Your History & Ours
Vote today and help us preserve the 1761-1812 visitors log from Waterford’s Fairfax Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends –among the rare treasures in the running for “Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts” in August. Public voting begins August 1 and will run through August 29 at http://www.vatop10artifacts.org
Members of the Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers constituted a considerable portion of the population of the thirteen colonies during the time of this log book and had a significant influence on the religious, political, and cultural aspects of the new country. As a record of the travels and teachings of Quaker visitors from England and all along the eastern seaboard––Waterford’s rare log book reveals a fascinating picture of the lives of late 18th and early 19th century members of and visitors to Waterford’s Fairfax Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.
More than 300 individuals visited the Fairfax Friends Meetinghouse between 1761 and 1812. The Log contains unique glimpses into the travels of these intrepid Quaker ministers––both women and men––and of a number of notable individuals in early American history. It describes the routes and conditions under which they traveled and offers insights into how the “sermons” they gave in Waterford were received by their peers, as Quakers grappled with the reality of the American Revolution. They would not permit themselves to take up arms or revolt against England, nor could they be persuaded to do so.
Among the notable visitors are:
- William Hunt from North Carolina “who was said to have preached in nearly every Friends’ meeting in America.” (June 28, 1761)
- Comfort Hoag, from Hampton, New Hampshire, (1711-1806) who became a travelling minister before 1750, ( 1767), spending some 10 days as the guest of Mahlon Janney, son of the founder of Waterford, Amos Janney.
- Martha Mendenhall, a Quaker minister for 62 years, attended the Friends’ Meeting on both the monthly and first day Meeting in August 1766, and “Said a Great Deal in both.”
- Ann Moore (1710-1783), another traveling woman Quaker minister and a resident of Waterford in her early years, began her journeys at age 46, and, returned to visit on numerous occasions.
- Humphrey Marshall, a noted botanist and author of the first botanical treatise on American plants by an American: Arbustrum Americanum (1785).
- James Bartram, son of John Bartram, the first nurseryman in the colonies (1762)
Waterford Foundation archivists have already transcribed the log book’s contents and hope that making this year’s “Top 10 Endangered Artifacts List” will enable the Foundation to make it more widely available to researchers and history buffs and to stabilize and preserve this important treasure.
The Virginia Association of Museums’ Top 10 Endangered Artifacts showcases the importance of Virginia’s diverse history, heritage, and culture and the role that artifacts and archival materials play in telling those stories. The program is designed to create awareness of the importance of preserving artifacts in care at museums, libraries, and archives throughout the commonwealth and in the District of Columbia.
The public is encouraged to become involved by visiting www.vatop10artifacts.org and casting their vote for the object that they believe should make the final list of Top 10 Endangered Artifacts. Final nominations will be reviewed by an independent panel of collections and conservation experts, and the honorees will be announced in September 2012.
Waterford Foundation Archives & Local History Collection
Over the years, the Waterford Foundation has gathered all types of materials—from books to buggies—that explore the architecture, archaeology, agricultural, geology, economy, education, and culture of the people who lived here. These items add to our knowledge of Waterford as an important agricultural and manufacturing center. The Waterford Foundation is now in the process of establishing a museum and library that will make this collection available to you. Plans also call for genealogical archives of Waterford families and their descendants.