Archive for the ‘Headstones’ Category

The Boat Yard Cemetery of Lower Bank

There aren’t many companies whose employees pass the burial site of the founder but Cavalier Boatworks is one such company. The plaque by the headstone tells the story.

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first black voter in NJ

On March 31, 1870, Thomas Mundy Peterson (1824 – 1904) of Perth Amboy, New Jersey became the first African-American to vote in an election under the just enacted provisions of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. He was born in Metuchen to parents that had been slaves owned by the Mundy family. He was a school custodian in Perth Amboy. He was active in the Republican Party and became the city’s first African-American to hold elected office, on the Middlesex County Commission. He was also the city’s first “colored” person to serve on a jury. Decades later, the school Peterson previously worked at was renamed after him.

In New Jersey, March 31st is annually celebrated as Thomas Mundy Peterson Day to mark the rights of all citizens to vote.

He is buried in St Peters Episcopal Church in Perth Amboy.

Headstones of people with interesting names…

No disrespect is meant to anyone, living or deceased, by the posting of these pics. I just found these… interesting. all the photos here. Below is a sample of some of my favorites.

why I like visiting cemeteries

New Jersey was discovered by Henry Hudson around 1609 and Dutch settlers came soon afterward. Most families buried their dead on the farm or perhaps in a small church cemetery. Markers were often crudely carved stones or wooden crosses. As NJ has become more and more developed, the family cemetery became outdated. People now bury their dead either in church cemeteries or large private cemeteries. Some cemeteries can contain as many as 100,000 dead.

Cemeteries are essentially history. Besides functioning as a place for the families to come and be with their loved ones, you can see patterns amongst the stones. Perhaps it’s the same name over and over and over, or a large number of markers in the same season representing a bitter hard winter. Sometimes cemeteries will have a Jewish section, or a German section, reflecting waves of new immigrants. Sometimes you’ll even find a slave section as well, reflective of that ugly period of American history where such things were legal. Other times you’ll find a mass grave of some disaster or accident. History in the making.

The large cemeteries of today can also provide quite a bit of eye candy. There are beautiful headstones with pictures of the deceased, images of serenity, or pictures of something the deceased enjoyed doing, such as sailing. Then you have large mausoleums where the deceased are interred above ground, avoiding the normal process of decay that consumes from below ground. Then there are the incredibly beautiful (and sometimes very large) images of Jesus, angels, weeping wives & mothers, children, cherubs, crosses, and more. The money spent on monuments like this is unimaginable. I also like when you find a headstone from the 1700’s and it looks smooth and perfect as if it was put there last week. Makes me wonder why other headstones become so decrepit and decayed so quickly….Speaking of decay, it doesn’t matter if a person is rich or poor, young or old, all share the same final destination. As a character on “Six Feet Under” said: “The whole world is a graveyard”.

I enjoy wandering thru cemeteries, appreciating all of these things, and I hope that you the viewer understand why I do this. Just because I enjoy wandering thru cemeteries doesn’t make me morbid, nor am I a goth fan. I don’t dress in black and listen to punk rock, nor do I conduct ceremonies at midnight. I’m just an average guy. I hope you’ll appreciate this section and look on it with respect. Nothing here is meant to make fun of or denigrate any one here. One person I know said,”About a hundred years ago, families would go to cemeteries together with a picnic lunch, the adults would take care of the graves while the kids would wander around. Cemeteries were a place to be respectful, but they weren’t seen as macabre or spooky the way they seem to be by some people today.”. Well stated.

I especially love old cemeteries. The markers are different from the ones they make now. I also enjoy speculating about the people who were buried there. I sometimes find nameless markers and feel sorry for the deceased because they have no family, or sometimes find incredible monuments and think “Damn. This was Somebody.” On the other hand, a large expensive ornate headstone or mausoleum doesn’t mean they were somebody, though often this is the case…

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Five children born. Five children died before they were a year old.

Commonplace for the time period, a reminder of how fragile life was 100 years ago…

Lambertville High School

The school was built in 1854, remodeled in 1926, and then closed in 1955. A fire gutted the center portion of the building and the roof in 1992. (arson of course) The central part of the school burned completely, and in the past few years the floor collapsed in one section, eliminating the infamous “children on the blackboard”. This was a series of eerie faces carved into a blackboard on the second floor.

THE LEGEND OF BUCKEYE

The legend begins in 1935 as Lambertville HS plays an annual football game against the Buckeyes from New Hope. Unfortunately this annual Thanksgiving event is marred by the death of a wide receiver on the opposing team. The parents protest that football is too dangerous, and the New Hope school closes it’s football program.

After the school closed in 1955, it became a hangout for the rowdy kids. One night some kids got drunk and the subject of the dead wide receiver comes up. One of them yells out a challenge to the dead football player, a 100 yard dash. A pair of eyes appear across the field, and orders them to race the field or die. One boy runs and collapses. The remaining boys reluctantly run the field, but once to the other side, they realize one of the boys isn’t with the group any more. They run home, their parents call the cops, and eventually the bodies of the two boys are found, their heads turned almost backwards. Ever since then it is said then anyone challenging Buckeye will not live thru the night….don’t even say the word, lest you die on the spot….

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Photos come courtesy of a reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

The abandoned school is on private property, and entering it would involve trespassing. The school is structurally questionable and going inside is very risky. We do not encourage you to trespass or to take unnecessary risks.

the grave outside the graveyard

This grave is located in North Church Cemetery Aside from having some very old graves, this cemetery is nothing terribly unusual or much to speak of. It does date back to the Revolutionary War and as such it has some especially nice old headstones. Whats odd is that there’s a headstone that sits outside the boundaries of the graveyard, almost on the nearby siedwalk. It’s perhaps 2/3 of the way down the fence along the sidewalk.

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Crawford Family graveyard

The Garden State Arts Center is located on 1200 acres that was granted to John Browne in 1687 by the King of England. They buried the family right on the farm. Eventually the land was sold and became Parkway property. Now surrounded by the Vietnam Memorial & the Garden State Arts Center, (exit 116) the plot is fenced off to protect it. Just another reminder of how what once was rolling farms became something quite different in this suburban sprawl we call New Jersey…

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