Bicentennial of Dartmouth Monthly
Meeting 1899
as reported in the daily newspaper
 
QUAKERS AND THEIR MEETING HOUSE AT APPONEGANSETT
BY ANN GIDLEY LOWRY
PAPER READ AT MEETING OF THE
OLD DARTMOUTH
HISTORICAL SOCIETY
AUGUST 14, 1940
OLD DARTMOUTH
HISTORICAL SKETCHES
No. 70
In the Series of Sketches
of New Bedford's Early History
Apponegansett Meeting House crowded as it Was 150 Years Ago.
Old Apponegansett meeting house in Dartmouth must have looked as lively yesterday, on the 200th anniversary of its origin, as it did in its palmy days, a century and a half ago.  At that time it was in its prime, and according to history, the Friends who worshipped there were the majority in the town of Dartmouth.
Many times the old meeting house was filled to overflowing, and meetings were held in the open air, on the spot where yesterday the tables were spread.  All the stiff back seats were occupied yesterday during the meeting, and some sat in the doorways, or on the stairs.  While in numbers and in the form of the meeting, yesterday's was like those held many years ago, there was a marked difference in the character of the gathering.  There were bicycle costumes, and many bright summer dresses to be seen, where 100 years ago or so, only the plainest raiment of black, white, and brown would have been seen.  While there was still to be seen the simple Quaker garb, it was in the minority.
The meeting house stands on the old spot where 200 years ago the foundation of the first building was laid.  What went on within its walls was the same old story, as far as the monthly meeting went, for nearly 1500 just like it have been held on the spot.  The anniversary ceremony was Quaker like, too, for it was plain and simple.
The monthly meeting was a short session of a business nature, and was followed by a 15 minute devotional service.  Lunch was served on the lawn and the company, which numbered be- (sic) 300 and 400, spent a pleasant hour eating and chatting.
The bi-centennial meeting began at 1 o'clock, Philip A. Cornell presiding.  The addresses of welcome were made by Job S. Gidley of Dartmouth and Robert P. Gidley of Providence.
Job S. Gidley spoke as follows:
It is a pleasure to me to extend a kindly welcome to so large a number of Quakers as have gathered here today, for I trust you are all Friends in spirit, as we read "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you."  And if we who are met here today, in commemoration of the erecting of the outward edifice, and the establishing of Dartmouth Monthly Meeting 200 years ago, are freshly inspired to emulate the example of the early Friends, who counted their own lives not dear to themselves in comparison to their love for god and their fellow men; and are as faithful in doing our work as they were in doing what they believed required at their hands, then this gathering will not be in vain.
The pioneers of Quakerism fought their battles with weapons that were not carnal but spiritual and mighty in pulling down the strongholds of the enemy, and in defending the principles of peace.  We know that a great change for the better has taken place in the world since the Society first came into existence, and we believe what the prophet has declared concerning the Prince of Peace, that "of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end."  The early Friends suffered even unto death for conscience's sake, and through their suffering we have obtained greater liberties than they enjoyed.  They now rest from their labors and their works do follow them.
Who of us will say that the site for this meeting house near the river Paskamansett was not chosen partly that the flowing stream might be a reminder of the "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb?"
Today, as we, the successors of the early Friends, are gathered on this spot, endeared to us by countless associations, let me read a poem written by one who remembers the olden days when this house was weekly filled by earnest worshippers:
Near Paskamansett’s winding stream,
By forests circled round,
An old-time house of worship stands
By an ancient burial-ground.
Two hundred years have quickly passed
Adown time’s flowing tide,
Since first a house of worship here
Did willing hands provide.
The old house gone, the new now old,
Its wood with age is stained,
Bench, post and ceiling, all one hue,
And thus have long remained.
And here in childhood’s days I came,
And sat the meeting through,
My childish fancy took free range
On all within my view.
Each crack and crevice, knot and stain,
Was pondered o’er and o’er,
The post where worms had eaten through,
And the sunlight on the floor.
I even now remember well
The sound the door-latch made,
A harsh, metallic, quivering sound,
As in the catch it played.
Here, ranged before my vision, sat
The elders not a few;
They all, I thought, were goodly men,
And reverence was their due.
