Delaware’s Cemeteries, Part 5

The Kitchen Cemetery

I have taken the liberty of naming this cemetery the Kitchen Family cemetery, even though no stone has been found there with the name Kitchen. In fact, none of the stones have a name spelled out; they are all indicated by initials. Six of the eighteen stones that have been found show the initial K. Another six end with T., probably for the Thatcher family, although some could belong to the Trout family, who also owned land nearby. It is surprisingly difficult to match initials on gravestones with known residents of Delaware Township in the 18th century. It serves as a reminder that, because of poor record keeping, we know very little about the families of that time period.

The cemetery is located near Routes 523 and 579, back from the roads, hiding in the woods. In 1931, Egbert T. Bush wrote that half of the cemetery was located on the Thatcher farm and half on a farm owned by A. J. Dalrymple.

Sometimes people are identified as buried in Sand Brook, but they cannot be found in the cemetery located next to the church in the village of Sand Brook. It seems that 100 years ago or more, people considered the Kitchen cemetery as part of Sand Brook. There is another cemetery just south of the village, known as the Rake Family Cemetery which also is claimed as being “at Sand Brook.” Both the Kitchen and the Rake Family Cemeteries predate the cemetery in the village.

The Kitchen cemetery has a stone wall surrounding it (now much deteriorated), and just beyond the wall were several gravestones without markings. Some have speculated that slaves were buried there. Another theory goes that soldiers in the Revolutionary War are buried there. Jonathan M. Hoppock claimed there was a 3-day encampment of the Continental Army on the farm of Hiram Hoppock near Sand Brook, and some of the soldiers died while there. Unfortunately there is nothing to back up this story.

One stone in the Kitchen burial ground has the initials R. B. This might be a member of the Buchanan family which owned the hill looking over the intersection of Rtes 523 and 579. The Buchanans ran a very well-known tavern in the 18th century, but I have no Buchanan with a given name of R except Rachel, who bought a lot from John Buchanan Jr. in the 1800s.

The next stone says W. D. I know of several William Dilts, but none of them seem likely to be buried here. This one is a mystery.

Another mystery is this stone: “M A E  I A  1765.” It might mean M. A. E. died Jan. 1765. I have no clue to who this is, or to the identity of another stone: “I. F.”

Members of the Kitchen family, if indeed that’s who they are, have stones marked B. K.;  I. K.;  P. K. 1806;   R. K.;  S. K. B Y I U 28 1761;   and T. K. / D M 20 / 1764.

The Kitchen Family first appears in Delaware Township in the 1730s. Henry Kitchen (c.1680-1745) and wife Ann were present here about that time. They had at least five sons, who were probably all born before 1730. I do not know if they had any daughters. Henry wrote his will in 1745 and named only his five sons. Henry bequeathed his “old plantation in Amwell bought of Samuel Green” to his youngest son Richard. Samuel Green was one of the first people to buy large tracts of land in Delaware Township.

There is no H. K. or A. K. here for Henry and Ann Kitchen, but there is an R. K. which could be for their son Richard, although there is some evidence he had moved to Hackettstown by 1756. None of the other sons seems to be buried here, or if they are, their stones have not survived.

This stone—S. K.  B Y  I U 28 1761—is very intriguing. It seems to mean “S K [itchen] d. June 28, 1761.” At first I thought it might be Henry and Ann’s son Samuel Kitchen who was the miller of Sand Brook, born about 1710 or 1720. But he did not die until 1773, so this “S K” is not him.  He and wife Mary had nine children. She died in 1805.  If she was buried here, her stone is gone. Of their seven daughters, two of them married Rockafellars: Anna married Henry Rockafellar and Margaret married John Rockafellar. A daughter Rebekah Kitchen might be the “R.K.” None of the other daughters match. Samuel’s sons were Henry and William, but I have no information on them. They probably left Hunterdon Co. around the time of the Revolution.

Wheeler Kitchen, a son of Henry and Ann, and brother of Samuel, had a daughter Sarah Kitchen, but he and wife Mary had moved to Greenwich Twp. in (then) Sussex Co. by the 1750s.

There were two men named Kitchen in Amwell (Delaware) Twp. who might have been brothers of Henry Kitchen. One was James Kitchen (c.1700-1761), who married Elizabeth Furman (c.1700-aft 1765) about 1725. The I. K. could be James Kitchen, as J’s were written as I’s in the 18th century. The stone is located between “T. K.” (died 1764) and “S. K.” (died 1761). I do not know exactly where James and Elizabeth Kitchen were living, but they did own land in Sergeantsville in 1740. Perhaps S. K. was a sibling of James and Henry Kitchen.

