A considerable number of the early United Empire Loyalist Pioneers of this County, and of Adolphustown especially were Quakers. They mostly came from new York State, especially from Duchess county on the Hudson river, and its vicinity. The first Quaker Meeting House built in Upper Canada was built in Adolphustown, on the shores of Hay Bay about a mile west of the old Methodist church, which was also the first of its kind of the Methodist in this Province. The Methodist church was built in 1792, and the Quaker Meeting House - they never called them churches or chapels - in 1798. As the Pioneers first landed on these shores and began their settlement in 1784, it will be seen that for some years they had no places of worship at all. Those who attended any religious worship at all for some time had to do so in some of their rude log dwelling houses. A little later on some of the earliest built barns were used as meeting places during the summer months.
THE EARLIEST QUAKER RECORDS
Unfortunately very few records appear to be available in regard to the early Quakers of this Province Here is nearly all that is available in regard to this county. "On the Seventh of Ninth Month (Sept. 7th) 1796, "a preparative meeting" was held in Philip Dorland's house for the purpose of regularly forming a Society, according to the rules and discipline of that body. A regularly appointed committee was present from new York Yearly Meeting and the Nine Partners Quarterly meeting. Nine Partners is located in Duchess county and is still one of the Quaker strong holds. The committee present from there was probably composed of persons related to the Adolphustown pioneers. Their names are given in the records that remain. They were Fry Willes, Enoch Dorland, Gideon Lamore, Harvey Hill and Reuben Haight. The Society appears to have been then regularly organized according to discipline. According to a published report still in existence, "In consequence of its remote situation enlarged powers were given to the meeting, viz.: to accomplish marriages, to deal with offenders, to receive requests for membership and to report their judgment of cases to the public meeting." The writer is under obligation to Mr. Canniff Haight, now residing in Chicago, a descendant of some of the leading early members, for the information now at hand. There is another record that, "On the Twenty-ninth of First Month, 1801, the first Monthly Meeting was held in the Friends' Meeting House, Fourth Town." That is the first authentic record now available in regard to the existence and use of the now historic old place of worship, and it helps tradition in locating the date when it was built.
FORMATION OF OTHER SOCIETIES
At that meeting on the 29th of January, 1801, the necessary disciplinary steps were taken to form other societies which had an active existence for many years after. There was again then a committee present from the Nine Partners Monthly meeting and the records were duly signed by Joseph Lancaster, Reuben Haight, Isaac Thorn jr., Anna Merritt and Elizabeth Wing. The next record states that "At the monthly meeting held in Fourth Town, on the Sixteenth of Fourth month 1801, propositions were received and entertained for holding a preparative meeting at Kingston and a meeting for worship at West lake. these meetings were accordingly held under the care of the Committee." The Kingston society was composed mostly of members residing in Kingston township and not in the town. They met for worship for years in some of the members' dwelling houses, and later on built a meeting house at Waterloo, now Cataraqui, near where the large cemetery is now located. It was used as a place of worship for many years and the building still stands, but in a dilapidated condition. It has not been used for meeting purposes for years. A meeting house was soon after built at West Lake, near where the Village of Bloomfield now stands, five miles west of Picton, and later on several others in the County, including Wellington, Sophiasburgh and other places. Other meeting houses were also built in Frontenac county and in Leeds, offshoots from the Kingston society, and one in Addington, near Moscow, which is still standing.
SOME EARLY MEMBERS
Philip Dorland, at whose house the first preparative meeting was held, was one of the three Dorland brothers - John, Philip and Thomas - who came from Duchess county and landed with the first pioneer company in Adolphustown, in June, 1784. They were all Loyalists to the British crown during the great American rebellion; they were all Quakers in their native homes, and it is probable that after landing and settling on the Bay of Quinte shore they met for worship in some of their own houses until the society was regularly formed and the meeting house was built. Philip Dorland first lived where Wilkie Dorland now lives, a couple of miles west of Adolphustown village, on a beautifully located farm overlooking the Bay and nearly opposite Glenora. He was elected to represent Lennox and Prince Edward counties in the First parliament of Upper Canada in 1791, but, being a very scrupulous Quaker, he refused to take an oath in the usual legal form and his seat was declared vacant in consequence. In England, long years before that and ever since, Quakers have always been legally exempt from such oath taking and were allowed to affirm, and such is the case now in Canada, but it was not so at that time. Philip Dorland later on moved over into Prince Edward and located at Wellington or that vicinity, where numbers of his descendants are still prominent citizens. he was born at Beekman, N.Y., in 1755 and died near Wellington, Ont., in 1814. He was the clerk of the first Town meeting held in Adolphustown in 1792, which was the first of the kind held in Upper Canada of which we have any record.
John Dorland was the eldest of the three brothers. He was born in Hampstead in 1749 and died in Adolphustown in 1838. He located on the Hay Bay shore, where Mr. John Roblin now lives. Mrs. Roblin is a great-granddaughter. The Meeting House was built on his farm and is still standing and in a pretty good state of preservation, though it has been years since it was used for worship. Mr. Roblin purchased it from the society and uses it for other purposes now. John Dorland had twelve children and his descendants are numerous and very respectable in this county to-day. Thomas Dorland Pruyn, now Mayor of Napanee, is a great-grandson. Two of his daughters married John and Joseph Trumpour, of Adolphustown, and their descendants are now among the well known residents of the Township. it is not possible in a reasonable space here even to give the names of the various families descended from him and his wife Elizabeth Recketson, the remains of both of whom lie buried in the burying ground at that Meeting House.