And one among the number,
Black-eyed, and straight, and tall,
My child fancy thought him like
The great Apostle Paul.
And here, upon those seats, have sat
Meek servants of the Lord,
Who left their homes in other lands,
Obedient to his word.
And memory now recalls again,
The Friends who gathered there;
The plain and simple farmer Friends
Who had a zealous care.
That they in speech and plain attire
Should show the faithful Friend,
Should let their lights so shine abroad
As would the truth commend.
Do you realize how much is implied in that little word “so?”  Have you thought what it meant, to the Friends who met here 200 years ago, to “let their light so shine before men” that they should “shew forth the praises of him who had called them out of darkness into his marvellous light?
Here is a brief account that will illustrate the hardships of this peculiar people two centuries or more ago.
In 1671 William Edmundson and his companion attended the London yearly meeting.  Several friends in the ministry were there, ready to go to the West Indies, viz:  George Fox, Thomas Briggs, John Stubbs, James Lankester, Robert Widders and others.  William Edumndson writes, “We went together in one vessel, bound for Jamaica, but intended to touch at Barbadoes.  We had many precious comfortable meetings aboard the ship, but in our voyage were chased by a pirate, which in the moonlight came up with us, but immediately a cloud covered us, and a fresh gale of wind out of the cloud carried us clear away.  Thus the Lord evidently saved us out of their hands.”
After leaving Barbadoes they sailed to nevis.  On the arrival of the vessel, a marshal came aboard with orders from the governor that none should come ashore until he knew whence the vessel came and who was in her.  Then came aboard one Colonel Stapleton, who was governor of Monserrat and several men with him.  Says William Edmundson, “I told him it was very hard usage, that we, being Englishmen and coming so far as we had done to visit our countrymen, could not be admitted to go on shore to refresh ourselves within King Charles’s dominions after such a long voyage.  Colonel Stapleton said it was true, but said he, ‘We hear that since your coming to the Carribee islands there are 700 of our militia turned Quaker, and the Quakers will not fight.  We have need of men to fight, being surrounded by enemies, and that is the very reason why Governor Wheeler will not suffer you to come ashore.’”
Thomas Cholkly writes the following account of his reception in the city of Boston in 1698:  “I, being a stranger and traveler, could not but observe the barbarous and un-Christian-like welcome I had in Boston, the metropolis of New England. “O! what a pity it was,’ said one, ‘that all of your society were not hanged with the other four.’”
This, then, was the condition of things about the time that the first meeting house was built in Dartmouth.
Contrasted with these stories of oppression, is the granting at the present time of that special act by the Canadian government which exempts from military service some seven or eight thousand immigrants who do not believe in warfare, and who have, therefore, declared that they will not fight.  We may note, also, what the superintendent of schools of Nova Scotia said to two Friends who visited last winter one of the principal schools of Halifax, a garrisoned city.  “Your words on peace will be long remembered by the young people whom you have addressed.” *  *  *  * Verily, “what hath God wrought.”
Much has, indeed, been accomplished by those who have been faithful to the Lord’s requirements, but the work is by no means finished.  There will be a need for the Society of Friends until that promised day when “nation shall no longer lift up the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Robert P. Gifford from the Friends' school at Providence spoke somewhat in the nature of a greeting from the parent to the offspring.
"What cheer," he said, is the word of welcome from Rhode Island and 'tis fitting that an Indian word should greet that of Apponegansett. Rhode Island has not been any larger for letting Dartmouth monthly meeting go out from its limits, and yet it joins in this welcome today, as all the sister states should, with the grand words of the centuries and which were so prominent at the World's Columbian exposition:  "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."  In this freedom, our religious society greets every heart and with Whittier we would say:
"Here all the jarring notes of life
Seem blending in a psalm--
And all the angles of its strife
Slow rounding into calm."
