Upper Chichester Township.
subscription was taken among Friends at the Quarterly Meeting held in Fourth month, 1687, to "enable a poor man to build a house." This practical charity was so noticeably the rule in the society that William Moraley, in 1752, records:
"The Quakers have a custom of raising Money at their several Meetings, as I observ'd before, with which they do many Charitable Offices to the Poor and Indigent. I have myself experienced the Effects of their Benevolence. If any Person, though a Stranger continues to do well, by preserving a good Character, and they have a good Opinion of them, they will enquire into his Circumstances, and if it appears he is Distressed in his Business for Want of Stock, or necessary Implements to carry on his Trade, they will set him up out of this Money, without demanding any Security either by Bond or Promissory Note; and if he repays them, will relieve other Persons in the like Circumstances. If he never repays them, they will never give him any Trouble."
The want of a proper meeting-house for the society soon made itself felt, and hence we learn that an effort was being made to erect a building for that purpose. The minutes state:
"At a monthly meeting held at Chichester the 11th of Eleventh month, 1688, it was proposed and agreed to build a meeting-house upon a parcel of land granted by James Brown, as by deed may further appear, and some time afterward it was agreed by Friends to fence in a burial-ground upon the said land joining to the meeting-house. The subscriptions thereunto are as follows, viz.:
The deed from John Brown, dated fourth day of Tenth month, 1688, in consideration of one shilling and sixpence, conveyed the two acres heretofore mentioned to William Clayton, Sr., Philip Roman, Robert Pyle, Jacob Chandler, Joseph Bushell, and. John Kingsman, in behalf of and for "the only use of the people of God called Quakers . . . . Provided always and at all times, that if any one or more of the above said purchasers, or any one or more than shall be lawfully chosen to succeed hereafter, shall fall from the belief of the Truth as held forth by the people of God called Quakers, as aforesaid, either in a profane and scandalous life, or in doctrines, and continue therein, it shall and may be lawful in such case, for the aforesaid people of the town and county aforesaid, by their order and consent in their monthly meeting, always and at all times to remove and put out any such one or more of the said purchasers, or any other that shall succeed. And always and at all times hereafter to nominate and chose and put in one or more in his or their room, as they shall see fit."
It is presumed that the meeting-house was erected shortly after these proceedings were had, but the exact date is not recorded. In the ground surrounding the building many generations of Friends belonging to Chichester Meeting have been buried, but the testimony of the society in early times being opposed to the erection of tombstones, the resting-place of many of the first settlers in that quiet graveyard cannot now be designated with any degree of certainty. On Dec. 4, 1768, the old meeting-house was totally destroyed by an accidental fire. The following year the present meeting-house was erected, and tradition records that the greater part of the fund raised for that purpose was contributed by Richard Dutton, and Friends, in recognition of his generous aid, caused a stone bearing, in rude figures, the date "1769" and the initials "R. D.," the latter divided by a small star, to be built into the gable of the house.
While Cornwallis' command lay at Aston, from the 13th to the night of the 15th of September, 1777, British foraging-parties went out from Village Green in all directions, and one of these marauding expeditions halted at the meeting-house, and in mere wantonness shot repeatedly at the closed doors, the marks of the bullet-holes being readily seen in the front door to this day. Nehemiah Broomall, for many years sexton of the meeting-house, used to relate how the British army, on its way from the Brandywine to Philadelphia, encamped near the old meeting-house, and on that occasion the soldiers were permitted to discharge their muskets at the doors as a pastime. The British army never moved in that direction; the closest the division under Cornwallis approached Chichester meeting-house was about two and a half miles away, as that commander marched down the Concord road towards Chester. In the last half-century the attendance on religious worship in the venerable meeting-house has been growing less and less; still, it is said Jonathan Larkin often would be the only person who would attend regularly Fifth-day meeting, and the hour allotted to worship would be passed by the one person present in silent communion with his God.
Upper Chichester Meeting. - In the fall of 1829, after the division in the society, those Friends belonging to Chichester fleeting who adhered to the teachings of Elias Hicks retained ownership of the old meeting-house, while those known as Orthodox, in connection with Friends of Concord, determined to erect a new place of worship in Upper Chichester, near the residence of Salkeld Larkin. A lot was donated for that purpose on the Marcus Hook and Concord road, and Joseph Talbot, Thomas Griffith, Isaac Morgan, George Martin, Nathan Larkin, Salkeld