New Jersey News - 1899 - Two Old Graveyards

Two Old Graveyards

They Are Both Near Middletown Village

In Both of Them Members of the Old Couwenhoven Family are Buried-Both Burying Grounds are Greatly Neglected

The old Couwenhoven burying ground at Middletown, on the "Golden Farm." About one hundred yards west of the division line between the Golden and old Couwenhoven homesteads, is some six hundred or seven hundred yards southeast from the Golden farmhouse, out in the field. It lies on the south side of the ancient highway which runs from Middletown village to Holmdel, on the old Freehold road, so-called. For the distance of nearly five miles this road crosses but one small stream. That is near the farm where Abraham Antonides formerly lived. That part of the highway between Middletown village and Ogbourne's Corner was called by the first settlers "Plain Dealing" road, because of the extensive and plain views afforded from the hills over which it winds. The traveler could always see where he was; neither were there any mire-holes or streams or other entanglements to block his way. It was "all plain sailing" and very different from most of the other roads through the forest and wilderness.

The grave of Jacob Couwenhoven, one of the most interesting and most noted of the six Couwenhoven brothers who came from Long Island and settled in Monmouth, was lately found by Mrs. Lydia H. S. Conover in this burying ground. It was in a sadly neglected condition, for the old homestead on which the Couwenhoven family lived so long has passed into the hands of strangers, and has become a "tenant farm," like may others in this county. It is no longer a "homestead," endeared by the recollections of childhood, youth, loving parents, and all which in human hearts is meant by the word "home." Its whole interest is now a mercenary one, like stocks and bonds. How much will it rent for and what is it worth in the world's market? Mrs. Lydia H. S. Conover visited this locality May 22d, 1899, and after fighting her way through the cat briars, bushes and tangled undergrowth, and disturbing the toads, lizards and land turtles who were in full possession, took the inscriptions from twelve tombstones, or all there were on the Conover side.

Mrs. Conover says that the headstones at Jacob Couwenhoven's and his wife's graves are of fine close-grained material and in a good state of preservation. The date of his death is given as June 4th, 1744, and his age as 65 years, 4 months and 6 days. His wife, Sarah Schanck, is buried by him. Their youngest son, Mathias, or Martin, as sometimes called, is also interred here. He died in 1765, aged 40 years. He married Williampe, only surviving child of William Cornelius Couwenhoven by his first wife, Jannatie, daughter of Peter Wickoff. She was born July 24th, 1727, and was about 38 years old when her husband Mathias died. As she is not buried here, it looks as though she married a second husband. Her father and mother are interred in the Schanck-Couwenhoven yard in Pleasant Valley. Jacob Couwenhoven in his will gave the adjacent homestead to this Mathias, who lived and died on it. Mathias by his will devised all his real estate equally between his oldest son, William, and his youngest son Mathias, or Martin. Two other sons, Jacob and Peter, and four daughters, Sarah, Jannatie, Williampy and Anna are mentioned in this will. The will was witnessed by Cornelius Leister Luyster, Joseph Golder Golden and Richard Stillwell.

Mathias Couwenhoven had eight children, two sets of twins being among them. One of his children was Capt. Wm. M. Couwenhoven, who served in the Revolutionary war.

The graveyard is greatly neglected, and in the course of a score or so of years it may be wholly obliterated, as so many private burying grounds have been. Another private burying ground which is also greatly neglected, and where several members of the Couwenhoven family are buried, is on the old Daniel Hendrickson farm, now owned by the Morfords, at the east end of Middletown village.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, August 23, 1899