Mr. Gifford spoke at some length on the formation of this meeting, and read a copy of the old Rhode Island annals of the meeting of 7 mo. 4, 1699, in which the votes for establishing this meeting were recorded as follows:
"At a general yearly men's meeting at the house of Latham Clarke, in Newport, on Rhode Island, the 9th day of the 4th month, being the 6th day of the week in the year 1699, before the public meeting of worship began. * *
Dartmouth Friends desire to be a monthly meeting apart from Rhode Island, and to have one day more added to their yearly meeting. * * * seventh day the meeting being together met, proceeded as followeth--It is agreed by order and consent of this meeting that the second day of the week be for the business and service of the meeting for the future, and that two Friends from each Quarterly meeting and where no Quarterly meeting [missing lines] to be a monthly meeting apart from Rhode Island and to have one day more added to their yearly meeting is granted and approved by this meeting.  It is the desire of this meeting that Friends of Dartmouth and Narragansett meetings do consider of and appoint days and times for keeping of monthly meetings for business in order to compose and make one quarterly meeting to be kept at Rhode Island and to bring in their result to this meeting next Second day.
Second day, the 12th of the month.  The friends of Dartmouth hath agreed that their monthly men's and women's meeting of business shall be the next second day after the monthly meeting of worship at the house of Peleg Slocum, to which this meeting doth unanimously consent and agree. * * *
In the minutes of the yearly meeting of 1700 Dartmouth monthly meeting "was called and Jno [sic] Tucker and Jacob Mott, Jr., appeared--nothing presented."
------------
Dr. Edward F. Tucker read the historical address, which follows in full:
Few religious societies in America are privileged to look back over a period of 200 years, and furnish to the present generation an unbroken record of their transactions for two centuries.  This, however, can be said of the monthly meeting of Friends, whose bicentennial we have gathered here to observe.
On the 6th day of the 11th month, 1698, O.S., or 1st month, 1699, N.S., several members of the society met at the house of John Lapham, in Dartmouth, and decided to erect a meeting house, as appears by the following agreement:
At a man's meeting in the Town of Dartmouth the 6th day of the 11 month 1698-9, at the house of John Lapham, wee underwritten, Peleg Slocum, Jacob Mott, Abraham Tucker and John Tucker, the day and year above written undertake to build a meeting House for the people of God, in Scorn Called Quakers, 35 foot long, 30 foot wide and 14 foot studds, To worship and serve the true and Living God in according as they are persuaded in Contience they Ought to Do, and for no other uses, Interest or Purpose, but as aforesd, and when one or more of us decease, then Imediately the survivers Choose others in our room, together with the consent of the assembly of the said people, so to be and Remain to us and them forever as aforesd, which sd House shall be completely finished at or before the 10 day of the 8 month next Insuing the date herof.
In witness here to wee subscribe our names with our own hands.  And further we of the said Society of people towards the building of said House of our free will Contribute as followeth:
John Tucker 10
Peleg Slocum 15
John Lapham, 05
Nathanel Howland 05
Abraham Tucker, 10
Increas Allen, 3 12
Ebenezer Allen, 05
Eleazer Slocum, 03
Jacob Mott, 03
Benjamin Howland, 01
Richard Evens, 01
Judah Smith, 01
We have no means of ascertaining the total cost of the building, and we learn that additional amounts were collected at subsequent times to meet the expense.
For several years previous to this time members of the Society of Friends had been settling in the town, and their numbers were increasing yearly, and the erection of a place of worship was a necessary step.  The new monthly meeting sprang into existence as an off-shoot from Rhode Island monthly meeting, and the first records of their proceedings are dated 4 mo., 26, 1699, on which day a meeting for business was held at the house of Peleg Slocum, at which place the regular monthly meetings were held until 4th month, 1703, when they were transferred to the meeting house at Apponegansett.  The [building] appears to have been finished [and occu]pied, as early as the 6th month, [] Thomas Story mentions that he, []ger Gill, attended a meeting [] spot at that time, which was [] weeks earlier than the limit contemplated in the agreement before stated.  Thus 1699 is to us a significant date in connection with the history of Friends in southern Massachusetts.  The erection of a meeting house, and the establishment of a monthly meeting, which was destined in coming years to exert such an important influence in this neighborhood, were events of no trivial character.  While two other monthly meetings had been created a few years earlier, namely, Sandwich and Pembroke, yet we feel that we are gathered today upon an ancient spot, when we contemplate the 200 years that have rolled away so quickly, and yet have contributed so much of value to the development and well being of our race.  Less than 40 years had passed since Marmaduke Stephenson, William Robinson, Mary Dyer and William Leddra laid down their lives in Boston.  The Salem witchcraft delusion had died away but six years before. John Cooke, a resident of Dartmouth, and the last survivor, in this part of the land, of the passengers in the Mayflower, had been dead four years.  George Fox and Robert Barclay had each been dead but nine years.  John Richardson, Thomas Chalkley, Samuel Bounas and John Fothigell were all under the age of 25 years.  William Penn was 55 years of age, and Cotton Mather was living in Boston at the age of 36.  The establishment of Dartmouth monthly meeting was a fitting close to a century characterized by so much religious activity as the 17th, and henceforth the Society of Friends was to be a decided factor in the life of this portion of the old Plymouth colony.
