HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST DENOMINATION IN AMERICA, AND OTHER PARTS
OF THE WORLD
By David Benedict
London: Printed by Lincoln & Edmands, No. 53, Cornhill, for the Author
[Table of Contents for "A Generation History of the Baptists" by David Benedict]
BAPTISTS IN AMERICA
"Sometime after the year 1608, the Hollanders made a settlement on the spot where New York now stands; and in 1614 obtained a patent from their countrymen. In consequence of which, and a pretended purchase from Captain Hudson, they claimed a right to all the country from the river Connecticut to the river Delaware and, therefore, that part now called Jersey. But neither patent nor purchase availed them; for Charles II put in a prior claim, and supported it with armed forces, which the Hollanders were not able to resist; nevertheless, they kept possession to the treaty of Breda, in 1667. About four years before said treaty, the king gave the country to his brother the Duke of York; and the Duke, the same year, sold the western part, Jersey, to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Those two gentlemen immediately formed a constitution, or bill of rights, for such as should be settlers; the sixth and seventh articles of which promise a "full liberty of conscience to all religious sects that should behave well." This, and the terms of obtaining land, being known abroad, British subjects began to resort hither from New York, New England, Long Island, etc. these settled in the parts next to them, afterwards called East Jersey; some of whom were Baptists. In the year 1675, and afterwards, emigrants arrived in the Delaware from England, and settled in the parts adjoining the river, since distinguished by the name of West Jersey; some of them, also, were Baptists. About 1683, a company of Baptists, from the county of Tiperary, in Ireland, arrived at Amboy; they proceeded towards the interior parts. In the fall of 1799, about 50 families of the Tunker Baptists from Holland, but originally from Schwartzeneau in Germany, arrived at Philadelphia; some of whom, in 1733, crossed the river Delaware, and settled at Amwell in Hunterdon county. In 1734, the Rogerene Baptists arrived from Connecticut, and settled near Schooly Mountain, in the county of Morris. Thus it appears, that among the first Jersey settlers, some were of the Baptist denomination. The present Baptists are, partly, the offspring of those adventurous Baptists; and, partly, such as have been proselyted to their sentiments."
This State has been famous with the Baptists, for containing a number of old and very respectable churches, which have been supplied with preachers of peculiar eminence; some emigrated from Wales and England, but most of them were born in the country, and nurtured in the churches. New Jersey has given birth to a number of very eminent ministers, who removed and spent their days in other parts; among the most distinguished of these, we may reckon John Gano, James Manning, and Hezekiah Smith.
Middleton. -- This is the oldest church in the state; it is thus distinguished from the village where the meeting house stands, in a township of the same name, and county of Monmouth, about 79 miles East Northeast from Philadelphia. The meeting house is 42 feet by 32, erected in 1734, on the lot where the old place of worship stood. "For the origin of this church we must look back to the year 1667; for that was the year when Middleton, containing a part of Monmouth, and part of Sussex counties, was purchased from the Indians by twelve men and twenty-four associates; their names are in the town book. Of them the following were Baptists, namely Richard Stout, John Stout, James Grover, Jonathan Bown, Obadiah Holmes, John Buckman, John Wilson, Walter Hall, John Cox, Jonathan Holmes, George Mount, William Cheeseman, William Layton, William Compton, James Ashton, John Bown, Thomas Whitlock, and James Grover, Jr. It is probable, that some of the above had wives and children of their own way of thinking; however, the forenamed eighteen men appear to have been the constituents of the church of Middleton, and the winter of 1688, the time.
"How matters went on among these people for a period of 24 years, namely from the constitution of 1712, cannot be known. But in the year 1711, a variance arose in the church, insomuch that one party excommunicated the other; and imposed silence on two gifted brothers that preached to them, namely John Bray and John Okison. Wearied with their situation, they agreed to refer matters to a council, congregated from neighboring churches. The council met, May 25, 1712; it consisted of Reverend Messrs. Timothy Brooks, of Cohansey; Abel Morgan and Joseph Wood, of Pennepek; and Elisha Thomas, of Welch Tract, with six Elders, namely Nicholas Johnson, James James, Griffith Miles, Edward Church, William Bettridge and John Manners. Their advice was, "To bury their proceedings in oblivion, and erase the records of them;" accordingly four leaves are torn out of the church book. "To continue the silence imposed on John Bray and John Okison the preceding year." One would think by this, that those two brethren were the cause of the disturbance. "To sign a covenant relative to their future conduct;" accordingly 42 did sign, and 26 refused; nevertheless most of the non-signers came in afterwards; but the first 42 were declared to be the church that should be owned by sister churches. "That Messrs. Abel Morgan, Sr. and John Barrows should supply the pulpit till the next yearly meeting; that the members should keep their places and not wander to other societies;" for at this time there was a Presbyterian congregation in Middleton, and mixed communion in vogue.
