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HOPEWELL MEETING

Hopewell Meeting (now called Hopewell Centre Meeting) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was established in 1734 on land that was granted to Alexander Ross (an Irish Quaker) and Morgan Bryan (an Irish Presbyterian) in 1730 and 1732 by Lt. Gov. William Gooch of Virginia. Ross and Bryan had brought about 70 families to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from Pennsylvania where they hoped to establish a new Quaker community. Alexander Ross built his home near the present site of Hopewell on a 2,373-acre tract, which includes the present day Waverly Farm.

The Meeting is the oldest surviving place of worship in the area and has been in continuous use since it was built. It is located on Hopewell Road (formerly State Route 672) one mile west of Clearbrook in Frederick County, Virginia. It was established nine years prior to the creation of Frederick County.

The name "Hopewell" was chosen because many Friends in the area had come from Hopewell in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Family names of early members included Ross, Jolliffe, Hollingsworth, Walker, Parkins, Neill, Lupton, Wright, Pidgeon, Thomas, Bond, Robinson, George, Ellis, Hiatt and Janney.

The first Hopewell meetinghouse was made of logs and was erected in 1734. This structure burned in 1757 and the eastern part of the present Meeting House was built from 1759 to 1761 (33’ X 44’). The original builder was Thomas McClun. From 1788 - 1794 the building was doubled in size (63’ X 44’). The entire Hopewell property now consists of about 8 ˝ acres and includes an old carriage shed and a house used over the years by caretakers, tenants and children’s first day school activities.

During 1827 and 1828 a schism developed in the Society of Friends, beginning in Philadelphia and spreading out through many states. One faction (Hicksite) was rural, largely following eighteenth-century Quietism. The other faction (Orthodox) was more conservative and urban in its orientation. The schism affected Hopewell where both factions used the one building, erecting a dividing partition so that one group used what was the original building and the other the portion that was the addition. In the early 1900’s Hopewell was in need of repairs and this brought the two factions back together. In 1910 the east wall was rebuilt. During this time the two groups met together and decided to rejoin as a united meeting.

A considerable section of the wall on the south side is part of the original wall of 1759. The building is an excellent example of the type of simple stone construction found in Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Several massive stone chimneys stand erect and high above the roof. Many of the windowsills and several of the doorframes show evidence of great age. Within the building are a number of benches and several tables that have been in the meeting house from 1759 and earlier. A gallery and other original interior features have been preserved in the structure.

Just east of the meetinghouse is a graveyard enclosed by a limestone wall. The headstone with the oldest marking is dated 1807 although a number of unmarked stones identify the location of earlier gravesites. The wall around the graveyard was built in 1870 by W.D. Lee. His initials and the date are on one of the graveyard wall stones. The graveyard is approximately one acre in size.

Following the custom of Friends, records were faithfully kept from the time of the establishment of the Meeting. All of these records have been preserved with the exception of the first twenty-five years. The records for the years 1734 to 1759 were lost in a fire that destroyed the house of William Jolliffe in 1759.

In 1936, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the meeting, the "Hopewell Friends History" was published. This 671-page book includes much detail about the history of Hopewell including many of the records of the meeting.

In 1999, Hopewell merged with Winchester Centre Meeting. The combined meetings are now called Hopewell Centre.

The Hopewell Meeting House is registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark and is designated as a Frederick County Historic Site.

Pictures of Hopewell Meetinghouse
From the Haworth Family Association website.
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