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A Letter from 1900

William Burgess
On Love (September 2013)

Editors Friends' Intelligencer:


         Since my recent arrival in this city I have had an opportunity of attending the Friends' meeting here, now held at 570 Harrison street, in Swarthmore Hall, an annex to the dwelling occupied by Barclay J. Smith and family.  When I left the city over three years ago we met in the lecture hall of the Y. M. C. A. building.  Swarthmore Hall is not quite so large, but it answers a very good purpose for the little band which assembles here every First-day morning, and they are generally favored with good spiritual exhortations from some of the number, or from strangers who may be present.  The building is located on an elevated position overlooking the city and bay, but is easily accessible by the electric trolley cars near by, from all parts.

         Although not organized under the jurisdiction of any particular quarterly or yearly meeting, several of the attendants are members of some branch of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, while others represent different localities, some being members of the other branch of Society; yet all meet in harmony with the same great object in view, for social and religious communion, and the performance of acceptable worship in accordance with the precepts of the Master, under the Christian dispensation.  Slight differences of opinion on doctrine, or conventional forms and customs, which by many seem to be considered as dogmas of the church and essential to salvation, are not allowed to interfere with that friendly intercourse which toleration invokes and true charity demands.

         Some of the patrons of this meeting also assist in the now sectarian Friends' Union Sabbath-school, held at Sunshine Hall, 934 Harrison Street, every First-day at 3 p. m., and this place is also the headquarters of the "Silent Workers," who are doing good service among the children of that portion of the city.  They publish a neat little paper monthly, called The Dinner Pail.  The kindergarten department is well patronized, and the enclosed slip from one of the evening papers will show the marked interest manifested at the recent Thanksgiving dinner given for the benefit of 124 of these young children, with many of their parents.  Other departments receive due attention from interested persons, young and old, who volunteer their services, and much good has no doubt been accomplished in this philanthropic enterprise, for the benefit of the young people in the line of moral training, good example, and the restraining influences of well organized effort and Christian endeavor.

         The isolated Friends are always pleased to have the friendly calls and counsels of visitors from old homes and associations, while thus engaged in religious service, or in a cooperative and fraternal work for the spreading of gospel truth, and in aid of the uplifting forces for the redemption of depressed humanity.

Wm. Burgess.

San Francisco, Eleventh month 30 [1900]

[Transcription June 2012 by Bruce Folsom, from an article photocopied by Charles Martin, the author's great-great-grandson, in May 2012.]

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