The greatest percentage of interments records in The Book of Burials are those from the churchyard. Established around 1676 on Beaver Street east of South Pearl, this churchyard was the successor to the burial ground alongside the Dutch Reformed Church at Broadway and State Street. In addition to new burials, it received remains moved from its predecessor. As this graveyard ran out of room, the headstones would be laid flat over the graves and a new six-foot deep layer of earth spread over it. New graves would then be opened in this layer above the older burials, a process repeated at least three times.
In 1806, the Second or Middle Dutch Reformed Church was constructed on the site and, again, the remaining headstones were laid over the graves and covered with earth. Burials here had, by this time, ended with the opening of a municipal cemetery just south of the Capitol and, later, with the establishment of the State Street Burying Grounds which included two large sections for Dutch Reformed interments. Continue reading