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

 
 
 

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Essay:
     The history of the “forgotten Quaker meeting of Richmond County” has been misrepresented by historians. Stephen B. Weeks in his 1896 study placed the Pee Dee meeting in Marlboro County, South Carolina, suggesting that it was the same meeting as Gum Swamp. Seth B. Hinshaw, following Weeks’s lead, also placed the meeting in South Carolina.

     Deed books (Richmond County was formed from Anson County in 1779) place the meeting house on the Pee Dee River about five miles north of the state boundary. (Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the boundary line in this region was not established until 1764.) In the early 1750s Quakers, notably the Haileys, Clarks, and Moormans, took up tracts in this area. William Hailey and later his son Isham operated a ferry there. In 1753 Catharine Phillips, a Friend, left her home in England, landed in Charleston, and, enroute to New Garden, visited on the Pee Dee “a few newly convinced friends and some others under convincement: with whom we had two meetings to good satisfaction.”

     Further evidence of the organization can be found in 1755 minutes of Cane Creek meeting noting that “Friends on the Pee Dee request meeting for worship.” In 1758 William Reckitt, another traveller, found the Pee Dee group “truly glad to see us, they being so seldom visited” and there met Francis Clark, who journeyed with him to Cane Creek. The first mention of the “Burying Ground and Meeting House” can be found in a 1775 deed. References to Pee Dee also appear in the Piney Grove (South Carolina) minutes, 1803-1814.

     A deed in 1841 excludes the meeting house from the transfer. By that time the meeting was in decline as members joined other Quakers migrating to Indiana and the Midwest. The cemetery suffered from neglect, covered over by trees and used as a hogpen, until recent renovation by the local historical society. The only readable tombstones are for Hailey family members and bear the death dates of 1853 and 1863.


References:
Trent Strickland, "The Forgotten Quaker Meeting of Richmond County, N.C.," Southern Friend (Spring 2001)
Stephen B. Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery (1896)
Seth B. Hinshaw, Carolina Quaker Experience, 1665-1985: An Interpretation (1984)
Anson County and Richmond County Deed Books
William Reckitt, Some Account of the Life . . . (1776)
Catharine Phillips, Memoirs (1797)
Bobbie Teague, Cane Creek: Mother of Meetings (1995)
John Hutchinson, No Ordinary Lives: History of Richmond County, North Carolina, 1750-1900 (1998)
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