The meeting at Apponegansett was not, however, to be the only one within the limits of the new monthly meeting.  The members were too scattered throughout the township which covered at that time an extensive area, and their numbers were increasing so constantly, that other meeting places were demanded.  Thus it appears that a meeting was held at a private house at Acoaxet in 9th month, 1699, and a meeting was established at Sippican (beyond the town limits at the eastward) in 1702.  A preparative meeting was established at Apponegansett in 1706, and land set apart for a burial ground in the same year.  A preparative meeting was set up in Sippican or Rochester in 1707.  A meeting for worship was begun at Acushnet in 1709.  Mention is made of a meeting house at Rochester in 1717, and at about the same time a meeting house was built at Acoaxet.  Land was purchased at Acushnet in 1727, and a meeting house built by the year 1729.
Until the year 1740 the monthly meeting was attended by representatives from Apponegansett and Rochested [sic] preparative meetings, but the latter meeting was then transferred to Sandwich monthly meeting.  In 1745 first mention is made of a meeting at Newtown or Smith Mills, at the house of Adam Mott, and in this year a preparative meeting was set up at Acoaxet, from which representatives were regularly appointed to the monthly meeting.  In 1754 a meeting house was built at Newtown, on a lot presented by Josiah Merrihew, the estimated cost of which was £1,000 in Rhode Island currency, and £401 were subscribed at the outset.  In 1758 mention is made of meetings at Allen's Neck and at head of Noquechuck river, and there appears to have been a meeting house at the latter spot in 1761.  In 1762 the meeting at Acushnet and all Friends at the eastward of the Acushnet river were transferred to Sandwich monthly meeting, and the yearly meeting decided that the "Aquishnet" river should be made the boundary line between Rhode Island and Sandwich quarterly meetings.  In 1766 the present Westport monthly meeting (then designated as Acoaxet) was established, being set off from Dartmouth.  In 1768 a meeting appears to have been held at Smith's Neck, and in 1772 a meeting was first held at (New) Bedford.  In 1784 two preparative meetings were created out of the one then existing, called respectively the "south" held at Apponegansett, and the "north," held at Newtown, and in the following year a meeting house was built at New Bedford.
For several years previous to 1788 the subject of detaching Dartmouth monthly meeting from Rhode Island quarterly meeting and annexing it to Sandwich had been agitated by the yearly meeting, but the proposition had not been favorably received, as the members could see no apparent advantage to themselves personally in the change, the design of the yearly meeting being to make a more equitable distribution of members.  Sandwich quarterly meeting had been a feeble body in membership until Nantucket monthly meeting was added to it in 1781, and now pressure was made upon Dartmouth and Acoaxet on the same line.  In 1788 the objections had so far been removed that the changes were made, and these two monthly meetings were placed under the control of Sandwich.  Previous to this time Sandwich quarterly meeting had been held, at times, at Long Plain, and Rhode Island quarterly meeting had been held, once in the year, at Apponegansett.
In the fourth month, 1790, it was decided to remove the old meeting house at Apponegansett, and by the ensuing ninth month the present house, in which we are assembled, was completed and occupied.
In the 12th month, 1792, New Bedford monthly meeting was set off with 204 members.  In the seventh month, 1813, a preparative meeting was created at Allen's Neck, known as the "west preparative meeting."  By the year 1817 a meeting house had been built there, and one at Smith's neck by 1819.  In 1829 the west and south preparative meetings were united and a new meeting house completed early in the year at Newtown, which was occupied for 60 years and then removed.
Dartmouth monthly meeting includes today one preparative meeting and three particular meetings.
