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FARMER, MERIBAH BUTLER

FARMER, MERIBAH BUTLER

FARMER, MERIBAH BUTLER (14 July 1805-4 April 1898) was a Quaker minister and philanthropist who, together with her husband, JAMES FARMER, helped found Cleveland's original evangelical Quakers organization and the First Friends Church.

Born near Philadelphia, PA to Benjamin and Hannah (Webster) Butler, Meribah and her family moved to Salem, OH, in 1811. She married James Farmer on l Oct. l834, and they settled in Salineville, OH. In 1856, the Farmers became the first members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) to settle in Cleveland.

Meribah was accepted early in life as a Quaker minister. Always wearing her bonnet and unostentatious attire, Meribah adhered strictly to the dress and manners of the Quakers, and, in meetings for worship, ministered in the spirit with great strength and sweetness.

The Cleveland Friends meeting first began in 1871 in the Farmer's home located at the corner of Superior Avenue and East 6th Street (former HOLLENDEN HOTEL site). It was here the idea for a First Friends Church was born. In 1874 a modest church was built on Cedar Avenue. Meribah was one of four resident ministers, and James Farmer was an Elder.

Meribah devoted herself to various charities, including the Cleveland Protestant Orphan Asylum, The Aid Society of the Civil War, The Homeopathic Hospital, The Retreat (a home for the mentally disabled), and always provided aid for the Freedmen and the Indians through the Board of the Society of Friends.

The Farmers had seven children, Elihu, Beulah, Ellen, Lydia, Laura, Elizabeth and James. Meribah is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.


Painter, Lydia Ethel Farmer. The Memoirs of James and Meribah Farmer (1900).

Malone, J. Walter. The Autobiography of an Evangelical Quaker (1993).