north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      Named for its location halfway between Cane Creek and New Garden meetings, Centre Friends Meeting began in 1757. Seven years before, William Hockett purchased 640 acres near Polecat Creek in present-day Guilford County. John Bales, Matthew Ozborn, Richard Beeson, and Peter Dix settled soon after Hockett’s 1750 arrival. Friends living in the area had to travel eighteen miles on foot to attend worship at New Garden. To relieve them of the thirty-six mile round trip, New Garden Meeting granted Centre Friends permission to hold worship. A deed for the land given by Matthew Ozborn for the meeting house to be built was made in Salisbury in 1763. At that time, the land was in Rowan County. The first building was completed in 1763. Cane Creek Meeting authorized Centre Friends as a Monthly Meeting in 1772. Centre hosted the first Yearly Meeting to be held in the central part of the state in 1787.

      Centre hosted meetings of the North Carolina Manumission Society beginning in 1816 until the society’s decline in 1834. The organization, composed largely but not exclusively of Quakers, sought to end slavery in the South and proposed solutions of how to deal with emancipated slaves. One of the four branches of the organization in North Carolina, Centre usually hosted the April meetings. Prior to the Civil War, members of the Society bought and freed many slaves. They also paid for the passage of hundreds of freed slaves to Jamaica and Haiti. Leading up to and during the Civil War, many members of Centre fled their homes for Indiana to escape the building hostility and pressure from their non-Quaker neighbors.

      Since the first meeting house was built in 1763, three other structures have been built on Centre Meeting’s original land. Due to increased membership, the 1763 building was replaced in 1780. The meeting constructed a third meeting house in 1879, and the building that stands today was completed in 1950.

Bobbie Teague, Cane Creek: Mother of Meetings (1995)
Seth B. Hinshaw, The Carolina Quaker Experience (1984)
Seth B. Hinshaw and Mary E. Hinshaw, eds., Carolina Quakers (1972)
Centre Monthly Meeting of Friends Bi-Centennial Pamphlet (1957)
Greensboro Record, August 20, 1957
Greensboro Daily News, August 11, 1957
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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