1816 Meetinghouse Receives Historic Preservation Fund Grant for Restoration
We have wonderful news! The 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum just received a grant of $483,727 from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service for historic sites relating to Equal Rights. We were the only organization in New York State to receive this grant and one of only ten in the U.S. This will go a long way toward the total of about $700,000 needed to finish both exterior and interior restoration of the 1816 Meetinghouse. For more details, click here.
Board members and volunteers for 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse hold up “This Place Matters” signs from National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2018.
Photo by Reginald Neale
Rangers from Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls visit the 1816 Meetinghouse
Five Rangers and staff from Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls visited the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse on May 13, 2022.
Board member Charles Lenhart presents a poster to Janine Waller, Chief of Interpretation and Education at the Park, with names of descendants of people who attended the 1848 Seneca Falls women’s rights convention.
Photo by Judith Wellman
Survey for quotes for nature trail signs
If you have not yet filled out the Google survey form to help us choose the best quotes to put on our nature trail signs, you can do so here.
Last day for survey is Friday, May 20. Stay tuned for the results!
Nature Trail Signs: We Need Your Help!
We are developing plans for signs along our new Peace Trail, and we need your help.
This trail, dedicated to peace in our world, meanders through the woods adjacent to a wetlands area behind the Meetinghouse. It is 400 yards long and six feet wide, covered with a bed of woodchips. At points along the trail are small peninsulas, where we will place benches and signs. A local Eagle Scout has volunteered to build the benches, and a local signage company, Ewing Graphics, will produce these signs. We are grateful to Carol Elaine Deys for inspiring this trail and to Dave Bruinx for building it.
These signs will bear words from men and women of European, Native, and African descent, all associated with the 1816 Meetinghouse.
We need to your help to choose which words to put on these signs. Here are twenty quotations, five each in four categories of people associated with the 1816 Meetinghouse: Quakers, African Americans (abolitionism and the Underground Railroad), women’s rights activists, and Seneca people. To vote, please follow the link here to a google form and select one quote from each category that you feel is the most fitting. The two quotes with the most answers from each category will be used on the trail. Please feel free to share this email and the survey so that we might get as much feedback as possible.
Thank you in advance for your feedback!
Annual Report 2021 & Liberty Award
We are pleased to send you our annual report for 2021, outlining our six programs on women (including a focus on African American women and the struggle for women’s suffrage, as well as a talk by Michelle Shenandoah on efforts of Haudenosaunee women to reclaim their historic roles through rematriation). We also highlight the beginnings of our new nature trail dedicated to peace in our world. Finally, we welcome our new Board members, and honor you, our amazing donors. We could not do this without you!
To view our 2021 Annual Report, either visit the page on our website, or simply click the PDF button to the right to be directed to the report.
We are pleased to note that our long-time friend and colleague Dr. David Anderson, received New York State’s prestigious Liberty Award. In 2018, the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum honored both Professor Anderson and Ruth Anderson with our Carrying on the Vision award for their lifetime commitment to interpreting African American history and culture to a wide variety of audiences.
Women's History Month
In honor of Women’s History Month, we highlight Farmington’s role in the early women’s rights movement. We say the names of early women’s rights advocates here to help us remember that individual local action makes a difference for all of us, past and present.
Through three articles from Yes! Magazine, we also present examples of the diversity of work for women’s rights, highlighting deaf women suffragists, as well as contemporary women of Native and African descent. These stories suggest the impact of work that Americans began in Farmington and elsewhere before the Civil War.
Today, thousands of Americans visit Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York. The Park commemorates the first women’s rights convention in the U.S., held on July 19-20, 1848. Elizabeth Cady Stanton initiated the idea for this convention, but all the main organizers were Quakers. Just as no woman’s rights convention would have occurred in Seneca Falls in 1848 without Stanton, so it would not have occurred without these egalitarian Friends. Stanton was the catalyst, Friends transformed the idea into action.
