Memory Garden 19
Old Bethlehem/Grandin Presbyterian Cemetery, Clinton, NJ
Est. circa 1793 (earliest mention in records stating old church foundation stones used to build the wall surrounding cemetery)
Sometimes on my drives around the beautiful Garden State of N, I come across a cemetery that leaves me speechless. Bethlehem did that. As you scroll through the photos here, there is one called Heros - that and that shot alone stunned me to silence. The weight of those graves was heavy for me, they clung to me, the echoes of the past brought me to tears. Remember. All you see. Be thankful. Fight on.
The large, white painted church rises up as you round a hill on Rt. 513, a meandering county road that takes you through hills and valleys, past farms and woodland. Each turn, each rise and fall greeting you with ancient history buried just below the hustle of traffic racing by.
The graveyards consist of three areas in total; as you face the church, attached to the very land it sits on is the newer area. While some older stones are there for sure, the majority of the stones there encompass the late 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The yard (mostly pictured here) to the left and across Race Street, is much older. Union Cemetery sits just behind this one, separated by a stone wall.
A description and notes from the history of the area:
"Bethlehem Presbyterian Church of Grandin is the oldest Presbyterian Church in Hunterdon County. It was established in 1730 when the first log meeting house was built in the northeast corner of the Old Cemetery. It was a place of worship for the country people in the midst of hilly, rich tillable farmland and a focal point in Grandin. In 1760, a frame meeting house replaced the log structure. The present site, across Race Street, was purchased in 1830 and a stone church was built. Unable to expand the old stone church, it was torn down and the present church was built in 1870 using stones from the Old Church for its foundation. This congregation sent three members to attend a meeting of the Sons of Liberty in 1766. The congregation also joined with other churches in supporting the Continental Congress in 1774. Its members were leaders in organizing and leading the Second Regiment, Hunterdon County Militia. Twenty two of its members of the church fought in the Revolutionary War. After the war ended, they returned home and again became active members in Bethlehem Church. The stone wall surrounding the Old Graveyard was built in 1793 by Jacob Anderson, a Captain in the Revolutionary War, buried here in 1837. Within this cemetery are the remains of: 21 men who fought in the Continental Army, John Hackett, for whom Hackettstown is named, John Grandin’s family, including Elizabeth Grandin Dr. John O. Blane, author of “A Medical History of Hunterdon County” Reverend John Hanna, pastor from 1761-1801. Reverend Holloway Hunt, who was pastor of the church from 1802-1842. Three cemeteries currently surround the church. Union Cemetery of Grandin, is next to the Old Bethlehem Presbyterian Churchyard cemetery, separated by a stone wall. The Bethlehem Cemetery is across the street and on the other side of the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church. The Bethlehem Cemetery is not affiliated with the Presbyterian church. Both the Union Cemetery of Grandin and the Bethlehem Cemetery are newer cemeteries and often contain family members and later generations of those buried in the Old Bethlehem Presbyterian Church cemetery."
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