CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

THIRD STREET
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
 
3rd Street between Bridge Avenue & Mickle Street

The members of Third Street Methodist Episcopal Church put up a building in the 1830s at Third Street and Bridge Avenue. Local builder Thomas Atkinson erected the building. This edifice was destroyed in an 1867 fire. A new church was then built on Third Street between Mickle Street and Bridge Avenue, which was dedicated in 1869. This church seated 1400 people. In June of 1893 the congregation moved to a new building at South 6th and Stevens Street, and took the name First Methodist Episcopal Church.

Third Street
Methodist Episcopal Church

1880s

The following is derived from
George Reeser Prowell's
History of Camden County, New Jersey
published in 1886

Exactly when Methodist preachers, local or itinerant, commenced preaching at Camden is unknown, but in 1797, Rev. Benjamin Fisler, M.D., of Port Elizabeth, N. J., preached here several times, and we find subsequently that local preachers from St. George's Church, in Philadelphia, made Camden one of their preaching-places. In 1808 the New Jersey District of the Philadelphia Conference was formed, with Joseph Totten presiding elder, and an appointment called "Gloucester Circuit" created, which included what is now Camden. Revs. Richard Sneath and William S. Fisher were appointed as preachers of the new circuit and the following year, 1809, Richard Sneath formed the first regular class in Camden, composed of James and Elizabeth Duer, Henry and Susannah Sawn, William and Martha Price and Phebe Peters, of which James Duer was appointed leader. Services by the circuit preachers were held once every two weeks, on Wednesday evening, in the academy which formerly stood on the corner of Market Street and Sixth. The same year, finding the academy insufficient for their wants, a regular church organization having been formed in the meantime, it was determined to erect a house of worship. A lot on the corner of Fourth Street and Federal was secured and a board of trustees elected, composed of James Duer, Jonathan Petherbridge, Henry Sawn and William Price, and the corporate name of " The Methodist Episcopal Church of Camden " given to the new organization. James Duer and Jonathan Petherbridge were made a building committee. Before the building was completed, Thomas Dunn, one of the preachers on the Gloucester Circuit, preached the first sermon in it from the text, " Who commanded you to build this house and to make up these walls?" The church was dedicated on the 25th of November, 1810, by Presiding Elder Joseph Totten. This was the first house of worship erected in the city of Camden and is still standing near the original site, corner of Fourth and Federal Streets.

In 1834, the congregation having so increased, it was determined to erect a new building more in keeping with the importance of the society and better adapted to its wants. During this time Camden was connected with Gloucester or Burlington Circuits, but it was then thought that it should become a station. Accordingly, a lot on Third Street, between Bridge Avenue and Federal Street, was purchased, and on the Fourth of July, 1834, the cornerstone of a new church was laid with appropriate services. December 14th, following, the church was dedicated by Rev. Charles Pitman, assisted by the pastor, Rev. William Granville.  The new building cost about eight thousand dollars. In this new building the society did its work for over thirty years, increasing in numbers rapidly, especially during the great revival in 1837. The church building had been enlarged and improved to meet its increased wants, at considerable expense, and it was a crushing blow to the society when, on the 20th of November, 1867, the building was totally destroyed by fire, with but a slight insurance on it. But though for a moment paralyzed, the congregation soon recovered itself and, with commendable energy, immediately began the erection of a new building, and appointed Rev. Charles H. Whitecar, pastor, S. S. E. Cowperthwait, Thomas B. Atkinson, Morton Mills, E. S. Johnson and James M. Cassady a building committee to superintend the work. The lots on Third and Mickle Streets and Bridge Avenue were purchased, and the work was pushed forward with so much energy that the present beautiful house of worship, with a seating capacity of about fourteen hundred, and costing, with the lot, some sixty thousand dollars, was dedicated on September 1, 1869, in the presence of an immense concourse of people, by Bishop Simpson and the pastor, Rev. C. H. Whitecar.

In all its history this church has been firm in its adherence to the. polity of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in its support to the various religious work of the denomination.

