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Full text of "Fifty years after : or, A half century of Presbyterianism in Camden, New Jersey with biographical sketches of the Presbyterian ministers who have labored there"

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j^ifty Years After 



Ac 



^ Hal^ Century of Pt»esbytepianism 



Boyd ii^ Camden, |^ecu Jersey 



3 1833 02733 0494 



Gc 974-902 C14bd 
Boyd, Wil-l.iam. 
Fifty years after 




< ^ 



y - 



Fifty Years After 



Half Century of Presbyterianism 



CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY 



With Biographical Sketches of the Presbyterian Ministers 
who have labored there 



BY 

Rev. William Boyd 

Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church 



philadelphia 

Kranklitsi Printino Conipany 

1890 



cmnU P"W«= '■*'"^ 



INTRODUCTION, 



IT is pleasant to recall the memory and to recount the experi- 
ences of former generations. Freo^uently the best of men go 
down to the grave without leaving behind them any lasting 
trace of their existence. Tiieir record is on high, and in the great 
day of final account when the history of every life shall be disclosed, 
their deeds of piety and benevolence, long forgotten here, shall be 
brought forward in the sight of an assembled universe, as evidences 
of their love and loyalty to Christ. Meanwhile it is a gratifying 
task to perpetuate, even though it be imperfectly, the remembrance 
of a little of that work and labor of love which God is not unright- 
eous to forget. It is proper, too, that the young men and women 
of our churches whose characters are " still upon the anvil," should 
feel the impact of the patient, prayerful, self-denying exertions 
of those who laid the foundation of their religious privileges, 
some of whom have turned many to righteousness and now " shine as 
the stars forever and ever." It is interesting to note the manner 
in which God, in fulfillment of His promise, is pleased to honor 
the faith and bless the labors of His people to their spiritual ad- 
vancement and growth. It is fitting that the semi-centennial of 
the first organized effort to introduce the Presbyterian faith and 
practice into a community should meet with some memorial, how- 
ever humble, at our hands. And it is important that any attempt 
to sketch the history of the Presbyterian Church in Camden for 
the past fifty years, if done at all, should be done now. So far as 
the writer knows, he is the only person who is familiar with the 
facts in the history of tlie Old Central Church, whilst most of the 
Missionary operations of the denomination in this city, have tran- 
spired within his knowledge or under his care. 

It would be difficult to acknowledge, exce})t by way of general 
3 



reference, the uniform kindness with which all inquiries bearing 
upon the subject-matter of the history have been met. A partial 
recognition of the sources from which much of the information has 
been derived will be found subjoined to the body of the text. 
Special thanks, however, are due to Rev. Dr. Henry Reeves, of 
Bridgeton, to Rev. Joseph H. Dulles, Librarian of Princeton Theo- 
logical Seminary, and to the Camden Courier, in whose columns the 
sketch originally appeared, for substantial service rendered; to Mr. 
John P. R. Carney for the loan of a rare photograph of the Old City 
Hall as it appeared in 1876 ; and to Mr. Frederick Borquin for his 
generous act in gratuitously engraving a modified copy of this pho- 
tograph as a frontispiece for the book. The interest which Mr. 
Borquin has taken in reproducing the City Hall as it stood in 
1840, largely from personal recollection and research, and partly 
from the suggestions of the photograph, will long be remembered 
and gratefully appreciated. 

With a God-speed and benison to all who are of " like precious 
faith " with ourselves, we make this contribution to the local 
history of our church and city, praying meanwhile with King 
Solomon : " The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our 
fathers ; let Him not leave us, nor forsake us." W. B. 



FIFTY YEARS AFTER, 



IT may seem difficult, in the heat and hurry of the last decade 
of the nineteenth century, to transport ourselves back a 
period of fifty years, that we may contemplate the coutrasted 
conditions of Camden history, while pondering the counsel of the 
wise king, " Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days 
were better than these ?" But there are those still living in our 
midst — their number, alas ! too rapidly diminishing — who were 
then the active players in the drama of life, and whose memories, 
undimraed by the march of time, love to linger in the past, while 
catching the richer radiance which streams from a hopeful outlook 
upon the future. With their assistance we may bridge the chasm 
of these thronging years and in imagination, at least, endeavor to 
recall one phase of the religious life of Camden as we might have 
witnessed it half a century ago. 

An aged resident of this city, whose memory is singularly reten- 
tive and bright, describes her experiences upon the first Sunday 
which she spent in Camden. Her parents had come across the 
river to pass the summer months in rural quiet, and had located in 
the vicinity of Sixth and Kaighn Avenue. With the dawn of 
the day of rest, accompanied by her father, she started out in 
search of a place of worship. They had heard that Divine ser- 
vice, after the Presbyterian fashion, was statedly conducted in 
Camden, but how to reach the city limits was a problem. The 
well-paved streets which go dipping north and south, east and 
west, toward creek and river, were then covered with vast stretches 
of cultivated fields and luxuriant meadows. No railroad train 
ploughed its way through these fertile fields and through the 
fourth commandment. No omnibus or car, upon mercy bent, rat- 
tled its weekly round through populous thoroughfares, picking up 
the wearied worshiper and depositing him at the gates of Zion. 
The Sabbath quiet was undisturbed by the shrill cry of the news- 

5 



boy or the shriller shriek of the iron horse. The melody of sing- 
ing birds and the sweet chitnings of church bells, wafted across the 
river, alone broke the prevailing silence. One can scarcely realize 
the change wdiich " has come over the spirit of Camden's dream " 
in the short period of fifty years. It seems incredible that as late 
as 1842, upon the summit of Cooper's Hill, not far from the inter- 
section of Broadway and Berkeley Street, stood a stately grove of 
virgin oak and pine, flanked upon the east by a magnificent apple 
orchard, or that, in passing from the southern section of our city, 
fences must be climbed, stiles surmounted, marshes avoided, and 
numerous inquiries instituted, before an opening could be discovered 
Avhich led directly to the town. 

Arriving at Federal Street, the strangers were surprised to find 
that the place of worship was the Court House. As they stood 
beneath the gloomy building, with its barred windows, the father 
quietly said, '" Well, this will be the first time that I have been in 
prison." Their surprise was intensified, however, when they 
entered the Court House and found an army chaplain, clothed in 
martial uniform, seated upon the platform. As the old warrior, 
his gray locks streaming down his shoulders, arose to preach " to 
these spirits in prison," two of his auditors mentally said, " we 
will not get much of a sermon this morning." But as he opened 
up his text, and with logical force developed and applied its doc- 
trine, they sat entranced beneath the bewitching spell of his 
oratory. For several Sabbaths they attended with increasing 
delight upon his preaching before they learned that they had been 
listening to William L. McCalla, the uncompromising antagonist 
of their beloved pastor Albert Barnes, in those remarkable dis- 
cussions which attended the separation of the Presbyterian Church 
into Old School and New. But a few years before they had seen 
him enter the lecture room of their own church, and depositing an 
armful of books in the hollow of an old iron stove, blaze out into 
a violent attack upon the heresies of Mr. Barnes. And when the 
saintly victim of the attack, under a charge more unfounded than 
the others, arose and modestly addressed the presiding officer with : 
" Mr. Moderator, if I had said that of which I am accused I 
would have been guilty of a palpable falsehood. I deny ever 



littering it/' they had seen the very preacher to whom they had 
been listening with rapt attention, regardless of the remonstrance, 
pursue the uneven tenor of his way like some erratic comet, the 
very eccentricity of whose orbit carries consternation into the 
breast of the observer, lest it violate the laws of harmony or dis- 
turb the right relations of things. Yet such was the personal 
magnetism of the man, and such the eloquence and fervor of his 
preaching, that the prejudices of my informant and her father 
passed away, and during their stay in Camden they were among 
his most faithful hearers and his most constant admirers. 



THE OLD FIRST CHURCH. 

The history of that little congregation in the Court House may 
be briefly told. Upon the 27th of September, 1840, a committee 
appointed by the Presbytery of West Jersey, to look after the des- 
titute places within its bounds, organized a church of twelve mem- 
bers, in Camden, which shortly afterward extended a call to Rev. 
Alexander Heberton, of Salem, to become its pastor. Mr. Heber- 
ton declining the call. Rev. William L. McCalla, of Philadelphia, 
was, in the month of April, 1841,* invited to act as stated supply 
for the term of six months. To this action Presbytery was un- 
favorably disposed, for when the elders of the congregation 
requested the Committee on Destitutions to make an application to 
the Board of Missions for a commission for Mr. McCalla, and the 
request was referred by them to Presbytery for instructions as to 
the proper course to pursue, that body unanimously resolved, 
'' That it was inexpedient for the committee to make such applica- 
tion, and that the committee be directed to convey to the elders of 
the church at Camden the resolution of Presbytery." The church, 
however, persisted in its desire to secure the settlement of Mr. 
McCalla. " It may not be uninteresting to many of our readers," 
says the Camden Mail, under date of July 14th, 1841, "to know 
that the Presbyterian congregation of this city hold regular meet- 

* Upon Sunday afternoon, April 18th, he preaclied a discourse, commemora- 
tive of the life and labors of President Harrison, who had just died. 



8 

iugs for public worship at the City Hall, and that they have 
invited the Rev. William L. McCalla to become their pastor." A 
pro re nata meeting of Presbytery was accordingly held in Wood- 
bury, August 9th, 1841, at which Mr. McCalla presented a letter 
of dismission from the Presbytery of Philadelphia, requested to 
be received and enrolled as a member, and to be installed over the 
new church; the church, through its elder, Henry Lelar, Jr., at 
the same time presenting a call for his services. Presbytery, 
thereupon, resolved, " That it is inexpedient to receive the Rev. 
Mr. McCalla as a member, and that he have leave to withdraw 
his papers." The yeas and nays were called for, and the ministers 
and elders present, with the exception of Mr. Lelar, sustained the 
resolution. 

Mr. McCalla was not the man to submit to an imaginary, much 
less to what seemed to be a real grievance. As one of his biogra- 
phers good humoredly says, " He was a man of war from his 
youth." From the time of his reception into the Presbyterian 
Church as a candidate for its ministry, when, during his examina- 
tion, he had entered into an altercation with Dr. Blythe upon a 
matter of politics until, in his dislike for Catholicism, he found his 
way to Louisiana and died " fighting the devil upon his own 
ground," his ministerial life is covered with the scars of many con- 
flicts. It is not surprising, therefore, to find him petitioning the 
Synod of Philadelphia, at its next meeting, to redress his griev- 
ances, inasmuch as the refusal of the Presbytery of West Jersey to 
entertain the call from Camden had injured the cause of Christ in 
that city, and had affected his own ministerial usefulness. It is 
surprising, however, to note the action of Synod in the case. 
An exception was taken to the minutes of Presbytery on the ground 
that " the application of Rev. William L. McCalla to be received as 
a member was rejected without any statement of reasons which led 
to this act. This is regarded as an act of injustice to the applicant." 
The Synod, moreover, by a recorded vote of 52 to 20, detached 
" Camden and the parochial vicinage" from the jurisdiction of the 
Presbytery of West Jersey and annexed it to the Presbytery of 
Philadelphia, and directed the congregation of Camden, if it still 



desired to prosecute a call for Mr. McCalla's services,* to present 
it to the Presbytery of Philadelphia to be issued by them. Mr. 
McCalla had given no notice of his intention to appeal to Synod. 
Only a small representation of Presbytery was present to defend its 
action, but these, in conjunction with those members of Synod who 
doubted the regularity of the proceedings, drew up a formal com- 
plaint, and gave notice that it would be presented at the next 
meeting of the General Assembly. Presbytery at its spring session 
in Greenwich, April 20th, 1842, unanimously approved of this 
action of its delegates on " all points in which the constitution of 
the church had been violated." 

