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[129] Germanna, in Stafford county, were exempted from the payment of parish levies.1 There is basis for the belief that the persecution of the Quakers was never inexorable, and that their religious meetings were allowed from the period of their first seating in the colony. In 1663 John Porter, a member of the House of Burgesses, from Lower Norfolk county, was arraigned before the House for being ‘loving to the Quakers,’ and being ‘at their meetings.’ He was also charged with being ‘so far an Anabaptist as to be against the baptizing of children.’2 I recall among the treasures of the very interesting museum of this college a precious relic, a brick from the Chesterfield jail, a votive shrine of religious liberty, as the prison of Baptist apostles. Foote, the Presbyterian historian, asserts that under the provisions of the Act of Toleration—first William and Mary, 1689—the minister, Francis Makemie (who was also a merchant), was the first Dissenter licensed to hold meetings in Virginia, the date being October, 1699, and the places his three houses at Pocomoke, Accomack town, and Onancock.3

It is well known that the Quakers were quite numerous in Nansemond, Norfolk, and Isle of Wight counties about the middle of the seventeenth century.

John Pleasants, the ancestor of the worthy family of the name in this country, emigrated from Norwich, England, to Virginia in 1665, and settled in Henrico county in 1668. In the records of the county, of date October 1, 1692, appears the following:

John Pleasants, in behalf of himself and other Quakers, did this day, in open court, p'sent ye following Acc't of ye Quaker places of public meeting in this county, viz.: Att our Public Meeting House. † Thomas Holmes [presumed to be the minister]; Att Mary Maddox's, a monthly meeting; Att John Pleasants'. These are directed to be committed to record as the Act of Parliament enjoins, they being the places of public worship.

John Pleasants, Henry Randolph, C. C.

Record-book Henrico county, page 352.

The Record-Book of the Henrico meetings of the Society of Friends from 1699 to 1746 is preserved.

At a monthly meeting of the Society of Friends held March 3, 1700, it was agreed with John Pleasants to build a new meeting-house

1 Ibid, Volume IV, page 306.

2 Hening, Volume II, page 199.

3 Foote's Sketches, first series, pages 51-52.

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