Proceedings Centennial Anniversary: Cropwell Friends' Meeting House
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 53.588 W 074° 56.190
18S E 505428 N 4415898
Quick Description: In 1909, Cropwell Friends Meetinghouse celebrated 100 years of their building's construction and so a book followed. In 2009, we celebrated 200 years but all we got was crummy newspaper article!
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 9/8/2013 5:59:14 AM
Waymark Code: WMJ18G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 3

Long Description:

I have lived about a mile from this historic place for the last 40 years. I have seen road expansions, neighborhoods built, business expand, traffic lights installed and local populations explode, all about the meeting house. Despite all of this, Cropwell Friends Meeting House has remained unchanged, a permanent fixture in a changing world and a testament to simplicity, peace, equality and community. Currently, there are approximately 25 members. Weekly worship is 10:00 AM Sunday. For more information you can call (856) 424-1403.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending an important milestone for this meetinghouse. I missed the first anniversary outlined by the book by about 158 years. While the meetinghouse's history is well-documented, I wanted to be the one to document this important event. Here's what I came up with:

I have been waiting well over two years for this event since I first learned of this category. Armed with one broken digital camera and a pictures taken almost a hundred years to the date, I readied myself and snapped history being made...again. These two photos commemorate the 100th& 200th anniversary celebration of this meeting house. Quakerism has lost favor and popularity with the local residents today as evidenced by the lack of people present compared to 1909. This town and West Jersey was founded by Quakers who had HUGE influence and impact on the community as evidenced by the picture from 1909. What is also pretty neat and interesting to note are what appears to be T-model Ford cars of the Brass or Edwardian era. They are open carriage automobiles are in the background of the 1909 picture. Our cars were also parked in the same spot as well but cannot be seen too well in the 2009 picture. Also, while they sat on benches resting on concrete blocks, we dragged out the benches used for Worship form inside the meeting house.

Sunday, June 28, 2009 was a very special day. We were all gathered under the tent just as celebrants before us were in 1909. Well, they did not have a tent but they were seated the same way and in the same direction. Lot's of history was spoke of and speeches were made and there was a wonderful song sung, too. At the end of it all, the peace pole was officially dedicated. There were four different people there to read and interpret the four different languages on the pole. There is Arabic, Farsi, Swahili and of course English. The pole is made of Red Wood. A peace banner was also unveiled in conjunction with pole.

There were ribbons hung from a clothes line across two trees in back of the pole which bore messages of peace. These were made by the children. We all had our pictures taken with the pole and it was a proud moment for all of us. It was very exciting to be a part of history. I think one of the more tasteful highlights of the day was the home-made ice cream. That was entirely delicious!

We were able to tour the historic building and examine artifacts from the time the Religious Society of Friends, which we call Quakers, first settled into their gathering place here @ Cropwell. On display were bed warmers, foot warmers, an apple barer and a Bible from 1572, handed down through Connie Evans' family. Evans is a BIG name in this community's history. I saw the original cemetery layout with the names of those buried. We also saw the original charter, a marriage certificate and too many other curiosities to list here. They were all on loan from the Evesham Historical Society which his located at the John Inskeep House In marlton, a NRHP site too. There was a really excellent exhibit of Burlington County Meeting Houses by photographer Doreen Webber.

The Courier Post newspaper, our local rag, had this to say: "Cropwell Quaker Meeting House will celebrate its 200th Anniversary with the dedication of a Peace Pole. Constructed in 1809, the Cropwell House is one of the area's oldest historic structures. The Peace Pole will be a lasting memorial to the anniversary and the centerpiece of a quiet landscaped meditation area for the public.". SOURCE

There is one last article on the anniversary celebration and the peace pole dedication which can be found HERE

Cemetery

There is an extremely old burial ground located on the property of Cropwell Friends Meeting House. The markers & memorial stones are located facing Cropwell Road at the intersection of Old Marlton Pike and Cropwell Roads.

Some sources have this cemetery also listed as Cropwell Friends Burial Ground. Members of the Meeting used both interchangeably. I spent about an hour Thanksgiving morning cataloging and counting burial markers and stones. I counted 463 total graves. Included in this total are combination graves sharing one memorial stone. I noticed the most common family names are those of the founding fathers of our community and of local establishments, streets and public schools. The most common name was Cooper. Other names which appear with equal regularity are Barton, Stokes, Lippincott, Parvin, Evans/Evens, Ballinger, Gardiner & Sharpless.

Some of the grave markers are nothing more than a rectangular-like stone/rock shoved in the ground. Some names are forever lost to time. Family names are buried together and if you take the time to notice, you can figure out the lineage and who married to begin a new family lineage. The newest grave I found was from 2006. The oldest I found I believe was from 1815, but it was hard to tell for sure. I am certain that several persons in the cemetery were definitely born in the late 18th century...so cool!

I remember some controversy in the early 80s when the road had to be widened to accommodate the growing population of Cherry Hill and Marlton. Parts of the Meeting House had to be taken and turned into pavement. This is why some of the graves are a mere two to three feet from the road. At this time, the fence was rebuilt as it appears today and a light was installed at the intersection.

ISBN Number: 1279218541

Author(s): Society of Friends. Cropwell Preparative

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