In the meantime the church which had been the cause of the 
dispute had been transferred to the Presbytery of Philadelphia. 
This Presbytery, however, did not seem anxious to retain it. 
January 5th, 1842, Elder Lelar being present, by a vote 
of 9 to 5, with 5 persons excused from voting, it was resolved to 
ask Synod to rescind its action. The application was regularly 
made October 21st, 1842, and upon motion of Dr. Breckinridge, 
Camden and the parochial vicinage were retransferred to the 
Presbytery of West Jersey. Was it about this time that the hap- 
less waif expired ? It is usually said that the church disbanded 
December 1st, 1841, having existed fourteen months, but the fact 
that Elder Lelar represented the church at the meeting which the 
Presbytery of Philadelphia held in January, and also that the 
matter came up for final settlement in the month of October fol- 
lowing, would seem to make the date of dissolution, December 1st, 
1842. On the 30th of January, 1842, the congregation vacated 
the Court House and commenced worshiping in "Miss Turner's 

*The sentiment of the congregation is doubtless voiced by the 3Tail, where it 
says, November 10th, 1841 : " The reverend gentleman had endeared himself to 
many of our citizens by his amenity of manner and Christian deportment, and 
the extraordinary exercise of power by the Church judicatory in his case was 
generally looked upon as harsh, uncalled for, and tyrannical. It is with unfeigned 
pleasure, therefore, we learn of his restoration to pastoral duty among us, satis- 
fied as we are that his devout example as a Christian instructor is calculated to do 
much good in our community. The City Hall was opened again for public wor- 
ship on Sunday last, and we understand that Mr. McCalla will preach there regu- 
larly hereafter the morning and afternoon of each Sabbath." 



10 

school-room near the market," and as late as the month of April, 
when the last of three articles upon the " Evils of the Race- 
Course " appeared in the columns of the 3IaU over the signature 
of Mr. McCalla, he was still preaching in this city. 

The Presbytery of Philadelphia justified its request for a re- 
transfer, upon the ground that the Synod had taken its former 
action " on the petition of an individual not connected with the 
church of Camden." In 1852 Mr. McCalla published his 
" Argument for the Cleansing of the Sanctuary," in which he 
advocates the exclusion of non-communicants from the office of 
trustee, and also from the privilege of voting in church meetings. 
Alluding to his troubles in this city he says : (p. 142) " On both 
sides of the Delaware, and on both sides of the Mississippi, con- 
gregations have solicited my services, and these secular usurpers 
(meaning non-communicant trustees and voters) and their repre- 
sentatives have refused to hear their call, or to hear my petition or 
complaint. This was done upon pretexts false and foul, in irre- 
concilable opposition to Presbyterianisna and Protestantism, 
Christianity and Civilization." This was Mr. McCalla's explana- 
tion of his Camden difficulties.* 

The story of the " Old First " Church would be incomplete 
without some reference to the life of Mr. McCalla, 

Camden's pioneer presbytekian missionary. 

This remarkable man was born in Kentucky, November 25th, 
1788, at a time when that State was still a county of A-^irginia, and so 
wild that a panther was among his first playmates. He dedicated 
himself to God in early youth, and as a young man had many 
drawings toward the ministry, but was for a while deterred from 
entering upon the sacred office by the fear that faithfulness would 
lead to poverty and })ersecution. He pursued a partial course of 
study at Transylvania University, but was prevented from gradua- 
ting by an almost fatal illness. By special permission of Presby- 

* History of Camden County ; Minutes of Presbytery of West Jersey, and of 
Synod and Presbytery of Philadelphia ; Nevin's History of Presbytery of Phila- 
delphia. 



11 

tery he studied theology at such times and in such ways as his 
shattered constitution would allow. He was appointed army 
chaplain by General Jackson in 1815; iu 1819 became pastor of 
the church in Augusta, Ky. ; from 1824-35 was settled over the 
Eighth or Scots Church, Philadelphia; in 1835 traveled in Texas 
and again served as chaplain iu the army; in 1837 returned to 
Philadelphia and labored successfully in the Fourth, Tabernacle, 
and Union Churches ; spent the spring and fall of 1840 iu Texas, 
returning in time to become stated supply in Camden ; in 1854 
performed missionary work in St. Louis among the boatmen, and 
afterward among the slaves of the South. He died in Louisiana, 
October 12th, 1859, in the 71st year of his age. 

Nature had endowed Mr. McCalla with many of the elements 
which go to make up an effective platform speaker. He was of a 
tall and commanding presence, with piercing eyes, jet black hair, 
and a clarion voice. He was a good linguist, having a wonderful 
command of English and more or less acquaintance with seven 
other languages. In private life he was a warm-hearted and genial 
companion, gifted with rare conversational powers, and with an 
inexhaustible fund of anecdote and wit. He especially excelled in 
debate. His Kentuckian instincts led him largely into the field of 
polemics. He was accustomed to say that there was nothing in 
which he took greater delight than in breaking a pair of spirited 
colts, a statement which his friends might have qualified by add- 
ing, " unless it was the excitement of a hot and thrilling debate." 
" He had an uncommon power of self-control and could say the 
most diverting and cutting things without changing a muscle. In 
all his contests he remained perfectly cool." As Dr. Miller, of 
Princeton, said of him, " he was as smooth as oil, but it was the oil of 
vitriol." He held remarkable discussions with the Arian Baptists, 
William Lane, of Milford, Del., and Frederick Plummer, of Leiper- 
ville. Pa. ; with John Hughes, afterward Archbishop of the Roman 
Catholic Church ; with Abner Kneeland, the Atheist, and Joseph 
Barker, the Infidel. In the controversy which rent the Presby- 
terian Church asunder in 1837, he sustained his reputation for 
" pugnacity, ability, and power of sarcasm." His most celebrated 
encounter was with Alexander Campbell, who was assisted in the 



12 

debate by the notorious Sidney Rigdon, afterward a leader of the 
Mormons. 

The following are the publications which he issued from the 
press: "A Discussion of Universalism ; or, A Defense of Ortho- 
doxy against the Heresy of Universalism ;" " A Correct Narra- 
tive of tlie AfTairs connected with the Trial of the Rev. Albert 
Barnes;" a small collection of Psalms and hymns in French; 
" Adventures in Texas chiefly in the Spring and Summer of 
1840, with a Discussion," etc.; and "An Argument for Cleans- 
ing the Sanctuary, delivered in the Presbytery of Philadelphia, 
with an Introduction," in which it is said "Delicate nerves will 
doubtless be terribly shocked at the clangor of Mr. McCal la's refor- 
mation blast." His "Adventures in Texas " is a strange melange of 
piety, keenness of observation, and wit. He gives us a glimpse 
into some of the hardships of his miuistry, in one place, in the form 
of a parable, pilloring under fictitious names, two well-known 
ministers of Philadelphia, and a General in the United States 
Army of national reputation. He is especially severe upon doctors 
of divinity. A most laughable allusion to an incident in the book 
of Kings it might be in questionable taste to quote, but his opinion 
of academic titles, when applied to the ministry, is easily seen 
where he says : " But to secure the full benefit of it, the title ought 
to be fully written out and translated like the Scriptures, or the 
common people will be in perpetual perplexity about the meaning 
of D. D. as they are about the letters O. K. in party politics ; and 
they may be as capricious in changing the meaning. At first O. K. 
was General Jackson's seal of approbation upon all that his suc- 
cessor did, and afterward, when that successor was removed from 
office, O. K. was turned wrong-end foremost, and interpreted kicked 
out. As D. D. is given to many ecclesiastics who are wrong-end 
foremost, their title is subject to the same vicissitude, unless its 
meaning is fixed, like the Hebrew words, by punctuarian additions." 
After enumerating the many mistaken impressions of the meaning 
of the letters which the common people might form, principal 
among which is the conviction that it may mean D-umb D-og, "a 
scriptural title exceedingly suitable to those who are for letting 
error die a natural death," he concludes by saying: "But most 



13 

people prefer explaining a D. D. to mean Dulce Donum, a sweet 
bribe, which like the Regiura Donum, the bait of John Bull, is 
intended to catch such gudgeons as may be gulled in that way." 

It will be seen from this cursory review of Mr. McCalla's life that 
he was a man of brilliant parts, a keen and original thinker, a faith- 
ful and eloquent preacher. " His success in life," says the intro- 
duction to one of his books, " has always been impeded by his 
frankness in speaking out his sentiments and feelings ; his want of 
policy in his dealings with men ; his ready use of his irrepressible 
satire ; but most of all by his bold adherence to a simple, un- 
tarnished form of Christianity, never giving place to the influence 
of the world — no, not for an hour," There is something pathetic in 
the language of this same introduction, when intimating that he 
had been deserted in his old age by his Old School friends, it says, 
"The JSTew School press" (which had regarded him as the "chief 
alarmist " in the controversies of '37, and as the " chief thorn in 
their side") "exhibited a generous sympathy for their fallen foe, 
and a proper dislike for the inhumanity with which his labors were 
rewarded."* 

THE PRESENT FIRST CHURCH. 

It is not the intention of the author of these sketches to enter 
into a detailed account of the history of existing organizations. 
He has endeavored, however, to tell with fullness and fidelity, the 
story of the origin and struggles of those churches which have suc- 
cumbed to the force of circumstances, and whose very names are in 
danger of perishing from the memory of men. The First Church 
will in a few years celebrate the semi-centennial of its existence. 
Its noble history, the story of its discouragements and successes, 
will then be sketched by another hand. In the meantime, to com- 
plete this rapid review of the origin and growth of the denomina- 
tion in our city, we will outline, in the briefest way, the history 
of the Mother Church. 

The present First Church dates its permanent organization from 

* Presbyterian Encyclopaedia; "History of Old Soots Church," by Rev. J. C. 

Thompson ; "An Argument for Cleansing the Sanctuary;" local memoranda. 



14 

June 25th, 1846. The Rev. Giles Mauwaring, after several months 
of faithful missionary labor, had gathered together a membership 
of twenty-one persons, who, by act of Presbytery, were constituted 
a church, with William Howell as its first elder. The names of 
these constituent members were William Howell, Elizabeth Howell, 
Albert Montgomery, Sarah Montgomery, Richard B. Jones, Mary 
Jones, Charles J. Hollis, Angeline Hollis, George W. Helmbold, 
Mary Anna Helmbold, Benjamin Hunt, Catherine Hunt, Cath- 
erine Casner, Eliza Casner, Joseph Casner, Mercy Howard, Eliza- 
beth Holmes, Ann Nowland, Mary Nowland, Julia L. Manwaring, 
all received by certificate, and Mary Horner, received upon exam- 
ination. 

The interests of Presbyterianism were in such a feeble state when 
Mr. Manwaring came upon the field, that he could only find two 
families in the whole town who professed that faith. Calling upon 
these families, he appointed a preliminary meeting for 9 o'clock, 
March 3d, 1846, in the school-house of Miss Turner, Third Street, 
between Market and Arch. There the strong and vigorous church 
of to-day was cradled. Helen Hunt (now Mrs. Denning, of De- 
lanco) was the first Sabbath-school scholar. She distinctly remem- 
bers the circumstances of that humble gathering. Accompanied by 
her aunt, she entered the school-room at the time appointed, and 
found only two persons in waiting, Auley G. McCalla, cashier of 
the National State Bank, and Mr. Manwaring. The little room 
with its clean-scrubbed, sanded floor, and its great hot stove in 
the centre, made a vivid impression upon her mind. Advancing 
to the little girl, Mr. Manwaring said, " Well, you have the honor 
of being our first Sabbath-school scholar." 

