Churches and Religious Institutions
PREPARED UNDER THE EDITORIAL SUPERVISION OF HAMILTON SCHUYLER
The editor responsible for the religious section included in this history has sought the cooperation of the men he deemed best qualified to prepare an historical sketch of the respective communions. While he has exercised editorial supervision over the manuscripts solicited by and submitted to him and gone carefully over them with the writers, and in some instances suggested additions and modifications, the history as prepared by the various writers who have generously given their assistance remains substantially as they have written it.
In the case of bodies where none was found who would undertake the task, the editor himself has done the work with such information as he could glean from reliable sources and from interviews with qualified persons.
Appended in some instances to the historical narratives of the various bodies will be found brief biographical sketches of some outstanding figures in the religious life of Trenton during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The principles in accordance with which the selection of the names is made are: (1) the relative length and value of their services in the community; (2) their place in the public esteem; and (3) their prominence in their respective ecclesiastical bodies. Doubtless many more worthy names might have been added but the exigencies of space required the strict limiting of the number.
Under the general denominational title of each main body are listed the names of the several church organizations belonging thereto in the order of their permanent establishment. The space available does not in most instances permit more than a brief reference to each of these, with a mention of the names of those who were responsible for their organization.
The beginnings of institutional religious life in the territory now embraced within the City of Trenton found their natural origin in the commendable desire of the adherents of the various ecclesiastical bodies to establish as soon as practical societies and churches for the benefit of themselves and their co-religionists.
The following is the chronological order and approximate date of the foundation of the main bodies represented in Trenton today, but does not take account of earlier informal services.
After the middle of the nineteenth century and more particularly after the beginning of the twentieth, as the population of the town increased and especially as the high tide of immigration from Europe set in, other bodies came into existence, either as recognized branches of churches and societies already established or as new organizations answering to the racial and religious needs of the foreign people settling here. At present there are about one hundred church organizations belonging to the various ecclesiastical bodies, possessing each its own building for worship. Besides these there are miscellaneous bodies either with or without church buildings.
STATISTICS OF PRESENT CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
The following statistics were furnished by representativesof the bodies here listed:
The unclassified group includes one congregation each of Christian Science, Unitarian and Evangelical, besides one each of four different foreign-speaking peoples.
The Roman Catholics include in their figures all units of family groups affiliated with the church, infants as well as adults.
The Protestant bodies include in their stated membership only those individuals whose names are officially enrolled in the records of the congregation and do not count infants or those who may be reckoned as adherents through attendance at the services or by family association. The addition of this class would probably more than double the number of those who receive ministrations from these bodies.
There are twenty-four congregations of foreign-speaking or bilingual peoples. Of these ten are Roman Catholic with a total estimated membership of 30,635, besides one Greek Catholic of extra-diocesan jurisdiction and thirteen of other faiths. The Lutherans include four, the Baptists two, the Presbyterians two and the Episcopalians one. Other congregations are a Magyar Reformed, a Ukrainian Orthodox, a Greek Orthodox and a Polish National Catholic outside the Roman obedience.
SOME DEFUNCT CONGREGATIONS
From time to time minor religious bodies not connected with any of the existing church institutions were formed, had a precarious life, and finally disappeared. Among such was a Universalist society which was organized in 1843 and continued for ten or twelve years. This society never erected a building but held its services in the City Hall. Another society of Adventists or Second Adventists known as "Messiah Church," being a branch of a congregation in Morrisville, was established in 1863. A small church was erected on Clay Street near Market and dedicated in 1864. This building was sold in 1871 to the Evangelical Lutheran Christ Church and subsequently destroyed by fire. The Messiah Congregation in 1873 built a new church at Front and Montgomery Streets which in turn was sold in 1902, to the Lutheran Church of the Saviour.
Reference is elsewhere made to a Dutch Reformed Congregation which came into existence about 1840 and was dissolved some three years later. This congregation held its services in the building on Front Street which subsequently came into the possession of the Methodists who afterwards sold it to the congregation of St. Francis' Roman Catholic Church by whom it is occupied today.
NOTE: Since these pages were in type, some recent changes in pastorates and in the personnel of church officials may possibty have occurred which it was not practical to rectify in the historical sketches as they appear in this chapter.
II. The Society of Fricnds - 1684
BY MARC P. DOWDELL
The initial formal religious activities in and about Trenton were undertaken by members of the Society of Friends as early as 1684.
Sundry members of the Society who had landed at Burlington in 1678 soon pushed on towards "Ye ffalles of Ye De-la-Warr" to take up land in the neighborhood. Scattered clumps of log houses sprang up quickly in the region which centered loosely around Crosswicks and soon extended to the mouth of the Assunpink Creek where Mahlon Stacy had settled and built a grist mill in 1679. 1
1 See Chap. I "The Colonial Period " above.
It should be explained at the outset that the Society of Friends in Trenton was from the beginning affiliated with the Monthly Meeting which had its headquarters at Crosswicks and was known as the "Chesterfield Meeting." This was the center from which for many years radiated the Quaker influence and activities operating in this section of New Jersey. The history of the Chesterfield Meeting includes therefore that of the Trenton Meeting which cannot property be isolated from it.
THE ORIGINAL CHESTERFIELD MEETING
By August 1684, temporal affairs were sufficiently advanced for the Friends to meet together for worship at the home of Francis Davenport, their spiritual leader, at Chesterfield, or Crosswicks as it is now known, and to establish the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting of Friends. The original minute book of this meeting, now preserved among the records at the Trenton Meeting House, Hanover and Montgomery Streets, contains a paean of praise to God for His blessings in leading His people to a place where they could worship Him in peace and after a fashion of their own. This declaration was probably written by Francis Davenport and is signed by him and by John Wileford and William Watson.
On the occasion of this first meeting of Friends Davenport's house was selected as a place of worship and for the transaction of the business of the monthly meeting until otherwise ordered, the day chosen being the first Thursday of each month. Births, burials, and marriage bans were to be recorded at the monthly meeting.
It is on record that Samuel Bunting and Mary Foulkes were the first pair to signify their intention of marriage. Their bans were published on September 9, 1684, and the marriage was solemnized according to good order and the custom of Friends on September 18, following. Witnesses at the Bunting wedding numbered most of the original settlers. They were:
Thomas Foulkes, Sr. Robert Murfin John Tomlinson
Thomas Foulkes, Jr. Peter Fettwell Sarah Davenport
Job Bunting Thomas Lambert Esther Gilberthorpe
Francis Davenport Samuel Sykes Mary Wright
Thomas Gilberthorpe John Curtis Elizabeth Curtis
The first direct evidence that a considerable settlement of Friends existed at the Falls, or Trenton, appears in the action taken November 7, 1695, when the first death occurred among the colonists, that of John Brown. This brought a decision by the Society to establish burying grounds both at the Falls and at Chesterfield.
John Lambert granted a portion of his estate at the Falls for this purpose. The plot was used by Friends for a long period, finally becoming a part of the present Riverview Cemetery. The trustees named to accept Lambert’s gift were: William Emley, Thomas Lambert, John Wileford, Joseph Wright, Mahlon Stacy, and Joseph Eby. All of these are presumably to be included among Trenton's earliest settlers.
At the same monthly meeting the settlers at the Falls were given permission to establish a branch meeting for week-day worship each Thursday. They were to meet in rotation at the homes of Mahlon Stacy, Thomas Lambert, Samuel Sikes, and William Black.
That there were non-Quaker settlers in the community at least as early as 1686 is established by the fact that on April 4, 1686, Alice Fulwood asked the monthly meeting to grant her permission to wed a non-Quaker. This was reluctantly given and Mary Andrews and Sarah Davenport were appointed to see that the Friends ceremony was used. The wedding took place on May 1, 1686, but Alice was too staunch in her upbringing to be comfortable, and on June 5 following she confessed in Meeting to an uneasy conscience for her act.
On June 5, 1686, John Lambert asked permission to wed Rebecca Clower, daughter of John Clower of the Pennsylvania Falls Meeting, for which permission was granted July 2.
In July 1686 the Quakers organized their first local charity. A store of corn at Stacy's Mill was provided under the administration of John Wileford, for the assistance of Friends who had met with misfortune. This action was determined by a fire which destroyed Robert Shelby's home, and Thomas Lambert and Mahlon Stacy were sent to inquire of Shelby if he was in need of help.
Trenton's first representative to the yearly meeting, which then met alternately at Philadelphia and Burlington, was Mahlon Stacy, who with William Biddle of Crosswicks was deputized to attend that held in Burlington on July 8, 1686.
A readjustment of places of meeting was effected on May 5, 1690, when it was determined that the monthly meeting should gather in turn at the home of Francis Davenport, Chesterfield; then at Edward Rockhill's, Chesterfield; at Thomas Lambert's, Nottingham; at Robert Murfin's, Nottingham; at William Biddle's, Chesterfield; and finally at Mahlon Stacy's, at the Falls, and then in rotation down the list again. By this arrangement it would appear that the membership was about evenly divided geographically between Chesterfield and the settlement at the Falls, or Trenton, for Thomas Lambert's estate, on the bluff overlooking the river just below the Falls, is spoken of as being at Nottingham, but subsequently became a part of Trenton.
A MEETING HOUSE BUILT
On January 5, 1691, it was proposed that two meeting houses be built, one at Chesterfield and the other at the Falls. Discussion came up at each successive meeting until June 6 when it was decided that only one meeting house should be built for the present and this at Chesterfield. On November 11 of the same year definite action was taken and Davenport, Samuel Andrews, William Wood, Samuel Bunting, and Thomas Gilberthorpe were appointed to secure estimates on the cost of building the proposed structure. Nothing more appears on the record until October 4, 1692, when John Greene was awarded the contract to build the meeting house. On June 3, 1693, the first meeting was held in the new building.
Apparently Greene rendered a bill for services in excess of expectations, for on November 4 it was recorded that the meeting had reasoned with him and, according to agreement, had paid him 40 pounds for materials, 1 pound for his work, and 2 shillings overage. At the same time Davenport reported that he had paid 6s. 8d. for the lime used and had 4 pounds 11 shillings 1d. left in his hands.
LEGAL AND DISCIMINARY MEASURES
Light on the attitude of the Friends towards the sale of liquor is cast by a minute dated March 5, 1687, when the meeting was informed that one of its members, John Bainbridge, had been selling rum to Indians. John Bunting and Samuel Sykes were appointed to remonstrate with the offender. At the following monthly meeting, April 2, Friends Sykes and Bunting reported that the rum had been sold by John Bunting, Jr., who, at the time of their visit had been hard and defiant. At a quarterly meeting, which had been held in the interim, John had been present and at that time, so Sykes and Bunting reported, "the Power of the Lord broke his spirit" and he had confessed to Samuel Bunting his determination to abstain from the practice.
For many years subsequent to their original settlement the Quakers shunned all courts of law. They had had enough of these proceedings with their corresponding penalties in the mother country. Hence the Society insisted on settling all differences arising among its own membership and if any member failed to accede to the terms of settlement he suffered summary expulsion, and then only the offended member was permitted to appeal to the courts of the Colony for justice.
The first case for settlement before the Chesterfield Meeting was recorded on December 8, 1684, when Robert Murfin and William Black reported the need for an arbitrator. Robert Wilson was appointed to hear the testimony and make a decision. On January 5, 1685, Wilson reported that the difference had been settled to the satisfaction of both parties.
In November 1697 came the first of a long series of expulsions when Esther Gilberthorpe, wife of one who had been most prominent in meeting affairs, was read out for "scandalous gossiping." Thomas, her husband, thereafter absented himself from meeting. In 1699 a committee was sent to reason with him but without avail and he was the second to be dropped from the rolls. Gilberthorpe was carried as a member until 1703 when the Friends finally whipped themselves up to a public denunciation of him.
By this time a new wilderness-raised generation was coming on to plague the old zealots in their endeavors to maintain the traditional Quaker discipline. It is on record that several of the young bloods - Richard French, Thomas Curtis, and David Curtis - were forced to apologize publicly for "rowdy conduct." The Society thenceforth found its attempt to regulate the private lives of its members a most difficult task, and it is a tribute to the unbending fortitude of the leaders that they did not cease their attempts to disown those whom they considered to be unworthy until they thereby had reduced the Society's place among the religious bodies of the era from a dominant position to a quite minor one.
A NEW STRUCTURE PLANNED
The original meeting house, built in 1692 at Crosswicks, was found to be inadequate for its purpose and a new structure requiring forty thousand bricks was determined upon in 1706. Davenport and Wood entered into a contract with William Mott for the required number of bricks at a stipulated price of 40 pounds.
On November 11, following, the bricks were reported as having been made and Samuel Bunting, Davenport, Wood, William Tantum, Thomas Lambert, and Robert Wilson were named the building committee. Tantum was hired to do the carpenter work and John Farnsworth was sent to Burlington to buy two hundred bushels of lime. Tantunt and Lambert agreed to furnish the shingles.
Early in 1707 Francis Davenport died and the meeting lost its first leader. Samuel and John Bunting thenceforth were to hold joint possession of the records, and, by implication, to assume the leadership of the meeting.
OTHER MEETINGS ESTABLISHED
In 1709 the first of the distant meetings recognizing the authority of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting was established at Little Egg Harbor and a small meeting house was built. Six years later, in 1715, this branch was strong enough to become a monthly meeting itself.
Stony Brook Meeting House was the next to be built by the Chesterfield Meeting, a stone structure 34 feet by 3cs feet being agreed upon on May 2, 1724, at a cost of 150 pounds. Some months later, on January 4, 1725, Tanturn and Lambert, the building committee, reported that the cost would reach 200 pounds and subscriptions to this amount were asked. This meeting house is still standing on the historic Princeton battlefield.
The growth of the Chesterfield Meeting was rapid from that time forward and in 1727 collections were being taken for the building of still another meeting house at Springfield, near Mount Holly.
THE EARLY STAND AGAINST SLAVERY
Friends took an early stand against slavery. In 1730 we find that the members of Chesterfield Monthly Mecting were holding prolonged and anxious discussions over a question submitted to them by the yearly meeting, and on July 3 Benjamin Clark, Thomas Lambert, and Isaac Horner were appointed to draw up a reply.
At the next meeting the paper was ready for approval and was duly recorded. It read:
"This Meeting having considered the proposal of some Friends to our last Quarterly Meeting to restrict Friends from purchasing Negroes imported into these parts. It is the sense of this Meeting that as Friends both here and elsewhere have been in the practice of it for some time past and many Friends differing in their opinions from others in that matter we think restricting Friends at this time and bringing such as fall into the same thing under dealing as offenders will not be convenient lest it create contention and uneasiness among them, which should be carefully avoided. We hope those Friends that are dissatisfied with such actings will not only be exemplary but in a Christian spirit persuade against a practice so contrary to that Noble Rule laid down in Holy Scriptures in doing to all as they would that they should do to us.
Signed by order and in behalf of
said meeting by Thomas Lambert."
Conservative ideas prevailed in 1730 in the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting, but abhorrence for slavery had crept in and less than a score of years afterwards the Society had purged itself of participation it the slave traffic and was preparing for that long campaign against it which finally led up to the Civil War and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
In October 1731, Friends at Bethlehem, near Belvidere, set up a brand of the Chesterfield Meeting with Charles Wolverton and Daniel Robins as overseers appointed at Chesterfield and reporting there.
ANOTHER MEETING HOUSE BUILT
Mansfield meeting house was the next to be built, Joseph Pancoast and Isaac Horner being appointed to receive subscriptions for it in April of 1732.
The claims of Trenton as a center were again put forward in 1734 and, in April of that year, a group headed by Isaac Harrow was given permission to hold meetings there on First Days (Sundays), for a trial period of six months. Bordentown friends received the same recognition in November following.
In 1736 a general subscription for some unreported purpose was ordered taken and the listing of those appointed to take funds shows the number of branches of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting then existing, These were located at Chesterfield, Springfield, Mansfield, Stony Brook, Bethlehem, and Trenton. For some unknown reason the Bordentown group was omitted from this list, although at the monthly meeting of September 1736 Isaac Horner, Richard French, William Morris, Joshua Wright and Marmaduke Watson were appointed to treat with Joseph Borden for land for a meeting house at Bordentown.
In October 1736, Samuel Satterthwaite, Benjamin Shreve, Thomas Newbold, Benjamin Clark, Jr., Ananiah Gaunt, and Joseph Gardiner were appointed to receive two parcels of land from Borden, one for a meeting house and the other for a burying ground. On May 7, 1737, the deeds were executed.
PROJECT FOR A MEETING HOUSE AT TRENTON REVIVED
About the year 1730 the group of Friends living at Trenton or Trent Town, as it was then called, acquired a new leader in the person of William Morris who came thither from Barbadoes and apparently established himself as an importer of West Indian products, probably sugar and rum, and, perhaps, slaves. Morris soon was a recognized leader in the monthly meeting and was chosen to attend quarterly and yearly meetings and appointed on various special committees. It was he, doubtless, who revived the project for a meeting house at Trenton, for on December 2, 1737, he, with Isaac Horner, headed a delegation asking permission to build the structure.
The following month Joseph Reckless, clerk of the monthly meeting, was ordered to draw a deed for a meeting house plot in Trenton. It was to be conveyed by William Morris to Benjamin Smith, Stacy Beakes, William Plasket, Joseph De Cow, Nathan Beakes and Isaac Watson. John Tantum and Benjamin Smith were named overseers to supervise the transaction. On August 5 Reckless reported that the deeds had been completed for the meeting house and burial plot in Trenton.
The committee in charge at once proceeded to erect the building, the work being completed in November 1739, when William Morris made application for subscriptions, saying that he had expended 25 or 30 pounds in excess of the money in hand.
Meanwhile the building of another meeting house had been authorized "near the home of Robert Lawrence." For some reason Friends were not satisfied with the location they had acquired for the Bordentown meeting house, and Thomas Potts, Jr., and Preserve Brown, Jr., were authorized to see Borden in an effort to exchange the plot for one across the street from it. This was done and the transfer effected. The building of the Bordmtown meeting house was begun in 1742.
SHRINKAGE IN MEMBERSHIP
In 1743 the meeting at Bethlehem broke away from the parent monthly meeting and became an independent monthly meeting. Prior to this dissolution, the Chesterfield Meeting embraced nine meeting houses which were scattered from Mount Holly (Upper Springfield) to Bethlehem, near Belvidere. It is estimated that the total membership of the Chesterfield Meeting just before the Revolutionary War numbered about eight thousand. The present membership of Friends within the same area is probably fewer than one thousand, despite the vast increase in population.
Doubtless the chief reason for this shrinkage lies in the fact that the Society set itself firmly against the tendency to exalt worldly advantage as opposed to the old Quaker simplicity. Friends were not given to compromise. When they believed a thing was wrong they opposed it at whatever cost. The Quaker equivalent of excommunication, "disownment," received its first use, as noted before, against a family which had been one of its honored founders in the wilderness. After the original leaders died off, "disownment" began to be used much more frequently and ruthlessly.
OPPOSITION TO "WORLDLINESS"
In 1724 the Society's concern for the spiritual purity of its membership resulted in the following minute being published:
This Meeting, having considered the great love of God in gathering His Church to the true knowledge of Himself, are careful that all members of it be under their immediate care and therefore think it necessary to recommend to such Faithful Friends as this meeting approves of for that service to have the oversight and regard to the actions and practices of such as pretend to be of us and use their seasonable endeavors by way of advice, reproof, etc., as occasion may require and advise this meeting as they find cause.
John Tantum, Isaac Horner and Benjamin Clark were named as the first elders and were commissioned to attend meetings of ministering Friends then being organized by the yearly and quarterly meetings.
The opposition to "worldliness," of which the above was a symptom, brought an ever-growing stream of charges and disownments of those who chose to lead their lives rather in keeping with the general spirit of the community than in conformity to the notions of conduct as laid down by their elders.
In 1745 England was engaged in one of her numerous wars with France and Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, first burgess of Trenton, the friend of Benjamin Franklin and the founder of Trenton's first public library, was moved by his patriotism to join with others in fitting out a privateer warship. His membership in the Socicty ceased from the moment his shocked fellow members could act. Here is the indictment they drew up against him:
Whereas it appears to this meeting that Thomas Cadwalader is concerned in privateering vessels contrary to our ancient testimony and the discipline established among Friends and it appears he hath been tenderly cautioned and dealt with from time to time in order to bring him to a sense of his undue liberty, but he refusing to give such satisfaction as the offense requires, therefore this meeting appoints Isaac Horner and Marmaduke Watson to draw a paper of testification against the said Thomas Cadwalader and his practice and to declare him out of unity with us as a Society until he shall give satisfaction to this meeting suitable to the offense.
The period of the 1740's marked the rise of a system of voluntary travelling ministers who ranged up arid down the countryside, living at the homes of the more well-to-do members of the Society and preaching on Sundays. These travelling ministers bore as credentials letters from their home meetings, testifying that their messages were in "unity" with Friends' principles. Nearly every meeting had, at some time or other, one or more of these travelling ministers and it was through them that the Society, as a whole, was led to take the vigorous stand on such moral questions as slavery and rum selling. Among the earlier travelling Friends bearing the credentials of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting were Jacob Andrews, Joshua Shreve, and John Sykes.
THE "WOMEN'S MEETING"
BY 1753 the Chesterfield Meeting House at Crosswicks needed enlargement to care for the "Women's Meeting." A 16-foot addition was thereupon authorized. Among Friends it had been customary for the men and women to sit in separate sections of the meeting houses on Sundays and to meet entirely separately for the transaction of business, committees from each sex arranging the details of questions involving the meeting as a whole.
This, perhaps, was the first recognition of woman suffrage in America and of her status as an individual apart from her husband.
The first woman to be recognized as a minister and elder of the Chesterfield Meeting was Margaret Porter, who was so named in 1760.
A resumption of military activities by the Colony in 1756 brought a recurrence of disownments for participation by Friends. Joseph Thorne, Aaron Quickes, Francis Key, Marmaduke Bunting, John Schooley, John Shrieve, and Daniel Shrieve were youths who suffered this fate. Samuel Farnsworth was disowned for challenging a squad of soldiers near Bordentown to fight, by which it would appear that Farnsworth must have been a mighty man of valor, akin to one of Dumas' fire-eaters.
Two members of the Stockton family of Princeton suffered disownment in 1758. Amy Stockton had married her cousin contrary to rule and was disowned in April. The following month Daniel Stockton was found guilty of military service and of marrying outside of the meeting. Benjamin Thorn and Clement Rockhill were "dealt with" for military service. In July Abigail Schooley was disowned for the heinous offense of visiting her husband in a military camp. November brought the disownment of John Thorne for teaching the elements of military drill to William Black and Benjamin Field. December brought disownment to Joseph Bunting for training Francis Borden and Samuel Allen in military principles.
The following year brought more disownments to the Stockton family when Samuel was read out of meeting for fighting, militarism and marrying contrary to discipline.
With clouds of the Revolutionary War darkening the horizon the Friends were whirled irresistibly into dissension. Many of the younger men were sympathetic towards the cause of the Colonies. Their elders, in common with a large proportion of the more substantial citizens, abhorred the idea of a revolution which involved a bloody war fought at their doorsteps with a traditionally invincible mother country. Moreover, the conscientious members of the Society were convinced beyond any chance of conversion that war on any pretext was an inexcusable offense against the Almighty.
It thus came about that the Society took a firm stand against participation. Disownments for military activities were redoubled, the penalty being invoked against active Tories or patriots. Only a public confession of error before the meeting could excuse members embroiled on either side.
Not all of the "disowned" Quakers were patriots, Many of them, perhaps the larger number, were loyalists. They came of prosperous families who were satisfied with the established order and who looked upon the Revolution as "Rabbleism," as did many members of the propertied classes in other Colonies. And thus as loyalists, they hastened to join the British Army in Canada.
But the Revolution was the beginning of a steady decline in the membership of the Society of Friends. Meetings ceased to grow and many of the old places of worship had to be "laid down."
Many Quakers salved their consciences and the demands of the meeting by submitting more or less cheerfully to levies on their properties imposed by the new government for failure to take the oath of allegiance. Stacy Potts, who led in the searching out of military offenders, was himself fined 100 pounds and submitted to seizure of goods to that value by the sheriff.
Following the Revolution the Society resumed its campaign for the abolition of slavery, a campaign which helped to foment another and equally terrible war. But before that campaign had borne fruit another crisis within the body had to be faced. This was the famous doctrinal controversy precipitated by the preaching of Elias Hicks of New York, one of the itinerant preachers who travelled from meeting to meeting.
In 1827 this controversy reached the breaking point. Separation took place in a number of meetings, among them the Chesterfield Meeting. In Trenton the meeting house was retained by the "Hicksites." In Stony Brook, on the contrary, the Orthodox succeeded in the legal maneuvering which retained ownership for them. A famous lawsuit resulted,' one which has set precedents cited to this very day in the courts of New Jersey and other States.
I See under "Famous Cases Tried in Trenton," Hendrickson vs. DeCow, in Chap. XII, below.
In 1873 the Hicksite Friends of Trenton enlarged the original meeting house at Hanover and Montgomery Streets and changed its aspect considerably. Some of the original walls built in 1738-39 are incorporated in the present structure.
It is noteworthy that three Signers of the Declaration of Independence were members of families associated with the Chesterfield Meeting. These were George Clymer of Morrisville, whose body is buried in the Hanover Street Meeting House yard, Richard Stockton of Princeton and Joseph Hewes of North Carolina.
QUAKERS AS OFFICE‑HOLDERS
Owing to the original Quaker settlement in these parts, members of the Society of Friends naturally had a share in local civic affairs in the early days. Mahlon Stacy served as justice of the peace and member of the Colonial Assembly from 1684 to 1699; Thomas Lambert served as a justice for several terms as did also Peter Fretwell. The latter was also Provincial treasurer in 1699. William Biddle served as commissioner, justice, assemblyman and member of the Council. William Emley was a justice, registrar of the Ninth Tenth, member of the Assembly and of the Council. Joshua Wright served several terms as an assemblyman. Robert Murfin and John Lambert were constables.
George Hutchinson was an assemblyman, member of Council, and Colonial treasurer. John Hooton, elected to the Assembly, failed to take his seat and was fined twenty shillings. Thomas Folke, Jr., was appointed a ranger. Anthony Woodward, John Abbott, William Wood, Richard Stockton, I, John Wilkinson, Richard Ridgway, Joseph Kirkbride, Roger Park, William Watson and Thomas Folke, Jr., were named to various offices during the first fifty years of the Colony's history. Francis Davenport, however, was the original of the famous "Pooh Bah" of Gilbert and Sullivan's opera, holding at one and the same time the offices of high sheriff of Burlington County, justice of the peace of Somerset, Essex, Bergen, Gloucester, Burlington, Salem, Cape May, Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. He was also an assemblyman at various times, and a judge of the higher courts, thus serving continuously in several important offices until his death.
As time went on members of the Society held public office less frequently, partly as a result of the influx of new immigration, and partly, no doubt, owing to the Society's policy of avoiding "worldly things" as much as possible.
Since the Civil War, however, members of the Society have had a share in public office. Former City Commissioner J. Ridgway Fell is an instance in this locality, as also is State Senator A. Crozer Reeves.