"The first who preached at Middleton, was Mr. John Bown, of whom we can learn no more than that he was not ordained; and that it was he who gave the lot on which the first meeting house was built. Contemporary with him was Mr. Ashton, of whom more will be said soon; and after him rose the forementioned Bray and Okison; neither of whom was ordained, and the latter was disowned. Mr. George Eaglesfield was another unordained preacher; but the first that may be styled pastor of the church, was,
"James Ashton. He probably was ordained by Thomas Killingsworth, at the time the church was constituted in 1688; for Mr. Killingsworth assisted at the constitution, which gave rise to the tradition "that he was the first minister." Mr. Ashtons successor was,
"Reverend John Barrows. He was born at Taunton, Somersetshire, England, and there ordained: arrived at Philadelphia in the month of November, 1711, and from thence came to Middleton in 1715, where he died in a good old age. Mr. Barrows is said to have been a happy compound of gravity and facetiousness; the one made the people stand in awe of him, while the other produced familiarity. As he was travelling one day, a young man passed by him in full speed; and in passing, Mr. Barrows said, "if you considered whither you are going, you would slacken your pace." He went on, but presently turned back to inquire into the meaning of that passing salute? Mr. Barrows reasoned with him on the folly and danger of horse racing: (to which the youth was hastening) he gave attention to the reproof. This encouraged Mr. Barrows to proceed to more serious matters. The issue was a sound conversion. Here was a bow drawn at a venture; and a sinner shot flying!
Mr. Barrows was succeeded by Reverend Abel Morgan, A.M. He was born in Welsh Tract, April 18 1713, had his learning at an academy kept by Reverend Thomas Evans, in Pencader; ordained at Welsh Tract in the year 1754; became pastor of Middleton in 1738; died there November 24, 1785. He was never married; the reason, it is supposed, was, that none of his attention and attendance might be taken off of his mother, who lived with him, and whom he honored to an uncommon degree. Mr. Morgan was a man of sound learning and solid judgment; he has given specimens of both in his public disputes and publications; for it appears that he held two public disputes on the subject of baptism. The first was at Kingwood; to which he was challenged by Reverend Samuel Harker, a Presbyterian minister. The other was held at Capemay, in 1745, with the Reverend afterwards, Dr. Samuel Finley, President of Princeton College.
"Mr. Morgans successor was his nephew, Reverend Samuel Morgan. He was born in Welsh Tract, August 23, 1750; called to the ministry in Virginia; ordained at Middleton, November 29, 1785; at which time he took on him the care of the church." No account of Mr. Morgans death has been obtained, This ancient church has for its present pastor, Mr. Benjamin Bennet. It was once well endowed, but a considerable part of its temporalities were sunk by that sacrilegious thing, (as Edwards calls it) Congress Money. What are its present possessions I have not learnt.
Piscataway. -- The history of this church, which is the next to Middleton in point of seniority, from the beginning to the present time, is not easy of acquisition. The reason is, their records were destroyed in the Revolutionary War. The following historical sketches have been gleaned partly from public records; partly from the town book; partly from the records of the Sabbatarian church, which sprang from this church; and partly from current tradition, and the information of ancient persons. The public records tell us, "That the large tract, on the east side of Rariton River, which comprises the towns of Piscataway, Elizabeth, etc. was purchased from the lndians in 1663. The purchasers were John Baily, Daniel Denton, Luke Watson, etc. These persons and their associates obtained a patent the following year, from Governor Nicholas, who acted under the Duke of York; but the Duke having, the same year, sold Jersey to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, the validity of Nicholas patent has been called in question." However, the inhabitants keep possession to this day. The said tract does not, by the town records, appear to have been settled at once, but in the following successions. "In 1677, the Blackshaws, Drakes, Hands, and Hendricks, were inhabitants of Piscataway; in 1678, the Dottys and the Wolfs; in 1679, the Smalleys, Hulls, and Trotters; in 1680, the Hansworths, Martins, and Higgins; in 1681, the Dunhams, Laflowers, and Fitzrandolphs; in 1682, the Suttons, Brindleys, Bounds, and Fords; in 1688, the Davies and Slaughters; in 1684, the Pregmores; in 1685, the Grubs and Adams; in 1687, the Chandlers and Smiths; in 1689, the Mortohs, Molesons and MDaniels; the Gilmarts were settlers in 1663, which is one year before the patent." Were we to judge of the religion of these settlers by the lists of members in the two Baptist churches of Piscataway, we should conclude they were of that denomination, for most of the names are to be found in those lists. Nevertheless, tradition will allow of no more than six to have been professed Baptists, namely Hugh Dunn, who was an exhorter; John Drake, afterwards their pastor; Nicholas Bonham, John Smalley, Edmond Dunham, afterwards minister of the Seventh Day Baptists; and John Randolph; the above persons were constituted a Gospel church, in the spring of 1689, by the help of Reverend Thomas Killingsworth, at which time it is probable Mr. Drake was ordained their pastor. It is not to be doubted, but the said men had wives, or sisters, or daughters of the same way of thinking: however, none but the male members are mentioned, either here or at Middleton, or Cohansey. It is a current tradition, that some of the above Baptists emigrated hither from Piscataqua, in the District of Maine, and gave the name to this part of Jersey. This is a probable supposition, for there were a number of Baptists in that place at this time, and it appears, that this part of Jersey was written New Piscataqua their town book, and in the printed folio, which contains the original Jersey papers.
