~ YE OLDE YELLOW MEETING HOUSE HISTORICAL INFORMATION ~
In 1720 a house of worship and a burying ground was build on land donated by Thomas and Rachel Salter. Thomas was the brother of Hannah who married Mordecai Lincoln. They were the great-great grandparents of President Abraham Lincoln.
The original church burned, was replaced by the present Meeting House in 1737, and became informally known as the Old Yellow Meeting House. It is the oldest Baptist Meeting House in New Jersey and believed to be the third oldest in the USA.
The parsonage that is still standing was built around 1830. Additions were made to both the meetinghouse and parsonage at unknown dates. The Meeting House is built on exact compass settings. The long sides face North and South and the parsonage side is west. A bay was added on the North side and the interior design was altered. The pulpit and balcony changed places. Evidence suggest that the original parsonage had only two rooms and a hall and the eastern section was added later.
The oldest dated grave in the cemetery is that of John Salter, son of Thomas and Rachel, who died August 29, 1723. There are unmarked stones thought to be older, and it is believed that there are unmarked graves. If you walk through the cemetery you will see these unmarked stones, and also many interesting stones with folk art designs. There are veterans of the American Revolution and of subsequent United States wars buried here. United States flags mark these graves. Many generations of some families starting in the 1770s or possibly earlier, and continuing to the present are interred here. Some of the old dates are difficult to read.
Since 1977 the Meeting House, parsonage and burial grounds have been restored under the auspices of the Friends of the Old Yellow Meeting House.
More Information on the History of Ye Olde Yellow Meetinghouse Can be found on the following Websites:
The Old Yellow Meeting House in Upper Freehold, New Jersey: An Important Historic Landmark by John W. Hammond in the Journal of New Jersey Studies
Here is an old slide show tape commissioned by the Friends of the Old Yellow Meeting House sometime around 1979. While the translation to digital form is not perfect, we are glad to be able to share this with you. Some of the slides have faded with time and the audio track still has the 'beeps' to tell you to advance the projector. This presentation shows where the Friends began and gives an idea of what we have accomplished. Many of the tasks described here have been completed.