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early churches of New Jersey
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Trenton, Mercer County
Quakers in Trenton had held occasional meetings in the homes of residents,
probably as early as the late 1680s, and there is an early Quaker burial
ground that still exists. It was not until 1739 that the local Society
received permission from the Chesterfield Meeting (in Crosswicks)
to erect a meetinghouse and hold regular meetings, however, and they
so in that year. The building was a smaller, simpler one, although
it is claimed that the foundation and several of the walls of the existing
building are original.
The meetinghouse was
occupied by British Dragoons
made in 1873 and 1896 much altered the meetinghouse, as it bears almost
none of the elements prescribed by Quaker authorities (there is supposed
to be separate seating for men and women, for example, but the interior of the
building bears no evidence of any dividing panels or partition.
Moreover, there are many details, such as the
light in the
gable, dentils in the cornice and a pent roof that is entirely too
fancy, that are decidedly non-Quaker. The entrance was once squarely
The Hicksite schism in the 1820s resulted
in the Orthodox minority having to move out; they constructed their own meetinghouse
a couple of blocks away on Mercer Street in 1858.
In the adjoining burial grounds are several Revolutionary
War leaders as George Clymer, who signed the Constitution (as a delegate from
Pennsylvania not New Jersey).