Elizabeth in Union County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
First Presbyterian Church Burial Grounds and Elizabethtown Academy
From 1664 until 1703, the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth was the only house of worship serving most of current-day Union, Morris, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties. The oldest stones in the cemetery are from the year 1687 and are located in the outside rear of the church.
The cemetery is a unique record of the centuries-long history of the church and the city of Elizabeth, including early families like the Ogdens and Boudinots, Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, founder of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and 75 veterans of the American Revolution. Nearly 300 enslaved and formerly enslaved people are also buried here, in unmarked graves.
Notable Revolutionary War-era Elizabeth residents buried here include:
Reverend James Caldwell and his wife Hannah Ogden Caldwell
Rev. Caldwell was a fierce advocate for independence, and several members of First Presbyterian Church joined the Continental Army with his encouragement. Rev. Caldwell was shot and murdered by an American soldier thought to have been bribed by Tories. Hannah was murdered during the June 1780 Battle of Connecticut Farms.
Hannah Arnett was a fierce advocate of American independence. In late 1776, when victory seemed unlikely, she and her husband Isaac hosted a meeting of their neighbors to decide whether to sign a pledge of loyalty to the British Crown. When the men decided to side with the British, she castigated them as traitors and threatened to leave Isaac. The men reconsidered and vowed to support independence.
The First Presbyterian Church grounds were also the site of the 18th century Elizabethtown Academy, located about where the Snyder Academy buildings stands today. Its students, all male, learned English, mathematics, geography, Latin and Greek. Alumni include Vice President, Aaron Burr, Speaker of the House of Representatives Jonathan Dayton, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and Supreme Court Justice Broskholst Livingston.
The academy became a storehouse during the American Revolution and was burned down by the British. The school itself did not survive the war, as its headmaster, Francis Barber,
Erected 2019 by Crossroads of the American Revolution.
Location. 40° 39.808′ N, 74° 12.907′ W. Marker is in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in Union County. Marker is at the intersection of Broad Street and Caldwell Place, on the right when traveling south on Broad Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elizabeth NJ 07201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Academy (here, next to this marker); First Site of Princeton University (a few steps from this marker); Patriotic Dead (within shouting distance of this marker); Elizabeth Presbyterian Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth (about 300 feet away); Colonial Church (about 400 feet away); Old Borough Court House (about 400 feet away); Revolutionary Cannon (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elizabeth.
More about this marker. The left side of the marker contains a map showing the locations of other related sites. These include: 1) First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth / Burial grounds / Elizabethtown Academy site; 2) Boxwood Hall; 3) Belcher-Ogden Mansion; 4) Liberty Hall; 5) Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church; and 6) Caldwell Parsonage.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Education • War, US Revolutionary •
More. Search the internet for First Presbyterian Church Burial Grounds and Elizabethtown Academy.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 5, 2020. This page originally submitted on January 5, 2020, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 36 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 5, 2020, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.