This Month In County History

The first gathering of Quakers in Maryland

April 01, 2005

In early April 1672, word went out and preparations began in South County, in the village now known as Galesville, for the first gathering of Quakers in Maryland.

In fact, the Fourth Month (Quakers eschew the usual names for months) four-day meeting of the Religious Society of Friends is considered the birth of American Quakerism. What made the event an important moment in religious history is that George Fox, the English founder of the faith, was present to inspire and "convince" Quakers with his teachings. Fox described the meeting in his journals as a gathering of hundreds who put up tents to spend nights by the West River, about 20 miles south of present-day Annapolis.

Records show that John Burnyeat called a general meeting of all Friends in the province of Maryland.

Burnyeat was the organizer of a great stir that to this day lives on in the form of Friends meetings, Friends schools and the American Friends Service Committee.

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