The History of Oak Hill Friends Meeting

The history of Oak Hill Friends Meeting began long before it was recorded as a monthly meeting in 1908 by Deep River Quarterly Meeting. Prior to the Civil War of 1861, Jacob and Addison Hedgecock built a one-room log school house on a site on the old High Point/Thomasville Public Road (near the corner of present day English Road and Burton Avenue). This building was the first meeting place of worship for what was to become known as Oak Hill Monthly Meeting of Friends. Members of the Anderson Family, Joel, Thomas E., and Joshua, were instrumental in organizing a Sabbath School, a Temperance Society, and a Christian Endeavor Society. Tommy Anderson became the first minister of Oak Hill Friends and Alta Burton was its first Clerk. The Sabbath School known from its minutes as the First Day School at Oak Hill commenced 4th month 28th day, 1867. The school had twenty-two scholars, seven spectators and three teachers on its first day. The school's enrollment showed eighty-three names. The minutes state that on 10th month 13th day, 1867, the school adjourned in love and tenderness, separated, hoping to meet again next season on like occasion. It did reconvene on 4th month, 26th day, 1868.

Arrangements were made with Guilford County to lay out a public school district for the Oak Hill Forest Community which extended from the Davidson County line on the west to include about one-third of the then city limits of High Point. The first public school for this district was held in this one-room school house and under the leadership of W. T. Anderson (son of Thomas Anderson) became one of the best rural schools of Guilford County. This school was the forerunner of the present Oak Hill Elementary School built in 1926 and still located on Wrightenberry Street in High Point. All of this is part of the history of Oak Hill Friends Meeting because this school district and public school were established due to the urging of the Ladies Missionary group of Oak Hill Friends.

Recorded in the name of Addison Hedgecock this log school house was sold to a Professor Demming which left the school district without a school house. Members of this school district took upon themselves to erect a new one-room school house on a site given by Joel G. Anderson. This one-acre lot was located at the corner of Burton and English Streets. The school was built in 1879.

Oak Hill Temperance Society or Band was organized on 3rd month, 10th day, 1878. The organization consisted of 87 members who signed a pledge stating: "We agree to abstain from using or in any way supplying to others as a beverage any liquors which can intoxicate, and try to induce others to do the same." The group raised money (as much as $1,000 at one time) to further the prohibition cause in North Carolina. This organization was disbanded around 1906 or 1907.

Quaker worshipers continued to meet in this school until it was decided to build a meeting house. The heirs of Joel G. Anderson sold land to Oak Hill Friends for a very modest sum. The property was located on the corner of Hansel and Burton St. (now Ridgecrest and Burton). Money was raised with donations being given by many people in and around the Oak Hill Forest Community. The meeting house was debt-free when it was completed in 1905. The men's Baracca Sunday School Class continued to meet in the old school house until the late 1930's or early 1940's.

Oak Hill Friends evolved from Springfield Friends (1790) and High Point Friends (1892). Alpheus M. Briggs, Thomas E. Anderson, Joseph Potts, Nannie Anderson, Harriett K. Tomlinson, and Nereus M. Barker were appointed by Deep River Quarterly Meeting to set up a monthly meeting at Oak Hill. This was accomplished on the 10th month, 8th day, 1908, with twenty-seven charter members: Joseph E. Albertson, Jas. J. Elliott, Mamie Anderson, Nellie Thompson, Florence May Anderson, Zelma C. Kennedy, Emma Peace, Roy S. Anderson, Willie J. Anderson, Nannie Anderson, Corina Anderson, Mary Etta Elliott, Junius Anderson, Eugene Linley Kennedy, Elma C. Kennedy, Silas H. Peace, Sarah Peace, Thomas E. Anderson, Joshua Anderson, Sara Elliott, Roalta Anderson, Maud Kennedy, Myrtle C. Anderson, Ruth A. Anderson, E. V. Swaim, Bevan B. Anderson, and Bertha Pendry.

In 1925, six classrooms and a library were built on the back of the meeting house. Later a basement was excavated and a coal furnace was installed. In 1936 an annex was added to the left of the sanctuary. The annex consisted of three classrooms and a kitchen. The largest of these classrooms was used at times as a dining room. In order to pay off the debt for the annex, Oak Hill began what is known as Anniversary Sunday. It is held each year in October with an offering being taken to help pay off debts or to help finance projects of the meeting.

In 1950, Oak Hill Monthly Meeting approved plans for a new meeting house. The building was completed on March 6,1956, at the corner of Ward Street and Westchester Drive and was dedicated on April 8,1956. The first Sunday services were held on March 4,1956, with 230 attending the Sunday School and 221 attending Worship Services. The old meeting at the corner of Ridgecrest and Burton Streets was sold. The main building was eventually torn down, but the annex that was built in 1936 is still standing and is presently being used by a Spanish-speaking congregation.

The old one-room school house built in 1879 that stood at the corner of English and Burton Streets was moved down Burton Street and divided into two rental houses, one of which still stands. The other was lost in a fire.

Oak Hill Friends Meeting has possessed two parsonages located on Evergreen Avenue. Both were sold at different times to individuals as homes and are still in use as private homes. The monthly meeting agreed to give the pastors a living expense rather than furnish them with a parsonage. Oak Hill has had pastors serving twenty-six terms with two serving more than one term

Alta Anderson Burton served as first Monthly Meeting Clerk. Others that served as Monthly Meeting Clerks include F. U. Burton, Mabel Russell, Daniel Anderson, Eva Woody, Tilmont Slack, Ethel Newton, Wade Russell, Blanche Fraley, George Walker, and Earlene Newton.

The preceding is a brief version of the history of Oak Hill Friends Monthly Meeting established in the Community of Oak Hill Forest. It is impossible to give credit and recognition to all those who participated and had a hand in the establishment of this Quaker church in a small piece of writing. Oak Hill Friends thanks all those persons, past and present, who worked diligently for the meeting, and It welcomes into its midst all those persons seeking Christ.

Mary Barham, Historian
May 2, 2011