Friday Memory:

Getting Ready For the Camp Meeting

Friday's Memory, August 31, 2018


Food, Decorated Horse & Buggies and False Hair!


As we prepare for the upcoming camp meeting Saturday, September 29, 2018 11am-2pm we dedicate our Friday memory to the fond recollections of Earl Hubbard as noted in the 1975 edition of The Princeton Recollector.


“They advertised it by putting big posters on trees and telephone posts telling about the camp meeting, but every year people seemed to know about the time it came, and they looked forward to it every year.”

“Camp Meeting required special preparation and everyone’s “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes. The horse and wagons were spruced up and the train ran extra cars from Pennington and Trenton. We’d sell chickens or geese to get money to buy all new clothes. It was a big deal, just like you were going to the President’s Ball. “You had to look good at the camp meeting” according to long time Hopewell/Pennington resident Earl Hubbard pictured here with his family.


“Everybody got dressed up very fancy. The ladies adorned in their “Sunday-go –to-meeting” dresses, some with crinolines (a stiffened or structured petticoat designed to hold out a woman’s skirt popular in the mid 19th century) and their false Sunday hair. Mr. Hubbard recalls his Mom, Sarah Matilda, who had short hair would put in things that looked like little puffs. “They got dressed up to go to the camp meetings let me tell you!”

Even Bill and Harry got a “Sunday-go-to-meeting” scrub down. My Dad, Herbert Hubbard, would go early because they figured he had an education being the first African American to graduate from Rider College. He could help with the finances.


He took his horses, Bill and Harry, to a farm about a quarter of a mile away and put them in the stable. Earl Hubbard recalls climbing up Bill’s leg to get on his back. They were special horses. Everybody that came with their horse and buggies had a certain tree that they tied their horses too. “Young fellows, even in their late teens, would work to get a team. They used to call them the runabouts. The one used to try to outdo the other. They’d have their runabouts all washed and varnished—oh they were shiny – and they’d be driving them just like they did later with cars. A lot of us kids used to sit and watch the different ones come in. How the sun used to hit those spokes!”


They used to have different ministers from different places, and, of course, it would just be a regular service, and Beth-el Choir from Bethel AME in Pennington was right on hand. They would go up and sing because the pastor that pastored there would also pastor the Mt. Zion AME Church. The two churches joined together. The afternoon service would begin about 3:30 pm and would go til’ about 5:00 or 5:30 pm. They would always leave before dark because there were no lights up there.


They had preaching and singing. Mostly old hymns, but there’d be more people for the afternoon service, because they did a lot of singing. "

Please join us on Saturday, September 29, 2018 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Skillman Park as we recreate the Camp Meeting featuring gospel greats, Bertha Morgan, and The Capitol City Gospel Singers!

Stoutsburg Sourland

African American Museum

189 Hollow Rd.

Skillman, NJ 08558

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