Main content

Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church record book


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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

The Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church grew out of a meeting of Methodists in Wilmington, Delaware in late 1884. The church organized a Sunday school in January 1885, which was held in a store at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Linden Street. Religious services were first held on the second floor of the Weccacoe Fire House before the completion of a small brick church at the corner of South Jackson and Linden Street in 1887. The church building soon became too small to accommodate the congregants and a new church was constructed at the same site in 1890. The church ceased activities in 1925 and the building was used as a community center for several years. In 1934, the building was sold to the Knights of St. Hedwig, an organization connected to the nearby St. Hedwig’s Roman Catholic Church.

Zebley, Frank R. The Churches of Wilmington. Wilmington, DE: Frank R. Zebley, 1947.The Evening Journal, Wilmington, DE, August 22, 1908, p. 5 Information derived from the collection.

This volume contains records from the Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church of Wilmington, Delaware, from 1885 to 1914.

A printed table of contents divides the volume into seven sections: Record of Pastors, Record of Official Members, Record of Classes, Record of Members in Full Connection, Record of Probationers, Record of Marriages, and Record of Baptisms. The Record of Pastors shows that nine pastors ministered to the church between 1885 and 1914. The Record of Official Members lists members who held a position in the church as a local preacher, exhorter, steward, leader, trustee, or Sunday School superintendent. All of the positions were held by men apart from three women acting as stewards. The Record of Classes shows that five different classes were offered to congregants.

The Record of Members in Full Connection is arranged alphabetically with the names of charter members listed at the beginning. This record provides information on congregants’ names and marital status, as well as how they were received into the church and if they were removed from membership. Congregants could become members with a letter or certificate from another congregation stating that they were in good standing. They could also undergo examination or be subject to a probationary period. Congregants were removed for various reasons, including moving to another congregation (with or without a certificate), expulsion, or death. Other explanations for removal include notations that the congregant did not attend, “backslid,” or was simply “no good.” The Record of Probationers follows a similar format, recording probationers’ names, marital status, residence, and the outcome of their probation. Most probationers were either dropped or received into full connection with the church.

The volume also contains records regarding marriage and baptism. The first marriage was performed in October 1886 and the last in February 1896. These records provide information on the bride and groom’s name, age, and residence at the time of marriage. The baptismal records show that most congregants were baptized as infants, but a large number of adults were baptized as well. Some baptisms were performed at the church, but others were done offsite. The first baptism was performed in February 1885 and the last in March 1896.

This volume is bound with black cloth over boards with a leather spine and corners. There is gilt decoration on the edges of the spine and the corners of the covers. The edges of the pages are marbled. The volume has a printed title page which reads “The Church Record of the Wesley Methodist-Episcopal Church Wilmington Delaware” with “Wesley” and “Wilmington Delaware” handwritten in black ink. The volume contains printed space for records and handwritten entries in black ink and pencil. A list of trustees is recorded in pencil on the back flyleaf. The volume contains 168 pages.

Item 0094: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Gift of Henry Clay Reed, 1965

Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, July 2017.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2017 July 10
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church record book, 1885-1914.
Item 0094
Physical Description

1 volume

Print, Suggest