The Library of Virginia
Home >> Exhibitions >>The Common Wealth: Treasures from the Collections of the Library of Virginia >> Personal and Organizational Records
Fairfax Monthly Meeting of Women Friends, 1864
Click here for larger image

Fairfax Monthly Meeting of Women Friends, Record Book, Loudoun County, 1857-1871.

On 13 April 1864, the Quaker women of Loudoun County met to discuss the case of Mary S. Bond. Although the exact nature of her offense is unknown, Bond had been found to be in "violation of our discipline." It is probable, though, that she had failed to attend worship services often enough. Married, she had evidently moved some distance away from the Quaker meetinghouse and had found it increasingly difficult, and dangerous, to travel to meetings during "the unhappy civil war that now afflicts our country." After considering her explanation and the circumstances, the meeting allowed Bond to remain within the congregation.

It was not unusual that Bond was judged by the women of the meeting. Each Quaker congregation sent representatives from a particular geographic area to a larger monthly meeting where members decided matters concerning the various churches and addressed complaints or concerns about particular worshipers. Only men attended the first monthly "meetings for business." As early as 1656, however, women had begun convening their own meetings in which they were equally responsible for the spiritual and moral life of their fellow female members.

The Fairfax Monthly Meeting had been established in 1744 from a far larger congregation dating back to 1730. When Loudoun County was formed from a portion of Fairfax in 1757, the meeting found itself within the new county but retained its traditional name. Eventually the Fairfax Monthly Meeting became known as the Waterford meeting, named for the meetinghouse in which its members had worshiped for many years. In time, rapid growth led to yet another separation, with the formation of the Goose Creek Monthly Meeting in 1785. By the late nineteenth century, however, the migration of so many of the Fairfax meeting's members had reversed its fortunes. After many years of struggle, the meeting was discontinued in 1929.

Location: Acc. 24309a