In this school-room divine service was regularly held to a con- 
gregation that varied in number from eight to twenty persons, in- 
cluding children. In the month of April the service was trans- 
ferred to the Court House, on Federal Street, near Fifth, where 
the organization* as stated above took place. The Court House 

*Upon the occasion Rev. George W. Janvier, of Pittsgrove, preached the ser- 
mon ; Rev. Samuel Miller, of Mount Holly, offered prayer ; Rev. Dr. Van Ren- 
sellaer, of Burlington, proposed the constitutional questions, and Rev. John M. 
Rodgers, of Woodbury, made an address. 



15 




FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, OF CAMDEN, N. J. 



16 

was ill-adapted to the purposes of worship. Political meetings 
were sometimes held upon Saturday nights, and Benjamin Hunt, 
Joseph Casner, and others, after the adjournment of these meet- 
ings, with broom and pail in hand, would work hard and long to 
clean the room and make it sweet and wholesome for Sabbath 
worship. During the existence of the "Old First" Church an 
effort had been made to erect a church edifice. Mrs. Alexander 
Henry, of Philadelphia, had promised to give an eligible lot, upon 
condition that the congregation would put up a building worth 
$4,000. Subscriptions had been secured to the amount of about 
$800, but the failure of the church to settle a pastor, and its sub- 
sequent dissolution, frustrated the fulfillment of the plan. As 
soon, however, as the new organization was effected, steps were 
taken to secure a house of worship. The lot previously donated 
by Mrs. Henry was again obtained by gift, the foundations of the 
church edifice were laid, and the corner-stone was set in place October 
28th, 1846. From the newspaper report of the exercises connected 
with this auspicious event, we learn that Revs. Van Reusellaer, of 
Burlington ; C. C. Cuyler and John McDowell, of Philadelphia ; 
David S. Tod, of Louisville, Ky., and Messrs. Taylor and Street, 
of Camden, officiated ; that Mr. Manwaring read the history of 
the Church and deposited it, together with the Shorter Catechism 
and some religious and political papers, in a leaden box, which was 
placed in the corner-stone; and that in substance he said, " I now 
lay this corner-stone of the First Presbyterian Church, in the 
city of Camden, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of 
the Holy Ghost. And since the Great Head of the Church has 
prospered this enterprise thus far, may He continue to do so, not 
only until these materials around us shall be converted into walls, 
but until we are permitted to enter the inclosure and dedicate it 
complete to His service. And when this shall be accomplished, 
may the Gospel in its purity and primitive simplicity be proclaimed 
to all who enter it. And may the Spirit of all grace accompany 
the truth, so that this shall be the spiritual birthplace of souls. Let 
us commence the work in prayer; and ever bear in mind that, 
except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. 
Let us continue in prayer, and labor in the cause of Christ until 



17 

laboring and praying shall come to an end, and we enter that 
temple above, where the noise of the chisel and the hammer shall 
never be heard, but where we shall unite in celebrating the praises 
of God and the Lamb. And we will ascribe all the glory to the 
triune God forever. Amen." 

Through the untiring efforts of Mr. Mauwaring, the \vork was 
so far advanced that in the spring of 1847 the congregation was 
enabled to worship in the basement lecture-room. The main 
audience-room was not completed until the summer of 1848. The 
new building had cost $5,000. To its erection the churches of 
the Presbytery and the citizens of Camden and Philadelphia had 
largely contributed.* 

Mr. Manwaring resigned his charge in 1848, having served the 
church two years and two months. At the close of his ministry 
there were fifty-three communicants upon the roll. He was a man 
of lovely Christian spirit, a consecrated servant of God, who in the 
discharge of ministerial duty did not shriniv from "enduring hard- 
ness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." The late Dr. A. A. Hodge, 
when writing upon one occasion of the sacrifices which are some- 
times exacted from the ministry, illustrated his meaning by an allu- 
sion to the experiences of Mr. Manwaring. His life in Camden was 
a life of faith, as some of the members of the Ladies' Aid Society, 
who assisted in gathering up the scanty provision made for his sup- 
port, could testify. 

He was born in Lyme, Connecticut, July 20th, 1814, but spent 
the years of his childhood in Bethany Centre, N. Y. He united 
with the Presbyterian Church when fourteen years of age. At the 
age of seventeen he entered the High School at Geneva, N. Y., re- 
maining there until he matriculated at Union College, Schenectady, 
from which he graduated in 1840. For one year he was principal 
of the Lyceum in Schenectady. He entered Princeton Seminary 
1841, and graduated in 1844. He was licensed by the Presbytery 
of New Brunswick, April 26th, 1844, and was ordained by the 
same body, August 26th, 1844. For a little more than a year he 

* Hand-book and Minutes of the Church ; Fisler's History of Camden ; Com- 
munication from Mrs. Denning ; Camden Mail. 
2 



18 

served as stated supply and pastor of the Church of Tariffville, 
Conn., resigning that charge to come to Camden, where he minis- 
tered until May 23d, 1848, Avhen he felt constrained to resign for 
lack of adequate support. Having exhausted his means in the 
prosecution of the work in Camden, he opened a boarding-school 
in Philadelphia, but was obliged by ill-health to relinquish this 
enterprise July, 1851. Four years after his withdrawal from 
Camden, he passed from the scenes of his earthly toil to an eternal 
and glorious reward. He had just entered upon his duties as prin- 
cipal of the Raymond Collegiate Institute, a high school for 
young ladies in the village of Carmel, Putnam County, N. Y., and 
prospects of great usefulness were stretching out before him. He 
had been teaching three months, at the same time supplying the 
neighboring pulpit of Red Mills. The double exertion proved 
too much for his constitution, and on the 11th of May, 1852, in 
the 38th year of his age, and the eighth year of his ministry, he 
entered into the Paradise of God. The last sermon that he 
preached was from the text, " My grace is sufficient for thee." 

The brief story of Mr. Manwaring's pastorate in Camden we 
have sought to write ; but the unwritten portions of that story, 
M'hat human hand can record ? Upon the smiles and tears, the 
anxieties and discouragements, the prayers and patient toils of this 
self-denying servant of Christ much of the success of these latter 
years of Presbyterianism in this city rests. With the Apostle Paul, 
he might truly have said, " According to the grace of God which 
is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the founda- 
tion and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed 
how he buildeth thereon."* • 

The second pastor of the church was Rev. Robinson Potter 
Dunn, D. D., who was installed November 1st, 1838, and who 
labored with great acceptance until April 24th, 1851, when he 
became Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in Brown 
University, Providence, R. I. During his ministry forty persons 
were added to the church. 

* General Catalogue of Princeton Theological Seminary ; Communication from 
Eev. Allen H. Brown ; the Presbyterian ; Memoranda in Alumni Alcove of Prince- 
ton Seminary Library. 



19 

Mr. Dunn was born in Newport, R. I., May 31st, 1825. At 
twelve years of age an attack of hip disease confined him to his 
bed for six months. It was during this illness that the question 
of personal religion suggested itself to his mind. That question 
never left him until, on the 18th of November, 1838, he passed 
into "the new life in Christ Jesus." He was admitted into the 
Congregational Church, December 26th, 1842. At a very early 
age he manifested a predilection for belles lettres. Series of 
resolutions, and moral meditations written at the age of 13, give 
evidence of the precocity of the child, and of the spirituality of 
his nature. He matriculated as a freshman in Brown University, 
in 1839, and graduated with the highest honors from that institu- 
tion in 1843. For a short time after graduation he had charge of 
the college library, and gave instruction in French during the ab- 
sence of the regular professor in Europe. He studied theology at 
Princeton Seminary, was taken under care of Presbytery as a can- 
didate for tiie ministry in April, 1846, and was licensed at Free- 
hold in the following year. For five months during his seminary 
course, he conducted services every Sabbath in a mission-hall, 
under the care of the Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. 
In May, 1848, he graduated in theology. Overtures had been 
made to him to settle in Bristol and Easton, Pa., but under the 
advice of Dr. Addison Alexander and other friends, he accepted 
a unanimous call to Camden, and was ordained over that church 
by the Presbytery of West Jersey, Rev. T. L. Cuyler preaching 
the sermon. His ministry in Camden was early clouded with the 
shadow of a great domestic sorrow. His infant son died upon the 
day of his birth, and the mother followed him only two days later. 
Six months after this event came the first temptation to leave the 
scene of his trial. The directors of Princeton Seminary offered 
him the position of Instructor of Hebrew. The honor was de- 
clined only to be repeated in another and seemingly more impera- 
tive form, when, in the spring of 1851, came the appointment to 
the vacant chair of Belles Lettres in Brown University, which he 
decided to accept. For sixteen years he was professor in that in- 
stitution. August 22d, 1867, he was attacked with erysipelas in 
the forehead, which, in a few days, extended over the entire face 



20 

and head. Upon the day of his death, after a night of restless- 
ness, when the windows were thrown open to relieve his breathing, 
he exclaimed : "What a delicious whiif of air. It is like a breath 
from the River of the Water of Life," ignorant of the fact that he 
was already standing upon its shores. When told that he was 
sinking fast, he simply said, "Am I so sick as that?" He met 
his death without a tremor. His biographer says : "A few hours 
before his death, when asked to take more stimulants, he replied, 
'Good-bye, I am going home.' 'Yes,' it was said to him, 'you 
are going to the Heavenly City which you loved to write about,' 
and he assented. The last sermon he had written, and the last 
which any of his family had heard him preach, was one on the City of 
God. About five o'clock that beautiful afternoon he passed away. 
' He asked life of Thee and Thou gavest him long life, even forever 
and ever.' " 

Dr. Dunn was a polished Christian gentleman, a scholarly 
preacher, a vivacious and sympathetic teacher. He possessed to 
an uncommon degree the rare faculty of winning the respect and 
esteem of young men. He was a close student of the Scriptures in 
their original tongues, had mastered the French language in his 
childhood, and in later years had become proficient in German and 
Italian. He had entered into an engagement to translate the book 
of Proverbs for Dr. Schaaf's edition of " Lange's Commentaries," 
and had just begun the work when death surprised him. He was 
somewhat of an liymnologist. The familiar hymn 

. " No, no, it is not dying, 
To go unto our God," 

which he had himself translated, was read at his funeral. " Jesus, 
Jesus, Visit Me;" " A Stronghold Firm, a Trusty Shield;" 
" Attend, O Lord, My Daily Toil," are the opening words of 
three other well-known translations. He received the degree of 
D. D. from his Alma Mater. "^ 

The third pastor of the church was Rev. Levi Hunt Christian, 
whose ministry extended from July 1st, 1851, until December 

*" Biographical Sketch," by Dr. Caldwell; the Presi^^ermft ;" English 
Hymns," by Duffield ; " Sacred Lyrics from the German." 



21 

13th, 1853, when the pastoral relation was dissolved. Forty-five 
persons united with the church during his pastorate. 

Mr. Christian was born in Albany, N. Y., August 1st, 1817, and 
graduated at the College of New Jersey in 1 840. He subsequently 
became principal of the Academy at Fredericksburg, Va. ; was mis- 
sionary at Lewinsville and Fairfax from 1845-48 ; was ordained as 
an evangelist by the Presbytery of Winchester, October 3d, 1846 ; 
was pastor of the Court Street Church, Rochester, N. Y., 1849-50; 
associate pastor of F Street Church, Washington, D. C, 1850-51 J 
pastor of First Camden, 1851-53 ; pastor-elect at Plamilton, Ohio, 
1855, and pastor of the North Church, Philadelphia, from 1855 
until about the time of his death, which occurred October 23d, 1864. 
He was an earnest and exemplary Christian, an able and faithful 
preacher. Several of his sermons were given to the press. Among 
these was a Thanksgiving discourse on " Our Present Position," 
published in 1862.* 

The fourth pastor. Rev. Daniel Stewart, D. D., began his labors 
April 1st, 1854, but was not formally installed over the church 
until June 12th, 1856. With his coming the era of prosperity began 
to dawn. The church, which, up to this time, had received assist- 
ance from the Board of Home Missions, became self-sustaining. 
The church edifice was enlarged at an expense of $2,750, and to 
the extent of nearly double its former capacity ; the lecture-room 
was refurnished ; and, in the early part of 1860, a colony was sent 
off to constitute the Second Church. Isaac Van Horn, an elder, 
and 14 other members were set aside to form the new organization, 
and substantial assistance was from time to time rendered, until the 
enterprise was assured of success. Dr. Stewai't resigned his charge 
in the month of March, 1861. During his ministry 160 members 
had been added to the roll. 