"The first who preached at Piscataway, from the beginning of the settlement to 1689, were the following unordained ministers, namely Messrs. Hugh Dunn, John Drake, and Edmond Dunham. About 1689, Reverend Thomas Killingsworth visited them, and settled them into a church, and ordained Mr. Drake to be their minister; this gave rise to the tradition, "that Mr. Killingsworth was the first minister of Piscataway, Middletown, and Cohansey." The last is true; but the first minister of Piscataway was Reverend John Drake, who was one of the first settlers, and bore an excellent character; he labored among them from the beginning to 1689, when he was ordained their pastor, and continued in the pastorship to his death, in 1739, which was a period of about 50 years. Mr. Drakes descendants are very numerous, and respectable among the Baptists in this region; they claim kindred to the famous Sir Francis Drake.
Contemporary with Mr. Drake, was the unworthy Henry Loveall, He was ordained in this church to assist old Mr. Drake, but never administered ordinances; for the vileness of his character was soon discovered. From Piscataway he went to Maryland, where see an account of him.
"Mr. Drakes successor was Benjamin Stelle who held the office of a magistrate, he was of French original, though born in New York; ordained in this church, and continued in the pastorship to the month of January, in 1759, when he died in the 76th year of his age. He is said to have been a popular preacher, and a very upright magistrate.
He was succeeded by his own son, Isaac Stelle, who became minister of Piscataway in 1752, as an assistant to his father, who was old and infirm, and continued in the ministry here to October 9, 1781, when he died in the 63rd year of his age. Mr. Stelle was remarkable for his travels among the American churches, in company with his other self, Reverend Benjamin Miller."
Reverend Beune Runyon, the late pastor of this church, succeeded Mr. Stelle. He also was of French extraction, and son of Reune Runyon, Esq.; born March 29, 1741; called to the ministry in this church, March, 1771; ordained at Morristown, March, 1772, where he continued to April, 1780, and then returned hither. He took on him the oversight of the church in 1783, and continued therein with credit and success till his death in November 1811.
Mr. James MLaughlin succeeded him, October, 1812. He preaches half of the time at New Brunswick, two and a half miles distant, where there is a branch of the church and a commodious house of worship lately built of brick, 60 feet by 40, on a lot of near an acre. The lot and house cost about 6000 dollars.
The Piscataway church is the mother of the Scotch Plains, Morristown, and the Sabbatarian church, in the same neighborhood.
Cohansey. -- Cohansey is the name of a river, which meanders in the neighborhood, and from which this church takes its distinction; the meeting house stands in the township of Hopewell, and county of Cumberland, 47 miles south by west from Philadelphia.
The rise and progress of Cohansey church cannot be easily investigated, because their records have been destroyed; nevertheless, the following historical sketches will, in part, supply the loss: "About the year 1683* some Baptists from the county of Tiperary in Ireland settled in the neighborhood of Cohansey; particularly David Sheppard, Thomas Abbot, William Button, etc. In 1685, arrived hither from Rhode Island government, Obadiah Holmes and John Cornelius: In 1688, Kinner Vanhyst, John Child and Thomas Larestone were baptized by the Reverend Elias Keach, of Pennepek. About this time Reverend Thomas Killingsworth settled not far off, which increased the number of Baptists to nine souls; and probably to near as many more, including the sisters; however, the above nine persons were formed into a church, by the assistance of said Killingsworth, whom they chose to be their minister; this was done in the spring of 1690. Soon after the few Baptists who lived about Gloucester, Salem, Pennsneck, etc. united with them; so that the cords of this Zion were at first very lengthy, and continued so for 66 years; necessarily, until distant members began to form themselves into distinct churches, in the several neighborhoods." The churches which were thus formed were those of Salem, Dividing Creek, and Pittsgrove. [* In Cohansey graveyard is a stone with this inscription upon it: "Here lies Deborah Swinney, who died April 4, 1760, aged 77 years. She was the first white female child born at Cohanse."]
