CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
UNION METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Northwest Corner of Mt. Vernon Street and Newton Avenue
The Union Church Society dates back to 1838, when Rev. J. ASHBROOK, pastor of the Third Street Church, formed the first Class in South Camden, composed of 23 members with Charles HUGG as leader. Levi B. NEWTON was a leader of this class for many years and at his death was succeeded by George DANNENHOWER.
Rev. ASHBROOK secured the site for a church - Fifth Street, Mount Vernon Street and Newton Avenue. Rev. J. K. SHAW came next and built a little frame chapel which served as church and school house until 1848. A new building was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1848.
This Society continued under the care of Third Street Church until 1850, when a separate organization was established and Rev. David DUFFEL was the first regular Pastor, stayed for 2 years. First Board of Trustees were: Enoch SHINN. Joseph SHARP, John S. BUNDICK, Thomas McDOWELL (only one still living in 1909), Samuel SCULL, Levi B. NEWTON, and John EVANS.
The next minister was Rev. George HITCHENS - 2 years. Then Rev. Philip CLINE and Rev. J. W. HICKMAN. Rev. Henry M. BROWN (1858-1859). Rev. H. B. BEEGLE (1860-1861). 1862, Rev. Charles E. HILL was appointed pastor, but left to serve as chaplain in the army. Rev. A. E. BALLARD (1863), Rev. Samuel PARKER (1864-1865), Rev. W. W. CHRISTINE (1866-1867), Rev. G. R. SNYDER (1868-1870), Rev. George C. MADDOCK (1871-1873), Rev. A. K. STREET (1874-1876), Rev. James MOORE (1877-1879).
In 1880 Rev. John S. GASKILL became pastor. The church was rebuilt and enlarged and dedicated in Aug. 1881. Rev. George L. DOBBINS (1883-1886), Rev. Ananias LAWRENCE (1886-1890). Then Rev. George C. STANGER followed by Rev. John S. HEISLER. Next was Rev. H. Morgan REED [also spelled READ], Rev. Eli GIFFORD, George B. WIGHT, Henry J. ZELLEY (4 years), Rev. U. G. HAGAMAN - pastor in 1909.
The Official Board in 1909 included Rev. U.G. HAGAMAN, Pastor, Levi VAN HART, John KAIGHN, Walter E. GARWOOD, James E. HEWITT, Harry L. SWYLER, John STEELMAN, Walter F. WOLFKIEL, John W. REDDING, Ira I. SHUTE, George W. SHIMP, Stewart MILLER, Clarence HARDEN, Martin BUCK, William HERITAGE, William LOCKERMAN, William GODFREY, George ARMSTRONG, Levin MITCHELL, Harry ROBINSON, John SIMPSON, Frank C. DALL, Lorenza SHRIEVES, William E. TOWNSEND, Albert KRETCHMER, Levi PIMM, Jennie L. SWYLER, Eva COX, Ida KRETCHMER.
At this point in the Union ME Church chapter there is this statement: "And we have also been furnished with the additional data concerning the origin of the church ..." It continues that a Mrs. Mary HAMMELL, whose maiden name was Mary TUCKER, remembers as a child about 12 years old attending the only Methodist Episcopal Sabbath school in Camden at that time located on the West side of Third Street and a little below Taylor Ave. Some of the members wanted to start a mission Sabbath school at Fettersville, South Camden.
Active in this group were young women: Betsy MIDDLETON, Susan SCOTT (who married William Jefferies - the first preacher of Union M. E. Church), Rebecca DUER, Ellen WITHAM and Margaret WELDON. They formed the Dorcas Society and went door to door to get children to attend their Sabbath School. Parents said they would like their children to attend, but they did not have proper clothes to wear. The Dorcas Society got donated clothes and altered them to fit the children. The Sabbath School met in a one-story frame building where Union Church was later built. They soon out grew their building and decided to build a church.
The new building was financed by Charles SLOAN, Philander C. BRINK, Joseph C. De La COUR, Joseph SHARP, William SHARP, John S. BUNDICK, Charles COX, Elias KAIGHN, Samuel SCULL and others. COX, KAIGHN, and SCULL all served as Mayor of Camden at one time or another. When it was completed there was discussion about whether the children should be allowed in with "dirty boots" for Sabbath School. It was decided that the school should remain in the old frame building.
The men from Third Street Church were dissatisfied with this and decided to start a new school. They met at the home of Charles SLOAN on the Northwest corner of Berkley and William Streets. They purchased a lot on the Southwest corner of Berkley and William Streets and erected a two-story frame building. The lower floor was for a day school and the upper floor for a Sabbath School. Many scholars left the Fettersville school and joined the Cooper Hill school. Among these were: Betsy MIDDLETON, Ellen WITHAM and Mary TUCKER [in 1909 she was Mary HAMMELL and a member of Broadway M E Church - which started from the Cooper Hill Sabbath School]..
Union Methodist Episcopal Church is situated on the corner of Fifth Street and Mount Vernon. This society was originated from a class-meeting formed in 1838, in a school-house near Kaighns Point, by the Rev. Joseph Ashbrook. Twenty-three persons joined this class, viz.,—Charles Hugg (leader), Sarah Hugg, Parmelia Gaunt, Deborah Hawke, Benjamin Sutton, A. Sutton, William Home, Sarah Home, Mary Surran, Eliajah Kaighn, Sarah Kaighn, Levi Brink, Deborah Brink, Sarah A. Kaighn, Joshua Stone, Rebecca Stone, Mary Smallwood, Elijah W. Kaighn, Elijah Burrough, Thomas Leigh, Harriet C. Brink, George Hughes and William Perkins. Of the original members, not one is connected with the present congregation. Fourteen of them were dismissed by certificate and nine have since died. A regular Sunday meeting was established in the schoolhouse and much interest was manifested in 56 the services, which resulted in a number of persons joining the class. As no suitable site could be obtained for a church at Kaighns Point, Rev. Joseph Ashbrook, before leaving the charge, procured the gift of a lot from Richard Fetters, in 1839.
lot, so kindly donated, was on the southeast corner of Fifth Street
Vernon, and, in 1840-41, a frame church building was erected
on it, at a cost of four hundred and eleven dollars, under the
supervision of Rev. J. R. Shaw, who succeeded Rev. Ashbrook.
In 1845 Rev. L. B. Newton became the class leader, and through his efforts many members were added to the church, and the Sunday school increased to one hundred and eighty scholars. The Rev. John L. Lenhart was pastor in 1843-44, Rev. Isaac Winner in 1845-46, and Rev. A. K. Street in 1847-48. In this last-named year the membership had so increased that the Third Street Quarterly Conference decided to build a church in South Camden. The cornerstone was laid on June 8, 1848, and the church dedicated on the 25th of December of that year, Rev. Charles Pitman, D.D., officiating. This church was forty by fifty-five feet, and twenty feet high. In 1849 Rev. Charles Whitecar and Rev. William H. Jeffries were sent to Camden. The cholera prevailed to an alarming extent, and there were over fifty deaths within this congregation.
1850, under the direction of the Conference, Enoch Shinn, Joseph Sharp,
John S. Bundick, Thomas McDowell, Sr., Samuel Scull, Levi B. Newton and
Joseph Evans were chosen trustees of this church. Rev. David Duffield
became pastor the same year, and during his ministry the church was
prosperous and free from debt. In 1854 and 1855, under the Rev. Philip
Cline as pastor, the church numbered three hundred and forty-six
members, and the church Sunday school, with the one connected with the
church in Stockton, three .hundred and ninety members. Rev. J. W.
Hickman was pastor during 1856 and 1857, and Rev. H. M. Brown in 1858
and 1859. Previous to this time it was called the Fifth Street Church,
but now took the corporate name of the Union Church.
1858 there were four schools connected with this charge, No. 1, in the
church, Levi B. Newton, superintendent; No. 2, at Stockton, Samuel Deval,
superintendent; No. 3, at Kaighns Point, William Hunt, superintendent;
and No. 4, at Eagle Hall, Joseph Johnson, superintendent. In these
schools were eighty-three officers and teachers and five hundred
scholars. In 1859 this
church, with William Peacock as contractor, built a mission chapel at
Stockton. There were no material changes in the church from this time
until 1880. The pastors who officiated during these years were Revs.
Henry M. Beegle, 1860-62; Aaron E. Ballard and Charles E. Hill, 1863-64;
Samuel Parker, 1865-66; W. W. Christine, 1867-68; Garner R. Snyder,
1869-71; George C. Maddock, 1871-74; A. K. Street, 1874-77; and James
In 1880 Rev. John S. Gaskill became pastor, and through his efforts succeeded in having a new church, which was dedicated in May, 1883. The same year Rev. G. Dobbins became pastor, and in 1886 the present pastor, Rev. A. Lawrence, was assigned to the charge. The church has at this date (1886) five hundred and thirty-two full members and ten probationers. The Sunday school has sixty officers and teachers and six hundred and forty-four pupils. Samuel O. Newton is the superintendent. John S. Bundick, who died in 1884, was president of the board of trustees for many years.
following is derived from
The Union Church Society dates back to 1838, when Rev. J. Ashbrook, pastor of the Third Street Church, formed the first Class in South Camden, composed of twenty-three members, with Charles Hugg as leader. The Class met in a school house on Kaighn avenue and has been continued until the present time. Levi B. Newton was leader for many years and at his death was succeeded by George Dannenhower.
Before Pastor Ashbrook was called from Third Street Church he established Sunday afternoon preaching and secured the site of the present church, Fifth street, Mount Vernon street and Newton avenue.
Rev. J. K. Shaw succeeded Rev. Mr. Ashbrook and built a little frame chapel which served the double purpose of church and school house until 1848.
In the spring of the year. Rev. D. W. Bartine was appointed to Third Street Church, with Rev. Israel Corbett as assistant, and between the two preachers the Church grew rapidly, and it was found necessary to erect a new structure. The new church was fifty-six by forty feet, and was dedicated on Christmas day. 1848.
The Society continued under the fostering care of Third Street Church until 1850, when a separate organization was effected, and the Rev. David Duffel was the first regular pastor. The first board of Trustees was composed as follows: Enoch Shinn, Joseph Sharp, John S. Bundick, Thomas McDowell, Samuel Scull, Levi B. Newton, and Joseph Evans. Thomas McDowell being the only one alive at the present time.
Rev. Mr. Duffel continued in the pastorate two years and was succeeded by the Rev. George Kitchens, who also continued two years. Rev. Philip Cline and Rev. J. W. Hickman followed in succession.
In 1858 and 1859 Rev. Henry M. Brown was pastor. 1860 and '61, Rev. H. B. Beegle was pastor.
1862, Rev. Charles E. Hill was appointed pastor but left his charge to serve his country as chaplain in the army.
1863, Rev. A. E. Ballard; 1864, and '65, Rev. Samuel Parker; 1866 and '67, Rev. W. W. Christine; 1868, '69 and '70, Rev. G. R. Snyder; 1871, '72 and '73, Rev. George C. Maddock; 1874, '75 and '76, Rev. A. K. Street; 1877, '78 and '79, Rev. James Moore.
In 1880 Rev. John S. Gaskill became pastor and through his untiring efforts and Christian zeal the church was rebuilt and enlarged, and was dedicated in August, 1881. Rev. George L. Dobbins took charge in 1883, and remained pastor until 1886. In that year Rev. Ananias Lawrence was called and continued until 1890, when Rev. George C. Stanger was called, being succeeded by Rev. John S. Heisley.
A noteworthy event of his pastorate was a morning preaching service when an outpouring of the Holy Spirit such as we had never seen, resulted in the conversion of over one hundred souls on that day.
Rev. Dr. Heisley was succeeded by Rev. J. Morgan Reed, under whose ministrations the church greatly prospered.
Bro. Read was succeeded by Rev. Eli Gifford and through his efforts the church was again enlarged and a pipe organ installed — ^the improvements amounting to fourteen thousand dollars.
Bro. Gifford was succeeded by Rev. Geo. B. Wight, and during his pastorate and by his planning the balance of the debt for the improvement was paid.
Dr. Wight was succeeded by Rev. Henry J. Zelley, who served four years. During his time efforts were made to cancel the mortgage which had stood for twenty-five years and plans were formed and an effort made which resulted in twenty-five hundred dollars being paid before our present pastor. Rev. U. G. Hagaman came. He has now taken up the work and expects, by the blessing of our Heavenly Father, to make this one of the best years old Union has ever experienced.
