CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
The Fourth Street Baptist Church
28 North 4th Street
following is derived from
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF CAMDEN
in the present century a few Baptists from Cohansey settled in Camden.
They promptly united with the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, and,
notwithstanding the difficulties and dangers of crossing the Delaware
(with the rude facilities of the time), regularly attended its services.
But provision for their own spiritual needs did not exhaust their sense
of obligation. Loyalty to God and His truth, and an ardent desire for
the salvation of men, demanded of them the preaching of the gospel to
their own townsmen.
Village Academy, located at Sixth and Market Streets, was their first
public meeting-place. There, under the occasional ministry of Rev. Henry
Halcomb, D.D., of Philadelphia, and others, began the work of the
Baptist denomination in what is now the city of Camden. Soon a strong
opposition revealed itself, that closed the doors of the Academy against
the little band, whose only offense was faithful adherence to
Scriptural teaching and practice.
Though subjected to great inconvenience by this privation, they pushed forward the work to which they believed God had called them with undaunted purpose and unabated ardor. Private houses were opened, and in them the villagers were invited to meet for prayer and conference, and to listen to the preaching of the gospel.
The first church organization was effected February 5, 1818. Its constituents were Silvanus Sheppard, Phoebe Sheppard, Richard Johnson, Ann Johnson, Isaac Smith, Hannah Ludlam and Eleanor Sheppard. These all came by letters of dismissal from the First Church of Philadelphia. At the same time Silvanus Sheppard and Richard Johnson were elected to the deaconate and ordained. Before the close of 1818, through the self-sacrificing efforts of this heroic little band, the first modest meeting-house rose on the site now occupied by the FIRST CHURCH.
At this time the cause received valuable aid from the frequent visits and earnest labors of Rev. John Sisty, of Haddonfield. In the early years of its history the growth of the church was greatly hindered by the frequent change of pastors, and by long pastor-less periods. From. the year of its constitution (1818) to 1832 it was identified with the "New Jersey Baptist Association," and at the end of that period reported a membership of thirty-seven. The church then withdrew from the New Jersey Baptist Association and became a constituent of the Central Union Association of Pennsylvania, organized July 31,1832. In 1839 it returned to the association in New Jersey, with a membership of one hundred and fifty-eight.
year 1842 witnessed the completion of a two-story brick building on the
site of the modest structure that for more than twenty years had been
the home of the church; and the little company of seven had grown to two
hundred and ten. The pastorate of Rev. Thomas E. Taylor began in 1843
and continued to 1854. It was a period of prosperity and growth to the
church. Other pastorates had been efficient, considering their brevity.
Mr. Taylor's incumbency was the first that was sufficiently protracted
to establish wise methods of work. in the church, or to measure the
pastor's personal influence upon the community.
In 1848 forty-four members were dismissed to constitute the "Second Baptist Church of Camden."
the twelve years from 1864 to 1866 five pastorates were crowded.
Notwithstanding the frequent change of leaders, the church continued
to prosper. In 1859 it gave thirty-seven members to constitute the
"North Baptist Church." In 1861 one hundred and fifty-five
communicants withdrew to constitute the "Tabernacle Baptist
Church." In 1860 the second house was razed, and the present
substantial and commodious building was completed and dedicated in 1864.
1871 a number of communicants withdrew and constituted the "Trinity Baptist
Church," perfecting their organization in 1872.
April, 1871, negotiations began looking to the union of the First and
Tabernacle Churches. The latter, under the pastorates of Rev. A. Earl,
Rev. P. L. Davis and Rev.
Wynn, had enjoyed ten years of
harmonious and successful activity, and reported a membership of two
hundred and seventy-nine.
the final decision of an involved legal issue and necessary legislation,
the two congregations worshipped together in the house, of the First
Church from June 4. 1871, to April 1, 1872, when the union was
consummated, under the title of the "Fourth Street Baptist Church,
of Camden," with an aggregate membership of three hundred and
fifty-one. On the 16th of April, 1883, the corporate title was changed
to "The First Baptist Church of Camden, N. J."
beneficent influence of this union has been felt beyond the limits of
the resultant church. It has lessened necessary home expenses, and
liberated funds to be applied to the mission work of the denomination.
Since the union the life of the church has been healthful and vigorous.
Its financial interests have been efficiently managed;
the period from April 1, 1872, to July 31, 1886, the accessions to the
membership have been: By baptism, two hundred and sixty-seven ;
church has given special emphasis to Bible school work, and in addition
to its home school has, for the last five years, sustained a flourishing
mission in the southern part of the city. They have an enrollment of
seventy officers and teachers, and six hundred and thirty scholars.
