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Our History

The early community now known as Jamesburg was settled mainly by those of Scottish Presbyterian conviction, and grew up as a mill site in the center of the area served by Protestant churches in Tennent, Cranbury, and Spotswood. As the village of Jamesburg increased in size and importance as a railroad center, religious services were held with some regularity in the local schoolhouse until 1853 when trustees were elected and a building committee authorized to erect a church to be known as "The Presbyterian Church, Jamesburg, New Jersey".


The land where the church and manse now stand was given by James Buckelew, the man for whom the Borough is named. The first piece of the building erected is still the main part of the sanctuary and was forty-five feet long and thirty-eight feet wide with a spire and stained glass windows. It was situated upon an eminence which made its spire visible from all entrances to the town.




On June 6, 1854, the New Brunswick Presbytery convened at Jamesburg and a church was organized consisting of the following eleven charter members: John Calvin Vanderveer, Hannah Hunt Vanderveer, Samuel Marryott, Ann Maria Griggs Marryott, James Mount, Mahala Everett Mount, Margaret Snedeker Buckelew, Catharine Vanderveer Applegate, Sarah Davison, John Booream Johnson, and David C. Bastedo. Mr. Vanderveer and Mr. Johnson, having previously been ordained in Cranbury and Tennent, served as the first two ruling elders.


The first pastor, the Reverend J. Halstead Carroll, was ordained and installed on May 30, 1855. The early years of the church's life were beset with financial difficulties, horseshed problems, and building repairs; nevertheless, the membership steadily increased. The first addition of many to the building became necessary in 1867 because of the demand for pews which were individually rented.


The Reverend Benjamin S. Everitt, D.D. was installed as the third pastor in 1870 and continued to serve for twenty-seven years during which time there was much activity in all branches of the church's life: administration, finance, interest in missions, membership, and revivals. At one communion service alone, one hundred thirty-seven new members were received!

Manse Dr Mrs Benjamin S Everitt_1890_edi

1890 Dr. & Mrs. Everitt at the manse

The social hall to the rear of the church building and the two transepts in the church were added in 1871 and in 1883, the present two-towered front was erected including the vestibules. By 1885 gifts of land from the heirs of Abraham S. Davison and James Buckelew increased the extent of the church property to almost its present size.



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Mrs. George A. Helme, wife of the Helmetta tobacco factory owner, knowing of the great need for better kitchen facilities and more church school rooms, offered to build an addition to the church in honor of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac S. Buckelew. On November 12, 1933 "Buckelew Memorial", an addition extending northward thirty-two feet with an overall width of fifty feet, was dedicated. The plan of the church now assumed the figure of a cross.

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circa 1930

Extensive renovations to the interior of the sanctuary in 1950 included a new organ, new lighting, hardwood flooring, painting, and pew renovation. October 8, 1950 was observed as Dedication Sunday and a covered dish luncheon followed morning service.

In 1958 the church underwent yet another major renovation program whereby the chapel meeting room was completely refinished, a new modern kitchen was installed, and the old kitchen space made available for use by church groups. New stairways and doors were installed. In 1961 the church purchased the adjoining property at 177 Gatzmer Avenue and renovated it so that the first floor contained pastoral and church offices and the second floor became an apartment. Extensive renovations were made in the manse and the exterior of the church was painted.

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We will always provide a welcoming place of worship for all.

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