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Black History Month: Shadow Rest Memorial Parl Cemeter, Tinton Falls, Monmouth County, NJ (1843) St. Thomas A.M.E. Zion Church 1884 & Ruffin Cemetery, Tinton Falls, NJ


Pine Brook Cemetery

Pine Brook Cemetery dates back to the 17th century Brian Johnston by Brad Wadlow, January 31, 2018.


Ruffin Cemetery, a cemetery on Macedonia Road in Pinebrook rests Black Civil War dead.  A deed of that era reports there is a slave cemetery behind Crawfords Butcher Shop.  The latter cemetery has since disappeared.  Before the Civil War, more than 50,00 slaves had been led to freedom by the New Jersey conductors and operators of the Underground Railroad.  Unknown numbers are graveled throughout Matawan and Shrewsbury.

A headstone stands today in the Shadow Rest Memorial Part 1843, a cemetery on Squankum Road, Pine Brook, with this engraving:  “Fallen, I give my spirt . . .” reads the barley legible grave marking of Richard P. Revey who “died September 28, 1868, aged 83 yers and 11 months” and rests in what is now called the Shadow Rest Memorial Park.  The near 1-acre, more than a centry old cemetery is the long-forgotten eternal resting place or more than 60 of the borough’s African-American settlers.  Of those 66 marked graves, at least seven belong to fallen black soldiers of the Civil War.  A small flag waves over the thicket that lay beneath the stone of the Rev. James g. Palmer who was “born December 3, 1839 (and) died May 30, 1883.” Palmer, the marker says, was a member of the “U.S. Colored Troops.”

Not much is known about those people except what time has not yet erased off their tombstones, the oldest of which dated back to 1851, as far as anyone can tell.  Some graves are marked only with a rock and others, still, have not a trace of etching remaining.  According to his stone, Alfred J. Berry, who “died in 1897” and was “aged 50 years” was amember of the 41st. Regt. U.S.C.I., or United States Colored Infantry.  And there are more like Berry, whose barley legible markings tell a story of serving and/or dying in the Civl War.  There was Chas C. Vincent of the 23rd U.S.C.I. and Edward Berry, who lived from 1844 to 1887.

Then there were families.  Some women’s graves were marked with only their first names and a testament of who they were born or married to and how long they lived.  Ester, for instance, was the “wife of John B. Wilson (and) died May 17th, 1884, aged 66 years.”  Margaret, though, died June 30, 1862 and was aged 15 years, 8 months and 17 days.  The cemetery, borough historians found out, was actually deeded to the tiny St. Thomas A.M.E. Zion Church on Squankum Road.


Rev. James C. Palmer Alfred J. Berry Chas C. Vincent

Comp. 16th REGT. Comp. 41st. REGT. Comp.23rd REGT.

U. S. Colored Troops U.S. Colored Infantry U.S. Colored Infantry

Born Dec. 31 1839 Died, 1897 Died May 30, 1883




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