Bensalem AME Church Cemetery, Bensalem

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Previously known as:
Old Jerusalem Church - African American Episcopal

Also known as:
Little Jerusalem AME

Located in:
Bensalem

Street address:
1200 Bridgewater Rd., Bensalem, PA 19020

GPS location:
Latitude: 40.09927
Longitude: -74.92356

Ownership
Bensalem AME Church

Burial summary
Number of burials: 130
First burial: 1864
Last burial: 1942

Contact information:

1200 Bridgewater Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone: 215-604-0204

Web address:

Original burial records:
Location unknown

Other references:
A list of gravestone inscriptions is in the BCGS database.

Entries in our database were taken from "A Compilation of Bensalem Cemeteries" by Sally VanSant Sondesky, donated to BCGS by the author. Click here to view the entire document.

The Bensalem Historical Society has gravestone transcriptions for this cemetery.

This cemetery is on Findagrave.com.

The Mercer Museum Library has the following: Bucks County tombstone inscriptions Bensalem Township / transcriptions by Sally Sondesky, Hazel Lamon. Doylestown, PA : Bucks County Historical Society, 1997. Various pagings : maps ; 28 cm. Call No. 974.821 Cem Bens. Book 6.

Click here to view or download a map showing the location of all of the Bensalem cemeteries.


Comments
The Church was built in 1830, and renovated about 1860 and 1896. It is one of the oldest African American churches, having been established about 1820 by Rev. James Miller under the supervision of Richard Allen (1760–1831), founder of the AME Church. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Ben Franklin did his famous kite experiment on this site. From the Bucks County Courier Times (2/11/2017): The church was built by five freed slave families and contains the pulpit that was crafted by Richard Allen. Allen was born a slave on a plantation in Delaware on Valentine's day in 1761. He bought his freedom as a young man. When black members of a Methodist church in Phila. faced discrimination, Allen formed the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1818. It is considered one of the first organizations in America dedicated to improving the lives so Black Americans, most of whom were enslaved. When services were first held at the newly built church in 1832, it was called Little Jerusalem AME Church since the area where it was located was called Little Jerusalem. From the Bucks County Courier Times (4/27/2015): Bensalem AME, a small house of worship founded in 1818, was one of the Underground Railroad safe stations, as was a nearby farm owned by abolitionists Joseph and Robert Purvis, wealthy men of Scottish descent who had moved to Bensalem from the South because they opposed slavery. Robert Purvis used to row escaped slaves up the Delaware River from Philadelphia to take sanctuary at either the church or the Purvis farm. Civil War veteran Leroy Allen, who died in 1931 at the age of 101, is buried here. He was a former slave who traversed to Bensalem from Roanoke, Virginia, via the Underground Railroad and joined the Union Army. Allen was a private in the 3rd Regiment infantry of U. S. Colored Troops. Walter Arch of the Bensalem Heritage Foundation, who researched Allen's history says "When he wore the uniform, he was fighting for his own freedom and for his country." Allen enlisted in the Union Army after seeing a banner posted by Camp William Penn is Cheltenham calling "men of color" to arms. After the war, he settle in Bensalem. He and his wife, Lucy, had seven children. Camp William Penn trained 11 regiments of soldiers - or 11,000 soldiers - to fight in the war between the states.


Thanks to volunteer Peg Felter for gathering information on this cemetery



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