History of Portsmouth Camp Meeting

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100 Years - And Counting!

Portsmouth Camp Meeting was established in 1891. It has been a rich history with many exciting stories. On this page you will find information about Portsmouth Camp Meeting.

A Holiness Heritage

Our Story

The origins of Portsmouth Camp Meeting begin with Seth Cook Rees, a Quaker minister, who held the first Portsmouth Camp Meeting on July 25, 1890.


There appears to be a discrepancy between the traditionally accepted date of 1891 and the 1890 date recorded in the history of Seth Rees by his decendent Paul Rees. Here is a quote from his book: "The first camp was opened at 2 p. m., on Friday, July 25, and closed Sunday night, August
3, 1890.

Rees remained president of the Portsmouth Camp Meeting Association for more that a quarter of a century

A close associate of Rees' was Martin W. Knapp, who worked closely with Seth Rees in preaching holiness. Rees united with Knapp in 1897 forming the oganization known as International Holiness Union and prayer League. Besides focusing on Christ as a Savior and Sanctifier, the new organization includes in its doctrine the premillenial view of Christ’s return, and divine healing. The Union later developed into the Pilgrim Holiness Church, after the union with the Pilgrim Church in 1922. The picure above and to the right depicts Rees and Knapp as co-partners in holiness.

Seth Rees and several others appealed to the General Assembly of Rhode Island for incorporation as a non-profit stockholders association. Cliick Here to see the original statement of incorporation taken from the journal of the Acts and Resolves of the General Assembly of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.




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