Old Grave Yards – First Reformed Church and Christ Episcopal Church

There are two main church graveyards on Nielson and Paterson Streets across from the Hyatt Hotel in New Brunswick. The First Reformed Church is a Dutch Reformed Church, and one of the first in New Brunswick. This makes sense because the Dutch Reformed Church was responsible for the initial establishment of Rutgers. The church itself was organized in 1717, and the leaders of the church were among the first signers of the charter for Queens College. The church was moved to its current location in 1767, and the clock tower was completed in 1839. Many notable names could be found throughout the cemetery, including Hardenbergh, who was the first to set out from the Netherlands in hopes of establishing a college in the colonies. Some interesting grave markers included those of Revolutionary War heroes who fought alongside George Washington. Another name in particular that stood out was Abraham Suydam, whose name appears in the Items of Interest page in reference to his brutal murder. It must be researched as to whether or not this is the same man or a relative. Another interesting characteristic of the graveyard is the low hanging pine trees that seem to hang over the grave markers in a protective fashion. It appears to be an example of nature protecting nature.

The other main church graveyard that surrounds the Christ Episcopal Church next door. The original tower of this church was built in 1773, and there is evidence of a series of expansions of the buildings. Extensions were added in 1852, 1874, and 1897, which bring out a unique blend of architectural styles. There are rows and rows of unique tombstones and obelisks from the 18th and 19th centuries. Both of these churches are historic landmarks with memorable graveyards, and more exploration of the men and women who are buried there as well as any possible cases of strange or unexplained phenomena will be further explored.

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