There is a small church in Delaware Township with a very long history. It is known as the Amwell Church of the Brethren, sometimes called the Dunkard Church for its practice of adult baptism. It seems to be a sort of outlier, quite different from the major religious groups who first appeared in Hunterdon County. Those were Quaker, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican (Episcopalian), Lutheran, Methodist, German Calvinist, and Dutch Reformed. They all had congregations throughout the county and hundreds of worshippers. But the Brethren church didn’t even have a church building until 1811, and never grew to any great size, despite two spin-off churches. And yet, it has endured for 283 years. Although that is a long time, there are eight church in Hunterdon County that were founded before 1733. They are:
Here are two versions of the history of the Amwell Church of the Brethren in Hunterdon County. The first was written by Jonathan M. Hoppock and published in the Democrat-Advertiser on October 17, 1901. Short and sweet. The second one, a little bit longer, was written by Egbert T. Bush and published in the Hunterdon County Democrat on March 26, 1931. Mr. Bush’s ‘history’ is truncated, and as he put it— “it is not the intent to give here anything more than the merest sketch of church history, an indispensable part in any sketch of the community.” He was always more interested in the members of a community than institutional histories, and so he spends more time on those who were buried in the three cemeteries associated with the church members.
I have written a few articles recently concerning the neighborhood of Bowne Station (“The Daybooks of Dr. Bowne,” “The Bowne Homestead,” “Bowne Station” and “The Bosenbury and Taylor Graveyards”), and have frequently come across references to the first settlers in that area, one Jacob Moore and his wife, Apolonia Amy Moret. Just when I thought I had published all articles by Egbert T. Bush and Jonathan M. Hoppock pertaining to the early history of the Moore family in Amwell, another one turned up. Actually, two articles, “Old Farms in Old Hunterdon” and “Farewell Relic of Another Age.”
During the Civil War, Republicans called Democrats who opposed the war “Copperheads,” likening them to poisonous snakes. Many of these “Copperheads” could be found in Northern States like New Jersey, and in Hunterdon County.
My original intention was to publish an article by Jonathan M. Hoppock on the history of the Baptist Church in Locktown. And that is what I will do here, but after reading his article, I discovered that some of the ministers he listed had troubled careers, and that, of course, makes them interesting. But first, here is Mr. Hoppock’s history of the Church.