Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Divine(ing) Day

Over the past several months a couple of us, cemetery hunters, were looking for an old, local family burial ground. The Colver Family Burial Ground located on Schooleys Mountain, Morris County, New Jersey  USA. Information about this family burial ground can be found on the Find-A-Grave website. The details that we knew were on the website so we knew where is should have been found.

A 1971 note indicated that the property had a new home under construction. So, we really had a pretty good idea where it was. However, what was not in the information we had, was the fact that the older house, next door, was owned by a member of the Colver family. Or so the story goes.

Earlier a couple of us met with the owner of the older house. What a wonder hostess. Let us snoop briefly around this old house. She took us around her property, and made a comment about one piece of her property where she felt very peaceful. (hold that thought, I told her)

We walked through the woods, but based on some information from someone who had sent an email about this burial ground, we knew there should be a headstone somewhere. We had some pictures taken from the are of the new house. Not confirmed yet, but the new house was probably part of the older house owners property. Some old plot maps pretty much confirmed that.

We did stumble on what might have been an old headstone, but weren't sure. Since the neighbors weren't home, we didn't want to spend time on that property.

Vowing to return "later this summer" we went our own ways to do some more research. In an old map, there were several burial grounds in the area. One of which I have blogged about earlier. But there wasn't any markings on this property.

Today, two different township Historical Society presidents, and Random Acts Of Genealogy Kindness volunteer, and I met. Two of them were the ones who made the earlier visit with the pictures we saw on our first visit. They KNEW where they last saw the one headstone that remained.

According to Find-A-Grave there were 15 people buried there, but a note from 1938 indicated that there were 9 gravestones found.

A quick aside, this area about 20 years ago, had problems with well water. There wasn't enough left "on the mountain" to support new housing. No one could find water, or enough water. They had even called in people who used Divining Rods to find water. No luck.

After I told our expanded group of headstone "hunters" about the peaceful feeling the property owner had, we went to the area she mentioned. The area was nicely mowed. One of our group said that she would join us in a moment. She had to get "something" out of her car. We already had a number of camera, so that wasn't it.

She brought two Divining Rods with her. She has had experience in using them in identifying burial's in cemeteries.

So, she starts her walk down the center of this small plot of ground with the rods parallel to the ground and parallel to each other, point toward to back end of this plot.

Probably 10 feed in, the rods started to cross each other.

As she moved forward that actually crossed.

As see move toward that back of this mowed plot, they crossed 3 more times. Whoa.

She continued up one side of this plot and in the exact same spot, probably 10 feet from her first pass, the rods crossed 3 more times. So, we had 4 sets of events where the rods identified 'something'.

Each of us, in tern, including the property owner, walked the area and had the same experience in the same place. We had the property owner walk up the other side of the mowed area. Guess what, same 4 spots the rods crossed. I must admit, that I had to try this out. First time I have ever touched them, but followed the "how to" instructions, those rods moved.

We will probably never know for sure, what is under the ground, but to have 12 spots, in a 3 by 4 grid certainly leaves some questions about what is going on under the ground. But, for now, I will leave it as Sacred Ground.

Is this the Family Burial Ground? Or could it be a Leni Lenope Burial ground which was also in the area.

Now back to the search for that headstone.

Since we had the photographer who took the earlier pictures, we went to where we saw a stone earlier. He confirmed that we found was not what he had found 5 years earlier.

He had talked to the owner of the "new" house property owner, and he had move the headstone so that his kids would play in the yard, didn't want them to get hurt.

Following our guide, we found the old headstone.

This photo was taken with a cell phone, but others "in the gang" took better photos. We are trying to determine which of the 15 names listed in Find-A-Grave, this headstone might be for. The listing in Find-A-Grave came from, the best the we can tell, a group in Morris County who had done inventories in many other local cemeteries in the early 1900's.

Through photo editing, we should be able to pull the text from the stone and will post in on Find-A-Gave.

Can honestly say that this was a first for me, and wanted to share it here.

Many thanks to my colleagues on this journey.

Since I didn't get their permission to post their names on my blog, I'll just leave them as friends and colleagues.

Copyright © 2011 by H R Worthington