Love of History Drives Scout’s Restoration Project
Tyler Veth of Rosemont is working toward his Eagle Scout rank in Troop # 124 Stockon. The focus of his project was the restoration of Barber’s Burying Ground in Delaware Township. Driven by his appreciation of American History, he completed over one hundred and forty hours of repairing gravestones and landscaping. Barbers is one of the most historic and oldest cemeteries in Delaware Township. Tyler credits his friends, community members and local businesses who share his personal connection with the township’s past in assisting in completing the successful project.
Sixty one headstones were repaired and straightened, twenty eight trees trimmed, brush cleared and graves back filled. Tyler was the master mind of the project and was responsible for the planning, funding and recruiting help. Eight devoted community members and many high school friends assisted him. Local businesses donated much needed materials. Nieces’ Lumber, and Home Depot gave cement and grass seed, John Martin Excavators brought in extra fill soil. Neighbors supplied powerful tractors and jacks to lift the heavy stones. Scout Leaders Tom Galick and Ray Vandenberg of Sergeantsville guided his way.
One of the exciting by- products of the restoration was the discovery of hidden stones long lost under ancient plant growth and soil. Replacing them to their rightful place in time was very rewarding to Tyler’s crew. Tyler was especially enlightened when he realized that many of the local road names bear the same names on the historic headstones, attesting to the significance of the site.
Barber’s Burying Ground is one of the oldest significant cemeteries in the county. It was originally a family cemetery on the farm. Founders of southern Hunterdon County and many leading citizens are now “sleeping there”, as history tells it. There are graves of early settlers and pioneer names in the area such as Barber, Bowne, Holcomb, Van Dolah, Warman, Bissey, Larason, Lambert, Hagaman, Wilson, and Godown. The families represent farmers, physicians, teachers, lawyers, politicians and even a Governor of NJ who were directly responsible for the settlement and growth of Delaware Township. Little known history also indicates the presence of many unmarked slave graves outside of the cemetery walls.
Tyler said he would do it again in another twenty years, since it was worth it. He is a senior at the Hun School in Princeton where his favorite subject is American History. His Eagle Scout project helped him experience some of his most gratifying ideals of our heritage.