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Friends Meeting House (Quaker)
225 Watchung Avenue

The Friends obtained permission in 1731 to build a Meeting house, not to exceed 24 feet square, on land donated by John Laing; it was called the "Plainfield Meeting.”  This was the immediate predecessor of the present Meeting House, although not on the same property.

For over fifty years, the original "Plainfield Meeting House" met the needs of the Friends, but by 1787 a larger building was needed.  In the meeting minutes from the 15th day of the 11th month* of that year, the following appears:

"The Friends appointed to endeavor to find a suitable place to build a Meeting House at Plainfield report that they all agreed that a lot of land containing three acres near the house of John Webster, the third, would be a suitable place for said house to be built on, and they propose that the size of the house should be about 34 x 48 feet."

The Meeting agreed and the new house was first used on the 20th day of the 8th month, 1788.*

C368

Friends Meeting
Vintage Postcard
Postmark 1908

C21149

Friends Meeting
Circa 1920s-1940s
Paul R. Collier, Photographer

C369

Friends Meeting
Vintage Postcard
Postmark 1935

 

R375

Friends Meeting
Vintage Postcard
Postmark 1914

C382

Friends Meeting
Vintage Postcard
Undated

VV60168

Friends Meeting, 1951
Marjorie & Roger Vail Family Collection

When the present building was first occupied for Meeting purposes, the Federal Constitution had been adopted, but had not yet gone into effect.  George Washington was not yet elected first president of the United States. During the Revolutionary War, when the British forces held possession of Perth Amboy and nearby country, General Washington and Staff called at the farm residence of John Vail, great, great, grandfather of Charles E. Vail, and requested to be guided to some prominent spot in the Watchung mountains from which he could get a good view of the plain below and the movements of the enemy.  There was a man at Friend Vail's house at the time who was acquainted with the mountain paths and he at once volunteered his services and led the Continental Commander to a high point which is now called Washington Rock. That guide was Edward Fitz Randolph, a member of the committee in charge of building the Meeting House and who, as a carpenter, physically assisted with its construction.

VV60169

Friends Meeting, 1951
Marjorie & Roger Vail Family Collection

VV60259

Friends Meeting, 1951
Marjorie & Roger Vail Family Collection

 

VV60170

Friends Meeting, 1951
Marjorie & Roger Vail Family Collection

C379

Friends Meeting
Vintage Postcard
Postmark 1964

eph1

Piece of Lumber and Nail from
Original Meeting House, 1790

Marjorie & Roger Vail Family Collection

 

*A Note about the Quaker calendar: Quakers objected to using those names of days and months that derived from pagan gods: Sunday to Saturday and January to August, and substituted these with numbers. After 1752, they substituted numbers for all twelve months.

 

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