Quakertown

The Quaker Star
The Quaker Star


Folks talking about the town of Farmington in the early to mid 1800’s may have known the town by its popular nickname “Quakertown.” As were many of the other settlers arriving in Oakland County at the time, a large majority of the people moving to Farmington in its earliest days were Quakers from Farmington, New York. Since Arthur Power, the founder of Farmington, was a Quaker himself, it was only natural that his friends and neighbors from back home were a part of the Religious Society of Friends as well. In fact, one of the first of Power’s friends to join him in Michigan was Ezekiel Webb, a fellow Quaker. Webb arrived in late 1824, as many others did, and served as the town’s first physician. This was a vital gain for the newly established settlement. The town now had a doctor to watch over the health of its residents and the new settlers to come. With the addition of Webb, two of Farmington’s most significant figures were Quakers. During that crucial period of the town’s rapid development, having these two important roles filled by Friends made it an easy transition for others coming from New York to settle in Farmington. As the town progressed over the next few years, the Quaker presence and population grew with it. With strong values and beliefs in religion and education, churches were soon built as well as a number of schoolhouses. In 1831 a group of Quaker delegates from New York came to help the Friends in Farmington establish a formal Quaker society that met four times a year. Arthur Power even lent a helping hand to the society by donating land for a building to meet in. A year later, the meetinghouse was finished. Members of the town attended Sunday services at there, the men dressed in collarless coats and broad brimmed hats and the women in plain dresses and linen bonnets. Quakers were also strong believers in the anti-slavery movement. As a result, there were a number of locations in Farmington that served as stops in the Underground Railroad. One of these known stops was at the Philbrick Tavern, which was located on the other side of the same intersection that Arthur Power’s home was at. The old tavern, now converted into a farmhouse, is part of the Farmington Hills Historic District and the Michigan Registry of Historical Places.