Hello everyone! It finally feels like Fall, the leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, it smells like pumpkins, leaves, and cinnamon. My favorite time of year! It also is a reminder that I need to get out and visit more locations, because in a few months (hopefully not at all!) it will be Winter and possibly harder to navigate through ice and snow…and sleet and rain.
Last Sunday, I went to the Closter Farmer’s Market and got some goodies. While out enjoying the weather, I thought, why not turn on my HMDB app (Historical Marker Database’s app that has a GPS and pinpoints where you are and what historical markers are near you). Near me were 2 places of interest and I had the time before heading out for other errands. So it brought me to the Saujte Tave’s Begraven Ground. Since it was on a whim, I didn’t have time to research and now I’m kicking myself a little bit. It is located at the corner, sort of, of Everett and Bogert Roads in Demarest.
I put the general location into Google Maps and off I went. I turned down Everett Road and the sun was shining, but I made out the “Keep Right” sign. I’m driving around what looks like some trees and thinking, “Where is this place!?” Turned the corner and saw between the trees some headstones. Nearly choked on my coffee! Parked on the actual street, and go out. Totally didn’t notice the walkway and sign saying “Saujte Tave’s Begraven Ground.” What was wrong with me that day?
So I enter the back of the small cemetery, where there is no pathway, but 2 larger entrances. I couldn’t believe how many graves there were for such a small piece of land. It is a pre-Revolutionary cemetery, so a lot of burials are prior to 1775. Most of the headstones are in pretty great condition too! I did happen to see a “Bogert” family member buried there.
Why am I kicking myself you say? Because I missed one of the most important headstones to take a picture of! Douwe Talema.’s to be exact. He can also be found as “Douwe Tallman.” I found a story about this gentleman and it is quite a sad one. His headstone reads as follows: “Here lie the remains of Douwe Talema, who died on the 11th Day of May, 1779, in his ninetieth year. This aged man, at his residence near this place, was willfully and barbarously murdered by a Party of Tories, Traitors to their Country, who had taken refuge with the Troops of Britain then in New York, and came thence to murder, burn and plunder. To pay a tribute of respect to his memory and also to commemorate the manner of his death several of his relatives erected this stone.”
The story behind the headstone is a horrid one. The Bergen County Journal in 1858 explained the Tories wanted whatever was in a trunk that Mr. Talema possessed and rightfully, he did not want to give up. This is what happened next:
“I am an old man, I cannot injure you, you will not hurt me.” The reply was “no,” and instantly, they knocked him down on his trunk and ran a bayonet through his body. Then they took him by the feet and dragged him out the door, and down the stone steps, (his head striking every step as they went down,) and threw his body into the yard before the house; then they set fire to both the house and barn; the militia were away at this time on duty elsewhere.
The house no longer remains and I’m not even quite sure where it stood. Reportedly, it was fairly close to the burial ground. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on Mr. Talema or even the burial ground in general. Then again, how does one pronounce the name? Also, it is spelled various ways in various articles I have found.
After finding out a little bit of the history of one of the burial ground’s residents, I feel the need to go back soon and take more pictures, especially of Mr. Talema’s headstone. History awaits in even the tiniest and unlikeliest places. As always, here are a few pictures that I hope you enjoy.