1813-1892

September 10, 1813, Woodbury, New Jersey.

February 18, 1892, Camden City, New Jersey.

From the 1892 Minutes of the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church:

Rev. Charles H. Whitecar, D.D.…was the youngest of nine sons of Benjamin and Sarah Kelly Whitecar. He was converted when a lad of twelve years under the ministry of Rev. Charles Pitman, during a camp meeting at Blackwoodtown, N. J., and united with St. George’s Church, Philadelphia, in 1825, under the pastorate of Rev. Joseph Holdich. Rev. Geo. H. Cookman gave him exhorter’s license in 1833, and he was licensed a local preacher under the pastorate of Rev. Henry White, and the presiding eldership of Rev. John Potts. Recognizing his call to the work of the ministry he consented at the request of Rev. Manning Force, Presiding Elder, to serve as a supply on Warren Circuit, N. J., for three months, with Rev. Sedgwick Rusling. He was received on trial at the head of his class in the Philadelphia Conference, April, 1835, with John McClintock, Wesley Hudson and William Hanley, as associates. At this Conference he was returned to Warren Circuit as junior preacher. His experiences on this his first and only circuit, were full of pleasing incidents which he never wearied to relate. He was admitted to full connection in the New Jersey Conference in 1837, and ordained Deacon by Bishop Waugh. In 1839, in Greene Street Church, Trenton, N. J., he was ordained Elder by Bishop Hedding.

At this time he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Caroline Rudolph of Philadelphia. In 1851 he was again married; his second wife was Miss Sarah H. West of Mount Holly, N. J., who preceded him to their heavenly home by less than one week. Thirteen children were born to them, nine of whom survive him. The following are the charges he served: Warren Circuit, Mendham, Trinity, Jersey City; Greene Street, Trenton; Halsey Street and Franklin Street, Newark; Burlington, Third Street, Camden; Allen Street, New York City; Centenary Church, Brooklyn; Trinity, Jersey City; Bordentown, Liberty Street, New Brunswick; Slate Street, Trenton; Commerce Street, Bridgeton; Third Street, Camden; Beverly, Woodstown, Haddonfield, Foundry, Millville, and Moorestown.

He served as Presiding Elder on the Bridgeton, Trenton and Camden districts. For two years he was agent for Dickinson College. He had been a member of the Missionary Board, a Manager of the Church Extension Society, a Delegate to the General Conference, and for six years a Trustee of Dickinson College.

The deceased was a man of marvelous endowments, of fervent piety, and rooted and grounded in the doctrines of our Church. Full of faith and the Holy Ghost, he went on his heaven-commissioned errand, a flaming evangel, a herald of the cross. The itinerancy afforded him an extended field of operation, that in its far reaching results has benefited the church and the world while it has left a line of glorious achievements that will ever place the name of Dr. Whitecar as one of the foremost men of our Conference.

He was educated at the Lancasterian School of the University of Pennsylvania; thus his natural gifts received the adornment of culture and scholarship.

In the pastorate his success in many instances was phenomenal. His preaching was attended with great power and many were hopefully converted under it. He was a brilliant preacher, with impassioned rhetoric, splendid diction and beautiful imagery, In the Eldership his ability was none the less marked. Alive to every demand of his district, the preachers felt their interests safe in his hands, while the laity trusted his counsels. Cautious, yet aggressive, he pushed the conquests of the cross into territory where Methodism was not existing. Several of the most prosperous churches of this Conference were organized by this pioneer of our church.

Dr. Whitecar was an ardent camp meeting man, hence he was a warm friend of Pitman Grove Association. He was preaching on one occasion the opening sermon of the camp meeting, when under the sway and spell of his inspired eloquence, he gave the motto which has been the battle cry of its active warfare ever since, Pitman Grove and Power. For nine years Dr. Whitecar has been placed among the retired ministers of our Conference, yet he retained the old time fervor and maintained the unswerving loyalty and devotion which had so signally characterized his long ministry.

His presence at the preachers’ meetings and in the counsels of his brethren was a perpetual benediction. His last sickness was brief. To his friends it was evident that the end was not far distant, yet not until two weeks before his decease were any grave apprehensions felt, when pneumonia set in with nervous prostration accelerated by the sickness of wife and daughter. Visited by his pastor on the afternoon preceding his death, who said on entering, I bring you the love of the brethren, he replied, Thank you, please return them mine. He further said, I am in the very atmosphere of heaven, brother; it is all heavenly around me. I never had such a comprehensive view of the atonement by Jesus Christ as I have at the present time. Preach Behold the Lamb of God; preach it! My counsel to my brethren is, stand by the old landmarks. In the prayer which followed he responded with peculiar fervor. During the closing hours of his life he exclaimed, All is bright, all is well. When his pastor sang one of his favorite hymns, this great singer, no longer able to articulate the words, followed the tune of the chorus, Glory to the Lamb. Around his bedside his children gathered to whom he gave his loving counsel, asking them all to meet him in heaven. A half hour before his departure he lay in a spirit of perfect composure. He had fought a good fight, finished his course, kept the faith. Death to him was but a vassal waiting his bidding. So gently did his life close that we knew not when his spirit departed; He was not, for God took him.

His funeral services were held in Third Street Church, Camden, where he had twice served as pastor. The attendance was large, over one hundred ministers, besides prominent laymen, being present. The services were most impressive. The following brethren took part: Bishop Foss, Drs. Jackson and Maclaughlin, of Philadelphia; Dr. Dobbins, of Wilmington; Revs. Heisler, Hughes, Westwood, Walton, Graw, Ballard, Wight, Reed, Richardson and General Rusling. The occasion will never be forgotten; it was a time of mingled sorrow and rejoicing. The house of God became the very gate of heaven, and as the favorite hymns of the departed saint were sung it was easy to imagine his voice from the upper choir joining the refrain, and with harp and heart attuned transmit along the corridors of glory the song of Moses and the Lamb. The strongest expressions of sympathy were shown the bereaved family, who are sustained by the inspiring recollections of the consecrated life of their now sainted father.

Freighted with the treasures of a devoted ministry, rich with the recollections of a successful career, ripe with the experiences of a long season of toiling, beautiful with the glittering stars that shall stud his crown, clad in the righteousness of Christ his Savior, our beloved brother has exchanged labor for reward, the cross for the crown, earth for heaven. His voice of peculiar pathos and surpassing sweetness, hushed to the hearing of earth, is heard amid the singing of heaven and not far from the throne he repeats the chorus he loved so well, Glory to the Lamb.

Whitecar’s works include:

  1. Sing of the Lamb