The Baptist Church Of Morris County New Jersey

By Evelyn Goble Steen

Daniel/David (3) Goble (Gobell) was the second child and oldest son of Daniel (2) Goble and Hanna Brewer. He was born May 21, 1669 in Concord, Massachusetts.(1) He was only 7 years old when his father was hanged for killing friendly Indians. His mother remarried when he was 8 years old and he was raised by her second husband, Ephraim Roper. (Indians killed both Hanna Brewer Goble and her husband Ephraim Roper, along with a daughter (Priscilla), in a massacre on September 11, 1697 in Lancaster, Massachusetts)

Daniel married Sarah Houghton June 23, 1689 in Lancaster, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of John Houghton, III and Beatrix Joselyn/Walker Houghton, a prominent family of considerable wealth, from Bedford, England. Daniel and Sarah lived in Concord until 1699 when, they went to Berkeley Colony, South Carolina to join the Orangeburg Colony of settlers.

Daniel and Sarah's names appear in a list of land grants in the Orange or French Quarter in Berkeley County, South Carolina. On March 20, 1699/00 Daniel Gobel had a warrant out of the Secretary's office for 500 acres of land in South Carolina. On December 23, 1699 Daniel Gobel had a warrant out of the Secretary's office for 300 acres of land in South Carolina. (2) "There are a number of grants in the vicinity to other than French settlers both prior and subsequent to that date (1687), and the majority of settlers even in the Quarter were not French, but the following are the French settlers in order of date of grant, that the writer has found on the record." One of 30 entries was: Daniel Gobel, 260 Acres, Date of Warrant - Grant 14 May 1707, (French?)(3)

It is believed that Daniel and Sarah had eight children:

Daniel and Sarah left South Carolina before 1715 arriving in Hanover, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, now Morris County. Daniel's name was given as David in some local histories as well as in many family records. Daniel, Sarah and their family were Baptist. The Baptist Church was in Piscataway, about 50 miles away, so they often had Baptist ministers preach at their homes.

The center of the Baptist population seemed to be in the neighborhood of the "Brick Schoolhouse" (situated about three miles south of the Morristown Village Green) in which religious services were frequent. These Baptists would often worship on Sunday at the Piscataway Church where many were members. The Baptist Church at Piscataway was organized in 1689 and was considered the mother church in New Jersey. "A journey of about fifty miles, on horseback and perhaps on foot, through the wilderness broken only by their blazed path, to enjoy the privilege of worshipping God according to the dictates of their own consciences, furnishes a most impressive illustration of the sincerity of those pioneers of the Baptist faith in Morris County, NJ."(8)

On June 8, 1752 the Piscataway Church of Morris County, New Jersey dismissed eleven of its members for the avowed purpose of organizing a church at Morristown. The Baptist Church of Morristown was organized by Elders Isaac Eaton, Benjamin Miller and Isaac Steele, all men of the mother church. They added six new members and the membership of the new church was increased to seventeen. The names of the eleven persons discharged from the mother church at Piscataway, who constituted the nucleus of the new church were: Daniel Sutton, Jonas Goble, John Sutton, Melatiah Goble, Jemima Wiggins, Daniel Walling, Ichabod Tompkins, Sarah Wiggins, Mary Goble, Naomi Allen, and Robert Goble. (Six were Gobles: Jonas (4) Goble and his wife Malatiah Goble; Jemima (4) Goble Wiggins; Ichabod Tompkins, husband of Hannah (5) Goble; Robert (4) Goble and his wife Mary Goble.)

From the church memorandum book---

"February 15, 1769

At a meeting of the Baptist Church of Morristown, it was concluded that subscriptions be drawn up as soon as possible for the building of a new meeting house on Morristown Green, and to be sent out and if we can get two hundred pounds signed, exclusive of what the church members will give, to go on with the building. (Of the 42 names of those contributing, the following are Gobles: Benjamin, Robard, Ephriem, Garshom, William, George, and Robard again.)"

On the 180th anniversary of the Morristown Baptist Church Aldus H. Pierson wrote and read a 13-page history of the church. Statements in his speech included the following:

"The church did not produce any Colonels nor other officers of rank but there were three Chaplains in the Continental Army who were connected with our church. The best known was John Gano, the first pastor of the church, of whom it is reputed that he baptized Washington.

Washington is quoted as saying that the Baptist Chaplains were the most useful in the army. To Gano Washington gave particular recognition for his great services during the war. It was Gano who offered the prayer of thanksgiving when the declaration of peace was read to the army at Newburg.

Very practically the meeting house on the Green, but six years old, was taken by the army during the encampment of 1777 as a hospital for smallpox patients, as was also the Presbyterian edifice. Many who fell victims to that disease were buried in the graveyard at the rear of the meeting house.

Our church is the daughter of that at Piscataqua---. Morris says that Piscataqua was settled from New England and was called Anabaptist Town, from about twenty in that town of that persuasion. The rest of the people, he said, were of all or no religion. From that twenty our church came forth.

To the Goble family belongs the credit of founding our church. David Goble according to the records arrived in this vicinity about 1717 from Charleston, South Carolina. He apparently had a number of children who settled in the New Vernon region. Jonas Goble gave the first meeting house on Mt. Kemble Ave. and was the first deacon while Robert Goble was the first clerk succeeded by Ezekial Goble.

The last named gave up his church work to emigrate to the "Miamy Country in 1795 and probably most of the surviving Gobles went at about the same time.

Jonas Goble resided at the time of the Revolution near the old brick school house as his residence is indicated and his name appears upon the military maps.

Let us recall the names of those founders of our church who came from Piscataqua church - Daniel Sutton, Jonas Goble, Malatiah Goble, Daniel Walling, Ichabod Tompkins, John Sutton, Jemima Wiggins, Naomi Allen, Sarah Wiggins, Robert Goble and Mary Goble. We know that Malatiah was the wife of Jonas Goble and Mary was probably the wife of Robert.

Joining with them were Daniel Gard, Isaac Sutton, Elizabeth Estill, Elizabeth Lines, Sarah Osborne, Prudence Whitehead. Inside of ten years we know that five of the founders died, four were dismissed by letter and three there is no record. Surviving were the four Gobles and Daniel Walling. By 1766 there were ten Gobles members of the church - Ezekial, Lucy, Ephraim, Benjamin, Rachel wife of Ephraim, and the wife of Matthias. Other Gobles residing in the vicinity were Enoch and Mary, Silas and Jane, Isaac and Peggy and Jacob.

Those now residing in this neighborhood are descendants of Enoch whose name is not found on either our records or those of the Presbyterian church. They are, however, descendants of Elder Ichabod Tompkins and the second pastor of our church, whose wife was a Goble."


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Copyright © 1996-1999 by Evelyn Goble Steen, All Rights Reserved
This page last updated on December 28, 1998
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