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Full text of "History of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church from its organization on the fifth of August 1747 to its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary on the fifth of August 1897"

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ERECTED 1870. 



Scotch Plains Baptist €burcl) 

from its 

Organization on tbe f Iftft of jF!ugu$t 1747 

to its 

One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary 

on the Tiftb of jfiugwst i$97 

Prepared by 

Rev. J. H. Parks, D. D, and Judge James D. Cleaver 

and published by the ei)urcl) 

Scotcl) Plains, Hew Jersey 
« I«97 • 


i() WARREN ST., 

N. Y. 

Allen County Public Library 

900 Wobstsr Street 

PC Bex 2270 

Fort W£yii3, IN 46801-2270 

The trustees of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church 
adopted the following Preamble and Resolutions, 
Feb. 12, 1896: 

"Whereas the One hundred and fiftieth Anni- 
versary of the organization of this Church will 
arrive in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight 
hundred and ninety-seven, and will be a period in 
the history of the Old Church, which ought of 
right and of gratitude to God, to be marked with 
suitable and appropriate ceremonies of observance, 
congratulation and thankfulness; 

And, Whereas, in the opinion of this Board, it 
would be a fitting item of such a celebration to 
have prepared for permanent preservation a con - 
densed history of the life and prominent events 
which have marked her career; 

Therefore, be it Resolved, that Dr. James H. 
Parks and Judge James D. Cleaver be, and they 
are hereby appointed to go over the records of the 
Church and of this Board from the date of the 
founding of the Church down to the date of the 
Anniversary in 1897, and collate and arrange in 
Chronological order the prominent and interesting 
events which have come to the Church in her long 
and eventful career, as the first Standard bearer of 
religion in this Community — as the Mother of 
Churches, and as one of the pillars of piety, law, 
liberty of conscience and civil order for the State. 

Resolved, that the paper so prepared shall, when 
approved by this Board be printed for distribution 
on the Anniversary day aforesaid; and afterwards, 
together with the observances of the day be put 
into a Souvenir volume to be sold to any persons 
desiring to have them." 

The Committee have accordingly endeavored to 
prepare a reliable History as to facts and dates. 

They acknowledge valuable help received from 
the History of Baptists, by Dr. Armitage, The 
Baptist Encyclopedia by Dr. Cathcart, The Bi- 
centennial of the Piscataway Baptist Church, The 
One hundred and fiftieth Anniversary of the 
Hightstown Baptist Church, The Minutes of the 
Philadelphia, New York and East New Jersey 
Associations ; as well as from the memories of some 
of the older members of the Scotch Plains Church. 


There are many human organizations which have 
so ennobled humanity and exemplified ^reat 
principles of truth, that their history deserves to 
be recorded and perpetuated. Though they were 
originated by human foresight only, yet their 
existence and usefulness will ever be held in 
grateful remembrance. 

But the Church of Christ is not a human organ- 
ization. It is one of the Divine institutions among 
men. It was divinely organized. Its laws and 
discipline were divinely enncted. Its officers 
were divinely appointed and its members are 
divinely qualified. Hence we come to the study 
of the history of a Christian Church with a peculiar 
interest. "We are tracing the dealings of God with 
his people. We are scanning the efficiency of a 
divinely appointed means, to the accomplishment 
of its end, and we are recording the degree of 
faithfulness with which the Church has fulfilled its 
divinely appointed mission. 

The Scotch Plains Baptist Church was organized 
in August, 1747. This entire region at that time 
was known as the Province of East 'New Jersey, 
and was under the dominion of the King of Great 
Britain. All of its inhabitants were loyal English 
subjects. The country was sparsely settled. There 
were no railroads, nor post offices, nor telegraphs 
— in fact no public means of transportation, nor of 
conveying intelligence. The surroundings were so 
different from those with which we are familiar, 
that we can scarcely realize them. 

There were few Baptist Churches at that time in 
all that is now known, as the whole State of New 
Jersey, and these were widely separated. One 
was situated at Middletown, one at Piscataway, 
one at Cohansey, one at Cape May, one at Hope- 
well, one at Kingwood and one organized only two 
years before, at Hightstown. 

There were a number of Baptist families living 
in this immediate vicinity, and identified with the 
Piscataway Baptist Church. The distance from 
and inconveniences in reaching their church 
home, induced them to ask for letters of dis- 
mission in order to organize a church at this place. 
Their application was answered by the following 
resolution adopted by the parent church at Piscata- 

"Whereas, in the course of Divine Providence 
there is necessity of a church to be constituted at 
the Scotch Plains, in the County of Essex, in East 
New Jersey, and some of the members of the 
Baptist Church at Piscataway in the County of 
Middlesex and the Province aforesaid, having 
their dwellings at and near the said Scotch Plains, 
and they having made application to us, and ob- 
tained a grant for a dismission from us, in order to 
incorporate themselves into a church; this may 
certify that William Darby, Recompense Stan- 
bery, John Lambert John Dennis, John Stanbery, 
Henry Crosby, John Sutton Jr., Isaac Manning, 
Mary Brodwell, Mary Green, Mary Dennis, 
Tabitha Sutton, Catherine Manning, Sarah De 
Camp and Sarah Perce, when they are regularly 
constituted into a church according to gospel order 
and given themselves up, in a church fellowship 
are fully and freely dismissed from our church." 


Accordingly on the fifth day of August, 1747, 
these brethren and sisters met and resolved to be- 
come and be a Regular Baptist Church. They 
adopted and signed a solemn covenant. Some of 
the terms of which were, that they humbly accept- 
ed Jesus Christ as High Priest, Lawgiver and 
Savior. That they trusted implicitly and only in his 
atoning blood and sovereign grace for Salvation— 
that they would walk together in all holiness, 
godliness, humility and brotherly love — that they 
would watch over one another for good — that they 
wouli pray with and for one another and for the 
church — that they would bear one another's 
burdens, bear with one another's weaknesses as 
Christ had enjoined and set the example — that they 
would strive together for the truth of the gospel, 
and to observe and guard the ordinances in their 
purity, and would give according to their ability 
to maintain the Cause of the Master. 

Thus the church was organized by these our 
honored forefathers upon the true foundation, 
Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner Stone, 
and every distinguishing characteristic of our de- 
nomination separately referred to in the Covenant 
Compact. Surely if any people have reason to re- 
joice in the inheritance left by the forefathers, 
we may thank God, that the Constituent members 
of our Zion occupied no compromising ground, 
and blew no uncertain blast, concerning either the 
doctrines or practices of the christian church. 

These constituent members have all long since 
passed away, but many of their descendants and 
the families they represent are still among us, 
honored and respected members of the community. 

The organization also included the election by 
the body of Samuel Drake as Church Clerk, 
and William Darby and Recompense Stanbery as 
Ruling Elders, and as the record declares were also 
to perform the duties of Deacons. Thus the 
church was duly constituted and publicly re- 
cognized and fellowshipped as a Regular Baptist 
Churcb . 


Soon after the organization, the church extended 
a call to Benjamin Miller, a member of the Piscata- 
way Church to become their Pastor. This call 
Mr. Miller accepted and was ordained to 
the ministry, by request of this church, by Rev. 
Benjamin Stelle of Piscataway, Rev. James Car- 
man of Cranbery and Abel Morgan of Middletown. 

The Church immediately united with the Phila- 
delphia Association. 

Of the antecedents of Rev. Mr. Miller, little is 
positively known. It is probable that he was con- 
verted to God some ten years before by means of 
the ministry of Rev. Gilbert Tennant a celebrated 
Presbyterian minister of New Brunswick, N. J., 
and united with the Piscataway Baptist Church. 
Here his ability and zeal were noticed and com- 
menied, and he was readily granted a license to 
preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

After becoming pastor of this church he evinced 
especial qualifications for the work. The infant 
organization was to be nursed, developed and 
strengthened. Baptists who were not already 
identified with it were to be visited and to be made 
interested in the new enterprise. Unconverted souls 
were to be instructed in the way of Salvation. 

All this work must have required an especial 
adaptation and a peculiar energy. His labors were 
not confined to this immediate vicinity, but he gave 
all the strength of his early manhood to the per- 
formance of his divinely appointed mission. He 
frequently travelled, of course only by the slow 
means of transportation of his time, to various 
sections of this and neighboring provinces, carrying 
the bread of life to the needy, and instructing and 
comforting the feeble churches. The result of such 
labor with the blessing of God was soon apparent. 
The congregations increased. The membership was 
enlarged, and growth and development was visible 
on every hand. This is apparent from the fact 
recorded in the minutes, that it became necessary 
to enlarge the house of worship in the year, 1758. 

It is probable that a meeting house had been 
erected previous to the organization of the church. 
But this had become too small for their accom- 
modation during these first eleven years of active 
united labor. Hence on August 12th, 1758 it was 
voted "to enlarge the meeting house, to cover it with 
cedar shingles both roof and sides and to finish it 
well both outside and inside. ' ' A committee consist- 
ing of Recompense Stanbery, John Stites, Captain 
Drake and Captain McDonnel were appointed to 
complete this improvement. Thus with increased 
facilities and "an enlarged place of their tent" the 
church grew both in numbers and in influence. 

Rev. Mr. Miller seems to have been indefatigable 
in preaching the word, enforcing the discipline, 
and watching over the interests of the now well 
established Zion. He appears to have had peculiar 
executive ability, and could readily discover what 
was best to do, and lead the people to do it. He 

had access to their ears, their affections and to 
their contributions; and he made use of all, not 
for his own aggrandizement, or to secure for him 
self a name, but for the glory of God and the pro- 
gress of the Cause of the Master. 

There was at this time no Regular Baptist 
Church in New York City. There were a number 
of Baptists there who were members of the Fish- 
kill Baptist Church, and elsewhere. These being 
recommended to do so, united themselves in church 
relationship with this church and were frequently 
visited by llev. James Carman pastor of the Cran- 
bery church (now Hightstown) and by Rev. Mr. 
Miller, who by authority of the Scotch Plains 
Church regularly administered the Communion 
once every qu arter, and baptised when necessary. 
The congregations there increased so that no 
private dwelling house could accomodate them, 
and they found it necessary to hire a rigging 
loft in Cart and Horse Street, now William St. 
where they held their meetings for a number of 
years. They then erected their first church edifice 
on Gold Street. On the 19th of June 1762 twenty 
seven persons, namely, John Carman, Jeremiah 
Dodge, Andrew Thompson, Samuel Edmonds, John 
Degray, Elias Baylis, Jos. Meeks, Wm. Colegrove, 
Samuel Dodge, Catharine Degray, Mary Stillwell, 
Hannah Hayton, Hannah French, Mary Murphy, 
Margaret Dodge, Sarah Meeks, Sarah Thompson, 
Jane Calwell, Mary Edmonds, Susannah Mires, 
Ruth Ferine, Mary Smith, Eliza YanDike, Mary 
Simmons, Rachel Williams and Catherine Leonard 
who had received letters of dismission for the pur- 
pose from this church organized the First Regular 
Baptist Church of New York City. On the same 


day Rev. John Gano, also of this church, became 
Pastor of the new organization, and held the 
position for twenty-six eventful years. 

After the lapse of five more years of labor and 
success, it became advisable to organize a Baptist 
church at Mount Bethel, N. J. The members living 
in that vicinity were united witn this church, but in 
order to attend divine worship, it was necessary for 
them to ride from six to ten miles over rough hilly 
roads. As soon as they became strong enough they 
requested letters of dismission in order to con- 
stitute a new centre of religious influence more 
convenient to their own homes. This request was 
readily granted, and on thtj 2nd day of Sept. 
1767 letters of dismission were given to eight 
males and ten females namely, Benjamin Sutton, 
Benj. Sutton Jr., Abram Sutton, David Jennings, 
William Worth, John Pound, John Worth, James 
Sutton, Elizabeth Tingley, Hannah Coon, Mary 
Sutton, Rosannah Cowart, Anna Worth, Lois 
Sutton, Dinah Worth, Etta Worth, Patience 
Bloom, and Elizabeth Hayden. The church was 
organized ; and they have been a prosperous and 
sucessful agency for the advancement of the Re- 
deemer's Cause. 