Dr. Stewart was the son of John and Catharine Monteith Stew- 
art, and was born July 17th, 1811, in Amsterdam, N. Y. He 
graduated at Union College in 1833, and at Princeton Theological 
Seminary in 1838. He was installed pastor of the First Presby- 

* Presbyterian Encyclop;pdia ; Nevin's "History of the Presbytery of Phila- 
delphia Central." 



teriiin Church of Amsterdam, February 20th, 1839. In 1840 he 
assumed charge of the church at Ballston Spa, and in 1844 was 
installed over the First Church of New Albany, Ind. From 1849-53 
he filled the chair of Biblical Literature and Hebrew in the 
New Albany Theological Seminary. He then became pastor suc- 
cessively of the churches of Camden, N. J., Johnstown, N. Y., 
Second Church, New Albany, Ind., and the Andrew Church, Min- 
neapolis. For many years he ministered to the First Church of 
Minneapolis, and in that city still resides, though honorably retired 
from active work. 

Dr. Stewart possessed in a conspicuous degree, the qualifications 
which make a minister of the gospel " a workman that needeth not 
to be ashamed." He was a diligent student, a faithful pastor, a 
vigorous preacher. Several of his sermons have appeared in print. 
He was a warm friend of church extension, and each of the con- 
gregations to which he ministered was largely built up and strength- 
ened through his influence,* 

The fifth pastor was the Rev. Villeroy D. Reed, D. D., who 
was installed November 20th, 1861, and for nearly a quarter of a 
century, or until June 30th, 1884, conntinued to minister to the 
congregation. His long and useful pastorate was signalized by a 
marked advance in the temporal and spiritual prosperity of the 
church. His faithful preaching was honored by two or three sea- 
sons of special quickening, and by 747 accessions to the member- 
ship, 328 of which were upon profession of faith. His wise 
administrative ability bore fruit in the erection of the present com- 
modious and handsome house of worship, at a cost, including lot 
and furnishings, of nearly $90,000. The impress of his consistent 
Christian character, of his discreet and well-ripened judgment, of his 
unremitting pulpit and pastoral labor, will long be felt in this 
community in giving direction, influence, and shape to the future 
destiny of Presbyterianism. 

Dr. Reed was born at Granville, N. Y., April 27th, 1815. He 
united with the Presbyterian Church in Lansingburg, N. Y., when 
twelve years of age. He graduated from Union College in 1835, 

* Presbyterian Encyclopedia. 



23 

studied theology at Auburn and Princeton, and was licensed to 
preach the gospel August, 1838. He was pastor of the church at 
Stillwater, N. Y., five years, and of the church of Lansingburg, 
fourteen years. In October, 1857, he was elected by the Synod of 
Iowa President of Alexander College, Dubuque. In 1861 he 
was installed over the First Church of this city, where he labored 
until his resignation in 1884. Since leaving Camden he has been 
pastor of the East Whiteland Presbyterian Church, at Frazer, Pa. 
He is now without a charge. Besides being an able, sound, and 
earnest preacher. Dr. Reed has been a valuable member of our 
church judicatories. He was one of the Old School Assembly's 
committee on re-union, in 1866, and acted as secretary for that 
committee. He was for twelve years a member of the Board of 
Education, and for five years its president. He has been president 
of the Board of Ministerial Relief since its organization in 
1876.^ 

The sixth pastor of the church was Rev. Marcus A. Brownson, 
who was installed November 13th, 1884. The ministry of Mr. 
Brownson was marked by increasing prosperity, and like that of 
his predecessor, is still fresh in the memory of many who will read 
these pages. Coming to Camden in the morning of his ministerial 
life, he cast his youthful energy into his work, and by his kind 
and consecrated spirit, and his effective and stirring preaching won 
his way at once to the affections of his people. His pastorate was 
marked by numerous accessions to the roll, an indebtedness of 
!$19,000 was lifted from the church building, and the benevolences 
of the congregation were placed upon a new and more systematic 
basis. It was an occasion of great sorrow to his church, and a 
source of regret to the community, that an unexpected and unani- 
mous call from the First Church of Detroit should have removed 
him from the field in which he had labored with so much useful- 
ness and success. 

Mr. Brownson is the son of Rev. James I. Brownson, D. D., and 
Mrs. Eleanor A. Brownson, and was born in Washington, Pa., 
where his father has for more than a quarter of a century preached 

* Presbyterian Encyclopiedia ; HanJ-book of the Churcli. 



24 

the gospel. He received his collegiate training at Wasliington and 
Jefferson College and studied theology at the Western Theological 
Seminary, in Allegheny. He was licensed by the Presbytery of 
Washington (Pa.), April 28th, 1880, and was ordained by the 
Presbytery of Newcastle, April 29th, 1883. From 1881-1883 he 
had charge of the Hebron Memorial Chapel of the Olivet Church, 
Philadelphia, and was assistant pastor of the Central Presbyterian 
Church, of Wilmington, Del., from 1883-1884. From 1884-1889 
he ministered to the First Church, of Camden. He is still pastor 
of the First Church, Detroit. 

The present pastor of the church is Rev. Wellington E, Loucks, 
who is a native of Peoria, 111. Graduating from the High School 
of that city in 1873, he began the study of medicine under an 
eminent physician, meantime spending the winters of 1873 and 
1874 in teaching school. He was converted June 6th, 1873, under 
the ministry of Rev. Jonathan Edwards. Two years after this 
event, feeling called to preach the gospel, he entered Hanover 
College, Ind, On account of intimate connection with revival 
movement in the neighboring city of Madison, wiiich threatened 
to make serious demands upon his time, he left Hanover and 
entered Wabash College, Ind. From that institution he graduated 
in 1877. He studied theology under the direction of Dr. Edwards, 
then of Danville Seminary, Ky., and afterward completed the en- 
tire course prescribed at Chicago Seminary in private. He was 
licensed to ])reach April, 1877; was ordained and installed over 
the churches of Darlington and Bethel, Ind., October, 1877; was 
called to the First Church of Crawfordsville, September, 1879 ; 
was settled over the First Church of Logansport, Ind., December, 
1880, and continued to be its pastor for nearly seven years. His 
health becoming impaired, he relinquished this charge and in the 
month of September, 1887, accepted a call to the assistant pastor- 
ate of North Broad Street Church, Philadelphia. From April to 
September, 1889, he ministered to the Oxford Church, of that city, 
during the illness of its pastor. He was called to Camden October, 
1889. 

Mr. Loucks, in the short period of his pastorate, has given the 
community abundant evidence of his ability to fill the pulpit of 



25 

the First Church with all the fervor, grace, and eloquence which 
have marked the ministrations of the line of godly men who have 
preceded him. • As an earnest of the good things yet in store for 
this congregation, large accessions have already been made to its 
membership, while the beautiful Mission Chapel of the Central 
School, dedicated September 28th to the service of God, will prove 
a lasting monument to the devotion and zeal which have charac- 
terized the first few months of his ministry. 

The following persons have been Elders of the church : William 
Howell, David Roe, George H. Van Gelder, Isaac Van Horn, James 
H. Stevens, William Hart, Joseph D. Reinboth, John Aikman, 
John S. Chambers, George W. N. Custis, William Fewsmith, 
Jacob H. Yocum, John F. Starr, Robert P. Stewart, Asa L. Curtis, 
James A. Armstrong, M. D., William Howard Curtiss, Carlton 
M. Williams, William B. Robertson, Howard O, Hildebraud, 
Charles Danenhower, Gerard R. Vogels, Andrew Abels, William 
J. Searle. 

The Deacons who have served the church are John V. Schenck, 
M. D., Cornelius P. VanDerveer, William M. Shivers, Benjamin 
G. Davis, Thomas Fitzgerald, James A. Armstrong, M. D., A. T. 
Dobson, M. D., William J. Searle, George W. Cole, William G. 
Garland, William H. Hunterson, Jr., John H. Shelmire, Lawrence 
E. Brown, Downs E. Hewitt. 

The following persons have been Trustees : Joseph Pogue, 
George W. Carpenter, George Helmbold, Joseph Casuer, William 
Howell, John Osier, Auley G. McCalla, John Morgan, Lawrence 
Cake, Charles J. Hollis, Solomon L. Stimson, Henry J. Vanuxem, 
John V. Schenck, M. D., Thomas McKeen, Leander N. Ott, 
James R. Caldwell, Charles P. Stratton, Peter L, Voorhees, Cor- 
nelius P.. VanDerveer, James H. Stevens, David Caldwell, Isaac 
Van Horn, William Fewsmith, Charles Carpenter, Samuel L.Davis, 
Elisha R. Johnson, George W. N. Custis, John S. Chambers, John 
Stoekham, William Curtiss, Christopher A. Bergen, Jacob H. 
Yocum, Albert W. Markley, John F. Starr, James L. R. Cam])bell, 
Malcolm Macdonald, Charles Stoekham, Alfred J. String, D. T. 
Gage, Randal E. Morgan, Edward F. Nivin, Louis T. Derousse, 



26 

Simeon T. Ringle, Welling Schrack, Lnther H. Kellara, John W 
Yeatts, Harry Fricke, Cyrus H. K. Curtis.* 



THE OLD CENTRAL CHURCH. 

Very few persons now resident in Camden are aware of the fact 
that three years after the organization of the present First Church, 
and for six years subsequent to that time, another Presbyterian 
Church existed at the corner of Fourth and Clinton Streets. Al- 
though long dead its influence still lives and perpetuates itself in 
the Central Public School, which occupies the ground upon which 
it stood. 

Some little unpleasantness had arisen in the First Church, which 
had resulted in the disaffection and withdrawal of a number of 
persons, the most prominent of whom were connected with the 
families of Casner, Hunt, Davis, Taylor, and Smith. Most of 
these persons were warm friends of Joseph Casner. When Rev. 
John AV. Mears, in the year 1850, called at the house of Mr. Casner's 
mother and broached the organization of a new church, in the cen- 
tral part of the city, the proposition awakened immediate sym- 
pathy. How the attention of Mr. Mears was drawn to Camden is 
not known. The lamentable division of the Presbyterian Church 
into Old and New School had occurred little more than ten years 
previously, and the reasons which had wedged the body asunder 
were still most keenly and bitterly cherished. 

The division had been overruled of God to a marked activity in 
the matter of church extension. Upon the 18th of October, 1849, 
we find the following minute recorded upon the book of the Fourth 
Presbytery of Philadelphia : "The attention of Presbytery has been 
called to several desirable locations where congregations might be 
gathered, but which it laments that the prevailing apathy to church 
extension will not warrant it to occupy. Feeling deeply the urgent 
need of the presence of the Divine Spirit in its midst, the prayer of 
Presbytery would be 'Awake, oh! North wind, and come thou 
South. Blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow 

* Hand-book of tlie Church. 



