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early churches of New Jersey
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Locktown Baptist Church
Locktown, Delaware Township, Hunterdon County
Organized in 1742 by a group of early settlers in Baptisttown, the
first log church was erected by the in 1750 on or near the present site
in Delaware Township. Previously they had to travel about 12 miles to
the Old School Baptist Church (built in 1715) in Hopewell
for services. A frame church was erected later, then in 1819, this stone
building, known as the Lower Meeting House. The village
takes its name from the Lockatong Creek which runs nearby.
A segment of the congregation split off
and built another church in Baptisttown, which still flourishes, but
the last Old School Baptist services were held in this building in 1962.
It was saved from public sale in 1973 and is now owned by the township.
The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
There is original glass in many of the windows and the original pews
in the balcony sport many old sets of initials, undoubtedly carved over
generations of seemingly interminable sermons. The building was originally
stuccoed, and the roof was wooden shingles.
The church records, dating to 1742 note
an astonishing number of investigations, suspensions, exclusions and
excommunications in addition to baptisms and payment authorizations.
In 1749 our deare Brother Malakiah Bonham is ordained as Minister
and pasture [sic] over this church. In February 1757 the record
notes, Mary Fox [is] suspended for having a bastard child which
she swore was Malakiah Bonhams. Malakiah Bonham will be notified.
In August of that year, the record indicates Malakiah found guilty
and barred from the church. In 1761, the minutes note, Mr.
Bonham cut off from privileges, and later that year, Mr.
Bonham appeared to express his desire for his place in the church which
was denied him. The final reference to Bonham appears in the September
5 minutes, Mr. Bonham continued to be denied place in the church.