The Yarmouth Meeting House and the surrounding cemetary

Yarmouth Preparative Meeting

Located at 58 North Main Street in South Yarmouth, the Yarmouth Friends Meetinghouse is an exquisite example of 19th century Quaker simplicity in architecture. Set in the northwest corner of the small graveyard, the plain white building was erected in 1809, a time when the area was popularly known as "Quaker Village."

At that time, all the meeting members lived nearby, something that is not true today with the meeting's membership and attendees claiming residence in towns from Provincetown to Barnstable.

The Interior of the Yarmouth Friends Meeting House

Though Quakers were prominent in the Yarmouth community in the 19th century, their numbers dwindled by the end of the 1800s to a few elderly members and in 1909 the meeting was officially "laid down." Sandwich Monthly Meeting retained the meetinghouse ownership and one or two Meetings for Worship were held during the year. The bequests of earlier Quakers maintained the property through this closed era.

As times changed and more and more people moved to Cape Cod, especially following World War II, several Quaker families joined to re-open the meetinghouse for worship.

Through the efforts of Dorothy and Aaron Davis, a one-room schoolhouse that was built and operated by 19th century Quakers was purchased and moved onto the meeting property next to the graveyard.

The Old Schoolhouse at Yarmouth Meeting

This building still serves the meeting well today as a center for group activities and First Day School for young and old.

Both the meetinghouse and the schoolhouse are recognized as historical treasures and are on the National Historic Register. The graveyard still serves the meeting's members and families, but also in summer under the shade of one of its ancient trees, as an outdoor classroom for an intergenerational First Day School.

The building was the center of a wider Quaker village, which included a popular Quaker school, and the ancient seventeenth homesteads of the Quaker pioneers of the Wing and Hoxie families, which are open to the public in the summer.

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Reference: Barber, Laurence, "When South Yarmouth Was a Quaker Village" 1988.