In the year 1682, three acres of land were purchased from John Edmondson, and the erection of this Meetinghouse was begun. Two years were consumed in its construction, as the timbers had to be hewn with a broadax and finished with such tools as were used in that day. Among the builders was William Southeby, said to be the first native American to write against slavery.
In 1797 the building was made wider by extending the rafters only on one side of the ridgepole. The gable or porch entrance is of later date. The original approach was at the side. It is the oldest documented building in the state.
George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), visited this vicinity in 1673 and upon his return to England sent a number of books to this Meeting. This was the beginning of the Meeting's library, often said to be the earliest public library in Talbot County and probably in the province (being established long before the Bishop of London, through Commissary Bray, introduced parochial libraries in this province).
The first meeting held in this building was in the fall of 1684. In 1693 Betty's Cove Meeting (1660-1693) was transferred to this Meeting house. Over the years, many notable Quakers have worshipped in this building: William Penn, John Woolman, John Fothergill, Samuel Bownas, Rufus Jones, and many more.
Continuous records of the business transaction of this Meeting have been kept since 1676 to the present time, and they are of such value that the Meeting has placed them on deposit at the Hall of Records, Annapolis, Md.
The brick building used in winter months was built in 1880.
Quoting in part a few of the closing lines in Dr. Kenneth Carroll's book "Quakerism on the Eastern Shore":
"A non-violent and peaceful approach to the solution of social problems has been the policy of the Society of Friends throughout its long history.
Third Haven Friends are well aware of the past... at the same time however they are increasingly aware of the fact that Christianity as interpreted by Quakerism is a living religion based upon personal experience."
Dr. Kenneth Carroll's book "300 Years of Quakerism" may be purchased at Third Haven Friends Meeting or read online by clicking here. (Link will open in a new window.)