Skip to main content

Strawbridge Methodist Episcopal Church records

Identifier: MS 1799


This collection contains the parish registers, membership roll books, church guest books, church minutes, and treasurer's reports for Strawbridge Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore. Also included is a typescript history of the church written by Susanna A. Forsyth.


  • 1843-1954


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note

In June 1836, a Sunday School was started in the Richmond Market neighborhood, in the home of Mr. William Coulter at about 850 North Howard Street. This Sunday School grev rapidly.

In 1839, to accommodate this growing Sunday School a frame chapel was built at a cost of $1,000.00 on the lot now known as 887-889 North Howard Street and dedicated in February 1840.

In April 1843 the Howard Street Station of the Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated to provide a church building.

In 1845, the lot at Garden (Linden) and Biddle Streets was purchased and the corner stone of the new building was laid on September 4, 1845. By 1846 services were held on the ground floor and in 1847 the auditorium was completed and dedication took place in November 1848. The new Church grew apace, outstanding revivals resulted, the revival of 1858 lasted three months and 350 people were converted. In some years as many as sixteen active class meetings were carried on. In 1858 the Church was partially burned, it was rebuilt and improvements were made.

The missionary zeal of these early Methodists was high, attempts were made to establish Sunday Schools in needed localities, the effort in Hampden resulted in the formation of a separate charge, Mount Vernon Station with a membership of 200.

In 1860 Howard Street Station had its name changed to Strawbridge Methodist Episcopal Church, but the charter was not amended until January 25, 1883.

In 1881, Dr. John F. Goucher was appointed Pastor and his first text was Rise and Build, for the neighborhood of Garden (Linder) and Biddle Streets was fast becoming a business district and there was need for a larger church in a residential section.

Mr. Erastus Mitten offered a site at Park Avenue and Wilson Street, this was accepted and the building at Garden (Linden) and Biddle Streets was sold to a colored congregation.

While the new building was being constructed services were held in a tent on a lot adjoining. On December 31, 1881 a Watchnight. Service was held in the newly finished Chapel.

In June 1882, the church proper was dedicated free of debt, by Bishop Matthew Simpson.

In 1885, a Parsonage was built on Wilson Street, adjoining the Church, this became later a Guild House, next a rented Parsonage until a property was secured on Bolton Street south of Wilson Street, this was used until the one at 1719 Park Avenue was acquired.

The Rev. R. W. H. Weech served longer than any other Pastor, his two terms amounted to nine years, fruitful years and of gracious memory.

Miss Nellie Mathews, whose membership began in 1882, continues to give faithful and valuable service to Strawbridge Church.

Dr. C. Guyer Kelly, before becoming a missionary, gave splendid service to Strawbridge Church; he is now head of a Boys' School in Tunis, North Africa, and the famous organizer of inter-racial baseball teams.


7.0 Linear Feet (7 flat boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Reverend Mervin Gray, March 1970.

Scope and Contents

The records of the Strawbridge M.E. Church consist of 15 vols. and approximately 260 items (in 7 document boxes). The bulk of the collection is made up of parish registers and roll books. Also important are a number of church minutes and treasurer's reports. And there are miscellaneous other reports for various church organizations and special committees, Sunday School lists, correspondence, etc. There is a good typescript history of the church too, done by one of the members in 1932.

The parish registers and roll books exist from its founding as a church in 1843 up through the mid 1950's. The registers contain lists of members, marriages and baptisms, while the roll books list only members. But books of marriages, baptisms and funerals for the time of the roll books make the records fairly complete.

The church mimutes [UNK] reports are extant for 1930-1940's only--and, even though not complete, are valuable. There are also Quarterly Conference Records for the early 1940's, pastoral reports, etc.

The miscellaneous reports contain many interesting items like a survey of the neighborhood to determine the unchurched, which unfortuneately does not record the date it was made, minutes of different church organizations, reports of the Finance Campaign of the Maryland Council of Churches, 1939-41, and material for a 1954 audit.

Finally, very important is a typescript history of the church, complete with pictures and clippings done in 1932 by Miss Suaanna A. Forsyth, and several one page capsule summaries of the church's history.

Except for roll books, the records of this Baltimore church are not complete--though often the run is long enough to get an idea of trends, etc. Also unfortunately, not everything is dated, so some items' intrinsic worth is diminished.

Guide to the Strawbridge Methodist Episcopal Church records
Under Revision
N.G. Boles
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2019-12-09: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States