Most of the Baptist churches in America originated from England and Wales; but Cohansey from Ireland. The Baptist church whence it sprang, is still extant in Tiperary, and distinguished by the name of Cloughketin. "In 1710, Reverend Timothy Brooks and his company united with this church. They had emigrated hither from Swanzey, in Massachusetts, about the year 1687; and had kept a separate society for 23 years, on account of difference in opinion relative to predestination, singing, psalms, laying-on-of-hands, etc., Reverend Valentine Wightman of Groton, Connecticut, formed the union, on the terms of bearance and forbearance.
In 1711, they built their first meeting house, which was taken down to erect the present in its place; for from the beginning till then, they held worship, in private houses, though a period of about 28 years.
It does not appear that this people had any stated preacher, before the constitution, except Obadiah Holmes, the son of the famous Obadiah Holmes, who endured such cruel scourgings at Boston, in 1651, for the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus, He was not, ordained. His settling at Cohansey is placed under the year 1685, which was four years prior to the constitution; he continued an occasional preacher while he lived, though a Judge of the Common Pleas in Salem Court.
The first pastor of Cohansey was Thomas Killingsworth, Esq. He took the oversight of the church at the constitution in 1690, and continued therein to his death, in the year 1708. This honorable gentleman, (for he was Judge of Salem court) was probably a native of Norwich, in England. He must have arrived in America in early times; and must have been an ordained minister before he arrived; for we find him exercising the ministerial functions, at Middleton in 1688; at Piscataway in 1689; and at Philadelphia in 1697. He had a wife, but no issue. It seems that the troubles, which came on dissenters in Queen Anns reign, reached the Jersey; for Mr. Killingsworth put himself under the protection of the toleration act, at a court held in Salem, December 24, 1706, and took out a license for a preaching place at Penns Neck, then the dwellinghouse of one Jeremiah Nickson.
His successor was Reverend Timothy Brooks. It has already been observed that Mr. Brooks company and the church at Cohansey, coalesced into one body in the year 1710. It was at that time that he took the care of the Cohansey church; he continued in the care thereof to 1716 when he died in the 55th year of his age, and had upwards of 80 of his own offspring to follow him to his grave. Though Mr. Brooks was not eminent for either parts or learning, yet was a very useful preacher, meek in his carriage, and of a sweet and loving temper, and always open to conviction, which gained him universal esteem, and made the Welch ministers labor to instruct him in the ways of the Lord more perfectly.
Mr. Brooks was succeeded by Reverend William Butcher. He became the minister of this church in 1791, and continued therein to December 12 1724, when he died in the 27th year of his age. Mr. Butcher was a very popular preacher, and, withal, very tall and of a majestic appearance, which procured him the name of the High Priest.
Reverend Nathaniel Jenkins took the oversight of this church, at an advanced age, in 1730; and continued therein to his death, January 2, 1754.
He was succeeded by Reverend Robert Kelsey, who was a native of Ireland, born near Drummore in 1711; arrived in Maryland in 1754; came to Cohansey, in 1758; embraced the sentiments of the Baptists in 1741; was ordained in 1750, and became pastor of this church in 1756, in which office he continued to his death, which came to pass, May 50, 1789. The public print which announced his death, adds "as a man and companion, he was amusing and instructive; as a Christian, he was animated and exemplary; as a preacher, fervent and truly orthodox; warmly engaged was he in the service of the sanctuary, to which he repaired without interruption, till a few Lords days previous to his decease."
The present pastor of this church is Mr. Henry Smalley, who was sent into the ministry by the church in Piscataway, and ordained here September, 1790.
This church was well endowed in early times, but what their present income is, I have not ascertained.
