Memory Garden 11 - Brainerd Cemetery - The Beautiful Beyond

Memory Garden 11

Brainerd Cemetery, Cranberry. NJ (adjoining Westminister Cemetery)


Est. 1740

Driving around, in no particular direction we came to this beautiful burial ground.

Nestled across the street from the historic Cranberry Inn it seems small, but once explored you find the grounds stretch back quite far, and elbow behind the adjoining church.

I was taken in by all the absolutely beautiful and gleaming white marble stones.  I don't think I have ever seen so many in one place. 

I was drawn to the large white monument with the Masonic symbols - being of Masonic heritage and affiliation myself it was natural I find my way there.  Nearby the Jewel family plot was of great interest to me as well.  Three or four generations, all in one small area, with stones of different materials and shapes,  some facing in a different direction, and yet it seemed somehow orderly.  

Here there were death heads and angels, anchors and willows, lambs and crosses.  Each stone showed a new skill of the carver. Intricate rosettes and dainty Lily of the Valley flowers forever in bloom in white marble.  Tablature markers and false tombs, hand-carved fieldstone markers and tall monuments. 

The grounds were originally split into sections, with the older section being referred to as the "Old York" section.  This section is backed by a baby area and then juts right and quick left to go further back on the property - the section there referred to as the "Old Colored Grounds & Potters Field".  A comment on the map of the grounds notes: 

"Potter's Field, "Colored" 69 sections blur together on west 68 portion of the North Yard. Eastern 67 "Colored" Section blurs together 66 with last 10 rows of the Old Yard 65 on the North side."

To the left of the old burial grounds is the "newer" Westminister Cemetery, opened in 1837.  These grounds are still in use today. 

Deceiving from the road, to walk these grounds will take some time.  I enjoyed my leisurely stroll there until visited and quite startled by a "young man".  Often, when walking grounds, I feel presences, I hear voices of cries or laughter or even singing.  It really does not bother me at all, and sometimes I venture to sit and listen carefully and perhaps talk back to those disembodied sounds which for whatever reason seek out my ears.  But on this bright light, crisp summer day I had not expected to see a resident so clearly!  I called my husband to my side, pointing out what I saw so as to ascertain his perception and declare if I needed another bottle of water and to sit for a bit! lol  To my delight, I was not suffering from dehydration! There was surely someone trying to visit with us.  I did snap a photo of him.  I have not included him here in this garden, however, if you write to me, I will gladly share with you!  A bid farewell to both him, and all others and we went on our way, but this is one place i shall return to on summer days to drink in a bit of spirit chat!     


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