Township searches for those with burial plots

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — Township officials are looking for people who have deeds to be buried in the Piscatawaytown Burial Ground.

The Piscatawaytown Historical Cemetery Association sold burial plots at the cemetery, which is located on Woodbridge Avenue next to the St. James Episcopal Church, to many citizens until 1961. The association has since discovered it did not own the land, said Louis Rainone, township attorney.

Therefore, the township is now looking for people who bought the plots and will allow those people to be buried in the cemetery, he said.

The township "doesn’t have a license to actually run a cemetery," Rainone said.

The township can not sell plots to people, he explained. However, people who have legitimate deeds to burial plots will be allowed to be buried in the cemetery.

The cemetery has a great deal of history. It became a burial ground in 1695, when the Proprietors of the Province of East New Jersey granted a tract of land for a burial ground and town common, according to a written statement by Walter R. Stochel Jr., of the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society.

The burial ground is one of the oldest in the county, with the oldest grave site, belonging to the Hoopar Brothers, dating back to 1693.

Many original families of the area have been buried at the site.

Also buried there are British soldiers from the American Revolution, American soldiers from various wars, Civil War Brvt. Major General Thomas Sword, and other influential people.

Mary Moore, after being accused a witch, was hung and buried in the cemetery during colonial times, according to Stochel’s handout. Her neighbors said she caused animals to do strange things, she grew strange plants, and she dressed like a witch.

According to township legend, a boy in the 1950s was killed crossing Route 1 shortly after stealing her headstone.

Edison township takes care of and will continue to take care of the maintenance of the burial ground because there is no one else to do it, said Jonathan Capp, township administrator.

Each year volunteers come together to help clean the site on National Make A Difference Day.

On Oct. 25, lifelong resident of Edison Daniel Pellegrian, 18, unveiled his Eagle Scout project which was restoring the oldest headstone on the property, that of the Hoopar brothers.

Residents still take pride in the historical site and volunteer to keep it as clean and beautiful as possible, officials said.