PhotographJacob Ong

NOTES: Jacob Ong is pictured and described on a prominent display at the Mount Pleasant Friends Meeting House, now a State Memorial.  The information on his place of birth differs slightly from our family records, but overall the display gives a good brief biography, which I quote:  "Jacob Ong (1760-1857) was the master builder in charge of the construction of the Meeting House.  Ong was born to a Quaker family in Pennsylvania.  Despite the Quakers' pacifism, Ong fought in the American Revolution.  After the war, he returned to the Society of Friends, renounced war, and refused to accept the military pension due him.
    Ong appears in the Westmoreland Co., PA census in 1800.  He is on the tax rolls for that county in 1806 under "no township," and in Wayne Township from 1807-1810.  He moved to Jefferson County, OH in 1812 and purchased a farm.  He was also a carpenter and cabinetmaker.  Recognizing these skills, the Ohio Yearly Meeting appointed him to design and build the meeting house in Mount Pleasant.  Ong remained a faithful and influential Ohio Friend until his death.
    A Quaker, Joel H. Carr, remembered Ong:  'He usually had a message for the people, his theme was always love.  In the earnestness of his soul he would deliver the message, while tears would trickle down his furrowed cheeks.  Trembling from head to foot, he would exhort young and old to love the Lord and one another.'"

For a more detailed and interesting history of the settlement patterns that led to the building of a 2000-person meeting house, read the brochure linked below (my thanks to cousins Myron and Teddy Johnson for sending all this material).  A brief account is on the sign outside the building:

"Quaker Meeting House:  Erected in 1814, this was the first yearly Quaker Meeting House west of the Alleghenies.  Capable of holding more than 2000 persons, the building contains an auditorium with a balcony.  The auditorium can be divided into two rooms by lowering a wooden partition.  Quaker men and women met separately.  For nearly a century this meeting house played a crucial role in the propagation of the Quaker faith in eastern Ohio.  Although regular yearly meetings were discontinued after 1909, many Quaker families continue to reside in Mount Pleasant."