During the first 100 years of its existence this meeting made frequent contributions to assist in building meeting houses in other parts of New England, as in Boston, Salem, Kingston, Dover, Providence, Tiverton, Leicester, Taunton, Westerly, Richmond, Warwick and Smithfield, all of these localities being within the limits of Rhode Island quarterly meeting, with exception of Boston, Salem and Dover.
The total membership of Dartmouth, in its early days, was undoubtedly very large, as the members of the Society of Friends in the early times were more numerous proportionately than now.  While we have no accurate means as to deciding what their numbers were, we can occasionally obtain a helpful clew [sic].  In the year 1777 the population of the town was a little under 7,000, and estimating from a census taken in that year of men liable to military duty as a starting point, we can obtain approximate information.  This census returned the number of males between 16 and 60 years and the Friends were returned separately among this number.  It would appear that there were about 1,250 Friends in the town.  Deducting the two meetings at Acushnet and Long Plain, which belonged to Sandwich, the number in Dartmouth and Acoaxet monthly meetings, combined, would amount to 1,100, as 150 would probably more than cover the combined membership in those two small meetings.  At an early period in that century the number in the parent monthly meeting must have been even greater than the estimated Quaker population of the town in 1777.  We must bear in mind that the township, until 1787, included the present Dartmouth, Westport, New Bedford, Fairhaven and Acushnet.  Travelling Friends in their journals mention repeatedly the great gatherings at Apponegansett, to which, on special occasions, the townspeople flocked in crowds from near and far.  The monthly meeting directly following the close of the yearly meeting at Newport was one of the particular times in the year when a great multitude resorted hither, and it was this meeting which in after times was designated by the world's people as the "June meeting."  In 1727 Samuel Bounas was here at this time, and speaks of it as a very large meeting, continuing three days, and a great resort of people for miles around.  Ten years later, in 1737, Thomas Chalkley attended a large meeting here, and mentions also that many hundreds had been added to the church since his first visit.  In 1758 William Reckitt estimated that 800 people had gathered at the meeting which he attended.  But still more remarkable than the foregoing statements is that of John Griffith, another "public" Friend, who, when here in 1766, estimated that 2,000 people were at Apponegansett at one time.  These gatherings occurred when the old meeting house was in use, but it is very evident that only a small portion of such an immense throng could find their way into the house, although the former building undoubtedly furnished a greater capacity than the present.  From the crowded meeting house they must have filled the yard adjacent and overflowed into the burial ground.  Still nearer our time, 60 years ago, in 1839, Joseph Edgerton, from Ohio, when here in the sixth month, states that nearly 1,000 people were at the monthly meeting.  This meeting was held in the present building, where we are gathered.  If we estimate its seating capacity at 400 we are left to conjecture as to what disposition was made of the remainder.
To return to the origin of the monthly meeting in 1699, we find that John Tucker appears to have been the first clerk, and served in that position until his death, in 1751, a period of 52 years.  Isaac Smith was his successor, who continued until ninth month, 1762; than came Job Russell, who was clerk at the time of his decease in 1773.  Next appears William Anthony, Jr., who was appointed in fourth month, 1774, who was followed by Caleb Greene in third month, 1785.  The latter was the clerk when New Bedford monthly meeting was established, and as he became a member of the new monthly meeting, Joseph Estes became clerk at Dartmouth in the first month, 1793, who was succeeded by William Anthony, Jr., in second month, 1795.  In fifth month, 1796, Joseph Estes was again appointed, and continued until tenth month, 1801, when James Tucker was appointed clerk (50 years after the death of his great grandfather, the first clerk), and served until [] month, 1833, about 32 years.  At [that time], Isaac R. Gifford was appointed [to this] service, and was clerk until [sixth] month, 1848.  From this time until second month, 1864, George Almy officiated, when Isaac R. Potter was appointed, serving until fourth month, 1873.  Charles Fisher was then appointed, continuing until 1893.  He was succeeded by Edward G. Wood, who continued until 1896, when Philip A. Cornell, the present clerk, was appointed.  Thus we find that but 13 individuals have served the monthly meeting in this station during the 200 years, an average service of a trifle over 15 years for each one.
