News

Graveyard Tales: New Book Published!

It’s in the form of soliloquies in the voices of people interred in a church graveyard, sharing thoughts about their lives and how it feels to be buried there.

Here’s a link to the story: Graveyard Tales

 

Voices From The First Presbyterian

Church of Metuchen Cemetery

In early spring 2023 a friend of ours conducted a fascinating tour of the church cemetery, during which she touched on the life stories of several persons interred there. As she spoke it occurred to me that there are hundreds of stories buried there, hundreds of voices longing to tell their stories.

There are over 1,600 people* interred in our graveyard**: men, women, and children buried here from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries. Some of these achieved a level of local, national, or even international notoriety during their lifetimes; some are ancestors of families still active in our community. A few are memorialized by the names of local streets, schools, or neighborhoods. Sadly, others are virtually anonymous, their gravestones broken and worn beyond recognition. Some plots serve as the resting place for a single person; others contain the remains of couples or even multiple family members.

Whether the interred is well remembered and frequently visited, vaguely recognized as a familiar name, or completely forgotten, each has a story. Each was a person with a life, a family, dreams, successes and failures. Long, full lives for some; tragically short lives for others. They all share one thing in common: a connection to Metuchen and to our church.

This book is a compilation of imagined soliloquies, each in the voice of a person buried in our cemetery. Each soliloquy contains a degree of historical or biographical facts (some more than others!), mixed in with imaginary narrative reflecting what the person might want to say to us.

This is not a history book, nor should it be considered as a compilation of biographies. Rather, it’s meant to provide a glimpse into the lives of some of the people buried here; people we stroll by on our way to or from church. It is intended as a reminder that our cemetery is much more than plots and stones; it is the resting place for hundreds of souls who’ve passed before us. Hundreds of lives; hundreds of stories.

The hope is that these brief stories will pique your interest, and maybe encourage you to stroll through the cemetery to visit, browse, and imagine.


* Ongoing research will likely show the actual number to be somewhat higher.
** Customarily, the term graveyard referred specifically to a burial ground associated with a church (usually on church grounds), cemetery referred to a secular burial ground. In modern usage, however, the two terms have become interchangeable.