I gave a couple of talks this weekend at the Cold Spring Presbyterian Church near Cape May, New Jersey. The congregation dates back to 1714 and the building in which I spoke dates to 1823. Most old churches like this have burial grounds, but the Cold Spring Church is situated in the middle of what seems like acres of tombstones, many of them dating back to the 18th century. In fact, one gets the impression that this is a church IN a graveyard rather than a church WITH a graveyard.
One of the first early American history articles I ever published appeared in New Jersey History in the 1999. I wrote a piece about a debate over the proper mode of baptism which occurred in Cape May in 1743. The principal debaters were Samuel Finley, an itinerant evangelical Presbyterian who would later become president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton and Abel Morgan, a prominent Baptist minister from Middletown, New Jersey. The debate probably occurred somewhere near the Cold Spring Church.
Slaves sat in this section of the church balcony
Thanks to Bob, Bonnie, and Damien Bakley for their hospitality during my visit.