Located off Wantagh Avenue on what used to be Jerusalem Road is a historical religious landmark that represents new faith and a unique view towards the world.
Now owned by the Baptist Church, the Jerusalem Friends Cemetery & Meeting House in Wantagh was the home of a brave number of people who stood for what they believed in. The meeting house and cemetery is now left behind to tell their story.
The Society of Friends was an organization that formed in England around the 1600s and quickly spread to America. This religious group consisted of Quakers that were considered to have unorthodox views with their talk about the “Inward Light” as well as refusing to bow to authority figures. This behavior resulted in many persecutions.
Meetings were held every five weeks on the first day in various towns and member’s homes. In 1827, the Jerusalem meeting house was built on farmland owned by Ardon Seaman, who was a preacher until he died in 1875. From 1908 till 1949 meetings were joined with the Jericho sector and the meeting house was only used for annual gatherings.
The one and a half-story building was built from oak with a stone foundation. The timbers were pinned together by use of the mortis and tenon method. It had two brick chimneys and the exterior was covered in shingles.
The cemetery on the land originally had 42 plots with 21 on each side. The price for a full plot was $8 while a half was $4. When the Baptist Church purchased the property in 1952, although the cemetery wasn’t included, it was understood it would be kept up and taken care of.
While there is much history with the Quakers, all we have now is their stories and the land, which they were created. Members and residents like the Seaman, Verity and Southard family laid their heads to rest one last time and we all have the privilege to be in their company. They all will be remembered as brave, independent souls who wanted change and freedom.