This park is named for the Society of Friends, a Christian denomination also known as the Quakers, who once owned the land. The term Quaker comes from the group’s physical display of religious fervor during meetings. The earliest record of the Society dates from the 1640s in England. In 1657 a group of English Quaker missionaries who had been banished from Boston arrived in New Amsterdam. Dutch Director General Peter Stuyvesant (1610-1672) immediately began persecuting these immigrants for their non-traditional practices that included devout pacifism. Stuyvesant was also offended by the Quaker belief in the “inner light” of God—the idea that all individuals possess a direct relationship with God and can communicate with Him without an ordained member of the clergy and without the Bible.