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Baptist Church of Sussex
Sussex, Sussex County
is hardly the word for this
delightful building at the most prominent intersection in town. The stepped gable,
squat turrets, and curve of the arch wheere the central entrance would normally
be are the most distinctive individual elements. The tower and belfry are more
conventional, although there are few churches in the state that have a clock
in the tower. That is a New England convention that was little used here. Although
atypically symmetrical, the gables, turrets, pinnacles, and windows show the
architect was willing to use all decorative elements available. I suspect at
the church had a variety of shingles rather than clapboards, as that would have
been consistent with the style of the building.
About 1777 a number of Baptists worshipping in
Hardyston but living in Wantage (Sussex) formed a congregation known as the Papakating
Baptist Church of Wantage.
Papakating is a small crossroads with an old cemetery just south of Sussex, so
I assume this is the same congregation. Its name was changed to the First Baptist
Church of Sussex sometime after this building was erected.
See George F. Love (1874) and Reverend James Bristow (1903), History
of the First Baptist Church of Wantage, Sussex, New Jersey. N.P.: W.J.