First Methodist Episcopal Church

First Methodist Episcopal Church; Southwest Corner of South 6th & Stevens Streets; 301 South 6th Street; Postcard based on 1890s photograph; Razed in 2005

301 South 6th Street

Southwest corner of South 6th Street and Stevens Street

The First Methodist Episcopal Church, established in 1809, transitioned to the name Third Street Methodist Episcopal Church in 1899 before relocating to a new building on June 5, 1893. Despite the name change, it was, in fact, the original Methodist Episcopal church in Camden. Before the move, the congregation was also known as First Methodist. In George Reeser Prowell’s History of Camden County, New Jersey, their activities during the Civil War were highlighted.

On April 22, Samuel H. Grey passionately addressed the Board of Freeholders, urging them to allocate funds for the families of volunteer soldiers. John S. Read proposed a resolution for a five-thousand-dollar appropriation, which was unanimously approved. On the evening of the 25th, City Council granted four hundred dollars for the same cause. That same night, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Camden raised one hundred and fifty dollars, using it to purchase five hundred Bibles for the volunteer soldiers of Camden County.

The significant sum of $150 raised in 1861 attested to the church’s esteemed status and the commitment of its members in Camden at that time.

The church held a prominent position in Camden, possibly due to its proximity to City Hall and Cooper Hospital, situated directly across the street. The land for the church was acquired with the assistance of well-known Camden realtor George W. Jessup Sr.

Distinguished members of the church during its tenure on South 6th Street included J. Hartley Bowen, Colonel William H. Cooper, Joseph H. Murray, Charles T. Murray, James M. Cassady, and Samuel Barrett.

Lists of pastors, spanning until 1886 and 1909, are provided below. Reverend Thomas Brock served as pastor in 1924, followed by Reverend Carlton Van Hook in the late 1920s and early 1930s. By the spring of 1933, Reverend George Yard led the church, succeeded by Reverend J.S. Pemberton by February 1938. However, the church is notably absent from the 1956 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory.

Regrettably, the beautiful church at 6th and Stevens met its end in 2005, demolished by Cooper Hospital management to make way for a parking garage.

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