Based on the Declaration of Independence, the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments stated that “all men and women are created equal.” Of the 100 signers of this document, at least twenty-five were Friends. Homes and workplaces for many of these still stand in central New York At least nine signers came from the Farmington-Macedon area: William and Caroline Barker, Eliab W. Capron, Elias and Susan Doty, Catharine Fish Stebbins, Esek and Maria W Wilbur. And Elizabeth D. Smith. Four Friends came with Frederick Douglass from Rochester: Amy Post, Sarah Hallowell, Mary Hallowell, and Catharine Fish Stebbins. All of these were also active in movements for the abolition of slavery. Many worked for Seneca land rights. Several also lived at the Sodus Bay Phalanx, a utopian community that lived in the former Shaker community at Sodus Bay
Several signers came form Seneca County, associated with Junius Monthly Meeting in Waterloo. These included Stephen Shear, of Junius, as well as Thomas Dell, William Dell, Rachel Dell Bonnel, Margaret and Azaliah Schooley, and George and Margaret Pryor, plus four members of the M’Clintock family, or Waterloo. Thomas M’Clintock was Clerk of Genesee Yearly Meeting of Friends at Farmington, 1838-43: Mary Ann M’Clintock and daughters Elizabeth and Mary Ann helped organize the convention. Five members of the extended Hunt family also attended, including Jane Hunt and Richard P. Hunt; Richard’s sisters Hannah Hunt Plant and Lydia Hunt Mount; and Lydia’s daughter Mary Mount Vail. Of all the signers, only Rhoda Palmer, a Quaker from Geneva lived long enough to vote.
Other Quakers supported the movement immediately after the convention, joining Amy Post, Mary Hallowell, Catharine Fish Stebbins, Elizabeth M’Clintock, and others in helping organize the second women’s rights convention in Rochester, New York, on August 2, 1848. This event attracted many African American abolitionists as well as advocates for working women. In Farmington, Phebe Hathaway wrote to Elizabeth Cady Stanton about inviting Lucy Stone to lecture. Phebe’s brother J.C. Hathaway attended the first national women’s rights convention in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1850, with Pliny Sexton, a Quaker from Palmyra.
Many of these reform-minded Friends left the transnational Genesee Yearly Meeting (Hicksite) when it met in the 1816 Meetinghouse in June 1848. On October 6, 1848, these reformers returned to the 1816 Meetinghouse to organize a new Quaker Yearly Meeting called the Congregational Friends (Later the Progressive Friends and then the Friends of Human Progress). They invited Elizabeth Cady Stanton to give the keynote address at this organizational meeting.
This inclusive group focused on the “promotion of truth and practical goodness.” They welcomed not only the Quakers but “Chirstians, Jews, Mahammedans, and Pagans, men and women of all names and no name,” united by the “LAW of LOVE.” Meeting annually until the 1880s at Junius Meeting in Waterloo, they embraced reformers of African as well as European descent (including Frederick Douglass, Charles Lenox Remond, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony). They formed the core of the American Equal Rights Association, arguing for universal suffrage for all citizens, after the civil war.
When New York State finally recognized the rights of women to vote in 1917 (followed by the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920), many Farmington women, like thousands elsewhere, went for the first time to the polls. As we do the same, we remember their legacy.
To remind us of the breadth and depth of work for women’s rights, here are three recent articles from Yes! Magazine:
For more information about Farmington and women rights see::
1. “Women’s History: Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse,” Video produced by WCNY, the public television station in Syracuse.
2. Ontario County. “Catharine Fish Stebbins,” and Farmington voters in Suffrage-Farmington, Ontario County Historical Society.
3. Wayne County. Judith Wellman, Marjory Allen Perez, with Charles Lenhart and others, Uncovering the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life in Wayne County, New York, 1820-1880 (Lyons: Wayne County Historian’s Office, 2012).
3. Seneca County. Judith Wellman with Tanya Warren, Discovering the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life in Seneca County, New York, 1820-1880 (Waterloo, New York: Seneca County Historian’s Office, 2006).
4. Western New York Suffragists: Winning the Vote, Rochester Regional Library Council
5. Nancy Hewitt, Radical Friend: Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds (University of North Caroline Press, 2018).
6. Judith Wellman, Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Women’s Rights Convention (University of Illinois Press, 2004).
7. Historic Structure Report, 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse (2017)
Fannie Lou Hamer: Is This America?
The video of Fannie Lou Hamer: Is This America is now available for viewing on You Tube. Visit our You Tube Channel, or watch below. With this addition our entire 2021 season of six programs is available here.
Civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) helped organize the 1964 Freedom Summer African American voter drive in Mississippi. She founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 in response to the racist policies of the Mississippi Democrats and led a delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, NY that year.
Akwaaba: The Heritage Associates, a Rochester based group of storytellers and reenactors provides this dramatic reenactment of Hamer that includes narrative interpreters, song, and original footage of Hamer's life and speeches.
Dear Friends of the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum
Thank you for your ongoing support for the work of the Meetinghouse Museum! We are grateful for the progress you have helped make possible on restoration efforts and programs, despite continued struggle with pandemic issues. We appreciate you all.
Since last fall, our board welcomed new members, bolstered by folks rotating off (including Kathy Hendrix, Barbara Popenhusen, and Sue Stehling), who worked throughout the year to assure continuity.