James- May, 1818, to November, 1818
Officers: Pastor, Isaac C.
Wynn, D.D.; Deacons, Adam Angel, David Lack,
Ellwood K. Fortiner, Stacy Gaunt, Charles E. Young, E. M. Howard, M.D.,
Morris W. Hall; Trustees, Volney G.
Bennett, E. A. Armstrong, A. S.
Morton, Edward H. Bryan, S. F. Rudderow, C. K. Middleton, William C.
Scudder; Clerk, Charles A. Morton ; Treasurer, Samuel G. Rudderow.
Philadelphia Inquirer - November 12, 1889
Rev. J.W. Lyell
Harrison Union Veterans
William H. Sherman
David M. Spence
George E. Martin
Samuel M. Gaul
Jonas S. Miller
Dr. Thomas Wescott
Russell H. Conwell
Philadelphia Inquirer- June 22, 1896
M.E. Church - Wiley
Church - First
Union American M.E. Church - Bethany M.E. Church
First Baptist Church - First Presbyterian Church
Philadelphia Inquirer - March 11, 1907
Rev. John Lyell - Rev. Dr. Wayland Hoyt
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article
|Philadelphia Inquirer - July 19, 1915|
Baptist Church -
Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church - Rev. William Grum -
Trimble Lodge No. 117 F. & A.M. - William I.J. Phillips - Odd Fellows
Daughters of Pocohantas - Improved Order of Red Men
Rev. John W. Lyell - Rev. Robert Henry Middleton
Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1928
Group of Organ Club Has New Name
The Choral Association of the Camden Chapter, National Association of Organists, has become a separate organization. From now on it will be known as the Musical Art Society
The group, at its start here, was sponsored by the Camden Chapter with an aim to establish it as a separate group as soon as a successful working basis was reached.
Patronage has been forthcoming which has assured the society of a place in the musical activities of the community. The plan is to develop a sound choral group, capable of producing serious choral works in artistic manner.
The society’s membership list is still open. Voices, both male and female, are needed. Singers with ability at reading are especially urged to make themselves known. Applications, under the new society’s plan, should be sent to Edna M. Llewellyn, Fourth Avenue and Kings Highway, Haddon Heights.
will continue at the First
here on the first, second and third Mondays of every month.
patrons are Wilfred W. Fry,
Mrs. Fry, Charles K. Haddon, Mrs. Walter
J. Staats, Hon. E.G.C. Bleakly,
Mrs. Elwood A. Harrar, Mrs.
F. Morse Archer, A. Wilbur
Nash, Dr. Edward M. Sullivan, J. Walter Levering, Dr.
Joseph E. Roberts, William G. Moore, Mrs. Mary L. Neer, Mrs. J.
Harry Knerr, Mrs. Ada M. Eckenhoff, Mrs. Charles A.
Reynolds, and Joseph
The former choral association will retain its officers under the new title of the Musical Art Society, with the exception of the post of secretary. Miss Llewellyn will replace Walter M. Smith temporarily.
officers are: Henry S. Fry, director; Miss Llewellyn, treasurer; Ada M.
Eckenhoff, librarian; Robert M. Haley, president; Marion V. Taylor,
Evelyn Lawrence, Stanley Nelson, Harry W. Schwartz, Marjorie Riggins
Seybold, F. Marie Wesbroom-Dager and Howard S. Tussey, executive board.
society will present at least two public concerts in the spring, one in
April at the North Baptist
Church and the spring concert, which has been tentatively scheduled
for May and will probably take place in the First
Dr. Elwood Harrar
Camden Courier-Post - February 19, 1936
CLUB HEARS WASHINGTON EULOGY
an authority on Washington, stressed the precepts of character of the
first president which are not as well known as those exploits embraced in history books.
pastor spoke of Washington, the scientist; Washington, the farmer;
Washington, the humanitarian and Washington, the reverent, respectful
religious man alive to the will of God.
were four foundation stones in George Washington's character," said
the speaker. "These were humility, integrity, self-control and
many authorities, Reverend
said: "Washington's word was his bond. Honesty was his principle.
The good of the common man was his concern. Justice was his monitor. We
are told that he had a fiery temper but that he held it in reserve.
toward all men, his was a quiet, modest dignity which at once demanded
religion, Washington was ever mindful of the will of God and the highest
tributes that have been paid him have brought out his reverence, his
interest and his humble submission to the God in whom he devoutly
Rev. Elwood A. Harrar
Rev. Carlton R. Van Hook
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