• Congress Voting Independence


    National Historical Park Pennsylvania

Free Quaker Meeting House

Free Quaker Meeting House

Free Quaker Meeting House

Located on the corner of 5th and Arch Streets. The building is open year round, though hours vary by season. Admission is free. During the Revolution when the call went out for able-bodied men to bear arms in the colonial militia, an unusual group of Quakers answered. These were "fighting" Quakers who could not reconcile themselves to the Quaker principle of pacifism when it came to defending their country. To join the war effort was a painful decision, for they knew they would be disowned or "read out" of their meetings. In 1783 this separation forced the Free Quakers to build their own meeting, the Free Quaker Meeting House. Thirty to Fifty men and women, including Betsy Ross, regularly attended this meeting. After the war, differences among the Quakers diminished, and by 1834 services stopped and the building no longer served as a place of worship. Today the building is operated by "Once Upon A Nation” which conducts living history performances throughout the park.

Did You Know?

Photo of signing table

There are 39 names on the constitution but only 38 signers? John Dickinson of Delaware gave permission to his colleague George Read to sign his name if he wasn't present.