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Bethpage Friends Meeting

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The Bethpage Friends Meeting in Farmingdale, one of America's oldest religious congregations, marked its 300 anniversary in 1998.

Thomas Powell along with other Quaker settlers of the Bethpage Purchase organized the Bethpage Meeting in 1698, and they met in each others homes on "First Day" (Sunday) for worship. They were known as the Bethpage Preparative Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

In 1741 the first of three meeting houses was built on, what is now known as, Quaker Meeting House Road. Fire destroyed the first house, a second was built in 1810 and lost to fire as well. The third house built in 1888 burned during the Great Blizzard. In 1890 the meeting house was built and it stood on the north side of Quaker Meeting House Road until mid-1930s. At this time the Bethpage State Park was created and the State moved the structure to the south side across the road to its present site surrounded by the Quaker Cemetery. It is a simple gray and white structure.

This 1890 meeting house has survived serious fires in 1977 and 1990. Friends in the community have helped the small congregation to rebuild each time. The assistance of the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society was especially significant in the restoration effort following the 1990 fire.

The Village of Farmingdale is proud to be the home of one of America's oldest faith communities.

Information from The Bethpage Tribune - March 13 - 19, 1998, by William J. Johnston, Historian, Village of Farmingdale

The traveling Friends of the colonial period, among them, Thomas Chalkley and John Woolman. Woolman, during his visits, preached against slavery, and as a result the Long Island Quakers freed their slaves before New York State passed emancipation legislation in 1799. We find that Henry Whitson, a Bethpage land owner and a Quaker freed his slaves during the period 1785 - 1800.

Information from Bethpage Bygones by Iris and Alonzo Gibbs

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