From England to New England
At a time of political and religious turmoil in England during the early seventeenth century, a dissatisfied young man named George Fox found spiritual awakening in the voice which said to him, "There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition." The answer to the seeking heart was not in creeds, cathedrals, or clergy but in the Light within. The Jesus of history is the same Christ who is present within; the Spirit who inspired the prophets and the apostles is the same Spirit who illumines today. George Fox traveled throughout England preaching his message in the countryside, in the marketplace, and even in the Anglican "steeple-houses." In spite of abuse, persecution, and even imprisonment, George Fox steadfastly proclaimed that all people equally had "that of God" within them, that no one deserved more respect than another, and that judgment was due against those who spurned the Light of God. Thus grew the Society of Friends from the early ministry of George Fox and his wife Margaret, to the mature teaching of Isaac Pennington, Robert Barclay, and William Penn, and the activism of John Woolman, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, and poet John Greenleaf Whittier.
Dartmouth Monthly Meeting of Friends is one of the oldest Quaker meetings in the United States. Many Quakers migrated here from Rhode Island and Cape Cod about 1664 so they could worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. This was at a time of great persecution; several Quakers were to be hanged in Boston Common for their faith. In fact, a number of Friends were to suffer imprisonment in Dartmouth for their refusal to bear arms or pay taxes to support the military.
Apponegansett Meetinghouse
The Quaker movement took root and grew in Dartmouth. Meetings were held in private homes until the increase in numbers made it necessary to have a place of worship. At the men's meeting on November 6, 1698 it was decided to "undertake to build a Meeting House for the people of God, in scorn called Quakers, to worship and serve the Living God in according as they are persuaded in conscience they ought to do." The first meetinghouse was completed in June 1699. Several additions were made as the meeting continued to grow. One traveling minister recorded that 2,000 people were in attendance at one meeting. The original building was torn down and a new one built in 1790. This stately old building stands today in quiet dignity, attesting to years of history as a place of worship for those early Quakers who lived strict religious lives; firmly believing in the fruits of hard work, a strict adherence to truth and the guidance of the Inner Light.
Smith Neck Friends Meeting
The first meetings for worship by the Friends at Smiths Neck were held in the homes of members in 1768 and was under the care of the Dartmouth Monthly Meeting at Apponegansett.
On December 26, 1822, Caleb Anthony deeded a parcel of ground to the Smith Neck Friends at the corner of Smith Neck Road and Rock O'Dundee Road. A Meetinghouse was erected and regular meetings have been held since October 1819. The building formerly had two doors, one for women and one for men who sat on different sides of the meeting with shutters between as was the custom in those days. Then it was remodeled, turned around, and a vestibule added with one entrance at the front.  The services for many years took the form of a Quiet Meeting with the elders sitting on the High Seat facing the people. Sometimes not a word was spoken and after an hour's meditation the Elders would shake hands and the Meeting was dismissed.
About 1890 a departure from the Quiet Meeting took place. Elder Eldridge Faunce stood up, read a chapter from the Bible and added a few comments on it. He would be followed by Elizabeth Smith who gave a talk on the same lines. In those early days evangelists would come, usually in the winter time, and would conduct special services on the week days for a week or more. It was about this time that the need for a regular minister came to be felt. Many Meetings during the late nineteenth century became "pastoral meetings," exhibiting a mixture of Quaker tradition and Protestant practices such as preaching, prayer and singing hymns according to a program. This was due mainly to the influence of Joseph John Gurney (1788-1847), a Bible teacher from Britain who traveled in the States during the revival movements.  
Quakers are most distinguished by their emphasis upon the experience of the Inner Light of Christ. This is the Light which enlightens every person (John 1:9) and all who receive that Light have eternal life. This Spirit of God is present with us now as He was with the apostles and the prophets of old. When we gather for worship we can in silence allow God to speak to us and out of that silence speak God's message to each other. Quakers are also notable for their social testimonies: Integrity, Simplicity, Peace, and Equality.
Story of Dartmouth Monthly Meeting
Smith Neck Friends Meeting
is the gathering place for worship of Dartmouth Monthly Meeting.  It’s early gathering was in the Apponegansett Meetinghouse.
Apponegansett Links
Apponegansett Meeting House Photos
Apponegansett Bicentennial
Apponegansett Tercentenary
Historic Apponegansett Photos
Early Friends Photos
Burials at Apponegansett
Apponegansett Meetinghouse
856 Russells Mills Rd.
So. Dartmouth, Massachusetts 02748
Unprogrammed worship is held on Sunday mornings at 8:30 AM during the warmer months.  Even on the chilly winter Sundays you can often find a small group worshiping inside.  Guests and visitors are welcome to worship with us. Also, tours of this historic meetinghouse may be arranged by contacting the pastor of Smith Neck Friends Meeting at 508-992-0085