Benjamin Howland was the first treasurer, and was appointed in the ninth month, 1705.  His successors were Deliverance Smith in 1726, Adam Mott in 1729, Abraham Tucker, Jr., in 1745, James Shearman in 1752, Job Russell in 1760, David Smith in 1762, William Anthony, Jr., then Thomas Hicks, 2d, in 1770, Prince Allen in 1777, Benjamin Taber in 1778, Jonathan Wilbur in 1781, Caleb Barker in 1785, Luthan Wood in 1791, Osman Wood in 1816, William Tucker in 1855, Ephraim Gifford in 1870, Nathaniel Howland in 1879, the present treasurer.
The records of the women's meeting commence simultaneously with those of the men's meeting, in the 4th month (June), 1699, and are in excellent preservation.  Previous to 1770, the names of the clerks of this meeting have not been ascertained.  At this time Hepzibah Hussey was the clerk, then came Susannah Smith in 1st month, 1775, then Mercy Slocum, then Sarah Wood, 2d, ion 1799, Elizabeth Slade in 1819, Mary A. Tucker (afterwards Mary A. Smith) in 1833, Elizabeth Slade again in 1838, Mary Gifford in 1839, Maria B. Smith in 1851, Angeline S. Gidley (now Angeline Ricketson) in 1876, Jane G. fisher in 1882, Hannah A. Brightman in 1884, Sarah F. Potter in 1889, who was clerk until nearly the end of 1892, when a united meeting was adopted.
It is perhaps not generally known to many of us that the custom of formally acknowledging ministers by the monthly meeting, which now prevails, was not practiced in the early days of the society.  While there were many Friends in Dartmouth who were recognized as ministers, yet before 1750, no evidence appears, that such were ever recommended or acknowledged, and what was true here was true also of all other monthly meetings, in America and England.  The first record in the minutes of the acknowledgement of a gift in the ministry appears in the 9th month, 1768.  Previous to this time we find some or all of the following names were those of ministers, who were so regarded.  John Richardson while here in 1701 speaks of Peleg Slocum as a "public Friend," and the first mention of granting ministers for public service occurs in this year, in the case of Peleg Slocum and Stephen Wilcox.  We may enumerate the following:  Peleg Slocum, Stephen Wilcox, Nathaniel Howland, John Tucker, Gershom Smith, Nicholas Davis, Adam Mott, William Wood, Jr, Jonathan Wood, Peace Wood, Keziah Wood, Elizabeth Gidley, Anna Gifford, Abiel Gifford, Susanna Gifford, and another Stephen Wilcox, presumably the son of the foregoing.
Nicholas Davis was an able and highly esteemed minister.  He lived at Rochester, and consequently after 1740 his membership was in Sandwich monthly meeting, to which meeting he belonged at his death in 1755, at Oblong, New York, while travelling with a certificate.  Elizabeth Gidley was an able minister, and her death in 1760 appears to have been a loss to the society and the community.
In 1768 Paul Russell and Daniel Cornell were recommended as ministers.  Then followed Freeborn Rider in 1774, James Davis (son of Nicholas) and Martha Gifford in 1784, Warren Gifford in 1816, Tabitha Gifford in 1817, Isaac Lawrence in 1819, Hannah Slade in 1830, Mary Davis in 1831, Phebe R. Gifford in 1846, Sarah Potter in 1847, George W. Francis in 1872, Jane G. Fisher in 1881, Henry A. Slocum and Alice C. Winslow in 1894.
The first record of elders appears in 1750, when Abraham Tucker was appointed in place of James Barker, deceased.  Before this year we have no means of ascertaining the names of those in this position.  The list from this time onward is as follows:  Abraham Tucker, 1750; Peter Devoll and Philip Tripp in 1762; Job Russell, 1769; Thomas Hicks in 1776; William Mosher, Susanna Smith, Deborah Hayden and Deborah Hicks in 1777; Caleb Greene and Mercy Slocum in 1783; Benjamin Taber and Deborah Davis in 1787; Joseph Tucker, Jr., and Rroda Tucker in 1788; Jonathan Hart, 1795; James Tucker, 1805; Elizabeth Howland, 1814; Sarah Wood, 1823; Seth Davis, 1828; Abraham Russell and Phebe Tripp in 1835; Isaac R. Gifford and Mary Gifford in 1847; Barrett Beard in 1850; George Almy, Anna E. Almy and Elizabeth Slade in 1853; Moses Smith, Maria B. Smith and Huldah Gifford in 1861; Ephraim Gifford, 1874; Angeline S. Gidley (now Angeline Ricketson), 1879; Hannah A. Brightman, 1889; George C. Akin and Sarah F. Potter in 1893; Lucinda M. Wood in 1896.
