Here are two versions of the history of the Amwell Church of the Brethren in Hunterdon County. The first was written by Jonathan M. Hoppock and published in the Democrat-Advertiser on October 17, 1901. Short and sweet. The second one, a little bit longer, was written by Egbert T. Bush and published in the Hunterdon County Democrat on March 26, 1931. Mr. Bush’s ‘history’ is truncated, and as he put it— “it is not the intent to give here anything more than the merest sketch of church history, an indispensable part in any sketch of the community.” He was always more interested in the members of a community than institutional histories, and so he spends more time on those who were buried in the three cemeteries associated with the church members.
There are three ways to write about the graves in a cemetery. First, a straight alphabetical list; second, chronologically by when people died, perhaps linked to who owned the cemetery at the time; and third, by the layout of the graves.
One of the oldest cemeteries in Delaware Township is also one of the loveliest, with a long view of Hunterdon County’s rolling hills and farm fields. It is surrounded by a stone wall and at one time had a wrought iron gate.
There is a tiny burying ground located on a plot of land across from the Delaware Township Municipal Building that is used during the summer by the Sergeantsville Farmers’ Market. It is hidden in a clump of trees, and very few people know of its existence.
The following is the keynote speech I delivered on September 19, 2015 for the 2nd Annual Cemetery Seminar, sponsored by the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society and others. It is somewhat modified to make it more readable, less like a speech.
Pine Hill Cemetery is one of the most interesting of the old family burial grounds in Hunterdon County. I have written about it before, in an article that listed the known graves with some biographical information. But I had just scratched the surface; there is so much more to be said.
Several years ago (in 2007), me and my cemetery buddies (pardon the grammar) visited the mysterious and lovely Rittenhouse Cemetery overlooking the old Prallsville quarry. I have wanted to write about this place for some time, but put it off because of concern that by making it known it would be more vulnerable to vandals. It appears that my restraint did not make much difference. Bob Leith visited recently and found one of the stones with graffiti and another one with a shotgun blast to its face. So, there is not much point in secrecy anymore. But there is another reason why I am inspired to write about the cemetery now. It has to do with the oldest stone there.
One of the most interesting private cemeteries in Delaware Township lies hidden among the trees on an old farm located near Routes 523 and 579. In 1931, Egbert T. Bush wrote that half of the cemetery was located on the Thatcher farm and half on a farm owned by A. J. Dalrymple. Bush identified a few of the stones, and on a visit in 1995 I found a few more, for a total of 18 gravestones with initials.1