About 7 years ago, I worked on Old Hook Road in Emerson. There were times I was stuck at the light, crossing Bogerts Mill Road in Harrington Park. One day, I happened to look to my right and saw a small fenced-in area which contained a few headstones. Always told myself I want to check it out and sort of did about 2 years ago. I only took pictures from the outside because I didn’t know if going in meant trespassing.
The beginning of this year, I was doing research during one of the many snowstorms. I contacted the Harrington Park Historical Society on Facebook and asked them about this cemetery. The name of it is the Perry Cemetery (it is completely unmarked). The person who wrote back was kind enough to provide me with the following information:
“The Harrington Park Historical Society is the custodian of both the Perry Cemetery on Old Hook Road and the Old Burying Ground on Tappan Road. The cemetery on Old Hook Road is on what was the farm of David Perry (1809-1871). David had devised by his will, signed on July 18,1868 that: “the burying ground where the same now is, westerly of my dwelling house, of the use of 40’ square, I give unto all my children to be kept by them and their posterity as a place of burial forever.” When David wrote his will, his great grandson Perry Cole (1866-1867) and grandson Henry Perry (1854-1867) already had been buried in the small plot. By the end of 1871, 6 members of the Perry family had been laid to rest within yards of the family house. The last burial at the cemetery was that of David’s great grandson, Claude Yeomans (1887-1940). There are a total of 12 people interred at the Perry Cemetery.”
So this meant I must visit the Old Burying Ground too! For me, it was easier to visit the Perry Cemetery first, drive around and end up near the Old Burying Ground, then head back home. The Perry Cemetery has a small area you can park (kind of like a pull-off or a jug handle). I’ve seen police sit there waiting for those who fly down the road. I wasn’t sure where to park for the Old Burying Ground, so I parked on a side street and walked a little bit.
For The Perry Cemetery, I was able to find this, but honestly the headstones are very legible. I remember seeing Henry Perry’s headstone right away the first time I visited. This time, I decided it was safe to go inside. Heck, I only had my camera, phone, and car key. If a police officer were to check on me, I had virtually nothing on me. (Side note: I’m always afraid I’ll get in trouble going to smaller family cemeteries haha.) Anyway, the day I visited recently, was a beautiful, sunny day. As soon as I entered the through the fence, clouds were covering. As I was about to take another picture of Henry’s headstone, I thought, “Great, I hope the pictures come out okay.” Right then, the clouds dispersed and it was extremely sunny again. (Oddly enough, the picture didn’t come out too well, so I’m using a picture from my first visit 2 years ago.) Thank you Henry! I don’t know where the house originally stood, as there are no markers indicating so. It is a beautiful and quiet spot, even in today’s work with the traffic and it overlooks the reservoir as well. Be sure to say hello to Henry for me.
Then I drove around in a circle and ended up at the Old Burying Ground. As I stated before, I had to park on a side street. You walk up some steps, are in a semi wooded area, turn, and walk up some more steps. You will find yourself on top maybe 1.5 stories high? You can see Dino’s restaurant from up there…and smell it (mmm!). So anyway, there are a lot of signs stating “Private Property,” so please do not wander into someone’s yard. There is also a kiosk with a map showing where people are buried. The kiosk also provides papers with names and locations of those buried there. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to locate mine right now. When comparing the paper to what you see, it’s amazing that many people are buried there! Many broken and illegible headstones, many tree roots too, so please be on the lookout. I usually crouch down to take pictures, but I was afraid I’d accidentally tip over due to the uneven surface, then roll off the retaining wall, and end up on the sidewalk (yes, I have a colorful mind). According to Revolutionary War New Jersey, there are 4 Revolutionary War soldiers buried out of the 103 altogether.
The Perry Cemetery
Old Burying Ground