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Pennepack Baptist Church collection


Held at: Pennepack Baptist Historical Foundation [Contact Us]8732 Krewstown Rd, Philadelphia, PA, 19115

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Pennepack Baptist Historical Foundation. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

"...In 1683 a group of five Welsh Baptists arrived in Philadelphia...and settled on Pennypack Creek near present day Bustleton [a neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, Pa.]. By 1688 their numbers had increased to twelve and, led by Reverend Elias Keach, they established their congregation [known as Pennepack Baptist or Lower Dublin Baptist Church], using Pennypack Creek for their baptismal services.

"After meeting in members' homes for some 19 years they constructed their first church building in 1707 on what is now Krewstown Road, on the edge of Pennypack Park. That same year Pennepack Baptist joined together with four other Baptist churches in the region to form the Philadelphia Baptist Association, the first Baptist association in the new world. The 1707 church building was enlarged in 1774 and then replaced by the present building in 1805. In 1885 the congregation built and occupied a new building about a mile away, but in 2006 they sold this building and moved back to the original 1805 church, where they remain [as of 2014].

"Pennepack Baptist, also known at times as Lower Dublin Baptist Church, grew from the original twelve charter members in 1688 to a congregation of over 300 by the early nineteenth century. Among its notable pastors and parishioners were Samuel Jones, pastor for 51 years (1762-1814), who was an early graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and who went on to help found Brown University in Rhode Island; Ebenezer Kinnersley, who became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and worked with Benjamin Franklin on his experiments with electricity; and a number of Revolutionary War veterans who are buried in the church cemetery. The latter include Dr. Enoch Edwards, a leading patriot who was an attending physician to George Washington during the War and who helped draft Pennsylvania's 1776 and 1790 constitutions, and several members of the Holme family, the prominent local family for whom the neighborhood of Holmesburg is named.

"[As of 2014]...membership in Pennepack Baptist has declined and the congregation is now back to around a dozen active members, the same size as the original founding group. Pennepack Baptist does not presently have a pastor, but is led by a lay leader."

The Pennepack Baptist Historical Foundation was established in 2010 to preserve the Church and promote its history.


McCarthy, Jack. "Pennepack Baptist Church...325 Years and Counting." June 25, 2013. Accessed June 25, 2014.

This collection consists primarily of scrapbooks with photocopied and printed materials and some original documents. Additionally, the collection contains original manuscript materials such as late nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs, administrative volumes, cemetery deed certificates, and legal papers. Newspaper clippings, genealogy and other materials are also present in the collection.

The scrapbooks, 1844-2013, were compiled in the late 20th and early 21st centuries by church member Pat Stopper. The scrapbooks contain church ephemera such as pamphlets, flyers, and programs; newspaper clippings about the church; and photographs and slides of the church (mid 20th to early 21st centuries), church related events, and people associated with the church. Some items in the scrapbooks are copies. There are also photocopies of original documents, handwritten notes including baptisms and member lists, and an original document from 1844. One scrapbook focuses mainly on the Pennepack Baptist Church cemetery and contains handwritten notes on burials, genealogy correspondence and notes, copies of original documents (including a number of early cemetery certificates), and original early 20th century cemetery deed certificates.

Additionally, the collection includes late 19th century and early 20th century photographs of the church building, a deed for a cemetery plot (1866), a plan of the church's burial ground (1889), legal papers regarding the care of burial lots (circa 1930s), and loose newspaper clippings.

A data CD with a copy of the Lower Dublin Baptist Church (now known as Pennepack Baptist Church) first minute book, 1687-1894, and an original volume that contains both the organization's minutes, 1894-1956, and a church roll with membership, baptisms, and transfers, 1894-1967, are available in the collection. The original 1687-1894 minute book is stored at the American Baptist Historical Society in Atlanta, Georgia.

The collection also contains a few other manuscript volumes including a minute book of the Board of Christian Education at Lower Dublin Baptist Church, 1965-1978, and a registration book for the church's 250th anniversary in 1938.

Genealogy materials include inquiries, notes, and some donated family histories. A grave index is available on-site.

The collection includes records generated by the Pennepack Baptist Church and materials donated by its members. A large portion of materials, especially the scrapbooks, were donated by Pat Stopper.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Pennepack Baptist Historical Foundation directly for more information.

Pennepack Baptist Historical Foundation
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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Collection Inventory

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