This is my first attempt at posting an official blog, so please pardon any technical problems that I may have.

I am headed to Barnesville, Ohio, this week for Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends. I hope to post here near the end of each day to tell a little of what has happened for those interested Friends who are unable to attend.

I might first post a little background for those unfamiliar with Ohio Yearly Meeting.

As you know, Ohio YM is the most traditional of the Wilburite yearly meetings. The divisions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries resulted in several types of Friends. The Wilburites were historically centered in Philadelphia and Ohio Yearly Meetings, though the former did not affiliate officially with other Wilburite bodies.

Today, the Wilburite Quaker world is comprised of four types of Friends. Our yearly meeting includes most of those called the "plain Friends" due to their use of traditional Quaker clothing and folkways which have been mostly dropped by other Quaker groups. The second group is the "charasmatic" group, which includes both those Friends who speak in unknown tongues and those who associate with organizations where that is practiced. The third group is what might be called the core group of Ohio Yearly Meeting; this group includes many birthright Friends. The fourth group is the "liberal" Wilburite group, which includes those people who are liberal by Ohio standards. The latter group is the dominant faction in the two other Conservative Friends groups: North Carolina and Iowa Yearly Meetings.

Ohio Yearly Meeting has met at the Stillwater Meeting House near Barnesville, Ohio, since 1878. Our old yearly meeting house at Mount Pleasant, Ohio, constructed in 1814, was converted into a museum in the twentieth century. After the Wilburites, Hicksites, and Gurneyites vied for ownership of the building and its adjacent boarding school for years, the Wilburites signed over their interest in the property; the two other groups soon decided that they did not want it, either, so it came into the possession of the Ohio Historical Society. Both Mount Pleasant and Stillwater are examples of the Quaker Plan of religious architecture, the predominant type of Friends meeting house constructed during the years 1770-1870. This type of meeting house construction fell out of favor among the Hicksites and Gurneyites around the time of the Civil War (though some later examples are known), but it remained popular among the Wilburites into the early twentieth century.

The nearby town of Barnesville is a small community dating to 1808. The commercial center is mostly located along the two state roads in town (State Routes 800 and 147). Mosts houses are two-story brick buildings facing onto the roads. The town has a weekly newspaper named the Barnesville Enterprise, which is printed each Fifth Day. The old Barnesville Friends Meeting House, constructed around 1880, was considered the "liberal" meeting in the area; it was laid down around 1920. The parents of a distant relative of mine were the last couple married there. That meeting house was sold to the Nazarenes, who used it for some time, then demolished it in 1949 when they constructed their current meeting house.

Tonight I am headed to the meeting for ministry & oversight of Stillwater Monthly Meeting.


Martin Kelley said...

Hi Seth: I'm very grateful that you're sharing the experience of Ohio (Cons) sessions with the wider body of Friends who won't be attending.

Safe travels,

John said...

I found your comments on the meeting house very interesting. Thank you.
Can you tell me what you mean by the Quaker Plan when referring to 18thc US Quaker meeting houses?

John said...

Sorry, the url I gave should have been:
You cab see that I am a tyro at the internet.

Chronicler said...

Well John I am drafting a booklet on the various historic types of Friends meeting house plans. The Quaker Plan decribes the kind of Friends meeting house constructed in the 1770-1870 era with six bays on the front and separate doors for the men and women.

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