MEMBERSHIP A DWINDLING ONE
Though the membership has been a gradually dwindling one, the Quaker leaven of religious tolerance, avoidance of war, personal liberty, popular education and the spirit of benevolence towards all mankind irrespective of color or race has been a patent example and influence in the community. During the Civil War and the reconstruction period, the Trenton Society of Friends united with their associates throughout the country in corporate works of relief, nursing and education. Also in the World War and subsequently in the efforts to provide for the needs of the suffering peoples in war-stricken Europe, the Friends of Trenton have played a conspicuous part.
The present officers of the Hanover Street (Trenton) Meeting (Chesterfield Monthly Meeting) are A. C. Reeves, chairman, and a council associated with him of fifteen others. Overseers of the Trenton Meeting besides Mr. Reeves are Sarah C. Reeves, Arthur E. Moon, Elizabeth B. Satterthwaite, Sarah C. Atkinson, Caroline S. Bamford, Jane H. Armstrong, Mary T. Finley, Norman B. Zimmerman, Cassel R. Ruhlinan and Dr. Joseph H. Satterthwaite. Clerks of the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting are Jane H. Armstrong, Clara M. Newbold and Helen T. Hollister. The treasurer is Arthur E. Moon, the recorder Elizabeth B. Satterthwaite and the treasurer of the trustees Harvey T. Satterthwaite. The organizations include the Lucretia Mott Parent-Teacher Association, a First Day School, and a study group. The present membership is 282.
The Trenton Meeting is now the most prominent in the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting.
QUAKER SCHOOLS THE FIRST
Friends have been credited with organizing the first schools in Trenton. Occasional instruction was given in members' homes from 1684 to 1786, when the Chesterfield Meeting reported to the Yearly Meeting that schools had been established at convenient places. Thenceforward there were always schools for the children of the members until the establishment of the public school system had made such institutions no longer necessary.
THE ORTHODOX FRIENDS
After the great schism of 1827, those who adhered to the old doctrine formed a separate Meeting. Complying with the suggestion of the Courts, the Hanover Street meeting house was surrendered to the Hicksite branch and the Orthodox met until 1856 in what had formerly been a Methodist church located at Academy and Broad Streets. Since that time the meetings have been held in the building on Mercer Street. Weekly meetings are held on Sundays and Thursdays. Monthly meetings are held alternately here and in Crosswicks. The Quarterly Meeting, known as the "Burlington and Bucks County," is held in Burlington, and the Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia, designated as the Yearly Meeting "For Friends of Philadelphia and Vicinity."
The present head of the Mercer Street Meeting and the preacher is William Bishop, the clerk is James W. Edgerton, the elders are Ellen P. Reeve, Martha H. Bishop, Sarah E. Wright and Caroline Allison, and the overseers are John R. Hendrickson, Eliza F. Ivens, Mary Anna Hendrickson and James W. Edgerton. There are seventy enrolled members.
III. The Episcopalians - 1703
BY THE REVEREND HAMILTON SCHUYLER, LITT.D., RECTOR OF TRINITY CHURCH
PREVIOUS to the changes brought about by the war of the American Revolution, the Church of England in the Colony of New Jersey was under the general charge of the Bishop of London, who of course was non-resident and was supported largely by grants from The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts which appointed the missionaries and provided in part for their support. New Jersey was organized as a diocese in 1785 but did not obtain a bishop until 1815, when Dr. John Croes, then rector of Christ Church, New Brunswick, was chosen for the office. He was succeeded in 1832 by Dr. George W. Doane who made his home in Burlington. Then came Dr. W. Henry Odenheimer in 1858, under whom the division of the diocese took place in 1874. Up to that time the Diocese of New Jersey included the whole State, but in that year there was a division, the portion f rom Elizabeth southerly retaining the old name and the northern portion taking the title Diocese of Newark. The first bishop of that portion of the State in which Trenton is located was John Scarborough, 1875, who made Trenton the see city, and where he lived up to the time of his death in 1914. The headquarters of the diocese are in the Diocesan House at 307 Hamilton Avenue. The diocese is organized under the bishop with a Cathedral Foundation composed of clergymen and laymen to which body is committed the missionary, educational and social service work, The general legislative body is the Diocesan Convention which meets annually.
THE HOPEWELL CHURCH (CHURCH OF ENGLAND)-1703
Shortly after the coming of Thomas Lambert and Mahlon Stacy to this neighborhood in the year 1679, a group of Church of England families appears to have settled upon plantations adjacent to the Falls of the Delaware both up and down the river. Among these families whose names have come down to us were the Pearsons, the Hutchinsons, the Tyndalls, the Eatons, the Parks and the Heaths. Naturally these families would desire as soon as possible to provide for their religious needs by securing the ministrations of their church and erecting a building for worship.
The Rev. John Talbot, a missionary of The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, commonly known by the initials S.P.G., had come to Burlington and gathered a congregation there in 1702, and he also took under his pastoral charge the Church of England families which had settled along the banks of the Delaware River in the neighborhood of the Falls. There is a record of baptisms administered by him in this vicinity and entered in the parish register of St. Mary's Church, Burlington, as early as 1702-3. The names of children of the Park, Hutchinson, Tyndall and Heath families are thus recorded.
A property comprising two acres in Hopewell Township as it then was, and identified today as being a portion of what was recently known as the "Breese farm" on the River Road adjoining the grounds of the State Hospital on the west, was conveyed in 1703 by John Hutchinson out of the extensive holdings of his father Thomas Hutchinson, one of the West Jersey proprietors, to certain others whose names are given in the deed.
The deed to the Hopewell Church property is on record in the office of the secretary of state in Trenton, in Deed Book AAA (PP. 105, 114), and bears date of April 20, 1703. The deed conveys
Two acres of land from John Hutchinson, son of Thomas Hutchinson, to Andrew Heath, Richard Eayre, Abial Davis and Zebulon Heston in trust for the inhabitants of the said township of Hopewell and their successors inhabiting and dwelling within the said township forever, for the public and common use and benefit of the whole township for the erection and building of a public meeting house thereon and also for a place of burial and for no other uses, intents or purposes whatsoever.
The map on the opposite page will show the location of the Hopewell Episcopal Church as also of the Presbyterian Churches in Ewing and Maidenhead.
A CHURCH BUILDING ERECTED, 1704‑05
Upon this property in Hopewell township was erected a church building in 1704-05. Nothing is known as to the character of this building, but it was probably a very rude affair, and long before the beginning of the nineteenth century it had utterly disappeared, probably having ceased to be used for worship when its successor, St. Michael's Church, was built in Trenton about 1747-48.
A "License to Build," the original of which is in possession of St. Michael's Church today, was issued in 1705 by Richard Ingoldsby, lieutenant governor of the Provinces of New Jersey and New York. In this license it is distinctly stated that the church was for the worship of God "according to the forms and worship of the Church of England as by law established." Thomas Tyndall and Robert Eaton are named as church-wardens and the church was to be called by the name of "Christ Church," The document also sets forth that the minister and vestry of the church are granted "all such power and privileges as the minister, church-wardens and vestrymen usually have and enjoy in the Kingdom of England."
Besides the occasional services rendered by the Rev. John Talbot to the Hopewell congregation in the early days, there is evidence that other clergymen, mostly itinerants, officiated in the church from time to time, but there is no record of the services of a settled minister until a much later period. The Rev. John Sharpe, who came to this country in 1702 and subsequently became chaplain to Lord Cornbury, makes mention in his Journal of ministrations to the Hopewell Church under dates November 7, 1705, December 8, 1706, December 9, 1706, and March 10, 1706. On Whitsunday, April 23, 1706, Sharpe records that he preached at Hopewell Church and that Lord Cornbury, the governor nf the Province, was present in the congregation.
The names of other itinerants and missionaries who from time to time conducted services and attended to the pastoral needs of the congregation as gleaned from the records of the S.P.G. include the Rev. Thoroughgood Moore 1705‑07, the Rev. Mr. May before 1714, the Rev. Thomas Holliday 1714‑17, the Rev. Robert Walker, the Rev. William Harrison 1721‑23 and the Rev. William Lindsay 1735‑45. 2
2 For an extensive account of the Hopewell Church with full reference to documents and authorities, see Schuyler, A History of St. Michal’rs Church, Trenton, Chaps. III and IV.
The Hopewell Church property, the legal title to which devolved upon the congregation of St. Michael's Church as the direct heir and successor to this congregation was sold by St. Michael's Church in 1838, the parish retaining only a small section which had been used as a burying ground.
In Hall's History of the Presbyterian Church in Trenton (p. 18, 2nd edition, 1912), there is a description of the Hopewell graveyard plot, evidently as Dr. Hall saw it when he published the first edition in 1859.
"The inclosure is made by a stone wall now falling into ruins and has the appearance of having been designed for a family cemetery. The only gravestones remaining are those of Samuel Tucker, 1789, and Mrs. Tucker, 1787, . . . one in memory of John, son of William and Elizabeth Clayton, who died November 6, 1757 (possibly 1737), aged 19 years; another of 'Ma [probably Margaret] the wife of John Dagworthy, Esq., who died May 16, 1729, aged 37 years'; and a few which cannot be deciphered beyond 'Grace Da‑' or 'Hend,' etc, It is said that the widow of William Trent, whose name was given to the town, was buried here, but there is no trace of the grave."
Doubtless during the period before the graveyard of St. Michael's Church was established about 1747-48, several generations of Church people were buried in the old Hopewell graveyard, but there remains no record of the names of any such, except of those who were buried in the little plot where lie the remains of Samuel Tucker and a few others.
Since the Tucker plot was originally protected by a stone wall, these graves alone have survived the ravages of times, while the others scattered over the original two acres remain unidentified. 3
3 See Appendix 1, No. 5, A History of St. Michael's Church, Trenton.
It seems to be certain that Mary Trent, the widow of William Trent, from whom Trenton took its name, the record of whose death appears in the parish register of St. Michael's Church under date "December 15, 1772, 83 years," was buried in the old Hopewell graveyard. The author of A History of St. Michael's Church gives his reasons for believing that Mary Trent elected to be buried there because the body of her distinguished husband who died in z724 was likewise interred in that graveyard. Of this fact there is no direct proof, but it is known that William Trent was interested in the Hopewell Church and in all probability after making Trenton his home in 1720 was a regular worshipper there up to the time of his death in Trenton, December 25, 1724. 4
4 See Appendix I, No. 4, "The Burial Place of William and Mary Trent," A History of St. Michael's Church, Trenton.
ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH (SUCCESSOR TO THE HOPEWELL CHURCH)
NORTH WARREN STREET
The date when St. Michael's parish as such came into being and a church building was erceted in Trenton cannot be precisely determined. It is known that a deed for the property (deed missing since 1755) was given by John Coxe, son of Colonel Daniel Coxe, previous to 1748. The land had been bought by John Coxe at a sheriff's sale in 1742, the price paid being 48 pounds 10 shillings. This land on which the church building stands was a portion of the property included in the original purchase by William Trent from Mahlon Stacy, Jr., in 1714. 5
5 See A History of St. Michael's Church, Trenton, P. 44.
A church building was erected certainly by the early autumn of 1748, since Peter Kalm in his Travels into North America noted its presence in giving a short description of Trenton under the date of October 28, 1748. How the parish got its title "St. Michael's" does not appear, but the probabilities are that such was done because it was upon the Festival of St. Michael which falls upon September 29 that the cornerstone was laid or the church perhaps dedicated. The minutes of the vestry which have been preserved from 1755 onwards throw no light upon the subject nor tell anything as to the character of the building or its cost, The title, St. Michael's Church, does not appear upon the minutes of the vestry until 1761, references being to the "English Church" or simply the "Church" in contradistinction to dissenting places of worship which were in those days commonly termed "meeting houses."
A lottery "for raising Three Hundred and Ninety-three pounds fifteen shillings for finishing and completing the Church in said town" (Trenton) was advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette, June 20, 1751, but the lottery does not appear to have been drawn until the late spring of 1752. 6
6 ibid., Appendix J, P. 345.
The earliest indication as to the personnel of the leading members of the church is found in the list of the managers of the lottery advertised in 1751, "for finishing the church in Trenton." Of the following names, those marked * indicate persons whose names are subsequently found on the roll of the vestry of St, Michael's Church.
1751, June 20 (Advertisement), Colonial Documents 1677 - 1776
Trenton Lottery for finishing Church in said town to be drawn under the management of *Robert Pearson, *Robert Lettis Hooper, *John Allen, David Dunbar, *Elijah Bond, *John Dagworthy, Jr., Daniel Biles and *William Pidgeon and *Daniel Coxe in Hopewell and John Berrian in Rocky Hill. 7
7 ibid., Appendix J.
In 1757 a petition for the erection of a barracks was presented to the General Assembly of the Province, "by Magistrates, Freeholders and inhabitants of the Town of Trenton." Among the signers are the following, who were then or subsequently became, members of St. Michael's vestry:
Joseph Higbee, Charles Axford, J. Warrell, Jno. Barnes, Thomas Barnes, Abraham Cottnam, and there also appears the name of Michael Houdin, at that time the resident minister of St. Michael's. The same and other names appear on similar petitions, viz.: Dan Coxe, William Pidgeon, John Dagworthy, R. L. Hooper.
In the "Act for Building the Barracks," passed April 15, 1758, also appear the names of two other vestrymen - John Allen and Richard Saltar. 8
8 ibid., pp. 84, 85.
The earliest settled minister of St. Michael's Church seems to have been the Rev. Michael Houdin, who assumed charge of the congregation about 1750 in response to an invitation from the church people of Trenton. He remained here for about seven years.
Other missionaries serving St. Michael's Church up to the period of the War of Independence were the Rev. Augur Treadwell, from 1762 to the time of his death in Trenton, August 19, 1765; the Rev. William Thompson, 1769 to 1773; and the Rev. George Panton, who was in charge when the war broke out, and being a Tory sympathizer was compelled to flee the town after the Declaration of Independence. He was subsequently commissioned as Chaplain of the Prince of Wales American Regiment and at the conclusion of peace went to Nova Scotia as S.P.G. missionary at Yarmouth. 9
9 For biographical sketches of the Rev. Michael Houdin and the Rev. Augur Treadwell, see Chap. VII, A History of St. Michael’s Church, and of the Rev. George Panton, see both Chap. X, ibid., and Chap. II of this book.
THE CHURCH CLOSED DURING THE REVOLUTION
Owing to the excited state of public feeling directed against everything British which the War of the Revolution brought to a head, the vestry of St. Michael's Church, several of whom were prominent Tories, passed a resolution Sunday, July 7, 1776, the day before the Declaration of Independence was publicly read from the steps of the Court House, and voted to close the church for an indefinite period.
Besides the rector, one of the wardens and three at least of the vestrymen held pronounced loyalist views and subsequently took an active part on the British side. All these who survived the war went into permanent exile with their families. The church was closed and all services suspended for a period of seven years, The church building and furniture suffered great damage, at the hands of both armies, as each in turn occupied the town. The church building was used as a barracks by the Hessian troops for some days previous to the Battle of Trenton and was subsequently occupied as a hospital by the Continentals.
A bill for damage to the property was filed by the parish authorities in 1782, the inventory showing losses and destruction amounting to 173 pounds 4 shillings. There is nothing to show that this claim was ever paid. 10
10 See Chap. X, A History of St. Michael’s Church, Trenton.
Upon the conclusion of peace, a meeting of the congregation was held January 4, 1783, and a resolution to open the church and resume the services was adopted. The next twenty-five or thirty years were years of struggle and financial stress. The parish was depleted in members and had lost many of its staunchest supporters through the exodus of loyalists. It was difficult to maintain the services owing to the scarcity of clergy and the lack of funds to provide for their maintenance. With the exception of the Rev. William Frazer, who became rector in 1788 and served until his death July 6, 1795, and the Rev. Henry Waddell, who began his ministry in 1798 and died in office January 20, 1811, all the rectorates up to 1836 were of brief duration. Often the parish was without a settled clergyman and had to depend upon such occasional services as the diocesan authorities could provide.
NOTED NAMES CONNECTED WITH ST. MICHAEL'S
During the post‑war period, as previously, the vestry of St. Michael's Church continued to include many prominent men. Those whose names appear on the roll during this period, say from 1800 to 1825, may be taken as typical. Many of them were leaders in the community, and some of them were of national distinction. To mention the names of a few such: Charles and Joseph Higbee, Jonathan Rhea, John Rutherford, James A. Stevens, Samuel Meredith, Henry Clymer, George Woodruff, William Halsted, Jr., Zachariah Rossell, Garret D. Wall, Pearson Hunt, Barnt DeKlyn, Henry Kean, and Dr. Plunkett Fleeson Glentworth. None stood higher in Trenton and in the State during this period than did these."
" See Biographical Sketches, Series B, and Appendix N, "Men of St. Michael's Church Prominent in Public Life," A History of St. Michael's Church, Trenton.
During the long rectorate of the Rev. Samuel Starr, 1836‑55, the parish consolidated its position and increased greatly in members and general prosperity. From the close of that period onwards, though there were from time to time financial vicissitudes and parochial disagreements, St. Michael's has known an orderly progress.
At various times since the beginning of the nineteenth century the church building has been enlarged, improved and renovated, notably in 1819 when the church was almost entirely rebuilt, in 1843 when it was repaired and extended, and again in 1862 and 1870 when extensive additions were made, as also in 1886 and 1906.
Since the War of Independence, St. Michael's has been served by twenty rectors, of whom the Rev. William Frazer had a ministry of seven years, the Rev. Henry Waddell of thirteen years, the Rev, Samuel Starr of nineteen years, the Rev. William Hude Neilson of sixteen years, the Rev. Oscar S. Bunting of seven years, and the Rev. W. Strother Jones of twelve years. 12 The present rector, the Rev. Samuel Steinmetz, has held office since 1920.
12 For biographical sketches of rectors, see A History of St. Michael’s Church.
Among the outstanding extra-parochial events which have been held in the parish were a meeting of the General Convention of the Church in 18o1, when Dr. Moore was consecrated to the see of New York and the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion established, and the election in 1815 of the first bishop of New Jersey, the Right Rev. John Croes.
In 1925 Mr. Newton A. K. Bugbee, senior warden, purchased for the parish the plot of ground on the north side of the church, thus affording a clear space up to the corner of Perry Street.
Many fine memorials, silver vessels and stained-glass windows have been presented to the parish in recent years. The chapel was rebuilt and adorned in 1918. There is also a substantial endowment fund.
Many distinguished Trentonians lie buried in St. Michael's graveyard. The earliest tombstone of which the record remains and is decipherable bears the date of 1763 and the latest 1893. Between these periods many hundred bodies have found their resting place in this little "God's acre." To mention a few of the better known names: David Brearley, warden, chief justice of New Jersey and first grand master of Masons in the State, over whose tomb the Grand Lodge of New Jersey erected a fine memorial slab in 1924; the Rev. William Frazer, rector of St. Michael's Church, of whom it is inscribed that "he left not an enemy on earth"; Thomas Cordon, prominent in the masonic fraternity and a judge of the Court of Common Pleas; William Kerwood, another prominent Mason with a tombstone erected by Trenton Lodge No. 5; Jonathan Rhea, officer in the Revolutionary War and the second president of the Trenton Banking Company; Rensselaer Williams, one of the founders of the Trenton Academy; the Rev. Henry Waddell, rector of St, Michael's Church and a man of distinction in the annals of the early American Church; Joseph Wood, mayor of Trenton for two terms; James D. Westcott, secretary of State for New Jersey; and George Woodruff, who at his death was said to have been the oldest member of the Bar in the State. He was the original owner of "Woodlands," the property now occupied by the Trenton Country Club. A stone slab set in the south wall bears the names of John Coxe, who gave the deed for the church property, Daniel Coxe and Rebecca Coxe, children of Colonel Daniel Coxe, whose bodies were buried in a vault under the aisle of the church. Here are also the graves of several generations of the Henry, Higbee and Hunt families, names notable in the early annals of the town. There is a monument to an infant daughter of Joseph Bonaparte and Annette (Holton) Savage, who died December 6, 1823, aged four years.
St. Michael's Cburch observed the two hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of its parochial life in 1928.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: In making frequent references to A History of St. Michael's Church, Trenton, the writer of this narrative feels he should offer an apology, or rather an explanation. Up to the time this History was published in 1926 there had been little or nothing known or printed concerning the parish. In A History of St. Michael's Church there are copious references to documents which the author had consulted in preparing that work, but as all such are collated in the History it seemed simpler in the present instance to refer directly to the text of the book which contains all the information available on the subject.‑H.S.
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH - 1848
St. Paul's Church was the first daughter of St. Michael's. The parish was organized in 1848, by a group of persons who deemed the time was ripe for another Episcopal church, and that the location of such was needed in South Trenton. The building was erected in 1848. The wardens and vestrymen chosen were: John Hewitt, Josiah N. Bird, Edward Cooper, Jacob B. Gaddis, Charles Hewitt, William E. Hunt, Abram Salger, Joseph Tompkins.
The formation of St. Paul's parish was due to the establishment about that time of the Cooper & Hewitt iron mills in Trenton, which drew here a large number of industrial workers, chiefly Irish and German, though there was evidently a contingent which desired the ministrations of the Episcopal Church. Peter Cooper, the New York philanthropist, was the head of the firm and the other member was his son-in-law, Abram S. Hewitt, subsequently mayor of New York City.
St. Paul's Church has had twelve rectors, of whom the Rev. Benjamin Franklin was the first; others were Francis Clements, J. L. Maxwell, Thomas Drumm, John C. Brown, John Bakewell, Henry S. Williamson, Fred H. Post, J. McAlpin Harding, Horace T. Owen, Wilson E. Grimshaw, and the present rector, the Rev. William H. Decker. Of these the Rev. Mr. Harding served from 1886 to 1906 and the Rev. Horace T. Owen from 1906 to 1924.
TRINITY CHURCH - 1858
Trinity Church was organized in 1858 by certain parishioners separating themselves from St. Michael's Church for that purpose. The ostensible occasion of the break was found in a disagreement over the method of calling a new rector to St. Michael's, the Rev. Richard Bache Duane. The dissentients sent a letter of protest to the vestry under date June 23, 1858. The remonstrance having proved unavailing, a meeting of the protestants was held on October 28, 1858, and steps were taken to organize a new parish. The original vestry chosen was as follows: wardens, Wesley P. Hunt and Alfred S. Livingston; vestrymen, Thomas Cadwalader, Philemon Dickinson, Mercer Beasley, Charles H. Higginson, Edward D. Weld, William M. Babbitt, William W. Norcross, William E. Hunt, Samuel Simons and William Howell. Charles H. Higginson was elected secretary. At a meeting of the vestry, held November 3, 1858, a call was extended to the Rev. Hannibal Goodwin, of St. Paul's Church, Newark, to become rector of the new parish, and he assumed charge the following December. Services were first held in a hall, which had been fitted up for the purpose, where Dolton's Block now stands on North Warren Street.
There appear to have been thirty-nine parishioners connected with the parish when it was organized.
The first parish meeting was held April 26, 1859, at which it was resolved "That the title by which this Church shall be known be, 'The Rector, Wardens and Vestrymen of Trinity Church, Trenton."' The same wardens and vestrymen were reelected, excepting that G. A. Perdicaris and Dr. J. L, Taylor were substituted for William E. Hunt and William Howell.
A lot for a new church with a frontage of seventy feet on Academy Street was purchased for $3,500, January 25, 1860, and steps were immediately taken to erect a building, the cornerstone of which was laid on June 15 of the same year. The church was occupied on October 14 following.
During the first ten years of its life the parish, doubtless due to the Civil War and other disturbing influences, had a precarious existence and the property was at one time offered for sale. The parish surmounted these difficulties and with the coming of the Rev. Albert U. Stanley in 1867 a more prosperous era ensued. The Rev. Mr. Stanley was succeeded by the Rev. Henry M. Barbour in 1875, who held the rectorship for nineteen years. He was succeeded by the Rev. Joseph C, Hall, who remained only one year, followed by the Rev. Charles C. Edmunds, who resigned in 1899.
In January 1900 the Rev. Hamilton Schuyler, the present rector, was called and began his ministry on the first Sunday in February of that year.
Trinity Church has been enlarged and renovated many times, especially during the rectorate of the Rev. Mr. Barbour and of the present incumbent. Its property is valued today at some $200,000, and it has endowment funds totalling over $50,000. It possesses many beautiful and costly memorials.
Including the present one, Trinity Church has had ten rectors and has numbered among its vestry and parishioners many of the leading men and families of Trenton. Among the better-known men who have served in the vestry during the seventy years of its existence are found the names of the following: Wesley P. Hunt, A. S. Livingston, Thomas Cadwalader, Philemon Dickinson, G. A. Perdicaris, John P. Stockton, S. Meredith Dickinson, Thomas W. Clymer, William P. McIlvane, Benjamin F. Lee, Richard A. Donnelly, William H. Brokaw, Frederic A. Duggan, Frank S. Katzenbach, Jr., Edward L. Katzenbach, William T. White, Ferdinand W. Roebling, Jr., and Arthur D. Forst. 13
13 For an extended account of the parish, see Schuyler, An Historical Sketch of Trinity Church, 1858 - 1910.
CHRIST CHURCH - 1885
HAMILTON AND WHITAKER AVENUES
Christ Church had its beginnings in a Sunday school which was started by Mrs. Scarborough, the wife of the bishop, in order to provide for the needs of families living in the Hamilton Avenue district. Sunday evening services were started in September 1885, by the Rev. Frederick Post, rector of St. Paul's Church, Trenton, and subsequently continued for about a year by the Rev. Henry M. Barbour, rector of Trinity Church, and his assistant, the Rev. Elliot White. The first minister in charge was the Rev. William Hicks, who was followed by the Rev. Charles A. Tibbats, and the first rector was the Rev. Robert Mackellar. Then came the Rev. Edward Jennings Knight in 1891, who remained until he was elected missionary hishop of Western Colorado. He was succeeded by the Rev. Robert W. Trenbath, 1907 - 15. After Bishop Matthews was elected he himself became rector of the parish, and Christ Church was made the pro-cathedral. He appointed as his vicar and a canon the Rev. William H. Moor, the present incumbent.
The cornerstone of Christ Church was laid in 1887. The members of the first vestry were John G. Burgelin, senior warden, and Robert Surtees, junior warden; vestrymen were Eagleton Hanson, William E. Ireland, Isaac Yates and Thomas Perry.
After Mrs. Scarborough's death, a window was placed in the church to her memory. The window bears the inscription
Catherine Elizabeth Scarborough
Founder of this Church
St. Matthias Mission, Schiller Avenue, was started by the Rev. W. H, Moor of Christ Pro-Cathedral in 1925 to provide for a group of church people living in that vicinity. The services are held in the old Volunteer Fire House on Schiller Avenue. The mission is served by a lay-reader with regular ministrations by the Rev. Mr. Moor. There is a communicant list of about fifty names.
GRACE CHURCH - 1896
NORTH CLINTON AND SHERIDAN AVENUES
Grace Church had been started as a mission of St. Michael's Church in 1875, the ground being the gift of Samuel K. Wilson, a warden of St. Michael's Church. In 1896 it was organized as an independent parish under the Rev. Milton A. Craft, who had been assistant minister in the charge of the chapel since 1893. Two flourishing missions have since in turn sprung out of Grace Church, St. Andrew's in 1895 and St. Luke's in 1913. Those responsible for the formation of the parish, besides Mr. Craft, were James Walkett, George Cochran, Henry Robinson, Harry Klagg, Jr., and Charles Bradbury.
