Rev. Wheelock Hendee Parmly 1816-1894
Randolph, Jehiel, Stephen, Stephen, John, John
|The 1st Baptist Church of Jersey City, N.J.,
organized in 1838, experienced remarkable growth under the Rev. Wheelock
Hendee Parmly, who pastored
there from 1854 until his death in 1894.
With the growth of the city, the church on Grove Street flourished. The building, built in 1850 at a cost of $17,000, was near City Hall. With a massive influx of immigrants of other languages and other religions, Jersey City was changing. The city was improving its transit system. The stagecoaches ran from the ferry to the hill section (waterfront to the uptown area), but it was necessary for most inhabitants to live within walking distance of their jobs or near the ferry to New York.
Most of today's Jersey City Baptist churches are somehow related to this one. In 1857, twenty members were dismissed to become the members of the Summit Avenue Baptist Church. In 1858, a total of 23 members were dismissed to form the Bethesada Baptist Church. In 1860, 15 members were dismissed to form the Bergen Baptist Church.
In 1865, the 1st Baptist established a Sunday school in Smyth's Hall, at Grove and 4th streets. It grew so rapidly that the next 30 members were dismissed to form the North Baptist Church.
At a special meeting called on Nov. 30, 1894, the members of the church resolved: "that the name of this church be changed from the 1st Baptist Church of Jersey City, to the Parmly Memorial Baptist Church of Jersey City and that thereafter this church shall be legally known and designated by this title."
Soon after, the church decided to build its present-day house of worship, at Boulevard and Fairmont Avenue. The cornerstone was laid at the ceremony pictured above on Oct. 9, 1909. In 1945 (the year that the picture at left was taken), the Parmly Memorial Baptist Church, the Bergen Baptist Church and a group from the Summit Avenue Baptist Church, who lived in the Bergen area merged. With a strengthened leadership and a combining of assets, the church again changed its name -- to the 1st Baptist Church of Jersey City, New Jersey.