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Over the years, the Quakers went on to gain a major reputation as reformers. They were involved in prison reform and attempts to abolish the death penalty.
Boys learned writing, arithmetic, catechism and also farm skills.Many also settled on farms and developed skilled trades.William Edmundson, a former Cromwellian soldier, was the first Quaker in Ireland and, with five other Quakers, Richard Jackson, John Edmundson, John Thompson, William Moon and John Pim, settled in Mountmellick in 1659.Their industrious nature and honest ways created prosperity, wealth and employment and the development Mountmellick into a town of great commercial importance.The Quakers who originated from England, belonged to all levels of society and over the years, they set up brewing, weaving and other manufacturing industries throughout the area.In 1700, at the age of 23, Mungo Bewley came to Mountmellick.
In 1780, Mungo II, grandson of the first Mungo, established a linen factory which employed over 150 local people.
He was also one of the founders of the Quaker School in Mountmellick.
His eldest son, Samuel set up a silk business in Dublin, and in 1834, his second son Charles established a tea importation business.
This is an opportunity to stroll through the town of Mountmellick and explore its historical and cultural depths.
Starting at the Museum the trail takes the format of two circuits set in a figure of eight, which facilitates a looped walk encompassing the whole character of this intriguing town, with storyboards at each point. If you are interested in tracing your family history, the Museum has a database of Quaker Records dating back to the 17th century.
The Religious Society of Friends, more popularly known as Quakers, have made a significant contribution to the cultural and economic history of Mountmellick.