THE FRIEND'S SOCIETY

From the History and Directory of Yates County - Volume I, by Stafford C. Cleveland    

Published 1873, pg I - VI  & 585

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Part1 

Pg I - VI

Friend’s Log Meeting House-  It was to satisfy their religious aspirations that the Friend and her disciples left their homes in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, to found a new settlement, far away from the comforts and privileges of long settled communities.  That Religion was uppermost in their minds, is evinced by the fact that one of the first acts of the society was to erect a structure for public worship.  They did not wait for the construction of a costly temple, but made with logs an edifice very similar to their own rude dwellings.  The sketch of the Log Meeting House, which serves as a frontispiece to this volume, was drawn from a very minute and careful description of the building by Henry BARNES, who often attended meeting in it in his childhood, and retains a very vivid recollection of this figure and appearance.  He was able to tell just how many logs could be counted between the ground and the roof, the number and position of the windows, and the number of panes in each; the way the doors were hung, how they opened, and how they were latched.  He also described the chimney and how it was built, and the roof covered with puncheon and the pine tree standing near.  According to Mr. BARNES, the picture is a faithful reproduction of the actual structure, which was about 30 by 40 feet in its dimensions. It was in this house that the meetings of the Friends were held for eight or nine years, except when occasions rendered it more convenient and suitable to hold them at the house of the Friend.  The seats for the congregation were rude benches made of slabs.  The fireplace was a large open one in which large wood was burned.  In cold weather a huge blazing fire was kept up to warm the room. Frequently the attendance was so large that the meetinghouse was very much crowded.   The same building was also used as a schoolhouse, and the first public school, as well as the first public worship, was under its shelter. After the career of the Jesuits in Acadie, there is no doubt this cheap and simple edifice devoted to religious worship and education was the first one for either purpose erected west of Fort Stanwix. It well deserved to be held in honorable remembrance, not only for its sacred and beneficent use, but for the sake of the pious and earnest people who fashioned it from the trees of the forest and sought religious consecration under its roof.  It stood very near the site of the Buckley mansion, now owned by James M. CLARK, and close by the eastern line of the Gore proper; in other words, the New Pre-emption Line.    

The Universal Friend-  The portrait of the Friend, presented at page 38, is affirmed by the few aged persons who have seen it, and who were also familiar with the features of the original, to be a good and expressive likeness.  It represents the Friend as she appears in middle life, before the bodily infirmities of her later years had wrought and tendency to coarseness in her physique; while yet her fine personal symmetry was perfect, and the delicate bloom of healthy tissues was unclouded in her complexion.  The original work of the artist who had the living form for his inspiration was somewhat marred by his incompetence, and probably still more by those who rendered it in the printed engraving.  These defects have been well overcome by hands more deft with the pencil and a brain endowed with higher capacity to idealize the various descriptive testimonies and traditions, oral and written, which have been gathered up with much care, relating to the personal presence of this noted woman. Every picture is at the best but a striking suggestion of its subject; and this one has proved so perfectly suggestive as to reveal itself at once to those who have seen both it and its prototype. It will be a source of pleasure to thousands of persons to find in this book an illustration that represents “The Public Universal Friend”; the woman whose career has been so widely bruited and so much distorted by the voice on ungenerous prejudice; - prejudice formed in sources of contemporary bitterness, and echoed with subsiding force along the years which compass nearly two generations since her departure from this world. If there is not in this delineation the most marked suggestion of that regal quality of her character which gave her ascendancy and authority over others by force of moral pre-eminence; there is at least an affluent expression of benevolence and philanthropic feeling which confutes the old detractions and justifies the generous title she assumed for herself and the assemblage of her faith.    

