Upper Providence Meetinghouse
I look not to myself, but to that within me, that has to my admiration proved to be my present help, and enabled me to do what I believe of myself I could not have done.
-Elizabeth Fry, 1780-1845
Upper Providence Meetinghouse is under the care of Norristown Friends Monthly Meeting. The address is 807 Black Rock Rd, Oaks, PA 19426.
The ground on which Upper Providence Meetinghouse stands was originally part of one of the Manor Lands William Penn reserved for his own use. Penn named the tract the Manor of Gilberts in honor of his mother who was of the "family of Gilbert".
On the twentieth day of the fifth month, called July, A.D, 1717, as it is phrased in the deed, James Hamer purchased 300 acres in the Manor of Gilberts from William Penn's commissioners. With the permission of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting, other early Quakers who had settled here began meeting for worship in the homes of Joseph Richardson, John Jacobs, Senior, Robert Edwards as well as in the home of James Hamer. From early journals it appears that a meetinghouse was erected on Hamer's land as early as 1730, built of logs. Possible Quaker settlers were buried here even earlier, but it was not until December 15, 1743, that James Hamer deeded a tract of one acre and nine perches from his original purchase to the trustees of "New Providence Meeting".
Providence Meeting remained a preparative meeting of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting until 1867 when it was "laid down" because of declining membership. Its members were attached to Norristown Preparative Meeting. The date stone on the present meetinghouse reads "Rebuilt 1828". Some of the benches appear to have come from the earlier building. Members of Providence Meeting, as recorded in Theodore Bean's History of Montgomery County
, were active in the Underground Railroad
. The infant child of an escaped slave is buried in the Meeting's burial ground.
In 1909 it was decided to open Providence Meeting for meeting for worship twice a year.
On September 28, 1929, a large gathering celebrated Providence Meeting's centennial (the 100th Anniversary of the second structure). The gathering was so large that it was necessary to hold the exercises on the grounds surrounding the quaint little building.
The Upper Providence Meetinghouse and its grounds are now under the care of Norristown Monthly Meeting of Friends. It is open for meetings for worship on Easter morning at 8am and also the last first days (Sunday) of September and June at 3:30pm. A Carol Sing
on the last first day (Sunday) evening before Christmas is enjoyed by the whole community.
Friends gathering for a picnic before June Meeting for Worship.
There are 33 grave sites
at Upper Providence