Mount Pleasant Cemetery

375 Broadway
Newark, New Jersey

Official Web Site

Photos - If you have any photos of this cemetery please email me.

9,185 Interments, 45 acres (1886)


A history and photographs by Laura Gonzalez

Photos from Thomas Bialoglow of Aesthete Studios

Entrance - 1935


Newspaper Articles:

December 19 1843 - The Proposed Cemetery
June 26, 1881 - Mount Pleasant Cemter History
February 19, 1882 - Firemen's Section
December 3, 1882 - Letter to the Editor
December 10, 1882 - The Privileges of Cemetery Lot Owners
May 24, 1885 - Asleep in the Tomb - The Funeral of Mr. Frelinghuysen
1886 - The Frelinghuysen Monument

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 molest him."

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.

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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.