James and Elizabeth had at least four children. Son Benjamin was born about 1727 and died before 1769. James Kitchen wrote his will in 1745 and named his oldest son Benjamin, who was a minor. “B. K.” could be Benjamin Kitchen.

Henry and James Kitchen had a brother Thomas Kitchen who was executor of James’ will in 1745. Land that Thomas Kitchen owned was eventually sold to the Buchanan family. Thomas married Sarah Lambert, daughter of John Lambert and Abigail Bumstead. He wrote his will in 1757, leaving his plantation of 100 acres to his wife Sarah and providing for his 3 daughters and his grandchildren. The will was recorded in 1764, so it seems likely that this stone, “T. K., D M 20 / 1764” belongs to him. Decoded, it means T. K. died March (or May) 20, 1764. I do not have a death date for his wife Sarah. But she seems the best candidate for the “S. K.”

Thomas Kitchen owned 100 acres at the intersection of Rte 579 and Locktown-Flemington Road. He bequeathed that land to his wife Sarah. Unfortunately, he only seems to have had daughters, 3 of them. Hannah married William Barnes and had 5 children. Ann married Vincent Robins and had 4 children. Daughter Mercy might have married a Lewis by 1770.

There is another Kitchen here: P. K. 1806.  Unfortunately, I do not know of a Kitchen whose given name begins with P.

There are two stones here with surnames beginning with an R. I. R. could John Rockafellar (1742-1832). John Rockafellar’s father Peter owned a farm in Sergeantsville, and John lived at Sand Brook for many years. His first wife was Margaret Kitchen, daughter of Samuel and Mary Kitchen, and granddaughter of Henry and Ann Kitchen. John Rockafellar is one of Delaware Township’s more interesting characters, but space prevents me from writing of him here.

S. R. 1835 might be Sarah, daughter of John Rockafellar and Margaret Kitchen. In his will, written in 1828, John mentioned his sons and daughters but did not name them, except for son Samuel. In fact, I do not know when Samuel died, so perhaps this stone is his.

Another possibility for the R stones is someone from the Robbins family. Daniel Robins owned the whole tract of land that the Robins Hill development stands on back in the early 1700s, and his son Isaac Robins married Azubiah Thatcher about 1720.

On the other hand, Hannah Kitchen, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Kitchen, married Vincent Robins. They had a daughter Sarah Robins who is not known to have married. But 1835 is a late date; Sarah Robins would have been at least 75 years old. The I. R. might be John Robins, son of Ann Kitchen and Vincent Robins. He died after 1789.

The other significant family here is the Thatchers. Here are the stones that end in the letter T: A. T.;  B. T.;  I. T. W H A 24, 1775;  L. T. D O R 23, 1778;  M. T.;  and M. A. T.

A T. might be Amos Thatcher (1704 Wales-1798). Amos Thatcher was executor of the estate of his friend Isaac Robins in 1741, and witnessed the will of James Kitchen in 1745. Amos Thatcher had a farm in Sergeantsville. He was 93 when he died, having outlived at least four of his 12 children.

One of his sons was named Bartholomew, who died sometime before 1787. He might be the one buried under the stone that reads B. T. He was named for his grandfather, Bartholomew (1670-1771).

The stones with dates are the most intriguing, of course. I. T. W H A 24, 1775 might be interpreted as J. Thatcher, died April 24, 1775, although I cannot explain the W H. “J. T.” is not Joseph Thatcher, son of Amos Thatcher and wife Lydia Prall. This Joseph was born March 11, 1727 and died sometime before 1787, but after 1779 when he was given a legacy by his brother Amos who died that year.

The other dated stone, L. T.  D O R 23, 1778,  might be Amos Thatcher’s wife Lydia Prall, who died sometime before 1797, The stone could mean L[ydia] T]hatcher] D[ied] O[ctobe]R 23, 1778.

M. A. T.  is almost certainly a Mary Ann Thatcher, but I do not have anyone in my records who fits the bill. M. T.  might be Margaret Hull, wife of Joseph Thatcher, who bought land from Thomas Kitchen on either side of Rte 579, and built a stately house that later became the Boarshead Tavern. That seems a long way from the Kitchen Burying Ground, but it’s possible. She survived her husband, who died in 1791, but her death date is not known.

The next chapter in this series on Delaware Township cemeteries will deal with the Moore Family Burying Ground.