The Union Methodist Episcopal Church (25*), of Wilmington, north-west corner of Fifth and Washington Streets, was established originally in 1847, by Rev. Edward Kennard, as the Orange Street Society. Mr. Kennard was a supernumerary of the Philadelphia Conference. In 1847 he removed to Wilmington from Elkton, Maryland., and purchased the building corner Third and Orange Streets, previously used by a society of Methodist Protestants. Here he organized the Orange Street Methodist Episcopal Society with fifty-three members, and it was placed under the care of Rev. J. Castle, pastor of St. Paul’s Church, with Rev. Mr. Kennard as supernumerary. In 1849 Rev. H.S. Atmore was assigned to the charge in conjunction with Mr. Kennard. In this year there were seventy three members and a Sunday-school of one hundred. During the early part of Mr. Atmore’s term a lot was secured on Second near Washington Street, on which to build a new church, and building operations proceeded until the edifice was ready for the roof. The corner-stone was laid with Masonic ceremonies, and this caused a disaffection which resulted in the disbanding of the church and suspension of the work. In the fall of 1849 Miss Margaret Rumford, a member of Asbury Church, contributed sufficiently to roof the building, and the following year Rev. Andrew Manship was appointed to Union Mission, as the abandoned church was called. He found the former congregation scattered and a debt of twenty-six hundred dollars on the unfinished structure. He began services on Odd Fellows’ Hall, Third and King Streets, with Miss Margaret Rumford and one other lady as sole members of his congregation. Soon, however, the mission grew and a new board of trustees, consisting of Asa Pointsett, George McGee, John Rudolph, Albert Thatcher, Grubb Talley, Thomas H. Baynard and Edward Moore, completed the building of the church, at a cost of seven thousand dollars, and it was dedicated by Bishop E.R. Ames, November 28, 1850. At the close of Mr. Manship’s first year the church had one hundred and fifty-four members, one hundred and forty probationers, and a Sunday-school of two hundred scholars. In addition to the trustees named, the following were the original church officers: Class Leaders, Barney C. Harris, John Boyce, Isaac McConnell, William Edmundson and Albert Thatcher; Stewards, Asa Pointsett, John Rudolph, George McGee and John M. Guire; Exhorters, William Edmundson, Franklin Supplee and Cyrus Stern, Cyrus Stern was also the first Sunday-school superintendent and was assisted by Miss Margaret Rumford, who was the first female superintendent. In 1865 it was determined to build a larger church in a better location and the present Union Church is the result. The committee appointed to take the matter in charge consisted of Rev. J.D. Curtis, pastor; Cyrus Stern Stephen Postles, Henry F. Pickels, Wm. Edmundson, Asa Pointsett and Wesley Talley. This committee purchased the lot and appointed three of their number, Stephen Postles, Cyrus Stern and Jethro McCollough, as building committee. Of the latter Mrs. Postles contributed more than one-tenth of the entire cost. The lecture room was dedicated December 23, 1866, and the auditorium November 17, 1868, by Bishops E.R. Ames and Levi Scott. The cost of the edifice was thirty-six thousand dollars. Of the members who joined during Mr. Manship’s first year, the following remain: Margaret Rumford, Barney C. Harris, Eliza Harris, Letitia Hammitt, Susan Sinex, Cyrus Stern, Caroline Stern, Eliza Lewis, Lizzie Hallowell, Maria Edmundson, Hannah McDonald, Mary Robinson, Susan Ford, Catherine D. Kelley, Mary A. Flagler, Joanna Gordon, James Dawson, Mary Dawson. The church has now five hundred and fifty members, with seven hundred and fifty in the Sunday-school. The pastors have been— Orange Street, from 1847 to 1850: 1847, Edward Kennard, supernumerary; 1848, J. Castle (in connection with St. Paul); 1849, H.S. Atmore (Union), 1850–51, Andrew Manship; 1852–53, Joshua Humphries; 1854–55, John B. Maddux; 1856, J.T. Cooper; 1857–58, John Ruth; 1859–60, William Barnes; 1861–62, John Arthur; 1863–64, James A. Brindle; 1865–66, J.D. Curtis; 1867–68, W.E. England; 1869–70, S.L. Gracy; 1871, J.H. Lightbourne; 1872–73, Charles Hill; 1874–76, T.E. Martindale; 1877–79, J.B. Mann; 1880–82, Adam Stengle; 1883–85, C.W. Prettyman; 1886–87, Adam Stengle.
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