The present and the only rector the parish has ever had is the Rev. Milton A. Craft, whose ministry covers a period of thirty-five years. His twenty-fifth anniversary was observed by the parish an September 24, 1918.
ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH – 1901
WEST STATE STREET AND SOUTH OVERBROOK AVENUE
All Saints' Church grew out of a mission which was established in the rapidly growing Cadwalader section in 1894. This mission was first served by members of the Associate Mission of Trenton, the Rev. Thomas A. Conover being in charge for several years. Services were first held in the Cadwalader mansion. Mr. Conover was succeeded in 1900 by the Rev. Ralph E. Urban, who became rector the following year when a parish organization was effected. The cornerstone of the present parish house was laid on All Saints' Day, 1896, and the first service held on Easter Day, 1897. The ground was deeded by the Cadwalader estate. Members of the first vestry elected in 1901 were Louis H. McKee and Dr. Joseph M. Wells, wardens; Josiah Hollies, Dr. William N. Mumper and James C. Tattersall, vestrymen.
In 1927, the congregation determined to erect an appropriate church building, the parish house in which services had hitherto been maintained for over twenty years having proved inadequate for the needs of the parish. The cornerstone of a new church, costing some $8,000, was laid on All Saints' Day, November 1, 1927, and the building was occupied in the spring of 1928.
ST. JAMES’ CHURCH - 1910
GREENWOOD AVENUE AND LOGAN STREET
St. James' Church was started as a mission in 1894 and placed in charge of the Rev. Thomas Conover, then the head of the Associate Mission. It was organized as a parish in 1910. The first rector was the Rev. William G. Wherry, and the following composed the first vestry: Joseph Everill, rector's warden; John Wilcox, people's warden; T. Mallam, A. Rowley, J. K. Chambers, Wm. Layton, H. Robinson, R. Jackson, A. Wildblood, C. E. Wannop.
The present rector is the Rev. William B. Rogers, who has held the position since 1912.
ST. ELIZABETH HUNGARIAN MISSION - 1916
A mission for the Hungarian-speaking peoples was organized in 1916 by Bishop Matthews. The Rev. George E. St. Claire, then a layman but subsequently admitted to holy orders, was placed in charge of the congregation. Services were held for a period in St. Paul's Church and subsequently a small chapel was erected. Services are maintained by the Rev. Mr. St. Claire as priest in charge. St. Elizabeth's has a communicant list of about one hundred names.
ST. MONICA'S MISSION FOR COLORED PEOPLE - 1919
The movement to organize a separate congregation for the colored people in Trenton was started in 1919. The Rev. August E. Jensen, who owing to ill health had lately resigned from St. Augustine's parish, Asbury Park, was requested by the bishop to come to Trenton and take charge of the movement. On March 21, 1919, a special meeting was held in the parish house of Trinity Church, the Rev. August E. Jensen presiding.
The following communicants were present and organized as the nucleus of a mission to he known as St. Monica's: Henry Reynolds, Mr. Rogers and his daughter Grace, H. Stewart, Miss Lottie Goldsboro, Mr. and Mrs. E. Goins, Mrs. Hoagland, Mr. and Mrs. J. Mack, Mrs. Lillian Cross, and Miss Amelia Stewart. On Palm Sunday, 1919, the first service was held in Darling's Hall on East State Street, with about forty persons in attendance.
Early in the following year the property on Spring Street was purchased and the congregation began to worship there. The adjoining property was bought five years later. From the original twelve persons the mission has grown to a membership of about one hundred and fifty and a Sunday school of about forty, and owns property of about $14,000 in value.
Samuel Starr, who enjoyed the longest rectorate in St. Michael's Church. serving nineteen years, came at a crucial period in the parish history and was eminently successful in his long ministry. Besides his parish duties he devoted much of his time to acting as voluntary chaplain at the State Prison. He also, for a period after 1839, had charge of the Trenton Academy. After leaving Trenton, Mr. Starr went to a church in Cedar Rapids, Ia., where he ministered until 1860. His health failing he returned to the East, but on his return journey he was suddenly stricken down at Chicago and died there May 1, 1862.
The only bishop of the diocese of New Jersey who made his permanent home in Trenton was the Right Rev. John Scarborough, though Bishop Doane, the second bishop of New Jersey, was born here in 1799. Upon his election to the episcopate in 1875 he made this town his see city and here he remained for nearly forty years up to the time of his death in 1914. John Scarborough was born April 25, 1831, at Castlewellan, County Down, Ireland. When a mere lad he came to this country. He was graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, in 1854 and three years later from the General Theological Seminary, New York City. He served as an assistant in St. Paul's Church, Troy, N.Y., and subsequently as rector of the Church of the Holy Communion, Poughkeepsie. In 1867 he became rector of Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, Pa., where he remained until he was chosen as the fourth bishop of New Jersey. He died in Trenton on March 14, 1914, and was buried in Riverview Cemetery.
William Hude Neilson was graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1860 and received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Kenyon College in 1885. His first charge, 1863‑64, was as an assistant at the Church of the Ascension, New York City. He subsequently served parishes in Framingham, Mass., and Long Island City. When he was called to St. Michael's he was acting as an assistant in Holy Trinity Church, Philadelphia. Dr. Neilson's predecessor in St. Michael's had been compelled to resign the parish owing to the fact that the congregation was sorely rent with dissension. Under the sympathetic guidance of Mr. Neilson and his pleasing personality the parish was knit together in bonds of amity and enjoyed great prosperity. After leaving St. Michael's Dr. Neilson held several other charges, serving from 1904 to 1914 as rector of Christ Church, Piscataway. At his retirement he was made rector-emeritus. He died December 8, 1922.
Henry M. Barbour, who came to Trinity Church in 1875, remaining for twenty years, was a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, and of the General Theological Seminary, New York City. His first charge was a mission church in Newark whence he was called to the rectorship of Trinity Church, Trenton. During his long rectorate the parish advanced greatly in members and financial strength, A resolution of the vestry passed at the time of his resignation well sums up his labors and character.
On leaving Trinity the Rev. Dr. Barbour became the rector of the Church of the Beloved Disciple in New York City where he remained for over twenty-five years. At his retirement he was made rector-emeritus. He is now living at Tampa, Fla.
Edward Jemnings Knight was graduated from the General Theological Seminary, New York City, in the class of 1891 and came immediately to Trenton, where for sixteen years he was rector of Christ Church, He was a man of marked intellectual ability, a good organizer and a faithful and devoted pastor. Christ Church during his rectorship greatly increased in membership and influence. He was a son-in-law of Bishop Scarborough, having married his daughter, Katherine, January 3, 1897. He was chosen bishop of the Missionary Jurisdiction of Western Colorado in 1907 and was consecrated to his office in Christ Church, Trenton, December 19, 1907. He died suddenly in Colorado, November 15, 1908.
Milton A. Craft, rector of Grace Church, North Clinton Avenue, has spent his whole ministerial life in Trenton, being at present probably the oldest pastor, with perhaps one exception, in point of continued service in the city of Trenton. Mr. Craft was graduated from the Alexandria Seminary in 1892. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1893 and came to Trenton the same year to act as assistant minister of St. Michael's Church with special charge of Grace Mission. Thus he has served one congregation for thirty-five years. The celebration of his twenty-fifth anniversary, September 24, 1918, was a notable event in the city and brought together in the Crescent Temple a large assemblage of his parishioners and friends.
W. Strother Jones, D.D., who was rector of St. Michael's Church for twelve years, 1896 - 1908, was born in Virginia and was a great-great-grandson of Chief Justice Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He was educated at Washington and Lee University and was graduated from the Seminary at Alexandria, Va., in 1876, and received the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1893. He served for two years in Fauquier County, Va., and was then called to St. Thomas's Church, Baltimore County, Md. In 1888 he became rector of St. Paul's Church, Fairfield, Conn. Coming to St. Michael's, Trenton, in 1896 he had a most fruitful ministry here, and won the esteem and good will of all classes by his genial, warm-hearted manner and sincere devotion to his work. During his rectorate extensive renovations to the church building were undertaken and the growth of the parish in strength and membership were marked. Dr. Jones, on resigning his rectorship in Trenton, went to St. Paul's Church, Erie, Pa., where he remained until 1914 when he accepted a position in St. Thomas's Church, New York City, as assistant minister under the Rev, Ernest M. Stires, D.D., now bishop of Long Island. He died in Alexandria, Va., August 19, 1918.
Hamilton Schuyler is the son of the late Anthony Schuyler, D.D., formerly rector of Grace Church, Orange, N.J. He was born in Oswego, N.Y., in 1862. Ancestors of his had settled in New Jersey as early as 1700 and it is on record that one of them, Arent Schuyler, visited the "Falls of the Delaware" in 1692. Mr. Schuyler studied theology at the General Theological Seminary in the class of 1893. He further continued his studies in the University of Oxford, England. He served for a brief period as a curate in Calvary Church, New York City, under the late Dr. H. Y. Satterlee, afterwards the first bishop of Washington. Subsequently he was a curate in Trinity Church, Newport, R.I. He was called in 1895 to be canon of the cathedral at Davenport, Ia., and after a year was made dean. In 1900, while he was acting as special preacher at the Church of the Holy Communion, New York City, he was called to Trinity Church, Trenton, where he has since remained. In 1925 the parish observed his twenty-fifth anniversary as rector.
Dr. Schuyler is the author of several published volumes in prose and verse, besides many pamphlets, booklets and magazine articles. He has been a member of the board of trustees of the Free Public Library since 1905. He was a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New Jersey for five terms and was twice chosen deputy to the General Convention. He is also a trustee of St. Mary's School, Burlington. In 1928 Rutgers University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Letters.
Ralph E. Urban is the son of the Rev. Abram L. Urban, born March 29, 1875. He is a graduate of Princeton University in the class of 1896 and received his theological education in the General Theological Seminary, New York City, from which he was graduated in 1899. He came at once to Trenton and began his ministry in the Associate Mission on Hamilton Avenue, which had been organized by the Rev. E. J. Knight to supply clergy for mission stations in the diocese. In 1900 Mr. Urban was placed in charge of All Saints' Mission which had recently been organized by the Rev. Thomas A. Conover. When the mission was made a parish in 1901, Mr. Urban became the rector and has thus spent his entire ministerial life in Trenton. Under his wise leadership the progress of All Saints' has been remarkable, the congregation has greatly increased, the original parish house has been enlarged, a fine rectory has been built and paid for and to crown his labors a new church of tasteful design and ample proportions was erected in 1928. In 1925 the parish observed Mr. Urban's twenty-five years of service, when he received many handsome gifts. Mr. Urban is a member of the standing committee of the diocese of New Jersey.
Paul Matthews, the present bishop of New Jersey, was born in Glendale, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, December 25, 1866. He was a son of Stanley Matthews, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, appointed during the administration of President Hayes.
He was graduated from Princeton University in 1887, being valedictorian of his class, and subsequently from the General Theological Seminary in 1890, with the degree of B.D. He was ordained deacon in 1890 by Bishop Vincent of Southern Ohio, and priested in 1891 by Bishop Worthington of Nebraska. He married Miss Elsie Procter of Glendale, Ohio, in May 1897.
His first charge was as a member of the Associate Mission, Omaha, Neb., 1891 - 95. He was rector of St. Luke's Church, Cincinnati, 1896 - 1904, dean of St. Paul's Cathedral of the same city, 1904 - 13; dean of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour, Faribault, Minn., 1913 - 14, and professor in the Seabury Divinity School for the same period. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Seabury in 1915; from Princeton University in 1916; and the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology from the General Theological Serninary in 1915. On St. Paul's Day, January 25, 1925, his tenth anniversary as bishop of New Jersey was observed by a special service in St. Mary's Church, Burlington, where he had been consecrated, and the day following at a luncheon given in his honor at Trenton he was presented with a beautiful pastoral staff by the churchmen of the diocese. Bishop Matthews lived for a short time in Trenton, but now makes his home in Princeton.
Albion Williamson Knight, bishop‑coadjutor of New Jersey, was born in White Springs, Fla, August 24, 1859, the son of George Augustine Knight and Martha Demere. He was ordained deacon in 1881, and priest in 1883. He married (1) Elise Nicoll Hallowes, at Jacksonville, Fla., August 27, 1889; (2) Miriam Powell Yates, 1919. His first charge was as missionary in Southern Florida, 1881 - 84. He was rector of St. Mark's Church, Palatka, Fla., 1884 - 86; rector of St. Andrew's Church, Jacksonville, Fla., 1886 - 93; dean of the cathedral at Atlanta, Ga., 1893 - 1904. In 1904 he was consecrated bishop of Cuba, which office he held up to 1913. He was placed in charge of the Panama Canal Zone, 1908 - 20. In 1914 he became vice-chancellor and president of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., which post he held until 1922. In 1923 he was chosen bishop-coadjutor of the Diocese of New Jersey, since when he has made his home in Trenton.
IV. The Presbyterians - 1712
BY THE REVEREND GEORGE H. INGRAM, STATED CLERK OF THE PRESBYTERY OF NEW BRUNSWICK
IN COLONIAL times churches took the names of the townships. In the vicinity of what is now Trenton there were three townships that worked together in the maintenance of their churches. First was Maidenhead (now Lawrenceville) which had a lot deeded for church purposes in 1698. Somewhere about the same time Hopewell (Pennington) began a church, although there is no deed. Then in 1709, a little farther to the south in the same township, a plot of ground was deeded for church purposes where Ewing Church now stands, and a log house was erected in 1712. The Rev. Robert Orr was the first pastor of these three churches. He was installed October 15,1715,and remained five years. The Rev. Moses Dickinson followed him, remaining two years. After an interim of several years the Rev. Joseph Morgan became the third pastor, and served from 1729 to 1737. All these ministers served the three churches.
In 1719 Hopewell Township was divided. The lower portion was from that time known as Trenton Township. This included Ewing. The two churches in Trenton Township were thereafter designated as “old house” and “new house,” the “country” and the “town.”
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
EAST STATE STREET
As the settlement at the Falls of the Delaware grew, there came demand for a chapel that the people on the river would not have to go all the way to Ewing for worship. A plot of ground was deeded in 1727 for church purposes, where the First Presbyterian Church now stands. Some years later an additional plot was added. It seems that the first building was erected, as a matter of fact, in 1726, or before title was given.
There is a roll of the three churches bearing the date of 1733, made the Rev. Joseph Morgan. The Hopewell roll contains the names of seventy- seven communicants, while Maidenhead has thirty-eight names, and Trenton (Ewing) contains twenty-four names. Some of the communicants of the third roll, no doubt, lived at the Falls of the Delaware. This roll is as follows:
WHEN ADMITTED COMMUNICANTS
Richard Scuddar, deacon, and Hannah, his wife
Arthur Howel, elder, and Ruth, his wife
James Chambers and Mrs. Chambers, his wife
Aug. 3, 1733 Ralph Hart and Sarah, his wife
Nov. 25, 1733 Lydia Green, wife of William
May 3, 1734 Deborah Lawrence, widow
Sarah Johnson, wife of Sam
Mary Green, wife of Richard
Sept. 12, 1734 William Green
Hannah Green, widow
Aug. 29, 1735 Charles Clerk and Abigail, his wife
Deborah, wife of Dv. Dunbar
Mary, the wife of Eb. Petty
Oct. 23, 1737 Elizabeth Sinclare
PASTORS OF THE CHURCH SINCE 1736
The fourth pastor of the Trenton churches was David Cowell, who began his ministry in 1736 and continued until 1760. During this pastorate the Presbytery of New Brunswick was erected, although at that time the Trenton churches remained in the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Then in 1741 the Great Schism took place, and the two parties were known as the Old Side and the New Side. In 1758 the schism was healed, and the churches in this vicinity were assigned to the Presbytery of New Brunswick. Thus Mr. Cowell was a member of the Presbytery of New Brunswick for the last two years of his life. He died December 1, 1760, and was buried on the western side of the church, near the street. Outside of his parish Mr. Cowell was notable for his work in behalf of the College of New Jersey, and for his efforts on behalf of healing the schism.
The next minister was the Rev. William Kirkpatrick, who served only as a supply, from 1761 to 1766. Several efforts were made to have him installed but each time some obstacle arose. Finally he accepted a call to the First Church of Amwell, where he continued to minister until his death, September 8, 1769.
The next pastor was the Rev. Elihu Spencer, D.D., who served from November 18, 1769 till his death, December 27, 1784. Thus he served throughout the Revolution. The call for Dr. Spencer was made out from the three congregations. He was a chaplain in the army. He also officiated as chaplain of the Provincial Congress. He was a marked man and his parsonage suffered at the hands of the enemy. When the surrender of Cornwallis was celebrated in Trenton October 27, 1781, the governor, Council, Assembly and citizens attended service in the Presbyterian Church, when Dr. Spencer delivered a discourse. In 1783 when peace was concluded with Great Britain a similar service was held in Dr. Spencer's church. He is buried in the churchyard on the western side.
The next pastor was the Rev. James Francis Armstrong, who served from 1786 until 1816. He was licensed in 1778 by the Presbytery of New Castle and was ordained at Pequea, Pa., in 1778. He served as chaplain for a time and was at Yorktown at the time of the surrender. In 1782 he returned to New Jersey and in 1786 accepted a call to the Trenton church. In the early years of his ministry he served three churches - the “town,” the “old,” and the Maidenhead. In 1787 Mr. Armstrong accepted the principalship of the classical academy which had been started a few years before. He took an active part in the organization of the General Assembly in 1789 and was elected moderator in 1804. During his ministry a new church building was erected. During the building the Presbyterians were given a home in St. Michael’s Church and Mr. Armstrong preached on alternate Sundays. The new church was opened August 17, 1806. He died June 10, 1816, and is buried in the churchyard.
The Rev. Samuel B. How, D.D., was the next pastor, serving from 1816 until 1821. The Rev. William J. Armstrong, D.D., followed, 1821 - 24. The Rev. John Smith ministered from 1825 to 1828. The Rev. James Waddell Alexander, D.D., served from 1829 to 1832. The Rev. James William Yeomans, D.D., served from 1834 to 1841, when he resigned to accept the presidency of Lafayette College. During this pastorate the congregation erected a new church edifice, the cornerstone being laid June 1, 1841, It was during this pastorate that the Presbyterian Church divided into the Old School and the New School branches. This church and the Presbytery of New Brunswick rernained with the Old School.
The next pastor was the Rev. John Hall, D.D., who was ordained and installed August 11, 1841, and forthwith entered upon the longest pastorate in the history of the First Church, continuing in active service until May 4, 1884, when he was made pastor-emeritus for the remainder of his days. He died May 10, 1894. For a brief sketch of his life, see the end of this section.
The Rev. John Dixon, D.D., took up the work that Dr. Hall laid down and carried it on in the spirit of his predecessor, from October 15, 1884, to September 18, 1898. A biographical sketch of Dr. Dixon will also be found at the end of this section.
The Rev. Lewis Seymour Mudge, who was one of the Presbytery's own candidates, was next called to take up the work. He was installed September 27, 1899. Through ill health he was forced to resign November 4, 1901. Dr. Mudge is now the stated clerk of the General Assembly.
For the next pastor an ex-moderator of the General Assembly was sought, the Rev. Henry Collin Minion, D.D., LL.D., who was installed November 19, 1902. He continued to January 22, 1918, when ill health compelled him to retire from the active ministry.
The Rev. Peter K Emmons assumed the pastorate January 28, 1919, and continued until November 6, 1927, He was chosen during this pastorate a member of the board of trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary. He was also elected a member of the Permanent Judicial Commission of the General Assembly. For one year he served as district governor of the Thirty-sixth District Rotary International.
On January 23, 1917, the Presbytery of New Brunswick unveiled in the First Church yard a monument erected to the memory of the Rev. John Rosbrugh who was massacred on the banks of the Assunpink on January 2, 1777, after Washington had drawn his forces to the south side of the creek. In some way Mr. Rosbrugh became detached and was left on the north side of the creek. He was buried where he fell, but a few days afterward his classmate, the Rev. George Duffield, took up the body of his friend and gave it decent burial “in the churchyard.” At the time he was moderator of the Presbytery of New Brunswick and was pastor of the Allen Township Church in the Forks of the Delaware. 14
14 See the address delivered by the writer at the unveiling, Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Vol. IX, pp. 49 - 64.
SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1837
MARKET AND MERCER STREETS
In 1837 some members of the First Church took up the mission work in Lamberton which had been started some years before and allowed to languish. A few years later a committee from the Presbytery was sent to make a survey of the field. The outcome of this project was the organization of a second Presbyterian Church, with nineteen charter members. The first pastor was the Rev. Daniel Deruelle, 1843‑48; the second, the Rev. Ansley D. White, 1848‑64; the third, the Rev. George S. Bishop, 1864‑66; the fourth, the Rev. James B. Kennedy, 1866‑95; the fifth, the Rev. William J. Henderson, 1885‑87 ; the sixth, the Rev. William H. Woolverton, D.D., 1887‑91; the seventh, the Rev. William S. Voorhies, 1892‑1901; the eighth, the Rev. Norris W. Harkness, 1901‑09; the ninth, the Rev. Albert C. Busch, 1909‑16; the tenth, the Rev. Howard J. Baumgartel, 1916‑20; the eleventh and present pastor, the Rev. Raymond A. Ketchledge, 1921‑. The church was first located on Union at the head of Fall Street, but in the pastorate of Mr. Harkness it was moved to the corner of Market and Jackson Streets. The building was destroyed by fire on November 20, 1919. Steps were immediately taken to rebuild. The indebtedness was all paid off in 1927.
THIRD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1849
NORTH WARREN STREET
On May 2, 1849, the Third Church was organized, with thirteen communicants from the First and four from other churches. At first the congregation met in Odd Fellows' Hall, on the corner of Hanover and Broad Streets. Their house of worship on North Warren Street was erected in November 1850.
Their first pastor was the Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, who served them for three years, from September 2, 1849, until April 7, 1853, when he accepted a call to Brooklyn where he spent the remainder of his days and became one of the outstanding pastors of the Presbyterian Church.
The second pastor was the Rev. Jacob Kirkpatrick, Jr., who was ordained and installed November 3, 1853. Declining health compelled him to resign February 2, 1858. He died October 21, 1859, and was buried in Mercer Cemetery.
The Rev. Henry B. Chapin was the third pastor, continuing from November 28, 1858, until January 1, 1866.
The fourth pastor was the Rev, Samuel M. Studdiford, D.D., who was installed April 15, 1866, and continued until October 22, 1902, when he was chosen pastor-emeritus. He died July 21, 1908. For a brief sketch of his life, see the end of this section.
In 1874, during his pastorate, the spire of the church was struck by lightning and on July 4, 1879, a falling rocket set fire to the church. Straightway the work of rebuilding was begun and the new church was dedicated February 19, 1880.
The fifth pastor was the Rev. Albert J. Weisley, D.D., who served from May 13, 1903, until November 20, 1911.
The sixth pastor was the Rev. Andrew Todd Taylor, D.D., who served from October 29, 1912, to November 13, 1916.
The seventh pastor was the Rev. George Dugan, D.D., who began his ministry in the Third Church May 3, 1920, and continued until his sudden death, October 14, 1921.
The eighth, and present, pastor is the Rev. John McNab, D.D., LL.D., who was installed May 16, 1922.
FOURTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1858
EAST STATE STREET AND NORTH CLINTON AVENUE
On the sixth of November, 1858, a group of some fifty-one communicants of the Third Church formed the Fourth Church. Their first pastor was the Rev. Edward D. Yeomans, D.D., who was installed December 15, 1858, and continued until January 2, 1863. The church building was dedicated October 16, 1862.
The second pastor was the Rev. William M. Blackburn, D.D., who served from January 4, 1864, to August 16, 1868.
The third pastor was the Rev. Richard H. Richardson, D.D., whose term was from December 6, 1868, to October 3, 1887.
The fourth pastor was the Rev. John H. Salisbury, D.D., who began February 1, 1888, and served until his death, January 10, 1891.
The fifth pastor was the Rev. Samuel A. Harlow, who served from July 6, 1892, to July 1, 1894.
The Rev. William Henry Roberts, D.D., LL.D., stated clerk of the General Assembly, served as stated supply from September 10, 1894, to May 1, 1900.
The seventh pastor was the Rev. Hugh B. MacCauley, who was installed April 18, 1900, and was released January 27, 1912.
The eighth pastor was the Rev. William M. Curry, D.D., whose term ran from January 16, 1913, to August 29, 1920.
The ninth, and present, pastor is the Rev. Gill Robb Wilson, who was installed October 13, 1921. Mr. Wilson, in 1927, was elected national chaplain of the American Legion.
FIFTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1874
The Fifth Church began as a mission Sunday school of the First Church. It was known as the Warren Street Chapel, and was opened January 8, 1854. A church organization was formed February 23, 1874, with twenty-eight members. The Rev. Ansley D. White, D.D., who had served as pastor of the Second Church years before, was called to the pastorate and was installed October 26, 1874. He served until his death, September 23, 1877.
The second pastor was the Rev. Joseph W. Porter, who was installed April 18, 1878, and continued for two years.
The Rev. John F. Shaw then took up the work, February 4, 1881, and continued until February 4, 1883. But the Fifth Church seemed to be losing ground. Dr. Studdiford secured a student of Princeton Theological Seminary to act as a supply - C. A. R. Janvier, who was preparing to go out to the foreign field. He proved to be the man for the place. The Fifth Church soon took on new life. He began as a supply March 8, 1883. He was ordained and installed April 24, 1884, and continued until July 3, 1887.
The fifth pastor was the Rev. William P. Swartz who served from August 22, 1887, until October 21, 1888.
The sixth pastor was the Rev. George H. Ingram who began his labors December 2, 1888, and continued until January 4, 1904 - the longest pastorate up to this date.
The seventh pastor was the Rev. Samuel C. Hodge who was installed April 14, 1904. He served until May 29, 1911. During this pastorate extensive addition was made to the Sunday school building.
The eighth pastor was the Rev. Samuel Guy Snowden, who was installed January 4, 1912. He continued until his death May 4, 1920.
The ninth, and present, pastor, is the Rev. William K. C. Thomson, who was installed October 6, 1920.
PROSPECT STREET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1875
PROSPECT AND SPRING STREETS
This church in a new section of the city was organized by the Presbytery April 29, 1875, with thirty-five members. The building had been erected in advance, ready for the new undertaking. The first pastor was the Rev. Walter A. Brooks, who was ordained and installed October 14, 1875. Dr. Brooks continued in this pastorate until October 14, 1905, when he was made pastor-emeritus. He died January 12, 1913. His biographical sketch will be found at the end of this section.
The second pastor was the Rev. Francis Palmer, who was installed October 23, 1905. He continued until May 15, 1922.
The third and present pastor is the Rev. William Thomson Hanzsche, who was installed October 27, 1922, During this pastorate extensive additions have been made to the church equipment.
BETHANY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1886
HAMILTON AND CHESTNUT AVENUES
This church in the borough of Chambersburg was organized November 15, 1886, with sixty-six members. The Centennial Public School was used as a place of worship until the church was erected on the corner of Hamilton and Chestnut Avenues. This was dedicated March 6, 1888. The first pastor was the Rev. Daniel R. Foster, who had been pastor of Pennington Church. He was installed in his new charge December 14, 1886. He served in this field until January 3o, 1900, and was then made pastor-emeritus. He died October 25, 1915, and his body was interred in Riverview Cemetery.
