was also a founder, with other Quaker businessmen, of the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Philadelphia.

Brown and family members are buried in the plot at the end of the lane in Dover.


When he died in 1916, the Evening Post of New York in a long tribute said of him: “There was a blend of the stoic in his Christian resignation; he saw much and suffered much, gained much and lost much. He was one of the last of the old generation of Quakers who inherited from their forefathers discipline and patience, silence, and self-control. He faced life with quiet fortitude.”

He is buried with his wife, Mary Farnum, and other kin in the T. Wistar Brown Cemetery, now managed and used by Dover Monthly Meeting.

At times I do wonder if the City of Brotherly Love is reflected in the naming of some of Dover’s streets – Arch, Chestnut, Locust, Maple, Spring, Central, Broadway (from Broad) – as a result of the Philadelphia connections. A number of the city’s other streets carry Quaker family names, including Hill Street, named for a Varney and Hill land development partnership rather than its inclines.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in a Nook edition at Barnes & Noble.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.


There’s even an old gray wizard and his conjuring book

My favorite – and least expected – story from Annie Pinkham’s historical sketch of Dover Meeting includes a profile of Ambrose Bampton, who appears in Whittier’s “Snow-Bound” in the couplet, “We stole with her a frightened look / At the gray wizard’s conjuring book.”

Friends carefully avoided anything smacking of superstition, yet Bampton (1717-1790) had a local reputation for possessing “certain powers of disclosing the unknown and declaring the coming of future events with remarkable accuracy. To him resorted farmers who had lost their cattle, matrons whose silvers spoons and other treasures had disappeared, or maidens whose sweethearts were among the missing.”

Known as the Sorcerer, he may have been a continuation of traditions handed down in Devonshire, England, possibly through his mother, Hannah. “The meek-spirited old man received them all kindly, put on his iron-rimmed spectacles, opened his conjuring book, and after a season of deliberation, gave the required answer without money and without price,” in Pinkham’s telling.

Devon, a county southwest of London, is the origin of many of Dover’s early settlers.

Once, when a group of young people came to him for advice, he said to one of the girls,

“If ever thee marries anybody, thee will marry me.” She replied, “I would marry the devil first.”

A clue to her reaction might be hinted at in a notation that at the time of his death, he was said to weigh 400 pounds. I have no idea where Whittier had him already gray at this point.

The girl was a Quaker, Rebekah Austin, the daughter of Nathaniel Austin and Catherine Neal. Contrary to the prediction, she wed in 1745 with Simeon Hill in the manner of Friends. But five years later, as a widow, she did in fact marry Ambrose, again in a Quaker service. He had left First Parish and rejoined Dover Meeting. She predeceased Ambrose in 1802.

Ambrose’s father, John, was a member of Friends by 1705, so there were Quaker threads to build on.

Besides, I look at him as one more confirmation of my sense that some Friends are far more psychic than we’d let on.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in a Nook edition at Barnes & Noble.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.

Go west, young Friend … and they did

Dover, New Hampshire, sits on the tidal waters of the Atlantic Ocean but that didn’t inhibit its influence on Midwest and then West Coast Quaker growth.

Consider the leadership of Dover Friends Meeting in the years leading up to the American Civil War. Benjamin H. Jones served as clerk for six years, 1841 to 1847, and also traveled in ministry. Olney Thompson then served a year as clerk, followed by John Meader, 1848 to 1851.

In September 1852, however, “Benjamin H. Jones, having removed with his family to reside within the limits of Salem Monthly Meeting (in Iowa), inquires after a Removal Certificate thereto for himself, his wife Mahalth E. and their children, Robt H., Lucy T., and George N. Jones.” This would have been a transfer of membership taking them west of the Mississippi River.

New England’s rocky soils – usually either clay or sandy, rarely loam – had long made for difficult farming, and railroads were making Midwestern crops and livestock competitive in eastern markets.

In 1855, James Canney, an overseer and assistant clerk at Dover, moved with his family to Minneapolis and later to San Jose, California.

The Beans, who settled in Gilmanton in 1772 from Brentwood, became a remarkable case. Among their descendants was John Bean, who wed Elizabeth Hill. The four of their five children who lived to adulthood – James, Joel, and twins Mary and Elizabeth – all headed west before the Civil War. Their education included terms at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, Rhode Island – today’s Moses Brown School.

John sold the farm in Gilmanton and moved to Rochester to become a businessman. Self-inflicted financial difficulties, however, resulted in bankruptcy despite the attempts of Dover Friends John Roberts, Thomas Roberts, Elijah Jenkins, Ken Graham, Daniel Meader, and John Estes to guide him. The experience embittered and devastated him.

