The Old Burying Ground, Orange, NJ

This is the oldest cemetary in the Oranges at the corner of present day Main Street and Scotland Road, where many of the first settlers were buried. The photograph was taken before 1907 because the statue of the Dispatch Rider had not yet been erected on the corner of the site.

The oldest headstone was that of Anthony Olive, who died at 87 years old. He was admitted to the settlement as a planter in 1678 and served as a constable and in other official capacities. He left no descendants. The inscription on his headstone was still clearly decipherable in 1922.

Lies the Body
of Anthony Olive
Who departed this life March the 16th in the Year 1723, dec.d
87 Yeare

A new marble headstone was provided for him when the present church was built over his remains in 1927.

This photo, numbered from the First Presbyterian Church archives, shows David Pierson probably discussing the need for a retaining wall to keep the cemetary from sliding down into Scotland Road. We are looking from Scotland Road towards Mainstreet in the background, the base of the Dispatch Rider Monument showing at the far right.

The Burying Ground is also the resting place of one of the original founders of the colony, Nathaniel Wheeler (Wheler) who, in 1667, signed the original agreement with the Native Americans purchasing the land that would become the Newark Society.

From Pierson's History of the Oranges we learn:

Nathaniel Wheeler, born in 1639, and survivor of the first company, died on October 4, 1726. He was the son of Thomas Wheeler, of Milford. The veteran Puritan was among the first of the original settlers making his home In the mountains, and here he tarri'ed till the end of his years. His wife, Esther Bochford, of Milford, whom he married, June 21, 1665, by a singular coincidence, also died at the same age, six years later. The children born to Nathaniel and Esther Wheeler were Nathaniel, Samuel, Hannah (Williams), Elizabeth (Ogden), and Esther (Williams).

The plot of ground at the west corner of Main and Scotland streets, set aside by this patriarch for burial purposes, received his remains, and over his sepulchre was placed this memorial:
Here Lies the Body of Nathaniel Wheeler who departed this Life October the 4th, Anno. Dom: 1726 and in the 87th year of his age.

By the side of the memorial was placed one reading:
Here Lyes ya Body of Esther, wife of Nathaniel Wheeler, Dec.d March 14th, 1732/3 In ye 87th year of her age

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Further Resources of Interest on this subject:

A complete interactive map to the Old Burying Ground is available HERE.