The authoritative source on
  early churches of New Jersey

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We've created a database and photographic inventory on more than half the 18th & 19th century churches in the state and add to it each month. We welcome and solicit all contributions and suggestions from our visitors.

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Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church
Adelphia, Monmouth County

There is much history associated with this congregation—the oldest
Methodist church (according to Ellis) in the county, founded in 1799. The area was originally called Blue Ball, which was derived from an old tavern located here. The church is located only three miles from Freehold and was long known as the Methodist church of Monmouth. Records show that both Francis Asbury and Freeborn Garretson preached here, Asbury on several occasions between 1782 and 1806. In 1786 the Trenton Circuit included
Trenton, Burlington, Pemberton, Mount Holly and this congregation,
then called Monmouth.
     It is not known when the original meetinghouse was built, but the second church was erected across the road from it (on the present site) in 1849. This church was erected in 1899. It is an L-shape plan, common in Methodist and Baptist churches since the Civil War. The entrance is through the tower, which has the original open belfry. The tripartite window in the gable end was a common element in smaller county churches, as the sash-and-blind manufacturing made such demanding carpentry inexpensive and within the financial means of even small congregations.




Copyright (c) 2005 Frank L. Greenagel