Cape May. -- The foundation for this church was laid in the year 1675, when a company of emigrants from England arrived in the Delaware, some of whom settled at the Cape. Among these were two Baptists, whose names were George Taylor and Philip Hill. Taylor kept a meeting at his house till his death in 1701. Mr. Hill kept up the meeting till 1704, when he also died. After this the few brethren, who had been collected here, were visited by George Eaglesfield, Elias Keach, Thomas Griffiths, and Nathaniel Jenkins, the last of whom became the pastor of the church, which was constituted in 1712. Mr. Jenkins was a Welchman, born in Caerdicanshire, 1678, arrived in America in 1710, and two years after settled at the Cape. "He was a man of good parts and tolerable education; and quitted himself with honor in the loan office, whereof he was a trustee, and, also, in the Assembly, particularly in 1721, when a bill was brought in "to punish such as denied the doctrine of the Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, etc." In opposition to which, Mr. Jenkins stood up, and with the warmth and accent of a Welshman, said, "I believe the doctrines in question, as firmly as the promoters of that ill-designed bill; but will never consent to oppose the opposers with law, or with any other weapon, save that of argument, etc." Accordingly, the bill was suppressed, to the great mortification of them, who wanted to raise, in New Jersey, the spirit which so raged in New England."
The ministers, who have had the care of the church at the Cape, from this period, were Samuel Heaton, John Sutton, Peter P. Vanhorn, David Smith, Artis Seagrave, John Stancliff, Jonathan German and Jenkin David; most of whom, except the last, appear to have been sojourners rather than stationed pastors.
Hopewell. -- This church is distinguished, as above, from the township where the meeting house stands, in Hunterdon county, bearing northeast from Philadelphia, at the distance of 40 miles; the dimensions of the house are 40 feet by 50; built, in 1747, on a lot of three quarters of an acre, the gift of John Hart, Esq.
One of the three families, who first settled in the tract, now called Hopewell, was that of Jonathan Stout, who arrived here from Middleton, about 1706. The place then was a wilderness and full of Indians. Mr. Stouts wife was Ann Bullen, by whom he had nine children, namely Joseph, Benjamin, Zebulon, Jonathan, David, Samuel, Sarah, Hannah, and Ann. Six of these children are said to have gone to Pennsylvania for baptism. Thus it appears, that Mr. Stouts family, including the father and mother, furnished eight members for the church. Seven other members are supposed to have been Thomas Curtis, Benjamin Drake, Ruth Stout, Alice Curtis, Sarah Fitzrandolph, Rachel Hide, and Mary Drake; and these fifteen persons on the 23rd of April, 1715, were organized into a church by the assistance of Abel Morgan and John Burrows, with their Elders Griffith Miles, Joseph Todd, and Samuel Ogden, and the same year they joined the Philadelphia Association.
This church is remarkable for the number of ministers, who have been raised up in it. Thomas Curtis, John Alderson, John Gano, Joseph Powel, Hezekiah Smith, John Blackwell, Charles Thompson, and James Ewing, were all licensed or ordained at Hopewell.
It is natural to think, that the first preaching of Believers Baptism, at Hopewell, was owing to Jonathan Stouts settling in the parts; and it is inferred from the church records, that from the settlement of Mr. Stout, to the constitution of the church, which was a period of nine years, that Messrs. Simmons, Eaglesfield, etc. from Middleton, were the men who preached here; neither of whom was ordained. Mr. Simmons afterwards went to Charleston, South Carolina. From the constitution of the church to the coming of the Reverend Isaac Eaton, was another period of 135 years; during 15 of which, Joseph Eaton of Montgomery attended the place regularly once a month. After his desisting his visits, Thomas Davis, of the Great Valley, came to Hopewell, and preached statedly to the people for about four years, and then resigned to go to Oysterbay, on Long Island. Mr. Davis was brother to Reverend John Davis of said Valley; he was born in the parish of Llanfernach, and county of Pembroke, Wales, in 1707; he arrived in America, July 27, 1713; was ordained at Great Valley, and died at Yellow Springs, February 15, 1777, in the 70th year of his age. From his departure, the place was supplied for two years, by Messrs. Carman, Bonham, and Miller; and glorious years they were -- 55 souls were converted and added to the church; a meeting house was built, etc. The first minister who can be said to have been the settled pastor of this church, (for those before mentioned were but transiently among them) was Isaac Eaton, A.M. He was son of Joseph Eaton of Montgomery, joined Southampton church, and commenced preaching in early life. Mr. Eaton came to Hopewell in the month of April, 1748, and on the 29th of November following, was ordained pastor of the church by Messrs. Carman, Curtis, Miller, and Pots. He continued in the pastorship to July 4, 1772, when he died in the 47th year of his age; he was buried in the meeting house; and at the head of his grave, close to the base of the pulpit, is set up, by his congregation, a piece of fine marble, with this inscription upon it: "In him, with grace and eminence did shine, The man, the Christian, scholar, and divine."
