Historical Notes on Asbury Church and Yard
Compiled by Andrew R. English,
a member and trustee of Asbury for over fifty years
The history of Asbury Church reaches back to primitive Methodism in Atlantic County. In the year of 1822 a few people who possessed by genuine religious spirit and enterprise which characterized the Methodist Societies secured the old “Blackman Meeting House” for place of worship. The history of this meeting house goes back to about 1764. The name was changed to the “Zion Methodist Episcopal Church”. The building stood back of the present Zion Church.
Once Methodism was established it started to spread and in five years’ time or about 1827, the first church was started at English Creek. Here was organized a society and a meeting house was built and called the “English Meeting House”.
The building stood about ninety feet east of the present church and north of the walk south of the church.
The growth of the society was such that the building was rebuilt twice. In 1852 the congregation made an application to the Court of Common Pleas to form a church to be known as the “Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church”. The application was granted and a new building was erected on the foundation of the present church.
The building burnt down in 1860, from a defective flue. A new church was built on the same foundation and was dedicated in 1863, and is the same building in use today.
The old yard was first used as family burying ground for the English clan. The land was originally owned by Joseph English c.1670 – 1725, who had married Hannah Clift of Burlington. In 1714 he gave his son John large tracts of land at English Creek. He (John) settled there and built a saw mill on the Creek.
The land descended in title to James English, 1795 – 1855 who with his wife Mary Lake, on Feb. 14, 1827 conveyed to Abel English, James English, John Beaston, John Perry, Thomas Bevis, Jacob Somers and Andrew Scull trustees to the “English Meeting House”, One Acre of land.
The balance of the land descended to Peter English, who with his wife Elizabeth Gifford conveyed another One Acre of land to Constant Smith, Thomas Bevis, James E. Smith, Abel Ingersoll, Joseph English and Enoch Scull, Trustees of the “English Meeting House”. This was in the year 1860 prior to rebuilding the church.
The balance of the tract some 13 Acres of land was conveyed by Peter and Elizabeth Gifford English to Joseph E. Smith the builder of the new church, who later conveyed it to the trustees.
About 1890 the new yard was laid out in regular form, square lots with walks and roads.
- This was copied from the book “Asbury Church Records” presented to Asbury United Methodist Church in August 1976. It is compiled by Bertie Sheridan, Loretta King, June Sheridan, and Ruth Taylor.