Some time ago, I received a query from Alice Groner, regarding the name Union, as applied to cemeteries. Here is what she wrote:
Why were so many cemeteries named Union Cemetery years before the Civil War? . . . I have continued my search as well and discovered that Union Twp. in Hunterdon County was named after Union Furnace which made, among other things, cannon balls for the Revolutionary War. And a lot of the Union Cemeteries in NJ were established before/long before the Civil War. The Union Cemetery, which kicked off the discussion with my friend, is located near Finesville (on the Warren County side of the Musconetcong River), and it is so old that few tombstones are readable. I’m, also, wondering if the usual rather small cemeteries of our early churches filled up and, therefore, folks decided to have a cemetery uniting those of all/most faiths.
“…so many questions…so little time.”
A Google search on the word Union in the Revolutionary War will get you some articles on the many flags that were flown during that time, one in particular (from Taunton, Massachusetts) with the words: “Liberty and Union.” So the word was on people’s minds when they thought about uniting the colonies. The goal of creating “a more perfect union” was used in the preamble to the Constitution.
Perhaps some of you can come up with a better answer for Alice. It’s an intriguing question.
March 31, 2015 @ 2:31 pm
According to its website, Union Township in Hunterdon County was named after the Union Furnace, which was built in 1742 and operated until the 1780s.
March 31, 2015 @ 5:09 pm
In Milford Borough, there used to be a separate cemetery for the Milford Presbyterian Church, across the street (route 519) from the church, where the Milford School was later built. There was another cemetery (now defunct) on Water Street which had many gravestones and was marked on the 1873 Atlas of Hunterdon County, next to a marble works. A Methodist Church was near the defunct cemetery leading some to believe that their members were buried there. Also, there was the cemetery around the Christian Church. All three of these cemeteries were small. In 1858 the Milford Union Cemetery was incorporated to include burials for everyone who could purchase a plot and many, if not all, of the previous Presbyterian burials were moved there ca. 1858. So, I think it safe to say that Union in this name meant to combine the previous burial opportunities into one much larger cemetery, which is still active almost 160 years later. Other “Union” cemeteries in Hunterdon County include Union Cemetery (next to Round Valley Meth Ch) in Lebanon Borough, Union Cemetery (Clinton Baptist) in the Town of Clinton, Lower Valley Union Cemetery in Califon Borough, Union Cemetery in Ringoes, Union Cemetery on Race St across from the Bethlehem Pres. Ch. in Union Twp., and Union Cemetery Assn of Wertsville (a.k.a. Stout-Manners or Youngs Burial Ground) in East Amwell Twp.