History of Winston-Salem Friends Meeting
Around 1882, some thirty years before the founding of Winston-Salem Friends Meeting in 1912, many of the citizens of the towns of Winston and Salem had connections with the Society of Friends. The names Hodgins, Starbuck, Gray, and Stockton, all Quaker names, can be found among the leaders of these communities. Around the turn of the century, Friends ministers Robert Parker and Albert Poole opened a Sunday School in North Winston. This Sunday School was well attended. Mary Moon and Louisa Painter, Friends ministers, held stirring revivals in the city, preaching in various Methodist churches. Many converts requested that a Friends Meeting be established in the area. However, Friends leaders thought it unwise at that time to begin a Friends work. The converts were advised to unite with churches already in existence.
In 1911, David E. Sampson and his wife Sarah (Sallie) felt called to establish a Friends Meeting in the city. In December 1911, the Sampsons met in the home of Catherine Pfaff with six other Friends to discuss the possibility of establishing a meeting. Those present for this first meeting were Catherine Pfaff, David and Sarah Sampson, J. Dobson Long, Francis Trivette, Eva Carson, Charlotte Carson, John C. Trivette, and Avery Lawson. They decided to establish a meeting beginning with a Sunday School. The Sampsons rented a home at 512 N. Cherry Street where they met for several months. The congregation soon outgrew the little house, so they moved to the YWCA on Main Street. With increased interest in the meeting, the group soon took a concern to New Garden Quarterly Meeting that a monthly meeting be set up in Winston-Salem. On the first day of June 1912, the Meeting was established with thirty-four charter members. David Sampson was the first pastor and Sarah Sampson was the first presiding clerk.
Members of the meeting soon began to seek a permanent home. They discovered that North Winston Baptist Church on Patterson Avenue was building a new facility. Arrangements were made to share the building with the Baptists until their new facility was completed. Friends took full possession of the building early in 1913. The meeting paid off its obligations in 1915. By then, the membership had increased to 84 with over 100 in Sunday School.
As the meeting continued to grow, it became evident that expansion would be necessary. In 1925, a committee was appointed to seek a new location and begin plans for a new meetinghouse. Property on the corner of Broad and Sixth Streets was purchased, and plans were drawn up for a new building. The cost was approximately $30,000. The first service was held in the new building on January 22, 1928. During the difficult days of the Great Depression, the meeting struggled to meet its financial obligations. Dr. Francis Anscombe served as pastor for a year without remuneration. Financial help came from an unexpected source. David Endsley, whose wife Hannah Thomas was a Friend, had willed his farm to their son Howard to be his as long as he lived. When Howard was killed by a bull, the property became the meeting’s. The meeting sold the property and with the proceeds and other gifts from Edward E. Mackie and B. Clyde Shore, the mortgage was paid in 1945. In 1959, an education building was added to the existing meetinghouse. The cost of the addition along with remodeling the existing meetinghouse was $118,000. The membership of the Meeting grew to more than 600.
In 1972, a division occurred and Forsyth Friends Meeting was formed. With a much smaller congregation and an aging facility, the congregation chose to sell the property on Broad Street to Augsburg Lutheran Church and purchase property at 3151 Reynolda Road. Initially, Friends remodeled and met in the Slate house which was already on the property. In 1990, Winston-Salem Friends built a new meetinghouse. Debt for this building was retired in just seven years. A bequest from Ken and Frances Chilton made it possible for Friends to build a Fellowship Building in 2003.
As Winston-Salem Friends Meeting enters its second century of Quaker witness, we seek to honor the lives and the work of the Friends who sustained the Meeting through its first one hundred years.