We remain committed to providing experiences that expand our visitors’ understanding of the significance of the 1816 Meetinghouse and movements for equal rights in the Finger Lakes region and across the country. This year, we broke ground for a nature trail where we will install signage relevant to our mission of equal rights. In cooperation with local organizations, we presented six free programs, focusing on the “Struggle for Women’s Suffrage: Race and Politics” and on Michelle Shenandoah’s work on “Rematriation.” We have also started a project to transcribe manuscripts relating to Seneca-Quaker efforts to save Seneca lands after the 1838 Treaty of Buffalo Creek. And we continue to apply for state and federal grants to support Meetinghouse restoration.
We hope you will remain with us on this journey, whether by attending our programs, visiting our website (www.farmingtonmeetinghouse.org) and Facebook page, or traveling to Farmington – perhaps all of these!
Your contributions are the foundation on which we can build both the physical structure and the vision that sustains us all – of equal rights, respect, and justice for all people, and of our own responsibility for creating that world. To make a contribution, scroll down to Donate button and click the donate button.
We are deeply grateful for your interest and contributions!
Struggle For Women's Suffrage Event Videos
The video of our fifth and last program in our series “Struggle for Women’s Suffrage: Politics and Race” is now available for viewing on YouTube. You can watch “Mary Ann Shadd Cary: Black Women and the Early Suffrage Movement” presented by Jane Rhodes, professor and department head, African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago. Shadd Cary was the first Black woman in North America to edit and publish a newspaper, one of the first Black female lawyers in North America and an advocate for voting rights for women. Rhodes has called her both a friend and foe of Frederick Douglass. Visit our Youtube Channel, or watch below.
You can also watch the last program of the 2021 season, “Rematriation: Returning the Sacred to the Mother” presented by Michelle Schenandoah, on our Facebook page, or by clicking here:
Rematriation is an Indigenous women-led movement happening across Turtle Island and Indigenous spaces, that includes historical truth telling, cultural revitalization, food sovereignty, water protection, land back and community healing. Michelle Schenandoah is an inspirational speaker, writer, thought leader and traditional member of the Onʌyota':aka (Oneida) Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is the founder of Rematriation Magazine. Raised in a family of traditional leadership, she carries the values and responsibilities of being a Haudenosaunee woman throughout her life.
This talk explored these actions and provided an opportunity for participant discussion. This program was made possible with the support of our Co-Sponsor Friends of Ganondagan, a grant from the Indian Affairs Committee, NY Yearly Meeting and Humanities NY.
You can also watch "The Famous Friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass", presented by Carol Faulkner, a professor of history at Syracuse University as well as "Hester Jeffrey: Temperance; Suffrage; Political Action", presented by Susan Goodier, professor at SUNY Oneonta, “Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: Poet, Activist, Reformer” presented by Marcia Robinson, Asst. Professor of Religion, Syracuse University, and Fannie Lou Hamer: Is this America? presented by Akwaaba: heritage Associates. You can either click the videos below to watch, or visit our YouTube channel.
Canandaigua Treaty & Transcription Project
“We the womn [sic] of the Tonawanda, . . . are astonished to hear that the Tonawanda Reservation, we have to give up.”
Petition sent to President John Tyler, March 14, 1842, by 207 Seneca women at Tonawanda.
This November is National American Indian Heritage Month. It is also the 227th anniversary of the Canandaigua Treaty, with a celebration organized by our sister site Ganondagan in Canandaigua on November 11, 2021, 2:00 p.m. (https://ganondagan.org/events-programs/canandaigua-treaty-event). This will also be on Facebook live. For more on the Canandaigua Treaty, see G. Peter Jemison and Anna M. Schein, Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794 (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Clear Light Publishers, 2000).
Article I of the Canandaigua Treaty states: “Peace and friendship are hereby firmly established, and shall be perpetual, between the United States and the Six Nations.” Quakers were witnesses to this Treaty. Its provisions remain unchanged today. But the road has not been easy.
To honor the Canandaigua Treaty and to help us understand better the historic connections between Seneca people and Quakers, we share this transcription of a petition drafted on March 14, 1842, and sent to President John Tyler by 207 Tonawanda Seneca women. This draft is located in the Post Family Papers at the University of Rochester and is reprinted with their permission: https://rbscpexhibits.lib.rochester.edu/viewer/6542).
Amy and Isaac Post were Rochester Quakers, affiliated with Genesee Yearly Meeting at Farmington. Why do you think this draft petition from Tonawanda women was among the papers of a Quaker family?
Tonawanda March 14th 1842
John Tyler [illegible]
President of the U.S.
