Church and Family History Research Assistance

for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania



Pennepek, or Lower Dublin Church was organized in January 1688, with Elder Elias Keach as pastor, with twelve members (including Elder Keach), viz., John Eaton, George Eaton, Jane Eaton, Sarah Eaton, Samuel Jones (these were all members of a Baptist church in Llanddewi and Nautmel, in Radnorshire, of which Henry Gregory was pastor), John Baker (member of a church in Kilkenny, Ireland, of which Christopher Blackwell was pastor), Samuel Vans (from England), Joseph Ashton, Jane Ashton, William Fisher, and John Watts (the last four being baptized by Elder Elias Keach in the year 1687 after he came among them).

In its early history, this church had meetings in several places which were finally dismissed to organize new churches. Pennepek Church was one of the charter members of the Philadelphia Association.


In the year 1684, the Elder Thomas Dungan immigrating, with others, from Rhode Island, founded the first Baptist community in Pennsylvania. This body of baptized believers existed until 1702, when it was absorbed by the church at Pennepek -- the first distinguished and permanent Baptist Church in the province. On the second Sabbath in December, 1698, five males and four females were organized into a Regular Baptist Church, in the store-house on the Barbadoes lot, at the N. W. corner of Second and Chestnut streets, Philadelphia.

During this time, however, the Philadelphia church was regarded as a branch of the church at Pennepek, and it was not until 1746 that the Philadelphia brethren were separated from the Pennepek Church, by regular letters of dismission, dated April 5, 1746. On the 15th day of May, 1746, the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia was constituted, with a membership of fifty-six, and Elder Jenkin Jones was the first pastor.


The Second Baptist Church (Budd Street) was constituted "in the Northern Liberties of Philadelphia," on March 5, 1803, with twenty charter members, viz., Isaac Johnson, Jacob Burkellow, Thomas Timming, Cornelius Trimmul, Philip Halzell, James Wiley, John Ellis, William McGee, Jacob Boyer, Isaac Carr, Catherine Burkellow, Anna King, Elizabeth Collard, Mary Timmnings, Margaret Beaks, Lydia West, Ann Hartley, Sarah Springer, Hannah Thomas, and Mary Trimmul.

In 1824 the Budd Street Church (or Second Baptist) was located on the west side of Budd Street (later changed to New Market Street), above Poplar Lane, in the Northern Liberties. Elder Thomas J. Kitts was then the pastor. Their first meeting house was erected in 1803. The church building was sold to a Jewish congregation in 1871. However, it had ceased to be an Old School Baptist Church, after it divided in 1839. An account describing the preaching of Elder Kitts and Elder Kennard (a Missionary) appears in a tribute to Elder Kitts, at this page: In Memory of Elder Thomas Jefferson Kitts



Salem Church, in Philadelphia, was organized at the home of Elder Thomas Durfee, on December 30, 1841, where a presbytery met to consider the propriety of organizing a church, which was agreed to, and publickly confirmed on January 1, 1842. The presbytery was composed of Elders Thomas Barton and John Miller, of Delaware, and Elder James B. Bowen, of Southampton Church, Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. In November 1851, there was announcement of a special meeting to be held in "their room, 2nd story of Independent Hall, No. 125, North 4th Street, beneath Callowhill street. In 1877, a notice stated that the church was meeting at the north-east corner of Ninth and Spring Garden Streets, second story (entrance on Ninth St.), and that Elder William J. Purington was serving the church as pastor.

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