Illustration Published

The following is derived from
George Reeser Prowell's
History of Camden County, New Jersey
published in 1886

By Rev. William Boyd

THE SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH was organized on the lat of March, 1860, and, to use the language of its first pastor, it " was launched into being under the fostering care of the First Presbyterian Church, being born, not as new churches sometimes are, out of disaffection or controversy, but out of love for the Master and for the extension of His kingdom."

The Central Church, situated at the corner of Fourth Street and Hartman, after a short and precarious existence, had quietly succumbed to the force of circumstances and had been dissolved by the New School Presbytery of Philadelphia. For several years after its dissolution no attempt had been made to reoccupy the field in which it had stood. In 1859, however, Rev. Dr. Daniel Stewart, pastor of the First Church, urged upon his people the importance of forming another Presbyterian Church. A meeting for this purpose was called for March 23, 1859, at which a committee, composed of Isaac Van Horn, Thomas McKeen, James H. Stevens, George W. Carpenter, Sr., and Gilbert Bulson, were appointed "to seek out and secure one or more sites of church edifices in suitable location, and in the event of finding such loca­tion, to erect a temporary edifice for the purpose of worship and Sabbath-school instruction." This committee, through the influence of Mr. Van Horn, purchased from Edward. A. Stevens, of Hoboken, N. J., four lots of ground situated at the corner of Fourth Street and Washington, Mr. Stevens donating eight hundred dollars of the purchase money. These lots were afterwards exchanged for the lots upon the upper side of the same square, at Fourth Street and Benson, the site of the present church, where a chapel was built, at a cost of nineteen hundred dollars, the money having been contrib­uted mainly by members of the First Church, who, at their next congregational meeting, upon recommendation of the committee, deeded the whole property to the "Trustees of the Second Presbyterian Church."               .

The Presbytery of Burlington met in the chapel March 1, 1860, and organized the church with a membership of twenty persons, viz.: Robert Barber, Thomas F. Lambson, Isaac Van Horn, James Good, Thomas McKeen, Emily Barber, Sarah J. McKeen, Mary A. Turtelot, Mary A. Van Horn, Elizabeth Van Horn, Anne E. Clark, Nancy A. Hoxie, Margaretta Lambson, Jane Marshall, Henrietta Smith, Selina O. Turtelot and Ann E. Van Horn. Upon the same day Mr. Lewis C. Baker was called, ordained and installed as pastor of the church. Isaac Van Horn and Robert Barber were set apart to the office of the eldership, and Isaac Van Horn, Thomas McKeen, Cyrus Kellog, James Good, Thomas F. Lambson, James C. Wright and J. L. Prentiss were constituted the first board of trustees. 

The wisdom of the new enterprise and the advantages of its location soon evidenced themselves. in the rapid growth of the Sabbath school and congregation. The chapel was often uncomfortably crowded, and the need of better accommodation began to be more and more felt. To form the nucleus of a new building fund, Messrs. Van Horn and McKeen fenced in the square of ground lying between Washington Street and Berkley and Third and Fourth, and converted the enclosure into a. skating park. From this novel expedient eighteen hundred dollars were realized, with which, as a basis, Mr. Baker, in 1864, agitated the erection of a new church. A plan was accordingly procured from Stephen D. Button, architect, and in April, 1866, it was resolved to begin the work. Isaac Van Horn and Thomas McKeen were appointed a building committee, with the pastor as an advisory member. The sudden and lamented death, of Mr. Van Horn before the completion of the building necessitated the addition of his son, F. C. Van Horn, and S. L. Stimson to the committee. The building was roofed in during the summer of 1865, and upon the first Sabbath of September, 1866, was solemnly set apart to the service of Almighty God. In the dedication service the First Church united, its former pastor, Dr. Stewart, and W.C. Cattell, D.D., president of Lafayette College, taking a prominent part. The cost of the building was about nineteen thousand dollars.

The history of the Second Church, has been one of constant, steady, healthy growth.   Starting with but twenty persons, it reported to the last General Assembly a membership of three hundred and fifty-five. Its Sabbath school is large and flourishing. A thriving mission is sustained in the "neat building recently erected at the corner of Broadway and Atlantic Avenue, and action will soon be taken looking to the erection of a new and more commodious building upon the site of the present chapel on Fourth Street.

The elders from the beginning have been Isaac Van Horn, Robert Barber, Solomon L. Stimson, Judge George S. Woodhull, William Campbell, Alexander Marcy, M.D., James Berry, Reuben F. Bancroft, John Callahan and Benjamin O. Titus; its deacons have been George W. Carpenter, Jr., George E. Howes, Alfred M. Heston, David B. Riggs, Daniel Donehoo and Francis T. Lloyd; and its Sabbath-school superintendents, Judge Woodhull, William Getty, James Berry, S. Bryan Smith, William H. Bancroft and John Callahan.

During the twenty-six years of its existence the church has had but two pastors. For more than twenty-two years it enjoyed the ministrations of Mr. Baker. His long and faithful term of service had afforded opportunities for quickening the spiritual life of the people, which he had not failed to improve. Beloved both within and beyond the bounds of his congregation, it was a matter of widespread regret that retirement from the pulpit of his church should have been accompanied by a change of residence. The relation which had subsisted between him and his first charge for nearly a quarter of a century was, at his own request, dissolved November 1, 1882.  He now resides in Philadelphia, devoted to literary work, and to such opportunities of preaching the Gospel, by tongue and pen, as Providence may present.

The present pastor, Mr. William Boyd, was installed May 2, 1883. His ministry has been greatly blessed. Large accessions have been made to the membership of the church, the property has been modernized and improved and every department of religious work has been sustained with zeal and vigor.

The officers of the church as at present consti­tuted are,—Elders, Reuben F. Bancroft, Alexander Marcy, M.D., John Callahan, Benjamin O. Titus, John Warnock, David B. Riggs and Daniel Donehoo; Deacons, J. H. Troutman, S. H. Sargent, Clarence Yardley, Valentine S. Campbell and Edwin S. Titus; Trustees, Christopher Bergen (president), John Warnock, John Callahan, Benjamin O. Titus, William T. Waters, David B. Riggs, Theodore B. Culver, Lewis H. Archer, and Stephen A. Sargent (secretary.) . 

History after 1883

The Reverend James C. Russell was pastor in the early 1890s, before going to serve in upstate New York. The Reverend Robert C. Jenkins served as Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in the late 1910s and early 1920s. The church was sold to the Camden Board of Education for $3,500 and reopened as the Central School Annex on November 30, 1925.

New York Times - June 6, 1884

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 7, 1907

Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article

Kaighn Avenue M.E. Church - Rev. J.W. Lee - Rev. Robert W. Peach

Philadelphia Inquirer
July 15, 1907

Rev. H.G. Fithian
American Seaman's Friend Society

Camden Courier-Post - June 12, 1933


Announcement was made yesterday in local Presbyterian churches of the death of Rev. James C. Russell, formerly pastor of the old Second Presbyterian Church, Fourth and Benson Streets, died Wednesday at his home in Oneonta, New York. He was 76. Reverend Mr. Russell served here some 40 years ago and had been pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Oneonta since 1898. He was also a former pastor of the church at Horsehead, New York.

July 2006 - The New Mickle Baptist Church