CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

ST. GEORGE'S METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
3300 Block of Mickle Street

The following is derived from
The Centennial History of Camden Methodism
published in 1909

HISTORY OF THE
St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church
OF CAMDEN, N. J. 

The first record of a movement to organize this church was a call dated November 4th, 1893 and signed by William Horn, for all persons interested in having a new Methodist Episcopal Church in South Rosedale to meet on Tuesday night, November 14, 1893, at his residence, Thirty-second and Federal streets. The meeting was held according to the call and (was opened with prayer by Joseph H. LeChard and J. Howard Kirkbride. On motion of Joseph H. LeChard, J. Howard Kirkbride was made Chairman and John W. Dixon, Secretary. Brother LeChard moved to elect seven Trustees, which they did by ballot, James Edwards and Lewis S. Kates acting as Tellers. William Horn, James Edwards, Charles Wentzell, Joseph H. LeChard, Lewis S. Kates, John W. Dixon, and J. Howard Kirkbride were duly elected as Trustees for a new Methodist Episcopal Church to be organized and edifice to be erected on Benson street (now called
Mickle street) between Thirty-third and Thirty-fourth streets. South Rosedale. Hannah Ross offered to donate one thousand dollars in cash, and the lot on which the church now stands, which the Board accepted and offered her the privilege of naming the church. She said she gave the one thousand dollars cash as a memorial to her father, George Horn, and modestly asked that the church should bear his name.

The Board of Trustees organized by electing J. Howard Kirkbride, President; John W. Dixon, Secretary, and Lewis S. Kates, Treasurer. The Building Committee appointed consisted of J. Howard Kirkbride, William Horn, John W. Dixon, James Edwards and Lewis S. Kates. J. Howard Kirkbride was ordered to have the ground surveyed and the deed executed. The minutes state that when this meeting adjourned a very spiritual prayer meeting was held.

At the next meeting, which was held on December 15, 1893 at the home of J. Howard Kirkbride, papers of incorporation were signed under the name of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church of South Rosedale, New Jersey. Plans and specifications were examined and adopted, and the contract to build the Church was awarded to S. B. Steelman for $5,200.00. This was for the building above the basement. The furniture, lights, heating, windows, etc., cost $3,400 making the total cost of the church building $8,600.00, to which we add an estimate of $4,000 for the spacious grounds, bringing the total value of the property
up to $12,600. Against this property the original indebtedness was about $6,700, which was in the form of a
Trustees' note held by the National State Bank of the City of Camden. This note was carried for about nine years at a cost of over $400 per year. In June 1900 sister Hannah Ross, who was then 84 years old, gave a deed to the Trustees for the remainder of her property, conditioned on an annuity to be paid her during the rest of her natural life and the payment of her burial expenses. December 8th, 1901, Mrs. Ross died, when the conditions of the annuity ceased, and the Trustees having fulfilled their part of the contract, came into possession of real estate from which they realized $3,000. By this means, together with the sale of some building lots, the debt was reduced to the sum of $2,900.00 land a mortgage negotiated at five per cent interest in the Camden Safe Deposit and Trust Company, thus reducing the expense of interest from $400
to $145 per annum. In 1904, during the pastorate of Rev. William Stone, a handsome parsonage was erected at a cost of $3,000 on which there stands a mortgage of $1,600

In the present year 1908, 1909, $500 has been raised by subscription and paid on the Church mortgage, reducing it to $2,400. St. George's Church thus has a property today worth more than $15,600 against which there is a total indebtedness of $4,000.

In the early days, in order to carry the large debt and pay the running expenses (the interest and discount on the note alone amounted to $3,000 in seven years) many heroic sacrifices were made by the small band of faithful members.

The church organized with thirty on the roll of membership and lat the end of the seventh year pastor G. W. Finlaw reported 57 members and eight probationers. At the close of Rev. G. W. Finlaw 's administration there were eighty-four members and seven probationers. At the close Rev. William Stone's administration there were 123 members and 8 probationers. At the close of Rev. W. Elwell Lake's pastorate there were 162 members and 17 probationers.

Rev. W. Elwell Lake Rev. George Finlaw, D.D.

LIST OF PASTORS.
J. Howard Kirkbride, appointed in March 1894, served until the church was dedicated, September 23, 1894.
Rev. W. L. Shaw, served from September 23, 1894, to March, 1895.
Rev. D. E. Lyon, served from March, 1895, to August, 1895.
Rev. J. R. Greer served from November, 1895, to March, 1896.
Rev. E. S. Wells served from March, 1896, to August, 1896.
Rev. J. Manlove Smith served from September, 1896, to November, 1897.
Lewis Z. Noble (exhorter) served from November, 1897, to March, 1898.
Rev. Joseph Eldredge served from April 1898, to September, 1898.
Rev. George W. Finlaw, D. D., served from December, 1898, to March 1902.
Rev. W. I. Reed served from March, 1902, to March, 1904.
Rev. William Stone served from March, 1904, to March, 1906.
Rev. W. Elwell Lake, B. A., served from March, 1906, to March, 1909.

