Quakers

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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.

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.


See Also