Old Presbyterian Graveyard
Somerset County, New Jersey
Submitted by Mary Nelson [email@example.com].
To reach cemetery from the North/Northeast/Northwest: take Rt 18
N or Rt 27 N or S or Rt 1 N or S to Rt 287 N to Rt 28 E to Hamilton
St to E. High St. E on E. High St. The graveyard is at the end of
the block, on the corner of East High St & East St, immediately
to the left of The Bound Brook Memorial Library as you face the
front entrance, at 402 East High St.
To reach cemetery from the South/Southeast/Southwest: Rt 18 N or
Rt 27 N or S or Rt 1 N or S to Rt 287 N to Rt 28 E to Hamilton St
to E. High St. E on E. High St. The graveyard is at the end of the
block, on the corner of East High St & East St, immediately to the
left of The Bound Brook Memorial Library as you face the front entrance,
at 402 East High St.
The Old Presbyterian Graveyard, located at the corner of East
High Street and East Street in the borough of Bound Brook, Somerset
County, New Jersey is the original cemetery of the Bound Brook
Presbyterian Church. The two acre site has also been sometimes
referred to as the Revolutionary War Cemetery and the Pre-Revolutionary
The founders of the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church were banished
from their Scottish homeland and sailed here in the 1680s after
struggling to maintain Presbyterianism as their state religion.
The actual date of the Church's organization is unknown, but there
is historical evidence that it was prior to 1700. The first frame
building for the Church was constructed in 1725 on the corner
of Main Street and East Street. Services were held here until
February 6, 1896 when a second building dating from 1829 was destroyed
by a devastating fire and hurricane. The original cemetery is
located directly behind this church location and is adjacent to
the Bound Brook Memorial Library.
In 1898 the Presbyterian Church was rebuilt on the corner of Union
and Mountain Avenues. A "new" cemetery had already been established
on the east side of Mountain Avenue. Sized at 12.16 acres and named
"Bound Brook Cemetery" it was purchased on September 7, 1863 by
the church trustees from John D. Voorhees. The first to be buried
in the new ground was a Civil War soldier, Nicholas Conover on May
15, 1864. Burials continued in the old cemetery for another thirty-five
In 1907, Miss M. Antoinette Quinby recorded inscriptions through
the year 1850 and later, A(braham) Van Doren Honeyman recorded inscriptions
from 1850 through 1899. Ms. Quinby's brief inscriptions were published
in The Somerset County Historical Quarterly, Volume I, in 1912 and
Mr. Honeyman's in Volume IV, in 1915. The full inscriptions of the
earlier set were filed with The New Jersey Historical Society in
Newark, New Jersey in Monumental Inscriptions of Somerset County,
The Old Presbyterian Graveyard was bought by philanthropist George
M. La Monte in 1926 from the church trustees and the deed was given
to the DAR, Camp Middlebrook Chapter with $1000.00 towards its improvement
and maintenance. The Camp Middlebrook Chapter added $500.00 to the
$1000.00 sum and a tri-partial trust made up of the Presbyterian
Church, the Camp Middlebrook Chapter of the DAR and the Bound Brook
Trust Company was formed, the latter in charge.
Mabelle Titus Powelson, a secretary to Mr. La Monte handwrote approximately
600 epitaphs from the tombstones probably sometime in the mid- to
late 1920s. From these handwritten records, the DAR had the inscriptions
typed into a 5 volume leather-bound set, in memory of Elizabeth
Herbert Olendorf, Organizing Regent. These volumes were presented
to the Bound Brook Memorial Library in 1972.
Over the years, the cemetery was renovated and landscaped and an
iron fence was erected. In fact, the cemetery was well maintained
by the DAR, from 1926 until 1934.
In 1929, Miss Caroline B. La Monte erected a colonial design entrance
gate at the corner of East High and East Streets. In memory of her
brother, George M. La Monte, one "Gateway of Remembrance" plaque
inscription reads "In the year of this Pact of Paris, this Gateway
of Remembrance was placed here for the sake of George Mason La Monte,
a citizen of this borough who reverenced the past and who worked
for the future wherein war shall cease and goodwill shall prevail
among men! 1929." The companion plaque reads "The work of righteousness
shall be peace and the effect of righteousness quietness and confidence
forever. Isaiah 32:17."
After some years of financial and legal issues between the borough
and the DAR, Camp Middlebrook Chapter, the latter deeded the tract
to the borough as a public park in 1934. The DAR, Camp Middlebrook
Chapter was designated "curator". Over the next three to four decades,
the cemetery suffered from neglect and vandalism. Dorothy Stratford,
a local historian recorded the graveyard in the late 1950s.
On May 24, 1963, the Bound Brook Memorial Library was presented
with a grid of the cemetery, indicating the burial coordinates of
some of the Revolutionary War soldiers, War of 1812 soldiers, the
Mexican War soldier and the Civil War soldiers buried there. The
grid was prepared by Miss Esther Stryker, a DAR member. It is estimated
that there are approximately seventy Revolutionary War soldiers
buried in the graveyard, about forty-five of which are identified,
three of the War of 1812, one of the Mexican War and four of the
Improvements to the cemetery were included in the Recreation
Master Plan for the year 1972. For the Nation's Bicentennial in
1976, a project to restore the cemetery and create a public park
was proposed and embraced by many residents. Funds of approximately
$40,000 were raised. The Bound Brook Bicentennial Committee landscaped
and regraded the site and installed brick walkways and a brick
entranceway next to the public library on East High Street.
A brick monument listing the names of the known interred was
erected on Sep 12, 1976. Headstones were laid flat and it is not
clear how many are in their exact, correct location. Due to this
uncertainty, the burial coordinates defined here, may no longer
be relevant. Unfortunately many broken stones were carted away.
In the year 2005, only about 170-180 markers remain on the site:
approximately 152 readable headstones, 2-3 footstones, 11 monuments
and 13 unidentifiable headstones. The Degroot family vault has
vanished and there are only some brick remnants and a flat family
monument to mark the location of the Steele family vault.
Presbyterian Church members discussed taking over the maintenance
of the cemetery but that never actually happened. Unfortunately,
since 1976, the Cemetery has been suffering from disrespect and
neglect. It is estimated that there may be as many as 1000 to
1500 people buried in The Old Presbyterian Graveyard. There are
approximately 600 known interred who were placed in marked graves
and an unknown number in unmarked graves.
The graveyard most probably dates from about 1700. In 1907, the
oldest legible stone recorded a death in 1744 for Sarah McCoy.
It is possible that Hannah Dye may have been buried even earlier,
perhaps in 1736, but the general consensus is that she probably
was buried either in 1756, 1786 or 1796. Many unmarked graves
are said to be older. The last burial took place in 1899 for Susan
Van Nortwick Cammann.
In February 2005, The Bound Brook/Middlesex Rotary had two signs
erected on the outermost pillars of "The Gateway of Remembrance."
One identifies the site as "The Old Presbyterian Graveyard" and
the other identifies it as The Bound Brook/Middlesex Rotary Centennial
Project . The Rotary is committed to future upkeep of the site
and supported the effort to list the known interred on www.interment.net.
For additional information, contact: Bound Brook Memorial Library
402 East High Street, Bound Brook, New Jersey 08805 Tel: 732.356.0044
- Mary C. Nelson
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