In November, 1897, Rev. Manlove Smith, having resigned, Presiding Elder Rev. D. B. Harris, by unanimous vote of the Official Board granted to brother L. Z. Noble license to exhort and placed him in full charge of the pulpit from that time until Conference. It should be stated that the local brethren of Camden came to the Church's assistance and from that time (November, 1897) until Conference, about nineteen weeks, the total expense of pulpit supply amounted to two dollars. New life also at this time came to the struggling and almost desperate congregation by substantial financial aid from the Camden City Church Extension Society. During the five months of Brother Noble's administration the following local brethren gave their services without charge: Rev. D. B. Green, J. T. Wilde, Charles Tushingham, Dr. Collins, W. Lester, Rev. James A. Smith, Edwin S. Hann, C. T. Fisler, C. Butterworth, George Powell, Rev. Charles
Mills, J. E. Simpson, John Newkirk, Atwood Leifert, Charles Bowden, Rev. Milton S. Nichols and Harry S.
Springer. Our honored and beloved brother Rev. Dr. S.E. Post, now senior member of the New Jersey Conference, lived then in Rosedale and gave us much encouragement.

In other ways were assisted also by Rev. Charles Butler. Miss Josie B. Hillman, now Superintendent of the Holloway Deaconess Home, Bridgeport, Ohio, and brother George C. Baker and Charles P. Boyer.

September, 1898, found us again without a pastor, when Rev. G. W. Finlaw, D. D., came to our rescue and filled the pulpit until Conference. He was then appointed by the Elder and supplied the charge for three years. Too much cannot be said in commendation of our dear brother Finlaw, who, by his Christian life, and goodness of heart endeared himself to all, and during those three years laid a sure foundation for St. George's future.. 

St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church

The following brothers have served as Sunday School Superintendents: J. Howard Kirkbridee, 1894, 1895; William Hewdtt, 1895, 1901; Lewis Z. Noble, 1901, 1904; Philip Y. Quinn, 1904, 1905 ; George H. Davis, 1905, 1909.

The present enrollment of the school is 232 and is growing weekly.

The Church is completely organized in every department, having a Ladies' Aid Society, which has given invaluable assistance to the Church from its foundation. The Epworth League, both Senior and Junior, in flourishing activity. Ushers' Union, Young Ladies' Social Circle, Ladies Auxiliary of the Collingswood Methodist Home, Woman's Foreign Missionary Society and three religious classes, besides the children's class. The Class Leaders have been J. Howard Kirkbride, J. L. Stanton, William Watt, Charles Wentzell, George W. Day, Mary E. Lake and Pastor W. Elwell Lake.

Among the long faithful members of the Church should be noted B. S. Hewett, T. Francis Hawk, Mrs. Charles Wentzell and daughters Almeda LeChard, Mrs. Beulah Sheldrick and Mrs. Joseph Vickers.

The Official Board stands at the present time as follows:

Pastor, Rev. J. H. Magee, appointed March, 1909.
TrusteesóWilliam Watt, Benjamin S. Hewett, J. O. Grear, T. Francis Hawk, Charles Wentzell,
                 Edward T. Evans, Joseph Fisher, William Craig, Joseph Vickers.
StewardsóBenjamin S. Hewett, Wm. Watt, Joseph Vickers, W. A. Smith, J. O. Grear, 
                 W. W. Fithian, Estelle Dixon, Edward T. Evans, Hector Williams.
ExhortersóLewis Z. Noble, Captain George W. Day.
LeadersóWm. Watt, Captain George W. Day, Mary E. Lake, W. Elwell Lake.
Sunday School Superintendent, George H. Davis.
President Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. Tabitha Watt.
President Epworth League, Earl Wilkins.
Superintendent Junior League, Mrs. Sallie Jefferys.

During the last two pastorates the Church has been emerging from its period of discouragement and struggle, and is now on a fair way to great service for Christ and Methodism. A steady growth in membership, a unifying of interests, a strong esprit de corps, an unselfish devotion to the welfare of the Church, a hopeful, happy and expectant spirit, a sound and strengthening spirituality, constant refreshing and blessing from the Great Head of the Church are among the signs which encourage us to believe that the Master is pleased with our efforts and has greater victories for us in the future than have even been
dreamed of in the past.

Rev. W. ELWELL LAKE,
LEWIS Z. NOBLE,
T. FRANCIS HAWK,
CHARLES WENTZEL,
Committee 

George W. Davis - E.W. Dixon - T.F. Hawk
Hector Williams - William Smith - L.Z. Noble - Joseph Fisher - Benjamin S. Hewett
Mrs. William S. Jefferys - Mrs. William Watt - Miss Mary Lake - Joseph Vickers
William Watt - Rev. W. Elwell Lake - Charles Wentzell
St. George's Methodist Episcopla Church Official Board - 1909

 

Additional Notes

At some point after 1950 St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church combined with Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, which was located in the unit block of Stewart Street. St. George's was still an active church into the 1970s. The church and the parsonage were destroyed by fire in the very early 1980s.

 

St. George's Church
and Parsonage
Destroyed by Fire
circa 1980

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia
Inquirer

April 1, 1909

Benjamin L. Kellum
34th Street
St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church
Hatch Post No. 37, G.A.R.

 


Philadelphia
Inquirer

April 5, 1909

Benjamin L. Kellum
St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church
Thomas M.K. Lee Post No. 5, G.A.R.

 

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