Old Spring Valley Burial Ground

Hello Everyone! Hope you have all had a nice Thanksgiving and are welcoming the upcoming holiday you celebrate. Sorry for the delay in posting. Weather, health, and computer issues prevented me from going out to explore and then create a new post. No need to fear, I’m back and I certainly hope you enjoy this one!

Old Spring Valley Burial Ground (a.k.a. Spring Valley Cemetery) is practically hidden amidst a cul-de-sac in Paramus, off Spring Valley Road. The blue historic marker can be seen on Spring Valley Road, near Viola Way (a firehouse is nearby). Please be respectful when visiting because the path is between two homes and it leads to the back of a few homes as well.

The marker states “The historic cemetery directly in the rear of the Behnke farm contains the graves of descendents of early settlers in this area including at least two local farmer-militiamen of the American Revolution, Jacobus Brouwer and Henry Banta, as well as the grave of Cornelius Demarest, who served in the 2nd regiment of the Union Army in the Civil War.”

It was sponsored by the Paramus Rotary in 1964 and is part of the series of Bergen County Historical Society Markers. Old Spring Valley Burial Ground is owned by the Borough of Paramus.

This cemetery was especially amazing to visit because I was able to go with one of my nephews. I had told him about it and he went on Halloween, sending me pictures (yes, I had the one teardrop, proud aunt moment). He was so amazed to see a “Van Saun” buried there, as Van Saun Park is minutes away from here.

When I told my nephew I was planning on visiting Old Spring Valley Burial Ground, he wanted to come along. It really was wonderful to see such excitement in a 10-year-old boy, and the fact that I was able to share what little I know about Bergen County’s history, as well as my growing knowledge of cemetery facts. Now, if I can only get my other nephew and two nieces to come, that would be another one teardrop, proud aunt moment.

I digress…back to the burial ground. When you walk the pathway, it feels like you’re trespassing in someone’s backyard. You turn the corner and BAM, there’s the cemetery, sloping downwards slightly towards the back. As with many Revolutionary era cemeteries, there are a few sandstone headstones that aren’t completely legible, as well as others (not sure of the material because I’m still learning). There are a few in excellent condition, like William Kipps. It stands in the middle of the cemetery and is pretty tall. There are quite a few broken stones, so please watch your step, especially when leaves have fallen.

There are numerous stones bearing familiar names:  Banta, Van Saun, Kipp, Bogert, and Demarest (to name quite a few). Since NJ, especially Bergen County, is extremely rich in Revolutionary War history, there are, of course, several veterans buried here. Unfortunately, I do not recall any American flags and definitely no medallions. However, in researching this burial ground, there are several pictures with flags, but I am not able to read the names on the headstones.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find information online about most of the families other than Ancestry.com matches/links. This would mean I should revisit and check out as much info at the library as possible.

I encourage you check out this site for yourself. Bring a family member with you, afterall, this is a family burial ground.

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