The Rev. Robert I. McBride was the second pastor, and was installed May 16, 1900, continuing in this charge until October 21, 1903.
The third pastor was the Rev. Linius L. Strock who was installed January 19, 1904, and served until September 23, 1913.
The fourth, and present, pastor is the Rev. D. Wilson Hollinger, who was installed April 21, 1914. Additions have been made on two occasions, one during Mr. Foster's day and the last one during the present pastorate.
EAST TRENTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1888
NORTH CLINTON AVENUE
Early in the pastorate of Dr. Dixon in the First Church attention a directed to the needs of the Millham district. The outcome was the organization of a Sunday school under the auspices of the session of the First Church, February 13, 1887. Through the generosity of the Hon. Caleb S. Green a home was provided on the corner of Olden and Clinton Avenues. Hitherto the Sunday school had met in the Girard Public School. The new building was dedicated December 26, 1888. On April 21, 1899, the East Trenton Presbyterian Church was organized by the Presbytery. In the interim D. Ruby Warne, a student of Princeton Theological Seminary, had served as a supply as had the Rev. Edward Scofield before him, and on May 11 the Rev. Frank B. Everitt was installed as pastor. He continued until January 29, 1901.
The second pastor was the Rev. Fred B. Newman who was installed July 10, 1901, and continued until December 25, 1910.
The third pastor was the Rev. Herbert J. Allsup, who was installed May 10, 1911, and was released April 8, 1913.
The fourth pastor was the Rev. Clarence E. Hills, D.D., who was installed February 24, 1914, and was released December 1, 1927.
The fifth and present pastor is the Rev. Roy E. Jones, installed July 20, 1928.
WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1898
GREENWOOD AND WALTER AVENUES
For a number of years a union Sunday school had been conducted in the William G. Cook Public School in Wilbur. The date when this school began was about 1890. As this section of the city grew, need was felt for the organization of a church, and application was made to the Presbytery. Accordingly on September 12, 1898, the Walnut Avenue Presbyterian Church was organized, with sixteen charter members. A chapel had been erected on the corner of Walnut and Walter Avenues, and the Rev. Isaac M. Patterson was installed as the first pastor on October 18, 1898. Mr. Patterson continued until September 30, 1903, when he was made pastor emeritits. On April 7, 1918, the sixtieth anniversary of his licensure, he preached a sermon in this church, which had been renamed Westminster Church upon its removal to the corner of Walter and Greenwood Avenues, through the generosity of Mr. Hampton W. Cook who had also given the former site. Mr. Patterson died July 3, 1921.
The second pastor was the Rev. George H. Ingram, who had been serving the Fifth Church. He began his ministry January 11, 1904, and continued until May 5, 1922, a pastorate of eighteen years, making the total term of his pastorate in Trenton thirty-three years. Mr. Ingram has served as stated clerk of the Presbytery since the death of Dr. Brooks in 1913. Since giving up the pastorate he has served as executive secretary of the Council of Churches. For a number of years he has served as the historian of the Presbytery and of the Synod of New Jersey.
The third pastor was the Rev. Charles L. Leber who began his ministry May 5, 1923, and continued to May 31, 1924. He was followed by the Rev. Robert L. Clark, Jr., the present pastor, who was installed December 12, 1924.
Upon the death of Mr. Cook, June 16, 1924, Westminster Church came into possession of a large annuity from his estate. Mr. Cook hoped that sometime a church in memory of his brother Edward Grant Cook might be erected.
IMMANUEL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (ITALIAN) - 1897
A mission for the Italians of Chambershurg was opened in the summer of 1897, with Vincent Serafini, a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, in charge. That fall a Sunday school was opened with teachers furnished by the First and other churches. On July 6, 1898, Mr. Serafini was ordained, and henceforth gave all his time to the work. Soon after this work was assumed by a committee of the Presbytery. Up until that time there had been no work for the Italians, even in the Roman Catholic Church, but soon afterward work was begun in other quarters.
At first the mission had no home, but met in rented buildings. In 1906 a building was begun and by December 1, 1907, it was ready for dedication. In those days it was known as the Italian Evangelical Congregation. On January 25, 1916, the name was changed to the Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Additional property was purchased for the purpose of enlargement of the buildings as the congregation may need. In 1922 the twenty-fifth anniversary of Mr. Serafini's service in Immanuel Church was celebrated by the Presbytery.
PILGRIM PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1911
ANNABELLE AND SOUTH BROAD STREETS
A Sunday school was started in what was then Nottingham Township in 1834. It met more or less irregularly until 1854. From the latter date it was known as the Hamilton Union Sunday School and met in the public school building. A chapel was erected on the corner of Liberty and Williams Streets, the cornerstone having been laid July 15, 1908, and Pilgrim Church was organized October 5, 1911.
For some years the new church depended upon supplies. The first pastor was the Rev. John A. Sellers, who was installed April 23, 1915. He was released November 28, 1917.
The second pastor was the Rev. James C. Hughes, who was installed June 25, 1918, and was released May 30, 1923.
The third pastor was the Rev. Morris Zutrau, who was ordained and installed May 29, 1924. He remained until December 1, 1927. During this pastorate the property on Liberty Street was sold and steps taken to erect the Sunday school building on the new site, on the corner of South Broad Street and Annabelle Avenue. The cornerstone was laid September 24, 1924. The edifice was dedicated May 31, 1925.
The fourth, and present, pastor is the Rev. William T. Magill, who was installed March 15, 1928.
MT. CARMEL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - 1914
BRUNSWICK AVENUE AND MILLER STREET
In the fall of 1913 a class of Italian children was enrolled in the Bible school of the Fifth Presbyterian Church, The growth of this work led to the organization of the North Trenton Italian Mission in the Jefferson Public School on February 6, 1914, with Nunzio Vecere missionary in charge. In May 1916 the work was transferred to Frazier Street. On September 24, 1918, the mission was organized into the Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church. Mr. Vecere was ordained and installed July 14, 1916. The new edifice, on the corner of Brunswick Avenue and Miller Street, was dedicated October 28, 1923.
John Hall was born in Philadelphia, August 11, 1806, He united with the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, under the ministry of Albert Barnes, September 24, 1836. He graduated in the class of 1823 of the University of Pennsylvania and forthwith took up the study of law. After practising for five years he decided to study for the ministry. While acting as secretary of the American Sunday School Union, which office he entered upon in 1832, he prepared himself for the ministry without taking a course in a theological seminary. He was called to the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church of Trenton and was thereupon ordained and installed, August 11, 1841, when he was thirty-five years of age. In this pastorate he continued until failing health required him to resign, May 4, 1884, a period of nearly forty-three years. In 1850 the College of New Jersey conferred upon him the degree of D.D. For a time he filled the chair of pastoral theology in the Princeton Theological Seminary, after the death of Dr. Archibald Alexander. In 1868 he was chosen a director of Princeton Theological Seminary which position he held until impaired health required him to resign, 1883. Dr. Hall died in 1894. His History of the Pres6yterian Church in Trenton is highly regarded.
Samuel Miller Studdiford was born in Lambertville, NJ., January 24, 1835, a child of the manse. His father, the Rev. Peter Ogilvie Studdiford, was pastor of that church from its organization until his death. Samuel was prepared for Princeton by his father, graduating in the class of 1856. He spent a year in teaching in the Princeton Theological Seminary, whereupon he entered the seminary, graduating in the class of 1860. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Elizabeth, N.J., May 3, 1859, and was installed pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Plainfield, N.J., May 8, 1860. In April 1862 he became pastor of Stewartsville, N.J., church. After four years he accepted a call to the Third Church of Trenton, and on April 15, 1866, he began there his long Trenton pastorate. In the fall of 1902 he resigned and was made pastor-emeritus. In 1884 he received the degree of D.D. from Princeton University, and the same year he was elected moderator of the Synod of New Jersey. In 1893 he was elected a trustee of Princeton Theological Seminary. He died July 21, 1908, and was buried in the family lot at Lambertville.
John Dixon was born in Galt, Canada, January 25, 1847. He entered Princeton Theological Seminary in 1870, graduating in the class of 1873. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Boston June 19, 1873, and the same year accepted the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church of Providence, R.I., where he remained four years. He next served the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Yonkers, N.Y., where he remained from 1877 to 1884, whence he came to the First Presbyterian Church of Trenton, where he served 1884 - 98. In 1898, in response to a call to enter a wider field of service, he resigned his charge in Trenton to accept a secretaryship in the Board of Home Missions. Here he continued until 1923, when he was made secretary-emeritus of the Board of National Missions, Lafayette College honored him in 1889 with the degree of D.D. He was chosen a trustee of Princeton Theological Seminary in 1889, which position he still holds. He is likewise a trustee of Princeton University and also chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Lawrenceville School.
Walter A. Brooks was for thirty-five years clerk of the Presbytery of New Brunswick; for twenty-five years he was stated clerk of the Synod of New Jersey and for thirty-eight years was pastor and pastor-emeritus of the Prospect Street Presbyterian Church of Trenton. He was born at Leroy, N.Y., August 2, 1849, a son of the manse. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1868, and from the Union Theological Seminary, New York City, 1875. He was ordained and installed pastor of the Prospect Street Church October 14, 1875, of which he was the first pastor. He died in 1913.
V. The Methodists - 1772
BY THE REVEREND CHARLES H. ELDER, FORMERLY PASTOR OF TRINITY M.E. CHURCH
NOTE: The editor is indebted to the late Charles H. Elder for furnishing much of the historical material for the chapter on the Methodists, though his death unfortunately prevented him from completing the full account.
METHODISTS in Trenton have had a long and honorable history. Years before the first congregation was formed here itinerant Methodist preachers visited Trenton from time to time. In 1739 it is on record that George Whitefield came to Trenton and preached. Under date of November 12, that year, he records in his Journal:
By eight o'clock we reached Trent‑town in the Jerseys. It being dark, we went out of our way a little in the woods; but God sent a guide to direct us aright. We had a comfortable refreshment when we reached our inn and went to bed in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Whitefield left early the next morning but returned during the same month, attracted by the fact that a criminal was to be executed, on which occasion it was expected there would be a great crowd in attendance and an opportunity would be offered him to preach. He writes:
November 21, 1739. Being strongly desired by many and hearing that a condemned malefactor was to suffer that week, I went in company with about thirty more to Trenton and reached thither by five in the evening. ... Knowing that God called, I went out trusting in Divine strength and preached in the Court House, and though I was quite barren and dry in the beginning of the discourse, yet God enabled me to speak with great sweetness, freedom and power before I had done. The unhappy criminal seemed hardened, but I hope some good was done in the place.
Whitefield visited Trenton again in 1740 and was also in 1754 when he was advertised in the Philadelphia papers to preach in Trenton on September 13 and 14 of that year.
Another evangelist, Thomas Webb, a Captain in the British army stationed at Albany, preached in Trenton probably in 1768 en route to Philadelphia. Another early itinerant, Richard Boardman, in a letter to Wesley, stated that he had visited Trenton in 1769 and preached in the Presbyterian Church to a large company. It is certain that there were Methodists in this vicinity as early as 1768, for in that year Samuel Tucker and John Hart were competitors for the Assembly and Tucker, so the record runs, “was supported by the Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists, and Hart by the Presbyterians.”
The great missionary, Francis Asbury, as recorded in Asbury's Journal, preached in Trenton for the first time May 20, 1772. He was preaching here again June 8 of the same year; also on June 29 and July 19. On July 22 he speaks of finding “about nineteen persons” (Methodists). “They are a serious people, and there is some prospect of much good being done in this place.” For Asbury's services on these occasions the Society paid him, July 23, 1 pound 10 shillings 6d. On April 22 - 23, 1773, Asbury was again in Trenton, and he makes the following entry in his Journal: “Before my return to Philadelphia I had the pleasure of seeing the foundation laid of a new preaching house 35 feet by 30 feet.” According to an old account book containing the minutes of the first board of trustees of the Methodist Society January 9, 1773, to September 19, 1837, it would appear that Asbury was paid 10 shillings on April 22, 1773, presumably as a fee for his services on the occasion of laying the foundation of the Methodist Chapel. In the History of State Street Methodist Church prepared for the twenty-sixth anniversary of dedication, June 14, 1886, by a committee composed of James F. Rusling, George W. Macpherson and Ira W. Wood, these and additional references to the early history of Methodism in Trenton will be found duly collated.
THE FIRST METHODIST CHURCH - 1771
SOUTH BROAD STREET
The First Methodist Church of Trenton has the honor of being the first established in New Jersey and probably the third in the whole country, ranking next only after the John Street Church in New York City and St. George's Church in Philadelphia.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church, known as the “Mother Church” by Trenton Methodists, came into existence in the year 1771, five years before the Declaration of Independence by the American Colonies. The beginning of this historic church goes back to the organization of a class meeting by Joseph Toy in 1771. In 1772 the Trenton Society, consisting of nineteen members, secured subscriptions from a hundred and twenty-two persons for the erection of a meeting house. The subscription list bears the date November 25, 1772, and the total amount raised was 213 pounds. A lot was purchased at the northeast corner of what is now Broad and Academy Streets, on which a frame building thirty by thirty-five feet was erected in 1773.
Among the nineteen original members appears the name of John Fitch, the inventor of the steamboat. The total cost of this “Preaching House” was 193 pounds 6 shillings 2d.
Among the expenses incurred in erecting the building were the following items for providing liquid refreshment for the workmen, as was customary in those days, though the same now makes curious reading: 15
15 History of State Street M.E. Church, p. 13.
The original frame meeting house was replaced in 1806 with a brick church which was located on the same site and was called “Bethesda.” It was sold in 1838 to the Orthodox Friends and was used by them until 1858. The Methodists removed to the site of the present church on South Broad Street and erected a brick building which was dedicated September 9, 1838, and called the “Trenton M.E. Church,” perhaps better known for many years as the “Greene Street Church,” from the name the street then bore.
The congregation in the course of its long history has had four different official titles or names: first, “The Trustees of the Methodist Congregation of Christians of the City of Trenton” ; second, “The Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the City of Trenton”; third, “Greene Street Methodist Episcopal Church of the City of Trenton” (incorporated March 18, 1866) ; fourth, and present name, “The First Methodist Episcopal Church of New Jersey” (incorporated February 26, 1906).
The present commodious building of the First Church was dedicated May 5, 1895, Bishop Charles H. Fowler preaching in the morning and Dr. James M. Buckley in the evening. It stands on the site of the old Greene Street Church and cost, including additional land, about $80,000. When the church and Sunday school auditoriums are thrown into one, it has a seating capacity of two thousand.
On Sunday November 26, 1922, and the week-days following, the First Church observed with a series of elaborate and interesting services the sesquicentennial of its foundation. Sermons were preached by several former pastors and other prominent ministers. An honor roll of some twenty-three persons then living who had a record of fifty years of membership was read. 16
16 The First Methodist Episcopal Church of New Jersey, Sesquicentennial, 1772 - 1922, edited by Frank Duffield Lawrence and Howell Quigley.
THE FRONT STREET M.E. CHURCH - l846
(SUBSEQUENTLY THE TRINITY M.E. CHURCH)
In the year 1846 a group withdrew from the original First Church and purchased the property of the Dutch Reformed Church on Front Street, where was organized and established the Front Street Methodist Episcopal Church. This society began with an initial membership of eighty persons and had grown to three hundred in 1864. About this time the Civil War dissensions threw a dark cloud over this hitherto united and prosperous church and so acute became the crisis that a separation between the two factions took place, resulting in the formation of two separate congregations, Central and Trinity. After eighteen years of united history there thus came about the establishment of two other churches and the elimination of what had been known as the Front Street M.E. Church.
UNION, AFTERWARDS WESLEY M.E. CHURCH - 1851
CENTRE STREET NEAR LANNING
The Union M.E. Church grew out of cottage prayer meetings held by local preachers from the Greene Street M.E. Church. The society was probably organized early in 1851. The State Gazette for Monday, August 4, 1851, contains an account of the cornerstone laying on Sunday, August 3, 1851. The Rev. Charles Pitman, assisted by the Rev. F. A. Morrel of the Greene Street M.E. Church, and the Rev, James Rogers of the Front Street M.E. Church, laid the cornerstone. The dedication of this building by Bishop Edmund S. Janes was on April 8, 1852, while the New Jersey Annual Conference was in session. The Rev. J. N. Nesler and James Rogers assisted. The Rev. J. N. Nester was the first pastor. When the Union Street congregation sold its property, a site was bought and a new church was erected an Centre Street, henceforth known as Wesley M.E. Church.
The deed for the Wesley M.E. Church ground is dated November 26, 1888. This ground was on Centre Street below Federal Street and the price paid was $3,200. The new church building was dedicated on Sunday, November 17, 1889, and the Rev. W. J. Thorn of Baltimore preached the dedicating sermon. This building was sold to the congregation of Ahovath Israel in 1911 for $7,200. From the trustees of the First Baptist Church of Trenton in 1911 the trustees of Wesley M.E. Church bought their present church property for $4,300. This building was rededicated by District Superintendent Alfred Wagg, D.D., in 1911, the Rev. G. W. Ridout then being the pastor.
STATE STREET M.E. CHURCH - 1859
STATE AND STOCKTON STREETS
Methodism in Trenton, prior to 1859, was organized on the free-pew system. This method was not in harmony with the wishes of some seventy people, who on that account withdrew from the Greene Street M.E. Church in 1859 to organize a church of rented pews. This was the beginning of the State Street M.E. Church.
On February 1, 1859, this group elected seven trustees and on the following day the certificate of incorporation was executed and the name, “Trustees of State Street M.E. Church” was taken.
The original incorporators were William C. Howell, W. S. Hutchinson, John Whittaker, Daniel Bodine, Joseph McPherson, William Phillips and Isaac Gould; all well-known and influential citizens.
The first pastor was the Rev. George W. Batchelder. Meetings were held in Temperance Hall, where the congregation continued to worship until the new church building was erected at the corner of State and Stockton Streets. Bishop Scott assisted by several clergymen laid the cornerstone of the present edifice on July 21, 1859. On June 14, 1860, the building was dedicated by Bishop Janes, who was also assisted by many of the clergy. The total cost of the church exclusive of the land was about $27,000. The church building at the time was considered a model of ecclesiastical architecture and was widely imitated or copied elsewhere in New Jersey. On the westerly side of the church a parsonage was built in 1865 at a cost of about $10,000. In 1882 the old chapel, having proved inadequate to the needs, was torn down and a new chapel erected of double the capacity at a cost of $7,000. In its career of seventy years the State Street Church has had a series of distinguished pastors and has numbered among its members many of the best-known and influential citizens of Trenton, Perhaps the chief figure among the laymen who have served the church was General James F. Rusling, whose personality and writings have done much to advance the cause of Methodism not only in this city but as well through the State and country at large. 17
17 History of State Street M.E. Church, 1886.
CADWALADER HEIGHTS M.E. CHURCH - 1860
STUYVESANT AVENUE AND OAK LANE
The Cadwalader Heights Church is the direct successor of the old Warren Street M.E. Church which was organized in 1860 as a mission by a group belonging to the First M.E. Church. In 1859 a lot was secured on North Warren Street for a Sunday school that had been meeting in a school house on the Pennington road. In 1860 this group assumed the name of the Warren Street M.E. Church, though it was not until 1876, to accommodate a growing and enterprising congregation, that a church was built on North Warren Street. The influx of business on Warren Street and the expansion of population westward prompted the congregation to sell this valuable property to the “City Rescue Mission.” During the pastorate of the Rev. Walter Atkinson a new church was built at the corner of Stuyvesant Avenue and Oak Lane. This fine church perpetuates the memory of the old Warren Street Church.
TRINITY M.E. CHURCH - 1865
Trinity Church, as the logical and legitimate successor to Front Street M.E. Church, has had many financial trials and difficulties during its existence. For a period the services were held in rented halls and subsequently the congregation worshiped in what was known as the “Plank Church” on Academy Street. This building gave way in 1869 to the present commodious structure on Perry Street.
After a long struggle, a burdensome debt was finally paid off in 1918 during the pastorate of the Rev. Charles H. Elder. In 1920 many improvements were made to the church building, adding much to the beauty and comfort of the edifice. These improvements entailed another indebtedness which has since been paid off under the present pastor, the Rev. John Goorley.
THE CENTRAL M.E. CHURCH - 1865
SOUTH BROAD AND MARKET STREETS
The Central M.E. Church came into existence in 1865 when 175 members withdrew from the Front Street M.E. Church and constituted the beginning of this new church enterprise. Bishop Edward R. Ames appointed the Rev. E. Stokes, subsequently founder of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting, to care for this new child of Trenton Methodism. The first meetings were held in the Mercer County Court House and subsequently at the residence of Ezekiel Pullen on Market Street. The first Sunday school was held in the Market Street Public School, but after April 30, 1865, the Sunday school was held in Temperance Hall on Broad Street where it continued to assemble until the basement of the church building was completed. On Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1865, Bishop Edmund S. Janes dedicated the basement of the church to divine worship, The church edifice was completed in 1867 and was dedicated by Bishop Janes.
THE HAMILTON AVENUE M.E. CHURCH - 1872
HAMILTON AVENUE AND HUDSON STREET
The origin of the Hamilton Avenue Church dates back to a meeting held at the home of George B. Whittaker on Hamilton Avenue on January 29, 1872. Twelve persons were present who expressed the conviction that the time had come to establish a Methodist Episcopal church in the rapidly growing residence section of the city, then known as Chambersburg. On March 22, 1872, the presiding elder, the Rev. Samuel Vansant, called a meeting at the home of Mr. Whittaker to consider the feasibility of forming a new church society, and a board of trustees was elected composed of the following persons: Moses Golding, Charles Carr, George B. Whittaker, William Gagg, James S. West, James H. Whittaker and Richard Jackson. A lot was purchased at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Hudson Street for the sum of $2,500. On November 2, 1872, the society was formally organized, and the name, the Hamilton Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, was decided upon. The building was constructed and the first regular service held in it was on Sunday, January 12, 1873, with the Rev. J. R. Westwood as pastor. On Sunday March 2, 1873, the church was formally dedicated by the Rev. John Heisler. The congregation grew until the building would not hold the people who desired to attend, and in the year 1893 it was decided to construct the present handsome building of brownstone which was then and still remains one of the finest church buildings in the New Jersey Conference. In the year 1910 the splendid Sunday school building was erected, which makes the church plant perfect in every detail.
BROAD STREET M.E. CHURCH - 1872
BROAD STREET AND CHESTNUT AVENUE
In the spring of 1869 General James F. Rusling of the State Street M.E. Church called together the members of the class with other Methodists residing in Chambersburg at the White School House on Prospect Street now Whittaker Avenue, and organized a Methodist Sunday school. In 1870 a local preacher and exhorter came every Sunday night to preach and hold services in the school house. The society had long contemplated building a house of worship and were encouraged by the Ruslings, who promised to give lots for that purpose. On October 20, 1869, the Methodist Society elected trustees, and a resolution was passed instructing the trustees to assume the title “Trustees of the Broad Street Methodist Episcopal Church.” On April 13, 1872, “The Linden Park Land Association offered to convey to the trustees two building lots, provided that work on the church building be commenced by the first of May 1872.” The trustees accepted the offer, and on April 30, 1872, ground was broken and the new church enterprise was started.
In 1888 the property was enlarged at an expense of $5,000 and a parsonage was also built on the lot adjoining the church. During the pastorates of different ministers further improvements have been made both to the church and the parsonage.
On October 22, 1927, the fifty-fifth anniversary was observed during the pastorate of the Rev. H. D. Stratton. Many of the former pastors returned to bring greetings and assist in the services.
CLINTON AVENUE M.E. CHURCH - 1875
On April 28, 1852, when the Rev. C. F. Brown was pastor of the Greene Street M.E. Church, it was decided to establish a mission school in the northeast part of the city. Anthony Rainear, Israel Howell and Joseph Yard were appointed a committee on site. A warm friend was found in John Hart, in whose home the first session was held May 9, 1852. In 1853 the first building was erected, called Homestead. In 1872 Trenton Circuit was formed out of Homestead and Ruslingville, with the Rev. J. R. Westwood as pastor. In 1873 a new church was built costing $2,800. In 1875 Homestead withdrew from the circuit and the Rev. Samuel Bennett was appointed pastor. The name of the church was changed from Homestead to Simpson, December 13, 1880. On April 17, 1889, when the Rev. G. S. Messeroll was pastor, a new edifice was built at a cost of $10,000. On the completion of this building in 1890 the name of the church was changed to Clinton Avenue M.E. Church.
ST. PAUL’S M.E. CHURCH - 1890
WEST STATE STREET AND FISHER PLACE
St. Paul's Church grew out of a Sunday school, known as the Passaic Street Sunday School, which was organized by members of the Greene Street (First Methodist) Church in 1890. In November of the same year the Church organization was effected by the Rev. J. B. Graw, presiding elder of Trenton District, and under the direction and leadership of the Rev. S. K. Hickman as its first pastor. It was the day of small things, twenty-two charter members and a Sunday school enrolment of twenty-four was the beginning.
During the pastorate of the Rev. S. K. Hickman, the cornerstone of the Spring Street Church was laid and the building completed. A Sunday school chapel was added during the pastorate of the Rev. John W. Morris.
In 1911, with the Rev..Henry M. Lawrence as pastor, the lot at the corner of West State Street and Fisher Place was purchased of Robert A. Montgomery for the erection of a new church. The laying of the cornerstone took place September 11, 1922. Dr. M. E. Snyder was in charge. Dr. Francis H. Green, headmaster at Pennington Seminary, delivered the address, the subject being “Building to Build,” and Dr. M. E. Snyder, district superintendent, placed the stone in the foundation. The new church was dedicated October 7, 1923, by Bishop John W. Hamilton of Washington, D.C.
The original board of trustees were: Alfred S. Pittenger, Elijah Wagg, James Ronan, James S. Kiger, Albert N. Clayton, Charles Pette and John Hoagland.
The present board of trustees are: Robert Appleton, A. T. Apgar, V. B. Holcombe, O. V. H. Merrick, James M. Loyne, F. E, Snedeker, George L. Thompson, Harry Sorter and James Sherrard. The congregation has had fifteen pastors, the Rev. James Lord being the present one.
THE BROAD STREET PARK M.E. CHURCH - 1894
SOUTH BROAD STREET AND BUCHANAN AVENUE
It was due to the interest and efforts of General James F. Rusling and William H. Rusling, who in 1894 gave four lots valued at $2,500 as a site for a church, that the Broad Street Park Church came into existence. An organization was effected the same year and the following trustees elected: Andrew K. Rowan, James F. Rusling, William H. Rusling, Eugene F. Wiley, Robert L. McNeal, Edward Openshaw and Henry C. Allen. The trustees requested the State Street Church to assume the care and oversight of the congregation. A frame church costing about $3,500 was built on the lot and dedicated June 6, 1895.
