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Progressive Friends

Existence Date Range: 
mid 1800's to 1940

Three miles east of Kennett Square on Rte 1 near entrance to Longwood Gardens

Established May 22, 1853 as Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, after separating from Kennett Monthly Meeting and Western Quarterly Meeting of Hicksite Friends, this meeting was better known as Longwood.

As early as 1831 dissension began to arise amongst members of Kennett Monthly and Western Quarterly on the question of slavery, with many members advocating the abolishment of slavery. Some of the more radical members were disowned from Kennett meeting as a result of their views on the issue and an open breach developed in 1851 when some of these members sought to conduct independent meetings in the Kennett meeting house. On May 22, 1853, a group of men and women gathered in response to a call for "a General Religious Conference with a view to the establishment of a Yearly Meeting of such a character as the present crisis demands." Though most of the attenders to this called meeting were Friends, they were barred from using the Kennett meeting house for their conference and they resorted to forcible entry. Later meetings of the group were held at Hamorton Hall until 1855 when they built a meeting house and laid out a burial ground on land donated by John Cox and his wife Hannah. They named their meeting house Longwood after the name of John Cox's farm. The last sessions of this meeting were held in 1940.


Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA