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].. 

From
George Reeser Prowell's
History of Camden County, New Jersey
1886

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.

This lot, so kindly donated, was on the south­east corner of Fifth Street and Mount 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.

In 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.

In 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 Moore, 1877-80.

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.

Philadelphia Inquirer * July 1, 1872

Union M.E.Church and Parsonage
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1906 Sanborn Map

Philadelphia Inquirer- June 22, 1896

Union M.E. Church - Wiley M.E. Church - First M.E. Church
Union American M.E. Church - Bethany M.E. Church
First Baptist Church - First Presbyterian Church

Philadelphia Inquirer- January 9, 1909

Philadelphia Inquirer- September 18, 1911
Rev. George H. Humason

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Philadelphia Inquirer- September 8, 1913

Miss Vera Kaighn - Rev. Sanford H. Nichols - Rev. Daniel Johnson
Union M.E. Church - Broadway M.E. Church - Wiley M.E. Church

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Camden Post-Telegram * December 11, 1914

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

  

Y.M.C.A. - C.C. Read - Rev. Charles I. Fitzgeorge
Union Methodist Episcopal Church

Union Methodist Episcopal Church - September 3, 2003

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