The Lyons Farms Baptist Church was organized 
from tlie Scotch Plains church in the year 1769. 
Eleven members namely, Ezekiel Crane, Ichabod 
Grummon, Loftus Grummon, Jos. Meeker, Jos. 
Gildersleeve, Samuel Smith, Jonathan Tompkins, 
Mary Meeker, Abegail Crane, Johannah Grummon 
and Jeriisha Crane were dismissed for that purpose 
on the 29th day of March. This church has been 
united and successful and still maintain their 
visibility and usefulness. Thus in a period of 

only twenty two years, three churclies were org- 
anized directly from this church, and yet the 
Scotch Plains Church numbered One hundred and 
five happy united efficient members, who probably 
presented an array of moral and pecuniary strength 
not excelled by any church at the time. 

During Rev. Mr. Miller's pastorate several 
periods of special gathering were enjoyed, among 
which was a revival in the year 1768 when the names 
of forty-eight persons are recorded as being baptis- 
ed into the church fellowship. This result seems 
to have been acomplished by the use of the ordin- 
ary means of grace, as the minutes make no men- 
tion of any foreign aid to the pastor, nor of any 
extra religious services. 

Among those who were baptised by Rev. Benj- 
amin Miller were several who became prominent in 
the service of the Master, and eminently useful in 
the upbuilding of our denomination in this remote 
period of its history. One of these was James 
Manning, who was the son of Isaac Manning, one 
of the constituent members of this church. About 
the age of eighteen years he went to Hopewell, N. 
J. to prepare for college, under the instruction of 
Rev. Isaac Eaton. In 1758 he was baptised into the 
fellowship of this church, and in the same year 
entered the College of New Jersey now Princeton 
University, where he graduated with honors in 1762. 
Shortly after his graduation he was ordained to the 
ministry at Scotch Plains. Rev. John Gano of 
New York, preached the ordination sermon, Rev. 
Isaac Eaton of Hopewell gave the charge, and Rev. 
Isaac Stelle of Piscataway offered the ordaining 
prayer. He then spent a year in travelling exten- 
sively through the country having previously mar- 

ried a daughter of John Stites. In 1764 he removed 
to Warren, about ten miles from Providence, R. I. 
where he established a grammar school which soon 
became a flourishing institution. A church was 
organized in WaiTeti the same year, and Mr. 
Manning was called to the pastorate. A charter 
was also obtained from the General Assembly, 
authorizing the establishment of the College of 
Rhode Island, and in 1765 Mr. Manning was 
formally appointed President of the College, and 
Professor of Languages ''with full power to act in 
these capacities at Warren or elsewhere." In 1770 
it was determined to remove the College from 
Warren to Providence, the town and county sub- 
scribing £4200 as an inducement thereto. Mr. 
Manning resigned the care of the church at 
Warren, but was almost immediately called to the 
pastorate of the First Baptist Church at Provi- 
dence. President Manning contiaued his mul- 
tifarious duties as President, Professor and Pastor 
until the breaking out of the war of the Revolu- 
tion. The College had been growing in reputation 
and usefulness, and was fast attaining the high 
position and influence it now occupies as Brown 
University. All through the revolutionary strug- 
gle Mr. Manning succeeded in keeping the institu- 
tion intact, though " University Hall " was occu- 
pied much of the time by the British Soldiers as 
Barracks, and it was not until 1782 that the course 
of instruction was permanently resumed. Indeed 
so identified with the life of James Manning was 
the history of Brown University, that the story of 
the earlier years of that Institution is also the story 
of his life. President Manning feeling that his 
collegiate duties were too great to allow him to give 

to the churcli the care it required, in 1791 request- 
ed the appointment of a successor; but before the 
request had been complied with, he was stricken 
with apoplexy and his useful life ended July 29, 
1791, in the fifty-third year of his age. 

Thus Rev. Mr. Miller's pastorate was blessed of 
God, not only in the building up of this church, 
and in the establishing of three other churches; 
but in the raising up of men who became lights in 
both the literary and religious world. 

Mr. Miller served the church about thirty-four 
years, and died on the 14th day of November, 
1781, and was buried by the loving hands of his 
people in the burying ground which surrounded 
the church edifice where he had so long and so 
earnestly preached the gospel. His sepulchre is 
with us to this day, and it is and ought to be held 
by the church as a sacred trust of all that is mortal 
of him who in the providence of God was the 
pioneer pastor of our beloved Zion. He left one 
son and four daughters who resided in the home- 
stead on the farm now owned by our honored 
townsman, A. D. Sheperd, Esq. 

For more than four years after the death of Mr. 
Miller the church was without direct pastoral 
oversight. Mr. Runi Runyon supplied the pulpit 
half of the time for a few months and Mr. Benja- 
min Coles upon invitation of the church, became a 
stated supply. He served the church faithfully 
for about two years, but no marked display of the 
divine favor, seemed to attend his labors. The 
church were much discouraged, as is apparent 
from their letter to the Association at Philadelphia 
Oct. 5, 1784, in which they request "Counsel, As- 
sistance and Supplies as the Association in their 

wisdom shall think most proper" adding "we are 
at peace among ourselves, though much deadness 
still prevails; many minding their own things, 
and but few the things that are Jesus Christ's." 

After this a George Guthrie, as his recommen- 
dation declares "a young brother not long since 
from Ireland" visited the church; but he only re- 
mained about five months and then removed to 


On the 15th of December, 1785, Rev. William 
Van Horn accepted a call to the pastorate. He was 
a young man thirty-eight years of age, of Buck's 
County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the 
Academy of Dr. Samuel Jones, at Lower Dublin, 
Pa. During the revolutionary war he had been a 
chaplain in the army, enthusiastically encourag- 
ing the heroes who fought against tyranny, and 
cheering them on in their toilsome marches, while 
sharing with them their greatest dangers and most 
grievous hardships. He had also been a pastor at 
Southhampton some thirteen years. His preach- 
ing is said to have been ' 'of the most solid and 
instructive character, never descending into care- 
less frivolity, but always with becoming gravity as 
a messenger from the throne of God, declaring the 
will of the Most High to men." 

His ministry here like that of his predecessor 
proved eminently sucessful. The first year he bap- 
tised forty-seven persons; and these as the 
minutes reveal after the closest examination and 
scrutiny. The whole number baptised during 
his pastorate was one hundred and sixty. While 
he evinced great pulpit power, he also had an ex- 


ecutive ability, whicli made his pastoral 
work a success. 

Previous to the coming of Mr. Van Horn, in- 
deed, as early as 1761, what was called a vestry 
was organized, consisting of seven men, who seem 
to have had especial control of the temporal affairs 
of the church. Mr. Van Horn formulated a plan 
for connecting the church and congregation, for 
the support of the Gospel and the care of the tem- 
poral interests of the Society. Whatever the 
plan was (for the minutes do not record it) it was 
adopted and continued in operation until Feb- 
ruary, 1788, when, in accordance with a law 
passed by the Legislature in 1786, for incor- 
porating religious societies, seven Trustees were 
chosen and a certificate of incorporation was filed 
in the Clerk's office in Newark. In 1869, this in- 
corporation was confirmed as an especial charter 
by Act of the Legislature; the trustees being 
clothed with power to sell lands. 

During Mr. Van Horn's administration two 
churches were constituted directly from the mem- 
bership of this. 

In the spring of 1788, three brothers, Abraham 
Drake, Cornelius Drake and Isaac Drake, and two 
brothers-in-law John Shotwell and David Morris, 
were induced by the glowing descriptions of Rev. 
William Wood, pastor of the Baptist church at 
Washington, Kentucky, to leave their homes here 
and seek their fortunes in the wilds of the West. 
These brethren with their wives, children and ef- 
fects were accompanied by Rev. John Gano, who 
was then moving his all from the City of New 
York. They sailed down the Ohio River to Lime- 
stone, where they landed and proceeded at once to 


Washington, four miles distant. Here they made 
a temporary stay until they could select a site 
upon which to settle. In the early fall, they 
bought from a Mr. May a tract of land containing 
fourteen hundred acres, eight miles west of Wash- 
ington. They made an equitable division of their 
land according to the amount of money each had 
put into the common stock, and in such a manner, 
that the lot of each had a corner in a Salt spring. 
Around this spring they built their log houses, 
and established their colony, calling the incip- 
ient village May^s Lick. 

Before leaving their home the aforesaid brethren 
with their wives had been granted letters of dis- 
mission from this church, on the 12th of April, 
1788. Hence, as soon as convenient they organ- 
ized themselves into a Particular Baptist Church 
at May's Lick, Ky., on November 28, 1789. Rev. 
William Wood of Washington, Ky., and James 
Garrard, who afterward for two terms was Gov- 
ernor of the State, were the officiating ministers on 
the occasion. Thus the Scotch Plains church be- 
came the mother of a child in what was then re- 
garded as the far west. 

The May's Lick church grew in numbers, and 
religious power and influence, until in 1889 at 
their centennial anniversary, they are reported as 
one of the strongest churches, and centers of 
evangelizing progress in that part of the west. 

The other church organized during the pastorate 
of Rev. Mr. Van Horn, was the one at Samptown 
in our immediate vicinity. 

On the 21st of August, 1792, letters of dismis- 
sion were given to Christianns Lupordus, Samuel 
Drake and wife, Peter Till, Joseph Randolph, 

Benjamin Blackford, Dugal Ayers, Epliraim F. 
Randolph and wife, Joseph Manning, Robert 
Randolph, Mary Blackford, Joseph Drake, John 
Luke, Margaret Luke, George Laying, Zervia 
Manning, Unis Cole and Moms Frazee. Accord- 
ingly on the 1st of December, 1792, the Samptown 
Baptist Church was constituted — being ^about 
midway between this place and Piscataway, the 
pastors of both churches had preached there with 
some regularity. But as it was manifestly better 
that they should have an organization of their 
own, they were set apart as a gospel church — 
David Jones of Southampton, Pa., and Jacob F. 
Randolph taking part in the Services. This church, 
too, recently held their centennial exercises show- 
ing commendable progress and efficiency. 

After Mr. Van Horn had accepted the pastor- 
ate, but probably before he had removed his 
family to this place, the Parsonage, a frame build- 
ing which stood nearer the street than the present 
one, was consumed by fire early in 1786. It was 
immediately determined to rebuild; and as there 
was some difference of opinion about where the 
new building should stand, after determining that 
it should be constructed of stone, it was voted "to 
indulge Mr. Van Horn with his choice." He 
wisely chose the present location, and during that 
year all the stone part of the present building was 
erected under the pastor's immediate supervision: 
and every pastor who has occupied it since has 
had occasion to commend the wisdom and foresight 
of his plans. 

Mr. Van Horn served the church well and faith- 
fully for nearly twenty- two years. He gained and 
held the respect and confidence, not only of this 

church, but of the denomination at large. His 
family were amiable and intelligent, a con- 
solation to himself and an ornament to 
the community. But in the latter part 
of his ministry, his health failed, and he, having 
quite a large tract of land in the southwestern 
part of Ohio, determined to resign his pastorate 
and to remove thither. Hence, on the 28th day of 
September, 1807, he and his [family entered the 
wagons which were to convey him from the scenes 
of twenty years of happy associations with a 
loving people. The long tedious journey increased 
his maladies, and he was only able to reach Pitts- 
burg, Pa., where, on the 31st of October, he 
passed away to his eternal home. The people of 
Pittsburg sympathized with the aiflicted ' family 
and showed them many kind attentions. After 
the funeral the widow and children pursued their 
journey to their destination. 

The church were without a pastor about nine 
months, during which time they were supplied by 
Jacob F. Randolph and Henry Ball, both members 
of the church and baptised by Rev. Mr. Van Horn 
and licensed to preach the gospel. 


In March, 1808, at the invitation of a com- 
mittee appointed by the church. Rev. Thomas 
Brown, Pastor of the Baptist church at Salem, 
N. J., visited this church. The labors of Mr. 
Brown and his visit were highly enjoyed, and the 
following April, a unanimous call was extended to 
him to become Pastor. This call he accepted, and 
removed to this place July 1, 1808. Mr. Brown, 
was a native of Newark, N. J. At the age of seven- 


teen years lie was converted, and united with the 
First Presbyterian Church of that city. His evident 
preaching talent and inclination, led his friends 
to advise him to prepare for the ministry. He had 
not proceeded far in his preparations, when a com- 
plete change of views compelled him to be bap- 
tised and become a member of the First Baptist 
Church of Newark. Afterward, he spent some 
years in study, chiefly under the super- 
vision of Dr. Samuel Jones, and in 1805, 
assumed his first charge at Salem, where he 
was ordained as Pastor. Dr. Staughton and Dr. 
Jones, officiated at his ordination. He remained 
at Salem about three years, when he came 
to this place at the call of the church. His pas- 
toral relations were pleasant and harmonious from 
the begianing. His pulpit ministrations as well 
as his judicious and efficient pastoral labors were 
highly appreciated. Baptisms were reported every 
year, with only one exception, the whole number 
amounting to one hundred and fifty, even though 
the most careful scrutiny was observed in the ex- 
amination of candidates. Mr. Brown was amiable 
and cheerful in private life, and held in high esteem 
for his social qualities ; but his especial power was 
in his pulpit ministrations. These were always 
instructive and interesting, and often especially 
eloquent and thrilling. His management of cases 
of discipline was tenderly wise and judiciously 
strict, and thus he endeared himself to the church 
membership and to the community. 

