Historic Scotch Plains Baptist Church Cemetery

SCOTCH PLAINS, Union Co. (then Essex Co.), NEW JERSEY

Photo shared 18 Apr 2000 by  Dave SHIELDS of Long Island.

Scotch Plains Baptist Church
333 Park Avenue
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

The adjoining burial ground is located on the southeast corner of Mountain and Park Avenues.

Photo shared 18 Apr 2000 by  Dave SHIELDS of Long Island.

Scotch Plains Baptist Church Cemetery
Scotch Plains, Union Co., NJ


This site is NOT associated with the Scotch Plains Baptist Church, but designed to be a genealogical collection site for its history. My interest lies in collecting information concerning the history of the church and gravestones photos located at its cemetery in an effort to preserve the history of the lives of those laid to rest there. Many of the old gravestones within its cemetery are weathered, deterioting, broken (never reset in place) and gone. Many gravestone names and their inscriptions once recorded as being read (1922 & 1952 by members of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey) have already been lost to the ages.

Names of some charter members appear to have been preserved while names of most early founding communicants appear to have been lost or never recorded. Some marriage records give clues to those families who were possibly early members of the church. It is not known if the church has burial records or other early records in its archives. A few ledgers with recopied names of some members were seen by this researcher in 1998. It is said that the original church records were microfilmed by Rutgers University Library, but it is not known if these are housed at Rutgers.
You are welcome to send scanned photos to Audrey for inclusion on this site. HOWEVER, please contact Audrey before sending.

Names of Early Scotch Plains Baptist Church Members, Marriages, and Burials at the church are welcomed.
Scanned Pictures/Digital Photos of Gravestones and/or brief histories of early church members are welcomed.
Clarification of some of the ambiguous information below, or additional knowledge on any person or family below would be greatly appreciated.

Wilson B. BROWN of Canada
Harman R. CLARK, Jr. of VT
Carol Koehler of NJ
Rachel Pincus of NJ
Dave SHIELDS of Long Island, NY

  Other contributors are mentioned with their contribution(s): photos, information, family histories, etc. ASH  



Photo from Scotch Plains Baptist Church 1997 Booklet p. 21

Organized and Founded 5 August 1747

Becoming increasingly tired of traveling so far to attend their church service at the Piscataway (aka Piscataqua) Baptist Church in Middlesex Co., NJ and desiring to have a church within their own village/community appear to have been the catalysts for a group of faithful servants of God to begin discussing a separation from the mother church. A meeting house was built before the church was organized. Desires to separate from their mother church esculated and became more fervent. This led to the organization of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church. Fifteen members from the Piscataway Church wrote and endorsed their new covenant on 5 August 1747.

The first pastor chosen to lead the flock was Rev. Benjamin Miller. He served faithfully from 13 February 1748 until he was called to his Maker on 14 Nov 1781. He was buried in the churchyard cemetery located on the southeast corner of Mountain Avenue and Park Avenue. Biography of John Gano indicates he was ordained as pastor of the church in 1754, but left shortly afterwards to preach in various places; and he joined the western movement of 1788 into the Miami Valley of Ohio and Kentucky. In 1785 Rev. William Van Horne is said to have been pastor.

Cover Photo from Scotch Plains Baptist Church 1997 Booklet
Published by the Scotch Plains Baptist Church 1997

The Historic Scotch Plains, NJ Church Cemetery

Many of the early gravestones were constructed of brownstone, thus are in poor condition. Early stones are in the state of disintegration and many have been broken. Many are unreadable. Some merely lists the name of the person buried in that place with no dates to give a clue to the period of time that a person walked the earth. Some have completely disappeared from the graveyard, and knowledge of the ones buried have been erased forever. Some inscriptions were read in 1922 and again in 1952 by members of the Genealogical Society of NJ.


Among those buried in the churchyard of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church lies the remains of the slave known only as Caesar. On this site, First Baptist Church," one reads the story of Caesar, a Scotch Plains slave, who was a member of the church for over fifty years. He served as a teamster during the Revolutionary War, driving his wagon and team of horses. His owner was Deacon Drake who eventually set him free. Caesar evidently continued his membership in the church until his death on 7 February 1806 at 104 years. About 1995 this photo by Mary Ellen Walsh was taken of his gravestone which then and perhaps now still stands among others against the brick wall of the church.

2010, Courtesy of Mary Ellen Walsh

2007, Courtesy of: Rachel Pincus

These stones are broken from their base and lie or sit along the exterior wall of the church building.

