CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
aka Zion Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church
aka Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church
753 Sycamore Street
Northeast corner of Maurice & Sycamore Street
following is derived from
zion wesley church is
situated on the corner of Ann Street
(later renamed Maurice
Street-PMC) and Sycamore.
It was first known as the Wesley Church. The congregation is the
outgrowth of a number of prayer meetings which were held in different
houses in the vicinity of the church in 1851 and 1852. The first meeting
was held in the house of William Christopher, on Kaighn
The ministers who officiated at the original meetings were Revs.
George Johnson and Mrs. Mary Adams.
The latter had been a missionary to Africa for five years, took a
great interest in the endeavor to organize a church society and
collected funds to purchase a lot as a site for a church building. In
1853 funds had been raised to build a one-story frame church, which was
completed the same year and dedicated by Bishop Clinton, of
Philadelphia. Thirty-five persons joined the church, and a Sunday school
was started with forty members in attendance. The church was soon after
rebuilt with greater dimensions, but as the church records are
incomplete, the exact date of rebuilding is unknown. In 1880 the old
church building was taken down and a large two-story brick one, forty by
seventy feet, with vestry rooms and gallery, was built, and dedicated
with the present name of Zion Wesley Church. The congregation was then
under the pastoral care of Rev. Joseph P.
Thompson. The ministers who
have been assigned by Conference to this charge are Revs. Thomas Castor,
George Johnson, Arthur J. Scott, William H. Blackston, George Hilton,
George Bausley, J. B. Truster, Joseph P. Thompson, Andrew Jackson,
Abraham Anderson and John H. White. The congregation in 1886 has one
hundred and thirty members. The Sunday school has eighty pupils.
Additional Notes by Phillip Cohen
The church hosted the meetings of A.M.E. Church New Jersey Conference in 1879, 1882, and 1891. By 1947 the congregation raised enough funds to build a fine annex on the west side of the church building, at 1130 Maurice Street. Wesley Zion A.M.E. was still located on Sycamore Street and part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1967, when funeral services were conducted for Private First Class Joseph William Francis Jr., killed in action while serving in Vietnam. Shortly thereafter the church relocated to 7th and Division Streets.
By 1970 a new congregation, the Mount Olive Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, had occupied the building. This group lasted apparently into the 1980s or early 1990s, when the building was abandoned. As of 2006 the Christian Methodist Episcopal denomination does not have a presence in New Jersey. The nearest C.M.E. congregation is in Sharon Hill PA.
The church stands on Sycamore Street, just off of Maurice Street, in the lower left corner of this map.
Click on Image to Enlarge
A.M.E. Church Annex
J. P. THOMPSON
Camden Courier-Post - June 28, 1933
ELKS ON PARADE HERE AS CONVENTION OPENS
More than 2000 members of the I.B.P.E., Colored Elks, participated last, night in a colorful parade here as climax to, the opening day of the tenth annual state convention of the order.
The marchers were reviewed from a stand at the courthouse by J. Finley Wilson, of Philadelphia, grand exalted ruler of the order and his staff.
Pride of Camden Lodge, No. 83, which is acting as host to the visiting members, was led by G. A. Gerran, exalted ruler. Thousands along the line of march applauded their fine appearance in blue and white uniforms.
Among lodges represented were Atlantic City, Orange, Plainfield, Quaker City and O. V. Catto of Philadelphia, Chester and Wilmington lodges and Manhattan Lodge of New York.
Music was provided by many bands, fife and drum corps and string organizations.
The convention was opened in the Kaighn Avenue Baptist Church, Ninth Street and Kaighn Avenue.
William C. Hueston, former assistant solicitor of the U. S. Post Office Department, and Elks' commissioner of education; addressed the meeting, reporting that the organization spends more than $9000 a year for scholarships for colored students.
The delegates were welcomed to Camden by, Assistant Solicitor Lewis Liberman.
Speakers also included William C. Russell of Atlantic City, second vice president of the state association; Ira Hall, past state president; and W. L. Carter, general chairman of the state association committee.
Elections will be held today and the convention will close tonight with a ball at Convention Hall.
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