Mendon — The Early Years
Quaker Meeting House Road
and the Quakers
Every day numerous people travel the Quaker Meeting House Road in the
Town of Mendon on their way to and from their jobs in Rochester and elsewhere.
Perhaps some have wondered about the origin of the name of this road and
the actual location of the Meeting House.
An early photo of the Quaker ("Friends") Meeting House
in Mendon. The date is not known.
The author of this article had the privilege of examining a large number
of family documents and photographs in the possession of Honeoye Falls
resident, Sylvia Van Pamelen. Among the documents were land deeds pertaining
to the large farm, located between Clover Street and the Quaker Meeting
House Road, once owned by her grandfather, Louis Burton Lord.
1872 Map of the Town of Mendon showing location of the
House and the home of Isaac G. Ewer
In my review of the land deeds I found one that was of particular importance
in the early history of the Town of Mendon—the original deed for
the site of the Quaker Meeting House. That document states that on August
25, 1832, John and Sarah M. Whippo sold one acre of land for $40.00 to
Martin Davis and Daniel Russell and "their successors in office in trust
for the Friends Monthly Meeting of Rochester."
The Quakers, more properly known as the "Society of Friends," built a
30' x 40' (later enlarged to 30' x 60') wood frame Meeting House on the
property. The building was located in a grove of locust trees on the west
side of the road just south of the Rush - Mendon Road and north of the
small cemetery, the only remaining evidence of the Friends' presence.
Quaker Cemetery localed next to the site of their former Meeting House
in Mendon Centre. Photo by John G. Sheret.
On April 2, 1835, Isaac F. Ewer married Lydia Ann Powell in the newly
built Meeting House. Lydia Ann had arrived in Mendon in 1832 with her
parents, Joseph and Hannah Powell, coming via the Erie Canal from Saratoga
County. An obituary on her death in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle,
dated April 27, 1905, states that the wedding couple performed the ceremony
themselves. It further mentions that as it was the first wedding in this
house of worship, so much curiosity was aroused that the Meeting House
was filled and that many witnessed the ceremony from the yard.
Greek Revival House built by Isaac G. Ewer following his 1835 marriage
in the Meeting House to Lydia Ann Powell
The Quakers flourished in the Mendon Centre area for many years and their
members owned prosperous farms with large and well-maintained houses and
barns. From April 1836 until January 1867 the early house of this author
on the Mendon Centre Road was owned by a Quaker by the name of Silas Birdsall.
However, Silas was "disowned" by the Society of Friends on August 23,
1844, for marrying "out of meeting," meaning that he had married a non-Quaker.
Early house owned by the author of this article for over forty years.
years it was the home of Quaker Silas Birdsall. Photo by John G. Sheret.
However, by the early 20th Century, due primarily to the practice of
disowning members for marrying non-Quakers, their numbers had dwindled
to the point that the Meeting House was not used during the winter months.
In December of 1909 the Quaker Meeting House was advertised for sale by
Mendon Centre resident, William Wasson Cox, who had served as caretaker
of the property and whose mother was a preacher in the Society of Friends.
In March of 1906, after attending the funeral of Susan B. Anthony in Rochester,
Mr. Cox recalled that in 1873 she had spoken at a meeting held in the
Meeting House and that she had stayed overnight at his father's house
in Mendon Centre.
"House Content" Gothic Revival style house in Mendon
Centre, once owned by
William Wasson Cox, caretaker of the Quaker Cemetery and Meeting House.
Photo by John G. Sheret.
In August 1910 a Quaker by the name of George Lindley Quick purchased
the building. He dismantled the structure and used the material to construct
a barn at his farm, then located on Pond Road in Mendon. The 113-acre
farm remained in the Quick family until 1980 when it was acquired by the
County of Monroe to expand the Mendon Ponds Park.
The beautiful house of Greek Revival design, built by his father George
Quick in 1855, was moved to a new location on Clover Street within sight
of the former Meeting House, Unfortunately, the barn, also planned to
be moved by the new owner to that location, was destroyed by a fire set
A perhaps ironic twist to this story is that, in March of 1911, the one-acre
plot on which the Meeting House was built, was purchased by a Martin Davis,
grandson of the Martin Davis who was one of the parties mentioned in the
original deed. Mr. Davis cut down the locust trees to be used as fence
posts on his farm located on the top of Davis Hill on Clover Street, about
one mile north of the Village of Honeoye Falls.
Following the sale of the Meeting House the members met at the home of
Jonathan D. Noxon on Locust Street in Honeoye Falls. Mr. Noxon was a prominent
member of the local Quaker community and, prior to his retirement in 1903,
had owned a large farm on the Stoney Lonesome Road in Mendon. Another
chapter in the history of the Town of Mendon was concluded on September
24, 1915, when the final meeting of the Society of Friends was held at
Mr. Noxon's house.
Today the Meeting House site is once again a grove of locust trees that
stand, along with the Friends' Cemetery, as the only reminder of a religious
faith and a way of life on an earlier time in the history of the Town
Site of the former Quaker Meeting House, now a grove of locust trees.
in photo shows northeast corner of Quaker Cemetery. Photo by John G. Sheret.
Mrs. Van Pamelen has generously donated the deed for the Quaker Meeting
House site to the Honeoye Falls/Mendon Historical Society. It has been
encapsulated in transparent archival material to prevent further deterioration
of the paper and is now on display at the Society's Museum.
Land deed for one acre of land purchased by the Society of Friends as
the site for their Meeting House, August 25, 1832. Courtesy of Sylvia
Van Pamelen and the Mendon Historical Society.
Sources of Information
Diane Ham, Town of Mendon Historian
Lord Family Papers, courtesy of Sylvia Van Permelen
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Honeoye Falls Times
Beer's 1872 Map of Town of Mendon