That may have set all four of the children looking to horizons beyond New Hampshire. They would each move to Iowa and eventually on to California and Oregon, becoming recorded ministers along the way, as did three of their four spouses, too. Quite simply, they were crucial in the establishment of Friends Meetings west of the Mississippi River.

Before going, daughter Mary wed Charles H. Tebbetts under the care of Dover Meeting on January 19, 1854. Their clearness committee was Sarah K. Prentice and Cyrus Bangs. After a stint in Iowa, the couple moved on to Pasadena. Their son, Charles E. Tebbetts, would become a prominent Quaker pastor and president of Whittier College.

James Bean went with a wagon train to Iowa and Minnesota in 1855, returned to Rochester to wed Roanna Fox on August 16, 1858, and together they moved to the prairie, where he tried his hand at a grocery and a bookstore before becoming the U.S. government paymaster and clerk for the Chippewa Indian agent. In time, they landed in San Jose.

At West Branch, Iowa, Elizabeth Bean wed Benjamin Miles, a widower with three children from Miami County, Ohio. They would move to Newberg, Oregon, where his children would establish George Fox College.

Joel Bean married Hannah Elliott Shipley in Philadelphia, but they were introduced in Iowa when she was visiting. With her prominent Quaker connections, the wedding took place in the Orange Street meetinghouse on June 29, 1859. From there, they went straight to Iowa. In the spring of 1861, they set out as Quaker missionaries to Hawaii. On their return to Iowa, he rose to the position of vice president at a bank and served as clerk of the Yearly Meeting. He and Hannah also traveled in ministry to England, 1872-1873.

So much for four humble siblings from Dover Friends Meeting. They would, however, become embroiled with controversies involving Holiness movement evangelism besetting many of the Midwestern Friends, including a shift to full-time pastors, revivals, and hymn-singing. Joel and Hannah moved on to San Jose, California, in 1882. (Their granddaughter Anna Cox Brinton, widely known among liberal 20th -century Friends, continued to use Plain speech – mostly with her husband, Howard.) They were joined by James and Roanna.

Dover’s former clerk, Benjamin H. Jones, had returned east, to Lynn, Massachusetts, but was about to try homesteading in Montana with his wife. His son, George, was already in San Jose.

In the end, rather than join California Yearly Meeting, the San Jose Meeting remained independent. Officially, after being disowned by Iowa Friends after he had left, Joel and Hannah applied for membership in Dover Meeting, despite the distance, and were welcomed.

As far as pioneering went, they were way ahead of the high-tech revolution that would take place in their final locale.


Add to that Tom Hamm’s book, The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907, which details the impact of railroads and commercial farming on Friends’ life during the nineteenth century, especially across the fertile Midwest.

During this time, the wider Quaker world underwent a number of modifications. Gone in some circles was the restrictive discipline, along with the requirements of Plain speech and dress and the marriage limitations, but sometimes it came with theological strife and new legalism.

By the end of the century, pastors had been introduced through much of the American Quaker world, including Gonic and Meaderboro. Friends had influential roles in interfaith organizations such as the YMCA, too.


In 1884, Asa C. and Emeline Howard Tuttle, along with their son, returned to Dover “after spending some years among the Modoc Indians in Indian Territory,” as James Bean observed. “They were both ministers of ability. They remained in Dover, beloved and respected by all until Asa’s death in 1898, when Emeline removed to Rhode Island. and later to Louisiana. After the removal of Emeline Tuttle and Lydia E. Jenkins, the meeting continued without a regular minister for some years.”

Emeline is credited with discontinuing the separate men’s and women’s business meetings in 1886 and merging them into one.


In 1913, the faithful remnant proved to be too small and too old to continue on its own and regular worship was discontinued in the meetinghouse. Officially, Dover Monthly Meeting went on at the Gonic meetinghouse, which had both a pastor and financial support from the mill there.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in an iBook edition at the Apple Store.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.

Dover Friends’ long reach is seen in the Meader family

After coming to New England and working as a farmhand at Oyster River, then part of Dover, John Meader (1625-1715) wed Abigail Tuttle of Ispwich, Massachusetts, in 1653. Granted 100 acres in 1656, he erected a garrison house by 1660.

He took the oath as constable of Dover, and on July 4, 1663 was ordered to tie Edward Wharton, “a vagabond Quaker” to “ye Carte tayle” and whip him out of town, administering not more than ten lashes. That didn’t stop two at least two of his sons from joining Friends.

