The Query from the Oblong

Quaker Hill resident Margaret Monahan first conceived of some kind of historical and religious conference as early as 1893, an idea she brought to the Reverend Warren Wilson and Albert Akin. It was Akin who suggested that the first conference be held in 1899, on the eve of a the new century; Akin provided the funding, while Wilson reached out to clergy and other potential members of an executive and advisory committee. Miss Monahan, in turn, agreed to serve as “hostess”. Topics of the wide-ranging conferences included Quaker Hill history, theology, literature and culture, and included speakers from places such as Yale University and the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, as well as prison and education reformers, agricultural experts, and labor organizers.

After Albert's death in 1903, relatives continued to provide the $1,000 annual expense for a few years, but as Wilson had moved away and Akin family finances became strained, the conferences were discontinued after 1908.

In 1933, the Quaker Hill Historical Society would pay tribute to Monahan, noting “her white dress and her broad white hat in a well-appointed equipage with perfectly groomed horses— a woman who was for many years a notable figure in the area.”