With regret, after 15 years, we are forced
to cancel this year’s Safe Day (2013) due to the condition
of the cemetery. John and I walked the entire cemetery on Sunday.
The grass has not been cut since Safe Day last year, June 2, 2012.
To make matters even more difficult, Hurricane Sandy brought down
multiple trees and tree limbs all over the cemetery. Some of the
trees have been cut down, but the wood has not been removed. We
do not feel it is safe to walk in the cemetery – you cannot
even tell where some of the roads are since everything is so overgrown.
It is a terribly frustrating and disappointing
situation. We had made progress for several years, but it appears
to be going in the wrong direction. We will continue to keep you
apprised of any new developments, and if anything changes, we will
be in touch to bring you up to date.
Mary Lish and John Sass
Woodland Cemetery was first incorporated as West Newark Cemetery
in 1855. The name was later changed to Woodland Cemetery. Most ethnic
groups are represented even though in the early days it was call
"The German Cemetery". It was founded by the Hayes and
This cemetery has 55 acres and has become the final resting place
for a significant number of Greek ancestors, African-Americans and
many War Veterans including about 336 from the Civil War. There
are more then 80,000 burials in Woodland.
Woodland Cemetery is a non-profit company with a small trust fund.
It is managed by a board of trustees and is maintained by a hired
contractor. The cemetery is private property. The cemetery itself
is owned by individual plot and grave owners. All graves are in
the ground. There are no above ground vaults."
Since the 1960's Woodland Cemetery has endured vandalism and many
of the other problems that have inflicted the inner City of Newark.
In the last few years things have improved but there is still a
lot to be done.
There has been the desecration of more than 11,000 graves of babies,
children, and adults that have been buried over with people that
are unrelated to that family. The first family graves are gone forever.
This destruction includes the graves of several Civil War Veterans.
The Woodland Cemetery Board of Trustees was sued in 1999 because
of this desecration. The State of New Jersey was also named in this
lawsuit because they had been notified in the 1970's that the destruction
was going on. The lawsuit was dropped because Woodland Cemetery's
money was in a trust fund and could not be touched. The state was
released from the lawsuit for reasons unknown.
The phone number of Woodland Cemetery is 973-824-7295, and reaches
Rosemary Hilbert, President of the Board of Directors. For record
searchs, contact Mary Lish via email (click on her name below) or
via mail or contact John Sass by mail (see below).
Jersey Historical Society has the actual index cards
of Woodland Cemetery's interments that starts around the late 1890's
and goes through the 1970's. The society's address is 52 Park Place,
Newark, NJ 07102. Their phone number is 973-596-8500, extension
249 (library section). Due to budget cutbacks, they are only open
The gate entrance for Woodland Cemetery is located at 670 South
10th Street between Springfield and Avon Avenues, Newark, NJ. Directions
- take the Garden State Parkway to the Springfield Ave. Irvington
Exit #143. Take Springfield Ave East till you see the cross street
- South 10th. Make a right onto South 10th St.
All records have been computerized through
the current year. For this information contact Mary Lish (by email
or US postal mail) or John Sass (by US postal mail). Please supply
Return Address (for US postal mail)
Two US Post Office Stamps (for US postal mail)
Name of Person who you are researching plus Woodland (i.e. WOODLAND-SCHMIDT)
Date of Death or Approximate years you believe they died within
Maiden name (if applicable)
Any other information that you believe will help in the search.
263 Coeyman Avenue
Nutley, NJ 07110-1425
76 Valentine Road
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR COMPLETION, AND THANKS MARY,
FOR A FINE JOB AND FOR THE HELP YOU HAVE GIVEN TO THE VISITORS OF
From "Hand book and guide for the city of Newark,
New Jersey: carefully edited and compiled from authentic sources"
Newark Daily Advertiser Print, 1872:
"Woodland Cemetery occupies a very beautiful situation off
Springfield Avenue, opposite South Tenth Street, and on the highest
point of the hill towards Irvington. The Company was incorporated
in 1855, and the grounds comprise an area of about thirty-five acres.
Passing the gateway, through a pleasant grove, and advancing under
the shadow of 'innumerable leaves,' we find this rural grave yard
overlooking the wide valley that stretches from the more southern
portion of the city. Almost before the eye is caught by the mementos
of the 'city of the dead' it is claimed for a passing glimpse of
the city of the living. Churches and spires cluster to the north,
and the magnificent panorama so often mentioned in these pages,
of river, bay and distant hill, lie like a map, in all their distinctive
beauty, immediately below. The Cemetery itself is rapidly becoming
worthy of its delightful situation. Though incorporated in 1855,
it is only of late years, that large and systematic improvements
have begun to be carried out, but now it has many handsome monuments,
perhaps, individually noticeable, for extreme and costly elegance,
but a large number are very tasteful. Gothic and turreted spires,
tapering shafts surmounted by urns, and broken columns handsomely
draped, are the predominating features. At first, the Cemetery was
largely German, and still, the visitor is struck with the large
number of monuments that bear the German letter. Everywhere, there
is the language of Fatherland. From the unequaled beauty of its
situation, however, it is now eagerly sought by our native population,
and the number of interments are equal to those of the other Cemeteries
of the city. The lot enclosures are principally laurel. On single
graves, rude crosses, and home made boxes for wreathes and flowers
- those fond tributes of affection - are very numerous. East and
north, there is a perfect wilderness of baby graves, the young being
mostly buried side by side in one spot. On these are placed every
device that loving hands can frame. Many a parent all unused to
carpentry, has made a bower, or a cross, or at least some rustic
frame work, to mark the quiet bed of his little one. It is in contemplation
to erect a chapel on Chapel Avenue, to be used for services during
stormy weather. Below it will have vaults for the reception of the
dead, while awaiting a more propitious day or the section of lots.
Provision will also be made for a number of private vaults, so arranged
that the outer walls of the chapel can be used for the erection
of memorial tablets. The situation of the chapel will be an unusually
fine one; on the verge of the hill, and commanding a view in clear
weather, of the spire of Trinity Church, New York, and all the more
striking features of country that lie between. When the walks and
paths have undergone contemplated improvements, there will be few
pleasanter Cemeteries anywhere than Woodland."