1843-12-19 - The
1886 - The
Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was opened and incorporated on January 24,
1844. It occupies about 40 acres in the hills overlooking the Passaic
River. It was widely used by picnickers from Newark as a park. The
gateway and the buildings connected are built with brown stone,
from the Belleville quarries(American Architect
and Building News 1878). For record information either mail
Scott Willman at the above address or visit the cemetery during
normal business hours. If you go there you may have to search the
grounds for Scott, he is usually checking the area.
From "Hand book and guide for the city of Newark,
New Jersey: carefully edited and compiled from authentic sources"
Newark Daily Advertiser Print, 1872:
"Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, by much the finest of our Cemeteries,
lies in the northern part of the city, between Belleville Avenue,
which runs past its gateway on the west, and the Passaic which flows
down upon the east. Its southern enclosure cuts and terminates all
the streets between the avenue and the river. The entrance is quite
unpretending, and within these is no broad or very handsome lawn,
but a neatly trimmed and well kept plot runs entirely around. On
entering, the visitor has in front a historical-memorial pillar,
erected to commemorate the commencement of the Cemetery. It is a
triangular in form, handsomely carved and finished in Gothic style.
On the side fronting the gateway, are engraved the words - 'This
pillar is to perpetuate the history of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, incorporated
by the Legislature of New Jersey, 24th January, 1844.' Another side
bears the inscription - 'Projected by Horace F. Baldwin, 7th December,
1843. The first board of managers, elected 15th January, 1844. William
Rankin, president, Isaac Baldwin, treasurer, Algernon S. Hubbell,
secretary.' and the third, ' Consecrated with religious services
by the Rev. Jas. Scott, D. D. 18th June, 1844.' Elizabeth Jacques,
who died of consumption at the age of thirty, was the first to be
interred in the grounds. She was buried on the first of July, twelve
day after the consecration services, and since then over 7,000 burials
have taken place.
The Cemetery is, as we have indicated, exceedingly handsome and
attractive. Numerous avenues named after the trees of the forest,
diverge in every direction, and lead to others by which the entire
grounds may be traversed. Footpaths wind everywhere between, on
which many of the handsomest monuments front, and many hours can
be spent in wandering through the paths and in enjoying their quiet
and seclusion. The Cemetery contains only about forty acres of ground;
not a large one as Cemeteries go in these days, but so numerous
are the avenues and paths that a stranger is apt to get bewildered
in their windings. Neat sign boards, however, with the names of
the avenues are plentifully nailed upon the trees, the principal
of which have an arrow attached, pointing the way to the gate. The
monuments are of great diversity of character. A large proportion
being exceedingly elegant. Square and massive tombs; draped figures
of Faith and Hope; and Statues, Angels and other figures are numerous.
There are many polished shafts, fluted pillars, and other columns
of still more elaborate designs; many are surmounted with urns,
crosses and drapery; others are ornamented with wreaths and willows,
and many more with shields and scrolls, bearing appropriate inscriptions.
It would be difficult to say where the most handsome of these monuments
are situated. They are so numerous, and so generally dispersed as
to give character and interest to every part. The most varied, and
probably the most beautiful portion of the Cemetery is towards the
east, where it slopes down to the bed of the Passaic. The banks
of the river here are quite elevated, and along the face of the
hill are many very beautiful vaults of stone and marble. The highly
polished slabs, beautifully finished and paneled, and the tessellated
floors within, are fit for the mausoleum of a King. The enclosures
of the lots are various, but arbor vitae neatly trimmed prevails.
The deep green of this beautiful shrub harmonizes well with the
foliage of the larger trees by which the Cemetery is thickly and
beautifully shaded. Everything is kept most perfectly in order and
yet there is nothing monotonous. The undulations of the ground,
the variety of the foliage, the great diversity and elegance of
the monuments, the very windings of the walks, leave no room for
dissatisfaction, but all combine to please and gratify."
From: Rider's Newark 1916
Mt. Pleasant Cemetery occupies a somewhat irregular rectangle,
extending four block east to a high bluff overlooking the Passaic
River and bounded on the north by the curving line of Herbert Place,
which preserves the memory of the brilliant and unhappy author,
Henry William Herbert (1807-1858). His home was at the northeast
corner of the cemetery, a location chosen as he himself explained,
"Because the living were more distant and the dead would not
The cemetery itself well repays a visit, both on account of the
graves of many of Newark's most distinguished citizens, and also
because of its picturesqueness, and its groves of splendid old trees.
The main entrance is on Belleville Avenue. On the left just within
the entrance, stands a triangular brown stone pillar, in ornate
Gothic, erected to commemorate the incorporation of the cemetery,
January 24th, 1844. The cemetery contains few mausoleums. The largest
and most conspicuous is the Dryden Mausoleum, a large square temple-like
structure of white granite, with Ionic columns. It stands upon a
high knoll directly facing the main entrance. Behind this mausoleum,
a little to the northeast is the grave of Seth
Boyden (1788-1870). It is marked by a modest shaft of dark gray
stone, surmounted by an urn. His wife and children lie beside him.
On the north side of the cemetery, near the northwest corner is
the grave of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen. The monument is a lofty
shaft of granite, resting upon a massive and ornate base. On the
extreme easter side, overlooking the bluff, is the grave of Thomas
B. Peddie, (1808-1898) merchant, one time Mayor of Newark and member
of the 45th U. S. Congress. The monument is a sarcophagus of dark
granite. On the south side almost opposite the end of Broad Street
is the grave of Theodore Runyon, at the time of his death in Berlin
the first American Ambassador to Germany.
* * * *
The students of Rafael Hernandez Elementary School (next to the
cemetery), recently made a 50 minute film entitled "Stone Voices".
The film is a musical historical original film about famous people
who built the city of Newark. On February 28, 2002, the Newark Preservation
and Landmarks Committee awarded special certificates to the school,
teachers James Manno and Anita Bland, and three students for this
project. The NPLC is also planning a viewing of the film and a walk
through of the cemetery for sometime in May or June of 2002. To
view stills from the film and its poster click on the link below.
Once you get to the school's homepage, click on "Performing
Arts" and the stills will be halfway down the page.