There were ministers from elsewhere who came to reside within this meeting, and among these we can mention Stephen Bufflinton, Philip Dunham, Sarah Tucker, Eliza Hull and Edward G. Wood.  During the early part of the present century, Warren Gifford and Sarah Tucker were ranked as very able and useful ministers, and well known beyond the limits of their own yearly meeting.  Mary Davis was prominent as a minister for several years previous to the division in 1845.  Phebe R. Gifford, who now resides in Providence, at the age of 96 years, was a widely known minister in this monthly meeting for at least 30 years, until her removal, and highly esteemed by all classes in the town.
It would be extremely interesting to ascertain the names of all of the noted ministers in the society of Friends, in both England and America, who have attended meetings held at this ancient spot, during the first century or first century and a half of the history of the meeting.  The records of the monthly meeting allude only to the attendance of ministers with certificates at the regular times for holding that meeting.  The journals of public Friends however serve to supplement such information as we obtain from the records.  By consulting both of these sources we learn that the following are included among this number:  Thomas Story, James Dickinson, John Richardson, Thomas Chalkley, Samuel Bownas, John Fothergill, Daniel Stanton, John Woolman, Samuel Fothergill, John Griffith, William Reckitt, Samuel Neale, Joseph Oxley, Catharine Payton, David Ferris, Susanna Lightfoot, William Hunt, Comfort Hoag, Warner Mifflin, William Jackson, Daniel Offley, Richard Jordan, James Thornton, Thomas Carrington, Thomas Scattergood, Rebecca Jones, John Pemberton, Martha Routh, David Sands, Henry Hull, Joseph Hoag, Stephen Grellet and Thomas Shillitoe.  It is readily seen that among the foregoing names are several ministers of eminence.
Dartmouth monthly meeting, like all others in America, dealt with the great moral questions of the age.  As early as 1716 the subject of human slavery became a source of uneasiness, and the query arose whether it was right or just to maintain their fellow men in bondage.  Several of the members were the possessors of slaves.  Their scruples sprang from religious grounds, and the subject, when once agitated, was never settled until the evil practice was entirely removed, nearly 70 years afterward.  In 1772 a few Friends were still the holders of slaves, but it was impossible to stem the current which was setting so vigorously towards emancipation, and by the year 1785 slavery, as far as appears, was thing of the past.
An unflinching testimony against judicial oaths and war was borne steadily by Friends of this meeting, and during the latter part of the last century they began to grapple with the great problem of intemperance, and thus became, with Friends elsewhere in America, pioneer workers in this great and important field.
It would be interesting to take up the personal history of some of the original members of this monthly meeting, and of others, who were identified with its subsequent growth and prosperity.  We wonder what sort of people they were, and regret that our information is so limited, and yet occasionally, as we peruse the ancient records we catch glimpses of their lives and characters as revealed therein.  We would desire to know more of Peleg Slocum, who presented to the monthly meeting the lot upon which the meeting house was built, whose wife was the daughter of Christopher Holder, and a granddaughter of Richard and Katharine Scott of Providence, a family associated with the origin of Friends in New England, and who bore a measure of the suffering experienced in those days.  It was Patience Scott, the aunt of Mary Slocum, who, when a child of 15 years, proceeded to Boston to plead with the authorities for clemency in the case of the persecuted and suffering Quakers.
In connection with Peleg Slocum we may mention John Tucker, who was clerk of the meeting for 52 years, until his death in 1751, at the age of 95, and who in his early years had seen and conversed with John Barclay, the brother of Robert Barclay, the writer of the "Apology," and also with George Keith, who at one time was an associate and fellow worker with George Fox.  Also Jacob Mott, whose wife, Cassandra, was a granddaughter of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick of Salem, a family whose steadfastness and trials have been recited by every historian in our society.
