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early churches of New Jersey
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Grace Methodist Episcopal church
Dover, Morris County
This is a large meetinghouse, parts of which may date back to 1838;
it was "rebuilt" in 1890, and the aluminum siding added
later. This building does not clearly fit into the prevailing style
1890s, which leads me to infer that much of the building may be original,
with the tower and window treatments dating to the later rebuilding.
If one ignores some of the fancier trimmings, the church follows Bishop
dictum to build plain and simple.
The previous church,
less than half the size of this, sits only a few blocks away on Sussex Street.
Francis Asbury’s journal for August 10, 1796
notes that he visited Dover; that visit did not result in formation of a Methodist
class, however, and for
several decades thereafter, Methodist preachers were turned away from the town.
1838, when Methodists were the largest denomination in the state, it appears
was able to organize. Grace was presumably a daughter of the First Methodist,
or perhaps the result of a schism over slavery, which was a common reason why
Methodist congregations split off in the decades leading to the Civil War.