Friend’s House – Erected 1790    That this was the first framed house built in Western New York, has been confidently asserted, and that it was the first after the purchase of Phelps and Gorham, is probably true.  Framed houses were not unknown among the Senecas, due to their long intercourse with the French and the advance in civilization awakened among them by the Jesuit missionaries.  Several framed dwellings were destroyed by SULLIVAN’S soldiers at Canadarque and on the Genesee during his destructive raid in 1779. This house was a remarkable edifice, considering the time and circumstances which produced it.  An antiquated relic, it belongs to a time to which we look back, as if to a very ancient period, although a few living persons remember it and its mistress when she had but just moved away from it to the dense wilderness of Jerusalem, which she did in 1794.  Many curious recollections cling to this old building.  Its architect and builder was Elijah MALIN, an eminently pious Friend, who was almost as much identified with the household of their leader as were his sisters, Rachel and Margaret.  He married the Friend’s sister, Deborah, after she became a widow, by the death of her first husband, Benajah BOTSFORD.  The house was not finished when the Friend arrived in the settlement, and while the work was going forward, she resided in a temporary structure called the “Shingle House” somewhat nearer the Lake. The Friend’s house when finished, was like a place in comparison with the humble domicile built with logs, which dotted the surrounding wilderness, over which the Friend’s Settlement extended. The farm on which this house belonged was the property of the Friend as long as she lived.  The house has usually been kept in tolerable repair, and while its framework and siding had remained the same, its roof has been once or twice renewed.  Its first siding was of plank nailed vertically. It is situated on lot one, of the Friend’s lands or Potter location.   

First House of the Friend in Jerusalem – Till 1803, the Friend’s Settlement, including the lands known as the Gore and eastward to Seneca Lake, belonged in Jerusalem.  Since that period, Jerusalem made only be understood to embrace the town bearing that name.  When the Friend first established her residence in the “Second Seventh, “ it was in the valley east of her final residence. There she moved into a log house of humble pretensions. To this was added another and then a third. Still later the first part was raised a story higher and sided over, when it presented the appearance of a frame building as rendered in the picture present at page 66.  The entire building is drawn  precisely as described by Henry BARNES.  In this abode the Friend and her family resided twenty years, during which period their fortunes were shaken by many important events. This house stood on the south side of the road, was flanked on the east by a very fine garden; a few rods south of it bubbled up a noble spring of excellent water, and still farther in the rear were log barns for farm uses.  On the north side of the highway was a long building used as a workshop by the women, where the spinning and weaving and much of the sewing was done.  The flat on the north was covered by as fine a sugar camp as ever stood in the county. Within the space of a half mile square, 2,000 maple trees could be counted.  These were large and thrifty and yielded sap in the sugar making season in wonderful abundance. Henry BARNES relates that he tapped 636 trees in this camp in one day with an axe and gouge.  It was while the Friend lived in this residence that repeated attempts were made on one pretence and another, to arrest her, but without success. From this house, Eliza RICHARDS, a giddy girl, the ward of the Friend, eloped with Enoch MALIN, brining by this and subsequent acts of hers, a long train of vexatious evils on the Friend and her society. In this house the worship of the society was conducted when the meetings were held in Jerusalem; though frequently the Friend accompanied by some members of her household and others of the society went down to the original settlement and preached on their Saturday Sabbath at the house of Adam HUNT, or that of Isaac NICHOLS.  These journeys they usually made on Friday afternoon on horseback, and sometimes they formed quite an imposing cavalcade.   When the meetings were to be at the Friend’s house, Silas SPINK, some of the NICHOLS family and also the HUNTS, and other steadfast Friends would go in solemn horseback procession to Jerusalem on the preceding day. With their broad-rimmed hats and peculiarly staid demeanor, riding excellent horses, they always made a notable and highly respectable appearance.  Scarce a sign is left of the domicile which for so many years was the favorite rendezvous for their devotions.  Some years after the Friend’s decease, the building was destroyed by fire.  

