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.
We welcome and solicit all contributions and suggestions from our visitors.
to use this site
Respond to readers' queries
Consult the database
Annotate the database
Upload a photo
Suggest a church for inclusion
List of churches, by county
Links to related sites
Ellisdale, Burlington County
Henry Beck (in Fair to Midlands) tells of an early Quaker meetinghouse
in the vicinity of Ellisdale—the Walnford Meeting, which he said
was organized about 1700. That seems improbably early. The
meetinghouse was located a short distance from what is now
Monmouth County’s Historic Walnford Park, a 36 acre village/
plantation that was founded in 1734. An important owner of
the plantation in 1772, Richard Waln, was a wealthy Philadelphia Quaker who sympathized with the British, which meant his
property was subject to confiscation. He established his family on
Crosswicks Creek during the Revolutionary War, and though he was
interned for a while, he eventually was paroled. That suggests that
the mid-to-late 1770s is a more likely date for construction of the
meetinghouse. His nephew, in fact, was a Quaker “minister” during this period.
Sometime early in the nineteenth century
the meetinghouse was moved across the road and served as a
public school; in the twentieth century it was converted into
a residence. There have been more changes in the last several
years. A few years ago I corresponded with a lady who grew
up in the house, which was even then known as a former Friends
meetinghouse; she said the recent changes made it all but unrecognizable to her.
It appears as a Quaker meetinghouse/school
on Wolverton’s Atlas of Monmouth County, published in
1884, and there are other documents that testify to its existence.
Ellis, quoting Gordon’s Gazetteer (published in 1834),
notes that there was a Quaker meetinghouse near Ellisdale
Village which had been used as a schoolhouse by the Friends
of the Arneytown Meeting. In a subsequent entry he notes that
it was built before 1812, and that in 1867 it was moved across
the road. That may not settle the matter for everyone, but the evidence is pretty convincing to me.