A Short History of Goose Creek Friends Meeting
Quakers first settled in what is now western Loudoun County beginning in the early 1730’s, having moved south from Pennsylvania to Waterford, Virginia, and the surrounding area. They were successful farmers, built and operated mills, and established businesses to serve the community. The Meeting House was the nexus around which Friends’ family and community lives rotated. Meetings for Worship were held each week on Sunday and Thursday (known to Quakers, who rejected the pagan associations of those name days, as First Day and Fifth Day respectively)
The first Meeting House was a small log structure built in 1745. It was replaced by a stone Meeting House in 1765. This structure is now a private home next to the Goose Creek parking lot. As membership increased, there was a need for a larger meeting space, so the current brick Meeting House was built from 1817 to 1818. It was originally a two story building that was rebuilt in 1949 as a one story structure after a wind storm in 1943 blew the roof off and severely damaged the upper floor.
At that time, due to a schism in American Quakerism in the early 19th century, there was a second Quaker meeting in Lincoln. Friends from this meeting, known as “Orthodox” Friends, invited the members of Goose Creek to worship with them until the Goose Creek Meeting House could be repaired. When the repairs were completed, the two meetings reunited to form the Goose Creek United Meeting. The Meeting House was enlarged with the addition of a Gathering Room or First Day School room in 1982.
Believing there is “the Spirit of God in everyone,” Quakers were strong adherents to both the testimonies of peace and equality, so that when the Civil War broke out they refused to fight even though they were among the strongest supporters of the abolition of slavery. It is thought, although never proven, that some of the Quakers of Lincoln were part of the Underground Railroad that spirited runaway slaves northwards to the safety of Canada. They built Oakdale School, a one-room schoolhouse close to the Meeting House, to educate both Quaker children and the children of African American free men, making Oakdale one of the first integrated school houses in Virginia.
During the Civil War, Friends continued to farm and carry on commerce even though their pacifism and antislavery beliefs fostered suspicion among their non-Quaker neighbors. When the war arrived on their doorsteps, Quaker families housed, fed, and cared for injured from both the Union and the Confederate armies. Because they were successful in keeping farms productive throughout the war, their barns and provisions were tempting targets for food and forage for Mosby and his Confederate raiders. To prevent these supplies from being used by the rebel raiders, the Union army burned most of the barns and their contents in December 1864.
Friends continue to worship at Goose Creek and endeavor to live according to the traditional Quaker testimonies of equality and peace.
18204 Lincoln Road Purcellville, VA 20132
PO Box 105 Lincoln, VA 20160