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OLD DEPTFORD STRANGER'S BURIAL GROUND
DEPTFORD, NEW JERSEY
Strangers Burial Ground: Caulfield Road [Take Rte 45 in Woodbury,
NJ to Cooper Street; left onto Rte 544 (Clements Bridge Road) toward
the Deptford Mall; turn left onto Rte. 645 (Caulfield Road). The cemetery
is almost immediately on your left, by the road in a wooded area.
[[This current burial ground is in poor condition. There are signs
of American flags placed here (not recently), but the grounds and tombstones
are not taken care of, as evidenced by these photographs. [Note:
my thanks to Sandy Hoffman who provided some of the source material,
shown below, about this cemetery!]] In 2007 A
boy scout troop from Deptford has visited this burial ground, and spruced
it up quite a bit.
to the current caretaker of the Ann Whitall House
in National Park, after the "Battle of Red Bank," the
Hessian soldiers involved in that battle were buried in the trenches
at the site of the battle and they were later moved to the Strangers
Burial Ground at Woodbury, New Jersey. She stated that, even later (when
their remains were "just bones,") they were removed to this
Strangers Burial Ground in Deptford. The site at both Woodbury, and
later Deptford, was called "Strangers Burial Ground," because
those buried were not members of any of the local religious communities.
about Count Donop's grave].
In Glendora, New Jersey, in the Ashbrook
Burial Ground are additional Hessian soldiers, who died during their
retreat from the "Battle of Red Bank," however they are not
the remains of the original soldiers who fell on that battlefield.
Information: HISTORY OF THE COUNTIES OF GLOUCESTER, SALEM, AND CUMBERLAND
NEW JERSEY by Thos. Cushing, M.D. & Charles E. Sheppard, Esq. PHILADELPHIA:
EVERTS & PECK. 1883 PRESS OF J.B. LIPPINCOTT & SONS, PHILADELPHIA.
Oct. 22, 1777, the
battle of Red Bank was fought, and many of the wounded Hessians were
brought to Woodbury, and cared for in the old brick school-house on
Delaware Street, where many of them died, and were buried in the northerly
part of the grounds known as the "Strangers' Burying-Ground."
The Town Orders, That the Strangers Buryal Ground be enclos'd with Oak
Posts and Ceder Rails. Samuel Thompson is appointed to that Service,
& to draw upon the Overseers of the Poor for Defraying the Expense
thereof. Also to have the Care of it.
The Town orders also, that the Overseers of the Poor provide Cedar Rails
and oak Posts, in order to Enclose the Strangers' Burial Ground, and
that they get it done as Soon as convenient may be. Also that Job Kimsey
have the Care thereof when completed.
Notes on old Gloucester County, New Jersey : historical records published
by the New Jersey Society of Pennsylvania
New Jersey: unknown, 1917, 982 pgs.
"The Strangers Burying Ground, which was for more than a century
one of the landmarks of Woodbury, occupied about an acre of ground on
the south side of Cooper Street west of Broad. In this cemetery many
of the Hessians killed at Red Bank were buried. Buttons of uniforms
and bayonets were found when the cemetery was vacated. It was condemned
about two years ago [about 1915], and a new street known as Lupton Avenue
marks the site. The bodies and remaining stones were removed to the
Paupers' Burying-Ground, which is located on the old road, now little
used, leading from a point near Almonesson to North Woodbury.
Farther along this road and about a quarter of a mile nearer Woodbury
is the Cattell cemetery, founded by the ancestors of the numerous families
of that name. It was used to some extent my members of the Cattell family
until quite recently. Jonas Cattell, famous as the guide of the Gloucester
Fox Hunting Club, is said to be buried there.
"Gloucester County Democrat, February 13, 1913
An adjourned session of Woodbury Council was held Tuesday evening, all
members being present.... Mr. Martin stated that in cooperation with
the Mayor, he had worked hard in solving the difficulties attendant
upon moving the bodies from the Stranger's Burial Ground. Through Freeholder
Hannold, the committee learned that there is a Stranger's Burial Ground
on the Clement's Bridge road about 2000 feet from Hawkey's Point. There
is more or less undergrowth there. The Deptford township committee gave
Council permission to reinter the bodies in that plot free of charge,
a resolution being read from that township to that effect. Contained
in that resolution was a statement that they acted adversely on the
proposition to start condemnation proceedings for the purpose of purchasing
the Gloucester turnpike. Mr. Martin stated that the fact that the township
would have to bear about ten per cent. of the cost, about $1500, was
the reason for their action...
Constitution, March 12, 1913
City Council held a regular meeting on Tuesday night. Bids for removing
and re-interring the bodies in the Stranger's Burying Ground were read..."
From:"Woodbury Constitution" May 21, 1914
THEY WERE THE MEN OF '76
John G. Whitall has shown us some brass buttons found beside the human
bones found in opening a road from Delaware street to the Manly lot,
one of them plainly showing the letters U.S.A. The Hessian killed in
the Red Bank battle, Oct. 1777, were buried on the battlefield, while
the American dead were brought to Woodbury. No doubt the bones and buttons
found were the remains of those who fell in the defense of Fort Mercer.
From: "Gloucester County Democrat, May 21, 1914"
In grading the new street from Delaware Street to the Manly lot, thru
Stranger's burial ground, workmen have found a large number of human
skeletons, which are being carefully boxed, and taken to the new ground
east of the city. The bodies seem to have been buried one on top of
the other. Brass buttons and shoes are quite numerous.
