Once Upon A Time In Jericho

Jericho Friends Meeting House

Jericho is one of the “Bible towns” of Long Island along with Babylon, Bethpage and Jerusalem (today Wantagh). Jericho was named after the town in the fertile Jordan River Valley described in the Book of Joshua as part of the Promised Land.

The Quakers left the Puritanical New England colonies after fleeing persecution in England, to seek freedom to worship as they chose. In the early days under Dutch rule, members of the Religious Society of Friends could be fined, jailed, sentenced to hard labor and even flogged for espousing their Quaker beliefs. Non-Quakers could be punished or fined for merely inviting a Quaker into their homes. Finally on Dec. 27, 1657, Flushing residents issued a document called the “Flushing Remonstrance” to the Dutch authorities, in support of their right to welcome all members of every religious persuasion to their community. Persecution and arrests continued, but tolerance finally prevailed.

In Jericho, the Quaker families living around the Spring Pond met for worship at the home of Mary Willets (today’s Milleridge Inn). They traveled to nearby Westbury for a monthly meeting until 1787, when they received permission to establish a Preparative Meeting in Jericho. It was built on land purchased form Benjamin and William Wright. The Jericho Meeting House was built in 1788 and still stands on Old Jericho Turnpike in Jericho.

The source of this information is the Jericho Library publication Jericho: The History of a Long Island Hamlet, written by local history librarian Betsey Murphy. You can pick up a copy of the book at the circulation desk for a $20 donation. —Submitted by Jericho Public Library


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Steve Mosco, former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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