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.
Also known as the Thatcher Cemetery,
but is not to be confused with the Thatcher Burying Ground in Sergeantsville.
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
In his diary, Benjamin Ellicott made several references to his father-in-law, Elisha Warford. Warford is a legendary figure in the history of the Locktown-Croton vicinity, so it seems appropriate to publish Mr. Bush’s recollections of the man. He was a controversial figure, extremely wealthy, and extremely litigious. He never hesitated to take his debtors to court, as the papers in the Warford Collection at the Hunterdon County Historical Society will attest. Warford was a difficult personality that Mr. Bush managed to write about without casting aspersions. But then Egbert T. Bush was always a gentleman. As usual, I will take the liberty of making comments and annotations.
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.
By Marfy Goodspeed in Bonham, Bray, Dalrymple, Delaware Township, Families, Kingwood Township, Lair, Locktown, Myers, Opdycke, Rittenhouse, Sutton, Williamson 8 Comments Tags: cemeteries, early settlers
There has been a Baptist Church in Locktown since the early 19th century, and a cemetery associated with it. The church and the cemetery were located on land belonging to Daniel Rittenhouse, whose home was a short distance west of Locktown on the Kingwood-Locktown Road. Most of the names in this cemetery are of families that lived nearby in Kingwood and Delaware Townships, many of them descendants of original German immigrants. Many of the original stones are now missing, even ones that were inventoried in the 1940s. Old cemeteries are hard to preserve.
Three Great Hunterdon Co. Historians Try to Find the Opdycke Cemetery
Over five years ago, I published an article about the Opdycke Cemetery in the Delaware Township Post. It has now been revised as “Opdycke Cemetery Revisited.” More recently, I came across some letters exchanged by Egbert T. Bush and Hiram E. Deats regarding their attempts to find this burying ground and to identify who was buried there. These letters can be found in the Egbert T. Bush Papers at the Hunterdon County Historical Society.
I first published an article on this interesting cemetery in April 2009 on the website Delaware Township Post. After five years, I have a learned enough to justify revising and republishing this article.
The cemetery is located on the Lambertville-Headquarters Road, on a farm near the intersection with Sandy Ridge Road. It is a private family cemetery without public access. The origin of the cemetery is nicely described by Egbert T. Bush.
Be forewarned—this article is not for the squeamish.