Settlement by Friends (Quakers) 1688


Map courtesy of MapQuest.com, Inc.

 In 1682, William and Jean Evans came to Burlington from Wales. They were Quakers who had to leave their country because they were not allowed to practice their religion. Mr. and Mrs. Evans brought their three children with them and their younger son, William, played an important part in the settlement of Mount Laurel.
In 1688, William Evans, Jr. bought 300 acres of land at the site of the Mount.
 In 1693, William Evans, Jr. married Elizabeth Hanke and they lived in a cave until they were able to build a house. The cave was on the south side of the Mount near a stream. They called this area "Mount Pray".

"Mount Pray" - The mount of Mount Laurel

A Quaker woman at work

The friendly Lenni Lenape Indians lived close to the cave and helped the Evans during the first few years. The Indians taught them hunting and farming and where to gather food. The Indians also helped the Evans to build a mud and brick hut but when this was destroyed by fire, they returned to the cave until a log cabin was built.
 The Friends Meeting House was where the Quakers gathered for worship. It was built in 1760. An addition was added in 1798. As you can see from this sign, the Friends still use this Meeting House, which is the oldest in Burlington County.

The front of the Friends Meeting House

The back of the Meeting House

The back of the Meeting House shows the outline of the original Friends School. It was later moved to another location.
 The inside of the Friends Meeting House is very plain. In the bottom left corner of the room, you can see the stove which heats the Meeting House in cold weather. The stairway takes us to the balcony where the children sat during services.

The inside of the Meeting House

The Schoolmaster's/Caretaker's House

 This is the Schoolmaster's House. The brick portion is the original house in which the Friends schoolmaster lived. Now known as the Caretaker's House, the gentleman who lives here cares for the Meeting House and its surrounding property.

This sassafrass tree, which is reported to be the second largest in our country, is on the Meeting House property.

Seven 2nd graders circle the tree!

Sassafrass Tree

   

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Kristen Vassos 4/10/10