According to Perley in his Salem history, the earliest gathering place for the Quakers in Salem was erected in 1688 on Essex St. on land just east of Grace Church. It was build by Thomas Maule and deeded to the local Quakers who used it for 25 years.
In 1864, this building, the Quaker Meeting House, was moved to the grounds of the Essex Institute by a group of citizens that mistakenly believed to be the first meeting house of the Congregational Church.
The Quaker Burial Ground or Friends Cemetery is located at 396 1/2 Essex St. This small cemetery occupies land adjoining the site of the Quaker Meeting House. Here, for 100 years, from 1718 to 1818, stood the 2nd meeting House. The names of the buried are filed and kept by the City Cemetery Manager in Greenlawn Cemetery office. This burial ground is about the size of two house lots. Many graves are unmarked and several stones are severely eroded. The burial ground also contains remains removed from Friends cemeteries in Boston and Peabody, formerly South Danvers.
Quaker missionaries who moved to Salem in the earliest times were unwelcome, as they posed a threat to the Puritan power structure. Laws were passed against espousing Quaker beliefs and/or inhabitants from harboring Quakers in their homes.
The Southwick family was especially persecuted, eventually fleeing to an island in Long Island Sound, where they later died.
A rededication of the Quaker Burial Ground or Friends Cemetery, was celebrated on Aug. 23rd, 2019 with a new marker placed at the front of the cemetery gates. It is not open to the public, but you can arrange
with the city to open it up to use it.
- Vertical File in Salem Collection - Quakers
- The Quakers of Seventeen Century Salem by Jason Morley, 1999.
- Historical Sketch of Salem by Chas. S. Osgood, p. 18-20.
- Salem in the Seventeenth Century James D. Phillips, p. 195-200, 245-250
- Salem in the Eighteenth Century by James. D. Phillips, p. 19-20, 157-162, 167, 356, 382
- "First Quakers had a tortured existence here" Salem Evening News, May 29, 2002, p. A3
- Movers and Quakers; lecture to revisit Salem's historic Quaker connection" Salem Gazette, Jan. 20, 2006, p. 3
- Fighting to preserve the past; neighbors, historic group to save old Quaker home in Salem(69 Boston St.)" Salem News, May 3, 2006, p. A1
- Essex Institute Historical Collection (History of the Quaker Meeting-House) Vol. 39, p.267-293
- Salem's Quakers and their lost Memorial Jerome Curley on Salem Patch
- Find-a-grave Quaker or Friends cemetery
- "Hallowed ground: Salem's Quaker cemetery policy could be answer to Burying Point closure question" Salem News, Aug. 23, 2019, p. 1