authoritative source on
early churches of New Jersey
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.
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List of churches, by county
Links to related sites
First Presbyterian Church
Elizabeth, Union County
The congregation of "Old First" was organized in 1666, which
makes it the oldest English-speaking congregation in the state. This
third church on the site. The first was probably erected in 1665 or
shortly thereafter by Puritan settlers from Connecticut and Long Island;
it served as the town's meetinghouse and even hosted the initial sessions
of the General Assembly. That building was replaced in 1724 by a building
that much resembled this, although not nearly as large. British troops
burned that structure in 1780 following their defeat at the Battle
of Springfield, when they also burned Presbyterian churches in Connecticut
Farms and Springfield.
This large brick and sandstone building
between 1783 and 1793, and the exterior is essentially unchanged since that
toronado in 1889 tore off the steeple, and the church suffered as disasterous
1946, but the exterior walls were sound and the interior was reconstructed in
a manner close to its Colonial original. Originally
the church was
most of the very early Presbyterian
in the state
were, but by 1715 or so, it had affiliated with the Presbytery of Philadelphia.
National Register and HABS.