National Stanley Family Association Reunion 2008 Returning to Our Roots - New Garden
NSFA Celebrates Greensboro Bicentennial June 20 & 21, 2008
Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Ave
The Stanley family has been important to the Greensboro area. In the mid-1700s, a number of Stanley families joined a migration of Quakers from Hanover County, VA to Guilford County, North Carolina; many locating near the New Garden Monthly Meeting, near Greensboro. Catherine Stanley (probably a widow) and daughters #1-4 Martha 3 and #1-6 Agnes 3 were granted certificates to New Garden MM in 1764. In the same year #1-1 William 3 and wife Elizabeth, #1-5 Micajah 3 and wife Barbara, were granted certificates from Cedar Creek MM, Virginia, to New Garden MM, North Carolina. Other Stanley families had already made the move before then, including all three branches of Stanleys.
Friends of North Carolina established a Yearly Meeting in 1698, and in 1791 the yearly meeting sessions were moved to New Garden. When the New Garden Meeting House was erected in 1792, Stanley descendants and relatives were active in its construction. According to the History of Guilford County, North Carolina, 1902, pp. 166-168, it was Thomas Benbow, husband of #1-10 Hannah 4 Stanley, who made the nails and door-latches for the new meetinghouse at his blacksmith shop.
New Garden was a center of Friends meetings in North Carolina. It was started in about 1750, and the number of Stanley names recorded there offers evidence of the dimension of the migration. The New Garden Meeting House was erected in the style of Quaker meeting houses for worship: there were two galleries, women on one side and men on the other, with separate doors for men and women to enter. While men and women were seated in separate areas, women shared an active part in leadership of worship and evangelism. From the outset of the Quaker movement, women were recorded as ministers long before the contemporary interest in equal rights for women.
Growing concern about the evils of slavery and the violent environment that it engendered, combined with depleted fertility of the soil there (Guilford County and the surrounding territory) and the opening up of the Northwest territory both as "free states" and as areas blessed with several feet of good, rich topsoil, enticed Quaker migration. Levi and Catherine Coffin went to Indiana in 1826. By 1830 the out-migration of Friends was reaching flood-tide. In a report to the yearly meeting in that year (1830), the remaining Friends heard with deep concern that no Quaker school remained within the bounds of the yearly meeting that was not in a "mixed condition"; that is, consisting of non-Quaker students as well as Quaker scholars, some even with non-Quaker teachers.
For yearly meeting patriarch, Nathan Hunt, there could be only one answer: the establishment of a boarding school for the cultivation and formation of young Quakers. The yearly meeting, in 1831, approved the idea and Joshua Stanley was appointed to the committee to form the school. His wife Abigail, daughter of Nathan Hunt, served on the committee to find a suitable location for the proposed school. When subscriptions for building the school were sought in 1832, William Stanley donated $25.00 - an amount equaled by only one other person; Nathan Hunt himself.
The school was chartered in 1834. In 1837, it opened the doors to 25 boys and 25 girls, the South's first coeducational institution for higher learning and the third oldest in the nation. The footprint of that original building of New Garden Boarding School - now Guilford College - occupied the exact footprint of the present Founders Hall. The original building had separate entrances with the east entrance for boys and the west entrance for girls, and a center door for teachers and visitors.
Stanley's were thus considered founders of Guilford College. Joshua Stanley was named a Trustee in the 1834 charter, serving in that capacity for over 25 years. He was also the school's first librarian. Later on, Joshua and Abigail (Hunt) Stanley left their farm in Centre Community (south of Greensboro) for five years; 1842-1847, and served as superintendent and matron of the struggling New Garden Friends Boarding School.
Appropriately, Lola Stanley was one of eight students who left other schools to form the first senior class of Guilford College when it was added to the Boarding School in 1888. The Stanley family has played foundational roles in both Guilford College and Earlham College in Richmond Indiana. It's noteworthy to mention the enduring legacy of Quakers and Stanley's in the field of education.
