Celebrating 125 Years
"Moving Forward with God's Plan"
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
A sudden influx of the population of Camden occurred in conjunction with the rise of industry during the last two decades of the Nineteenth Century. The population “Growth Chart”, illustrates the population trends in Camden from 1830, shortly following the incorporation of the city, to the year 1980. The most dynamic growth period occurred between the years 1870 and 1920, rising from 20,000 to 116,000 people. Similar trends occurred throughout industrializing cities of the Eastern Seaboard, when rural populations and new immigration migrated to these cities, which had ample employment opportunities.
Another early development named Centerville was laid out in building lots by the Kaighns Point Land Company on land formerly belonging to prominent Camden physician Isaac Mulford and the Mickle family. Extending eastward to Evergreen Cemetery in 1851, Centerville was eventually renamed Stockton. Lots were sold on easy terms and sales were rapid until the burning of the ferryboat “New Jersey” in 1856. Sisxty passengers perished in the mishap, which proved to be deterrent to the inflow of home seekers from the western shores of the Delaware. By 1871, Stockton was annexed to the City of Camden.
The Tenth Street Missionary Baptist Church had its beginning in the year 1888, when a group of devout Christian followers started a “Prayer Band” in the section of the city often called “Centerville”. History was made for those truehearted people who began what was later called the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. That same spirit continues even today, as a center foundation of our church continues to center around our Wednesday night Paryer Meeting and Bible Study.
The first church was located on Ninth Street above Ferry Avenue and later moved to Ninth and Chelton Avenue. They found themselves unable to carry on this site, so they relocated on Central Avenue between Master Street and VanBuren Street. It was while at this location the church purchased the present property on Tenth Street. The congregation started to build a red brick church, but before the building was ready for occupancy circumstances forced them to cease erection of the structure. For a while, services were held in the small store at 1053 Ferry Avenue. The Mount Zion Baptist Church membership never lost their faith in God.
In 1912, the cornerstone was laid for the new Tenth Street Baptist Church, located at 1860 South Tenth Street. The name was changed from Mount Zion to Tenth Street, and the church was incorporated in 1915. After 1915, they started another building program. Upon the completion of the foundation, they were ready to erect the building when fate crossed their path again. They were forced to abandon their plans. The Ferry Avenue United Methodist Church permitted the congregation to worship in their lecture room. After a year of hard work and much prayer, the basement was completed, and the flock returned to worship at Tenth Street Baptist Church. After full completion, the cornerstone of this building was laid in 1920. We have since laid another cornerstone under the leadership of Rev. J.A.Nimmo for building renovations and plans are to lay another cornerstone under the leadership of our current Pastor, Rev. Tony C. Evans, Sr. for the building addition in 2005, “The Rock”.
From 1888 until 1949 (1 60 years ), Nine ministers have served as Pastor: Rev. Fields, Rev. Ferris Johnson, Rev. Samuel Smith, Rev. Edward Blackwell, Rev. A. McAllen , Rev. John Saunders, Rev. George D. Griffin, Rev. Charles H. Churn and Rev. V.L. Milines with an average service of 6 ½ years. Rev. J. Allen Nimmo became the 10 Pastor in September 1949 and served the longest as Pastor - 51 years. Our current Pastor Tony C. Evans, Sr. became interim Pastor in late 1999, and was installed as the 11 Pastor in March 2002. The combined services of Rev. J.A.Nimmo and Rev. Tony C. Evans, Sr. account for the last 65 years (slightly over 50%) of the church’s history. The 125 years of history crosses 5 generations and the Legacy continues “Moving Forward …With God’s Plan”.