Skip to comments.Restoration of Elizabeth church digs up Revolutionary-era past
Posted on 10/27/2009 7:44:09 AM PDT by Pharmboy
ELIZABETH -- Many of the headstones marking the graves in New Jerseys oldest cemetery are no longer readable, not only because theyre worn, but because theyre partially underground.
While excavating around the headstones in the Old First Presbyterian Church cemetery in Elizabeth last week, archaeologist Seth Gartland found stones had sunk several feet, leaving only the top half exposed. When workers elevated the decaying stones, Gartland discovered inscriptions that had long been hidden.
Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger
Rows and rows of markers in the cemetery of the First
Presbyterian Church on Broad St. The cemetery is
currently undergoing a project of preserving the
stones and crypts.
Brought to light were the intricate carvings and carefully chiseled words on the tombstone of Ebenezer Price, who had a workshop in Elizabeth and was one of the most skilled and prolific gravestone carvers in colonial America. He died in 1788.
Zeke Schladen uses repair mortar to seal and help
preserve a box crypt in the cemetery of the First Presbyterian
Church on Broad St.
In 1762, the churchs Rev. James Caldwell became one of the most outspoken supporters of the Revolution...
"Legend has it that on Sundays he preached with two loaded pistols on the pulpit," Shallcross said.
In 1780, the church was burned. Six months later, in June, British troops shot and killed Caldwells wife, Hanna, as she sat in the parsonage in Connecticut Farms with her nine children, Shallcross said.
A year later, Rev. Caldwell was shot and killed as he went to visit prisoners at the Elizabethtown waterfront. A centerpiece in the cemetery is a monument to the Caldwell family.
snip... "Some stones have gunshot marks from the British using them as target practice," said Gartland.
(Excerpt) Read more at nj.com ...
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Great piece of history.
reference bump - I wonder what sort of preservation will be done now that the rest of the stone is exposed to the elements?
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