County Times, October 11, 1982
DEPTFORD TWP.--The gravestones are old and up until about three years
ago they were barely visible to people passing the site on Caulfield
But thanks to the effort and skill of Steven Gale, today it is hard
not to notice the site. Gale has cleared out the brush, cleaned off
the stones and erected a large sign letting the public known that the
small cemetery is the Old Deptford Strangers Burial Ground.
The cemetery, which dates back to the mid-1770's,
was not only for strangers who died while passing through the area,
but for residents who did not belong to one of the many religious denominations
of the day and who therefore could not be buried in one of the church
The cemetery was originally located at the corner of Delaware Street
and Lupton Avenue in Woodbury, according to Edith Hoelle of the county
historical society. At the time, the city and township were considered
a single municipality.
The two towns split in 1854 and about 10 years later
the burial ground was moved to the small tract on what is now Caulfield
Avenue. In 1911, the Woodbury Council had the last remaining tombstones
at the city cite moved to Deptford.
Although he has lived in Deptford most of his 27 years,
Gale was not aware of the historic cemetery until five years ago when
he moved into a new home on Dexter Avenue around the corner from the
He recalls that years of neglect had left the stones covered with dirt
and debris. Only a few inches of each of the stones were visible, he
said. Gale decided that the historic burial site deserved better.
It took him two weeks to clean it up. "I wanted people to know
what it was at least," he said. "I just cleared it out. A
cemetery's a cemetery," he explained.
For the last three years, Gale has been the unofficial
caretaker of the burial ground. Besides keeping it clean, he has started
to add a few plants.
On Memorial Day each year, he put flags on the graves and the Deptford
American Legion Post 424 comes out and fires off its guns in a salute
to any war veterans who might be buried there. The post has rewarded
him with a certificate of appreciation for his work.
Despite his efforts, Gale said the cemetery has not
gotten the recognition he feels it deserves. In 1973, he said, the county
put markers on a number of historical sites in the county.
A marker was put at the burial ground but it turned
out to be a mistake. Officials thought it was the Jonas Cattell burial
ground, a cemetery for a historic family that is further up Caulfield
Avenue. The marker was subsequently moved to the right site.
After the marker was moved, Gale decided to build
his own sign. But he didn't put it up until recently when he read in
the newspaper that some skulls dug up during construction at the old
burial site in Woodbury might be buried at the Deptford site.
Since he put up the sign a few weeks ago, more and
more people have been stopping to look at the old gravestones, according
to Gale. He said the site seems to be a favorite for senior citizens.
"They value life when they get up in age," he said.
Gale hopes that the township, which he said owns about
four acres surrounding the cemetery, will agree to making the cemetery
into a mini-park. He would like to see more trees and brush cleared
out and some park benches installed.
"I can't see where it would cost a whole lot of money," he
- Fort Mercer (Red Bank Battlefield)
- Gloucester County Cemeteries (where
to find the tombstone transcriptions at the Gloucester County Historical
Day at Fort Mercer" - newspaper article (online)
Red Bank Battlefield
Ghostly Experiences at the Ann Whitall House (despite the heading,
this location is STILL in Gloucester, not Cumberland, County.
of Hessian Military- and Civil History
Uniforms [archived web site]
KUDOS: My special thanks to SANDY HOFFMAN, who provided some of the
information above, especially that of newspaper articles regarding the
Woodbury Stranger's Burial Ground.
of Cattell Burial Ground: EVELYN Street [Take Rte 45 in Woodbury,
NJ to Cooper Street; left onto Rte 544 (Clements Bridge Road) toward
the Deptford Mall; turn left onto Rte. 645 (Caulfield Road); take
your first left onto Dexter Ave, in one block at the T, turn right
onto Wagner Ave.. Drive one block to the stop sign. Go straight
after the stop sign, and you are on Evelyn Street. The cemetery
is immediately on your right by the road (surrounded by a wooden
fence). There is a blue county marker sign in front.
Burial ground contains mostly the remains of the CATTELL family.
The grave of South Jersey's most famous hunter and woodsman. Jonas
Cattell, is located in this old family burying ground. Cattell ran
from Haddonfield to Fort Mercer on the morning of October 22, 1777,
to alert the Americans that the Hessians were on their way to attack
the fort. Ownership uncertain (according to the official Gloucester
County NJ web site).
These photographs do not document ALL of the stones in this graveyard.
Many are illegible, broken, etc. The Gloucester County Historical
Society maintains a list of those known buried here (with an online
database - for a fee) -- See Cemetery
page for more info. I could not read several of the stones,
so if you know your ancestor/relative is buried here, it is worth
your while to review all of the photographs, which are large and
The Jonas Cattell Run, a 10-mile foot race was started in
1969 to commemorate the anniversary of his maternal relative's contribution
to the British defeat at Red Bank Battlefield in 1777. It is held
in South Jersey each year, ending at Red Bank Battlefield in National
Park, New Jersey. [See link
and scroll down to see this year's date for the race].
Mercer (Red Bank Battlefield)
- Gloucester County Cemeteries
(where to find the tombstone transcriptions at the Gloucester County
Battle of Fort Mercer
Tall Tales of Jonas Cattell [archived version]
Descendants of Jonas Cattell
Marine Corps Gazette (mentions Jonas Cattell) [archived version]