In the winter of 1816-'17, the meeting house, which 
had no doubt been built before the organization 
of the church, and stood on ground a short dis- 
tance Northwest of the present edifice, was acci- 


dently burned and totally destroyed — of course 
all the inhabitants turned out to witness the unwel- 
come conflagration. Among others who were pres- 
ent was Recompense Stanbery, the son of the 
first deacon of the church and the father of our 
esteemed townsman William C. Stanbery. While 
the flames were consuming the timbers of the 
revered old structure, Mr. Stanbery said : ' 'Bre- 
thren there is no better time to resolve to rebuild 
than now, as we stand around these smouldering 
embers." He then announced his own subscrip- 
tion for the purpose. His example was conta- 
gious, one and another followed, and a consider- 
able portion of the amount needed for the new 
house was raised then and there. Before the 
beginning of the new year, work was commenced 
and a new edifice, larger than the former one was 
erected. Recompense Stanbery, Joseph Bradford, 
John B. Osborn, Samuel B. Miller a ad David Osborn 
were the building committee who superintended 
the work to its completion. The new building 
cost about three thousand dollars and was paid 
for by contributions received almost exclusively 
from this vicinity, though the First Church of New 
York City sent some assistance to her mother in 
her time of need. There is little doubt that the 
spot upon which the new house was built was the 
same as that upon which the old one had stood, 
and that that ground had been donated to the 
church by William Darby, its first Ruling Elder ; 
and consisted of five square chains, comprising the 
entire old burying ground. The other lands pos- 
sessed by the church at this time was what was 
known as "the parsonage farm," and consisted of 
fifteen acres on the Plains, and twelve acres on the 


mountain. This had been purchased of the exec- 
utors of William Darby in 1775, and had been 
occupied by each of the succeeding pastors since 
that time. During the pastorage of Mr. Brown, 
Deacon James Brown left a legacy to the church, 
of Twelve hundred dollars, for the support of the 
poor, which was sacredly used for that purpose for 
many years. 

Thus as time went on, the church was being 
enriched both spiritually and materially. Rev. 
Mr. Brown was giving the strength of his manhood 
to the preaching of Christ crucified. Sinners were 
being converted, and uniting themselves with this 
church, while the brotherhood were being cemented 
in closer fraternal relations by their trials and sor- 
rows as well as their successes. 

In November, 1828, much to the regret of his 
attached people, Mr. Brown resigned the pastorate 
and removed to Great Valley, Pa. More than 
twenty years of constant service bore testimony 
to the faithfulness of the Pastor, but the records of 
eternity only can reveal the full measure of his 


After a period of less than a year, the church 
extended a call to Rev. John Rogers on the 30th 
of May, 1829. Mr. Rogers w^as born in the 
north of Ireland in 1783. He was converted 
at the age of seventeen years, and united with 
the Presbyterian Church of which his parents 
were members. Convinced of a personal call to 
the ministry, he entered upon a course of study, 
which was completed at the University of Edin- 
burg. After this he labored among the Independ- 


ents in Scotland and in Ireland. In the year 1811, 
after a careful study of the subject, he became con- 
vinced that christian baptism is the immersion of 
a believer in water on profession of faith; and he 
was thereupon baptised by Rev. Daniel Cook, a 
Baptist Minister of Scotland. In the year 1816 he 
came to this country, and after a short residence 
at Hopewell, N. J., he was called to Pemberton, 
where he was ordained in 1817. His labors at 
Pemberton were highly appreciated by the mem- 
bers of that church, and the writer, who afterward 
labored in the same church, often heard him affec- 
tionately spoken of. He continued to labor with 
the Pemberton church until he removed to this 
place about the middle of August, 1829. 

Mr. Rogers was a close student, and a good and 
instructive preacher. He had an extensive knowl- 
edge of the teachings of the bible, and his views 
of the plan of Salvation were clear, scriptural and 
definite. His ministry here was blessed with two 
special revivals, during which many were brought 
into the fold of Christ. Among these were three 
of his own daughters who proved the genuineness 
of their profession by a humble and pious deport- 
ment. Mr. Rogers baptized about one hundred 
and thirteen happy, rejoicing converts while he 
labored in this pastorate. The ingathering of 
1837 was especially thorough and widespread. 
Perhaps the gloom and depression of that memor- 
able time of financial distress had something to do 
with turning men's minds into religious channels 
and leading to so many similar displays of the 
power of Divine Grace. 

Mr. Rogers took a lively interest in both Home 
and Foreign Missionary enterprises, and he estab- 


lished in the church a schedule of systematic con- 
tributions to these objects. 

The New Jersey Baptist State Convention was 
organized in 1830, and Mr. Rogers was one of its 
constituent members and gave it his influence dur- 
ing his life. 

Mr. Rogers resigned in June, 1841, and removed 
to Perth Amboy, where he remained only about 
three years. Thence he went to Paterson, where 
he spent the remainder of his days without a di- 
rect pastoral charge, but preaching frequently and 
always acceptably for neighboring churches. He 
died August 30th, 1849, aged sixty-six years. His 
son, A. C. Rogers, M. D., survives him, and is a 
prominent and useful worker in the denomina- 

These four pastors, who occupied the pulpit of 
this church nearly the whole of the first century of 
its existence, were eminent men of God, and their 
record evinces how certainly the Great Head 
of the church will raise up suitable and 
qualified leaders to conduct his people along 
the line of His own purposes. 

All of these men seem to have been wholly con- 
secrated to the work to which God had called 
them. They knew the truth in their own experi- 
ence, and they never hesitated to proclaim the 
doctrines of grace. They loved the distinguish- 
ing principles of our denomination, and they 
taught them fearlessly. Such teachings with the 
Divine blessing would be apt to make staunch, 
stalwart, Baptist christians; and it did — all 
honor to the human agencies — all praise to the 
Divine leader. 




John Wivell was born in England. He became 
a sailor in early life, professed conversion and 
joined the Methodists — afterward he became a 
Presbyterian, and among them commenced preach- 
ing. He labored sometime in Nova Scotia, and 
then came to New York and was baptised by Rev. 
Duncan Dunbar. He was almost immediately 
licensed and ordained, and spent some time laboring 
among the seamen. He removed to Scotch Plains in 
March, 1842, and such was his tact, and insin- 
uating address, that he soon attracted to him the 
public favor, and the congregation rapidly in- 
creased in numbers, and there were many pro- 
fessed converts. 

The deportment of Mr. Wivell was regarded by 
some from the beginning, as somewhat offensive to 
good taste, but was readily excused on account of 
his sea-faring life. After a while, reports unfav- 
orable to his moral purity were whispered about. 
At length the truth burst upon the church like a 
thunder clap. The humiliation and mortification 
which ensued was great, and Mr. Wivell was speed- 
ily excluded from the fellowship of the church. 
His subsequent life and the fictitious names he 
assumed fully proved the wisdom of the church 
in its prompt action. Nothing so disastrous had 
ever occurred in the history of the church ; but 
while it humbled the membership, it did not divide 

The unfortunate incident proves that God's real 
people will be true and united even under disas- 
trous circumstances; and that the acts of even 
bad men will be overruled to accomplish His 


William E. Locke was a native of New York 
City. He was baptised by Rev. Dr. Cone in 1831. 
He was licensed by the Sandy Ridge Baptist 
church, N. J., in 1833. He was ordained at Mos- 
cow, New York, in 1836. He had also been set- 
tled at Gouveneur, Trumansburg and Sing Sing, 
N. Y. He accepted a call to this church and re- 
moved to Scotch Plains, May 2d, 1844. 

Mr. Locke found the church in the peculiar cir- 
cumstances resulting from the defection of the 
former pastor. The labor to be performed was of 
that kind which needed much adroitness and cool 
judgment. If Mr. Locke had possessed and ex- 
hibited these qualifications it would have been 
far better for the church. But the course he pur- 
sued and the measures he adopted only alienated 
the membership and increased the friction which 
already existed. The ingatherings which had 
marked former pastorates, did not occur. But 
four persons were added by baptism during Mr. 
Locke's administration. 

On the 8th of August, 1847, the church held 
a centennial service, commemorating with grati- 
tude the way in which the Head of the church had 
led them during the first one hundred years of 
their history. Mr. Locke, preached a centennial 
discourse on the occasion, which was printed and 
is in possession of many members of the church, 
and is held by them in high esteem. 

At its organization the church had united with 
the Philadelphia Association, and in 1792, it had 
withdrawn and united with the then organized 
New York Association, and now in 1844, it united 


with the East New Jersey Association where it has 
since remained. 

Mr. Locke, continued in charge of the church 
until September 1st, 1849, when he resigned and 
accepted a call to Amenia, N. Y. He afterward 
joined the Presbyterian denomination. 


Joshua E. Rue was born at Hightstown, N. J. 
He was licensed by that church in 1844. He was 
ordained at Jacobstown as Pastor in 1845, having 
been educated at Lafayette College and Madison 
University. Subsequently he served as Pastor at 
Sandy Ridge, N. J. In the beginning of the year 
1850, he accepted a call to the pastorate of this 
Church and entered upon his duties. He preached 
the simple doctrines of grace, and as a result, a 
pleasant condition of spiritual awakening followed, 
and twenty-seven rejoicing converts were buried in 

But in the midst of his work he was smitten by 
disease, and for many weeks his life seemed to 
hang in the balance. He was partially restored 
however, but was almost immediately called to 
follow to the grave the remains of his beloved 
companion, who had also endeared herself 
to this people. Thus sorely afflicted and 
with ruined health, he resigned the charge 
of the church, having served it acceptably 
just four years. Afterward he held agencies for 
the Home Mission Society, American Bible Union 
and for Peddie Institute. He retired to North 
Carolina, and died in 1887, and his remains were 
brought to this place and buried beside his wife 
and near the grave of the first pastor of the 


clmrch, Benjamin Miller. The Ladies' Circle of 
this church erected a monument to mark the spot ; 
and the trustees have recently reserved and set 
apart some adjacent lots for the burial of any who 
may have served the church as pastor with their 
immediate families in all time. 

During the period of Mr. Rue's pastorate some 
improvements were made upon the church prop- 

The number of members in 1854 was one hundred 
and forty-six. 


James F. Brown was born in Scotch Plains, July 
4th, 1819. He was the son of Rev. Thomas Brown, 
who was at that time pastor of this church. 
James F. graduated from the University of Penn- 
sylvania in 1841, and studied theology with Rev. 
Dr. Dagg. He was ordained Pastor of the Ganis- 
ville Baptist Church, Alabama, and in 1846 took 
charge of the Great Valley church. Pa. , where he 
remained eight years, and was then called to this 
his native town and to the pastorate of the church 
his father had so acceptably served. He removed 
to this place in 1854 and remained six years. He 
is a man of scholarly attainments, gentle spirit, 
sound theological views, large sympathies and has 
been blessed in his ministry. The church during 
his pastoral connection was harmonious and grew 
both in numbers and in influence. That memor- 
able year of financial adversity, 1857, was one of 
spiritual prosperity in this church. Many who 
were then added became prominent members, 
and those who yet remain remember gratefully 
and affectionately tlie judicious measures and 


devout earnestness of the Pastor. Mr. Brown 
resigned in 1860 and became Pastor at Bridgton, 
N. J. While at Bridgton the University at Lew- 
isburg honored him with the degree of Doctor of 
Divinity, and also elected him to the chancellor- 
ship of that Institution. Dr. Brown is still liv- 
ing, and although not a Pastor, in consequence of 
ill health, is held in high esteem in the Denomin- 


Rev. William Luke was born in Esopus, New 
York, in 1821. He was both baptized and licensed 
to preach the gospel at Poughkeepsie, N. Y. He 
entered Madison University in 1848, but remained 
only two years when he went to Rochester, where 
he graduated in 1854. He went to the Province of 
New Brunswick, but remained only a short time 
and returned to his native and more congenial 
climate. He was ordained at Hornellsville, and 
soon after removed to Forestville, N. Y,, where 
he preached until 1857. Afterward he became 
Pastor of the Eighty-third Street Baptist 
Church of New York City, where during 
four years of service he was successful in building 
up the church which was weak when he assumed 
charge. In 1860 he was called to the pastorate of 
this church, and having accepted he removed to 
this place about the first of December of the same 
year. The circumstances which led;; to the war of 
the Rebellion were culminating. Heated political 
discussion, was rife on every hand. Pastors were 
censured, some for being too pronounced in their 
devotion to the Union cause, and others for being 
too little so. Mr. Luke took a lively interest in 


the events transpiring and a number felt aggrieved. 
The congregation, the membership and the in- 
fluence of the Pastor, all declined. A number 
left the church by letter, and only two baptisms 
occurred during the six years of Mr. Luke's ad- 
ministration. It was at this period too that the 
church at Westfield was organized, and nearly 
twenty members asked for and received letters to 
unite with that organization — all these concurrent 
circumstances reduced the membership to one hun- 
dred and five. 

