Posts Tagged ‘cemetery’

Prince Rodgers Cemetery

Located in Bridgewater about 5 yards from a major road and yet completely invisible from it, lies a small burial plot of slaves from the 1700’s. 

 

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Located approximately 500 feet from Foothill Road and Bridge Rd in Bridgewater is a burial plot. Known as the Prince Rodgers cemetery, (it has also been referred to as the VanderVeer Burying Ground), there are a handful of headstones, several of which are broken.  Prince Rodgers was born in 1813 and was a slave of Cornelius Van Horn until being freed from slavery by his master at age 25. Other sources claim that Rodgers was a slave of the VanderVeer family. Completely forgotten despite being yards from the road, it sits between two homes one of which is owned, the other appears abandoned. Several years ago efforts began to restore the cemetery. Black plastic and wood chips have been laid down and the brush was cut back, but not much progress has been made since then and the weeds and brush have returned.

 

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The Morse family plot

Cemeteries are for most of us a communal place. Our loved ones are laid to rest alongside hundreds of others, row upon row of headstones. On certain holidays you will find many decorated with wreathes or flowers as surviving family members pay their respects in a manner that is private and personal, yet also on public display. It was not always like this. Many times families would bury their dead in plots on their own property. As these (often large) properties were sold or as parts were sold off, eventually these family burial plots would find themselves hemmed in by development both commercial and residential. Sometimes when the last pieces of the family estate are sold, the dead would be disinterred and moved to some nearby cemetery. In some cases though, the plot remains untouched. One example would be the Mary Ellis grave in the middle of the parking lot of an AMC movie theater.

The Morse graves are another example. The Morse family was one of 80 colonists who, though a combination of grants and sales by local indians came to own nearly 1 million acres in what would now be the Careteret-Linden-Iselin area. They settled in the area in the late 1600’s 200 years later they still owned several hundred acres. and owned several hundred acres of land. John Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil decided that the Morse land would make an excellent site for his new refinery. The land was purchased in 1907 and was cleared with the exception of the family burial plot. By 1910 the faciliy was produced crude oil and 100 years later Standard Oil was broken up by the Sherman AntiTrust Act and the Bayvway Facilities are owned by Exxon. Despite changing hands and name several times, the Morse Plot has never been disturbed. Surrounded by a tall, large hedge it is highly sheltered, rendering it nearly invisible to the people who drive on Lower Rd and Stiles Rd. There are three headstones as well as a marker that tells some of the history behind the Morse family. There is a small ball park across the street where people walk their dogs and watch their kids play baseball. I venture few if any of them known that they are doing so a few dozen yards from the graves of some of the earliest European settlers to live in America….

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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.

debate over maitenence of cemetery in Norwood

residents upset over the way cemetery is being taken care of in Norwood

update: norwood will erect a low stone wall fence around the cemetery

The town will erect a low, stone wall around a 300-year-old cemetery, laying to rest a two-year battle between historians and residents. Council members said they wanted to protect the historic Haring Cemetery, which dates to the 1700s and contains the remains of Bergen County’s earliest settlers. The area, which is in the middle of several back yards, was previously unmarked and overgrown with trees and weeds.

The cemetery, located off Meadow Lane, has been a source of controversy as historical groups and neighbors argued about how to best preserve the site. Historians were concerned that additional stones have been covered up over time. They lobbied to erect a fence around the cemetery while the neighbors feared such delineation would create an eyesore. The borough council decided that a wall made of Belgian block less than a foot high and 66 feet square would be a fair compromise.

“We want to preserve the site but we don’t want it to be overly conspicuous for the sake of the neighbors,” said Councilman Barry Scott, who has been working on the plan for two years. Scott estimated that the wall would cost between $5,000 and $7,000. “This is a big step,” said Rich Williams, chairman of the Norwood Historic Preservation Committee, adding that he’s thrilled with the council’s move to protect the historic landmark. “It’s been a long time in the works. We’re very happy with this. Now we hope to do some landscaping around the area.”

Robert Garner, a neighbor of the cemetery, who had initially opposed the fence, said he was not present at the meeting. He is now having trouble confirming the height of the fence. “If it will be 4 to 6 inches of a cobblestone that blends into the area, then we will be satisfied,” he said Monday. Ownership of the cemetery can be traced to John Haring. When he died in 1802, he didn’t deed the land to anyone. For years the cemetery was ownerless.

The borough recently took ownership at the urging of historic groups that wanted to protect the gravestones. Among those buried in the cemetery are Abraham Haring, who died in 1801 and Betsey Bogert, who died in 1890. Recently, the preservation committee obtained a $1,829 grant that allowed them to hire an expert to restore the aging tombstones, which were toppled over, said Scott. “Now it looks a lot better.” The next step, he said, is to remove the weeds and tall grass surrounding the stones. The council hopes to proceed with plans for the fence in the spring. “The idea is to delineate the area,” said Borough Clerk Lorraine McMackin. “It will be non-obtrusive.”

Dewolfe cemetery

A small roadside cemetery. I don’t know anything about it and the research i did yielded no information. It was likely an old family plot on a farm which was sold off bit by bit till nothing of the family estate remained but the cemetery.

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Old French cemetery

This is an old graveyard which is very much forgotten, with graves dating back to the 1800’s. The graveyard sits atop a hill that is almost inaccessible due to its steep incline and heavy grass, but it is doable. The graves are in mostly good shape for their age, and it has a desolate feel to it in an industrial, mostly un-populated part of town. I enjoyed my quick visit immensely, since old, abandoned, little noticed graveyards are always a cool find for me. Other then its unusual location there isn’t anything extraordinary about this spot, but I still had a good time. My son demanded I take a picture of him with the grave. I didn’t put him there, ask him to pose or anything. I think this whole weird NJ hunting thing is wearing off on him. Which is a good thing I guess. Umm… yea. A good thing.

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