Tag Archives: history

Burtt House Discussions

The Burtt House Working Group (BHWG) seeks to build upon the broad sharing that emerged in the gatherings held in the Fall, attended by a large number of Ithaca Friends. The Group is proposing a second round of worship sharing meetings for us to hear Friends’ thoughts, feelings, and reflections as we consider the role of the building in the life of Ithaca Meeting.

Three sessions are planned:

  • Sunday, January 15, 2023 , 12:30-2:00 pmin-person only at the Third Street Meeting House
  • Wednesday, January 18, 6:00-7:30 pm: online only via Zoom. See below for Zoom information
  • Sunday, January 22, 2023, 9:00 am: Hybrid format, in person at the Third Street Meetinghouse and via Zoom. See below for Zoom information

Queries to Focus Our Sharing in these Gatherings:

  1. How has the Burtt House contributed to the Meeting’s Quaker life in living out Friends’ testimonies?
  2. How has the Burtt House helped me live out my faith as an individual?
  3. What would it mean to you as a Friend if Ithaca Monthly Meeting released the Burtt House? What would it mean to Ithaca Monthly Meeting as a community to release the Burtt House?

Friends are invited to address whichever of these queries calls forth a response from your own experience, and to attend as many of the sessions as feasible. Your responses to this are part of the fabric of the Meeting. These stories are our stories.

These gatherings continue to be “Meetings for Listening” without problem-solving or arriving at any decisions. In the first round many of us were able to discern inner movement on distinct layers of our own memory, learning, and connections to our fellow Friends.

One thread through the first round was that some Friends have questions on points of history, e.g., information about the bequest, and past minutes and decisions regarding the property. BHWG is compiling links to available documentation.

Please resolve to attend at least one of the January worship sharing sessions.

Questions and comments are welcome.

Angela Hopkins, Antonia Saxon, Gina Varicchio, Nancy Gabriel, Steve Mohlke.

Zoom Information for the Burtt House Discussions

Click the button below or use the Zoom meeting information listed here to participate in the discussions online on January 18 or January 22.

Meeting ID: 840 1819 9474
Passcode: friends
To join by phone dial 929-205-6099 and enter meeting ID: 840 1819 9474 when prompted.

Amy Grace Mekeel

Earlier I have written about Friends from the past who had prominent roles in the founding and early history of IMM.  Additional Friends participated actively in the early years of IMM, but the last of these that I would highlight is Amy Grace Mekeel (1885-1976).  Amy Grace attended Westtown School and later received her BA in 1910 from Cornell University. After graduation, she taught at the Friends Boarding School, Barnesville, Ohio. She subsequently earned Masters and PhD degrees from Cornell and taught zoology at Cornell from 1917-1951.

Like the Woods and Olivers whom I wrote about previously, Amy Grace was a birthright member of the Hector Monthly Meeting; her ancestors founded that Meeting and she grew up in it.  But she later became active in the Ithaca Meeting, became its first treasurer, 1926-1934, and served as clerk from 1947-1950. Positions she held in IMM included Recording Clerk, Elder, Overseer, and serving on Nominating and Literature committees.

After retiring from Cornell, Amy Grace gave several local presentations on the history of the Hector Monthly Meeting and the founding of IMM, the splits that occurred among Quakers that affected Meetings in central New York, and descriptions of Quarterly Meetings held in this region.  She was the primary source for an article in the Ithaca Journal on July 19, 1958 by Lois O’Connor on these topics that also included photos of the Hector Meeting House and the original stove that was inside it. She was also a source for Quaker information on several internet sites.

Amy Grace did not marry. She lived much of her adult life with her sister, Mary Mekeel.  The Mekeel family homestead is located on Mekeel Road, which parallels the Perry City Road one north of where the Hector Meetinghouse is located.  Amy Grace, her sister Mary, and several other members of the Mekeel family are buried in the cemetery behind the Hector Meeting House.  

— Tom Brown, Meeting Historian