We would like to know more in detail of Adam Mott, the son of Jacob Mott, of Nicholas Davis, of Gershom Smith, all of whom were ministers; of Deliverance Smith, an influential member of the meeting; of Nathaniel Howland, another minister, and one of the signers of the agreement to build the first meeting house, and of Benjamin Howland, another of the same; of William Wood, Jonathan Wood, Peace Wood, Keziah Wood and Thomas Taber, and many others, who were prominent in the first half century of the meeting's history.  It is evident that they were among the sturdy, uncompromising religious people of their times, and laid the foundation of a large flourishing monthly meeting, which, in its earlier days, must have numbered nearly 1,500 members, many of whose descendants went forth in after years to build up meetings in other states.
During the 30 years between 1785 and 1815 there was an extensive emigration from Dartmouth and Westport to the state of New York, and the surnames of Slocum, Potter, Cornell, Devoll, Howland, Wood, Mosher, Barker, Wing, Taber and others, which occur in that state and elsewhere today, reveal the fact that they are borne by those whose ancestors came from southern Massachusetts, and were nearly all Friends.
In the latter years of the last century the names of Samuel Smith, William Anthony, Thomas Hicks, William Mosher, Susanna Smith, Deborah Hayden, Deborah Hicks, James Davis, Benjamin Taber, Caleb Greene, Zephaniah Eddy and Martha Gifford are prominent in the affairs of the church, worthy successors of the generation that had passed away.  Among the members of the meeting who had acquired a reputation in mercantile life previous to 1800 as a result of the new industry which was developing in the village of Bedford were Joseph Rotch, Joseph Russell, Isaac Howland and John Howland.  One of the foregoing, Joseph Russell, presented to Dartmouth monthly meeting the fine lot on Spring street on which the New Bedford meeting house stands, a gift resulting from the great regard which he entertained for the society.  The establishment of New Bedford monthly meeting in 1792 transferred many prominent and influential members to the latter meeting.  In the early portion of this century many Friends, as James Tucker, Sarah Tucker, Warren Gifford, Tabitha Gifford, Isaac Lawrence, Caleb Slade, Seth Davis, Mary Davis, Abraham tucker and Mary A. Tucker, were well known in Dartmouth.  As we approach the middle period we find Abraham Russell, Isaac R. Gifford, Phebe R. Gifford, Benjamin Potter, William Tucker, George Almy, Moses Smith, Maria B. Smith, Timothy Akin and Jonathan Kirby.
Among those in later days who were identified with the welfare of the meeting, and who have passed away, were George W. Francis, Abraham Cornell, Tucker Smith, Isaac R. Potter, Otis Slocum, Ephraim Gifford, Huldah Gifford and Charles Fisher.
The oldest member of this monthly meeting now living is Eunice Gidley, at the age of 95 years, whose long and useful life coincides nearly with the present century.
Two hundred years have passed away since that pleasant morning near the close of summer, when Thomas Story rode into the spacious door yard which surrounded the newly completed meeting house, and dismounting from his horse entered the building to attend a meeting which had there assembled.  Since that distant time, what changes have occurred at this time-honored spot!  How many thousands have passed in and out of the gate way?  What a succession of noted ministers from England and our own land have attended meetings here? The atmosphere of this neighborhood is filled with memories of the past.  What a chain of circumstances has bound together the fleeting years?  Generation has succeeded generation as worshippers at old Apponegansett.  Through wintry storms and summer heat, from every section of the town they came, and it is fitting for their descendants to look backward and take courage from the example furnished by their forefathers.  May there be witnessed a restoration of the interest and zeal which characterized the gatherings at this old meeting place in ancient times.
------------
John F. Dillingham of Philadelphia spoke of the religious side of the Friends and of their doctrines, both 200 years ago and today, though he particularly emphasized the doctrine as it existed when the Dartmouth meeting was formed.  He referred to the standards set up by the fathers, and expressed confidence that the true inwardness of them as it then existed was good enough for the twentieth century, as it had been for the eighteenth and nineteenth, if rightly heeded and appreciated.  He dwelt on the coherence of the Friends' principles, especially their belief in Christ as the word of God.  He firmly upheld an abiding in the principles of the founders, as the foundation of the church of the future, and hoped that Friends would return more livingly to them and develop them in the life of the society and its members for centuries to come.