THE CHAMBERS STREET M.E. CHURCH - 1904
CHAMBERS AND LIBERTY STREETS
Some members of the Broad Street M.E, Church united in 1904 to start a mission at the corner of Chambers and Liberty Streets. The new enterprise assumed the name of Chambers Street M.E. Church and was duly organized in April 1904. On July 28, 1893, the ground was broken for the erection of a Sunday school building. The building site was the gift of Samuel K. Wilson who also gave $700 toward the building. In the year 1904 the Chambers Street Church was incorporated with the Rev. J. G. Edwards as its first pastor. Prior to this the Rev. George W. Scarborough served as pastor. The first trustees were Wm. E. Harris, Edward S. Chadwick, George Udy, James Read and John Warner.
GREENWOOD AVENUE M.E. CIIURCH - 1908
GREENWOOD AND OLDEN AVENUES
The Greenwood Avenue Church was the outgrowth of a Sunday school organized in the Cook School in 1907. In the following year, under the Rev. Alfred Wagg, district superintendent, a society was organized which assumed the name of Greenwood Avenue M.E. Church. The Church Extension Society having purchased a lot from General James Rusling at the corner of Greenwood and Olden Avenues, the first services were held there in a portable building during the summer of 1908. The Rev. Frederick B. Harris was appointed pastor. The cornerstone of the present edifice was laid December 31, 1910, and the building completed January 21, 1912.
Up to recent years the tenure of stay of Methodist ministers in a community was so limited that there was small opportunity for them to impress themselves upon its common life or to take a leading part in its civic and religious activities. In selecting the following names for mention out of the multitude who have served in Trenton, of course no invidious distinction is intended, since in any event only a few sketches could be given and these seemed best to fulfil the conditions.
Daniel P. Kidder, D.D., served as pastor of the First M.E. Church in 1843, when his labors were so active and so devoted as to make him a notable success. For eleven years he was editor of the Sunday school publications of the Methodist Church. His notable success in editorial work and analytical theological training caused him to be called to a professorship in Garrett Theological Seminary, and also to Drew Theological Seminary, where he taught from 1856 to 1880. He was elected by General Conference as secretary to the Board of Education of the Methodist Chusch. The church has awarded him a place worthy of his genius as a teacher, preacher, writer and speaker. Few men in the Methodist ministry have more indelibly impressed his generation by his scholarly qualities and other notable gifts. Dr. Kidder was born in New York City, and died in 1891.
Isaac Wiley, D.D., was the third pastor of the State Street M.E. Church. He was a man of genius and a leader in Israel, and is still held in reverent memory by the Methodists of Trenton and elsewhere. Owing to his scholarship and other notable gifts, be became the twenty-fifth bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was the only Trenton pastor to have achieved that great honor. He died in Foo Chow, China, November 22, 1884, a brave and self-sacrificing missionary.
George Bates Wight, D.D., was born in Boston, Mass., October 14, 1841. His education was received in private schools and the College of the City of New York. He equipped himself for school teaching and continued in that work until the Civil War started, when he enlisted in Company G, First New Jersey Infantry. In November 1862 he was commissioned Lieutenant in Company I of his regiment. He remained in military service until his discharge, caused by ill health contracted by confinement in Libby Prison. He was first commissioner of the Department of Charities and Corrections of New Jersey. Doctor Wight was secretary of the New Jersey Conference for fourteen years, also serving as pastor of the First M.E. Church of Trenton from 1887 to 1901, where he is still affectionately remembered. He died on June 1, 1916, and the funeral services were held from the First Church with interment in Riverview Cemetery, Trenton.
John D. Fox, D.D., was born in Pikesville, Bucks County, Pa., January 7, 1851. He was licensed to preach by the quarterly conference of Village Green Circuit on July 5, 1873, and admitted to the Philadelphia Conference in the spring of 1874. After occupying pulpits of note in the Philadelphia Conference, he was transferred in 1901 to the State Street Church of Trenton where he remained until 1910. Dr. Fox was a fine Shakespearean scholar and a preacher of rare merit. In the brotherhood of preachers he was styled the “Beloved John.” He died in Philadelphia and the funeral services were held in Covenant Church, Philadelphia, on October 10, 1921. He was buried in the preacher's plot at Mt. Moriah Cemetery.
John Handley, D:D., was regarded as one of the most eloquent men in the New Jersey Conference. Dr. Handley was chaplain in the regular United States Army during the World War and served in France. He was also chaplain to the Second Regiment, National Guard of New Jersey, for ten years. He was appointed district superintendent in the New Jersey Conference where he ably served for three years. He was appointed delegate for three successive General Conferences. As a preacher, he was expository, scholarly and remarkably forceful. Born in New York City, he attended school at Pennington Seminary and later was graduated from Rutgers College. He took a degree of Doctor of Philosophy from New York University. Dickinson College gave him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He died in the Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia on March 26, 1926. Funeral services were held in the First Church of Camden, N.J., the interment being in Greenwood Cemetery at Trenton.
Josephus Leander Sooy was born in Green Bank, N.J., March 1, 1849, and died in Rochester, N.Y., January 27, 1915. He was graduated from Princeton College in the class of 1871. In 1895 his alma mater conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He received his theological training in Drew Seminary. He came to the State Street Church, Trenton, in 1876 and served his full term. He then served churches in Kentucky, New York, and Camden, N.J. He was again pastor of the State Street Church, 1885‑88. He was called again to the State Street Church several years later but declined because the church in Wheeling, where he was then serving, refused to release him. In 1908 he was made superintendent of the Buffalo, N.Y., district and six years later of the Rochester district. Dr. Sooy was an author of repute, Among his works were Bible Talks for Children, Helps for the Devotional Hour, The Apostolic Twelve Before and After Pentecost, and Bibliography of Methodist Literature. He was interested in science, geology being his favorite pastime.
BY THE EDITOR
Charles H. Elder was born in Camden, N.J., March 30, 1855. He came of sturdy American stock, of the plain hard-working sort, a fact of which he was always proud. There were no high schools during the period of his youth, but be spent two years in the highest grade in Camden public schools. He found his vocation in the old Third Street Church, now the First M.E Church of Camden, and became an ardent Christian worker. In preparation for the work of the ministry he took a course of studies at Pennington Seminary. After three years he was forced to discontinue his studies, owing to a nervous breakdown. His interest in the work of the ministry remained unabated and he took a charge at Hamilton Square, N.J., under the district superintendent, the Rev. S. Vansant. He was pastor of Wesley M.E. Church for five years. Afterwards he also served Trinity M.E. Church for eighteen and one-half years until he was appointed chaplain at the New Jersey State Prison where he was serving at the time of his sudden death March 11, 1928. The long residence of Mr. Elder in Trenton and his wide association with the religious and charitable life of the city, particularly his ministry among the fraternal societies and lodges, served to make him a familiar and beloved figure in the community. His unprecedented term of service as a Methodist minister in charge of one and the same congregation for over eighteen years made him the dean and veteran of the Methodist Church in this community. Probably there is no minister in the city now or in the past who in the course of his ministry performed so many marriages or conducted so many funerals. As the Protestant chaplain for the past ten years in the State Prison, be ministered to hundreds of the inmates and won the friendship and gratitude of a host of these unfortunates who after their discharge still continued to keep in personal touch with him and to testify by their altered lives to the permanent value of his devoted Christian services in their behalf.
Mr. Elder's funeral was held in Trinity M.E. Church on Wednesday, March 15, 1928, in the presence of an overflowing congregation, and many warm tributes were paid to his character and work, including one by Maud Ballington Booth of the Volunteers of America.
MOUNT ZION AFRICAN M.E. CHURCH - 1911
135 - 137 PERRY STREET
BY THE REVEREND CHARLES E. WILSON, PASTOR OF MOUNT ZION A.M.E. CHURCH
The Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first colored religious organization of Trenton, had its beginning in a religious soclety known as “The Religious Society of Free Africans of the City of Trenton” and effected its first incorporation February 16, 1811. The trustees making the application were James Berry, Julius Stewards, Leonard Ennis, Sampson Peters and Francis Miller. In 1816, the year of the first and organizing General Conference of the A.M.E. Church, Richard Allen, the founder, organizer and first bishop of the denomination, visited the organization and admitted them into the connection, The congregation for many years was known as the “Mount Zion African Church.” Sampson Peters, one of the original incorporators, was a preacher and became the first regular pastor in 1816 serving until 1819. The first building was erected in 1819 on the plot now occupied by the present building. A reincorporation was effected July 18, 1834, adopting the present name; the trustees were Leonard Scott, William Water, Henry Pearson, George B. Cole, John Treyer, George McMullen and Thomas Voorhees. The building was remodelled in 1858. Eighteen years later, in 1876, under the pastorate of the Rev. John W. Stevenson, the building was torn down and bodies in the old graveyard in the rear of the building were removed to a plot in East Trenton, known afterwards as “Locust Hill Cemetery,” and in the place of the old building the present one was erected at a cost of $10,000. During the pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Stevenson the entire debt was liquidated through the assistance of generous white people, among whom were Mr. Joseph McPherson, a trustee of the State Street M.E. Church, Mr. Chancellor Green, the Rev. Mr. Sooy and the Rev. John Hall, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, who prepared the financial appeal to the public. The congregation owns a parsonage which, with the church building, is free from debt and valued at $80,000. The membership of the church is above five hundred, and the present pastor, the Rev. Chas. E. Wilson, conducts a junior church with a membership of eighty-five. Among the fifty-two pastors serving the church for these one hundred and eleven years, three became bishops of the connection. The longest pastorate was that of the Rev. Solomon Porter Hood (1910 – 16), who afterwards became United States Minister to the Republic of Liberia.
OTHER A.M.E. CONGREGATIONS
There are three other congregations of the A.M.E. connection. St. Paul's Church at Willow and Pennington, and St, Mark's Church on Jefferson Street, and also a small mission. There is also another M.E. church for colored people, known as Asbury, on North Montgomery Street.
A GRAVEYARD FOR COLORED PEOPLE
As early as 1779 there was a small burial place for colored people (slaves) adjacent to land occupied by the Friends' Meeting House at Montgomery and East Hanover Streets.
This cemetery had its inception in the generosity of John Reynolds and Catherine his wife, which is exhibited in a conveyance made by them to Joseph Milnor under date of May 28, 1779, 18 wherein they “reserve twenty feet square of ground on the northeast corner of the . . . lot of land adjoining the land of William Tucker and the Quaker Burying Ground for the use of burying the Negroes that now are or hereafter may belong to the families of William Morris, dec'd, and Mary Derry.”
18 Secretary's Deeds, A‑L, pp. 115, 118.
The aforesaid grant is further confirmed in a deed from Israel Morris (son of William Morris, deceased, and who sold the property to John Reynolds on September 23, 1778) 19 to Joseph Milnor, dated October 5, 1782. 20
19 ibid., A-L, p. 112.
20 ibid., A‑N, p. 97.
In the year 1811 the forerunner of the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Trenton, and it is obvious that that congregation subsequently acquired title to this burial plot above mentioned, together with adjacent lands, for the purpose of establishing a cemetery for the burial of its deceased members, although no deed of such holdings by the church is of record.
However, through a resolution adopted by the Trustees of the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church on the twentieth of March, 1861, Peter Perrine, president of the board of trustees, on the same date conveyed title of the “Burying Ground” to Joseph B. and William S. Yard, which conveyance will be found in the Mercer County Deeds, Volume 50, at page 318. This instrument shows that the graveyard lot had a frontage of 32 feet 4 inches on the north side of Hanover Street, adjacent to the ground of the Society of Friends, with an irregular depth ranging from 156 feet 8 inches to 152 feet 6 inches.
Them appears to have been a little chapel or school house on the premises. While excavating recently for the foundations of the Y.W.C.A. building several skeletons were unearthed.
VI. The Baptists - 1805
BY THE REVEREND JUDSON CONKLIN, FORMERLY PASTOR OF CLINTON AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH
THE Trenton Baptist churches are affiliated with what is known as the Northern Baptist Convention, the other great division of the white Baptists of the country being known as the Southern Baptist Convention. They are associated for purposes of fellowship and service with the New Jersey Baptist State Convention, one of the thirty-eight State Conventions of the Northern Baptist Convention, covering thirty-five States, including the District of Columbia, some of the States having two conventions within their bounds. The four colored Baptist churches of the city are affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, Colored, and are separately classed in the minutes of the State Convention under the name of the Afro-American Churches.
The New Jersey State Convention is divided into nine Associations, and it is with one of these, the Trenton Association, that the ten white Baptist churches of our city are connected.
The first mention of the Baptists in Trenton dates back to the year 1787, when the Rev. Peter Wilson, the pastor of the Baptist Church in Hightstown, began preaching services in the city, or rather village. As a result of Mr. Wilson's occasional visitations, five persons were baptized by him in the Delaware River on the fourth of March, 1788, “when the surrounding ice was so strong,” writes the ancient chronicler of that event, “as to bear a large congregation of spectators.” The work of Mr. Wilson widened and deepened, and the place in which the first services were held, the home of Mrs. Hannah Keen, a mother in Israel familiarly called the “Trenton Deacon,” gave way to a meeting house, which was opened for worship on November 26, 1803. Two years later, on November 9, 1805, the “Trenton and Lamberton Baptist Church” was organized with forty-eight members.
THE FIRST CHURCH - 1805
It was a day of small things. In the whole State, the population of which in 1801 was only 200,000, there were only thirty Baptist churches, the first one having been organized in Middletown in 1688. The Trenton church was the thirtieth. The first pastor was the Rev. William Boswell, who was called and ordained in May 1809. He continued his pastorate until 1823, when, on account of changes in his belief, he was excluded from fellowship and withdrew with sixty of the members and organized another church in the vicinity which was known as the “Reformed General Baptist Church of Bloomsbury, N.J.,” Bloomsbury with Lamberton being then one of the suburbs of Trenton. A building was erected by the church that same year on Union Street, which was afterwards sold and became known as the Second Presbyterian Church of Trenton.
Mr. Boswell continued with the new organization as pastor until his death in 1833. He was an able preacher, popular with the young people and held in high esteem by the other denominations of the city. The Rev. Thomas S. Griffiths, to whom the writer is indebted for many of these facts, states in his History of the Baptists in New Jersey that Mr. Boswell's “mistake was that, instead of saying that his views had changed and quietly resigning, he kept his place, preached heresy.” He had embraced, it would seem, some of the teachings of Swedenborg, “stating his views with increasing boldness, until unendurable by the evangelical element of his bearers and hence they were compelled to act.”
It is a matter of interest to note that Mr. Boswell's salary for one‑half of his time given to the church, at the beginning of his pastorate, was only $350. “His name will ever live,” said Dr. Miller, “as one of the founders of the American Baptist Missionary Union,” now known as the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society.
After Mr. Boswell's exclusion and withdrawal from the First Church, a long succession of pastors followed him down to the present time.
For seven years, from 1823 to 1830, temporary ministrations, or men who gave only half‑time, supplied the pulpit and ministered to the spiritual wants of the members. But in 1830 Morgan J. Rhees, a man of unusual ability, was called to a joint pastorate with the Bordentown church, an arrangement which continued until 1834 when he gave his full time to the Trenton church. He was succeeded, after ten years of most efficient and successful service, by the following pastors:
Luther F. Beecher, 1841‑42; John Young, 1843; Levi G. Beck, 1844‑49; Henry K. Green, 1850‑53; Duncan Dunbar, 1853‑54; Lewis Smith, 1854‑57; O. T. Walker, 1858‑63; D. Henry Miller, 1863‑67; G. W. Lasher, 1868‑72; Elijah Lucas, 1873‑93; M. P. Fikes, 1894‑1900; J. J. Wicker, 1900‑05; Charles J. Keevil, 1906‑08; John Wellington Hoag, 1908-11; W. D. Thatcher, 1912.
The First Church is directly or indirectly the mother church of all the other Baptist churches now in the city.
A tribute should be paid especially to the work of the Rev. Peter Wilson, to whose efforts the founding of the church and the beginning of the Baptist faith here are due. From 1787 to the organization of the church in 1805 he came from Hightstown almost every Month to preach, and after its organization he continued his monthly visits until 1809, when Mr. Boswell was called. Mr. Wilson also preached occasionally at Mt. Holly, Pemberton and Marlton, and at Manasquan, Washington, South River, Penns Neck and Hamilton Square he maintained regular preaching stations. The churches there are largely due to his ministry. Morgan Edwards in his History of New Jersey Baptists, speaking of Peter Wilson, says “he was a man to be wondered at.” His connection with the church lasted twenty‑two years, from 1787 to 1809 - the longest pastorate or semi‑pastorate in the church's history.
From that time until the present, the longest pastorates with the church have been those of the Rev. Elijah Lucas, who served twenty years - from 1873 to 1893 - and of the Rev. William D. Thatcher, the present popular and successful pastor, who has been with the church since October 1912. Mr. Lucas baptized into the fellowship of the church during his long period of service nearly seven hundred and fifty members. Of the eighteen pastors that followed Mr. Wilson, all were men who commanded respect, and some were of distinguished ability. Only four of the pastors of the church are now living: the Rev. M. P. Fikes, the Rev. John J. Wicker, the Rev. J. Wellington Hoag and the Rev. W. D. Thatcher. During Mr. Fike's pastorate, the Rev. S. S. Merriman and the Rev. John C. Killian were assistant pastors.
THE SECOND BAPTIST (CENTRAL) CHURCH – 1843
EAST HANOVER AND NORTH MONTGOMERY STREETS
It was during the short pastorate of the Rev. John Young in 1843 that the second break in the harmony of the First Church was made, a break which, however deplorable at the time, led ultimately to the establishment of another Baptist church in the center of the city, where it was greatly needed. There were two factors which contributed to the bringing about of this break: Mr. Young claimed that it was his right to preside as moderator at all the meetings of the church, while there were members who thought differently and argued that an election should take place at each church meeting as to who should preside. This created a factional spirit in the church, which was increased by the infusion of the reaching of the doctrines of the Campbellite sect into Mr. Young's sermons. The result was that Mr. Young resigned to take effect on August 15, after six months' service, he having been elected to a professorship in a Campbellite college in Virginia. The church accepted his resignation and on the following Sunday he preached a sermon in which his views were more particularly set forth. “This added to the excitement which before existed,” writes Dr. Miller, “and resulted finally in a sad division.”
The Rev. Mr. Young was considered “a fine preacher, a strong thinker and a man peculiarly independent in his views.” He had made many friends outside the church, and when it became known that he had resigned his pastorate in the First Church and was about to leave the city, these friends together with those in the First Church whom he had won to his following persuaded him to remain in Trenton and promised him their support in the organization of another congregation. Mr. Young assented and on the second of September, 1843, 124 members withdrew from the First Church to form the Second Baptist Church. This congregation built an edifice on the site now occupied by the Central Church, on the corner of Hanover and Montgomery Streets, and the new building was dedicated on November 28, the Rev. J. Lansing Burroughs preaching the sermon in the afternoon and the Rev. George B. Ide in the evening.
Mr. Young continued his ministry with the Second Church about two years. After his departure, the three pastors who followed him remained only a short time, the Rev. Joshua Fletcher about we year, his brother the Rev. Leonard L. Fletcher only a few months, and the Rev. Joseph Hammitt from 1849 to 1851. During the ministry of the latter the church became divided in sentiment as to the continued service of Mr. Hammitt and as a result twenty‑six of the members withdrew with him from the church and organized the Trinity Baptist Church, meeting in Temperance Hall. Of the few members left in the Second Church to bear the burdens, some became discouraged and asked for letters of dismissal to their first home, thus weakening by their removal those that remained. An appeal was made to the Baptist State Convention for financial aid in their troubles, which was promised them as soon as they called a pastor. This they seemed unable to do and “then,” says Dr. Miller, “went out the light of hope for the life of the Second Church.”
Fearing that the property of the church would be sold and pass into other hands, the State Convention now entered the field, paid off a floating debt and made needed repairs. A missionary was appointed to the field, the Rev. J. T. Wilcox, in October 1853, and through his earnest and patient labors he was enabled to gather together the scattered remnants of the two churches, the Second and Trinity, which was now about ready to disband, and on the thirtieth of April, 1854, the Central Church was organized with twenty‑nine members, From this small beginning has grown the strong and influential church of that name which now occupies the beautiful, recently remodelled edifice on the site of the original building, the corner of Hanover and Montgomery Streets. When Mr. Wilcox closed his work in Trenton with the Central Church four years later, March 1858, he left behind him a happy and united church of ninety‑three members.
The history of the Central Church from that time to the present has been one of growth in numbers and influence. It has had a long succession of honored pastors from the beginning, up to the time when the Rev. Don Clyde Kite, the present pastor, came to the church in 1915. Between Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Kite there have been nine other pastors. Of these the longest and most fruitful pastorates were them held by the Rev. T. S. Griffiths, 1863 to 1870; the Rev. L. B. Hartman, 1879 to 1891; the Rev. A. W. Wishart, 1895 to 1906; the Rev. Guy L. Brown, 1909 to 1914; and the Rev. Don Clyde Kite, who has been longer with the church than any other. The ministry of the Rev. T. S. Griffiths was fervently missionary and evangelistic, and it was through him that “Elder” Jacob Knapp was brought to Trenton and conducted a six‑weeks evangelistic campaign in the spring of 1867, the result of which was the addition of 136 members by baptism to the church while probably five hundred members in all were added to the churches of the city. Dr. Hartman was with the church twelve years and as a strong preacher and a man of executive ability he did much to strengthen and build up the membership. Mr. Wishart, now the pastor of the widely known Fountain Avenue Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, Mich., wielded a wide influence in the community and was especially popular with men. Mr. Kite has seen the church grow under his leadership and has had the joy of so enlarging and beautifying the church building that it is now held to be me of the finest in the city.
THE CLINTON AVENUE CHURCH -1873
NORTH CLINTON AND LINCOLN AVENUES
It was during the ministry of Mr. Griffiths that several mission enterprises were begun in different sections of Trenton, one of these flowering out into the Clinton Avenue Church. A chapel was built on Perry Street near Southard in 1867, and in 1873 the church was organized with thirty‑five members. The present beautiful edifice was erected in 1876, after the Rev. C. B. Perkins had been ministering to the church as its first pastor since 1873. He resigned in 1878 and four pastors succeeded him: Dr. N. W. Miner, 1878‑81; O. T. Walker, 1883‑85; Judson Conklin, 1885‑1926, and Wayland Zwayer, 1926. Troubles followed the departure of Mr. Perkins. An almost crushing debt weighed down upon the members, and it all probability the building would have been sold by the sheriff if the State Convention board and the Baptist churches of the State had not come to their relief. It is safe to say that no church in New Jersey has ever received so much help from the State Convention as this church. Dr. Miner was permitted by the board members to go up and down through the State soliciting funds for its preservation from the various churches and through their generous response a great part of the burden was lifted. The mortgages and floating debt were reduced to $10,000, and the board then agreed to pay the $500 interest on the mortgage in the way of a grant toward the pastor's salary. This was in 1885.
In 1888, after Mr. D. P. Forst of the Central Church bad left $2,000 to the Clinton Avenue Church in his will on condition that the church raise or secure the balance of $8,000 on the $10,000 mortgage which still remained, the churches again responded to the cry of need and contributed $3,000 in all, thus clearing the Clinton Avenue Church of all indebtedness. Since then, its progress forward has been continuous. From seventy‑five members who could be found on the coming of Mr. Conklin, the membership has grown to eight hundred. The contributions to benevolence have increased from $100 a year to $5,000. Special honor should be paid to Thomas C. Hill, who, at a time of stress, mortgaged his own home in order to save the church from losing its building. In 1898 a commodious chapel was erected at a cost of $12,000 and the interior of the church auditorium was remodelled and a pipe organ was installed.
CALVARY CHURCH - 1874
SOUTH CLINTON AND ROEBLING AVENUES
Shortly after the third Baptist Church in Trenton was organized, under the superintending care of the Central Church, the members of the First Church saw the fruitage of their oversight and missionary zeal in the organization in 1874 Of the fourth Baptist church (Calvary), located at the corner of South Clinton and Roebling Avenues. The Rev. George W. Lasher was the pastor of the First Church when lots were bought and a chapel built, and on September 10, 1874, the church was organized with fifty-four members. Eleven pastors have ministered to its needs since that time, four during the first nine years. Then came the longer pastorate of the Rev. E. J. Foote, from 1883 to 1889. He was succeeded by H. B. Harper, D. S. Mulhern, Dr. J. K. Manning, G. L. Allen, Morris G. Dickinson, and the present pastor, Joseph C. Pierce. Mr. Pierce has brought a strong and wise leadership to the members and the Calvary Church is now one of the strong Baptist churches of the city.
FIFTH BAPTIST CHURCH – 1891 - 1910
CENTRE STREET, NEAR LANDING STREET
Two other churches have come into being under the fostering care of the First Church, the Fifth Church on South Centre Street and the Grace Church in West Trenton, at the corner of West State Street and Hermitage Avenue. It was under the inspiration of Pastor George W. Lasher of the First Church that lots were bought and a chapel was built in the sixth ward, the chapel being dedicated on March 19, 1871. Sunday school devotional meetings were maintained until 1891. Then, during the pastorate of the Rev. Elijah Lucas of the First Church, the Fifth Baptist Church was organized in 1891 with thirty-one members. There were good men called during the next twenty years to its pulpit, but the church languished and at length in 1910 it was voted to consolidate with the mother church by which it had been founded. Forty-five members returned to the fold of the First Church and so the Fifth ceased to be anything more than a memory.
OLIVET CHURCH - 1896
MULBERRY AND OHIO STREETS
From the Clinton Avenue Church, two other churches have sprung: the Olivet Church on Mulberry Street and the Gethsemane Church in Wilbur, the latter occupying now the handsome and commodious auditorium and community building on the corner of Greenwood and Garfield Avenues. The mission from which the Olivet Church has grown was started originally by the Central Church, the chapel there having been built through the generous gift of D. P. Forst. For a time it prospered. This was in 1868. After the chapel was built in 1870, the Central Church under the pastor who succeeded the Rev. T. S. Griffiths abandoned the mission and the Clinton Avenue Church was persuaded by Mr. William Ellis, a member of the Central Church, to take it under its care. A missionary, W. A. Pugsley, was appointed to look after the field, and, as a result of his labors, the Olivet Church was organized in April 1896, with thirty-four members, twenty-six of whom came from the Clinton Avenue Church. The Rev. J. L. Coote became pastor in 1896, and he was succeeded in turn by the Rev. S. V. Whittemore, Dr. W. W. Case, and the Rey. Samuel S. Merriman, formerly the assistant pastor of the First Church.
GRACE CHURCH - 1901
WEST STATE STREET AND HERMITAGE AVENUE
Grace Church has become one of the strongest and most promising churches in Trenton. A Sunday school was started near its present location on April 20, 1897, and on July 10, 1901, the church was organized. Its growth since that time has been almost phenomenal. The first missionary pastor, Mr. Leckliter, was followed by Pastors George W. Price, 1902; John C. Killian, 1906; Harvey W. Chollar, 1911; Charles F. Fields, 1914; and the present pastor, Oscar W. Henderson, 1920. Under his inspiring leadership, the church has built a splendid Bible school house and is now engaged in erecting an equally beautiful building for the church. In missionary offerings the church is a leading one, and two of its members are missionaries on the foreign field, the Rev. F. Carroll Condict in Assam and Dr. Howard Freas in Africa, on the Congo.
