MFM Letterhead 1930

5th month 23rd, 1930

The [following] report was written eighteen years ago. Today our membership stands at exactly the same figure, 184. But, of these 75 are nonresidents and 109 live in Minneapolis — a gain of seven in our resident membership.

Alice C. Webb

History of Friends in Minnesota

Report made to the Quarterly Meeting
by Alice C. Webb
7th month 20th 1912

According to the investigations of a committee which reported 7th month 9th, 1862 the first Friends who settled in this place were William W. Wales and family who arrived in St. Anthony 5th month 12th 1851. William Wales was a native of North Carolina and his wife and older children were born in Indiana. Anna Lewis from Pennsylvania came to Minneapolis in 1852. She married Shelton Hollister and died in the autumn of 1854. Her funeral was the first held under the care of Friends in this place. From then on Friends began to come in increasing numbers to this new country to make it their permanent home. Among them were the following who were active in establishing the Minneapolis Meeting.

Joseph H. Canney and Ursula C. Canney from New Hampshire arrived in St. Anthony in 6th month 1852 and settled in Minneapolis. Abigail Canney came in 1854. Daniel Bassett came also from New Hampshire in 1855 and died in 1861. James Canney’s family consisting of Jane M.F. Canney, his wife, and their three children came from New Hampshire in 1853. James Bean from New Hampshire arrived at St. Anthony in 1855 and lived some time in St. Anthony but subsequently settled in Minneapolis.

R.J. Mendenhall from North Carolina came to Minneapolis the 27th of 4th month 1856. Cyrus Beede also came in the same year. These two Friends were both married in 1858 and brought their wives, Abby G. Mendenhall and Martha Beede here to live. James Bean’s wife, Roanna F. Bean, also came in that year, and William R. Smith and family came in 1860.

The first meeting according to the order of Friends at Minneapolis was held on the first day of 6th month, 1854 and was attended by Lindley M. Hoag from New Hampshire then on a casual visit here. The practice of meeting together for religious worship on the first day of the week was commenced on the 22nd of 4th month 1855 at the home of Joseph H. Canney and continued regularly thereafter, but mid week meetings were not held until 6th month 1861.

In 1860 a Meeting House was built at an estimated cost of $877.38, mostly by private subscription of Friends. One member gave the shingles, another built the foundation and furnished white lead for the second coat of paint, another contributed the front doors, sash, and stoves, while still another gave twenty-six days of labor, etc., etc. The record was accurately kept and handed down for the information of the present and future generations.

In the spring of that same year, 1860, Jane M.F. Canney commenced a First Day School for children and a Bible Class for adults was permanently organized in 7th month. Later in the year a Library Association was formed.

In 1861 there was quite an immigration of Friends from North Carolina. These were Dr. Nathan B. Hill, his wife, and their six children. Dr. Alfred H. Lindley, Eliza J. Lindley and their four children, Dr. Lindley’s mother, Mary Lindley, and his brother-in-law, Fowell B. Hill. On account of the War then raging these Friends were unable to secure their removal certificates from North Carolina Yearly Meeting which delayed the establishment of a Preparative and Monthly Meeting for a time. Application for such a meeting was made through Winneshick Monthly Meeting in 12th month 1861. A committee appointed by Red Cedar Quarterly Meeting visited the Minneapolis Friends in 9th month 1862. They were united in granting the request so far as the establishment of a meeting for worship to be held on First and Fifth Days of each week and gave Friends liberty to hold such meetings under the sanction of Red Caviar Quarterly Meeting. The committees were also united in deferring the establishment of a Preparative and Monthly Meeting for a short time on account of the large number of Friends who had not their rights in Winneshisk Monthly Meeting and those Friends who could do so were encouraged to obtain their certificates and transfer them to Winneshick Monthly Meeting as soon as possible. This advice seems to have been taken for in 6th month 1863 a Meeting for worship and Preparative and Monthly Meetings were established in Minneapolis by Red Cedar Quarterly Meeting of the State of Iowa. The Quarterly Meeting recommended that the Minneapolis Monthly Meeting, when organized, should be encouraged to recognize the rights of Friends from the Southern States, who on account of the condition of the country could not obtain their certificates, when fully satisfied of their membership and that in all respects they be regarded as members until such time as their rights could be transferred according to discipline. This advice was complied with. In the following month the new Monthly Meeting was organized with James Bean as clerk and William W. Wales, assistant. Nathan B. Hill and Amos Hoag were appointed as overseers and William R. Smith, Correspondent for the Meeting.

A few months later Winneshick was made a Quarterly Meeting and Minneapolis Monthly Meeting was included in that quarter.

In 1869 an indulged meeting was established under the care of Minneapolis Monthly Meeting in Wright County, Middleville Township, at the request of Friends residing there, and in 11th month 1870 a Preparative Meeting was established in the same place, known as Sharon Preparative Meeting. In 2nd month 1871 another Preparative Meeting was established in Middleville Township, Wright County, known as Sylvan Preparative Meeting. In 7th month 1871 the name of Sharon Meeting was changed to Highland Preparative Meeting, and another Preparative was established at Howard Lake. At the same time a request was received for the establishment of a Monthly Meeting to be known as Union Monthly Meeting and to circulate between Highland, Sylvan and Howard Meetings, and the request was forwarded to Winneshick Quarterly Meeting, which body granted the request and established the meeting. After 1879 this meeting was held only at Howard Lake.

In 7th month 1875 a request was made that a new Quarterly Meeting be established to be composed of Minneapolis and Union Monthly Meetings to be known as Minneapolis quarterly Meeting and to alternate between Minneapolis and Howard Lake. A committee from Iowa Yearly Meeting visited Minneapolis in response to this request in 8th month 1876, reported favorably, and Minneapolis Quarterly Meeting held its first meeting at Howard Lake 10th month 21st 1876.

In 1885 a meeting for worship was established in Redwood County, known as Redwood Meeting and a few months later in the same year this became a Monthly Meeting.

In 3rd month 1886 a meeting for worship was established in the south part of the City of Minneapolis, known as Lake Street Meeting.

A meeting for worship in Renville County was established 8th month 1890 known as Abbyville Meeting.

The Lake Street Meeting was laid down 4th month 1895 owing to the removal of almost all of the families constituting the meeting and the older meeting occupied the building while its present Meeting House was being built. This was finished and first occupied 12th month 29th 1895.

Union Monthly Meeting was laid down in 1900 and the rights of membership of its few remaining members were transferred to Minneapolis Monthly Meeting.

In 1904 the deserted Abbyville Meeting House was sold to the Methodists and removed to their own ground and the site was sold a little later.

Friends have ever seemed to be eager for pioneering. In the days when Minnesota was almost a frontier country they came in large numbers but when the State became older and more settled they moved on to newer parts of our land, until now of Minneapolis Quarterly Meeting there remains only Minneapolis Monthly Meeting with a membership of 184 of whom 82 are non-residents of Minneapolis.