Trinity Church (Swedesboro, New Jersey)
|Location||Northwest corner of Church Street and King's Highway, Swedesboro, New Jersey|
|Area||2.5 acres (1.0 ha)|
|Architect||Rev. Nicholas Collin|
|Architectural style||Georgian, Federal|
|NRHP reference No.||73001098|
|Added to NRHP||January 29, 1973|
|Designated NJRHP||May 1, 1972|
Trinity Church (also known as Old Swedes' Church) is a historic church on the northwest corner of Church Street and King's Highway in Swedesboro (originally called Racoon), in Gloucester County, New Jersey, United States.
The congregation was founded as a Swedish Lutheran parish in 1703 after local residents tired of crossing the river to Delaware or Philadelphia to worship. The first minister, Lars Tollstadius, arrived in the area in 1701. The church was the first Swedish congregation in New Jersey and originally it worshiped in a log building. Services were held in Swedish until 1784. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 for its significance in architecture and religion.
In 1641, Peter Hollander Ridder, the second governor of New Sweden purchased from local Indians the entire eastern side of the Delaware River extending from Raccoon Creek to Cape May. The first settlement by the Swedes was on the banks of the Raccoon Creek, originally named Raccoon and later Swedesboro.
To attend church, the Swedish settlers in Raccoon had to cross the river to Wilmington or Philadelphia. The difficulty of this crossing led to the decision to build a new church on the banks of Raccoon Creek. The site selected was near the new bridge for Kings Highway, which led from Burlington to Salem. In 1703, they purchased 100 acres (0.40 km2) along the Raccoon Creek and on part of it established their own church, the first Swedish language church in New Jersey.
Trinity Church was originally a Swedish Lutheran Parish. From 1703 to 1786, it was served by clergy sent from Sweden. With the completion of a new church building in 1786, the Swedish Mission was drawing to a close. The Swedish language was almost extinct and the people no longer felt the same bond of sympathy with the land of their forebears. The congregations in New Jersey did not desire new pastors from Sweden and could not afford to offer them decent support. In October 1789 a semblance of affiliation by Trinity Church with the Episcopal Church in America began. The church is now known as Trinity Episcopal "Old Swedes" Church and is a member parish of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey.
Trinity Church Cemetery (also known as Trinity Episcopal "Old Swedes" Church Cemetery) is located behind Trinity Church.
- Louis H. Carpenter (February 11, 1839 – January 21, 1916) – Indian Wars Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Spanish–American War General.
- Charles Garrison Harker (December 2, 1835 – June 27, 1864) – American Civil War Brigadier General in the Union Army.
- Benjamin Franklin Howey (March 17, 1828 – February 6, 1895) – Republican Congressman to the Forty-eighth United States Congress (1883–1885).
- Charles Creighton Stratton (March 6, 1796 – March 30, 1859) – Served in the United States House of Representatives and was later the 15th Governor of New Jersey.
Mortonson-Van Leer Log Cabin, ca. 1700, with the cemetery in between the cabin and church
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Gloucester County, New Jersey
- Churchtown, New Jersey – site of Penns Neck church
- "National Register Information System – (#73001098)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
- "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Gloucester County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. December 30, 2019. p. 5.
- William B. Bassett (March 4, 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Trinity Church". National Park Service. Retrieved February 26, 2020. With accompanying photo
- Records Of The Swedish Lutheran Churches At Raccoon & Penns Neck; 1713-1786. [New Jersey] (translated & comp. by the Fed. Writers Project; WPA. Intro. & notes by Dr Amandus Johnson. 1938) http://www.sistlergenealogy.com/title-detail.php?id=64399
- Sarapin, Janice Kohl (2002). Old Burial Grounds of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2111-4.
- Benjamin Franklin, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 14, 2007.
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. NJ-85, "Trinity Church, Church & Main Streets, Swedesboro, Gloucester County, NJ", 5 photos, 25 measured drawings, 6 data pages
- Official Church Website
- Church History