Thomas Dorland was the youngest of the three brothers but became the best known.. He was born at Beekman in 1759 and died in Adolphustown in 1832. He settled on the farm just west of his brother Philip and immediately opposite Glenora, where his son, the late Major Philip V. Dorland afterwards lived and died. It is now the property of David W. Allison Esq. Col. Samuel Dorland, yet so well remembered by many of the old residents, was also his son. Thomas Dorland was elected one of the early representatives to parliament for this county and occupied several positions of prominence. He was a Quaker, but later in life became a member of the Church of England in Adolphustown. Mr. Redford Dorland, the present town clerk of Adolphustown, is a great grandson. Some scores of families now residents in the county are among his descendants, but it would not be possible to enumerate them in a brief article like this.
OTHER WELL KNOWN MEMBERS
Among the other leading well known members of the early Quaker Society were the Trumpours, yet so numerous in Adolphustown; the Haights, of whom not so many remain, though at one time very numerous and prominent; the Clapps, also a large and influential family, of whom, we believe, that Elias Clapp, J.P., is now the only descendant of the name residing in the township. He is now past eighty years of age, but is still a well preserved and healthy man. Mrs. (Dr.) Leonard, Napanee, is a descendant of that family. The Caseys, the family of Willet Casey, one of the pioneers, were also members of the Society. He one time represented the county in parliament and so did his son, the late Captain Samuel Casey. Though once so numerous in the township not one of that name now resides there. The Ingersolls were also Quakers; so were the Bakers, the Stickneys and some others, who were once numerous and well known, but now none of the name remain in the locality.
THE OLD BURYING GROUND
At one time the old Quaker burying ground beside that historic meeting house, was a well known "Gods Acre" in this county. It is still well preserved by has become almost entirely unused as a burial place for the dead. It is much to be regretted that so few permanent head stones are standing to mark the graves of some of those who were once leading spirits in the stirring affairs of this county. Many of them were buried before such stones came into general use. The Quakers have always been very properly opposed to any ostentations monument over the dead, feeling that in the grave at least, all find one common level, even in earth. Some months ago the writer visited that historic old ground and noticed the following head stone inscription, which may be of interest to some readers of THE BEAVER.
John Dorland, (the pioneer), born 1st of 10th month, 1749, died 8th month, 1833.
Elizabeth Recketson, wife of John Dorland, born 8th of 9th month, 1757, died 13th of 11th month 1818.
Thomas I. Dorland, (father of Mrs. O.T. Pruyn, now of Napanee) died 25th of 1st month, 1870, aged 75 years
Mary Dorland (daughter of Thomas I.) died Dec 6th 1875, aged 70 years, 3 months.
Bathsheba Dorland, wife of Joel Haight, born 13th of 9th month, 1774, died 27th of 7 month, 1807.
Elizabeth T. Dorland, died 3d of 9th month, 1826, aged 38 years, 9 months.
Samuel T. Dorland, died 22d of 8th month, 1837, aged 29 years, 4 months.
John Clapp, died May 27th, 1853, aged 76 years.
Henry, son of John and Sarah Clapp, died Oct 3d, 1832, aged 8 years.
Smith, son of John and Sarah Clapp, died April, 1846, aged 17 years.
Dr. Hiram Weeks, died March 8th, 1835, aged 39 years, 6 months, 14 days.
Elizabeth Casey, relict of late Dr. H. Weeks, died Nov. 13th, 1847, aged 55 years, 7 months, 24 days.
Henry T. Ingersoll, son of Isaac Ingersoll and Mary Casey, died May 23, 1826, aged 1 year, 11 months, 4 days.
Mary Dorland, wife of Daniel Haight, born 26th of 3d month, 1772, died 10th of 8th month, 1845.
Daniel Haight, died Aug 19 1830, aged 66 years, 7 months, 5 days.
It will be noticed there are no panegyrics, poetry or anything else on any of these plain and simple monuments, other than the name and date in each case. The Quakers did not believe in any superfluities of titles, dress, epitaphs or in any thing else, and their plainness of speech, of dress, of manners and their general straight-forwardness of life and dealings commended them to the respect of the world, wherever known.
There is only room here to make mere mention of the names of some of the early well known Quakers in Kingston vicinity: John Hudson, in whose house the early meetings were long held; Philip Brewer, Joseph Ferres, Jonathan Ward, Isaac Barton, the Knights, Yourexe's and some others. Our venerable townsman J. Ferres Ward, father of Dr. Ward, ex-Mayor, is a descendant of one of these Quaker pioneer families; now past the eightieth mile-stone of an active life; but he still retains a lively remembrance and a profound respect for the "Society of Friends" with whom he was associated. A brother still lives near Cataraqui, one of the few remaining members of the early Society. All who knew intimately of the Quakers of bye-gone days regret that a society so exemplary in nearly all their lives and conversation has so almost entirely vanished away. The world was the better of their influence and example.
THOMAS W. CASEY