The present Official Board is composed as follows: Rev. U. G. Hagaman, Pastor; Bros. Levi Van Hart, John Kaighn, Walter E. Garwood, James E. Hewitt, Harry L. Swyler, Jolm Steelman, Walter F. Wolfkiel, John W. Redding, Ira I. Shute, George W. Shimp, Stewart Miller, Clarence Harden, Martin Buck, William Heritage, William Lockerman, William Godfrey, George Armstrong, Levin Mitchell, Harry Robinson, John Simpson, Frank C. Dall, Lorenza Shrieves, William E. Townsend, Albert Kretchmer, Levi Pimm, Jennie L. Swyler, Eva Cox, Idri Kretchmer.
After having printed page 31 we noticed that there was an error in the year mentioned in the first line — 1883. It should read 1838. And we have also been furnished with the additional data concerning the origin of the church as follows:
Mrs. Mary Hammell, whose maiden name was Mary
Tucker, says that when she was a child about twelve or thirteen years old, she was a Sabbath school scholar in the
only Methodist Episcopal Sabbath school in Camden at that time located on the west side of Third street a little
below Taylor avenue, and some of the members of the church and Sabbath school took it into their heads and
hearts to start a mission Sabbath school at Fettersville, South Camden. The young women who were active in
this new enterprise were: Betsy Middleton, Susan Scott (who married William Jefferies, who became the first
preacher of what is now the Union M. E. Church), Rebecca Duer, Ellen Witham and Margaret Weldon. These women
The good women then went in search of donations of clothing and they were successful in obtaining sufficient, such as it was, which needed a good deal of altering. The Dorcas Society met in the homes of its members and cheerfully labored in making the clothes over for the children and prospered in their work of love for the Master's cause. "Well they soon had the children fitted up so they made a respectable appearance. The Sabbath school met in a one-story frame building, where Union Church now stands. It was not long before the school outgrew the capacity of the building.
It was then decided that they must have more room, as the teachers were compelled to stand when teaching their scholars. Betsey Middleton was Superintendent.
The Sabbath school then decided to build a church.
The men who financed the erection of the new edifice were : Charles Sloan, Philander C. Brink, Joseph C. De La Cour, Joseph Sharp, William Sharp, John S. Bundick, Charles Cox, Elias Kaighn, Samuel Scull and others whose names cannot be recalled at this time.
When the new church edifice was nearly completed a discussion arose as to whether the Sabbath school should move into the new building, and there was considerable opposition to this proposition by some of the officials because, as they stated, that the boys would come in the church with their "dirty boots" and thus make the floor unfit for their wives to kneel on in their silk dresses. It was put to a vote by the officials and decided that they should not go into the church, but remain in the old frame building.
Then the men from Third Street Church were dissatisfied with this proceeding and decided to start a new school. The first meeting for this purpose was held at the home of Charles Sloan, on the north-west corner of Berkley and William streets. They purchased a lot on the south-west corner of Berkley and William streets, and erected a two-story frame building. The lower floor was used for a day school and the upper floor was used as a Sabbath school. Many of the scholars left the Fettersville school and joined the Cooper Hill school. Among those who came to Cooper Hill were Betsy Middleton, Ellen Witham and Mary Tucker (now Mrs. Mary Hammell), who is still a member there (now Broadway M. E. Church).
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
Inquirer- September 18, 1911
|Click on Image for Complete Article|
Philadelphia Inquirer- September 8, 1913
|Click on Image for Complete Article|
The young people of the Union M.E. Church, Fifth and Mt. Vernon Streets are busily rehearsing for their Christmas cantata, entitled “Santa’s Christmas Bargain,” to be presented in the church on Wednesday evening, December 30. From the excellent progress the young folks are making, the affair should be a brilliant success.
Philadelphia Inquirer - July 27, 1917
- C.C. Read - Rev. Charles I. Fitzgeorge
Union Methodist Episcopal Church
Courier or Camden Post-Telegram
Griffiths - B.F.
Schroeder - Rev. E.A.
Miller - Wiley
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