Hancocks Bridge Meeting

Location

Buttonwood Avenue
08033 Hancocks Bridge , NJ 39° 30' 7.542" N, 75° 27' 33.4584" W

Hancocks Bridge is a current meeting but has a very long history under the name of Alloways Creek.

Established 1679, House built 1756
In the hamlet of Hancock;'s Bridge, four or five miles from the city of Salem, in Salem County, NJ, is an old Meeting House that has the date 1784 is its western gable, but is , in part, considerably older than indicated by that date. It is generally called by the name of the village wherein is is located, but in 'meeting history' is properly designated Alloways Creek, obtaining this name from the township and the winding river near whose bank it is built.

Alloways Creek is a Preparative Meeting of Greenwich Monthly Meeting and Salem Quarter of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Hicksite Friends. The following brief outline of the history of Alloway Creek meeting, chiefly determined from Thomas H. Shourd's researches of local statistics, was prepared for Tensbring(?) and Sheppard's History of Salem County, NJ, and published in 1883:

' A regular meeting of Friends was held at the house of James Dunn from 1679 to 1685. The further history of the Friends' Society in Lower Alloways is thus given by Thomas Shourds, Esq: 'In the year 1684, Edward Champney and John Smith each deeded half an acre of ground to Christopher White and Samuel Wade - one for a meeting-house, the other for a graveyard. The ground was a corner of each of their lots on Monmouth River. The same year Salem Monthly Meeting of Friends agreed with Christopher to build a meeting-house on one of the said lots, the cost of the building not to exceed forty pounds. He was directed to clear a road from the King's Highway to the meeting-house, for which he charged ten pounds more. In 1685 the first religious meeting was held there, and so continued until 1718. The greater part of the members resided on the south side of the creek, and there being no bridge at that period, they were put to great inconvenience in getting to meeting. Joseph Ware gave the Friends a lot of ground on his plantation on the south side of the creek, the deed having been given in 1717. As soon as the meeting-house was finished, the members on the north side of Monmouth River were attached to the Salem Particular Meeting. The families were the Abbotts, Stubbenses, Mosses, and Tylers. the meeting-house was abandoned about that time, but the graveyard was used for a number of years after the meeting ceased to be held at that place. The Friends subsequently purchased a lot of ground on the south side of the creek, near Harmersville, for a burying ground1, which has been the principal place of interment up to this time. A number of persons, however, have been buried in the ancient graveyard since the members of the society in a measure abandoned it. Such families as the Haddingtons, Hancocks, Carls(?), and a few others were desirous of being laid to rest with their ancestors. The principal families that were members of Alloways Creek at the time alluded to where the Whites, Bradways, Dunns, Wares, Chamblesses, Oakfords, Wades, Danieles, Hancocks, Stretches, Barbers and several others. Friends continued to hold their meetings in the house built on the Ware property until the year 1756. In 1753 William Hancock deeded a lot of ground to the members of Alloways Creek Particular Meeting for a meeting-house site, as it was a more convenient location. The house was built at two different periods of time, the oldest portion in 1756, the new, as it is called, in 1784.2

Though the meeting appears on the listing for Salem Quarter on the Philadelphia Yearly website, the meetinghouse does not appear to be an active meeting, but rather is maintained by the Quarter as an historic site.


Notes and References

  • 1. The cemetery mentioned in Matlack's writing is the Cedar Hill Friends Cemetery, near Harmersville.
  • 2. from the manuscript of T.C. Matlack, New Jersey, et al., Vol i