GETHSEMANE CHURCH - 1909
GREENWOOD AND GARFIELD AVENUES
The mission in Wilbur, from which the Gethsemane Church has grown was started by the Clinton Avenue Church in 1902. A chapel was built in 1906, costing $6,500, and in 1909 the church was organized. There have been only two pastors, the Rev. Cuthbert P. Newton, who as a student in Peddie Institute had done yeoman service in gathering together the members, and the Rev. P. Vanis Slawter, who succeeded Mr. Newton in 1924. The church has grown to almost eight hundred members and it has built and dedicated its beautiful edifice without calling upon the State Convention or the other churches for aid.
THE HOMECREST CHURCH - 1928
PARKWAY AVENUE AND PROSPECT STREET
This church, the latest of all the Baptist churches of Trenton, is the outcome of a Sunday school started by the Central Church in the offices of the Belle Mead Sweets on Prospect Street on October 30, 1921. The Sunday school was so successful that after the coming of the Rev. George R. Faint it was thought wise to organize a church and this was done on July 19, 1928, with a constituent membership of sixty. The building in which the church is worshipping was purchased of the Perth Amboy Baptist Church and is located on the corner of Parkway Avenue and Prospect Street.
OTHER BAPTIST CHURCHES
There are three other white Baptist churches in the city, the Memorial Church on Chambers Street near South Broad Street, a mission of the Calvary Church; the St. John's Italian Baptist Church on Butler Street; and the Magyar or Hungarian Church on South Clinton Avenue, now occupying the old chapel of the Calvary Church. The Rev. M. P. Fikes, the former pastor of the First Church, is now filling the pulpit of the Memorial Church, but the two foreign-speaking churches are at present pastorless. There are also four colored Baptist churches in Trenton, the Shiloh Church being in charge of the Rev. John A. White as pastor. The total membership of the white Baptist churches of Trenton, as reported in the State Convention minutes, 1926, was 4393; that of the colored churches is not known, only two of the four churches reporting 870. The number reported in all the churches is that only of the communicant members, not of the Baptist adherents, children and others who are members of Baptist households being excepted.
Among the prominent laymen now passed away, who had done much to advance the Baptist cause in Trenton, were Judge James Buchanan, William Vannest, Henry Coleman, D. P. Forst, J. E. Darrah, Daniel J. Freas, Thomas C. Hill, Charles P. Brown, Robert B. Bonney, Charles W. Howell and George W. Warren.
It is fitting that some more extended notice should be paid to those pastors of the Baptist churches of Trenton who were longest with the churches and who did much to bring about their present prosperity. Among these, mention should be made of the Rev. Elijah Lucas of the First Church. He has the distinction of having the longest pastorate in the history of that congregation, twenty years, from 1873 to 1893. Mr. Lucas was regarded in his day as one of the strongest preachers of the city and his influence is still felt in the church and the community.
The second longest pastorate in the history of the First Church is that of the present pastor, Rev. William D. Thatcher, who began his ministry with the church in 1912.
The Rev. Dr. L. B. Hartman, who became the pastor of the Central Church in 1879, continued with the church until 1891. During his stay he built up a strong congregation and greatly endeared himself to the membership. He began his first pastorate in the city of Philadelphia, where he was successful in organizing Grace Church, now known as Grace Temple, of which Dr. Conwell was afterwards the pastor. After Dr. Hartman’s withdrawal from the pastoral relation he continued to live in Trenton and was “a sort of pastor-at-large,” showing a lively interest in his denominational work and in all matters of good citizenship in the city. He died in Trenton on November 22, 1907.
Another pastor of the Central Church, who exercised a wide influence in the city, though his pastorate was one of only ten years, from 1895 to 1905, was the Rev. Alfred W. Wishart, now the pastor of the Fountain Avenue Church of Grand Rapids, Mich. Mr. Wishart was greatly interested in the civic affairs of Trenton and for several years was the editor of the Trenton Times. He is a brilliant preacher and the author of several books.
Though not a pastor of any church in Trenton, the Rev. Daniel Johnson Freas should not be overlooked in this series of brief sketches of the prominent Baptists of the city. Mr. Freas came to Trenton from Woodbury, N.J., where he organized the First Baptist Church and was its pastor for a number of years. After making his residence here in 1876 and uniting with the First Church, he took up the work of a city missionary and for twenty years, until his death in 1898, he was a familiar figure in our city, having the respect of our citizens of every faith. “Father Freas,” as he was affectionately called by many, was greatly beloved by the poor to whom he ministered and his death was deeply deplored by all classes in the community.
BY THE EDITOR
The Rev. Judson Conklin, who in 1926 rounded out a pastorate of forty-one years in the Clinton Avenue Baptist Church, came to this city in 1885. He had built up a strong congregation and had also made himself a prominent figure in church and civic circles. Mr. Conklin is a graduate of New York University, and of the Union Theological Seminary in the class of 1883. On the occasion of his retirement the State Gazette said of him in an editorial: “The Rev. Mr. Conklin’s life in Trenton . . . has been one of glorious achievement even though he lived in a quiet and humble way. His retirement from the active work of the ministry will mean a serious loss for the people of his church, but it will not be a complete loss. The results of the Rev. Mr. Conklin's long labor in Trenton will be permanent in character, and while he continues to live in this city, his life will always serve as an influence for good.”
The congregation of the Clinton Avenue Church on his retirement purchased a house for their pastor, giving him and Mrs. Conklin a life-lease upon it and also in other material ways showed its deep appreciation of Mr. Conklin's character and long services.
VII. The Roman Catholics - 1814
BY JOHN J. CLEARY
AS THE episcopal seat of the Catholic diocese of Trenton, this city occupies a place of dignity and distinction in our religious annals. It is nearly half a century since the diocese of Trenton was created. The Right Rev. Michael J. O'Farrell occupied the see from 1881 to 1894. The Right Rev. James A. McFaul succeeded him for twenty‑three years. Following him came the Right Rev. Thomas J. Walsh, consecrated July 25, 1918. Upon the promotion of Bishop Walsh to the Newark diocese in 1928, the Right Rev. John J. McMahon was appointed to the Trenton see, assuming jurisdiction on May 10 of that year. St. Mary's Church, 1865, originally dedicated for parish purposes January 1, 1871, became in 1881 the diocesan cathedral by choice of Bishop O'Farrell.
It is estimated that the present Catholic population of the city is nearly 50,000, the foreign or bilingual congregations numbering about 30,000.
PREDECESSORS OF THE SACRED HEART‑1814
St. Mary's is not Trenton's oldest parish. That honor belongs to Sacred Heart Church which inherited the history and traditions of St. John's, built in 1848 and destroyed by fire following Sunday evening service, September 30, 1883. St. John's, itself the successor of a little church built in 1814, long served the entire Catholic community from the Five Points and beyond to Riverview. Indeed it drew faithful worshippers every Sunday from the surrounding country as distant as Lawrenceville, Hamilton Square, White Horse, Fallsington (Pa.) and Washington Crossing, many of these devout people travelling afoot. St. John's, built of stuccoed brick, was erected when the Rev. John P. Mackin was the local pastor, the growth of the Catholic population at the time being concurrent on the one hand with the Irish famine of tragic memory and, on the other, with the opening of several large industrial plants here, conspicuous among them the Cooper-Hewitt iron mills. In 1856 it was found necessary to add a wing to the new edifice.
St. John's, as previously stated, was itself the successor of a tiny brick church dating back to 1814, which had been dedicated under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. This was the first Catholic church erected in the State of New Jersey. Occasional services had been held in Trenton before the date named, the record of priestly visitations going back to the last decade of the eighteenth century. The visiting clergy usually came from Philadelphia. Among the places where the faithful gathered for divine service, tradition names the Fox Chase Tavern on Brunswick Avenue and the printing office of Isaac Collins which stood at what is now the southeast corner of State and Broad Streets. Mr. Collins was a Quaker and evidently practised the broad tolerance of his creed. The adherents of the faith at that time were chiefly Irish, French and Germans, who were not only few in number (about thirty families in all), but poor in pocket. An interesting circumstance of the period was the settlement in Trenton of John Baptist Sartori, a Roman consul to the United States, by appointment of the reigning Pope. He arrived here about the year 1800, and selected as the site for his residence what was then the attractive river front at the foot of Federal Street. He erected a spacious frame dwelling and part of it is still standing, having been long ago incorporated into the offices of the New Jersey Steel and Iron Company, later taken over by the American Bridge Company. Mr. Sartori made the visiting missionary fathers of his faith welcome in this riverside mansion, whose doors on Sundays were thrown open to the public for divine services. It will be of interest to copy here one of the distinguished Italian's visiting cards, which is still preserved by his descendants:
IL CONSOLE GENERALE PONTIFICIO
GIOVANNI BATTISTA SARTORI
PRESSO GLI STATI UNITI D’AMERICA
RESIDENTE IN TRENTON, N. J.
Captain John Hargous, formerly of the French navy and evidently a gentleman of means and standing, came to Trenton also in the first decade of the new century. Like Mr. Sartori he viewed with concern the need of some permanent place of worship for his co-religionists here, and the result was that these two gentlemen led in the purchase from the Coxe estate of sufficient ground (120 by 160 feet) at Market and Lamberton Streets for the erection of a church and the laying out of a graveyard alongside, according to a time-honored European custom. It may be well imagined that the dedication of Trenton's first Catholic church, which occurred in 1814, the Right Rev. Michael J. Egan of Philadelphia conducting the ceremony, was an occasion of marked rejoicing among the faithful, but the impression created upon the population of the city generally can be conjectured by the fact that the local press gave the event a bare line or two. The building was of simple and modest design. It had a frontage of fifty feet with a width of thirty feet. An arched ceiling arose twenty feet from the floor. There was a small gallery at the end of the church farthest from the altar. The entrance was on Lamberton Street, being reached by a short flight of wooden steps. It was not until 1830 that the congregation could support a resident pastor. In 1844 Father Mackin succeeded to the pastorate. (For additional details and a list of the names of the priests before Father Mackin, see The Catholic Church of the Diocese of Trenton, by the Rev. Walter J. Leahy, Chapter II. From 1830 to 1844, there were seven successive clergymen in charge.)
The little Lamberton Street church was dedicated June 12, 1814, the only local newspaper mention being this item in the Trenton Federalist of June 6, 1814: “We are given to understand that the Roman Catholic Church lately erected here will be dedicated on Sunday next and Divine service in the forenoon and afternoon.”
Sunday, August 27, 1848, was the date of the dedication of the new St. John's at Broad and Centre Streets, the edifice being crowded for the occasion, indicating that the Catholic population had grown extensively. Although incomplete at the time, services had been held in the new church on Christmas Day, 1847.
The story of Father Mackin's ministrations among the Catholics of Trenton and of extensive rural sections, to which he often drove in the most trying weather to say mass and administer the Sacraments, forms a glowing chapter in local Catholic annals, equal to the choicest among the missionary efforts that witnessed the cradling of the faith in early New Jersey. Finally his health broke about 1859 and for ten years he travelled or was assigned to lighter charges. Early in the ‘70’s he returned amid the loud acclaim of his old parishioners and until 1873, when he died suddenly of heart disease, he moved among the people of Trenton with striking manifestations of esteem and affection. Not only was Father Mackin popular with hit own flock but he was frequently entertained in the homes of the well-to-do of other creeds. Not a few conversions to the faith took place during his pastorate, his beautifully human qualities attracting all comers and, having won their confidence,
“Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway.”
After the breakdown in health of Father Mackin in 1859, Fathers O'Donnell and Young served until 1861 when the Rev. Anthony Smith assumed charge of the parish. His career and labors will be dealt with under the heading of St. Mary's Cathedral, his most conspicuous accomplishment.
THE SACRED HEART - 1889
SUCCESSOR TO ST. JOHN'S 1848
BROAD AND CENTRE STREETS
With the coming of the Rev. Thaddeus Hogan to Trenton in 1878 and the erection a few years later of the Sacred Heart Church on the site of St. John's, which was destroyed by fire, a new era in Catholic affairs in South Trenton was inaugurated. In the interval between Father Mackin's death and Father Hogan's appointment, the Rev. Patrick Byrne had been pastor and had labored with zeal and eloquence. His strong stand for total abstinence was noteworthy and he attained such prominence in the movement that for several years he was president of the national Catholic Total Abstinence Union. As a result, temperance made remarkable progress locally. He also was a champion of education and one of the monuments of his devotion to this cause was St. John's school and parish hall on Lamberton Street, which was opened in 1876-77. The structure, with sixteen classrooms, made it one of the largest and finest schools of its day in southern New Jersey.
The Sacred Heart Church, which was dedicated June 30, 1889, is a massive structure of grey stone in the Roman style of architecture with two dome‑shaped towers in front. The interior is unusually spacious and handsome, the white marble altars being particularly admired. At the north side a rectory of the same general type as the church and on the south side a clubhouse, also massive and imposing, were erected about the same period. The organization of a home within which Catholic gentlemen should be moulded according to the most approved standards, was dear to the heart of Father Hogan and he achieved his ambition so successfully that the Catholic Club became for years a center of literary and musical activity as well as of physical culture, embracing every form of clean sport. Within its walls eminent speakers, celebrated singers and athletes of national reputation often made their appearance. The audiences were recruited not alone from the parish but from all parts of the city and from all denominations.
Two incidents of the first magnitude crowned Father Hogan's career. Upon motion of Bishop McFaul, he was elevated by the Holy See to the dignity of Monsignor and the ceremonies marking his induction gave occasion for an outpouring of religious and civic rejoicing. Then came the observance of his golden jubilee in the priesthood which also evoked an outburst of affectionate interest, including a lay celebration and an elaborate program of ecclesiastical events. A man of handsome presence, of splendid intellect, and of a deeply spiritual nature, a powerful preacher and an enthusiastic exponent of the rights of Ireland, he passed away amid general community grief in 1918.
The Rev. Peter J. Hart, pastor following Monsignor Hogan's death, built an excellent modern school and a sisters' convent of grey stone on Broad Street above the Sacred Heart Church and otherwise manifested the qualities of progressive leadership. Father Hart having been transferred to St. Peter's Church, New Brunswick, the Rev. John H. Sheedy succeeded to the pastorate of the Sacred Heart Church here, in 1928,
ST. FRANCIS’ CHURCH - 1851
WEST FRONT STREET
The progress of the Catholic body for the first half of the century was not without untoward incidents. A small mortgage remaining on the original church, St. John the Baptist, built in 1814, was found to be burdensome and the sheriff finally intervened; interest in the proposed removal to the new St. John's at Broad and Centre Streets had doubtless dulled the feeling o the parishioners with respect to the old property. However, after several transfers of title, Peter A. Hargous, then of New York (a son of Captain John Hargous), paid off all encumbrances amounting to about $500 and in 1851 had the property regularly vested in the name of the Right Rev. James R. Bayley, bishop of Newark, which diocese then included Trenton. Mr. Hargous’ action enabled the creation of a separate parish for the German Catholics of Trenton, their numbers having grown sufficiently to warrant this step. The Rev. John Gmeiner was the first German pastor (1853) and he soon added to the land in the rear of the church where in 1856 he erected a school. Meanwhile, the name “St. John the Baptist” having been appropriated by the new church at Broad and Centre Streets, the original church under the Germans became known as “St. Francis of Assisi.” Other pastors succeeded and the Germans outgrowing their tiny quarters looked about for a larger edifice. The Rev. William Storr led the movement which resulted in the purchase in 1865 of the former Methodist Church on West Front Street for $11,000. The original little church at Lamberton and Market Streets gradually fell into decay and was razed in the early ‘80’s to make way for dwellings. Previously it was for a time used as a St. John's school annex.
The Rev. Francis Gerber, D.D., succeeded Father Storr and in 1867 built the priests’ house adjoining the church on Front Street. He improved the church itself by alterations, including a graceful set of towers. A parish school was also opened in the rear of the church, The Rev. Peter Jachetti (1870-74) was the next pastor, of whom more below. The Rev. Avellino Szabo then served as pastor for eight years (1874-82), with the Rev. Conrad Elison (1882-83) and the Rev. Joseph Thurnes in turn succeeding. Upon the death of the latter in 1902, the Rev. Joseph Rathner, D.D., entered upon a popular pastorate that continued until his tragic death while gunning in 1926. The Rev. Bartholomew B. Doyle, Dr. Rathner's assistant, administered parish affairs, pending the appointment of a permanent pastor.
ST. MARY'S CATHEDRAL CHURCH - 1865
WARREN AND BANK STREETS
When the Rev. Anthony Smith assumed the pastorate of St. John’s Church, some time after Father Mackin had to vacate because of ill-health, the city generally gained a far-visioned, energetic churchman and citizen who for many years was a stimulating influence for religious and secular advancement. He came here in 1861 with a reputation for the courageous inauguration of large building enterprises, A mere listing of what he accomplished here for the extension of religion and the promotion of civic enterprises would be eloquent of his capacity, his indefatigable spirit, his unusual foresight. Almost immediately on his arrival he purchased an asylum on South Broad Street, particularly for orphans of Civil War soldiers, at the same time introducing the Sisters of Charity to care for the forlorn and to teach in the parish schools.
As the years went on, one important work after another was taken up and pushed to a successful conclusion. The story of this tireless, devoted priest’s work is graphically told in the Right Rev. John H. Fox’s A Century of Catholicity in Trenton (1899) and it may only be briefly summarized here. It soon dawned on Father Smith, as he travelled afoot over the great stretches of his parish, that a new church north of the Assunpink was a necessity of the immediate future. In 1865 he purchased the ground an which St. Mary’s Cathedral stands, at Warren and Bank Streets. It was the geographical center of an area that is today most thickly populated, but in addition the site is valuable beyond price for its historic associations. Here the Battle of Trenton of glorious memory was waged with hottest fire and the position of the property covered today by the cathedral rectory was occupied by the Stacy Potts house where Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall, the Hessian commander, made his headquarters and where, after being mortally wounded, he received the sympathetic visit of General Washington and a little later breathed his last.
Ground was broken for St. Mary's April 23, 1866, and so formidable was Father Smith’s noble design and so inadequate the means of his people at that period, that the work proceeded slowly. Parishioners contributed much of the labor; at the sight of Father Smith himself in the midst of excavating and construction, there was no resisting his enthusiasm.
With solemn ceremonies this really beautiful Gothic temple, adorned with sacred frescoes and enriched with a white marble altar, was finally dedicated January 1, 1871, and coincidentally Father Smith was transferred from St. John’s to the pastorate of St. Mary’s. A parish school, a sisters’ convent, a rectory, a parish cemetery, the building of a combination school and chapel for East Trenton (now St. Joseph’s), the starting of a needed church for Hopewell, the raising of a spire 256 feet high over the cathedral in 1878 - these achievements are to the credit of one who by universal assent towered among the ablest New Jersey clergymen of his day. When the diocese of Trenton was created in 1881, its first bishop selected St. Mary’s for his ecclesiastical seat, and Father Smith became his vicar-general, an office he administered, apart from his pastoral duties, so as to endear himself alike to his spiritual superiors and the priests of the diocese. In the well-chosen yet modest phrasing of Monsignor Fox: “When Father Smith died August 11, 1888, he was mourned not alone by his own people for whom he labored so well for more than twenty-seven years, but by the public generally who recognized in him a faithful servant of God and an eminently good citizen.”
Following Father Smith’s death, St. Mary’s affairs were temporarily administered by the Rev. J. Joseph Smith and the Rev. John McCloskey up to October 1890, when the Rev. James A. McFaul was appointed pastor. Father McFaul had been a curate under Father Smith eleven years previously and he was destined to further honors at the cathedral as time went on. He was appointed vicar-general to Bishop O’Farrell, November 1, 1892, and upon the bishop’s death he was made administrator of the diocese, succeeding to the episcopate three months later. Bishop McFaul continued also as rector until February 1, 1895, when he appointed to that office the Rev. John H. Fox, LL.D.
During the several pastorates, just named, temperance societies for men and women were organized, a new organ was installed, the standard of studies in the parish schools was improved, a handsome convent for the teaching sisters was erected at Warren and Bank Streets, an unusually fine parish hall and gymnasium were built on Bank Street and various important renovations were effected in the cathedral. The various cathedral properties represent a valuation of close to a million dollars. The Right Rev. Monsignor Fox - he was made a domestic prelate of the Holy See in 1904 and had been appointed vicar-general by Bishop McFaul four years previously - has repeatedly received testimonials from his parishioners and the public generally, attesting the success of his spiritual work in Trenton. These testimonials have taken the form of great gatherings in the principal halls of the city with highly complimentary addresses, and in various other expressions of popular approval.
THE CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - 1875
Among the rectors who administered successfully at St. Francis' Church on Front Street special mention should be made of the Rev. Peter Jachetti, O.M.C., who, noting the growth of the Catholic population, notably Germans and Italians, beyond the canal, set to work to create a new parish with the consent of his spiritual superiors. The Convent of St. Francis (1874), O.M.C., and the modest frame Lady of Lourdes Chapel on Chestnut Avenue (1875) were the results, the latter being succeeded by the present spacious and imposing Gothic Church of the Immaculate Conception (1890), wherein representatives of all nationalities have been served by the Franciscan order. This church is one of a group of parish buildings, including rectory, grammar and high school and a general auditorium, all of fine architectural proportions, thoroughly equipped and covering a valuable city block. The Revs. Anselm Auling, Francis Lehner, Bonaventure Zoller, Bernardine Ludwig, Peter Shardun and Alphonse Lehrscholl served in turn as pastor. The Very Rev. Austin Fox, O.M.C., is the present rector, the parish enjoying an era of prosperity under his management. Father Peter Jachetti died in his native province in Italy in 1921.
ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH - 1893
NORTH OLDEN AVENUE
St. Joseph's Church, which had been served from St. Mary's up to April 1893, with the Rev. James A. McFaul as first pastor, was then made an independent center, and the Rev. John H. Fox was appointed as its first resident pastor. Located in East Trenton, the pottery district, this parish has had its ups and downs due to industrial conditions. When Father Fox was promoted to the rectorship of the cathedral in 1895, the Rev. Bernard J. O'Connell and the Rev. Michael O'Reilly were named to St. Joseph's consecutively, and on September 8, 1898, came the Rev. Henry A. Ward. A handsome church of grey stone with bell tower graces St. Joe's Avenue at Olden Avenue in evidence of his devotion, zeal and progressive spirit. The rectory, a three-story edifice of Stockton granite with Indiana limestone trimmings, is also a creditable structure while the parish school in close proximity, which was erected about 1891, has been brought up to every modern demand. Father Ward has completed over thirty years of intelligent supervision of this portion of the Lord's vineyard, and has by his broad public-spirited views earned the warm regard of all concerned with the advancement of East Trenton.
THE BLESSED SACRAMENT CHURCH - 1912
BELLEVUE AND HERMITAGE AVENITES
The Blessed Sacrament parish, which was created in 1912, has experienced a marvellous development, owing largely to the sudden growth of Catholic population, following the general residential trend towards the West End. A valuable and well-located property at the corner of Bellevue and Hermitage Avenues, purchased 1911, embraces the rectory and a well-constructed three-story stone building combining church and school, with accommodations also for the teaching sisters. The original church, which was of limited size and would soon have had to go anyway, was burned down a few years ago and the site which runs along Hermitage Avenue from Bellevue back to Rutherford, will before a great while accommodate a stately new edifice for divine worship, The Rev. Michael H. Callahan was the first pastor and was succeeded by the Rev. Martin F. Casey (1914), upon whose shoulders most of the building responsibilities have fallen. Father Casey is an indefatigable worker and under his care the parish has prospered spiritually and in its temporalities. He has added to the real estate holdings, which now run six hundred feet on Bellevue Avenue, three hundred feet on Rutherford Avenue, and two hundred and fifty feet on Hermitage Avenue.
ST. ANTHONY'S CHURCH - 1921
OLDEN NEAR HAMILTON AVENUE
St. Anthony's Church on Olden Avenue immediately below Hamilton Avenue, represents the desire to meet church needs in the extreme eastern section. The parish, established in 1921, has grown by leaps and bounds, so that the original sacred edifice now accommodates the faithful only by five successive services each Sunday morning. Overflow congregations attend the various other church gatherings. There is ground for a much larger church, which doubtless will be constructed in the near future. A handsome two-story school in light stone, a sisters' convent and a priests' house, all substantially built, are already provided. The entire property has a frontage of 425 feet with a depth of 275 feet and is now the center of a fast-growing district which within easy memory was fields and commons.
The Very Rev. Alphonse Lehrscholl, O.M.C., was the first pastor and the Very Rev. Sylvester Albaus, O.M.C., is now in charge, and doing fine work. The parish contains 2,800 souls and the school 660 pupils, at the present writing.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY ANGELS - 1927
SOUTH BROAD NEAR CEDAR LANE
The new Church of the Holy Angels, located on South Broad Street near Cedar Lane, marks the progress of religious effort in the extreme southern section of the city. It was opened for service at the midnight mass, Christmas, 1927, and was dedicated a few months later. There is seating capacity for seven hundred and fifty people. The exterior is of granite, of stately proportions, while the interior is of the early renaissance style. It was erected at a cost of $100,000, succeeding a combination church and chapel opened in 1921. The Rev. John F. Walsh is the progressive pastor and the church is a monument to his spiritual zeal and administrative capacity. He is an eloquent preacher, and his record as a war chaplain overseas was such as to make him exceedingly popular with all classes of our citizens.
OTHER CHURCHES (FOREIGN-SPEAKING PEOPLES)
There are in Trenton today eight English-speaking Catholic churches and eleven in which the congregations are addressed bilingually. Among those of the latter class are several of notable size and in which beautiful edifices serve the purposes of religion. St. Hedwig’s (Polish), of which the Right Rev. A. B. Strenski is pastor, is located at Brunswick and Olden Avenues and includes an imposing stone church of fine architectural proportions, together with a parish school with over a thousand pupils. St. Mary’s (Greek), at Malone and Grand Streets, also has a fine church building dedicated in 1893, and a large school. The Rev. Desider Simkow is the pastor. Following are the other bilingual congregations:
Holy Cross (Polish), Cass and Adeline Streets, originally erected in 1891 but since enlarged. Pastor, the Rev. Martin J. Lipinski; school, 900 pupils,
St. Basil’s (Roumanian), Adeline and Beatty Streets (1910). Pastor, the Rev. Aural Bungardenn.
St. James’, Paul Avenue. Pastor, the Rev. Joseph Monacho, with a school attended by 350 pupils.
St. Joachim's (Italian), Butler Street (1901). Pastor, the Rev. Alphonse Palonbi; school, 810 pupils. The Right Rev. Aloysius Pozzi, former pastor,
built the church and school.
St. Michael the Archangel (Slovak), Brunswick Avenue and Pine Street, Pastor, the Rev. Michael J. Kallok.
St. Nicholas Greek Catholic (Hungarian), Adeline and Hudson Streets. Pastor, the Rev. Gabriel Chopen.
St Peter and St. Paul (Slavish), Second Street (1899). An unusually handsome stone church has recently been erected, and the school with 650 pupils is also strictly modern. Pastor, the Rev. Colonan Tomchany.
St. Stanislaus (Polish), 60 Randall Avenue, dedicated in 1892. Pastor, the Rev. Ignatius Kusz, O.M.C. There is also a school for Polish children.
