HISTORY OF SEVENTH DAY BAPTIST CHURCH OF SHILOH
Those who have traced the history of Shiloh from its earliest sources say that the people settling Shiloh were Baptists who came from Wales, in 1662, to Massachusetts. Owing to persecution, they, with other Baptists from Scotland, came to South Jersey in 1687.
Worship on the Seventh Day of the Week
Holding worship on the seventh day of the week was brought to this group at Shiloh by a Jonathan Davis, of Trenton, NJ. It is not known how or when this Elder Davis came to a knowledge of the Sabbath. After moving to Trenton in 1695, Elder Davis frequently visited his wife’s relatives at Bowentown and at Shiloh and gained many converts for the Sabbath. From this nucleus of Sabbath-keepers, plus others of that faith who came to Shiloh from Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as from Trenton and New Market, NJ, a temporary organization of Sabbath-keepers was instituted in 1716. This organization held meeting from house to house. These Sabbath-keepers probably belonged to the Piscataway Church at New Market. On the 27th of March, 1737, 21 years after their forming in 1716, the temporary organization at Shiloh, these Sabbath-keepers organized an independent church of their own.
The first building was erected on March 24, 1738, on land deeded to the church for that purpose by Caleb Ayars. This land, being one acre, forms the northeast corner of the present cemetery. The first meeting house was used for 33 years when it was moved to the village for a mechanic’s shop. One feature of this first house was a large fireplace in the center of the room. The first pastor, Jonathan Davis (not the same as mentioned earlier) was buried under the floor of the meeting house, between the pulpit and this fireplace. The spot is now identified by a large flat tombstone placed over the location. The frame from the first building was afterward taken down and now forms part of the barn on the Caleb Henry Sheppard farm.
The second building, built of brick in 1771, was given to Union Academy in 1850, the year the present building was erected. The site of the second building is marked by a tablet placed there in 1923.
The present structure was dedicated in 1851, after a special service of the people asking God’s blessing and guidance. It is recorded that the cost of this building was $5,000.
The above history is quoted from a 1934 newspaper article by Mrs. Annabel Bowden
On February 6, 1934, the present church building was gutted by fire. But on August 4, 1934, the building had been restored and a rededication service was held. The 200th anniversary of the church was celebrated in 1937. The Fellowship Hall was added and dedicated in 1968. The two buildings were connected by the Link in 1993.