Early in the history of this society, vigorous work in the Sunday school cause was commenced and has been unflagging in it ever since. The present Sunday school numbers over six hundred members, with sixty officers and teachers. Dr. William Shafer is its present superintendent. The church has had the following pastors: 

1809

Thomas Dunn

Charles Read

 

1810

Peter Vannest

Joseph Osborn

Thomas Davis

1811

John Woolston

 

 

1812

Joseph Osborn

John Woolston

 

1813

George Wooley

John Price

 

1814

George Wooley

Joseph Lybrand

 

1815

John Van Schoick

Joseph Rusling

 

1816

John Van Schoick

John Fox

 

1817

James Moore

Joseph Lybrand.

 

1818

Solomon Sharp

David Best

 

1819

John Walker

James Long

 

1820

John Walker

John Potts

 

1821

John Potts

Benjamin Collins

 

1822

Sylvester G. Hill

Waters Burrows

 

1823

Sylvester G. Hill

Joseph Carey

 

1824

David Daily

Joseph Osborn

 

1825

Jacob Gruber

Wesley Wallace

 

1826

George Wooley

Robert Gerry

 

1827

George Wooley

Thomas Sovereign

 

1828

Henry Boehm

Levin M. Prettyman

 

1829

Henry Boehm

W.W. Foulks

Samuel Throckmorton

1830

William W. Foulks

Joseph Ashbrook

 

1831

John Walker

Jefferson Lewis

 

1832

John Walker

 

 

1833

Edward Page

David W. Bartine

 

1834-1835

William Granville

 

 

1836

Thomas Neal

 

 

1837

James H. Dandy

 

 

1838-1839

Joseph Ashbrook

 

 

1840

John K. Shaw

William A. Brooks

 

1841

John K. Shaw

 

 

1842

John L. Lenhart

 

 

1843-1844

Isaac Winner

 

 

1845

Abram K. Street

Elwood H. Stokes

 

1846

Abram K. Street

 

 

1847

David W. Bartine

George A. Reybold

 

1848

David W. Bartine

Isaac S. Corbit

 

1849

Charles H. Whitecar

William H. Jeffreys

 

1850

Charles H. Whitecar

 

 

1851

Isaac N. Felch

 

 

1852

Richard W. Petherbridge

 

 

1853-1854

James O. Rogers

 

 

1855

John W. McDougal

 

 

1856-1857

William E. Perry

 

 

1858-1859

Elwood H. Stokes

 

 

1860-1861

Samuel Y. Monroe

 

 

1862-1863

Joseph R. Dobbins

 

 

1864-1866

Samuel Vansant

 

 

1867-1869

Charles H. Whitecar

 

 

1870-1871

John H. Heisler

 

 

1872-1874

Charles E. Hill

 

 

1875-1877

Charles B. Hartranft

Pennel Coombs

 

1878-1880

J.B. Graw

 

 

1881-1883

William W. Moffet

 

 

1884-1886

G.B. Wight

 

 

 Since its organization, in 1809, Third Street Church has sent out the following church organizations, all of them at present nourishing churches in Camden, which are Union Church, Broadway Church, Tabernacle Church and Centenary Church.  

 
 

Camden Daily Courier - May 30, 1908

1. Rev. Samuel Van Sant, pastor - 2. Samuel H. Morton, trustee, class leader - 3. Joseph De La Cour, steward
4. Mr. Hinchman, steward - 5.
Thomas B. Atkinson, trustee - 6. J. Garrison, class leader - 7. S.H. Owens, class leader
8.
Charles Cox, class leader - 9. James M. Cassady, steward, trustee - 10. Mr. Williams, Steward
11. R. Lee, local elder, president, trustee - 12. H. Williams, class leader
13. William Peacock, Steward, Sunday School Superintendent - 14. Mr. Campbell, trustee, class leader
15. Mr. Simmons, local elder - 16. Samuel S.E. Cowperthawait, treasurer trustee - 17. Mr. Sloan, class leader
18. E.S. Johnson, recording steward, class leader, trustee - 19. H. Sparks, steward - 20. William Few, exhorter, class leader
21. Morton Wills, steward, class leader - 22. Timothy Thorney, local elder, class leader


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