St. Stephen's (Hungarian), 210 Genesee Street, (1903). Pastor, the Rev. John Szabo, D.D. A school is also maintained.
Michael J. O'Farrell, first bishop of the diocese of Trenton, was born in Limerick, Ireland, December 2, 1832, and was educated at All Hallows College, Ireland, and at St. Sulpice in Paris. Joining the Sulpitians, he taught Dogmatic Theology in the Grand Seminary at Montreal, but his health failed and he engaged in missionary service in the United States, subsequently performing pastoral work in New York City, notably in old St. Peter's Church, Barclay Street. He was consecrated bishop of Trenton November 1, 1881. His was the task of organizing a new diocese, comprising the southern tier of New Jersey counties, and to the task he brought zeal, piety and kindly manners which won him friends everywhere. A great scholar, especially erudite in Irish history, he assembled about him in the episcopal residence an immense and varied collection of books, constituting possibly the finest private library of its kind in the city. A champion of education, he conducted a campaign of school building. Many churches here were erected through his care. He was an eloquent speaker in the pulpit and on the lyceum platform and was constantly in demand. It was the irony of fate that so gentle and winning a personality should have to deal with rebellious priests on several occasions, one of them the result of disordered intellect, but he was fully sustained in all his rulings. He passed away April 2, 1894, after only thirteen years in the episcopate, and is buried at St. Michael's Home for Orphans, Hopewell, one of the most useful of the diocesan institutions, which he himself had endowed to the extent of $25,000.
James A. McFaul, second bishop of Trenton, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, June 6, 1850, and was brought to this country as an infant by his parents who settled temporarily in New York City; afterwards, at Bound Brook, N.J., where as a youth he displayed brilliancy of mind and unusual powers of application in his studies. Later, he attended St. Vincent's College in Westmoreland County, Pa., for four years and finished his collegiate course at St. Francis Xavier's College, New York City. After a theological course at Seton Hall Seminary, South Orange, N.J., he was ordained to the priesthood, May 26, 1877. After various assignments in North Jersey, he became assistant to Vicar-General Anthony Smith, at St. Mary's, Trenton. In 1884 he was made pastor at Long Branch; in October 1890, Vicar-General Smith having died, he was returned to St. Mary's, Trenton, as pastor. On November 1, 1892, Bishop O'Farrell made him vicar-general of the diocese, having previously served as chancellor. Upon Bishop O'Farrell's death in April 1894, he succeeded to the see of Trenton, October 18, 1894.
Bishop McFaul proved an administrator of masterful traits; plain in speech and manners, he was charitable to a degree and was noted for his rich fund of Irish humor. He carried on the episcopate with ability and vigor and manifested a great capacity for work. The diocese felt the spur of his ceaseless activities and prospered both in spiritual life and in temporalities. He thought, labored and lived for his priests and people. He was also proud of the historic city which formed his see, and his public addresses often glowed with patriotic enthusiasm. He was earnest to the point of aggressiveness in defense of religion and never shirked a battle in the press or forum. A number of scholarly pastoral letters emanated from his pen. He was one of the organizers and most eloquent promoters of the American Federation of Catholic Societies, which is still in power in its reorganized form as the National Welfare Society. He showed his love for the helpless and unfortunate by the institutions he erected for the aged and orphans, including St. Michael's Children's Home at Hopewell and Morris Hall at Lawrenceville, at the latter of which he is entombed. When he passed away June 16, 1917, a giant in intellect, courage and spirituality was lost to the Church which he had loved with all the depth of a great nature.
Thomas Joseph Walsh, third bishop of Trenton, was born at Parker's Landing, Butler County, Pa., December 6, 1873, the son of Thomas and Helen (Curtin) Walsh. He was educated at the college and theological seminary of St. Bonaventure, Allegheny, N.Y., and at the University of St. Appollinaris, the Pontifical Roman Seminary, Italy, from which he received the degrees of D.D. and D.C.L. In 1913 he received an I.L.D. from St. Bonaventure's. He was ordained to the priesthood by the Right Rev. James E. Quigley in Buffalo, January 27, 1900. He was appointed third assistant rector of St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, January to June 1900; private secretary to Bishops Quigley and Colton 1900‑15; chancellor of the diocese; rector of St. Joseph's old cathedral, 1915‑18; and reappointed chancellor of the diocese upon the installation of Bishop Dougherty, 1916-18. He was consecrated bishop of Trenton, N.J., July 25, 1918. Both in Buffalo and since he was elevated to the episcopate here, he has been distinguished for his special interest in the bilingual peoples under his care. With a particular view to the promotion of religion and good citizenship among the Italians who constitute a considerable fraction of the Catholic population in all the larger communities of his diocese, Bishop Walsh has established in the suburbs of Trenton the Villa Victoria, Pontifical Institute of Religious Teachers, comprising mother-house, novitiate and normal school. The benevolence of James Brady of New York provided the funds for this purpose, and the same gentleman at his death left a generous endowment. Recent figures give the number of sisters in the community at 38; novices, 20; postulants, 18; and candidates, 12. The general purpose is to enroll young women of this country of Italian extraction who will be thoroughly educated according to American methods and who, speaking both languages, will be the better able to make good Americans and well informed Catholics of the young people of their race who otherwise would grow up in more or less of a foreign atmosphere. English will be the language of all these Italo‑American schools. Arrangements have been made to erect at Villa Victoria several additional buildings to carry out the scope of this great educational work.
Bishop Walsh is a man of progressive ideas, intensely devoted to American institutions, possessing executive qualities of a high order, personally affable and simple in his tastes, earnest and energetic in religious and civic affairs, and just now in the full flower of vigorous manhood. He was consecrated bishop of Newark in May 1928.
The Right Rev. John J. McMahon, D.D., LL.D., fourth bishop of the diocese of Trenton, N.J., was born at Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, N.Y., September 27, 1875. His early education was received at the Belfast (N.Y.) Seminary and Union High School, where he graduated at the head of his class in 1893. He received the degree of B.A. at St. Bonaventure's College, Allegheny, N.Y., and completed his theological studies at Rome, Italy, where he was ordained May 20, 1900. By appointment of Bishop Quigley of Buffalo he served as assistant priest in Jamestown and Buffalo, and was acting pastor in New Fane, N.Y. He administered the affairs of other parishes. Later Father McMahon was appointed to the office of assistant diocesan superintendent of schools. He established the parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Buffalo, being the first American priest to exercise jurisdiction over an Italian parish in Buffalo diocese. The parish contained 12,000 souls, three Italian priests serving as his assistants. The school with an enormous attendance was his special care. In 1908 he was commissioned to establish St. Mark's parish, Buffalo, which started with 32 families and now has 1,684 souls. The church, school and rectory cost $750,000 with only $96,000 debt remaining. As director of the Holy Name Society of the diocese he raised the adult membership to 51,000 men, with 24,000 junior members. He also performed many assignments of an episcopal nature up to March 7, 1928, when he was elevated by Pope Pius XI to the bishopric at Trenton. He was given a Doctor of Laws degree at St. Bonaventure's College in 1919. He was consecrated on Thursday, April 26, 1928, in St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, and installed in St. Mary's Cathedral, Trenton, May 10, 1928.
Thaddeus Hogan, Right Rev. Monsignor, was born in County Limerick, Ireland, May 17, 1843. After preliminary studies in local schools he made his theological course at All Hallows and was ordained June 29, 1865, having barely reached the appointed age. Fired with missionary zeal he went to Australia, a virgin country, to labor for religion, but after three years his shattered health compelled a return to Europe. After various assignments in Dublin diocese, he came to the United States and in 1871 was sent to East Newark as pastor. Seven years later his assignment to Trenton occurred, and for two score years thereafter he wrote his name in splendid achievements which are summed up elsewhere in this chapter.
John H. Fox, Right Rev. Monsignor, vicar-general of the diocese of Trenton, was born July 7, 1858, in New Brunswick. After a collegiate and theological course at Seton Hall, South Orange, N.J., he was ordained June 7, 1858. When the diocese of Trenton was created, Father Fox was serving in the northern Counties, but at the request of Bishop O'Farrell he entered the more sparsely settled section of the State and ever since has been an outstanding figure. His first pastoral assignment was at Sea Bright, where after a struggle of some years he found a site and erected the first Catholic church in that fashionable resort. He also bought land and put up churches at Highlands and Atlantic Highlands. On April 23, 1893, Bishop O'Farrell appointed him pastor of St. Joseph's Church, East Trenton, where he labored assiduously despite a labor panic that prostrated industries in that industrial section. About the time the lowering clouds began to lift, he was called to the pastorate of St. Mary's Cathedral, February 1, 1895. The marvellous success of his pastorate here and the various ecclesiastical honors which have come to him in recognition of his labors have been referred to in the sketch of St. Mary's in this same chapter.
Monsignor Fox died Christmas Day, 1928.
The visit of the Most Rev. Francis Satolli to Trenton, June 5 to 12, 1893, was an occasion of splendid note. Cardinal Satolli was the first apostolic delegate to the United States from Rome, the American Delegation having been established at Washington, D.C., on January 24 of that year. On his arrival here on a Saturday evening, he was met at Clinton Street station by a huge procession of Catholic societies, several bands participating, and was escorted en fete to the episcopal residence. Next day, Sunday, he presided at brilliant ceremonies in the cathedral and the Sacred Heart Church and a reception, largely attended by the public generally, was given in his honor at the Catholic Club the same evening.
The explanation of Trenton's having the first Catholic church in New Jersey, antedating such important places as Jersey City and Newark, is that the Catholics of the northern section of the State were long accustomed to go to old St. Peter's Church, New York City, for worship,
See the Catholic Encyclopaedia (fifteen volumes, Robert Appleton Company, 1907) under the headings “New Jersey” and “Diocese of Newark” (to which see Trenton formerly belonged). Under “New Jersey” (p. 792) we read: “St. John's parish at Trenton, now the parish of the Sacred Heart, was the first parish established in New Jersey (1799).” Under “The Diocese of Newark” (p. 780) mention is made of Trenton's first Catholic church (1814) and we learn that Newark’s first church was opened in 1828; Jersey City's in 1837.
An unusual function having both a sacred and a civil character took place at St. John's Church April 30, 1861, when the Rev. Alfred Young, a Princeton graduate and a convert, was the local pastor. Despite the divided feeling in New Jersey over the war he held a large meeting in the church, displayed an American flag in front of the altar, blessed it with elaborate ceremony, led in the singing of the "Star‑Spangled Banner," and then had the stars and stripes raised to the steeple where it floated amid the rolling of drums, the ringing of the church bell and a salute from the commands of Captains Yard and Stafford of Camp Perrine. The Hon. Charles Skelton, the Hon. Andrew Dutcher and the Hon. David Naar delivered patriotic speeches.
The Rev. John P. Mackin is said, besides his herculean labors in Trenton, to have for a time attended to the spiritual needs of Lambertville, Princeton, Bordentown, Burlington and Bristol, in some of which he erected churches. At his funeral services in St. John's Church in 1873, such was Father Mackin's popularity that the edifice was packed with people including many non-Catholics, and a panic ensued upon a cry that the gallery was falling. As a matter of fact a kneeling‑bench had been broken. In the rush from the church, numbers were crushed under foot and several jumped from the windows. The wildest excitement prevailed, the fire department hurried to the scene and all the available doctors in town were summoned. A dozen or more persons were injured, some of them seriously, but only one death resulted, that of Bridget Clark, seventy-five years old. The requiem ceremonies proceeded when quiet was restored. The writer, as an altar boy, witnessed the tragic incident.
St. Francis' Church on East Front Street is the oldest Catholic edifice in the city, although not the oldest church organization. It has been in constant use as a Catholic house of worship since 1866.
Peter P. Cantwell was the first male teacher in Trenton's parochial schools; a native of Ireland, he began teaching in old St. John's in the early '6o's. The late Right Rev. Monsignor William P. Cantwell and the late Dr. Frank V. Cantwell were his sons.
John D. McCormick, editor of the Potter's Journal and a Catholic local historian, performed a signal service by researches which gave due prominence to John Tatham, New Jersey's "Missing Governor" (1690-97). Having been a Jacobite, Mr. McCormick surmised that Tatham was of the Catholic faith. Mr. McCormick’s sketch of the "Missing Govermor's" career appears in full as Appendix H in Smith's History of New Jersey, Sharp's reprint (1890 edition), which may be found in the State Library. Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, since Mr. McCormick’s discovery, has carried John Tatham's name in its list of governors of East Jersey.
Patrick McCaffrey, M.D., was Trenton's first resident Catholic physician, practising here from the early '50's to 1871. Three of his daughters attained high rank in the Sisters of Mercy whose mother-house is near Pittsburgh, Pa., and a fourth daughter, Anna, was church organist and among the earliest teachers (1854) in St. John's school. Dr. McCaffrey died in 1890 in his eighty-ninth year.
John B. Sartori, one of the benefactors of the early church here, as mentioned in the allusion in this chapter to the original St. John the Baptist Church, was not only pontifical consul to this country but also is mentioned in the secular histories as a manufacturer of calico and again of macaroni near his home at the foot of Federal Street. His career was invested with various romantic details, including his friendly association with the distinguished colony of European refugees, settled in and around Trenton in the early years of the nineteenth century, such as the former King of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte, and General John Victor Moreau, the latter of whom built a home at Morrisville in 1805. It is said that Bonaparte was godfather to one of Sartori's fourteen children, while Madame Moreau was godmother to another. The Sartori offspring played prominent parts in the commercial and social life of New York, Philadelphia and other cities, but none remained in Trenton. Madame Sartori whom he married in 1804, at Lamberton, Father Stafford, O.S.A. of Philadelphia, officiating, was descended from a noble family of Brittany, which had a checkered career. Her father went to Santo Domingo on a royal mission and there Henriette, de Woofoin (Mrs. Sartori) was born in 1787. At the outbreak of the French Revolution the family fled to this country and settled at Lamberton below Trenton. They for a time occupied historic Bloomsbury. The history of the de Woofoins runs the gamut of high station, persecution and assassination, details of which it is unnecessary to relate in this place. Nor can we follow the Sartoris further than to say that John B., sometimes referred to as "the lay founder of the Catholic Church in Trenton," afflicted by the death of his wife, aged forty-two, following the birth of twins, returned to his native home in Leghorn, Italy, where he eventually died at the age of ninety-eight.
Captain John Hargous, associated with John B. Sartori in the promotion of Trenton's first Catholic church, had served in the French navy and while cruising in the vicinity of Martinique, which echoed with the tumult of the French Revolution, was able to rescue from mob fury a Madame Boisson with her son and daughter, and eventually all found a refuge in the United States, the adventure ending in Captain Hargous' marriage to Miss Boisson. They apparently were among the hunted royalists of France who found security and peace in Trenton. Thus the Sartori and Hargous families, being of the same faith, became intimate. A son was born to the Hargous in 1800 and in time Peter A. Hargous and Eugenie Victorine, Sartori's marriage cemented the family friendship. This younger Hargous later became prominent in New York as a commission merchant and shipowner and there developed a warm intimacy between him and Archbishop Hughes of the metropolis. It was he who in 1851 saved the little church at Lamberton and Market Streets from the sheriff. A cousin, Louis, became a professor of French at Princeton. Peter A. had one sister, Marie Melicie, who never married and lived her life out in Trenton, a devout and generous member of St. Mary's parish. Before the development of building operations on North Clinton Avenue, members of the Hargous family established themselves in a beautiful property on that street (then called the Millham Road), which ran back to the Assunpink and included terraced lawns to the water front, wel-kept gardens, orchards famed for their fruit and a home where generous hospitality was dispensed to the best local society of the period. As part of the old Sartori home still remains in the American Bridge Company's office building on Federal Street, so the Hargous home can still, though with difficulty, be traced in a pair of frame tenements on Seward Avenue. Another relic of this interesting family is found in the bell-tower of the Sacred Heart Church. The bell which has been in use there for nearly three-quarters of a century bears the names of Louis and M. M. Hargous as donors (1857).
The first Catholic graveyard in the city was opened in connection with the first church at Lamberton and Market Streets. Later, burials were made in a plot on Lamberton Street below Bridge, where St. John's schools were afterwards erected. Both of these cemeteries were in time abandoned and the bodies of the pioneers buried therein were removed to St. John's, St. Mary's, Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Francis' cemeteries.
St. John's Cemetery, on Lalor Street at the southerly end of Chestnut Avenue, was acquired by the Right Rev. James R. Bayley, bishop of Newark, November 17, 1859, the purchase having been previously negotiated from William I. Shreve to John Cahill and wife, and title was passed October 17, 1864, from Bishop Bayley to the church of St. John the Baptist. The original plot contained eight acres and burials probably began early in the '6o's. Many of the early Catholic settlers of the city are interred there, not a few having been transferred from the older graveyards. The Rev. John P. Mackin, the Right Rev. Monsignor Thaddeus Hogan and a number of clergymen, who had been raised in the parish, are among those whose dust reposes in St. John's Cemetery. It is the oldest Catholic cemetery in Trenton.
St. Mary's Cemetery, located on Olden Avenue south of Liberty Street, consists of nearly thirty-three acres, about fourteen acres of which were purchased from Joseph W. Elberson November 1, 1872, about ten acres of Nathan Wright March 26, 1886, and ten acres from Abner C. Mitchell in 1922. Its most historic monument is a mausoleum of the Hargous family, early benefactors of the Catholic Church in this city.
St. Francis' Cemetery, at Washington and Emory Avenues, is the last resting place of numerous of the early German Catholics of the city. It was dedicated with elaborate ceremonies October 9, 1870.
Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery is On Cedar Lane, between Olden Avenue and Chambers Street.
St. Peter and St. Paul Cemetery is also located on Cedar Lane.
VIII. The Lutherans - 1849
THE first Lutheran congregation to come into existence in Trenton was that of 1849, which is to be identified with the present German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church on South Broad Street.
A history of this congregation was prepared by the Rev. Hugo R. Wendel, pastor of the church since 1896, on the occasion of its golden jubilee, observed January 3, 1899. The manuscript of this history, translated by Miss Thekla Hill, is on file in the Free Public Library. The account here given is an abridgment of that record.
GERMAN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN TRINITY CHURCH - 1849
SOUTH BROAD STREET
It was, according to the account given by Pastor Wendel, due to the interest of the Rev. Dr. John Hall, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, that an impetus was given to the formation of a German Lutheran church in Trenton. On page 260 of Hall's History of the Presbyterian Church in Trenton, second edition 1912, there is a paragraph referring to this subject.
To 1845 Mr. Hall, finding many German families of the Lutheran faith who attended no church, many of them unable to understand
English, wrote to the Rev. Dr. Demme of Philadelphia, suggesting a visit from him to explore, or the sending of a missionary. In 1848
services were held in the First Church lecture-room by German missionaries, and the work thus begun resulted in the organization
of the German Lutheran Church.
In 1849 the Rev. Charles Augustus Brandt came to Trenton and organized a German-speaking congregation, to which was given the title "St. John's Congregation of the Augsburg Confession of Trenton and South Trenton." The first services, 1849, were held in a room of the City Hall and afterwards in Scott's Hall opposite.
The first council, besides the pastor, included Christian Frederich Schneider, Wilhelm Scroth, Daniel Fell, Wilhelm Lauber, Daniel King, Christian Kaefer and George Burchardt. A Sunday school was also organized the same year. In 1850 Pastor Brandt resigned or was removed owing to some differences with the congregation. In 1852, October 6, the congregation called the Rev. A. T. Geisenthainer as its pastor.
Mr. Geisenthainer bought with his own money the present property on South Broad Street and erected upon it a small brick church at his own expense. This building was finished and dedicated August 31, 1852. There was a small frame house on the lot which was used as a parsonage. This house had once been the property of Captain Alexander Douglass and was the place where Washington held a war council with his generals January 2, 1777, a few days after the first Battle of Trenton. 21 In the spring of 1853 a small frame building was attached to the rear of the church and used as a Sunday school and also for a week-day school.
21 See pp. 178, 308-11, above.
There seems to have arisen some dissension between the German-speaking and the English-speaking portions of the congregation, and in 1856 the German-speaking section withdrew and called the Rev. G. F. Gartner as pastor, renting Temperance Hall for its service. On August 3, 1856, this section was incorporated under a new name, but the charter was never delivered, or if so has been missing for a long time.
The Rev. Mr. Geisenhainer had agreed when the church was built to turn over the property to the congregation when it was prepared to reimburse him for its cost. He at first refused to deal with the German-speaking section on the ground that the congregation was not the same as the original one. He finally agreed to sell the property for $1,500 down and a mortgage of $3,500. On this basis the transfer of church parsonage and school building took place March 31, 1857.
In 1863 the congregation acquired the property in the rear of the church fronting on Cooper Street, and proceeded to erect a school house.
In 1866 Pastor Gartner offered his resignation, but was induced to withdraw it and he remained until 1873 when Pastor J. Zentner was called to succeed him. In 1876 the building of a larger church was taken in hand. The cost of the new building was about $20,000. The church was dedicated May 13, 1877.
Pastor Zentner, having resigned July 5, 1885, after a pastorate of thirteen years, was succeeded by Pastor Rudolph Gerlach of Morristown, Pa., who remained until June 1896. The congregation then called the present pastor, the Rev. Hugo R. Wendel, then at Harrisburg, Pa. He was installed October 18, 1896 and thus has served his charge for over thirty years. During his pastorate the seats in the church were made free and a day school reestablished for which a new four-story building was erected in 1897. In the same year the property at 12 Livingston Street was acquired for a parsonage. The church building was also thoroughly renovated and refurnished. Many fine stained-glass windows were given as memorials, including an altar window in memory of Johanna Hertling Roebling by Colonel Washington A. Roebling.
During the fifty years 1849-99, closing with the golden jubilee of the congregation, christenings numbered 4474, marriages 1387, burials 1391, confirmations 1615, and communicants enrolled were 17,549.
Among the prominent German families who have been connected with the Church were: Fell, Strausser, Roebling, Snyder, Walter, Oessenberg, Schlicker, Lebstein, Baker and Pfister.
THE REVEREND HUGO R. WENDEL
The Rev. Hugo R. Wendel was born April 14, 1857, in Wildberg, Southern Germany. For several years he followed the occupation of a pharmaceutical chemist, but by an accident which injured his eyes he was compelled to seek some other vocation. He then turned to the law and after serving his time became county attorney in Oenringen and Nurtingen. Later he was registered under state direction in Stuttgart. Subsequently he opened a law office of his own in Nuensingen and there practised for several years. When a call from America for Lutheran preachers came, Wendel prepared himself for work in this country. With six other students he came to America in March 1882, and was assigned to the mission field in Pennsylvania. After a course in Lutheran doctrines the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, May 22, 1883, ordained him and he was sent to the coal regions, where he served congregations in St. Claire, Middleport and Locust Valley. In 1884 be went to St. Thomas' Church at Germantown where he remained three years, then to St. Peter's Church in Port Jervis for nine years. In 1888 he went to Zion Church at Harrisburg. He received a call to Trenton in 1896 where he has since remained.
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHRIST CHURCH - 1869
LIVINGSTON AND JACKSON STREETS
This body appears to have come into existence as the final result of various unsuccessful attempts to organize the English-speaking Germans of Trenton into a Lutheran congregation. The nucleus of the congregation which afterwards assumed the present title, Evangelical Lutheran Christ Church, is probably to be found in a society which was started in the early '3o's of the last century and which doubtless subsequently is to be identified with the English-speaking section of the congregation which, after the erection of the Lutheran Church in 1852 on South Broad Street, occupied that building conjointly with the German-speaking Lutherans until it was purchased by the latter for their exclusive use in 1857.
It would appear that in that year a congregation of English-speaking Germans bought land on North Montgomery Street near Academy and erected a church building which was consecrated September 11, 1859. The Rev. A. T. Geisenhainer, the former pastor and owner of the church property on South Broad Street, was present on the occasion and participated in the service. The North Montgomery Street church property subsequently was sold to the Har Sinai Congregation, 1865, and was dedicated in 1866 as a Jewish synagogue. What became of the German Evangelical congregation is not known, but the probabilities are it became or was merged into the Evangelical Lutheran Christ Church which was organized in 1869 and now has its place of worship at Livingston and Jackson Streets. 22
22 Podmore, "Jews in Trenton History," The Community Messenger, June 1926.
The congregation of Christ Church was organized at a meeting held in the Sunday school of the German Lutheran Church, South Broad Street, July 1, 1869. The pastor of that church was present and acted as chairman of the meeting. The first pastor was the Rev. Amos H. Bartholomew who was installed Sunday, October 10, 1869. Up to the close of that year services were held in the church of the German Lutherans in the afternoon and subsequently up to the spring of 1870 in the Sunday school rooms. The services were then held in the Mercer County Court House. 23
23 Raum, History of Trenton, pp. 146‑7.
In 1871 Messiah Chapel was purchased. A year later this chapel was destroyed by fire and a new church was built on Greenwood Avenue near Jackson Street. In 1902 the building was sold and the present chapel built on Livingston near Jackson Street. The Congregation has had in the course of its existence twelve pastors, few of whom remained longer than three or four years. Since the beginning of the present century there have been five pastors. The Rev. E. B. Killinger served for ten years, 1895‑1905; the Rev. H. W. Reimer for two years, 1905‑07; the Rev. Edwin J. Hopkins for five years, 1907‑12; the Rev. W. Scott Bonnell also for five years, 1912‑17; and the present pastor, the Rev. Alexander Berg, has been in charge since 1918.
CHURCH OF THE ADVENT - 1888
BROAD AND MALONE STREETS
The congregation was organized in December 1888, through the efforts of the Rev. G. C. Gardner, pastor of Bethany German Lutheran Church of Roxboro, Pa., who was the son of a former pastor of Trinity German Lutheran Church on South Broad Street, this city. The first services were held in Borough Hall on South Broad Street. In 1889 a building was erected at Broad and Malone Streets and the cornerstone was laid in June of that year. The church was dedicated in May 1890. The first pastor was the Rev. J. Heissler who served from 1889 to 1920. He retired in that year, but is still living in Trenton, From 1920, the pastor has been the Rev. Louis Schmidtkonz. The congregation was German-speaking from the beginning, but in later years English has been used at some of the services.
ST. MARK'S ENGLISH LUTHERAN CHURCH - 1898
CHESTNUT AND EMORY AVENUES
St. Mark's English Lutheran Church was organized September 9, 1898, with forty‑five charter members. Wagner's Hall at the corner of Hudson and Mott Streets was the meeting place of both Sunday school and church for twenty months. On December 20, 1898, the Rev. J. Morgan Cross, the first pastor, was called, remaining until November 2, 1902.
Steps were soon taken looking toward the erection of a suitable edifice. The lot upon which the church is built at Chestnut and Emory Avenues was purchased and work was begun on the building in August 1899, and the cornerstone was laid with appropriate services October 1. The dedication services were held May 27, 1890.
The Rev. I. Walton Bobst, the second pastor of the church, was called February 1, 1903, remaining until September 1, 1914. The Rev. M. Arthur Spotts became pastor December 1, 1914. He remained for two years. The Rev. Grayson Z. Stup was then called to take up the work. He served the church for five years and five months, when he resigned to accept a call to Harrisburg, Pa. The Rev. Wm. H. Reimer began his work as pastor September 3, 1922, and resigned August 31, 1924.
The Rev. George P. Goll, the present pastor, was called December 1, 1924.
GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH - 1898
HILLCREST AND READING AVENUES
As early as 1888 a union Sunday school was organized in a building still standing in the rear of 200 Hillcrest Avenue. Subsequently a building was erected on Hillcrest Avenue, between the Reading Railway and Scotch Road. This building was destroyed by fire and a new one was erected on Reading Avenue near Maple.
In 1898 the congregation was organized under the name of "The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hillcrest," The building was moved to Hillcrest and Reading Avenues, the present location. Later on it was enlarged and a parsonage built on the next lot, 207 Hillcrest Avenue.
The following pastors have served the church: the Rev. U. E. Apple, the Rev. Charles McDaniel, the Rev. E. C. Mumford, the Rev. J. H. Straw, the Rev. R. L. Haus and the Rev. C. W. Diehl. The present pastor is the Rev. Allan Chamberlin.
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE SAVlOUR - 1899
FRONT AND MONTGOMERY STREETS
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Saviour was organized October 31, 1899, with twenty-seven charter members. In July 1902 the present church building, located at Front and Montgomery Streets, was purchased from the Adventist Congregation, and after necessary alterations was occupied on August 10 of that year. On May 1, 1913, the congregation became self‑sustaining.
In 1910, the present parsonage at 207 East Front Street was purchased. The church has prospered and many improvements have been made. The church debt was finally liquidated in 1927, and the church is now one of the most flourishing Lutheran congregations in the city.
The first services, beginning January 8, 1899, were conducted by the Rev. William Ashmead Shaeffer, mission superintendent, and the following pastors have served the congregation: the Rev. Paul Zeller Strodach, 1899-1901; the Rev. John Casper Mattes, 1902-15; the Rev. William L. Hunton, supply pastor; the Rev. H. Grady Davis, 1916-18; and the Rev. George Luther Weibel, from November 1, 1918, to the present time.
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST (SLOVAK) - 1908
This congregation was organized in the Church of the Saviour during the pastorate of the Rev. John Casper Mattes. A church and a parsonage were erected on Harding Street. The last pastor was the Rev. Joseph Abraham who recently resigned.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (POLISH) - 1911
INDIANA AVENUE AND PLUM STREET
The first Polish Lutherans came to Trenton some thirty to forty years ago. At first they associated themselves with the German Lutheran Trinity Church on South Broad Street, although they could not understand the German language. In 1902 with the permission of the pastor, the Rev. Hugo R. Wendel, they invited the Rev. F. Sattelmcier, pastor of a Polish Lutheran Church in Scranton, Pa., to conduct occasional services. He served the congregation until 1909 when the Rev. C. Mikulsri of Baltimore, Md., was called in the same capacity.
In 1911 the congregation was regularly organized under the name of Holy Trinity and with the help of the mission board a resident pastor was called in the person of the Rev. F. Sattelmcier. In 1912 a church building was erected on Indiana Avenue and Plum Street and services were conducted both in Polish German and English. The second resident Faster was the Rev. A. Nicholai who assumed charge of the congregation in 1917. In 1918 the church building was destroyed by a storm and the pastor shortly after resigned his charge. Under the leadership of his successor, the Rev. J. Dawidowski of Baltimore, a new church was built on the old site and dedicated April 17, 1919. Most of the funds for this purpose came from the Church Extension Fund of the Missouri Synod. Since 1919 the present pastor, the Rev. Theo. R. Fehlau, has served the corgregation and has also continued his mission work in New York City, Pine Island, N.Y., and Mount Tom, Mass.
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW - 1914
SOUTH CLINTON AND LAKESIDE AVENUES
This congregation was incorporated in 1914, having been organized by the Rev. U. S. G. Bertolet, field missionary of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, and the Rev. J. C. Mattes, pastor of the Church of the Saviour. It began with sixty-two members. The present church building was purchased in 1914 from Christ Episcopal Church, having been previously used for a chapel known as St. John's. The purchase price of the property was $6,000. The first pastor, the Rev. Rufus E. Kern of Marion, Va., assumed charge December 6, 1914; he resigned two years later. The Rev. Otto C. F. Janke was the next pastor, who remained a little over one year. On November 25, 1917, the present pastor, the Rev. W. Penn Barr of Weatherly, Pa., was called and took charge the following December. The brick dwelling adjoining the church property was bought for a parsonage at a cost of $4,000, in 1917.
The church record shows that 312 names have been enrolled since the beginning of the congregation, of which 167 are now active members. Since May 1, 1925, the congregation became entirely self-sustaining.
BETHEL EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH - 1915
JOHNSTON AND WALNUT AVENUES
The Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized July 18, 1915, when sixty-one persons were enrolled as members. In December 1915 the Rev. L. R. Hans, the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, became the first pastor. A lot was bought at Johnston and Walnut Avenues, and the cornerstone of a church building with basement only was laid October 22, 1916. The dedication took place February 11, 1917. In 1923 the church was completed and in 1925 a parsonage was added, the total cost being about $10,000. The Rev. J. W. Gentzler became the pastor in 1919. He remained until 1927, when the present pastor, the Rev. J. Walter Shearer, was called and took up the work.
IX. The Jews - 1860
BY HARRY J. PODMORE 24
24 The material embodied here is in the main abridged from articles published by Mr. Podmore in the Community Messenger.
THE first organization in the life of Trenton Jewry was the Har Sinai Cemetery Association, formed in 1857. Prior to the beginning of the Har Sinai Hebrew Congregation, which was the outgrowth of the cemetery association, religious services were held in the homes of individuals. An early mention of Jewish worship here is given in the State Gazette, April 30, 1856, relative to the Passover observance. The following is an extract from the item published on that day:
There is quite a large number of the Hebrew race in Trenton who adhere to their ancient worship of the one, only, and true God.
The nearest synagogue, we believe, is at Philadelphia.
In connection with the observance of the Jewish New Year of 5619, which fell in September of 1858, services were held in Temperance Hall. According to an item in the Daily True American, September 10, fifty-two persons participated in the ceremonies of the first day.
HAR SINAI HEBREW CONGREGATION (REFORM) - 1860
Formal services, regularly conducted, began in Trenton about 1860 with the formation of the Har Sinai Hebrew Congregation. In the summer of that year meetings were held in the old Chancery Building which stood on the site of the Trenton Trust Building, West State Street and Chancery Lane.
At a meeting held on July 22 the congregation decided to incorporate and the following were elected trustees: Simon Kahnweiler, Isaac Wymann, Henry Shoninger, Herman Rosenbaum, Marcus Aaron, L. Kahnweiler and David Manko. Soon after this time the body was incorporated with the trustees named as the incorporators. Nearly all of the founders of the Har Sinai Temple congregation were of German extraction. For many years the services were conducted in German and Hebrew only.
In 1865 Simon Kahnweiler, credited as the first president of the congregation, purchased from the Lutherans a little brick chapel on North Montgomery Street, known as Christ Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. The edifice was refitted as a temple and on March 23, 1866, it was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies, the Rev. D. Frankel, of Philadelphia, officiating, assisted by the Rev. Isaiah Gotz and the Rev. Reuben Straus. Judge David Naar delivered the dedicatory address. The Rev. Isaac Lesser made a few remarks appropriate to the occasion, and the ceremonies were brought to a close by the singing of the 150th Psalm by the choir.
The year of 1872 was a dark one for the small congregation. Evidently the benefactor had not deeded the temple to the congregation and there seems to have been some dissension among the members. Matters went from bad to worse, reaching a climax on March 16, when Kahnweiler's holdings, including the little house of worship, were sold at public auction held at the Trenton Home, with Ex‑Mayor Napton acting as auctioneer. D. P. Forst became the new owner of the temple building.
Left without a permanent place of worship the congregation drifted. The prospects for the future were far from bright. However, there was one member who was not disheartened. Mrs. Toretta Kaufman, mother of S. E. Kaufman, saw the possibilities for securing the building and through her tireless activities in making a personal canvass she collected a fund and aroused such an interest in the project that when autumn had arrived the property was owned by the congregation. It is said that the contributor of the largest amount to the fund was the late Joseph Rice who made up the balance needed after all the money that could possibly be collected had been brought in.
In July 1903 the congregation sold the little temple on Montgomery Street to Bayard Post, No. 8, G.A.R. In the same year a lot was purchased at the southwesterly corner of Front and Stockton Streets and upon it a house of worship was erected. On the evening of October 7, 1904, the building was dedicated. The officers of the congregation at that time were: Sigmund Baron, president; Abraham Siegle, vice-president; Louis Cohen, treasurer; and Jonas D. Rice, secretary.
In 1925 the congregation purchased a lot on Bellevue Avenue where a new temple will be erected in the near future.
The present rabbi of the temple is Abram Holtzberg. Some of the others who have served in that capacity are: M. Lessler, Simon Rosenberg, Israel Goldvogel, Morris Ungerleider, ‑ Wagenheim, ‑ Schomberg, ‑Kahn, Joseph Gabriel, L. Weiss, ‑ Bloch, Nathan Rosenau, Louis B. Michelson, Nathan Stern, Harry K. Jacobs, Joel Blau and Jacob Goldstein.
BROTHERS OF ISRAEL (ORTHODOX) -1883
The second oldest religious body in the life of Trenton Jewry is the Congregation of the Brothers of Israel. This organization, which was founded by Jews of Polish and Russian extraction, was incorporated in 1883, but it seems that the group was not fully established until three years later. In August 1887 the Union Street M.E. Church was purchased and converted into a synagogue. On September 11, 1887, the remodelled edifice was dedicated. In 1900 the building was demolished and a new one was erected upon the site.
In 1885 the congregation established a place of burial on Vroom Street, adjoining Har Sinai Cemetery. In 1907 the place was enlarged by the purchase of an additional lot, and in 1913 an auxiliary cemetery was established near Cedar Lane, Hamilton Township.
THE CONGREGATION OF THE PEOPLE OF TRUTH (ORTHODOX) - 1891
The third organization, the Congregation of the People of Truth, was organized either in the late ‘8o’s or in the early ‘90’s. The group filed papers for incorporation in December of 1891. In 1902 the Second Presbyterian Church, on Union Street, was purchased by the congregation and refitted for a synagogue. On March 15, 1903, the edifice was dedicated to the worship of Jehovah. In 1893 the congregation established a cemetery near Cedar Lane, Hamilton Township.
THE CONGREGATION OF AHAVATH ISRAEL (ORTHODOX) - 1909
The fourth religious body, the Congregation of Ahavath Israel, was incorporated in December 1909, In May 1910 the body purchased the Wesley Methodist Church on Centre Street. The edifice was then remodelled and dedicated to Jewish worship. The founders of the Congregation of Ahavath Israel were in the main of Austro‑Hungarian extraction. The first officers and trustees of the congregation were: Samuel Goldmann, president; Leo Eisner, vice-president; Peter Littman, secretary; Henry Wirtschafter, Herman Lefkowitz, Jacob Blaugrund, Louis Warady, Nathan Fuchs, Adolf L. Moskowitz and Armin Bonyai, trustees.
THE CONGREGATION OF THE WORKERS OF TRUTH (ORTHODOX) - 1919
The fifth religious body, the Congregation of the Workers of Truth, filed incorporation papers in 1919. A few years later the organization purchased two dwellings on Union Street, near Market Street, and remodelled them into a house of worship.
THE ADATH ISRAEL CONGREGATION (CONSERVATIVE) - 1923
The Adath Israel Congregation was organized at a meeting held on September 30, 1923. On October 15 the congregation was incorporated. Services were held in the Community Home on Stockton Street until the time of the erection of the temple on Bellevue Avenue. The formal opening of the temple was on Friday evening, July 23, 1926, and in October of that year it was dedicated.
Next in importance to the synagogue in the religious life of a Jewish community is the Talmud Torah, or school where the youth are taught Hebrew and the traditions and religious precepts of the race. Dr. Herzl's Zion Hebrew School on Union Street serves the local community in this capacity. The institution, under its present name, had its beginning as a school maintained by the Congregation of the Brothers of Israel. Prior to this time there was a Hebrew school which held sessions in a rented hall on Union Street near Fall Street. This body in 1904 erected a school house (the first of its kind in Trenton) on Union Street, opposite the temple, which was named in memory of Dr. Theodor Herzl, father of political Zionism, who died during the same month that the cornerstone was laid (July 1904). The institution did not come up to the anticipations of its sponsors. The building was subsequently sold to tile city for a public school house.
The new Dr. Herzl's Zion Hebrew School stands on the upper part of Union Street. This institution is supported by the entire Jewish community.
THE SHELTERING HOME
Another institution that is part of every Jewish community is the sheltering home where meals and lodging are furnished the traveller who is without funds. The local home at the comer of Mill and Market Streets is conducted by the Hebrew Benevolent Society whose members purchased it in October 1904. The organization applied for incorporation papers in 1894. Harry Haveson and the Rev. Max Gordon are prominently identified with the body.
Har Sinai Cemetery Association was organized at a meeting held November 19, 1857. In the same year a lot was purchased for burial purposes at the corner of Vroom and Liberty Streets and the body became incorporated. The founders of this association were: Marcus Marx, Julius Schloss, Isaac Wymann, Morris Sanger, lgnatz Frankenstein, Lantos Golheim, Isaac Sanger, Joseph Rice, Ephraim Kaufman, Marcus Aron and Gustavus Cane.
Among other Jewish places of burial are several congregation and small lodge cemeteries which are located near Cedar Lane in Hamilton Township.
SOME RELIGIOUS LEADERS
Simon Kahnweiler, one of the incorporators of the Har Sinai Temple Hebrew Congregation, was born in Bavaria, Germany, August 26, 1820. He was the first prominent Jewish merchant of Trenton, member of the Common Council 1863-64, president of the Protection Hook and Ladder Company, and a member of several local military companies. During the time that he was a member of the temple congregation he served as president and head of the Sunday school. He died in Philadelphia, May 4, 1890,
Joseph Rice, prominent member of Har Sinai Temple, was one of Trenton's most highly-respected citizens. Born at Riechen, Baden, Germany, June 26, 1834, he served in several public offices, was made a director of the Mechanics National Bank, January 13, 1891, and was vice-president and director from August 5, 1909, up to the time of his death, July 14, 1913. For many years he was a clothing merchant.
Mrs. Amelia Kaufman Block, for many years an active worker in the Har Sinai Temple Sisterhood, was born in Trenton. She is the daughter of Ephraim and Toretta Kaufman. Toretta Kaufman, one of the early active workers of the Har Sinai Temple Congregation, was born in Germany. She died May 25, 1887.
Among those who have been active in the religious life of the Orthodox congregations are the Rev. P. Turman, the Rev. Mr. Prail, the Rev. Max Sufnoss, the Rev. Meyer Rabinowitz, the Rev. Israel Price, Rabbi Isaac Bunin, the Rev. Joseph Konvitz, David Lavine, Isaac Levy (Levie), who was one of the founders of the Talmud Torah, Hyman Levy (Levie), first president of the congregation of the Brothers of Israel, Max Gordon and Rabbi Issachar Levin.
SOME LEADERS IN CIVIL LIFE
Most of the early Jewish settlers in Trenton were of German extraction, the outstanding exception being the Naars, whose remote ancestors came to the West Indies from the Iberian peninsula in very early days. Besides the Naar family who came to Trenton in 1856 and their contemporaries, who incorporated the Mount Sinai Cemetery and founded the Hat Sinai Congregation, the pioneer Jewish group included Isaac Wymann, Daniel Piexotto, Marcus Marx, Samuel Rosenthal, Julius Schloss, Emanuel Kahnweiler, A. Rosenblatt, David Manko and Marcus Bohn. Practically all of these are representatives of the ‘5o’s and ‘60’s.
The Jewish colony here naturally attracted others of the race to the city, and in the ‘70’s a considerable number of Jews of various extractions made Trenton their home. These may be classified as members of a second Jewish group. The third and largest group, which came here in the years following 1880, mainly comprised members of the race who came from Russia to escape the Czarist regime. Then three groups define, generally, the Jewish immigration to Trenton.
It was the members of this third group who established the Jewish community in South Trenton with its Orthodox synagogues, Hebrew School and Sheltering Home. Their descendants constitute the majority of the present Jewish population. The others are German, Austrian, Hungarian and Roumanian Jews and their descendants.
The early Jews were mainly merchants. Among them may be mentioned Simon Kahnsweiler, who was the first Jewish manufacturer (bricks) and also one of the prominent merchants of his day in the city. His brother, Emanuel, operated a soap factory near the Assunpink bridge on South Broad Street.
S. E. Kaufman, for many years the proprietor of the Kaufman department store, is a native of Trenton. He was one of the leaders of Trenton's Board of Trade, now the Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the interstate bridge commission and the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America.
Joseph Rice came to Trenton in the '5o's. He established a clothing business on South Warren Street, and later removed to North Broad Street. His sons, Alexander and Jonas, succeeded him in the business. Joseph Rice was a director of the Mechanics National Bank
Bernard Tobish, who has conducted a men's furnishing shop hem for nearly half a century, came to Trenton in 1877 and opened a store on State Street. He is one of the earliest members of the Har Sinai Temple. Associated with him in business are his son, Abram, and his brother, Joseph. Another son, Theodore, was at one time county engineer.
Other merchants were: the Fuld brothers, Jonas A., Manus A., and Louis A., who came to Trenton in the '90's; Sigmund Kahn, who was senior member of the firm of S. Kahn and Sons in the old Washington Market Building; Simon Samler, who was in the clothing business on the same site; Isidor Levin, who conducted a department store at the "Five Points," as did Isaac Goldberg on South Broad Street; Morris and Paul Urken, who now have a department store in Chambersburg, as do Israel Kohn and Solomon Urken; and Henry Wirtschafter, who maintains a large department store on South Broad Street.
JEWISH PROFESSIONAL MEN
One of the first Jewish professional men in Trenton was Moses D. Naar, lawyer and journalist, who came to Trenton in 1856. His brother, Samuel Grey Naar, studied law in his office and was admitted to the Bar in 1880, becoming a counsellor in 1894. Later he was assistant prosecutor and at one time was a city police justice.
Among the lawyers admitted to the Bar during the present century are Henry H. Wittstein, J. Irving Davidson, Maxwell Kraemer and William Reich. Philip Forman, who was appointed United States attorney for the District of New Jersey, was admitted to the Bar in 1917, and became a counsellor in 1920. He was appointed assistant United States district attorney in 1923, He is a Major in the Judge Advocate General's Department of the New Jersey National Guard, and was commander of the American Legion, Department of New Jersey, in 1923-24.
Dr. Samuel Freeman, the first Jewish physician in Trenton, began his practice in 1900, and the first dentists were Dr. James S. Miller and Dr. William Julian.
THE accounts of the following congregations, though representative of as many distinct denominations, are grouped together here because each is the sole representative of its denomination in Trenton. In this section also is the brief account of an early German congregation which has since disbanded.
THE MAGYAR REFORMED CHURCH - 1894
HOME AVENUE AND BEATTY STREET
The Magyar Reformed Church of Trenton was organized on September 23, 1894. Its first pastor was the Rev. Stephen Juranyi, who, shortly after its organization, resigned. On May 9, 1897, the Rev. Francis Csamfordi was elected pastor.
In 1898, on July 19, the members bought the vacant lot on Home Avenue and Beatty Street and erected the present structure. Subsequently the building next to the church was purchased and renovated as a pastor's home.
The congregation is now affiliated with the Reformed Church of Hungary. Since 1910 the pastor has been the Rev. Geza Korocz.
In 1917 the church was reconstructed, and a modern parish house built in place of the old one.
There are, in the congregation today, over six hundred families. The property of the church is worth about $60,000. The Magyar Reformed Church of Trenton may be classed as one of the largest Magyar Reformed congregations of the United States.
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST - 1904
WEST STATE STREET AND RICHEY PLACE
Christian Science was first brought to public attention in this city in the early part of September 1903, when a student of Mrs. Pamelia J. Leonard, C.S.D., of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mrs. Mary E. Ogden, C.S., Came to Trenton with the approval and advice of her teacher and started Christian Science services and work as a practitioner, assisted at first by Miss Althea J. Truex and later by Edward A. Stokes, both long resident in this city.
These services were conducted every Sunday morning in the Shreve Building on East State Street.
Attendance increased so rapidly that on June 17, 1904, there were sufficient eligible Christian Scientists to organize a church under the laws of the State of New Jersey, in the name of "First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Trenton, New Jersey," at which time regularly elected officers were appointed, Mrs. M. E. Ogden being elected first reader and Mr. E. A. Stokes second reader.
It soon became necessary to secure larger quarters at 216 Academy Street. Then a building fund was started, which resulted in the erection of a chapel, in the spring of 1908, having a seating capacity of about one hundred and fifty. A convenient lot had previously been presented to the church by Mrs. Permelia Stokes, mother of E. A. Stokes. This chapel was dedicated, free of debt, on December 13, 1908.
In January 1920, upon the unanimous vote of the members present at a meeting held for that purpose, it was decided to sell this property, owing to an increasingly noisy environment, and to secure a lot more suitably located. The lot upon which the new church now stands was purchased with the proceeds from this sale.
After leaving the chapel on East State Street, services were held for two years at the Bowen Preparatory School, 214 West State Street, and later for about live years at the Stacy-Trent Hotel.
On January 1, 1928, the church moved into its new structure, located at the corner of West State Street and Richey Place, where services are now held.
The first readers of the church, who are limited to a term of three years each, are in turn as follows; Mrs. Mary E. Ogden, Miss Sarah V. Milne, Edward A, Stokes, Miss Josephine A. Chase, Miss Althea J. Truex, Charles E. Milum, and Edwin S. Sutton, the present first reader, with Mrs. Emily M. Walker as second reader. Intervening part-term incumbents have also served as first readers.
The members of the building committee for the erection of the new edifice are as follows; I. P. Keeler, Edwin S. Sutton, Lewis Schultz, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bender, and Mrs. Wm. J. Rogers, all of this city.
FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH - 1916
MEETS IN SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL ARTS
In 1915 a group of people of the non‑evangelical type formed a society for the promotion of "liberal" religion in the community. Throughout the winter, meetings were held regularly every Sunday evening in the auditorium of the Senior High School on Hamilton Avenue. In the spring of 1916 the society decided to become associated with the American Unitarian Association and assumed the name of The First Unitarian Church of Trenton. Prudence Hall in the School of Industrial Arts, on the corner of West State and Willow Streets, was chosen as the place for the holding of Sunday services,
The Rev. Edward H. Reeman of the Church of Our Fathers, Lancaster, Pa., was called as the first minister. Under his leadership the group grew in numbers. Mr. Reeman was succeeded in 1920 by the Rev. Robert L. M. Holt who stayed until 1922, when the Rev, A. R. Shelander was called as minister. Mr. Shelander resigned in 1926 and was succeeded in 1927 by the Rev. Elmer D. Colcord of Springfield, Mass.
Meetings have been held continuously in Prudence Hall with the exception of one year during the war when the congregation of Har Sinai Temple put their place of worship at the disposal of the Unitarian Church for Sunday services.
In addition to the regular Sunday services the church carries on a number of activities through the allied societies of the Women's Alliance, the Laymen's League, and the Young People's Religious Union.
The present officers of the church are: president, Roscoe L. West; clerk, Tobias Brill; treasurer, Frank H. Green; trustees, the officers and Edwin K. Fowler, James D. Jackson, Albin G. Nicolaysen, Robert G. Leavitt, Mrs. H. R. McGinnis and Mrs. Uno Malmstrom.
POLISH NATIONAL CATHOLIC PARISE OF OUR SAVIOUR - 1917
EAST STATE STREET
The Polish National Catholic Parish of Our Saviour was organized in 1917 by the present bishop of that body with home in Scranton, Pa. The organization is closely affiliated with the "Old Catholic" body in Europe and has a membership of some 250,000 in this country and in Poland. The parish numbers about two hundred families. Its present building on East State Street was formerly the property of St. James Episcopal Church. The church was consecrated April 19, 1917, by Bishop Hodur. In addition to the church building, the parish owns a cemetery, a rectory and a hall which is the center of the social life of the parish. The present rector is the Rev. Father J. Michalski, who has been in charge since November 10, 1927.
THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH‑1919
LIBERTY AND WOODLAND STREETS
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity was organized by the Very Rev. Vladimir A. Kashiw in September 1919 and was incorporated the same year.
At the time of organization the membership totalled fifty‑seven families. They bought a home at 18 Woodland Street which was remodelled so that the first floor was used as the chapel while the second floor was used as the priest's residence.
A cemetery was added to their possession and in 1924 the church on Liberty and Woodland Streets was bought for $7,000.
In 1925 the church was blessed by the Most Rev. John Theodorowich, archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America and Canada. The Ukrainian Orthodox Diocese is directly connected with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kiev, Ukraine, the head of which is Metropolitan Wasyl Lypkiwsky, of Kiev and all Ukraine.
The Very Rev. V. A. Kashiw was the pastor of the church from September 1919 until October 1925. After that time the following priests were pastors of the church: the Rev. Paul Korsunowsky, the Rev. N. Kostetzky, the Rev. W. Nowosad, the Rev. D. Lazare, and the present pastor is the Rev. J. Zelechivsky.
The congregation now has about two hundred members, of whom practically all are American citizens.
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH - 1922
St. George Greek Orthodox Church was established in 1922. The Charter members were Peter Skokas, John Roumanis, George Vanellis, Peter Manetas, John Stylianos, James Bardos, Dan Vafias, A. Mamolu, N. Manohas and A. Maverelis.
Services were first held in the Sunday school room of Trinity Church on Academy Street. Subsequently a hall was rented on East Hanover Street and services were held there until a church was built on Jackson Street in 1924.
St. George Church is under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Alexander of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. Members of the congregation number about one hundred and fifty.
The Greek school has some forty-five pupils, who are taught the Greek language and also receive religious instruction.
AN EARLY GERMAN CONGREGATION - 1835
One of the earliest attempts to provide services for the few Germans then living in Trenton appears to have been made in 1835 when a congregation was organized through the efforts of the Rev. J. W. Davis, who had been preaching in Trenton on behalf of the German Reformed Church. A local society of this body, consisting of less than a dozen persons, was organized in 1836 and a call was issued on March 4 of that year to the Rev. John H. Smaltz to become the pastor. Mr. Smaltz accepted the call, but remained for only two years. A church building was begun on Front
Street but does not seem to have been completed for several years, though the cornerstone was laid September 8, 1836.
In 1841 the congregation, having dissolved its ecclesiastical connection with the German Reformed body, was received into the communion of the Dutch Reformed Church. The Rev. Charles P. Wack was called as pastor the same year and the church building on Front Street was finished and dedicated by the Rev. Samuel A. Van Vranken, D.D., of New Brunswick. The Rev. Mr. Wack continued as pastor until 1843 when he resigned his charge, whereupon the church was permanently closed and the congregation apparently dissolved. From the account of this society in Raum's History of the City of Trenton, pages 107-8, it does not seem to be plain whether this congregation was German- or English-speaking or a mixture of both, but the probabilities are that the congregation was English-speaking.
In 1846 the church building on Front Street was sold to some members of the Greene Street (First Methodist) Church, who formed a new congregation which subsequently was known as the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, now having its place of worship on Perry Street. In 1865 the Front Street church was purchased by the congregation of St. Francis Roman Catholic Church and has since then been occupied by that body.
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