The Old Cedar Grove Cemetery


(The CANFIELD-DOREMUS Burial Ground)

As taken from “Early Cedar Grove,”
Published 1976
F. Leslie Jacobus, Editor, President
Cedar Grove Historical Society

The old Cedar Grove Cemetery, located in the rear of the Presbyterian Church, is one of the few tangible objects which was here and in use by the community before the Revolutionary War. There are headstones recording the early burials such as: William GARRISON – 1765; Jacob SMITH – 1775; David ABEEL – 1776; and Garrett YORKS – 1777.

In this early period, the only cemeteries in our area were in churchyards such as the Presbyterian Church in Caldwell and the Fairfield Church in Fairfield. For some reason, the burial ground in Cedar Grove was not affiliated with any religious group. A map exists showing the dedication of a one-acre plot for a cemetery on the farm formerly belonging to the estate of Thomas DOREMUS. This had been used for 70 years as a burying ground.

It is known that additional ground was added to the original one acre by John CANFIELD in 1871 and 1882, and many lots were sold. At that time, the entire tract was known as the CANFIELD Cemetery. Over the years, many types of markers and headstones were used. The oldest were made of red sandstone which was quarried locally in Little Falls and West Orange. Some were cast from metal and many were originally made of wood on which the names and dates were painted. Of course, later ones were made of white or gray marble which is much harder and longer lasting. The Historical Society has made a serious effort to collect and maintain a list of names of the burials in the cemetery. These have been obtained from old records from many sources and occasional additions are made if properly authenticated. The list at present contains the names of 352 people, including veterans of many wars.

From its organization in 1971, the Historical Society has made the restoration of the area one of its principle activities. Several town groups and individuals have given time and money to help restore the area which had become neglected and overgrown. With the encouragement of the Township Bicentennial Committee, progress is now being made to restore the cemetery and to make it an asset to the community. On October 26, 1974, a dedication ceremony was held with the attendance of the Township Mayor and Council and the officials of many other patriotic organizations. A 13 star flag was raised on the new flag pole and a memorial garden was inaugurated.

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(Note: PCHSGC’s “Castle Genie,” V4 N1 (September, 1993), featured a small article concerning the Old Cedar Grove Cemetery which read as follows:


“Through the May 1993 Newsletter of the Genealogy Club of the Library of the New Jersey Historical Society, we learned that Guido WEBER, a Seton Hall University student, has undertaken a research project to document all burials in the CANFIELD Cemetery, also called DOREMUS Burial Ground. Mr. Weber is compiling a history of the cemetery which dates to the late 1700’s. People from Cedar Grove, Little Falls, and Fairfield are buried here. Records concerning the cemetery are sparse, and those records that are extant have omissions and inaccuracies. Mr. Weber would be pleased to hear from anyone having information concerning the history of the cemetery of people buried there. If you have information to share with Mr. Weber, please contact him.”

As of June, 2000, the results of Mr. Weber’s documentation project at the CANFIELD-DOREMUS cemetery is not known.)

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