An American Family History

Scotch Plains Baptist Church

  Amariah Bonham was one of the organizing members.
Baptist churches were found in early colonial settlements and grew out of the English Separatist movement and the doctrine of John Smyth who rejected infant baptism.

Scotch Plains was the first-born of Piscataway church, organized in 1747. Local mission work had developed Baptist strength in the neighborhood. Its name was given to the locality in 1685. A few Scotch families had moved there in 1684-5 and stayed a short time and the name has clung to it since. But few names characteristic of Piscataway are among the constituents of Scotch Plains.

At the organization of 1st Cape May church in 1712, an innovation is the names of women as constituents of the church. This was the first mention of women as constituents. Since then, there has been no exception of the names of wives and daughters as constituents. At Scotch Plains, there were seven women and eight men . . .

In 1742, Baptists agitated the question of putting up a house of worship at the Plains, though the movement was local, it had the cooperation of the mother church. The plan was carried out in 1743. Tradition reports that "Scotch Plains lent a hand" to put up the building and that it was enlarged in 1758. . .

The Scotch Plains Baptist church accepted a fundamental Baptist doctrine of individual liberty to interpret the Scripture. Accordingly, at the first church meeting they chose deacons and"Ruling Elders." Many Baptist churches in earlier days, held that "Ruling Elders" was a legitimate Scriptural office for churches. . .

The house built in 1743, was in use for fifteen years. It was too small for the congregation and was enlarged in 1758 and destroyed by fire in the winter of 1816-17. . .

The church has shared largely with other Baptist churches in the labors of eminent pastors, both as respects their culture, intelligence and spirituality. Rev. Mr. Miller, the first pastor, when a young man was said to be "wild and forward," which means that he was a forceful man and had in him the making of a man and all of his later life proved him to be a man among men. . .

Piscataway Township in New Jersey was first settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists who had left the Puritan colony in New Hampshire.

New Jersey's first permanent European settlement was in 1660.


New Jersey's first permanent European settlement was in 1660.

The Scotch Plains Church was organized September 8, 1747, with the following members who were dismissed from Piscataway Church, viz., William Darby, Recompence Stanbery, John Lambert, John Dennis, John Stanbery, Henry Crosley, John Sutton, Jr., Isaac Manning, Mary Brodwell, Mary Green, Mary Dennis, Tibiah Sutton, Catharine Manning, Sarah De Camp, and Sarah Perce.

In February 1748, Benjamin Miller was ordained to be their minister, by Elders Benjamin Stelle, and Abel Morgan. The church joined the Philadelphia Association. According to the Minutes of the Philadelphia Association, corroborated by Morgan Edwards these persons, appointed to come together on the 8th day of September, 1747, and having Abel Morgan and James Mott of Middletown for their assistants, they spent the fore part of the day in prayer and fasting; and afterwards gave themselves, in a solemn manner, to the Lord and to one another, by the will of God; and, after the usual solemnity, were owned as a sister church.

Robert Webb, Church and Family History Research Assistance for Primitive Baptist Churches in the State of New Jersey



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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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