|Stanton Friends Meeting House, 1936|
What would become the Stanton Meeting can trace its lineage back to 1772, when the Wilmington Monthly Meeting granted locals' request, and allowed them to hold an "indulged meeting" (one for worship only -- no business is conducted, and it is under the supervision of a monthly meeting). However, at first this meeting was not conducted in Stanton, but at Hannah Lewden's house in Christiana. Very quickly, though, the meetings began alternating between the Lewden's house and a location in Stanton. I can't find anything that states definitively where these first meetings were held in Stanton, but a very good guess would be the home of Daniel Byrnes, who moved to the area the same year. Byrnes, who resided in what's now known as the Hale-Byrnes House just south of Stanton, was at the time studying to become a Quaker minister, and would become one in 1784.
The meetings must have been successful, for in 1781 the Chester Quarterly Meeting approved the establishment of the meeting, then known as White Clay Creek. Three years later, a preparative meeting (sort of one step above an indulged) was established. Although I can find nothing that states so, I assume by this point the meeting was based solely in Stanton, and around this time the first meeting house would have been built. Presumably it was located about where the present one is, but there seems to be precious little information about the original structure. There are records located at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College that might shed more light on things, if anyone has the time and inclination to do so.
One thing we do know is that in 1803, by their own request, the name of the meeting was officially changed to the Stanton Meeting. After the Hicksite Separation, the the Orthodox preparative meeting (where business can be conducted) was discontinued in 1828, and the meeting for worship ten years later. After that, the meeting was exclusively Hicksite. For a time, there was a school conducted next to the meeting, although it seems the meeting and school were never very large. As of 1938, the school building was still standing near the meeting house, and it may still be part of the larger structure today. [If I find out, I'll update.] The present meeting house, now used as a dentist's office, was built in 1873 for a cost of $2500. It measures 30 x 42 feet, and is made of brick. The two doors were for the men and women, who would enter and sit separately.
|The Meeting House today|
|Meeting House from the side|