Posted Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Hanover Township Landmark Commission Plans Events Over Three Days

The Hanover Township Landmark Commission is celebrating the Tricentennial of a historic gem, the Whippany Burying Yard.  It is the site of the first church, school, and military training ground in the region.

Members of the public are invited to three events, Oct. 20-22.

A luncheon and speaker program entitled “A Gathering of Friends and Neighbors of the Whippany Burying Yard” will begin the festivities on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Whippany, 494 Route 10 West in Whippany.

a man in breeches, vest and tricorn hat leans a tour in an old cemetery

Don Kiddoo leads a tour.

Speakers will talk about the historic significance of the site and those who rest there, and artifacts will be on display. For additional information, download the flyer here. The cost is $25 and includes a catered luncheon.  To register, download the form here or register in person at Hanover Township Recreation Center.  The deadline is Oct. 10. Space is limited. Payment by check is required.

Additional events are:

  • A free tour is planned for Sunday, Oct. 21. A service will begin at 1:30 and the tour will start at 2 p.m. Whippany Burying Yard is located at 325 Route 10 East in Whippany, just before J.R. Tobacco.
  • A free program on the Whippany Burying Yard is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22 at the Joint Free Public Library of Morristown and Morris Township at South Street and Miller Road, Morristown.

Participants of Saturday’s luncheon are encouraged to bring their ancestral stories, memories, photos, artifacts, postcards, and old recipes to share with one another and the members of the Landmark Commission. Those who wish to become a part of township history by documenting their stories will have the opportunity to write on a Memory Board or verbally convey what they’d like to relate in a recording room the commission will make available during the event expressly for this purpose.

Not surprisingly, the Landmark Commission’s motivation for making the Burying Yard Tri-centennial celebration a “gathering” is itself rooted in history.  In the past, stories shared among friends and neighbors became part of history.

Morris History Enthusiasts Invited to 300th Anniversary of Whippany Burying Yard

Gravestone of John Richards at the Whippany Burying Yard. The location includes excellent examples of 18th century carvers’ art.

“Over 158 years ago during an earlier ‘Gathering’ a young Reverend Tuttle from Rockaway recognized that his elderly relatives who had lived through the American Revolution were close to passing,” said Landmark Commission Chairman Mike Czuchnicki. “Reverend Tuttle recorded their memories, and his written accounts were published as 19 installments, representing one of the most important recollections of daily life in the colonial era ever written.”

Historical notes about the history of the Whippany Burying Yard:

  • With assistance from several Morris County Historic Preservation grants totaling $76,499, the township has successfully completed a preservation plan. Two tombstone restoration projects are currently underway.
  • The Whippany Burying Yard has significant historical value because of its great age, the nature of the headstones, and its existence in one of the earliest settlements of the area, namely Whippanong.
  • On September 2, 1718, a few months before his death, schoolmaster John Richards deeded the site to the community for public use as a church, burying yard, schoolhouse and militia training ground. The oldest extant gravestone records an interment made in 1718. The original Presbyterian church existed at the location until 1755.
  • Since 1718, many notable persons have been interred there, including veterans of the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War, as well as two of the six founding judges of Morris County. Renowned Revolutionary War storytellers, Keturah Tuttle and Abigail Kitchel Tuttle Vail, are interred in the yard.
  • The Burying Yard includes exceptional examples of 18th Century carvers’ art. The property is individually listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.