“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Shrewsbury in Monmouth County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Harriet LaFetra (1823-1906)

Women’s Heritage Trail


— Shrewsbury Friends Meeting and Cemetery —

Harriet LaFetra (1823-1906) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 5, 2016
1. Harriet LaFetra (1823-1906) Marker
Inscription.  The settlement of Quakers in the colony of New Jersey is regarded as an important contribution to a progressive tradition in the state. Then as now, Quakers believed in equality and in granting women a unique role in their communities. Quakers believed the presence of God in everyone and therefore a women was a man’s equal. At that time, the outside community did not recognize the equality of women and, in particular, a woman’s right to speak out in public. Harriet LaFetra actively contributed to the Shrewsbury Monthly Meeting. Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and in 1857 petitioned for women to have legal equality under New Jersey law. She was the first woman known to have petitioned the state legislature on behalf of women’s rights and woman’s suffrage in New Jersey. Although other petitions had been submitted earlier, Lafetra’s was the first recorded effort. Married in 1844 to Joseph Preston Lafetra and a resident of Shrewsbury, Harriet LaFetra died on April 16, 1906 and was buried next to her husband in the cemetery at the Shrewsbury Friends meetinghouse.

The petition was acknowledged and denied by the New Jersey Assembly

Harriet LaFetra (1823-1906) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 5, 2016
2. Harriet LaFetra (1823-1906) Marker
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this page online
in their 1857 Report of the NJ Assembly Committee on Women’s Rights.

“The majority of the Special Committee, to whom was referred the petition of Harriet M. Lafetra and others, inhabitants of the county of Monmouth, stated that they, said petitioners, believe ‘that men and women alike suffer many evils,’ and requesting a revision of the statutes of New Jersey, so as to remove ‘various and grievous legal disabilities under which the latter are placed, and thereby establish the legal equality of women and men,…” The report concluded by reporting “adversely to the prayer of their petition.”

(Inscription in the boxes on the left)
Top box-The Shrewsbury Friends Meeting and Cemetery is the burial site of Harriet Lafetra, a Monmouth County Hicksite Quaker who petitioned that state legislature for the legal equality of women with men under New Jersey Law. Because of her integral role in the Women’s Reform Movement, Ms. Lafetra is on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail.
Bottom box-The New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail highlights a collection of historic sites located around the state that represent the significant contribution women made to the history of our state. The Heritage Trail brings to live the vital role of women in New Jersey’s past and present.
Erected by New Jersey Historic Trust-Historic

Shrewsbury Friends Meeting House-Front view image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 5, 2016
3. Shrewsbury Friends Meeting House-Front view
Preservation Office.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionColonial EraSettlements & SettlersWomen. In addition, it is included in the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail, the Quakerism ⛪, and the Women's Suffrage 🗳️ series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is April 16, 1906.
Location. 40° 19.471′ N, 74° 3.635′ W. Marker is in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, in Monmouth County. Marker is on Sycamore Avenue. The marker is in the back behind the Meeting House and in front of the cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Shrewsbury NJ 07702, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Quaker Meeting House (a few steps from this marker); This Sycamore (within shouting distance of this marker); Patriot Isle (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Christ Church (about 400 feet away); Battle of the Bulge Monument (approx. 1.1 miles away); Dunwoody Park (approx. 1.1 miles away); Soldiers Park (approx. 1.1 miles away); Van Kirk Park (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shrewsbury.
Also see . . .  Harriet LaFetra - New Jersey Women's History. (Submitted on April 11, 2016, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 10, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 270 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 10, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 23, 2021