Way Down Low at Piscataway High

Fitz-Randolph Cemetery

At Piscataway High School, there is a small fenced in graveyard between the football field, home of the Chiefs, and the school parking lots. Many of the tombstones hold the name “Randolph”, and the most interesting is one of the Randolph daughters who died in 1803 at the age of 15, the same age of many of the students who go to school nearby. The grave marker reads, “A sudden unexpected stroke, the tender bread of life was broke, in bloom of life her breath resign, and left her mourning friends behind”. The Randolph family, which was prominent in Piscataway at the time, must have suffered a great loss, and this small cemetery remains as a tribute.
Interesting 19th century grave markers at Fitz-Randolph Cemetery, a small fenced in plot of land on Piscataway High School property.


Birch Run Away – Hidden Cemetery

Betwixt and between the recently built Birch Run Development in Piscataway, there is a fenced-in area of land that looks a bit out of place. This is one of the few locations where the shrubbery has been left to its own devices rather than being uprooted to make way for more housing. In investigating the plot, many tombstones were were found in the thick wooded region. Upon further inspection, the name “Giles” appeared on all of the legible tombstones, one in particular with the year 1837 engraved for Benjamin Giles. The most disturbing discovery was that the terrain in front of each grave marker was sunken a great deal. Since the land was not kept properly and the area was fenced in, there was no way to maintain the graves. However, it was discovered that the plot was well protected. Upon exiting, the crew was attacked by bees that rose up from the ground and sent everyone back to the car in a hurry. Two members suffered three stings each, present company excluded. It is believed that the intent of the bees was to protect without causing great injury, as the only person not stung was the one allergic to bee stings.
Hidden grave markers at the Birch Run Cemetery.

One of the casualties – a protector of the Giles clan


Runyon: For Your Life – Runyon-Stelle Cemetery

The Runyon cemetery on the corner of Possumtown Road and Centennial Avenue in Piscataway is no secret. One of the oldest graveyards in the area is well maintained, protected by a white picket fence, and surrounded by American flags. There is a family history and a list of all the Runyon family members buried there. The oldest was Vincent Rongnion, an American settler from France who claimed 150 acres of land along the Raritan in 1677, where Johnson Park is currently located. This makes him one of the earliest settlers in the Piscataway area, which was established as a town in 1666. His grave is located at the cemetery, unmarked, along with many generations of Runyon descent. This was truly a historic landmark for the town of Piscataway.
Benjamin Runyon, who died in 1785, is one of the older Runyon family members whose site can be identified, as many are unmarked or destroyed.

This well kept Runyon grave site could not be protected from subterranean intruders.

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