Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mystery Tombstones Raise Questions in Pequannock

By Christopher Lotito

Mysterious tombstones labeled with the names of Pequannock Township's historic personages have experts baffled.  A collection of at least 10 tombstones, apparently taken at some time from the plots of residents buried at Pompton Plains First Reformed Church cemetery once formed a spooky walkway around Dr. Ostergaard's office in Pompton Plains.  Many patients may not have been aware that they were stepping on these former memorials as the stones were situated face down for quite a while.

The Pequannock Township Historic District Commission recently became aware of these monuments when they were offered as a donation to that organization, which specializes in preserving Pequannock's history.  How the stones moved from memorial to home-improvement (in the form of a walkway) is not readily clear, though it's theorized they may have been removed around the 1930's during the construction of a glass corridor connecting the First Reformed Church's Sanctuary to the church house.  It is unclear at this time what the final resting place of the tombstones will be or whether or not that will be with the remains of those who they were created to memorialize as it appears some of the stones could end up in private collections.

One of the stones in question, Ann H. Webb Ryerson, appears to be associated with a Lucas M. Ryerson family memorialized in the First Reformed Church Cemeteryhttp://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=82065829


A tombstone for John A. Garrabrant who lived to the age of 86, expiring in 1868, remains a mystery as no trace can be found to indicate where his grave might be located.

A David G. Smith in Pequannock who died November 6th 1853 at 41 years of age can be found in the 1850 census, though little else is known about him.

Mary Kirk who died at age 52 in 1861 was the wife of Frederick Kirk, though again little else is know.

You can help!  -- If you know or can discover any information about these individuals, you could help reunite their gravestones with the associated graves.  Feel free to drop us a line at Pequannock News if you think you might be able to solve these tombstone mysteries!


Click on the images included for larger versions, or head over to our Facebook page to see the entire photo set!

  Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District and Open Space Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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