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Rancocas Friends Meeting

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First Day School Area


Continuing the Tradition

The first schoolhouse in the neighborhood was located near Indian Spring, which is approximately a half mile southwest of the present Village of Rancocas, along the earliest road from Mount Holly to Beverly. No records of the erection, management or teachers have been found. As practically all of the settlers in the area were Quakers and schooling was needed for the children and possibly Indian neighbors, it is presumed that the school was built and run by the Quaker settlers soon after their arrival in the area.

The first Quaker schoolhouse of which there are Meeting records was built of frame construction in 1773 and located to the east of the present Meeting house. It was in use until 1822 when the present brick schoolhouse was built to the west of the Meeting house. A long list of teachers has been recorded, the most famous of which was John Gummere. Gummere taught here from 1800 to 1811, after which he established his Academy for Boys in Burlington. He was one of the founders of Haverford College and subsequently became president of that institution. In 1810, a dwelling house was built for him by the Friends, apparently to induce him to continue his teaching here. The building, at the western end of the Village, is still called Gummere House and has the distinction of being the second oldest house in Rancocas.

In the 1920s, the interest in the Rancocas Friends school reached a very low level, so the Friends closed its doors in the Spring of 1920. However, the little brick Schoolhouse reopened in the Fall of 1948 as a nursery school.

For more information, check out our section devoted to the Rancocas Friends School.

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