Mr. Luke resigned January 1st, 1867, having 
been called to Greenport, L. I. Here he labored 
with much success, but ill-health compelled him 
to resign the pastorate; and he died at Wap- 
pinger Falls, N. Y., in the triumphs of faith, and 
the hope of the Gospel he had so faithfully 
preached, on May 16, 1869. 


Joseph C. Buchanan was born in Ringoes, N. 
J., in 1841. He entered the sophomore class of 
Madison University in October, 1863, taking the 
degree of A. M., in course, three years later. He 
accepted a call to this church in 1867, and was 
ordained here, Oct. 1st of that year. Rev. D. J. 
Yerkes, D. D., of Plainfield, preached on the 
occasion, and Rev. J. D. Morell delivered the 
charge to the candidate, and Rev. L. O. Grenell 
to the church. He remained here until September 
1st, 1878, when he resigned this his first pastorate, 
to accept the call of the PembertoQ Baptist Church, 
where he still remains. During his pastorate at 
Pemberton, Bucknell University at Lewisburg, 
Pa., conferred upon him the honorary degree of 
Doctor of Divinity. 


Br. Buchanan is a good theologian, a thought- 
ful preacher, a judicious, affectionate pastor, and 
has been prospered in winning souls. When he 
assumed charge of this church a pleasant state of 
religious feeling met the pastor at the outset; and 
by a faithful preaching of the gospel, attended by 
the blessing of God, a most important work of 
grace was experienced in the year 1868. Nearly 
fifty were baptised, and many who are now tried 
and true members of 'the church were converted 
and put on Christ in baptism as the fruit of his 
ministry here. 

An important material work accomplished during 
the pastorate of Dr. Buchanan was the erection of 
our present house of worship. The old church ed- 
ifice was sold. A considerable part of the parson- 
age farm was sold for building lots, and a substan- 
tial structure was erected on a fine corner, near 
where the old building stood. The present house 
is fifty feet by one hundred and ten feet including 
the lecture room in the rear. The main audience 
room is fifty by seventy feet with recess puli^it. 
The building is gothic in style, with corner 
tower and spire. The material is pressed brick, 
with Ohio stone and white brick trimmings, and 
slate roof. The cost including furniture and organ, 
was Thirty thousand dollars. The removal of the 
railroad further from the village, thus preventing 
the increase of population, which was confidently 
expected, together with the financial dejoression 
of the times left the church heavily involved in 
debt, which rested wearily upon them for many 

Dr. Buchanan, labored self-sacrificingly and 
well, and very many members of the church as 

well as of the community hold him in highest 
regard. He is actively engaged in furthering the 
religious interests of our State, as well as our own 
denominational interests in addition to those of his 
pastorate. While Dr. Buchanan, is a New Jersey- 
man, yet his constant effort is for the widest 
dissemination of gospel truth. May he long live 
to witness the results of his labors. 


Uriah B. G-uiscard, was bom and educated in 
England. In this country he was Pastor at Banks- 
ville, N. Y., at New London, Conn.. atBrewsters, 
N. Y., and at Greenport, L. I. In each of these 
places he made a good record. He was called to 
the pastorate of this church April 29, 1879, and 
accepted the position early in August of the same 

During his pastorate the church lost by death 
three tried and honored deacons, viz. : Jared S. 
Stout, Henry Hetfield and L. H. K. Smalley. Only 
two persons were baptised here by Bro. Guis- 
card. He resigned his charge March 26, 1882. 
During his administration a fine toned bell was 
placed in the tower of the church mainly by his 
efforts. The cemetery also was surrounded with a 
neat iron fence. Mr. Guiscard, was a good 
preacher, and had many amiable qualities. After 
his resignation he settled at Newton, N. J. , where 
he remained a few years. He died, and was buried 
from the home of his son in Summit, N. J., at the 
age of seventy-one years. 


Prepared by Judge J. D. Cleaver. 

James H. Parks was horn in tlie City of New- 
York, July 13, 1829. He was converted in the 
year 1847, and united with the Reformed Dutch 
Church. Soon after he commenced a course of 
preparation for Rutgers' College, having the Min- 
istry in view, but health failing, and a series of 
circumstances arising which brought the subject of 
Christian Baptism to his attention, he was com- 
pelled to make a thorough examination of Scrip- 
tural teachings upon the subject, which resulted in 
his being immersed, on profession of faith, on the 
second day of July, 1854. 

He afterward pursued a post-graduate course at 
Columbian College, Washington, D. C, and re- 
ceived the Degree of Master of Arts, upon Ex- 
amination, from that Institution. 

He was also honored with the Degree of A.M. 
from Princeton College, New Jersej^. 

He was ordained to the Ministry, May 28, 1856. 

He has been Pastor of the Baptist Churches at 
Stamford, Connecticut; Bedford, New York ; Pem- 
berton. New Jersey ; Mannayunk,Pa. , and Norwich, 
Conn. ; Calvary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ; Lin- 
den Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, and Scotch Plains, 
New Jersey. 

While Pastor at Scotch Plains, in the year 1889, 
he received the Degree of D.D. from Shurtliff 
College, Illinois. 

He settled with the Scotch Plains Church the 
second week in January in the year 1883, and 
resigned the pastorate December 31, in the year 

During his pastorate seventy-nine members by 
baptism or letter were added to tlie Churcli. 

The years 1882-83 formed a critical period in 
the history of this Church. 

It was the culminating period in a distressing 
series of financial disasters and spiritual barren- 

It was the "Harvest Home," when were garnered 
the Dead Sea fruits of unwise and, as the result 
proved, almost ruinous business mismanagement. 

Many who had been active and prominent in the 
affairs of the Church were gone. 

Some were alienated, some driven out by a spirit 
of intolerance, some were dead, some removed to 
other places. 

A decade of business blunders and mistakes of 
management had given birth to unchristian feel- 
ings and harsh recrimination, so that the year of 
our Lord 1882 found but a few left who were will- 
ing to stand by the fortunes of this venerable 
church, when the storm-waves were beating high 
upon her walls and undermining her foundations. 

It was, indeed, a time of peril which made all 
those who loved the church, for herself, her his- 
tory and her mission, realize that there was need 
of all being done that could be done by all who 
still clung to the cause, and were willing to go on, 
hoping and trusting that in His own time and way 
God would raise up instrumentalities for the care 
and perpetuation of this, His Zion. 

So serious was the condition in the years 1881 
and 1882, that it was with great difficulty the 
Treasurer could raise the paltry, weekly stipend of 
ten dollars, then the pay received by the Rev. Mr. 
Guiscard, the then Pastor, while at the same time 

the meeting house, the Parsonage and the grounds 
around them were steadily falling into dilapida- 
tion and decay; and, still worse, the time when 
the interest upon the Mortgage debt of the Church, 
if not the debt itself, would have to be met, and 
with absolutely no provision being made or 
thought possible to be made to meet either. 

It is not a matter of wonder that in such circum- 
stances, a proposition was seriously made by a 
trustee, at a meeting of the Board, that the 
Meeting House and other property of the Church 
covered by the Mortgages (which were held by 
Warren Ackerman, Esquire, who had generously 
forborne the interest thereon for five years), should 
be abandoned, and the property surrendered. 

As the Mortgages covered everything belonging 
to the Church which could be Mortgaged, real and 
personal, even down to the Communion Service, 
such abandonment could not be permitted. 

This brief sketch outlines the perilous conditions 
which existed in the years 1881-2; the inheritance 
from former years of mistakes and mismanage- 

Every one, or nearly every one, felt that it was 
quite time to call upon a leader who could devote 
zeal with knowledge, experience and business 
ability to the work of rescue and relief — a man who 
would be a brave and skilful Captain, to lead the 
"forlorn hope," and save the dear old church from 
utter annihilation. 

On the twenty-seventh day of November, 1882, 
by a unanimous vote, the church extended a call 
to become its Pastor, to the Rev. James H. Parks, 
and on the Eighth day of December, next there- 
after, at a special Parish Meeting called to con- 


sider the subject, the call so made by the church, 
was cordially and with practical unanimity en- 
dorsed by the Parish, there being only three dis- 
senting votes. 

After consultation with the trustees, and after 
receiving from each member of the Board his per- 
sonal assurance that he would stand by, help, aid 
and assist, with Prayers and work, and with a full 
knowledge of the direful condition, spiritual and 
financial, which surrounded the task before him, 
the Reverend James H. Parks accepted the call 
which he had received, and entered upon the ardu- 
ous work before him, on the second week of Jan- 
uary, 1883. 

Of a truth, the labor was great, but seemed to 
be to the new pastor a labor of love as well, and 
success seemed to crown his efforts at the very 

Hitj organizing talent and executive ability, re- 
inforced by remarkable energy, inspired all around 
him with kindred vitality and strength of purpose. 
Where fear and despair had so lately held their 
paralyzing sway, faith re-asserted herself. Hope 
arose to newness of life, courage once more filled 
and fired all hearts; and very soon under their 
wise and careful leader, every one was a willing, 
cheerful co-worker for the redemption of the old 
church from her bondage of debt. 

Methods Avere adopted to meet the accruing in- 
terest on the mortgage debt, provision was made 
for the current expenses of the Church, and a 
brave and successful attack was planned and 
carried into effect too for the reduction of the prin- 
cipal of the mortgage debt. 


Although those were days of serious thought 
and severe and incessant toil, they were also times 
of great enjoyment. Peace reigned in our coun- 
cils, and harmony of purpose and action wrought 
their natural work. Pastor and people were 

They could see that, with God's blessing, they 
were gaining ground and could even anticipate 
the time when the last fetter of debt should be 
knocked off and the Scotch Plains Baptist Church 
should be again, what for more than a Century 
she had been, dedicated to the Lord's service, free 
and clear of all debt. 

Among the means to this glorious end introduced 
by the new Pastor, one ought not to pass unmen- 
tioned in the annals of those days of trial and 
triumph, viz. : The Ladies' Circle. 

The New Pastor had brought with him an help- 
meet, invaluable to himself and to the Church, 
and when upon the Organization of "The Ladies' 
Circle," Mrs. Parks became its President, with 
Mrs. Huldah D. Cleaver as Vice President, Miss 
Mary Dunn, Treasurer, Miss Hannah Hayes, Sec- 
retary, and a Board of Managers, there came into 
life one of the most, if not the most potent factors 
for the success of the work in hand. 

Under the wise and skilful guidance of their 
beloved President, who worked with her head, her 
heart, and her hands, the ladies of the Church, 
without regard to age, rallied with an ardor that 
shed new lustre upon the sex, and worked with 
the utmost zeal and untiring energy. Indeed 
more money was raised through this splendid band 
of women, than through any other one agency 
then in operation. 


Thus, under the judicious Management of Doc- 
tor Parks, the work of getting the Church upon 
solid ground went bravely and successfully on. 

Doctor Parks had some heroic co-workers in 
those days, foremost among whom was Doctor 
F. W. Westcott. 

It may be permitted to mention here some inci- 
dents of how they then worked. The Furnace 
underneath the Church was so out of Order (and 
to get a new one was impossible) that the Audi- 
torium could only be warmed for Sunday Service 
by having someone sit up all the night before with 
the furnace and coax it along. 