In 1684, he was one of at least 34 landholders who refused to pay land rents to the Mason heirs and were disposed of their land titles. The next year, they petitioned King James II for relief from the arbitrary decisions of Governor Cranfield, and their representative, Nathaniel Weare, managed to get their lands and other rights restored.

In the 1694 Oyster River massacre, Meader’s garrison and the nearby house of his son, Joseph (1753-1820), were burned, but the family escaped.

Joseph Meader and his first wife, Abigail Field (1759-1784), had son Valentine Meader, born on August 6, 1777. He was a carpenter and a Quaker minister who traveled widely, dying of an illness during a religious visit in 1837.

Joseph later married Elizabeth Gould (1756-1814) and had son Joseph Meader on September 22, 1788. The son married Mehitable Varney in 1810 and was a farmer who became an acknowledged Quaker minister at Sandwich Meeting in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. In the Wilburite Separation, his family aligned with the conservative faction, in 1845. He died on January 28, 1864.

Quaker Meaders spread from Oyster River, or Durham, north into northwest Rochester, forming its Meaderboro village, and further north into Sandwich. Others were at Lee, with its Meeting.

The family burial ground in Meaderboro embodies Quaker humility. The fileldstones mark the plots but are either left plain or engraved with nothing more than initials and dates. Others went unmarked altogether.

Meaderboro descendant Elwyn M. Meader (1910- 1996) was a University of New Hampshire horticulture professor famed for plant varieties he created for northern climates. As the Fedco Seeds website noted, “If you’ve ever grown vegetables or raised fruit or flowers, Professor Elwyn M. Meader’s work has probably touched your life. … At least half his introductions came after he ‘retired’ from a distinguished 18-year career as plant breeder at the University of New Hampshire. He could have gotten rich from royalties on all his releases, but instead he gave them away ‘as payment for his space on the planet. … I was working for the taxpayers,’ he would say in his broad Yankee accent, ‘and the results of my work belonged to them.’

His accent, I will confirm, was classic New England. At least one linguist recorded it for posterity.

Fedco’s profile continues, “A deeply religious Quaker, Meader was always modest about his creations, but not shy about his opinions. He disdained plant patenting. ‘Plants shouldn’t be patented if there has been one dollar of federal or state money used to fund development.’ At one point in the 1950s he refused to serve on university committees (except one to abolish all committees) maintaining he had been hired to do breeding work only. He offered inspiring advice to the wave of homesteaders who arrived in the ‘60s, ‘Try all things. Hold on to that which is good,’ but added curtly, ‘If you can’t make it without bringing along your TV, you’d better forget the whole thing.’

Dover Friend Silas Weeks drew heavily on him in researching what would become the book New England Quaker Meetinghouses, Past and Present.

And after Elwin’s death, when he had declined a memorial service feeling unworthy of one, I clerked a Quarterly Meeting session that discerned otherwise. The ensuing service was a glorious – and memorable – occasion.

Meaderboro Friends Meeting disaffiliated from Quakers in 1963 and continues as a community church.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in a Nook edition at Barnes & Noble.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.


The Cartlands were part of the Underground Railroad

Closely related to poet John Greenleaf Whittier was the Cartland family in Lee. In fact, Greenleaf was especially close to cousin Moses Cartland, though their expectation of dying as bachelors was ultimately crushed when Moses wed a much younger first cousin, contrary to Quaker discipline.

My trail starts with Joseph Cartland, born in Dover in 1721, who moved the family to Lee and established Walnut Grove farm, which would eventually encompass two thousand acres. With first wife Lydia Allen, who died in 1758, and second wife Anna Hanson, he had 11 children, most of them active Quakers.

The Cartland home in Lee is known as a stop on the Underground Railroad of escaping slaves.
The meetinghouse doubled as a Friends school.

Their spacious home became a stop on the Underground Railroad, and the Quaker meetinghouse, which doubled as a Friends school, stood across the road.

His son Jonathan Cartland, married to Elizabeth Austin, and their children included the noted abolitionist and educator Moses A. Cartland, a confidant of second-cousin John Greenleaf Whittier, who was a frequent guest. Moses also served in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives and was a founder of the Republican Party. His brother Joseph Cartland, husband of Gertrude Whittier, headed Haverford College for four years before they became principals of the Friends School in Providence, Rhode Island. They retired to Newburyport, Massachusetts, which had a Meeting that was part of Hampton/Amesbury Monthly Meeting.

Cartland influence in Dover continued. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, William and Howard Cartland owned Cartland Grocery on Locust Street.

From there, my notes trail off.


Check out my new book, Quaking Dover, available in a Nook edition at Barnes & Noble.

Welcome to Dover’s upcoming 400th anniversary.