Archive for the ‘Headstones’ Category

Bureacracy Headstone

In 1978, the mayor of Bordentown decided to try to do something about the welfare situation in town, and made people do public service to get their welfare. The number of people on welfare dropped from 30 to just 1. He had this headstone built dedicated to the elimination of bureaucracy. Unfortunately, bureaucracy wasn’t dead and the state said “you can’t do this.” Perhaps the headstone should’ve read RIP Bordentown Workfare…




Joey Ramone has a headstone

When I visited Joey Ramone’s grave he didn’t have a headstone despite it being well over a year since his passing. I made a return visit and now he does have a headstone.



Joey Ramone’s grave

Joey Ramone was the lead singer of the Ramones and helped to define punk rock in NY in the 70’s. I won’t try to reinvent the wheel and tell you all about him because I think that’s best left to experts, so here’s VH1’s biography. What I can tell you is that he is buried in Hillside cemetery in Lyndhurst, and the tombstone bears his real name Jeffrey Hyman. I’ve been there twice and each time there was a smattering of things left there by fans. I was surprised the first time I went because at the time, two years after his death, there was not headstone. There was family headstone, with his mother’s name on it, but he buried beside her, and there was only a small cross and a piece of paper bearing his name. At some point a headstone was placed there.


The final resting place of John Holland

John Holland was born In Ireland in 1841. He entered a Navy submarine design contest, before joining up with a group called the Fenian Brotherhood. Their goal was to develop a small submarine that could be launched from under a merchant vessel, then return. The result of his efforts was the Fenian Ram that was launched in 1881. Holland and the Fenians had numerous differences, and they broke off working together. He designed and built numerous submarine prototypes but he suffered numerous financial difficulties and often sold his designs for less then his research costs. He eventually sold his company to the Electric Boat Company (now part of General Dynamics) forfeiting rights to most of his patents. He died broke but not forgotten.

John Holland is buried in Holy Seplechure Cemetery in Totowa.



the grave of Robert Erskine

The grave of Robert Erskine is one of about a dozen scattered near a small pond at Ringwood Manor. The Manor was once the home to one of the largest iron making companies in the region. During the American Revolution, Robert Erskine managed the plantations. He eventually became the principal mapmaker for General Washington, who visited the estate no less then 5 different times. Erskine died in 1780 and is buried near the pond where he lived. There are reports of ghost activity near the grave, and reportedly the bricks in the grave marker keep “jumping out”.

Read more about Robert Erskine at


The Dotterwich tragedy

On a cold December day in 1874 the 5 Dotterwich children went out to play on a icy covered pond. The ice was too thin, and all five children (age 6-16) drowned that day.


The Middlebush Giant

He liked to call himself Col Ruth Goshen, but to the residents of Middlebush, and to those who saw him in the Barnum & Bailey Circus, he was simply known as the Middlebush Giant. Standing at 7’11, and weighing over 650 lbs, Goshen was one of 14 children, and despite all of the children being rather large, he stood out amongst them. Reportedly Barnum himself found and recruited him for the circus. Goshens real name was alledgedly Arthur Caley.

When Goshen died the funeral was held in his house and the 8 foot coffin had to go out the window. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the woods near the cemetery because he afraid curiosity seekers would try to dig him up. Boy scouts created the headstone for him in 1970.