Although some Stanley descendants still live in the Guilford County area, many migrated north and west by the first half of the nineteenth century. Many left the South because of their distaste for slavery, while others may have been attracted by the opportunity to homestead new lands in the Old Northwest territories of Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.1
We invite you to attend the June reunion in Founders Hall, learn about these early Stanleys, walk the Guilford Campus taking the same steps your ancestors took and meet their direct descendants! Learn how to research your own line, bring your questions, visit the Friends Historical Collection at the Hege Library, bring your pictures to share and your wallets! You need a Stanley watch, hat, t-shirt and more Stanley history books. See you there!
GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH FACILITIES: Since North Carolina (around Greensboro particularly) was a hotspot for Stanley family migration, here are some resources you can use for research while you are here and at home. Click here for research facility information.
MAPS AND HOW TO GET TO THE FOUNDERS HALL, GUILFORD COLLEGE:
You can get there from anywhere in the world. Click here to see maps and to obtain driving directions from just about anywhere!
REGISTRATION: Registration is due by June 10th by mail. Check-in will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 20 in the Walnut Room of Founders Hall at Guilford College and will last until 5:00 p.m. Check-in will also start at 8:30 a.m. and continue until noon on Saturday, June 21 at the same location. Click here for the registration form and click here for the agenda.
The April issue of the Stanley News also will have/has the agenda and registration form.
The largest, most hotly-contested battle of the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign was fought at the small North Carolina backcounty hamlet of Guilford Courthouse. The battle proved to be the highwater mark of British military operations in the Revolutionary War.
Lt. Col. Henry Lee opened the battle with an advance guard action against the British near the Quaker settlement of New Garden, 3 miles west of the American position. This skirmish resulted in no advantage to either side. The Americans retired, and the British continued to advance along the New Garden Road toward the courthouse. (Click here for more info on this battle.)
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, the nation's first national park established at a Revolutionary War site, preserves the 220-acre heart of the 1781 battlefield. Among the 28 monuments raised on the battlefield is a memorial containing the graves of two of North Carolina's signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Hooper and John Penn. Although Guilford Courthouse is 600 miles south of Philadelphia and Independence Hall, it is appropriate that this monument stands at the site of one of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War. It was the sacrifices of American patriots on this and scores of other battlefields that gave substance to the bold statements of principle contained in the Declaration of Independence.
To get to Guilford Courthouse National Military Park from from Founders Hall, Guilford College, start out going WEST on W FRIENDLY AVE toward COLLEGE RD (0.0 mi), then turn RIGHT onto NEW GARDEN RD (0.7 mi). Then turn SLIGHT RIGHT to stay on NEW GARDEN RD. Go 3.5 miles to the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park at 2332 New Garden Road, Greensboro, NC. Total distance: 4.2 miles.
The Colonial Heritage Center at Tannenbaum Park interprets the history of backcountry life before, during and after the American Revolution. Take a self-guided tour of Guilford County, North Carolina’s colonial past. This beautiful Greensboro Parks & Recreation site is located on a seven acre portion of the of Joseph Hoskins’ 150 acre farmstead. Hoskins left the Valley Forge area of Pennsylvania only to have his North Carolina farm host British troops under Cornwallis’ command as they formed their first battle lines during the March 15, 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Continue your personal tour of the grounds and learn about the 1813 Hoskins House, the restored 1830’s barn, a replica kitchen and blacksmith shop.
To get to the Tannenbaum Historical Park from Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, go west along New Garden Rd 0.4 miles.
For questions and answers
regarding the reunion write, call or e-mail:
1 - The text at the top of this page is a combination of text from pages 106 and 107 of Stanley And Allied Families, Volume One, written/compiled by Alvin L Anderson, PH.D. published by Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD Copyright 1996 by the National Stanley Family Association AND text from a talk given by Max Carter, Director of the Friends Center at Guilford College, at the National Stanley Family Reunion in 2003. Any additions and errors are the responsibility of this web site editor.