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A Guide To Its Present And Past
Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey
American Guide Series

Originally published in 1939
Some of this information may no longer be current and in that case is presented for historical interest only.

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Tour 18
Junction with US 1–Woodbridge–Perth Amboy–Freehold–Lakewood–Toms River–Tuckerton–Cape May; US 9,
Murray Grove

At 56.5 miles a sign marks the entrance (L) to MURRAY GROVE (open), birthplace of the Universalist Church of America. Surrounded by oak trees, a small, white frame church still stands in a cemetery, near a brick church of later construction. The white church, rebuilt in 1841, dates from 1766 when Thomas Potter, an old settler, erected it to put an end to his wife's nagging. She resented his habit of inviting every itinerant clergyman to hold services in the house. Potter's prayers for a minister with liberal views were answered in 1770 when a British vessel grounded on the peninsula across Barnegat Bay. One of the passengers who made their way to the mainland was John Murray, who happened upon Potter and his empty church. So strongly did the young man's beliefs appeal to him that Potter urged his visitor to remain as minister. Some time later Murray became the founder of the Universalist denomination, and the white church was willed to him by Potter. A rough boulder marks the approximate spot where the two men first met. In the church are boxed pews, a balcony, a potbellied stove, and thronelike chairs for those conducting services.

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