Doctors Parks and Westcott were the men for the 
Emergency. They did it alternately, and thus the 
old furnace was forced to do duty until a new one 
could be bought. 

When the Ladies' Circle gave Entertainments at 
which oysters were served, it was a sight well 
worth the seeing, and not easily to be forgotten by 
those who understood all that it meant, to see these 
two Doctors, Parks and Westcott, standing with 
coats off, and sleeves rolled up, opening the rough- 
coated bivalves, for the guests at the festivals. 

It was a homely but needed work. They did it 
well. They honored the work. The work honored 
them. They were working for the Master's Cause, 
and their work met His approval, and was crowned 
with success. 

Space does not permit the narration of other in- 
cidents to illustrate the character and toilsomeness 
of the services and sacrifices made by the Men and 
Women, and Children also, of the Parish in that 
period of Supreme Struggle. Suffice it to say: All 

were animated by the high and holy resolve to 
save the old Church, and their resolve was chrystal- 
ized into action. 

The Lord blessed their efforts, and from the 
nettle of seeming Ruin, they plucked the fragrant 
flower of Victory. 

Pastor and People were of one mind, enthusi- 
astic and happy. 

They saw the dark and ominous cloud, which 
had hovered so low and so long, over them passing 
away, and the dawn of a better and brighter day 
was beginning to purple the east. 

Church and Parish were laboring as a unit. 
Faith and Good works blended in one harmonious 
impulse, and under the sway of such motors, all 
were content to work on assured of the blessing of 
the Most High. During this time the interest was 
paid and S2,«)00 on mortgage debt. Thus it was 
and thus continued the surroundings of the Church, 
when in the year 1888, Matthias Frazee Lee, an 
old member of the church died, and by his will, 
made her the residuary legatee of an estate 
estimated to be worth One hundred and fifty thou- 
sand Dollars ($150,000) or more. 

This will was drawn up by Mr. Lee's legal ad- 
viser, and was made and executed absolutely with- 
out the knowledge of the church or any of its 
members, except only the testator himself. 

As is usual in such cases, the dead man's will 
and wishes in regard to the disposition of his prop- 
erty were not respected. 

He was a bachelor. He had no one dependent 
upon him. He was under no obligation to any of 
his relatives. 

His next of kin were two uncles, both older 
than himself , both comfortably well off as to "this 
world's gear." One of them was a member of 
this church, the other belonged to the Presbyter- 
ian Charch of Westfield, New Jersey. 

These two men set on foot legal proceedings to 
nullify the last will and testament of their nephew, 
who had lived all his life near neighbor to them, 
and whom they knew to be a man of far more than 
ordinary mind and capacity for business. 

It was evident, as the case developed, that the 
uncles were mere "figureheads" in the contest. 

That they had permitted themselves to be used 
by others who were not next of kin to the 

These people, most of whom were cousins to Mr. 
Lee, many of whom had shared his bounty during 
his lifetime — these instigators of the attack upon the 
will of Mr. Lee made their appearance at the Court. 
(The old men whose names were used as nominal 
contestants did not appear), and did their utmost 
to cover with shame and obloquy the life, career 
and memory of the man whose money they sought 
to grasp against his wish and will, solemnly ex- 

As the real parties to this shameful scheme, they 
dragged the vicinity for willing and unwilling 
witnesses — many of whom were debtors to Mr. 
Lee — they themselves ; some of them became wit- 
nesses, and in their own interest swore down the 
dead man's character, his wishes and his will. 

The outcome was that the church became weary 
of the long and expensive contest against avarice; 
a compromise was made, and they who had fought 
so viciously for their kinsman's money, which 


SOME mp:mbers of the ladies circle. 

they knew he intended they should not have, car- 
ried off the major part of the estate. Let us not 
envy them all the pleasure they can derive from 
wealth thus obtained. 

The small portion of the original estate which 
finally came to the church, enabled the Trustees to 
obey the first condition of the legacy, by paying 
the debt of the church. The balance of the fund 
is held by the terms of the Will "to be used by 
said Church in spreading the Gospel." 

Another event which marked the Pastorate of 
Doctor Parks, and seemed to characterize it as the 
Era of Legacies, was that of the death of James C. 
Lyon, (which took place July 7, 1890), another 
former member of the church having departed this 
life, made the church the residuary legatee under 
his last Will. Happily this gift came unattended 
by the disagreeable and exasperating displays of 
greed which marked the Lee bequest ; and so in 
due season, and in conformity with the will of the 
testator, his executor, William C. Stanbery, 
Esquire, turned over to the church the residue of 
the Estate valued at about Ten thousand Dollars 
($10,000). This legacy came as a free gift untram- 
melled by any restrictions or limitations. 

Let the memory of Lee and Lyon ever be kept 
freshly and lovingly in the minds of the sons and 
daughters of our old Zion. A beautiful memorial 
tablet has been erected conspicuously upon the 
church building to each of those benefactors of the 

The first decade of Doctor Parks' Pastorate 
was, simply, a struggle for life. 

The Old Ship which for more than a century had 
sailed upon her course safely and steadily bear- 

ing tlie "glad tidings" the Gospel of Love and 
Salvation, was now tempest tossed — storm beaten 
— well nigh wrecked. Self preservation, the first 
law of nature, demanded that every energy of 
Captain, Officers and Crew, should be directed to 
saving the ship, well knowing, as they did, that 
unless the ship were saved from wreck, her long 
and noble voyage, already sailed, would end 
disastrously and forever. 

If therefore it should appear to the reader of 
this review of Doctor Park's Pastorate, that too 
much time and labor were devoted to the worldly 
or financial interests of the Church, and too little 
to her spiritual growth ; it is felt that the criticism 
must be toned down and softened by the recollec- 
tion of the stern and unrelenting necessities which 
threatened the very existence of the Church. 

But the spiritual things — the preaching and 
prayer services were never at anytime neglected or 

The Christian Graces were reared and fortified 
in the school of severe practical training and alert 
watchfulness. It was a discipline of realities in 
which Faith and Good AYorks so constantly met 
and mingled, that old-time Christians were 
strengthened and renewed, while the Novitiates 
felt their hearts warmed, and under the inspiration 
of the constant struggle for the cause, were built 
up and made to "quit themselves like men." 

The latter years of Doctor Parks' Pastorate were 
marked by a quiet and gradual growth in the 
Church, and when he decided to resign the charge 
he so faithfully had kej)t for eleven years, his 
resignation was accepted by Church and Parish 
with unaffected and universal regret. 



He carried with him into his retirement, the 
esteem and respect of the community, and the 
sincere love of his Parishioners and Church Mem- 

He is now living in his own home, opposite the 
scene of his recent labors ; and may the Lord bless 
and keep him and his estimable wife for years yet 
to come. 

The present Pastor of the church is Rev. J. S. 
Braker. He was born in Camden, N. J., in 1863, 
and was educated at Bucknell University and 
Crozer Theological Seminary. He has held pastor- 
ates at Passayunk Baptist Church and at Temple 
Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa. He accepted 
the call of this church in April, 1894. His pastor- 
ate is yet too young to record results — But he has 
the hearty co-operation of the church. He has 
baptised a number into its fellowship, and all hope 
he may be successful in accomplishing the will of 
the God of the church. 

Thus Jehovah has always provided leaders for 
His people, who have broken to them the bread of 
life, and conducted them amid the intricacies of 
the way heavenward. 


Lay preaching was at least tacitly authorized as 
long ago as 1791 when it was "voted that the 
deacons exercise their gifts in case of disappoint- 
ment by the minister." The minutes, also record 
instances in which persons asked for license to 
preach the gospel, and after the church "had in- 
vestigated and inquired into their fitness," they 
were advised that "they would be more useful in 
some other department of the Lord's vineyard." 


The following persons, however, were licensed by 
vote of the church. 

Henry Crosley, one of the original members, 
was licensed about the year 1750, and was ordained 
at Schooley's Mountain in 1753. 

David Sutton was baptised by Rev. Mr. Miller, 
soon after the church was constituted, and was 
licensed in 1758 and ordained in 1761. 

John Sutton, who was a brother of David, was 
baptised, licensed and ordained at the same time 
his brother was, and became an eminently useful 
Minister of the Gospel. 

James Manning, D. D., was baptised by Rev. 
Mr. Miller, licensed and ordained at Scotch Plains. 
Elsewhere his great usefulness and the eminence 
he attained in the Denomination, have been re- 

Daniel Dane was baptised in August, 1771, and 
licensed to preach the gospel in 1773. 

Jacob F. Randolph was baptised by Rev. Mr. 
Van Horn in 1786 and licensed in 1791. He had 
previously exercised his talents in the occasional 
absence of the Pastor. He was ordained at Mount 
Bethel in the same year, and afterward served as 
Pastor at Samptown; and when the Plainfield 
First Baptist Church was organized in 1818 he be- 
came their Pastor. He was devotedly pious, ar- 
dently zealous, and possessed a peculiar sweetness 
of disposition. He was Pastor at Plainfield about 
ten years, and died in the triumphs of the Chris- 
tian faith. 

Marmaduke Earl who was a member of the Re- 
formed Dutch Church and graduate of Columbia 
College, became a baptist in 1789. He united with 


this Churcli in 1790 and was licensed to preach in 
1791. He was Pastor for several years at Oyster 
Bay, L. I. 

Henry Ball, son of Deacon Aaron Ball, was 
licensed to preach in 1805. He labored twenty- 
seven years at Brookfield, N. Y., and afterward 
was useful at Greenville, Factoryville and Middle- 
town, N. Y. At the latter place he was instru- 
mental in organizing a Baptist Church, which has 
since become a strong people. 

Obediah B. Brown of Newark, came to Scotch 
Plains, to study under direction of Rev. Mr. Van 
Horn. He was licensed January 1, 1806. Soon 
after, he accompanied Deacon Ezra Darby, M. C, 
to Washington, D. C, and became Pastor of a 
church in that City. 

Hervey Ball, nephew of Henry Ball, was grad- 
uated at Columbian College, Washington, D.C., and 
was soon after licensed to preach. His life was 
spent chiefly in teaching. 

Elias Frost was licensed in 1830 and removed 
to Hamburg, Sussex Co., N. J. 

These are all whom the minutes record as hav- 
ing received license directly from this church ; 
though others who have been members with us, and 
removed to sister churches, have received license 
from the respective churches to which they went. 


It should be said here, that when the church 
was organized, officers were elected who are not 
usually recognized by Baptist churches. They 
were called Ruling Elders, and seem to have con- 
stituted an Advisory Board with the Pastor. The 
office continued for about forty years, and was 

then quietly allowed to drop out of sight. Those 
who occupied this position were William Darby, 
Recompense Stanbery, Peter Wilcox, John Stites, 
Samuel Drake, Samuel Doty, John Blackford and 
Joseph Manning, 

Recompense Stanbery and William Darby were 
the first deacons. They were elected at the first 
business meeting of the church, October 14, 1747. 
They were chosen to the double office of Deacon 
and Ruling Elder. They served faithfully and 
well until their death. Joseph Allen was elected 
April 6, 1748, and retained the office until his 
death in 1797. 

Gabriel Ogden and Samuel Brooks were elected 
in July, 1765. Deacon Ogden was dismissed upon 
his removal to Sussex Co., and Deacon Brooks 
died March 24, 1788. 

Joseph F. Randolph was elected July 30, 1777, 
and died in 1782. 

David Morris was elected in October, 1777, and 
served until he removed to Kentucky in 1788. 

Daniel Drake was a deacon and died October 1, 

Nathaniel Drake was a younger brother of 
Daniel, and became a deacon and discharged his 
duties until his death in 1801. 

Noah Clark was chosen a deacon and served un- 
til his death in 1801, a period of about ten years. 

Benjamin Blackford was elected in 1791, and 
served until his removal to Samptown at the or- 
ganization of that church. 

Melvin Parse was appointed to succeed Deacon 
Blackford, and served thirty-four years until the 
time of his death in 1827. 

Aaron Ball was chosen in 1793, and continued 
in office more than forty-eight years. 