His funeral sermon was preached by Samuel Jones, D.D. of Pennepek; who thus briefly portrayed his character. "The natural endowments of his mind; the improvement of these by the accomplishments of literature; his early and genuine piety; his abilities as a divine and a preacher; his extensive knowledge of men and books; his catholicism, etc, would afford ample scope to flourish in a funeral oration, but it is needless." Mr. Eaton was the first man among the American Baptists, who set up a school for the education of youths for the ministry, which will be mentioned in its proper place."
About two years after Mr. Eatons death, Reverend Benjamin Coles was elected to the pastoral office here, (October 15, 1774) without one dissenting voice; and continued with them to the spring of 1779. This church had enjoyed two very distinguished revivals of religion before one in 1747 when 55 were added; and another in 1764, when 123 were added; and soon after Mr. Coles became their pastor, there was a third, which added to their number, in about two years, 105 souls. But notwithstanding this success, Mr. Coles, in about seven years, found himself so uncomfortable among this people, that by the advice of his friends, he resigned his charge and settled at Scotch Plains about two years, when he returned to his native place at Oyster Bay.
Successor to him was Oliver Hart, A.M. who had fled hither from Charleston, South Carolina, on account of the war. He took the oversight of this people, December, 1780, and continued with them till his death in 1795. A further account of this eminent minister will be given in his biography.
After him was Mr. James Ewing about nine years, and next to him was their present pastor, Mr. John Boggs, son of a minister of the same name, formerly of Welsh Tract.
This church has a farm with buildings for the accommodation of their pastor, valued at about 6000 dollars. From it originated the Second in Hopewell, and the one called Amwell.
HISTORY OF THE STOUTS
The family of the Stouts are so remarkable for their number, origin, and character, in both church and state, that their history deserves to be conspicuously recorded; and no place can be so proper as that of Hopewell, where the bulk of the family resides. We have already seen that Jonathan Stout and family were the seed of the Hopewell church, and the beginning of Hopewell settlement; and that of the 15 which constituted the church, nine were Stouts. The church was constituted at the house of a Stout, and the meetings were held chiefly at the dwellings of the Stouts for 41 years, namely from the beginning of the settlement to the building of the meeting house, before described. Mr. Hart was of opinion (in 1790) "that from first to last, half the members have been and were of that name; for, in looking over the church book, (saith he) I find that near two hundred of the name have been added; besides about as many more of the blood of the Stouts, who had lost the name by marriages. The present (1790) two deacons and four elders, are Stouts; the late Zebulon and David Stout were two of its main pillars; the last lived to see his offspring multiplied into an hundred and seventeen souls." The origin of this Baptist family is no less remarkable; for they all sprang from one woman, and she as good as dead; her history is in the mouths of most of her posterity, and is told as follows: "She was born at Amsterdam, about the year 1602; her fathers name was Vanprincis; she and her first husband, (whose name is not known) sailed for New York, (then New Amsterdam) about the year 1620; the vessel was stranded at Sandy Hook; the crew got ashore, and marched towards the said New York; but Penelopes (for that was her name) husband being hurt in the wreck, could not march with them; therefore, he and the wife tarried in the woods; they had not been long in the place, before the Indians killed them both, (as they thought) and stripped them to the skin; however, Penelope came to, though her skull was fractured, and her left shoulder so hacked, that she could never use that arm like the other; she was also cut across the abdomen, so that her bowels appeared; these she kept in with her hand; she continued in this situation for seven days, taking shelter in a hollow tree, and eating the excresence of it: the seventh day she saw a deer passing by with arrows sticking in it, and soon after two Indians appeared, whom she was glad to see, in hope they would put her out of her misery; accordingly, one made towards her to knock her on the head, but the other, who was an elderly man, prevented him; and throwing his matchcoat about her, carried her to his wigwam, and cured her of her wounds and bruises; after that he took her to New York, and made a present of her to her countrymen, namely an "Indian" present, expecting ten times the value in return. It was in New York, that one Richard Stout married her: he was a native of England, and of a good family; she was now in her 22d year, and he in his 40th. She bore him seven sons and three daughters, namely Jonathan, (founder of Hopewell) John, Richard, James, Peter, David, Benjamin, Mary, Sarah, and Alice; the daughters married into the families of the Bounds, Pikes, Throckmortons, and Skeltons, and so lost the name of Stout; the sons married into the families of Bullen, Crawford, Ashton, Traux, etc. and had many children. The mother lived to the age of 110, and saw her offspring multiplied into 502 in about 88 years."
Kingwood. -- This church is the next in point of age. It was constituted in 1742, but I conclude has now either changed its name or become extinct. From it originated the following ministers, namely William Lock, Elkanah Holmes, now at Niagara, Upper Canada, Thomas Runyon, William Tims, James Drake, and David Stout.