27 

out.' " Camden evidently was one of these " desirable locations," 
for upon the 9th of October, 1850, Mr. Mears, who was then a 
licentiate of the Association of the Western District of New Haven 
County, was taken under care of Presbytery, and was permitted to 
make a statement respecting the progress of Presbyteriauism in this 
city, and to present a request from the congregation worshiping 
here to be organized into a church. The visit of Mr. Mears had 
been successful. Preliminary meetings, in the interest of the new 
enterprise, had been held in the house of a Mr. Robinson, on Line 
Street. A social organization, presumably tlie Sons of Temperance, 
rented the upper room of this dwelling, and in this " upper cham- 
ber "the first services were held. Subsequently, and up to the 
time of the completion of their church edifice, the little company of 
worshipers held services in Washington Hall. 

The petition for full organization was favorably received by 
Presbytery, and a committee was appointed to inquire into the 
feasibility of the measure, with discretionary power to act in the 
case. Upon the 28th of November the committee, which consisted 
of Rev. Drs. Thomas Brainerd, E. W. Gilbert, Joel Parker, Messrs. 
Albert Barnes, Robert Adair, and Elders Thomas Fleming, B. B. 
Comegys, and John A. Stewart, organized a church of sixteen 
members, which, upon the April following, was regularly enrolled 
upon the minutes of Presbytery as the Central Church of Camden. 
Of the sixteen members, Catherine Casner, Eliza Casner, Catherine 
Hunt, Ann Miller, xVnn M. Smith, Priscilla H. Smith, Sarah 
Brukley, Joseph Casner, and Benjamin Hunt had been connected 
with the First Church, and Henry King, Elizabeth King, Caroline 
Frazier, Hannah Fairfowl, Eunice Harvard, George W. Mears, and 
A. Lumm, were received by letter from different churches in Phila- 
delphia. Benjamin Hunt and Henry King were elected and 
inducted into the eldership of the new church. 

Upon the 1st of April, 1852, nearly a year and a half after the 
organization, a call having been put into the hands of Mr. Mears, 
he was ordained and installed pastor of the church. In this service 
the Moderator, Rev. D. C. Meeker, presided and proposed the con- 
stitutional questions ; Rev. George Duffield, Jr., preached the 
sermon and charged the people; Rev. Albert Barnes offered the 



28 

ordaining prayer, and E. W. Gilbert, D. D., charged the pastor. 
The sermon preached by Mr. Mears on this occasion, as a trial 
piece, was from Luke 5 : 4, "Launch out into the deep," and was 
long remembered as an eloquent and impressive production. 

In the meantime the effort to erect a church edifice had assumed 
a practical shape. Upon the 26th of May, 1851, a lot of ground 
one hundred feet square, at the corner of Fourth and Hartmau 
Streets, Cooper Hill, now Fourth and Clinton Streets, had been 
purchased from Hartnian and Ellen Kuhn for §1,500, subject to 
a mortgage of $1,250. A second mortgage of $750 was created 
upon the 7th of September, 1852. The corner-stone of the new 
building was laid in the month of June, 1851, Messrs. Barnes, 
Brainerd, and others assisting in the ceremony, and by the 5th of 



r-<- \. 




THE CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN (n. S.) CHURCH, OF CAMDEN, N. J. 



November, 1852, so much success had attended the effort that the 
session of the church felt justified in taking the following action : 
" Session took notice of the fact that in the Providence of God the 
church edifice had recently been completed, and deem it a matter 
of devout gratitude to the great Head of the Church, and also 
recommend that special thanksgiving for the happy results of our 
labors and abundant answer to our prayers, be rendered by the 
church on the approaching communion season." A cut of the 
church, and the following description taken from a pamphlet of 
that day furnish a fair idea of the appearance of the building: 
" This is a beautiful little edifice, constructed entirely of wood and 
of the Gothic style of architecture. Its height from the floor to 



29 

tlie peak of the roof is 28 feet. The dimensions of the whole area, 
principal building 60x30 feet; portico 7x11 feet; semicircular recess 
for the pulpit 8 feet 6 inches. The lecture-roora is 18x25 feet, 
communicating with the main building and capable, if necessary, 
of being thrown into one department with it. All the materials 
are of the best quality, the foundation heavy, and the walls and 
roofing substantial." 

Upon the following April, Presbytery held its regular spring 
meeting in the new building, Rev. Geo. Duflfield opening the ses- 
sion with a sermon from Acts 2 : 43, 44. 

The pastorate of Mr. Mears extended over a period of twenty- 
one months, although his connection with the enterprise had lasted 
more than twice as long. On the 19th of January, 1854, at a 'pro 
re nata meeting of Presbytery held at the Educational Rooms, 216 
Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, at his own request the pastoral rela- 
tion was dissolved, and Rev. Thomas Brainerd appointed to mod- 
erate the session and declare the pulpit vacant. The growth in the 
membership had been discouraging. Up to the 23d of October, 
1853, when the sessional record abruptly ends, 31 persons had been 
received iiito the church, 28 by certificate and 3 upon examination. 
During the same period one had died and fourteen had been dis- 
missed. So that, at the dissolution of the pastoral relation, the 
number of active members was but 16, precisely the same number 
as at the date of the organization of the church. The removal of 
one of the elders and his family was likewise a serious loss. The 
financial outlook was bad. A heavy debt rested upon the building, 
necessitating the issuing of a printed appeal for help, from which 
we glean the following facts: "The projectors of this enterprise, 
who have labored hard in the accomplishment of their design, find 
themselves about one thousand dollars behind-hand, and take this 
method of presenting the cause to your notice, asking your assistance 
in raising the above amount." All these facts had doubtless their 
bearing upon the decision of Mr. Mears to seek another field, and 
explain, to a degree, the reason which led to the ultimate disband- 
ing of the church. 

Upon the retirement of Mr. JSIcars from the pastorate the pro- 
cess of dissolution was very rapid. June 8th, '1854, we find 



30 

Presbytery, at a meeting held in Lombard Street Church, suspend- 
ing its regular business to attend to the interests of the church in 
Camden. " It appeared that the sura of §500 was immediately 
and imperatively required to insure the progress of the Camden 
Church. Whereupon it was resolved, first : That assistance should 
at once be rendered to the church at Camden, especially by the 
churches of the Presbytery that had not already contributed their 
due proportion. Second, That the Rev. Messrs. Shepherd and 
Darling be associated with Mr. James Dickson, stated supply in 
said church, to see that efficient measures are taken to carry the 
former resolution into effect." 

At the regular fall meeting of Presbytery, Mr. Shepherd, chair- 
man of the committee, presented a report, and the committee was 
continued. At the same meeting the church requested to have its 
pulpit supplied by Presbytery. At a meeting held two weeks 
later, at Carlisle, Pa., during the intervals of Synod, appointments 
were made extending to November 26th. Matters seem to have 
reached a crisis about the latter date, for, upon the 5th of Decem- 
ber, 1854, Rev. Robert Adair represented to Presbytery the con- 
dition of the Camden Church, " whereupon a committee of three 
elders, consisting of Messrs. John C. Farr, Robert W. Davenport, 
and Israel Ashmead, were appointed to act in the case as they may 
deem expedient, and were requested to confer with the Rev. Robert 
Adair with regard to the affairs of said church." The appointment 
of the committee was doubtless due to the fact that S. D. Button 
and J. H. Fenton had been instructed by the Board of Trustees 
of the church to wait upon Presbytery and inform it of the urgency 
of the case. The builder, Samuel H. Morton, had issued a judg- 
ment against the church for §371.80, the property had been adver- 
tised by the sheriff, and was at last actually exposed and bought at 
public sale, for the comparatively small sum of $450, subject to 
the mortgages of $2,000. The Camden Board of Education were 
the purchasers. The church was transformed into a public school, 
and with the growth of population was superseded by the present 
building. It is said that a committee of Presbytery came over 
upon the day of sale for the purpose of buying the property in, but 
they reached the city a little too late to consummate their purpose. 



31 

Of the old Central Church little now remains except the name, 
which still clings to the public school which was reared upon its 
ruins. The pulpit Bible, which had passed into the possession of 
Elder King, and liad been reverently preserved by his daughters 
as a priceless memento of their father's faith, was presented to the 
pastor of the Second Church, and by him donated to the Third 
Church upon the day of the dedication of their building. It still 
speaks the same messages of comfort and warning which it was wont 
to utter at Fourth and Clinton Streets. The bell was sold to Mount 
Moriah Cemetery, in Philadelphia, and now calls together a larger 
congregation than ever assembled at its summons in Camden. It is 
a strong illustration of the persistency of Divine Grace, or of what 
the scientist would call the law of Heredity, that the descendants 
of the little company who constituted the Central Church, in all 
instances where it has been possible to trace them, reflect the pious 
spirit of their ancestors. Many of them, it is true, have drifted 
into other denominations, but most of them retain their allegiance 
to the Presbyterian faith. Some of them are the most active 
workers in the Methodist and Baj)tist churches of this city, and a 
few of them are among the most efficient members of the Second 
Presbyterian Church. George W. Mears became a prominent 
elder in a Philadeljihia church, and J. H. Fenton has served in 
the same capacity, with great usefulness, in several churches. One 
of the lady members married a well-known physician, an elder of 
the Tioga Church, and so the illustrations of heredity and of the 
permanent and potent influence of the Central Church might be 
multiplied. Of the Board of Trustees the names of Joseph Cas- 
ner, Benjamin Hunt, George S. Courtenay, Jacob Miller, George 
W. Mears, S. D. Button, J. H. Fenton, J. B. Davis have alone 
been preserved. Messrs. Courtenay and Mears were successively 
treasurer of the church, and Mr. Mears for a long time acted as 
superintendent of the Sunday-school.* 

The Rev. J. W. Mears, D. D,, the first and only pastor of the 
Central Church, was the son of Henry H. and Anna B. Birken- 

* Minutes of the Presbytery of Philadelphia Fourth ; Minutes of the Church ; 
Fisler's History of Camden; Communication from Mrs. Denning; local memo- 
randa. 



32 

bine Mears, and was born in Reading, Pa., August 10th, 1825. 
He received his collegiate education at Delaware College, graduat- 
ing at the head of his class in 1842. For four years he studied 
theology at Yale. He was ordained and installed over the Central 
Church in 1852. For several years he was engaged in pastoral 
work chiefly at Milford, Del., and Elkton, Md. He then assumed 
the editorship of the American Presbyterian, relinquishing that 
position in 1871 to take the Albert Barnes Professorship of Intel- 
lectual and Moral Philosophy in Hamilton College, N. Y. In 
this position he continued until the day of his death. He was 
always an active worker in the cause of reform. Early in 1858 
he instituted a movement against the infamous Oneida community, 
whose headquarters were near the College town. He secured at 
first the appointment of a committee by the Presbytery of Uticato 
inquire into the social relations of the members of the community, 
and soon enlisted the co-operation of Bishops Huntington, of the 
Episcopal, and Peck, of the Methodist churches, and other clergy- 
men of different denominations. The movement was prosecuted 
with so ranch vigor that in August, 1879, the complex marriage 
system and other objectionable features were formally abolished by 
the Oneida communists. 

Mr. Mears died at Clinton, N. Y., November 10th, 1881, in 
the 56th year of his age. He had fallen from his chair in the 
class-room in violent convulsions, and had lingered for a few days 
in a semi-unconscious condition, when the summons came. A few 
weeks before his death he had written to his mother, " I now start 
upon a new decade of my life work. Ten years I spent in pre- 
paring for the ministry, ten years I preached, ten years edited the 
American Presbyterian, and ten years have been teaching at Hamil- 
ton. I wonder what the Lord has in store for me in the next ten 
years." He little thought that the next ten years would be spent 
where God's servants " serve Him and see His face." He was the 
author of several publications mostly of an historical character. The 
" Story of Madagascar," " Martyrs of France," " Heroes of Bohemia,'' 
"From Exile to Overthrow," and ^' Beggars of Holland "and "Gran- 
dees of Spain" have been published by the Presbyterian Board.* 

* The Presbyterian. 



