The Third Haven Meeting House
is generally considered the oldest surviving Friends meeting house
of the Religious Society of Friends
, and a cornerstone of Quaker history in Talbot County
The history of Quakerism in Talbot County goes back as far as the earliest regular settlements of the area in 1658 and 1659. By the early 1660s, at least four Friends meetings were in existence: Bayside, along the Chesapeake Bay
; Choptank and Tuckahoe, along the rivers of the same name; and Michael's River, along what is now known as the Miles River. The latter of these corresponds to the first meeting of Maryland, which was birthed from a visit to Talbot County by George Fox
, and was also the first to move from the home of one of the Friends (Wenlock Christison) into an actual meeting house, named Betty's Cove, which was constructed at an indeterminate date. As the Quaker population of Talbot County continued to grow, further meeting houses were constructed to house the other three meetings.
In 1681, a need was recognized for an additional meeting house. Construction began along the river Third Haven (now known as Tred Avon), on a plot of land from John Edmondson, a wealthy merchant and long-standing Quaker settler of the Eastern Shore. Originally known as the "Great Meetinghouse", the house at Third Haven was to be "sixty foote long, forty four foote wide...framed with good white oak...the roof double raftered and studded"Doster,... Read More