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Hicksite Burial Ground

In 1866 Hicksite Quakers* built a meeting hall in Pelham, on the corner of Welland Road and Effingham Street.  They built a church to replace it in 1870.  The Hicksite Burial Ground was beside the church which was removed to 1141 Maple Street in Fenwick for the Fenwick Women's Institute, to use for meetings as early as 1929.   The Hicksite Burial Ground now stands in lonely vigil where the church once stood. 

After many years the Women's Institute was disbanded and the Town of Pelham used the old church for storage.  In November of 1973 the Town granted the Greater Niagara Model Railroad Engineers club the use of the building on a leasehold basis. Members undertook the large task of restoring the building to serviceable condition and continue to maintain it as a condition of the agreement with the Town of Pelham

*The Society of Friends or Quaker settlements in Upper Canada (Ontario) were made of immigrants from the United States. Tensions had begun among  Quakers overall, in response to liberal and evangelical revival trends, as well as to conservative reactions towards Elias Hicks and other like-minded Friends who questioned traditional doctrines such as the primary authority of the Bible and the divinity of Jesus.  Hicks was one of the early abolitionists among the Friends. He spoke about slavery often and worked hard to persuade others to oppose it.

These tensions increased until they culminated in the Great Separation of 1827 -1828. Those who agreed with Hicks were generally called Hicksites, and his detractors were called Orthodox Friends.  He had many exponents including Walt Whitman who in 1858, astutely assessed Hicks as "a wonderful compound of the mystic with the logical reasoner," and explained that Hicks was "destined to make a radical revolution in a numerous and devout Society, and his influence to be largely felt outside of that Society..." 

There have been multiple splits amongst the Quakers since the Great Separation.  The current Pelham Evangelical Friends church features music and a band during church services and contrasts with the quieter services of the Niagara Quakers, who meet once a month at the St. Catharines YMCA. 


Along Welland Road, west of the corner of Effingham Street


Hicksite Burial Ground
Welland Road
Pelham, Ontario

GPS Co-ordinates

Latitude 43.02430758450
Longitude -79.30995352160
UTM easting 637700
UTM northing 4764900


Mary Lamb
Pelham Historical Society
PO Box 903
Fonthill, Ontario
L0S 1E0
Email mblamb(at)sympatico.ca

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