33 



THE SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. 

The history of Presbyterianism iu Camden is the history of a 
straggle. The two churches which for many years have exercised 
a commanding influence over the interests of the denomination in 
this city have each sprung, phoenix-like, from the ashes of an 
earlier organization. The present First Church, as has been shown, 
is the lineal successor of a previous one ; and the Second Church 
occupies the territory of old pre-empted by the Central Church. 
Indeed not more than five years had elapsed after the latter had 
disbanded, before the first edifice of the Second Church had been 
erected within two squares of the site upon which the Central had 
stood. It has been said that it is hard to kill a Presbyterian 
Church, and the statement finds an effective illustration in the two 
seemingly premature attempts to plant the blue banner of the 
Covenant upon Camden soil. One scarcely knows which were 
better, to applaud the courage of the little company of Presbyter- 
ians who so well exemplified their own doctrine of Perseverance^ 
or to conjecture how much larger the possible results of their en- 
terprise might have been, if the two earlier efforts had not suffered 
from four or five years of suspended animation. 

The Second Presbyterian Church was organized on the 1st of 
March, 1860, and, to use the language of its first pastor, '^was 
launched into being under the fostering care of the First Church, 
being born, not as new churches sometimes are, out of disaffection 
or controversy, but out of love for the Master and for the exten- 
sion of His kingdom." In the year 1859 Rev. Dr. Daniel Stew- 
art, pastor of the First Church, urged upon his people the import- 
ance of forming another Presbyterian Church to meet the growing 
necessities of the city. A meeting for this purpose was called for 
March 23d, 1859, at which a committee composed of Isaac Van 
Horn, Thomas McKeen, James H. Stevens, George W. Carpenter, 
Sr., and Gilbert Bulson, was appointed " to seek out and secure 
one or more sites of church edifices in suitable location, and in the 
event of finding such location, to erect a temporary edifice for the 
purpose of worship and Sabbath-school instruction." This commit- 
tee, through the influence of Mr. Van Horn, purchased from E. 
3 



34 

A. Stevens, of Hoboken, N. J., four lots of ground situated at the 
corner of Fourth and Washington Streets, Mr. Stevens donating 
$800 of the purcliase-money. These lots were afterward exchanged 
for the lots upon the upper side of the same square, at Fourth and 
Benson Streets, the site of the present churchy where a chapel was 




SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, OF CAMDEN, N. J., SHOWING OLD CHAPEL. 



built at a cost of $1,900, the money having been contributed mainly 
by members of the First Church. Dr. Stewart, with characteristic 
liberality, headed the subscription list with $300. At the next 
congregational meeting, upon recommendation of the committee, 
the whole property was deeded to the " Trustees of the Second 
Presbyterian Church." 



35 

The Presbytery of Burlington met in the chapel March 1st, 1860, 
and organized the church with a membersliip of 20 persons, viz. : 
Robert Barber, Thomas F. Lambson, Isaac Van Horn, James 
Good, Thomas McKeen, Emily Barber, Agnes Lambson, Annie E. 
Le Chevalier, Sarah J. McKeen, Mary Ann Tourtelot, Mary A. 
Van Horn, Henrietta Smith, Jane Marshall, Sarah L. Clark, 
Elizabeth Van Horn, Annie E. Clark, Nancy A. Hoxie, Marga- 
retta Lambson, Selina O. Tourtelot, Annie E. Van Horn. Upon 
the same day Rev. Lewis C. Baker was called, ordained, and in- 
stalled as pastor of the Church. Isaac Van Horn and Robert 
Barber were set apart to the office of the eldership, and Isaac Van 
Horn, Thomas McKeen, Cyrus Kellog, James Good, Thomas F. 
Lambson, James C. Wright, and J. L. Prentiss were constituted 
the first board of trustees. In the installation of Mr. Baker, Dr. 
Henry Perkins presided and put the constitutional questions ; Dr. 
Stewart preached the sermon from 1 Cor. 2:21; Rev. Samuel Miller 
delivered the charge to the pastor, and the moderator performed 
the same duty for the people. 

Tlie wisdom of the new enterprise, and the advantages of its 
location, soon manifested themselves in the rapid growth of the Sab- 
bath-school and congregation. The chapel was often uncomforta- 
bly crowded, and the need of better accommodations began to be 
more and more felt. To form the nucleus of a new building fund, 
Messrs. Van Horn and McKeen fenced in the square of ground 
lying between Washington and Berkley, and Third and Fourth 
Streets, and converted the inclosure into a skating park. It serves 
to show the marked change which has taken place in the topog- 
raphy of Camden, aud also in the character of its winters, that only 
twenty-five years ago this large square of ground, now covered by 
rows of dwelling-houses, was flooded by the backing of tide-water 
up a small stream, which flowed through its midst, aud that the 
severity of the season kept the water ice-bound, aud in prime con- 
dition for skating, for a period of nearly seven weeks. 

From this novel expedient eighteen hundred dollars were realized, 
with which, as a basis, Mr. Baker in 1864, agitated the erection of 
a new church. A plan was accordingly procured from S. D. Button, 
architect, and in April, 1865, it was resolved to begin the work. 



Isaac Van Horu and Thomas McKeeu were appointed a building 
committee, with the pastor as an advisory member. The sudden 
and lamented death of Mr. Van Horn, before the completion of the 
building, necessitated the addition of his son,F. C. Van Horn, and 
S. L. Stimson to the committee. The building was roofed in during 
the summer of 1865, and upon the first Sabbath of September, 1866, 
was solemnly set apart to the worship of Almighty God. In the 
dedication services the First Church united, its former pastor. Dr. 
Stewart, and W. C Cattell, D. D., president of Lafayette College, 
taking a prominent part. The cost of the building was about 
$19,000. 

The pastorate of Mr. Baker extended over a period of more than 
twenty-two years. Upon the 1st of November, 1882, his long 
and faithful terra of service ended, the relation existing between 
him and his charge having been dissolved at his own request. 
Laboring side by side with the pastor of the First Church for 
more than a score of years, he helped to lift the Presby- 
terian pulpit of this city to a niche in the esteem of the community 
which it is to be hoped it may long continue to fill. His kindly and 
beneficent spirit not only entrenched him deeply in the affections 
of his own people, but gave him a warm and lasting place in 
the hearts of many who were not numbered in his congregation, 
and who yet arise and call his ministry and his memory blessed. 

Mr. Baker is the son of Elihu Baker, for many years cashier of 
the Matawan Bank, and Joanna Carter Baker. He was born in 
Matawan and resided in that village until he was fourteen years of 
age. In 1846 he went to Chicago to be trained for a business life. 
In 18 48 he united with the Second Presbyterian Church of Ciiicago, 
of which the Rev. Dr. R. W. Patterson was then the pastor, and in 
wiiich his father, after his removal to that city, became an elder. 
In 1851 he entered Princeton College and graduated from that in- 
stitution at the head of his class in 1854. After teaching Latin 
and Greek for one year at Beloit College, Wisconsin, he began the 
study of theology in Princeton Seminary, graduating in 1858. He 
was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Passaic in April, 1857, 
as was also his room-mate, Rev. W. C. Roberts, the last Moderator 
of the General Assembly, During the vacation following, they 



37 

together supplied the Third Church at Treuton, until the opening 
of the seminary session. After graduation he preached during the 
summer months at Freehold, was called to the church of Martins- 
burg, Va., but preferred accepting the position of temporary supply 
at the First Church of Camden, with the understanding that a 
Second church would soon be formed. When the church was or- 
ganized March 1st, 1860, he was ordained and installed as its first 
pastor, and continued in that office until November 1st, 1882. In 
the following year he removed to Philadelphia to enter upon 
literary and editorial work. 

It will be of interest to the friends of Mr. Baker to indicate the 
steps which led to the sundering of his connection with the Presby- 
terian Church. At a meeting of the Presbytery of West Jersey 
held at Daretown, 1885, he introduced an overture, requesting the 
General Assembly to appoint a Committee to examine the eschato- 
logical sections in the Confession of Faith with a view to their re- 
vision. This was the first movement within the Church in the di- 
rection of the agitation which has since come upon it. The over- 
ture was put upon the docket for the fall meeting. When the 
matter came up for discussion at Haddonfield, it failed of adoption, 
only five persons voting in its favor. Many adverse criticisms 
having been awakened by the overture, and likewise by the eschato- 
logical views which Mr. Baker was promulgating in his magazine, 
he felt at last constrained to ask the advice of Presbytery at its 
spring session in 1886 : First, as to the right of a minister of the 
Presbyterian Church who was convinced that certain of its Con- 
fessional statements were without warrant of Scripture, to agitate 
the Church upon the question and to labor for their correction and 
removal. Second, whether in the teaching of his magazine he had 
transcended his rights and duties as a minister of the Church. 

A committee was appointed to confer with him, who reported, that 
if he were content to hold the views which he had been teaching, 
privately, his relation to the Presbytery need not be disturbed, but 
if he deemed it his duty to continue to raise these questions in the 
Church, they did not think it would be consistent for him to retain 
his standing in it. Believing that his ordination vows to study the 
peace and purity of the Church required him to continue the agita- 



38 

tioii, he could not promise to be silent. The result was that, after 
repeated discussions over the report in Presbytery, and its final 
adoption at the meeting in April, 1888, he felt constrained to resign 
liis ministry in the Church. He has since become a member of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church. 

He is the author of a volume of discourses on the " Mystery of 
Creation and of Man." He has also published a series of Scriptural 
studies, designed to prove the Redemptive character of Resurrec- 
tion, under the title, " The Fire of God's Anger, or Light from the 
Old Testament teaching concerning Future Punishment." Since 
1885 he has edited the magazine. Words of Reconciliation. 

The present pastor is the Rev. William Boyd, who was installed 
May 2d, 1883. During his ministry the church property has been 
renovated and greatly improved ; a beautiful and well-appointed 
chapel, valued at $10,000, has been built upon the site of the 
old chapel ; two missions have been founded, one of which has 
grown into the Third Church, and four hundred members have 
been added to the roll. 

The officers of the church from the beginning have been : Elders — 
Isaac Van Horn, Robert Barber, Solomon L. Stimson, Judge 
George S. Woodhull, William Campbell, Alexander Marcy, M. D., 
James Berry, Reuben F. Bancroft, John Callahan, Benjamin O. 
Titus, David B. Riggs, John Warnock, Daniel Donehoo. 

Deacons — George W. Carpenter, Jr., George E. Howes, Alfred 
M. Heston, David B. Riggs, Daniel Donehoo, Francis T. Lloyd, 
J. H. Troutman, Valentine S. Campbell, Clarence B. Yardley, 
Edwin S. Titus, and S. H. Sargent. 

The Sabbath-school Superintendents have been Judge Woodhull, 
William Getty, James Berry, S. Bryan Smith, William H. Ban- 
croft, John Callahan, and Daniel R. Rosston. 

Trustees — Isaac Van Horn, Thomas McKeen, Cyrus Kellog, 
James Good, Thomas F. Lambson, James C. Wright, J. L. Pren- 
tiss, Samuel Harris, Thomas H. Lambson, Samuel B. Smith, 
George S. Woodhull, Alexander Marcy, M. D., S. L. Stimson, 
George E. Howes, F. C. Van Horn, Andrew Heath, George W. 
Carpenter, Jr., John G.Miller, James Maguire, James Getty, Rodol- 
phus Bingham, William Campbell, Alex. M. Mecray, M. D., Wallace 



39 




SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, OP CAMDEN, N. J., SHOWINf; NEW CHAPEL. 



40 

M. Smith, James Berry, Henry J. Yanuxera, R. F, S. Heath, B. 
O. Titus, John Callahan, Frank A. Fenton, Alfred M.Heston, D. 
R. Griffiths, Daniel Donehoo, David B. Riggs, Charles A. Cham- 
berlain, S. Bryan Smith, M. D., Christopher A. Bergen, John 
Warnock, S. A. Sargent, William T. Waters, J. H. Troutmau, 
Theodore B. Culver, Lewis H. Archer, George P, J. Poole, W. W. 
Davidson, Clarence B. Yardley.* 

THE THIRD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 

is a colony of the Second Church. In the latter part of October, 
1883, Mr. Boyd convened a meeting of the Presbyterians of South 
Camden at the house of Donald McCallum, at which the question 




THIRD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, OF CAMDEN, N. J. 



of opening a mission school was considered. As a result of their 
deliberations the meeting appointed a committee to engage Danen- 
hower's Hall, Broadway, below Kaighn Avenue, and to make all 
arrangements for beginning the work. A Sabbath-school of forty- 
five members was organized November 4th, 1883, and Mr. B. O. 
Titus was elected its first superintendent. Cottage prayer-meetings 
were held every Thursday night, and preaching once a month, both 
services being conducted by Mr. Boyd, as long as the school 
remained in the hall. In the summer of 1885 three lots of ground, 

* Minutes of Church ; " Historical Discourse," by Kev. L. C. Baker. 



41 

situated at the corner of Broadway and Atlantic Avenue, were 
purchased from Adol[)h Foster and a neat chapel erected, the 
property costing about $1,800. At the dedication of the 
building, which occurred upon the afternoon of September 
27th, 1885 (the forty-fifth anniversary of the organization 
of the old First Church), the pastors and sessions of the First and 
Second Churches were present to mingle their thanksgivings over 
the first substantial effort to extend the Presbyterian Church in 
Camden within a period of twenty-three years. In the summer of 
1887, D. Scott Clark, a graduate of Princeton Seminary, and a 
licentiate of the Presbytery of Philadelphia Central, took charge of 
the young enterprise. A church of sixty-two members was organ- 
ized February 16th, 1888, by a committee consisting of Revs. Wm. 
Bannard, M. A. Brownson, F. D. Harris, and Elders John Calla- 
han and William Fewsmith, with Mr. Boyd as chairman. The 
sessions of the First and Second Churches were again present and 
assisted in the services. Wm. Mitchell, Edwin H. Miller, George 
Belz, and William H. Woodruff were elected and ordained as elders 
of the new organization. Upon the 20th of September, 1888, Rev. 
James B. McCool was elected pastor, and subsequently installed 
over the church. After a year of labor he resigned his charge No- 
vember 1st, 1889. Since this date the pulpit has been supplied by 
different ministers. The church hopes to be able soon to secure a 
regular pastor. 

Rev. Mr. McCool, the first pastor, received his theological train- 
ing in the seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in 
Philadelphia. He was pastor for one year of the German Street 
Church, of Philadelphia, and for about two years pastor of the 
church at Kingston, N. J., before taking charge of the Third 
Church of Camden. He is now laboring in Nevada. 

The names of the sixty-two constituent members of the Church 
are : Mr. and Mrs. George Belz, Bella Buchanan, John Berry- 
man, Louise Buckley, W. J. Cross, Effie A. Crowell, Mrs. Johanna 
Davis, Laura Davis, Anna Davis, James Dunlop, Mr. and Mrs. 
George A. Green, Mr. and Mrs. David Geddes, Flora Humph- 
rey, Mrs. Salome Hoag, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. F. I^acy, Mr. and 
Mrs. Wm. Mitchell, Jennie S., Mary H., and Sophie Mitchell, 



42 

Mr. and Mrs. Donald McCallum, Bella McCallum, Susan Mac- 
Lean, Edwin H. Miller, Lucy McCullough, Robena Rutherford, 
Mr. and Mrs. E. Roop, Sarah J. Raff, Mrs. Anna Schoeperkotter, 
Lorena Smith, Chas. W. M. Sommers, Mrs. Sarah Sidebottom, 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Slayden, Isabella Scarborough, Mr. and 
Mrs. James Tough, John M. Tough, Martha Tyson, Mary E. 
Taylor, Mrs. Catherine Young, Maud E. and Theodora Wyckoff, 
William L. Woodruff, Andrew Rutherford, Mary E. Smith, Mrs. 
C. Siers, Bertie Siers, Agnes Tough, and Annie Thompson. To 
this number may be added the names of Elizabeth M. Long, Mrs. 
Chas. W. M. Sommers, Alexander Smyth, Mr. and Mrs. Dr. R. 
Given Taylor, and Sallie and Jennie Warnock, all of whom 
united with the Church three weeks after its organization. 

The Superintendents of the Sunday-school hav^e been B. O. 
Titus, William Long, Harry L. Maguire, Edwin H. Miller, J. B. 
McCool, Schuyler C. Woodhull ; and the Trustees of the church, 
William Mitchell, George Belz, John Tough, James Tough, James 
Henderson, Wm. H. Reagle, Wm. H. Woodruff, Willard H. Hol- 
ten, and Andrew Rutherford. 

THE CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL 

was organized by Rev. M. A. Brownson, as a mission of the 
First Church in the dwelling-house, 840 Federal Street, 
May 9th, 1886. Its first superintendent was Thomas S. 
Collins, who resigned June 13th, 1886, and was succeeded by 
W. J. Searle, who filled the position until October 30th, 1887. 
Having outgrown the house in which it was cradled, it took pos- 
session of its present beautiful building in the month of July 
last. A well-located lot at the corner of Eleventh and Cooper 
had been purchased for $4,400, and a chapel erected at a cost of 
nearly $3,000. The building was dedicated September 28th, 
1890 (the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the Old First 
Church), in the presence of a large audience. The chapel is 
admirably situated for large and rapid growth and will soon 
require an addition to accommodate the increasing population of 
that part of the city. The present efficient superintendent of the 



43 

school is R. G. Hann. William J. Searle is assistant superin- 
tendent, and Frederick Smith is secretary and treasurer. The 
school numbers 169 teachers and scholars. 



THE KNOX PRESBYTERIAN MISSION. 

At the invitation of the Synodical Missionary, Rev. Allen IT, 
Brown, Rev. Isaac W. Davenport visited Camden in the month 
of May, 1886, and under the supervision of the pastor of the 
Second Church began a thorough canvass of the colored popula- 
tion. A report of Mr. Davenport's labors was presented to Pres- 
bytery June 28th, 1886, and a committee was thereupon appointed 
to start a mission among the colored people, if the way seemed 
clear. The committee consisted of Elders G. R. Vogels, of the 
First Church ; B. O. Titus, of the Second Church, and Rev. M. 
A. Brownson, with Rev. William Boyd as chairman. The com- 
mittee held several meetings and, after a full discussion of the 
situation, concluded to start a mission at Danenhower's Hall, 
Broadway below Kaighn Avenue. The first service was held 
August 1st, 1886, Mr. Davenport preaching the opening sermon 
to a fair-sized congregation. From that date until May, 1888, 
when his term of service ended, Mr. Davenport labored with great 
fidelity. Starting with less than nothing — for the movement met 
with little sympathy in many quarters and even his warmest coad- 
jutors considered the project as tentative — he preached regularly 
Sabbath morning and evening, gathered together a Sabbath-school 
of fifteen scholars, which gradually increased to sixty-two, and 
maintained a training school in vocal music every Saturday after- 
noon and Wednesday evening. In his canvass of the city he found 
in all five families, representing seventeen souls, of the Presbyterian 
faith. In addition to these families, there were three Presbyterian 
ladies permanently located here, and persons of other religious 
connection, who favored the organization of a church. Had a 
church been constituted it would have enrolled upwards of thirty 
members at its beginning, a larger number than entered into the 
formation of the First or Second Churches. During the two years 
of his relation to the work Mr. Davenport distributed over three 



44 

thousand tracts and religious papers, baptized ten infants, and re- 
ceived three persons into the church upon profession of their 
faith. In addition to this he succeeded in raising money enough 
to meet all running expenses, the entire amount expended upon 
the field, until his labors ended, being $1,334.71, of which sum 
Presbytery had appropriated $700. Mr. Davenport had done a 
more encouraging work for his people than he or the committee 
knew, until it was too late to save the enterprise or the man who 
had nursed and cherished it. The demands upon the missionary 
fund of Presbytery were so great, that it did not feel justified in 
longer continuing to support the mission, and Mr. Davenport 
withdrew to take charge of a Congregational Church in Newark. 
The work among the colored people of Camden was referred to the 
First and Second Churches, joint meetings of the two sessions were 
held, and at the earnest solicitation of Mr. Reuben F. Bancroft, 
who had taken the place of B. O. Titus upon the committee, and who 
had always been the warmest friend of the enterprise, the mission 
was continued for six months longer. A colporteur of the Board 
of Publication was placed upon the field, the churches holding 
themselves responsible for half his salary, the other half being 
guaranteed by the board. At the end of the six months the work 
was sorrowfully abandoned and the school languished and died in 
the hope of an early and joyous resurrection. 

Fifty years ago a Presbyterian Church was planted in this town. 
Two years later it perished. To-day the seemingly abortive eifort 
has blossomed into a strong and vigorous church. Fifty years 
from now, if the world shall last that long, a strong and self-sus- 
taining colored church will stand upon the ruins of the Knox 
Presbyterian Mission, and perpetuate and bless the memory of Mr. 
Davenport and his consecrated band of Sabbath-school teachers. 
For so history repeats itself AVhen Giles Man waring canvassed 
the white population of Camden forty years ago, he could only find 
two Presbyterian families. Five years ago there were five colored 
families of intelligence, respectability, and refinement, in our city. 
In these fiimilies were two well-known educators and one elder. 

The officers of the Knox Sunday-school were T. C. Hinson, 
Superintendent ; Henry Boyer, Assistant Superintendent ; B. An- 



45 

derson, Secretary ; J. E. Warner, Infant-scliool Superintendent j 
Miss H. G. Sylva, Treasurer ; Messrs. Arthur Boyer and George 
Hinson, Librarians. 

Rev. Isaac W. Davenport, whose name is so closely associated with 
this enterprise, is the son of Isaac and Ann Davenport, and a 
native of West Virginia. His father was born in slavery, but, 
receiving his freedom, removed his family to the District of Col- 
umbia, where his children received a common-school education. 
Entering Lincoln University, Mr. Davenport graduated from the 
Art Department of that institution in 1872, and from the Theo- 
logical Department in 1875. During his stay at Lincoln he united 
with the Ashman Presbyterian Church, and was elected to its elder- 
ship, serving in that office until he was licensed to preach the 
gospel by the Presbytery of Chester. 

He taught in the public schools of Georgia and Maryland, 
preached for a time in the Concord Church, of Danville, Ky., and 
then accepted a call to the Ekler Street Presbyterian Church, of 
Harrisburg, Pa., where he labored for two years with much suc- 
cess, and was greatly beloved. Eeceiving a call from the Plain 
Street Church, of Newark, he resigned his Harrisburg charge 
March 15th, 1877. During his pastorate of eight years and a-half 
in Newark, he received into church fellowship one hundred and 
five persons, ten by certificate and ninety-five upon profession of 
faith. Resigning the Plain Street Church he came to Camden, 
and after two years of faithful service in this city went back to 
Newark to accept a call to the Third Congregational Church of 
that city. He still ministers to this congregation with marked 
acceptance, forty peisons having united with this church under 
his ministry. 

LIBERTY PARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. 

The German Church at Liberty Park had its inception in the 
corridor of a hotel in Denver, Colorado. The pastor of the Sec- 
ond Church had the honor of representing his Presbytery in the 
General Assembly which met at Omaha in the spring of 1887. In 
company with a number of the delegates he took a trip iarther 



46 

West. In the course of a conversation with Rev. John E-ichelsen, 
of the Corinthian Avenue Presbyterian Church, of Phihidelphia, 
upon work among the Germans, the attention of that gentleman 
was called to Camden as a field for such evangelistic effort. As 
a result of the conversation. Rev. Charles H. Schwarzbach visited 
this city in the month of October, 1887, interviewed the pastor of 
the Second Church, and was referred by him to Mr. Brownson. 
After several conferences, and with some misgivings as to the prac- 
ticability of the step, the enterprise was finally begun. Had it not 
been for the great faith and indomitable perseverance of Mr. 
Schwarzbach the mission would have come to an untimely birth. 
Obtaining the use of Liberty Park Hall, he opened a series of 
services in the German language, which lasted for nearly a year. 
In the month of December, 1888, he undertook the erection of a 
building, E. N. Cohn generously donated a lot of ground 20x90, 
two other lots of the same size were purchased below their selling 
price, and on the 3d of March, 1889, the cozy little chapel was 
dedicated to the service of Almighty God. 

In the meantime a petition had been presented to Presbytery for 
the organization of a church. A committee was appointed to carry 
the desire of the petitioners into effect if the way seemed clear. 
The committee met at the house of Adam Hartmeyer, January 
22d, 1889, and constituted a cluirch of 17 members. The names 
of these members were, William Schliephake, Anna Schliephake, 
William Kurz, Philip{)ine Kurz, Henry Juengling, Adam Hart- 
meyer, Katherine Hartmeyer, Clara Hartmeyer, Frederick Hart- 
meyer, Henry Werner, Christine Werner, Jacob Christi, Mary 
AVeyland, Louisa Leckleidner, Anna M. Kanz, Sussane Hebel, 
Pauline C. Schwarzbach. Messrs. William Schliephake and William 
Kurz were elected and ordained elders. In the religious exercises 
which were held Messrs. Brownson, Brace, Boyd, Brown, Schnatz, 
and Elder George Belz took part. It was the intention of the 
committee to have organized the church in the Liberty Park Hall, 
where worship had been statedly conducted, but when they reached 
the ground, they found the building pre-occupied by some " Sons 
of Belial," who were engaged in a sparring match. Sundry evi- 
dences of their prowess, in the shape of bloody handkerchiefs, had 



47 




'.liiwiiiaiiVJ-'^---'"' 




LTBKRTY PATUv PRKSIiYTKRIAN CIlURCir, OK CAMDEN, N. J. 



48 

been found beneath the pulpit upon the preceding Sabbath, to the 
mystification of the preacher. The mystery was cleared up when 
the committee knocked imperatively upon the door, and in answer 
to the summons the bolt was cautiously withdrawn and the stalwart 
form of a pugilist, coatless and prepared for the fray, revealed 
itself. It was thought best to beat a hasty retreat to the covert 
of Mr. Hartmeyer's house. 

Mr. Schwarzbach has done most faithful and self-denying 
service for Liberty Park. In addition to the erection of the church 
he has recently built a neat parsonage at a cost, with ground, of 
about $1,800. The whole property is worth about $3,500. To 
the construction of both buildings the Churches of the Presbytery 
have contributed, notably the First Church of Camden, which has 
likewise assisted in meeting Mr. Schwarzbach's salary. 

Mr. Schwarzbach Avas born in Chicago ; pursued his prelimi- 
nary studies in that city and also in Basle, Switzerland ; studied 
theology at Bloomfield Seminary; was licensed by the Presbytery 
of Newark, June 8th, 1880; was ordained by the Presbytery of 
Nassau ; was pastor of Flatbush Reformed Church, L. I., 1881- 
1885 ; pastor of Carmel Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, 1885- 
1887, and since the latter date has been stated supply at Camden. 

THE CRAMER HILL MISSION 

Is the youngest of the Presbyterian enterprises, and is under 
the care of the Second Presbyterian Church. The field had 
long awakened the interest of the Home Mission Committee 
of Presbytery as presenting possibilities of development and 
growth unsurpassed by any section of our city. At the suggestion 
of some of the members of the Second Church who resided in 
the neighborhood, and by authority of Presbytery, Mr. Boyd 
by personal visitation and printed appeal, convened a meeting 
of such citizens of Cramer Hill as were favorable to the plant- 
ing of a Presbyterian Mission, in Pavonia school-house, November 
6th, 1889. James MacNab, J. H. Troutman, W. W. Davidson, 
Lewis H. Archer, and Richard D. Clover represented the Second 
Church. When the sense of the meetino; was taken it was found 



49 

that there were 16 Presbyterians present who resided in the vicinity 
of Pavonia ; that a number more appeared by proxy, and that a 
still kirger representation, having no denominational bias, were de- 
sirous of organizing a school. It was also discovered that the 
Directors of the Township were willing to grant the use of the 
school-room, free of cost, until January 1st, 1890, with the option 
of leasing it thereafter at a reasonable rent. 

Wednesday evening, November 13th, 1889, the school was regu- 
larly organized, with a membership of 24 adults and 7 children. 
Upon the following Sunday it went into oijeration, Mr. Boyd 
being present and conducting the services. W. W. Davidson 
was chosen Superintendent; David Littlejohn, Assistant Superin- 




PROPOSED CHAPEL FOR CRAMER HILL PRESBYTEIUAN MISSION. 



tendeut; James MacNab, Secretary and Treasurer, and John Caskey, 
Librarian. Since that meeting for organization a preaching ser- 
vice has been regularly held every Thursday night, conducted by 
the pastor of the Secoml Church, and a Sabbath-school session 
ev^ery Sunday afternoon. For the past three months, through 
the kindness of Presbytery, Rev. J. B. McCorkle has conducted 
worship every Sabbath evening. The mission is now projecting 
the erection of a chapel. Tiiree lots of ground, 20 by 100, have 
been secured. They are situated at the corner of Cooper and Gar- 
field Avenues. Mr. Alfred Cramer, with his usual liberality, 
donated one of the lots and deducted $120 from the purchase-money 
of the other two for prompt payment. Among those most promi- 
nently identified with the movement have been the families of 
4 



50 

MacXab, Holloway, Lane, Welsh, Littlejolm, Reed, Caskey, 
Cliittuck, Kettle, Sharp, Weber, Carlin, Rogers, Downing, Ridge- 
ley, Kyle, Tice, Leconey, Okerson, and Smith. The Snperin- 
tendent of the school at present is Nelson B. Kline. 



LOST OPPORTUNITIES. 

In the year 1861 John K. F. Stites, wlio afterward labored with 
great acceptance and success as a missionary of the American Sun- 
day-school Union in South Jersey, started a Union Sunday-school 
upon Locust Street, South Camden. The building in which it 
was held was subsequently removed to Third Street, below Walnut, 
and is still used for religious purposes. Although it bore 
no distinctively denominational name it was largely officered and 
supported by Presbyterians, and the Westminster Catechisms were 
regularly and systematically taught. Dr. Alexander Marcy, a 
brother-in-law of Mr. Stites, was one of the earliest of its teachers. 
Upon the appointment of Mr. Stites as Sunday-school Missionary, 
new superintendents were elected and for some years James H. 
Stevens, an elder in the First Ciiurch, acted in that capacity. The 
school was finally abandoned, the results of faithful work flowing 
into the various churches of the neighborhood. Had it been fostered 
a little while longer it might have formed the nucleus of a Third 
Church. A Baptist and Methodist congregation were already in 
existence and the only legitimate successor of the Union School 
would have been of Presbyterian affinity. 

About nine years ago Mr. John Berryman had collected a thrifty 
Sunday-school in Centreville. Having outgrown the private 
house in which it had started, an effort was made to secure for it a 
suitable building and some sort of ecclesiastical recognition. Mr. 
Berryman was anxious to place it under the care of one of the 
Presbyterian churches. Eligible lots upon which to build a cha{)el 
had been promised, and stone and other material could have been se- 
cured for the asking, but the opportunity passed away unimproved. 
The Woodland Avenue Mission, which has just been placed under 
the care of the First Church, and which is located not many 



51 

squares from tlie site of Mr, Berrymau's school, might liave had 
no reason for its existence if tiie earlier occasion had been seized. 

In the summer of 1879 Mrs. Harriet Bergen, the wife of Hon. 
C. A. Bergen, conceived the idea of starting a Mission Sabbath- 
school in the northeastern part of the city. A meeting for that 
purpose was called at her home, 522 Linden Street. Later on the 
key of the house 628 North Sixth Street was, by her generous act, 
placed in the hands of Miss Jennie Porter and Mrs. H. E. Wil- 
liams. The building was thoroughly cleaned, benches were pro- 
cured from Mr. John Morgan, and upon the 20th of July, 1879, 
the school opened with forty-two persons present, and with Henrv 
Landis as its first superintendent. The first teachers were Miss 
Jennie Porter, Miss Minnie Story, Miss Sadie Story, and Mrs. 
Williams. The school existed until May 31st, 1885, when it was 
disbanded. Members of different denominations had been among 
its active workers, but the predominating influence was Pres- 
byterian. About the time of its dissolution an effort was made to 
insure its continuance by placing it under Presbyterian care. A 
desirable lot of ground was promised at a reasonable figure, Mr. 
Bergen made a liberal offer of money if the school could be per- 
petuated, and there were |125 in the treasury, but another oppor- 
tunity was permitted to elude our grasp. The superintendents of 
the school were Henry Landis, Robert G. Hann, and George W. 
Hudson. 

FINAL WORDS. 

Notwithstanding what might seem to be some little remissness, 
the Presbyterian Churches of this city have accomplished much 
for this community and for the cause of Christ throughout the 
world. Their growth has been retarded by proximity to Philadel- 
phia, fluctuations in population, and many circumstances over which 
they have no control, but, nevertheless, during these last forty 
years, about 3,000 members have been taken into church connec- 
tion, thousands of chiUlren have enjoyed healthful religious train- 
ing, upwards of $67,000 have been contributed to benevolences 
abroad, and nearly $375,000 to religious work in the city. It 
may be true that the ratio of growth in membership has scarcely. 



52 

in these latter years, kept pace with the increase in population. 
The successive censuses and the Minutes of General Assembly 
teach us that in 1840 there was 1 Presbyterian for every 280 in- 
habitants ; in 1850, 1 for every 140; in 1860, 1 for every 89 ; in 
1870, 1 for every 43 ; in 1880, 1 for every 59 ; and in 1890, 1 for 
every 58. But it must be remembered that the growth of our city 
in the last twenty years has been unprecedented, rising from 20,045 
in 1870, to 41,159 in 1880, and to more than 58,000 in 1890; 
that Pliiladelphia, the strongest Presbyterian city in the Union, 
has but 1 Presbyterian for every 34 inhabitants, and that the last 
five years have witnessed much activity in the matter of Church 
extension in Camden. Four buildings have been erected at a 
present valuation of $24,000 ; one more is in process of purchase ; 
the plans for another have just issued from the architect's hands, 
and upwards of |25,000 have been spent in the liquidation of debt 
or the improvement of property. The Presbyterian Church in 
Camden has gathered up some salutary lessons from the experience 
of the past. Laboring side by side wath lier beloved brethren of 
sister denominations, rejoicing with them in their successes and 
sympathizing with them in their discouragements, she now hopes 
to press on to better things. May the Great Head of the Church, 
whose loyal servant she seeks to be, help her to realize the hope !