A History of New Garden, North Carolina

Watercolor by Quaker Artist John B. Collins - 1869

Migration into Guilford County was frequently over the Great Wagon Road through the valley of Virginia. Group migrations were made by German Lutherans and Reformed settlers from Pennsylvania beginning in the late 1740s, Scots-Irish Presbyterians from the Pennsylvania and Maryland border area in the 1750s, Quakers from many locations in the 1750s, scattered Virginia Baptists organized meetings in the 1750s, and Methodists from the eastern shore of Maryland in the 1770s and 1780s.

When the Quakers came to New Garden in Guilford County they also found great open grass-covered spaces. While there are no known records to verify it, these, too, could have been former farms of the Cheraw (another spelling of Saura), as the Quakers called them. The Quakers' minutes of 1764 indicated that the land which they then occupied had been bought from the Cheraw. In fact, scattered remnants of red men were still in existence when the white men came. A few Indians are said to have lived near Buffalo Church and others passed through the community.

The Quakers established many Meeting Houses in the North Carolina Piedmont area and one was called New Garden Meeting House in Guilford County (Orange County at the time). The first meeting was held in the home of Thomas Beals in February of 1752. In 1757, Richard Williams donated 53 acres and the timbers for the construction of the first New Garden Meeting House. Over ninety public Friends from the North, from eastern Carolina, and from Europe attended meetings at New Garden between the years 1752 and 1778.

For more information on the Quakers in Guilford County, North Carolina - Click Here.

The Battle of Guilford Court House was a battle fought on March 15, 1781 inside the present-day city of Greensboro, North Carolina, during the American Revolutionary War. 1,900-2,200 British troops, under Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis, fought an American force, under Rhode Island native Major General Nathanael Greene, numbering 4,000 to 4,400. The advance guards met near the Quaker New Garden Meeting House - about six miles from the Guilford Court House. Banastre Tarleton's Light Dragoons were briefly engaged by Light Horse Harry Lee's Dragoons some 4 miles (6 km) from the Guilford Court House. The British 23rd Regiment of Foot sent reinforcements forward and Lee withdrew, ordering a retreat to Greene's main body. Tarleton actually used the New Garden Meeting House as a field hospital after the brief two-hour battle and left behind almost 80 woulded British soldiers as well as all of the wounded Patriots that he had captured. Major General Nathanael Greene hastily wrote a request of the Quakers to tend to all the wounded and immediately pressed after the retreating British.

From 1757 to the early 1800s a small town steadily grew around the New Garden Meeting House.


On May 1, 1820, the town of New Garden was granted a US Post Office, and the first Postmaster was Thomas Moore. This Post Office never closed over the years, but on May 21, 1889 the town was renamed to Guilford College - and the Post Office remained open until June 30, 1957, when it was closed for good.


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved