Local History

Quaker Meeting House (1704)

Many of the early Lincoln settlers, including the Arnold family, were Quakers, otherwise known as the Society of Friends. Quakers from the Blackstone Valley area met monthly at various members' homes until 1703 when a small one-story meeting house was erected only 1/4 mile from Eleazer Arnold's house on his land. Many people referred to this area as “Arnoldia,” due to the fact that many of Eleazer’s relatives inhabited this area.1 A few years later Arnold donated the property that the meeting house stood on to the local Quaker leaders. The meeting house served as a Quaker center for miles around until 1719 when Woonsocket Quakers built their own. In 1745 a two-story addition was erected.

The entire structure survives today on Great Rd. in Saylesville, where meetings are still held on a regular basis.

Along with other local structures the meeting house is "a testimony to the achievements of [the] first settlers…built by provincials, sturdy farming families who, though not rich, led comfortable lives on Rhode Island's agrarian frontier."2

1 Savoie, Charles. History of the Town of Lincoln, Rhode Island, and Its Villages. [Lincoln, RI], 1999.

2 Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission. Lincoln, Rhode Island : Statewide Historical Preservation Report P-L-1. [Providence]: The Commission, 1982. p.9.