Philadelphia County - Kensington Methodist Episcopal "Old Brick" Church Records (Baptisms and Marriages)


The Old Brick Church is the oldest church in Kensington (and Fishtown) and grew out of “The Class in Kensington, John Hewson leader,” a weekly meeting formed at St. George’s Church at Fourth & New Streets, the mother church for Philadelphia Methodists. The class first met in Kensington in June of 1801. In July of 1809 the Kensington M.E. Church was founded, thus the church’s registers begin in this month. When the church was rebuilt in 1854 they used the “old bricks” of the former church, thus the nickname of “Old Brick,” which the church is fondly called. For earlier records of Kensington Methodist families, researchers would be wise to check the records of St. George’s Church.


It appears that Timothy Coyne, the transcriber of the baptism and marriage registers for the Kensington Methodist Episcopal “Old Brick” Church, transcribed the available baptism records for the whole of the 19th Century and marriage records from 1810 to about the year 1865. Coyne’s databases consist of baptisms and marriages and a “key list” for the ministers that performed the events. He has created two databases for the baptisms, one chronological and one alphabetical. He has created three databases for the marriages, one chronological, one alphabetical for grooms, and one alphabetical for brides.


Kensington ME Church Transom

For further records of the Kensington Methodist Episcopal “Old Brick” Church visit Kenneth W. Milano's website where you can view the following records:


  Old Brick Baptisms for 1878 to 1927
  Old Brick Marriages for 1878 to 1962
  Old Brick Marriages for 1894 to 2002
  Old Brick Deaths for 1965 to 1983


Also at the above website is an online version of Annals of the Kensington Methodist Episcopal Church, compiled by Rev. W. Swindells, D.D., and published in Philadelphia in 1893. The above database and online history of the church were provided by Dr. Mildred Christian, President of the Board of Trustees of Old Brick Church. She and some assistants compiled the database and history.



The chronological list of baptisms contains 2,932 baptisms between the years 1809 and 1918. There are some obvious gaps and there many events that are chronologically out of order in the first three decades of the registers. The transcriber (Timothy Coyne) appears to have made this list exactly as it is recorded in the registers of the church, as the original registers are also out of order and very much confusing as per the dates of the baptisms.

For the years 1809 to 1839, the baptisms are bunched in the chronological order, that is there may be a group of baptisms for 1809, then the next group will be 1824, then the next group 1820, then the next group for the year 1827. However, starting in 1840 to 10 Oct 1864 the records are fairly correct in their running order, with only an occasional event out of order.


There is a gap between 10 Oct 1864 to 24 March 1878, then the records continue fairly good in their running order until 3 Jan 1899 to 3 March 1902, then from 3 March 1902 to 1 Dec 1918 there are only 16 baptisms which would seem to make these years incomplete. Of these 16 baptisms between 1902 to 1918, seven of them are in 1903, leaving only nine other baptism for this sixteen year period.


The baptism records include the name of the person being baptized, the birth date of that person, the baptism date, and where recorded the father and mother of the person. There is also an occasional “comment” in the comment column. Not all fields are filled in and for some years only the year of the baptism is given, not the day and month. You will need to use the “Ministers’ Key” to figure out who performed the baptism as the minister is not listed.


The first three decades of the church’s baptism registers appear to be incomplete. For example there are no baptisms listed for the years 1810-1811, 1814, 1818-1819, and 1821. It is possible that no baptisms took place in these years but more probable that some events are missing.



There are 722 marriages listed for the years 1810 to 1865. The marriage records are in better order then the baptism records, but there are far fewer of them. There are occasional out-of-order events and there are gaps, most noticeably there are no marriages for the years 1809, 1811, 1813, 1850-1851, and during the years 1861-1864. It is possible that in the early years there might not have been any marriages (1810, 1811, 1813), but in the years 1850-1851 and 1861-1864 the church was fairly large and there should have been marriages conducted.

The marriage records contain the bride’s & groom’s names, the date of the marriage, and two “comment” columns. The “comment” columns do not always contain remarks. The first column appears to be remarks made by the minister, with the second column being the transcriber Mr. Coyne’s remarks on his transcriptions, noting perhaps the difficultly of reading the name or date, etc. While the marriage database does not give us the whole of the 19th century, like the baptism database, it is still very useful as the pre-1860 marriages are recorded before the centralization of vital records by city government.


Minister Key

This is not a complete list of all resident pastors, nor is it intended to list KME’s pastors in the chronological order of their service. The list is ordered on the basis of the pastors’ sequential appearance in the baptismal and marriage records. If they did not perform a sacramental act, they don’t appear in the list which follows. Use this list as a key to the name of the minister whose key number appears with sacramental act of your ancestor or the event in which you have interest.

Sometimes the sacraments were performed by visiting ministers.

There is a plaque on the wall of the church, just inside the door, which lists the official ministers chronologically.

Finally, remember it is always a bad idea in genealogy to rely solely on the judgment of indexers and transcribers. By all means, look at the original record in microfilm, such as HSP’s roll number Xch 661.


1.Thomas Everard (1806-10) Kensington Methodist Episcopal "Old Brick" Church
2. Samuel S, Kennard
3. Samuel Grace
4. Thomas Smith (1819)
5. Solomon Sharp (1803-04, 1822-23)
6. John Robertson
7. William Williams (1815)
8. “M. P.”
9. Samuel J. Cox (1817)
10. Thomas Davis (1818)
11. Richard Sneath (1820)
12. David Bert
13. Sylvester Hill (1816)
14. William Smith (1821-22)
15. Wesley W. Wallace (1827-9)
16. Richard Petherbridge (1829-31)
17. Bartholomew Weed (1831-32)
18. William A. Wiggins (1833-34)
19. James Smith, Jr. (1835-36)
20. James B. Hagany (1837)
21. Henry G. King (1838-40)
22. George Lacey (1840)
23. Solomon Abiat
24. G. Wilshire
25. E. Zanes
26. John S. Inskip
27. James Neill
28. James L. Houston
29. D. Dailey
30. Alfred Cookman
31. J. Childs
32. H. R. Calloway
33. Anthony Atwood
34. P. Coombe

35. B. Weed (see 17)

36. Thomas C. Murphy

37. Robert H. Pattison Kensington ME Church Founded 1804
38. James Cunningham
39. Isaac Childs
40. James H. Lightbourne
41. D. W. Bartine, D.D.
42. John H. Alday
43. Richard Nolte
44. E. I. D. Pepper
45. Theo Stevins
46. Adam Black
47. M. T. Senderling
48. William Downey
49. S. Thompson
50. John W. Langly
51. William E. Manlove
52. S. Uncle ?
53. William P. Simmington
54. John Clouds Jr.
55. E. H. Stokes
56. C. W. Lamgley
57. William Swindells, D.D. (1893)
58. W. C. Webb
59. S. W. Gehnett
60. Edwin C. Griffiths
61. William Bamford
62. George Gaul.
63. Samuel R. Evans
64. Waynes Channell
65. Henry Hess

(Kensington M.E. "Old Brick" Church photos courtesy of Joyce Homan.)

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