John B. Osborn and Ezra Darby were elected 
February 13, 1802. Deacon Osborn served until 
his death. Deacon Darby was chosen to represent 
the State in the Congress of the United States in 
1804. While performing his duties at the Capitol, 
he was suddenly removed by death, Jamiary 28, 
1808. He was buried in the Congressional Cemetery 
which is a beautiful spot situated about two miles 
from the Capitol, on the banks of the "East 
Branch" of the Potomac Kiver. His name is 
number two in the list of interments. His 
tomb is situated in the North East corner of the 
cemetery on a gentle mound, overlooking the 
peaceful valley of the "Eastern Branch," and the 
picturesque hills of Maryland beyond. The in- 
scription on the tomb is simply "In memory of 
Ezra Darby, born at Scotch Plains, New Jersey. 
Member of Congress from that State. Died in this 
City, January 28, 1808. In the 39th year of his 
age. A Patriot. A Philanthropist. A Christian." 

James Brown was elected to fill Deacon Darby's 
place in 1809. He died June 5, 1811. 

Henry Hetfield was appointed in 1828, and 
served about sixteen years, when he removed his 
church relationship to Brooklyn, N. Y., and after- 
wards to Somerville, N. J. He was re-elected 
when he returned, and served until the Master 
called him home. 

Jonathan Osborn was chosen on 27th of July, 
1830, and served until 1842, when he removed to 
the State of New York. 

Dr. Corra Osborn, Alexander Wilson, William 
Hand, Maxwell Frazee, Corra O. Meeker and James 


Pugsley were all elected between 1841 and 1844, 
and filled the office well and faithfully. Randolph 
G. Silvers was also an efficient deacon. Jared S. 
Stout and L. H. K. Smalley have also served the 
church honorably and satisfactorily until they 
were called up higher. 

During the last fifteen years or more, "William 
Archbold, David Hand, Dr. J. A. Coles and Thomas 
Mead have consecratedly and devoutly occupied 
the office. Deacon Mead removed to Spring Val- 
ley, N. Y., last year, and resigned his position. 


As appears by the minutes, those who have per- 
formed the duties of clerk, have been Recom- 
pense Stanbery, Ichabod Valentine, Jr., David 
Morris, Robert F. Randolph, Aaron Ball, Ezra 
Darby, Jonathan Hand Osborn, Jonathan Osborn, 
Jr., Alexander Wilson, C. 0. Meeker, Thomas 
Ward, O. M. Putnam, L. H. K. Smalley, Thomas 
Cleaver, R. C. Treadwell and George Dunn. 

Bro. Dunn is now acting in that capacity. Thus 
the church has been fully officered during all the 
years of its existence. Even during the dark 
times of the Revolutionary Struggle, while the 
minutes of that period are scant and unsatisfactory, 
and the business meetings irregular, yet the church 
maintained its existence, and kept the banner of 
the cross in sight. 


The church has always defended Baptist prin- 
ciples : among these, soul liberty, or rights of con- 
science, by which our fathers understood that 
every one has a right to think and believe without 


dictation from any earthly power, being respon- 
sible to God only. To worship God according to 
the dictates of his own conscience. A century 
and a half ago this principle was not so generally 
endorsed by other denominations as it is now, but 
it has always been the teaching of Baptists. 

When the province of New Jersey was ceded to 
Lord Berkley and Sir George Cartaret,by the Duke 
of York, in 1664, religious freedom was guaranteed 
in the charter thus : "No person at any time shall 
be anyways molested, punished, disquieted, or 
called in question for any difference of opinion or 
practice in matters of religious concernment." 
This was the broad teaching which our fathers 
loved, but it was not always conformed to by 
paedobaptists of this and neighboring provinces. 

In 1775 Baptists as well as others, were required 
to pay a rate ministerial tax for the support of 
Presbyterian and Congregational clergymen, in 
some of the provinces. Our fathers felt themselves 
wronged, aggrieved and persecuted by this require- 
ment. When knowledge of the fact came to the 
ears of this church, on the first of February, 1775, 
they appointed one Mr. Smith, to go to England 
to represent and defend these persecuted breth- 
ren. The church paid the expenses of Mr. Smith 
upon this mission. 

Dr. Manning, and Dr. Stennett, who was known 
personally to George III, succeeded in getting the 
ear of the King. The consequence was that His 
Majesty "disallowed and rejected" all acts of 
oppression of Baptists: and thus one of the first 
victories of soul liberty secured on this continent 
was gained by the co-operation of this church, and 

the payment of the expenses of one of its mem- 
bers, as one of a committee upon this business. 

The church has always been a Strict Communion 
church. It has always believed and taught that 
they only were entitled to the privilege of the 
Lord's table, who had been immersed on profession 
of faith, and were living upright and consistent 
lives. Our fathers were uncompromising in their 
tenacious adherence to this principle. Not only 
would they refuse to commune with an unbaptised 
person, but the minutes record instances in which 
their own members were "Set by," and refused the 
Lord's Supper until they had acknowledged some 
fault, or repented of some sin, or indiscretion of 
which they had been guilty. No officer of this 
church would ever have been elected, or held his 
position long, if he had been at all wavering or 
uncertain upon the communion question. So, too, 
of the doctrines of the church. They have always 
been unequivocally stated and implicitly believed. 
The Bible has ever been our only rule of faith and 
practice. While the church adopted the Philadel- 
phia Confession of Faith, yet it has never con- 
formed to any creed as such, but always tried 
every summary of doctrine, by the word of God 
and endorsed that which would bear the test of its 
teachings. We have reason to rejoice that our 
fathers laid the foundations of our Zion deep and 
strong, and that hitherto the superstructure has 
been erected upon that foundation. 

The church has been pecuniarily self-sustaining 
from its organization. It has never received any 
help or assistance from Home Mission Society, 
State Convention, nor any other benevolent organ- 
ization of our denomination ; while it has always 


counted it a privilege to contribute to the needs of 
others; not to the extent of our ability, perhaps, 
but always in some degree. 

The church has been at peace with itself from 
the beginning, No serious inharmony nor dissen- 
sion has ever prevailed, and we have never had 
occasion to call a council of the denomination to 
settle disputes. To the Great Head in Zion be the 
praise and not to us. We are doubtless as heady 
and strong willed as any in the Lord's great fam- 
ily, but His moulding and modifying hand has 
been upon us from the beginning even until now. 

The church has never been numerically large. 
Though about one thousand persons have been 
baptised since the organization, yet the member- 
ship at any one time has never been large. The 
reason for this is apparent. We are geographically 
located away from the railroad and are sur- 
rounded with Baptist churches. Besides this 
there are few manufacturing interests in our imme- 
diate vicinity. For this reason young persons 
who have been converted and united with the 
church have only remained until they could find 
employment elsewhere. Hence the church has 
always been a feeder to other churches. Young 
men and women have been trained in church work 
here, and then have gone to enrich the working 
force of other churches, while few have located 
permanently with us. We count it a privilege to 
have thus contributed to the greater efiiciency of 
neighboring organizations through all these past 
years, and regard it a success if we have main- 
tained a creditable average membership. 

The female membership has been an important 
factor in the success of every church enterprise. The 


records show that while women have never been 
entrusted with any official church position, yet the 
affectionately devoted lives, and hearty co-opera- 
tion with every good word and work, of many of 
them, has endeared them to the church and made 
their memory hallowed when they have passed 
away. Indeed, many a wisely planned scheme for 
church enlargement and progress would have 
failed but for the prayers, self-sacrificing identifi- 
cation, deft fingers and determined application of 
sisters of the church, who regarded no effort too 
great to make, for the cause so dear to their hearts. 
The Ladies' Circle in the time of the church's 
greatest financial need helped to carry the burden 
for years, and assisted in raising both the prin- 
cipal and interest of the mortgage debt. All honor 
to the consecrated women who were surely related 
to the Marys of old, who were last at the cross 
and first at the sepulchre of our risen Lord. 

The Sabbath School was organized during the 
pastorate of Rev. John Rogers, in the year 1829, 
just sixty-eight years ago. Catechetical and Bible 
class instruction, however, was given by the Pas- 
tors of the church before that time. The East 
New Jersey Baptist Sunday School Convention 
was not organized until 1852, and our Sunday 
School immediately united with it. Its second 
session was held with this church and school in 
1853. It is impossible to collate the names of all 
who have served as Superintendents, but the fol- 
lowing named are distinctly remembered by some 
of the oldest living members of the church: 
Deacon Henry Hetfield, for twenty-five years, 
Thomas Ward, Thomas Cleaver, James E. Pugs- 
ley, Randolph Silvers, Anson Grant, H. E. Need- 

ham, Charles A. Smith, L. H. K. Smalley, David 
Hand, R. C. Tread well, George Colgate and George 
E. Hall. Bro, Hall is in charge of the school at 
this time, and is efficiently promoting its interests. 
He is also President of the East N. J. Baptist S. 
S. Convention. All of these officers have been 
among the most public spirited, self sacrificing 
and consecrated members of the church. There 
has always been a corps of teachers too, of both 
sexes, who have labored in this nursery of Zion, 
and God has not left them destitute of evidence of 
His approval. 

It is undoubtedly a historical fact, that among 
the great army of Sunday School workers in our 
State, it may be declared that this or that man 
was born into the Kingdom of God by the influ- 
ence of the Scotch Plains Baptist Sunday School. 

The church has had thirteen regular Pastors, of 
whom four are yet living, viz. : Rev. J. F. Brown, 
D.D., Rev. J. C. Buchanan, D.D., Rev. J. H. 
Parks, D.D. and Rev. J. S. Braker, the present 
Pastor. Two of these Pastors were ordained here, 
viz. : Benjamin Miller and Joseph C. Buchanan, 
and two are buried here, viz.: Rev. Benj. Miller 
and Rev. Joshua E. Rue. The longest term of 
office continued thirty-four years, and the shortest 
twenty months. The average is more than twelve 


Of course the constituent members of the church 
have long since gone to their final home and their 
reward, but some of their descendants are still 
residents of our town. 

Recompense Stanbery, one of the constituent 
members and deacons, liad cliildren, among whom 
were Recompense Stanbery, born September 23, 
1758. He also was identified with the church. 
Nine children were the result of his marriage, of 
whom but one remains, William C. Stanbery, who 
is an honored and respected member of our com- 

Rev, Benjamin Miller left one son, who lived in 
the homestead, the farm now occupied by our 
honored townsman, A. D. Shepard. He had sev- 
eral children. Aaron Drake married one of the 
granddaughters. Two of his children, Miss Sarah 
Drake and Miss Louise Barr, are now identified 
with us and are the only members of the church 
who are direct descendants of the first pastor. 

John Darby, one of the early members, married 
Nancy Stanbery. He had several children. Levi, 
Aaron, John, Joseph, Recompense, William, Katie 
and Margaret. William H. Cleaver married Mar- 
garet, and Judge James D. Cleaver, one of the sons 
of this union, is a member of our Board of Trustees. 
He was President of the Board in 1847, and is 
again President this present year, 1897. Levi 
Darby, who is yet with us, is a son of Aaron Dar- 
by. Albert B. Darby, now of Plainfield, is a son of 
Joseph, who was a member and trustee of this 
church fifty years ago, and his widow is still a 
member of this church. 

Benjamin Stites, whose name often appears in 
the old records, had three sons — Henry, Foster 
and Benjamin. Mrs. James D. Cleaver who died 
only two years ago, the wife of Judge Cleaver, 
was the daughter of Benjamin. Henry Stites, 
who passed away in 1894, was the son of Foster, 


Mrs. Gershom Little, who now resides in our com- 
munity is the daughter of Henry. 

James Coles came into this community in the 
last century. One of his sons was Dennis Coles, 
who was the father of our lamented fellow mem- 
ber. Dr. Abraham Coles, L.L.D., and of Mrs. 
Susan Stout. He was the grandfather of Dr. J. 
Ackerman Coles and his sister Emily who are still 
in church relationship with us. Dennis Crane, 
another grandson, is also a member of the church. 

Dr. Corra Osborn was a deacon of the church 
and a prominent and influential member. He left 
several children, one of whom married Samuel 
Hayes. She was an active and useful member 
until 1892 when she died, leaving three daughters, 
Mary, Hannah and Lydia, who are still efficient 
workers with us. 

There are other representatives of the old mem- 
bers living, some still in our community, and 
others in other parts of the Lord's heritage. 

These all cherish a commendable and fervent 
love for the old church home. They rejoice in 
every success which attends the labors of those 
who are working in the old vineyard ; and believe 
that God has blessed every scriptural] y inspired 
effort which has been made by His people in all 
the eventful years of its history. 