Hightstown. -- This church was formerly called Cranbury, because the first meeting house stood in that township. Their present house of worship, built in 1785, 40 feet by 30, stands in a village from which the church takes its name, in the township of Windsor, and county of Middlesex, about 46 miles northeast of Philadelphia. The church was constituted in 1745 of 17 members. The first pastor was James Carman, who was almost as remarkable as Samuel Huntington for living by faith. He was born at Cape May in 1677, was baptized at Staten Island, near New York, by Elias Keach, in the 15th year of his age, after this went first among the Quakers, then with the New Light Presbyterians, whom he permitted to baptize one of his children. But in process of time, he came back to his first principles, united with the church in Middleton, began to preach in the branch of it at Cranbury, and was ordained its pastor at the time it was constituted. Here he died at the age of 79.
For many years after his death this church had only occasional supplies, and had nearly become extinct, when Mr. Peter Wilson, their present pastor, came amongst them in 1782. In nine years from his settlement, over 200 persons were added to the church by baptism; upwards of 800 have been baptized by this successful pastor, during the whole of his ministry here. The church is scattered over a wide extent of territory, and Mr. Wilson in his more active days, not unfrequently rode 15, sometimes 20 miles, and preached four times on a Lords Day.
From this church originated the one at Trenton, now under the care of Mr. William Boswell. The church in Nottingham is also a branch of this body, and from it a great many other churches besides have received many of their members.
Scotch Plain. -- This is a branch of the ancient church at Piscataway; it was constituted with fifteen members from that body in 1747; their meeting house stands on the north border of the large and fertile tract of land, from which the church is named, in the township of Elizabeth, and county of Essex, between twenty and thirty miles from the city of New York. This house is 50 feet by 50, built before, but enlarged to this size in 1759.
From this church have originated the First in New York, Lyons Farms, Mount Bethel and Samptown.
The first pastor at Scotch Plain was Mr. Benjamin Miller, a native of the place. He was ordained in 1748, and continued in office here till 1781, when he died in the 66th year of his age. "All that can be said of a good, laborious and successful minister will apply to him. His frequent companion in travels was Reverend Isaac Stelle; lovely and pleasant were they in their life, and in death they were not much divided, the one having survived the other but 85 days. He also traveled much with Mr. Peter P. Vanhorn and John Gano. Mr. Miller is said to have been a wild youth; but met with a sudden and surprising change under a sermon of Reverend Gilbert Tennent, a Presbyterian minister. Mr. Tennent, it is said, christened him, and encouraged him to study the languages, to qualify him for the ministry. However that may be, Mr. Miller did spend some time at learning, under the tuition of Reverend Mr. Biram. It was there he embraced the sentiments of the Baptists, owing to the discourse of Mr. Biram at the christening of a child, and a conversation that followed between him and his pupil."
Mr. Millers funeral sermon was preached by his affectionate friend John Gano. Between these two ministers, there had long been a private agreement, that the funeral sermon of the first who died should be preached by the survivor, provided he had word of the death; and Providence so ordered matters that this promise was fulfilled. Mr. Gano was now a chaplain in the American army, and soon after Lord Cornwallis surrender he was going to visit his family, when he heard of Mr. Millers death, "Never, (said Mr. Gano) did I esteem a ministering brother so much as I did Mr. Miller, nor feel so sensibly a like bereavement, as that which I sustained by his death."
The next pastor of this church was William Vanhorn, A.M. He was a son of the evangelical Peter P. Vanhorn; was born in 1746, and ordained at Southampton, in Pennsylvania, where he continued 13 years; and in 1785, settled at the Scotch Plains, where he continued until 1807, when he resigned his pastoral care here, and set out with his family, on a journey into the State of Ohio, with a view of settling on a plantation, which he had purchased in that country, near the town of Lebanon, between the Miami rivers. Previous to the commencement of his journey, Mr. Vanhorn had been languishing for some time under a dropsical complaint, which, on his reaching Pittsburg, confined him to his bed; a mortification of the parts ensued, and he died on the 1st of October, 1807, in the 61st year of his age. This mournful event was peculiarly distressing, in a strange place, to his widow and only son, and six daughters, who were witnesses of his afflictions and exit. The attentions paid them by the inhabitants of the town were generally kind and sympathetic. The family after a few days, pursued their journey and safely arrived at the place of destination, where they are now agreeably settled.
