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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First Presbyterian Church
Cedarville, Cumberland County


About 1838 Presbyterians in the area erected this large red brick church, which is somewhat similar to the Presbyterian church in Pittsgrove, about 25 miles away in Salem county, but fifty years older. The brick pilasters and pediment are not unlike the "bank-front" churches found in several south Jersey towns, although this one has a steeple (added in 1884-1889). That specific style was apparently based on St. George's Methodist Episcopal church in Philadelphia—an amalgam of Georgian and Greek Revival elements. The church's website says the front of the building was erected in 1838 and the belfry in 1884-1889; I accept the date for the belfry, but 1838 seems rather early for the façade of this building, although I would not dispute that a portion of the building dates to that time. The current minister in recent correspondence (August 2004) tells me the church has an old lithograph that shows the façade essentially unchanged since 1838 or 1839. I can't argue with the facts, so will have to revise my chronology about the first appearance of this style of architecture; an 1838 date makes this the first church in the state to adopt this style, probably by at least twenty years, and makes it roughly contemporaneous with St. George's.
     This is a daughter church of the Presbyterian congregation in Fairton, organized by a part of that congregation who wanted to worship closer to home in 1838.




Copyright (c) 2003 Frank L. Greenagel