Final Residence of the Friend – A house designed for a permanent home was not erected by the Friend till a late period of her life. It was commenced by Thomas CLARK in 1809, and not till five years later was it finished.  The work done slowly, was also done well.  Thomas CLARK, the architect and builder was from Philadelphia, and his wife was a sister of Rachel and Margaret MALIN.  He was not a Friend, but a Free Will Baptist of the strictest faith, and aided in excommunicating James PARKER from that denomination when Mr. PARKER had grown too liberal in his faith to find the doctrine of endless misery congenial with his sentiments.  Thomas CLARK was a good mechanic and builder, and whether he build it better or worse in his theology is not in question here.  The house he erected for the Friend is a structure of historic interest. It was her abode but little more than five years, and during a considerable portion of that time, she was a declining, suffering invalid. Many interesting meetings of the society were held there, and some of the most touching in their history.  There, the Friend died; and there died Rachel and Margaret MALIN; also several other devoted members of the society.  There the hapless sequel of the Friend’s will had its melancholy development.  There the society, deprived of its head, lost its steadiness and unity of purpose and came to its end.  Most mournful of all, the needy Friends had not the live long home secured to them, which by right and by the terms of the Friend’s will, was their due. The place with its sadly interesting memories, will always have associations to challenge the regard of the thoughtful. It was well chosen for a pleasant home. The west arm of Lake Keuka lies in view, and the surround country forms a beautiful landscape in all directions.  Located on lot 23, of Guernsey’s survey, it was eligible as a central situation on the Friend’s domain.  Could she have perpetuated her vigor and equity of judgment in those who followed her in the control of affairs, it might have long remained a home of interest and happiness for the household of the Friend’s faith. It remains simply a historic landmark, which will probably last much longer in memory of the people than the strong framework will resist the ravages of time.    

Mausoleum of the Friend.      pg xv -xvi

Monumental vanity had no place in the Friend’s theory of human duty.  She held that the living owed their best expenditure of love and labor to the living, and that the dead could be best remembered in the fragrance of lives consecrated to righteous endeavor.  The earliest graves at City Hill are not marked by so much as the simplest head stone.  And in the Friend’s burying ground in Jerusalem, there are no graves designated by monuments of any kind.  Many members of the Society were there consigned to their final rest; but no inequalities of their temporal fortune can be inferred from anything that appears above the common sod under which they repose.  At an early date in the present century, under the direction of the Friend, a vault for the reception of the dead was placed in the verge of the bank bordering the valley west of the residence she then occupied. That vault was built by James HATHAWAY, with brick, and was an arched structure.   In that vault were deposited the bodies of: Thomas HATHAWAY Sr., his brother, James HATHAWAY and General William WALL.  It came to need repair, and on commencement of the work the arch fell in. The bodies there were then taken to the general burying ground; and at a later period the burial vault was constructed near the final residence of the Friend, the figure of which is given at the end of chapter IX. This was built by a mason, whose name was JAYNE, and was designed as as epulchral deposit for the Friend.  For reasons elsewhere indicated, the body of the Friend was never placed in that receptable, nor were those of either Rachel or Margaret MALIN.   The bodies of the three rest together in a hillock on that beautiful domain once presided over by the pious leader of the “PublicUniversal Friends.”  It is most probable that they will never have any other monument than that afforded by the memory of their lives.  It is perhaps as well so.  Shafts of marble and granite are, at the best, transient and illusive memorials of human worth. Moral rectitude and faithful devotion to an exalted ideal of duty will reach higher in the esteem of the future and perpetuate their grateful halo longer than the chiseled rock will challenge the credulity of posterity. The Friend had better chances of a place in the recollection of the coming generations than can be traced on the polished stone.  

 

Pg. 585 - The Burial Vault - Soon after 1800, the Friend caused a Burial Vaultto be erected in the bank a short distance west of her residence in the valley.  The bodies of Sarah RICHARDS, General WALL, and several others, were deposited there.  Not being well constructed, this vault was broken down and destroyed.  Subsequently, another was built, near her final residence, of which a sketch is given below.  It has not for many year been used as a place of sepulture.

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