The Present Officers of the Church are 

Rev. J. S. Braker, Pastor. 
William Archbold, Deacon. 
Dr. J. A. Coles, 
David Hand, " 

George L. Dunn, Church Clerk. 
George E. Hall, Treasurer. 



James D. Cleaver, Pres. ; F. W. Westcott, M. 
D., Norman Dunn, Alfred D. Beeken, Wm. T. 
Banks, John P. Bornman and Frederick W. 


The history of one hundred and fifty years is 
completed. While the workers of other years 
have passed away, God has raised up others in 
their place, for "while the laborers cease the work 
goes on." 

The fidelity and constancy of our forefathers 
amid difficulties and discouragements is an example 
to us which we may well emulate. Their work is 
ended. Their remains repose in this silent ceme- 
tery until the summons of the Great King in the 
last great day. — Here they saw the cross and en- 
dured the toil, and here they will see the King in 
His beauty. Their work is transferred to us. It 
is a glorious inheritance. It ought to arouse oar 
zeal and our grandest efforts for the honor of the 
Master. May the church continue until Christ's 
second appearing, and may we contribute our 
share to the accomplishment of the purposes of the 
great Head in Zion. 






A Mid-Summers Sabbath in, and about it, 



Not many will come up to our Sesqui Centen- 
nial Anniversary, who were here at the date of 
this sketch which is Ante-Centennial. 

Most of them have gone on to the "undiscovered 
country from whose bourne no traveller returns." 
Many of them are quietly resting in the Old Bury- 
ing Ground, their mortal remains lying around 
those of the Reverend Benjamin Miller, the first 
and beloved pastor of the church in the bivouac 
of death, awaiting the reveille, which on the 
morning of the Resurrection, shall call them from 
their slumber to the realities of that day. 

Of the remaining few, the writer is one. He 
writes from Memory, and hopes to be substan- 
tially correct in what he states. 


The day was a Sabbath ; indeed. The sun rose 
brightly, and ushered in a day of rest for the 
quiet old village and the neighboring farms. Over 
all reigned an air of peaceful contentment which 
gave promise of a day full of worshipful experi- 
ence, which should hallow the hours with heavenly 
joy and blessing, while it's duties and services 
should comfort and strengthen all who should 
share in it's Mission of Love to God and Man. 

Under the sway of such influences it was easy to 
say with Coleridge : 

"He prayeth well, who loveth well 
"Both Man, and Beast and Bird; 
"He prayeth best, who loveth best 
"All things, both great and small; 
"For the dear God, who loveth us, 
"He made and loveth all." 

The Old Meeting House, which was of frame and 
covered roof and sides with shingles, painted 
white, without porch or spire, or any architectural 
ornament, stood at quite a distance from the road 
(now Park Avenue). 

It was flanked on the northwest and on the 
rear by the Burying Ground. On the southeast 
was "The Green," reaching eastwardly, to the 
School House which then stood on the line of the 
side walk, nearly where the present church build- 
ing stands. 

"The Green" or Lawn had upon it a grove of 
fine trees, oaks and hickories. 

It was the play ground for the school children ; 
it was the place where the soldiers of the early 
days, met, "horse and foot," on "training days," 
and were drilled in their manual. 


"The Green," was, also, where the annual 
"Town Meetings" were held, and where the early 
politicians displayed their eloquence and their 
skill in guiding the Ship of State. 

"The Green," was not fenced on the front or 
road side, but was open to all: — It has disap- 
peared now, with the Old Meeting House, and the 
Old School House which then stood on its south- 
easterly and northwesterly corners as sentinels 
of religion and education. The Lawn now ex- 
tending along Park Avenue northwesterly from 
the present church building marks the location of 
the old "Green." 

On such a Sabbath as I am speaking of "The 
Green" was the drawing room of the parish, 
where ante-sermon receptions were held. 

Without, as within, the Old Meeting House was 
devoid of ornament or architectural pretension. 
It's two doors of entrance, each opening into one 
of the two aisles within, were approached by stone 
stoops, three steps high, no porches or railings 
protected them. 

There were two rows of square windows, one 
above the other, on the sides, and a long narrow 
window, on either side of the Pulpit, in the rear 

No shutters, or shades or blinds were there to 
shut out the sun. 

The "dim religious light" now so great a de- 
sideratum in modern sanctuaries, was an unknown 
quantity there. 

Galleries extended around the sides and front of 
the auditorium. 

These were terraced, and constituted the Sunday 
School room of those days. 


They also, usually, accommodated the flotsam 
and jetsam of the parish with sittings, free of 

The Sunday School was primitive and unpre- 

The teachers did not "know it all," and pru- 
dently confined themselves to the printed questions 
and answers contained in the lesson books. 

The library was not extensive or various. 

The books were as dry as they were few ; the 
Librarian went from class to class with his stock 
of books displayed on a board shelf which he car- 
ried in front of him, and the scholars accepted 
with meek resignation the book given them ; they 
had no choice in those days ; nor did it take a 
faithful reader long to " go through " the entire 
list, so that being deprived of "a choice" mat- 
tered but little. 

No stage then brought the children to Sunday 

If their parents thought the children were well, 
the children came — having nothing to do with 
the business, except to obey, and attend. 

Sunday School Excursions had not invaded this 
secluded spot — as to Picnics — well, there were 
times when on the glorious fourth of July, the 
Sunday School was assembled on "the Green," 
and the youthful hearts fired with patriotism by 
weak rhetoric and weaker lemonade. — Excuse the 

Let us return to the Meeting House. Within, 
the floor space was divided by the two aisles lead- 
ing from the doors of entrance, into three parcels 
of pews, two wall slips and the central body, the 
pews of which reached half way from aisle to aisle. 


The pews were straight up and down, made of 
very hard boards and so high of backs and seats 
that a boy of fourteen could, with difficulty, "see 
out " while he was standing, or " touch bottom " 
when sitting down. 

The floors were uncarpeted, save on some extra- 
ordinary occasion, when they were ornamented 
with a top-dressing of "Rocka way sand." The 
house was warmed in the winter, at least two cor- 
ners of it were, by two immense stoves known as 
the "ten-plate" variety. These were fired with 
great hickory and oak billets, and, when in full 
blast, made their immediate vicinity unbearably 
hot, while at the other end of the room, the mer- 
cury was down to zero. Still it is likely that the 
temperature, had it been fairly averaged, would 
have marked about " temperate." The house was 
lighted ! by a system of tallow candles, held in 
tin holders, at the end of crooked wires, attached 
to the square wooden pillars which supported the 

The naps of the bad boys and girls who slept in 
"meetin' time," were disturbed at stated intervals, 
by the Sexton, who went around the aisles, with 
heavy tread and creaking shoes. Snuffers in hand, 
to snuff the candles, and make darkness visible. 

The prominent feature of the "Interior" was, 
however, the Pulpit. From it came the "bread of 
life," as it was broken by the Pastor. From it 
issued " in tones of love or warning fear," instruc- 
tion, appeal, admonition, reproof, rebuke, threat- 
ening. It was the central point and fountain for 
the people, and its influence for good in the com- 
munity was recognized and gratefully ac- 


The Pulpit was located between the long win- 
dows in the rear wall, and was suspended about 
mid-way between the floor and the ceiling, so as to 
be plainly visible from the remotest ]part of the 
room. It was reached by a long winding stairway, 
and a cushioned seat afforded room for two or 
three people. 

The preachers of those days seemed to prefer an 
elevated place from which to reach their hearers. 

There was no "sounding board" overhead. 
Underneath the Pulpit was a recess which con- 
tained the book-case (about the size of an ordinary 
wardrobe), holding the Library of the Sunday 
School. In front of the recess were four large 
rush bottomed arm chairs, which at Communion 
and other important occasions contained the four 
Deacons; who to us boj^s, were awful in their 
solemn dignity. 

Thus was the Old Meeting House the one that 
had arisen from the ashes of its predecessor. 

No spire or belfry rose above its roof, and no 
" church- going bell " rang out over the Plains to 
ummon the worshippers to the Sanctuary. 

Nevertheless, they came. Let me recall some of 
them as they came up from their'homes that day, 
to join in their Sabbath day's worship. 

There came the brothers, Silas and Mulford Cole, 
from their brook farm — they came out to the 
Plainfield road, now Front street. 

They then joined the sisters Jemima and Emme- 
line Shotwell, who came from their father's house 
on the hill just beyond. 

From the "Short Hills," near Netherwood and 
the "Terrill Road," there are coming Corra O. 
Meeker and Deacon William Hand, Grandfather 


of o^^r present Deacon David Hand, and with them 
come the Lees, the Garthwaites, the Hetfields, the 
Dolbiers, the Lines, the Crisps and "Aunt Betsy 
Terrill," the last representative of the family which 
gave its name to that road. 

As these come out on the Plainfield Road, they 
are joined, or followed by "Aunt Katie Cole," and 
the families of Melvin Parse, Amos Osborn, Jona- 
than Hand Osborn, Joseph Bradford, Deacon Henry 
Hetfield, Vincent L. Frazee, William H. Cleaver, 
Noah and Cooper Parse, Jotham D. Frazee, "Aunt 
Phebe Darby," widow of Ezra Darby, formerly 
Member of Congress ; the families of Samuel Ver- 
meule, Gideon Allen, the Moffetts, Simeon V. and 
Amos, Joseph M. Osborn, afterward Sheriff of Union 
County, Jonathan Osborn, Jr., formerly Sheriff of 
Essex County and Thomas J. Barr, then the Keeper 
of the Old Tavern. N. B. It was not thought dis- 
reputable in those good old days for a hotel keeper 
to attend church. 

Going over a point further east to "The Darby 
Road," now Park ave., there came up by that way 
to our church, the Lamberts, the Sisters Hetfield, 
Deacon James E. Pugsley and family, also the 
families of Aaron and Levi Darby, thePlatts, John 
Darby and Benjamin S. Hetfield. 

Another point eastward brings us over to the 
Westfield road, and up from that old village, and 
beyond, we have coming as worshippers at our 
altar the widow of Thomas Clark with her sons, 
the families of Jacob Cole, brother to Silas above 
named. Doctor Corra Osborn, M,D., father of the 
late Mrs. Samuel Hays; she was one of the true 
and tried friends of the church in the years of 
peril and poverty. With them came Major Aaron 

Ball, who for years acted as Precentor, and led the 
congregational singing. After these came John 
B. Osborn, surnamed "the little," the Adair 
brothers, Shuttleworth and George W. ; then the 
families of William Osborn, and of Deacons John 
and Jonathan Osborne, and with them the Wil- 
cox and Marsh, and Ryno families ; coming 'round 
the corner, known as "Pfaff's," these were joined 
by the households of Andrew Schuyler, Oliver 
Hand, surnamed "the Lawyer," Abraham Nelson, 
"Aunt Rachel Darby," Aaron Drake, Alexander 
Wilson, a scholarly man, who often expounded 
the Scriptures, at the evening meetings in the 
upper room of the Old School House, John W. 
Osborn and Judge Corey. 

Looking, now, further toward the north, we may 
see another contingent of our friends, coming in by 
the Springfield road — now Mountain Avenue. From 
the Branch Mills neighborhood come the families 
of William Darby, William Richards, Carlisle and 
Erastus Miller, James Roll and William H. Darby. 

Coming hitherward, these are re-inforced by the 
families of James Coles and his father. Esquire 
Dennis Coles, who was the father of the late Doc- 
tor Abraham Coles, M. D., and Grandfather of our 
present Deacon, Doctor Jonathan Ackerman Coles, 
M. D., and these were joined by Captain William 
Abel and Robert Walpole with their folk. 

From Feltville, or as the locality was known in 
the early days, "the Old Powder Mill," where in 
Revolutionary days, the Continental Army, more 
especially "the Jersey Blues," drew largely their 
supply of powder, then manufactured up in that 
secluded nook — from their mountain farm up 

there, came Thomas and William Ward, two stal- 
wart brothers. 

