Each Sunday morning in The Weekly, BFS Arti-Facts examines a moment in history from the Brooklyn Friends Archives. However, sometimes we step outside of the archives themselves and into—well, in this case—a Quaker cemetery.
In November, the BFS Community turned out and gifted their hard work and friendship at the Annual Autumn Quaker Cemetery Clean-Up Day. For one BFS student, however, it was a family tradition. You see, one of the most significant people buried at the Friends Cemetery—located within Prospect Park—is the first-ever BFS Head of School, Mary Haviland. When Arthur, a current sixth grader at Brooklyn Friends, helps to rake the leaves off of the grave of the former Head it means something special. That is because Arthur is the great, great, great, great nephew of Miss Haviland, who was the BFS Head from 1867-1874.
“I just feel like it’s important to be here,” Arthur said on the sunny, crisp day, standing proudly by the headstones of his ancestors. “Her sister, her brother, and her parents are also buried here and I have been coming for the past four or five years.”
So while it was a special and fun morning and afternoon of service for all of the BFS students who attended the Clean-Up Day, for Arthur it was much more personal. Arthur called it an honor to be able to have this unique connection with BFS history and was “really surprised” when he first learned that he was related to the first Head of School.