Richmond Friends Meeting (RFM) organized in 1795, and soon built its first Meeting House at 19th and Cary Street in Church Hill. This was the second oldest “church” in Richmond. We have a long history of religious observance and social justice within the Richmond community. In 1995, we celebrated our 200th birthday. Click here to read the summary compiled by Betsy Brinson. Our Meeting has used a number of locations in Richmond. Click here to see the complete list of places.
American Quaker Beginnings -
In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson reflected on the religious intolerance in seventeenth-century Virginia, specifically on the anti-Quaker laws passed by the Virginia Assembly from 1659 onward. Jefferson apparently believed that it was no more than an historical accident that Quakers had not been physically punished or even executed in Virginia as they had been in Massachusetts.
From "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" pages on the Library of Congress website. Click the following link to see several articles on early Quaker experiences http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel01-2.html
Sampler from First Friends Meeting House
Mary Winston's needlework thought to be in the first Friends Meeting House built by George Winston. It was embroidered by Mary Winston in 1806. The buildings near the bottom are two views of the Richmond Friends Meeting house located at 19th and Cary Street. It is no longer there.
The Winston House
George and Judith Winston were birthright Quakers who were active with Richmond area Quakers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. George was a maker of bricks and a builder so he built the first Meetinghouse at 20th and Cary Street in 1797. Photo of the Winston House circa 1935. A narrative about the Winston House.
Click here to see an article titled "Plainly Significant: " The Jacob House is a Window on Richmond through the Centuries" by Charles Pool and Dulaney Ward. It was published in the Richmond Journal of History and Architecture in Spring, 1995. The Richmond Journal is a publication of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.
An early photograph of the Jacob House.
A restored version of the 1895 photograph
Click here to see an article on the Jacob House by Harry Kollatz, Jr. published in Richmond Magazine, October 2003. He connects its 200 year history with present day places and events.
In 2003, the Richmond Friends Meeting assisted in the selection of a new owner for the Jacob House.
1802 Quaker Petition Against Slavery
Click here to see a transcription of the 1802 Quaker petition against slavery presented to the Virginia legislature. Among those signing this petition are Samuel Parsons (the father of Samuel Pleasants Parsons, whose house survives at 601 Spring Street in Oregon Hill) and James Ladd (the uncle of Elizabeth Ladd, who married Samuel Pleasants Parsons).
Robert Pleasants, who was born at Curles in
Several of these documents are contained on this website.
In 1784, two years after manumitting his slaves, Mr. Pleasants founded the Gravelly Hill School, the first school for free blacks in Virginia, and set aside 350 acres of land to maintain the schools. Henrico Parks and Recreation will dedicate a historic maker on the Gravelly Hill Site in 2003.
The Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association successfully petitioned the Richmond City Council in 2003 to name Pleasants Park at 401 South Laurel Street for Robert Pleasants.
(Click on the links below to view the documents)
1822 James Pleasants
James Pleasants deserves more fame than he has received. He was raised a Quaker and served as Governor of Virginia, 1822-25. He also served in the House of Delegates, the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. Click here to read the complete article.
One of the most divisive events in 20th century U.S. history was the war in Vietnam. The antiwar movement gained national prominence in 1965, peaked in 1968, and remained powerful throughout the duration of the conflict. In June 1967, in keeping with our position against war, the Richmond Friends Meeting hosted in our Kensington Avenue building the office for the Vietnam Summer Project, a statewide program opposing U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Click here to read the complete article.
Living Out the Peace Testimony
Friends affirm a Biblical basis for the peace testimony. A Prince of Peace was prophesied who would bring in a Peaceable Kingdom. “Thou shalt not kill” is one of the Ten Commandments. Jesus taught and lived peacemaking and love of enemy. George Fox similarly counseled his followers “to live in the life and power which does away with the occasion for war.” Click here to read an excerpt from History of Richmond Friends Meeting, 1795-1962 by Mary Fran Hughes-McIntyre.
This information was collected by Betsy Brinson. You may send her e-mail by clicking here