Mr. Vanhorn received his education at Dr. Samuel Joness Academy at Pennepek, and afterwards received the honorary degree of Master of Arts, from the Rhode Island College. During the revolutionary war he was chaplain to one of the brigades of the State of Massachusetts. He was also a member for Bucks county, Pennsylvania, of the convention which met in Philadelphia for the purpose of framing the first civil constitution of the State.
Successor to Mr. Vanhorn was Mr. Thomas Brown, a native of Newark, not far distant.
This church has a commodious parsonage house, with a small estate adjoining. It has lately received a legacy from the late James Brown, one of its deacons, of about 1400 dollars. From this body originated James Manning, D. D. the first President of Brown University.
At Newark, nine miles from the city of New York, a church was formed in 1801, mostly of members from Lyons Farms. They have a new house of worship 68 feet by 48. They have had to preach for them Messrs. Charles Lahatt, Peter Thurston, Daniel Sharp, and John Lamb, but are at present destitute, unless Dr. Rogers of Philadelphia has accepted their invitation to become their pastor, which has been some expected.
In the northern part of this State are a number of other churches, whose dates, pastors, etc. will be exhibited in the General Table.
At a place called Dividing Creek, fifty-six miles southwest of Philadelphia, a church arose in 1761, under the ministry of Mr. Samuel Heaton, whose history furnishes some interesting anecdotes, and is as follows: "He was born at Wrentham, Massachusetts, and was bred a Pedobaptist, he came to Jersey with three brothers about the year 1734, and settled near Black River, in the county of Morris, and there set up iron works; while there he had a son born, whom he was anxious to have "christened" by Reverend Samuel Sweesy, a Presbyterian minister of the Separate order; to which "christening" the wife stood averse, adding, "if you show me a text* that warrants christening a child, I will take him to Mr. Sweesy." The husband offered several texts; the wife would not allow that infant baptism was in either of them; then the husband went to Mr. Sweesy, not doubting but a thing so old and so common as infant baptism, must be in the Bible; Mr. Sweesy owned there was no text which directly proved the point; but that it was provable by deductions from many texts; this chagrined Mr. Heaton, as he had never doubted but that infant baptism was a gospel ordinance; he went home with a resolution to act the part of the more noble Bereans, and soon met with convictions; after that he went to Kingwood and was baptized by Mr. Bollham; and so satisfied was he with what he had done, that he began to preach up the baptism of repentance in the mountains of Schooly; he labored not in vain; for some of his proselytes went to Kingwood to receive believers baptism. This was the beginning of the Baptist church at Schooly. In 1751, Mr. Heaton was ordained, and then went the next year to Millcreek in Virginia, where he continued a short time; and from thence to Konoloway, in Pennsylvania, where he founded another church; being driven from thence by the Indians, he settled next year at Capemay; from thence he came to Dividing Creek to settle a third church; in the care of which he died in the 66th year of his age, September 26, 1777."
[* This transaction coming to the knowledge of Robert Calver, a Rogerene Baptist, induced him to publish an advertisement in the newspaper, offering twenty dollars reward to any that would produce a text to prove infant baptism. Reverend Samuel Harker took him up, and carried a text to the advertiser; Calver would not allow that infant baptism was in it; Harker sued him; it seems the courts were of Mr. Calvers mind, for Harker was cast and had court charges to pay. After that, Calver published another advertisement, offering a reward of forty dollars for such a text; but none took him up, as Mr. Harkers attempts failed." Infant baptism has been ten thousand times condemned by argument, but this is probably the first time it was ever condemned in a court of law.]
In Salem, 36 miles southwest of Philadelphia, a church was constituted of members from Cohansey in 1755. But Baptists, particularly the Killingsworths and Holmeses, had settled in the place before the year 1700.
The first pastor here was Job Shephard, a descendant of David Shephard from Ireland. His ministry was short, abut respectable. Since him they have had, in succession, John Sutton, now in Kentucky, if alive, Abel Griffiths, Peter P. Vanhorn, and Isaac Skillman, D. D. It is now under the care of a young man, by the name of Joseph Shephard, who was educated in the University of Pennsylvania.
Most of the foregoing sketches are taken from Morgan Edwards Materials, etc. for this state, published in 1792 at which time the number of churches was twenty-three; since then they have increased to over thirty. Of the temporalities of a number of churches, formerly in possession of good estates, no information has been obtained, and of course none can be given.
NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION
For about a hundred years, most of the churches in the state belonged to the Philadelphia Association. Since the one at New York was formed, the churches near the city have associated with that body. In 1811, a number of the Philadelphia churches were dismissed, and the same year were organized into a body by the name above mentioned. Nothing yet has occurred to furnish materials for an historical narrative. It was formed in perfect agreement with the mother body, from motives of convenience.