A Brief History of the North Branch Friends
In 1956 Marie and Ralph Curtis moved from Millville, PA, where they had attended Quaker Meeting, to Ralph's family farm near Sterling in the Poconos. At the same time, the late Bill Thom had completed his doctorate in child psychology at Penn State and had begun a job in Wilkes-Barre. These three Friends, along with a few others who later moved away, formed a Quaker worship group. At first they met in Scranton, but soon moved to Wilkes-Barre at the invitation of Eleanor Farley, wife of the president of Wilkes College (now Wilkes University). The worship group met at several locations around the college before moving to the present location, Wyoming Seminary Lower School in Forty Fort, PA.
Named for one Branch of the Susquehanna River, North Branch Friends was later established as a regular Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), affiliated with both the regional body, Upper Susquehanna Quarterly Meeting, and with the larger Quaker organization, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
Members and attenders traveled from the area around Wilkes-Barre and from as far away as the Poconos. One family even drove from Milford, a town almost on the New York border. In the early 1990's the group lovingly and prayerfully decided to become two worship groups. The second worship group meets at Journey's End Farm Camp in Sterling, PA. Journey's End is a summer camp operated on Quaker principles by the Curtis family, who are members of the North Branch Friends.
Now we say that we have two twigs on the North Branch: the Forty Fort worship group and the Sterling worship group. While we are many miles apart, we join together at Christmas, for summer picnics, and for special service projects.