Father, – We write to you, & hear our words. His excellency will, we pray most earnestly, to listen us. We the women of our race, feel troubled with deep anxiety, for our children, who are in our hands. Feel as tho we are binded up with our children in our t arms. And we pray you our Great Father [illegible], the President, to unlace our bondage, which gives ^us^ much pain.
Our Great Father, the President — We the womn [sic] of the Tonawanda, have exerted our influence, in trying to [have?] our Chiefs to be united in their minds in ^their^ councils & they have done so, — not one of our Chiefs here, have signed the Treaty, and we are astonished to hear that the Tonawanda Reservation, is to be sol we have to give up. All our women of the other [illegible] reservations, of the Seneca Nation, are of the same mind, all are in trouble. We therefore pray you our Great Friend, to remove our troubles, and ^we^ would take hold your hand, for protection, and ^We^ ask the Great Spirit to grant our requests, and aid us, —
Our Great Father, — You may be astonished to hear this from us — as we have never done so before. We think much, and lov are attached to places these places, which the Great Spirit has given to his Red Children of this Country. Our Great Father — We will say with ^as^ our chiefs have said repeatedly in ^their^ councils, and when a gin [sic] [again]. council was opened at Cattaraugus, two years ago, by J. R. Poinsett, late Secretary of War,” the same was repeated by our Chiefs, that [we are willing?] that the emigrating party should have their proportion & share of their lands and dispose of it. The former Treaties made with our nation, by George Washington the first President, is good, — the continuation of which is compared to the sun rises & sets, and waters continue to flow, — Washington trusted in the Great Spirit, and he
was ^crowned with^ success. By his wisdom, this country is blest with freedom and human rights, — and it is given to us also, to enjoy our freedom, —
The number of our women here are two hundred and seven.
Our Father the President, This is all we have to say.
Minerva X BlackSmith
Widow X LittBeard
Susan X BlackSmith
D[a]e wạ does X
[page 2 bottom margin] [in pencil]
Transcribed October 2021 by Mary-Kay Belant and M.J. Heisey
Context: In 1842, Seneca people—women as well as men—were in a desperate battle to retain their homelands. Just as the Cherokee had been forced to leave their ancestral lands Georgia, so federal officials hoped to remove all Haudenosaunee from their historic homes in New York State to land west of the Mississippi River. In 1838, they developed the Treaty of Buffalo Creek. This treaty was, wrote historian Laurence M. Hauptman, “one of the major frauds in American Indian history.”
Seneca councils refused to sign this treaty. They invited Quakers to meet with them at Cattaraugus and Buffalo Creek to help plan resistance. In June 1840, Quakers from Genesee Yearly Meeting invited Senecas to meet at the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse. Quakers from Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings also attended.
Lengthy, complicated, and often dramatic negotiations led to a proposed Supplemental Treaty in 1842. By that treaty, Senecas would keep their homelands at Cattaraugus and Allegany but would lose Buffalo Creek and Tonawanda.
It was a sad, sad time for everyone. Resistance of Tonawanda men and women led to a new agreement in 1857, by which they remained at Tonawanda. But Buffalo Creek, now part of the City of Buffalo, was lost to Seneca people forever.
Looking to the Future
On May 13, we had a walk-through of our planned nature trail, a Walk for Freedom inspired by Carol Elaine Deys, our long-time and much-loved Board member.
Carol has experience in developing these trails. As a volunteer in Macedon, she worked on a Butterfly Trail and a Tasha Tudor storybook trail. (See article by Julie Sherwood in the Daily Messenger:).
These trails are beautiful examples of what a community can do when it comes together for the common good. Many thanks to Dave Bruinix, trail master, for his help in doing this work, and to Peter Ingalsbe, Farmington Town Supervisor, and Dan Delpriore, Code Enforcement Officer, for their help in laying this out.
Dave Bruinix pointing the way from the meadow into the woods.
Photo by Stacey Vandenburgh
Searching for a good site for a serenity garden at the end of the trail.
Photo by Reginald Neale
To make a contribution, please click the Donate button, or mail us a check at P.O. Box 25053 Farmington, NY 14425. Your support is greatly appreciated, and helps us sustain this organization, as well as make improvements to our beloved Meetinghouse.
2021 Board Members
Mary-Kay Belant — Willie Bontrager— Dave Bruinix — Joan Bryant — Florence Cardella — Matthew Cooley — Carol Elaine Deys — Peter Evans — Douglas Fisher — Charles Lenhart — Ann Morton — Reginald Neale —
Diane Robinson — Stacey VanDenburgh — Judith Wellman