Still further around toward the north west, 
down by the New Providence Road, sometimes 
called "The Turkey Road," we may see coming 
down to join the Congregation, the Townleys and 
Deacon Maxwell Frazee, with his large family, 
while from the Washington Valley and the Mount 
Bethel way, the procession is supplemented by the 
families of James C. Lyon, the Archibalds, of 
whom I believe our worthy Deacon, William 
Archibald and his brother John, are now the only 
representatives left, Lyman Spencer and Nathaniel 
Drake, Jr. ; and coming down the eastern slope 
of the mountain these were joined by the families 
of Amos Cole, Nathaniel Drake, Isaac Drake, 
Joseph S. Darby and Gauin McCoy, David Frazee 
and John Mooney, while on the Plains, east of 
Green Brook, the line was increased by the house- 
holds of Col. Stanbery, Matthew S. Dunn, "Aunt 
Sally Stites" and Aaron B. Allen. Thus they 
came, from every point of the compass, on foot, on 
horseback, in comfortable wagons and in covered 

As they reached "the Green," and cared for 
their teams, they began at once the first duty and 
pleasure of the hour, that of the social nature. 

In that place and hour there were no class dis- 
tinction ; all met on a common plane. No rich, 
no poor, no high, no low. All were friends and 
neighbors, and most of them were of kin to each 

As group after group arrived, and joined those 
already there, the welcomes went around with 
sincerest feeling. The glances of recognition, the 


smile of pleasure at meeting, gave wealth of 
honest reality to the voices which spake, and to 
the hearty hand shaking which emphasized the 
greetings given by all to all. 

Those present exchanged their genuine and un- 
affected salutations, and the absent ones were all 
enquired after. 

All were not Church members, all were not pro- 
fessing Christians ; but all who came there were 
such as revered the Most High, honored His 
Religion, and His Sabbath, and respected the 
services of the hour. 

The day was a perfect one, an ideal Sabbath. 
The sun had now risen high overhead, and was 
giving warmth, and life, and light and color to all 
created things animate and inanimate. On the 
northwest, the sky-line was shown by the waves 
of the range of hills which marked the boundary 
of the plain in that direction, and were clad in all 
the pomp of their green and misty purple foliage. 

The Old Mill which stood hard by, had ceased 
its work-a-day clatter, the ponderous mill-stones 
hung quietly upon their spindles, the whir of the 
iron cogs in the big wheel-pit was hushed, and the 
great master wheel, suspended on its mighty 
shaft, was motionless and silent. 

The brook — Green Brook — released from its 
bondage and servitude went freely and joyfully on 
its way, sparkling and dancing in the sunlight, 
singing its Sabbath song of praise and glad- 
ness, as it rippled on over its stony bed, or 
turned aside in circling eddies into some deep pool 
among the lily pads, or under the overhanging 
alders, to gossip with the fishes, as it went on 
its way to the sea rejoicing. 


To the east, the south, and the west, the Plain 
spread out to the horizon's verge, a panorama of 
pastoral beauty. 

In places the wooded groves, and the great 
apple orchards, then abundant hereabouts, marked 
the landscape with the dark green of their foliage. 

Interspersed with these were fields of sturdy 
corn and yellow grain, waving in the sunshine and 
the gentle breezes, and prophesying to the waiting 
farmer of the coming harvest. 

The meadows, too, which carpeted with their 
verdure most of the Plain, were bright and wor- 
shipful with their bloom and with their fragrance, 
which under the wooing of the warm sunbeams 
and the inborn impulses of their own nature, were 
exhaled as the incense of gratitude and love for 
the Great Creator of the mountains mighty and 
lilies of the valley fair and frail. 

The hush and calm was broken, not disturbed 
by the neighing of horses and the lowing of the 
kine in the distance. Overhead in the branches of 
the trees, the song-birds were filling the air with 
the melody of their songs of praise and happiness, 
while all around there came to the ear the monot- 
onous hum and drone of the bee and insect, which 
served to soothe the mind and give added repose to 
the Baptism of tranquility, which typified the 
angels' song at the Saviour's birth, "Peace on 
earth, good will to men." 

Over all this scene of peaceful beauty from the 
"delectable hills" to the "sweet fields" then 
"dressed in living green," the overhanging canopy 
of blue and gold, seemed to come down nearer to 
earth and enfold within its radiant curtains, for 
the time at least, this quiet spot ; and it needed 


but a slight effort of the imagination to give to the 
listening ear of the devout soul "the still, small 
voice" of the Christ whispering through the Heav- 
enly corridors : "Come unto me, all ye that labor 
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

And with one accord the people all went into 
the Temple for Worship. 

When all were seated, the Minister arose, while 
every head was bowed, returned thanks to God for 
all the mercies which we enjoyed, and invoked the 
Divine blessing upon the services of the day and 
for guidance to words and thoughts and feelings 
of preacher and people. 

The hymn was then given out: 

"Majestic Sweetness sits Enthroned 
"Upon the Savior's brow; 
"His head with radiant glory crowned, 
"His lips with grace o'erflow." 

This hymn was the keynote to the service of the 
day. We knew that the message would come 
from Calvary, and not from Sinai, and w^hen the 
words of the hymn went out upon the voices of the 
Congregation on the tune of Ortonville, the hearts 
of the people were as one with themselves and 
their preacher — receptive, loving, worshipful. 

We had in those days no "Service of Song," by 
that name, we had no responsive readings of the 
Scriptures, no Antiphonal Service of any kind. 

The Minister read the Scriptures and the hymns, 
the Precentor "led the singing," and his leading 
w^as followed by the Congregation with willing 
tongue, and with tuneful voice, and lofty praise. 

No trained Choir awed or amazed the people, or 
drove the very idea of worship out of mind, by its 
skill and perfection in vocal calisthenics or some- 
times gymnastics. 


But tlie singers of those days, while not always 
precisely in tune or "on time," sang with the 
hallowed inspiration of praise, gratitude, and 
reverence for Him whom they were taught to re- 
gard as Creator, Benefactor, Saviour. 

When the hymn had been sung and the hearts 
of the people were attuned to the sweetness of 
harmony and of love for the subject of the hymn, 
who had so loved them, the Minister then began 
reading the Scripture lesson. 

This consisted of selections from the Sermon on 
the Mount, including the golden rule, and the 

From this treasure-house of the Wisdom and 
love of the Master, so much was given as was need- 
ful to prepare the minds of the listeners for fur- 
ther consideration of the subject-matter of the 
coming sermon. 

Following the reading, the Hymn announced 

"All hail the power of Jesus' name 
"Let Angels prostrate fall; 
"Bring forth the royal diadem, 
"And Crown Him Lord of all." 

This crowning of Christ, borne aloft upon the 
exultant strains of "Coronation," gave grand out- 
let and utterance to the rising warmth of the de- 
votional spirit which was overcoming the as- 

When this glad song of acclaim had ended, it's 
triumphant ascriptions of Kingship and Lordship 
to the Christ, and it's expressions of loyalty to 
Him as Prince and King and Saviour, had been 
wafted into upper air, and upward toward the 
heavenly throne, and the listening Ear Divine; 

then were the worshippers, the ready, rapt, eager 
listeners to the words of the Preacher, as he gave 
out the text : 

"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away 
the sins of the World." 

And now we knew, of a truth, that this day's 
message was the voice from Calvary, not from 

The Preacher was in his kindliest mood. His 
heart, as well as his head was in, and behind what 
he said. He sought to unravel no theological en- 
tanglements. He simply preached "Christ and Him 

Beginning at the Manger cradle, in the cavern of 
the Khan at Bethlehem, whither the Star had 
guided the Magi, and found them kneeling awe- 
stricken and worshipful, worshipping before the 
Child, whom they had been told in a vision, was 
"born King of the Jews;" and unto whom they 
were gladly giving gifts of gold, frankincense, and 
myrrh, and homage-worship as well; the preacher 
went skilfully over many of the prominent events 
in the life of the Nazarene, selecting such as 
pointed most directly to His Divine Humanity, 
showing Him as a "Man of sorrows, and acquainted 
with grief" and, as at the baptismal waters of the 
Jordan, when the hovering Dove brooded over the 
example set by Jesus for his followers, and the 
voice of Deity spake from above to a listening 
world: "This is my beloved Son in whom lam 
well pleased; hear ye him." 

The Preacher then illustrated some traits in the 
dual character borne by this "Son of Joseph, the 


His poverty and humility, as when he said: "The 
foxes have holes and the birds of the air have 
nests, but the Son of Man, hath not where to lay 
his head." 

His power and sublimity ; as when he spake to 
the winds, and the tempest on the Sea of Galilee, 
and the turbulent waves obeyed the Master's 
voice, and sank to calm again. 

But of all the characteristics displayed in the 
life of Him ' 'who spake as never man spake, ' ' 
the Preacher dwelt longest and most emphatically 
upon the Love displayed in all the Saviour's 
works and ways. 

How He fed the hungry, healed the sick, opened 
deaf ears, gave sight to the blind, cleansed the 
lepers, raised the dead. 

How he strove to teach by word and Example 
the heaven-born lesson of the Golden Rule, and 
the parable of the Good Samaritan, 

Tracing the earthly career of the Christ, from 
Bethlehem to Calvary, he pointed out how in all 
that life of majesty, omnipotence and God like- 
ness, all those attributes and potencies which 
marked Him as the Son of God, were in turn sub- 
ordinated to unwearied self-abnegation, and to the 
most untiring ministration of goodness, mercy and 
love ; the preacher strove to win his hearers to 
imitate in their lives, and towards each other, as 
men and brethren, in their daily intercourse the 
sublime example of their "elder brother, their in- 
tercessor," "the Lamb of God which taketh away 
the sins of the World." 

The peroration covered with graphic fidelity and 
eloquence the last crowning act of self-sacrificing 
love for man — the tragic scene, when the sun was 


darkened, and night at mid day brooded over the 
rent, and reeling earth, and suspended on the 
Cross, the Saviour, with compassion more than 
mortal, prayed for His persecutors: "Father for- 
"give them for they know not what they do;" 
and the curtain fell upon that awful scene, as the 
same voice exclaimed : "It is finished." 

Pity, gratitude and love for and to the Christ 
filled all hearts. 

But high above all these emotions arose the 
sense of triumph in His triumph, the glow of joy 
inexpressible in His conquest — the feeling of vic- 
tory born of His last triumphant words: "It is 

And these high-born and holy sentiments wel- 
ling up and overflowing in their hearts, were 
relieved but not fully exj^ressed in the closing 
hymn set to the tune of "Merdin." 

"Burst ye Emerald gates and bring 
"To my raptured vision, 
"All the Exstatic joys that spring 
"'Round the bright Elysian: 
"Lo! we lift our longing eyes, 
"Break, ye intervening skies. 
"Sun of Righteousness, arise, 
"Ope the gates of Paradise. 
"Sweetest sound in Seraphs' song. 
"Sweetest sound on Mortal's tongue; 
"Sweetest carol ever sung — 
"Let it's Echoes flow along." 

When the voice of song in these exultant 
strains, were gradually led by the Precentor to the 
words of long metre doxology — 

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow, 
Praise Him all Creatures here below; 
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"^ 


which was rendered upon the majestic measures 
of "Old Hundred," the worshippers were well pre- 
pared to receive from the good Minister's lips the 
Benediction, and retire from the house, with re- 
freshed souls, and devout hearts, hoping to be 
thereby helped to do good and get good, in the 
coming week, convinced, as they were, that Love 
is the grand remedy for all social evils, as it is, 
indeed, the only foundation for good, toward God 
or Man. 

And so they went out, and only stopping to bid 
each other aJffectionate adieus, they separated and 
went to their several homes. 

In the evening the villagers, and a few from the 
suburbs, met in the upper room of the Old School 
House and had a simple service. 

The Pastor or Deacon Hetlield, or Alexander 
Wilson, would read a selection from the scriptures, 
and make a brief exposition of it. Prayers were 
offered and hymns sung, and with exhortations to 
believers and unbelievers, the meeting would close 
and the people return to their homes. A most de- 
lightful feature of those "evening meetings" and 
one over which memory lingers with fondness, was 
the singing led by Mr. William Drake, son of 
Nathaniel, assisted by Miss Margaretta Osborn, 
sister of the late Sheriff, Joseph Manning Osborn; 
and when the songs of praise led by their young, 
clear and melodious voices, it was no mere "lii^ 
service" but bore aloft the very sign of true Praise. 
They are now for a half century or more, hus- 
band and wife, living happily at Irvington, and 
members of the Baptist Church at Lyons Farms. 

And thus ended a Mid-Summer Sabbath at 
Scotch Plains, fifty years, and more ago. 


, This Sketch must close, as it began : 

"Not many will come up to our Sesqui Cen- 
tennial Anniversary who were here at the date of 
this sketch, which is Ante-Centennial." 

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