Shared 7 Jun 2007 by Carol Koehler as a genealogical act of kindness. Carol has no other knowledge about this family.
Photo 14,  Photo 15,  Photo 16,   and   a barely visible stone behind Photo 16
Stone in front was too heavy for photographer to move.
Photo #16 will soon be unreadable: "Betsy daughter of Stephen and Prudence Hand died November 2, 1801, age 12; Pegy November 2, 1801, age 8."


   Unknowns A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z   

of Genealogical Information/Books/Articles/Pamphlets
appropriate to this topic are welcomed.

(1)  ASQUITH, Glenn H. and Scotch Plains Baptist Church 1997 Historical Committee, A History of the Baptist Church, Scotch Plains, NJ, 1997, Published by the Church: 109pp. Contributor: Audrey Shields Hancock

(2)  A History of the State of Ohio: "The Foundations of Ohio," Vol. 1 Columbus, 1941: Articles by Beverley W. BOND, Jr. Contributor: Harman CLARK, Jr.

(3)  PARKS, Rev. J. H., D.D. & Judge James D. CLEAVER, The History of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church, Scotch Plains, N.J. Contributor: Harman CLARK, Jr.

(4)  VAN HORNE, William, The Reverend William Van Horne, His Ancestors and His Descendants published 1990 by Mr. VAN HORN, ITG Publishing Company, Columbus, OH: Lib. of Congress Card No. 90-84551. Rev. Van Horne, the main subject of the book, was a Baptist minister in eastern PA at time of American Revolution, and was at Valley Forge. After the war he served for 22 years as pastor of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church. He was on his way to emigrate to Ohio, but died on the way. Contributor: Harman CLARK, Jr.

(5)  Research of Audrey (SHIELDS) HANCOCK

(6)  Records: Scotch Plains Baptist Church

(7)  Scotch Plains Baptist Church Marriage Records, 1758-1761, NJ Archives, First Series, Vol. XXII.
Contributor: Joyce LEAVER

(8)  Genealogical Magazine of NJ, "Scotch Plains Baptist Church Members, 1747-1814," Jan 1932, Vol. VII, No. 3
Contributor: Joyce LEAVER
(Source: One bound volume, containing vols. 34-36, published between 1959 and 1961: Vol. 35 (pp. 62-69 (Issue #2), pp. 130-137 (Issue #4); Vol. 36 (pp. 29-38 (Issue #1), pp. 86-96 (Issue #3)  Thank you, Grace Hagedorn for citation information.)

(9)  Internet, 10 Apr 2001, E-mail to ASH: Wilson B. BROWN: Manuscript of Edmund F. Brown on deposit at New Jersey Historical Society. Wilson is descendant of Joseph BROWN. See: BROWN Burials in Connecticut Farms, NJ and Historical Tidbits

(10)  Visit: "The Westfield Leader"--"The Times"

(11)  Visit: "The First Baptist Church"

(12)  Visit: "A Sketch of Early Primitive Baptist History in the State of Ohio"

(13)  Visit: "Baptist"

(14)  Visit: "Scotch Plains History"

(15)  Visit: Scotch Plains


(17)  "Origins of the Jersey Settlement of Rowan County, North Carolina"
"She [Rebecca (???) Smith, widow of Thomas Smith] was there c1752 when a huge wagon train brought several hundred people, including most of the congregation of Scotch Plains Baptist Church from Essex County, New Jersey, and undoubtedly heard sermons in 1755 by that church's visiting minister, "Rev. (Benjamin) Miller-(who) spent several weeks at the Jersey Church for the colony was made up of many persons from his neighborhood.-"' [Rev. Morgan Edwards, Materials Towards a History of the Baptists, II:106].

(18)  MARRIAGE RECORDS: 1665-1800: Scotch Plains Baptist Church & Others

(19)  Virtual American Biographies: JOHN GANO

(20)  New Jersey Historical Society: Genealogical Collections on Microfilm

  • 1871, Historical Sketch of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church by By J. C. Buchanan, Pastor

  • "A History of the Baptists"

  • A Day in the Life: Scotch Plains-Fanwood Timeline

  • The Westfield Leader: OUR TOWNS


    Video about Plainfield in the old days with loads of detailed photos. Price: $25.00 plus $5.00 shipping & handling.
    Contributor: Joyce LEAVER

    Fanwood Channel 35
    75 No. Martine Avenue
    Fanwood, N.J. 07023

    Union Co., NJ Cemeteries Homepage

    Webpage by:   Audrey (Shields) Hancock of Portage, Michigan

    Created: 06 November 2000
    Revised: 5 February 2010

    Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/3xu9k4