Historic gravestones vandalized at Metuchen cemetery
METUCHEN — No arrests have been made in the vandalism of 10 gravestones at a historical Middlesex County cemetery.
Tyreen Reuter, a member of the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society that maintains the 300-year-old Old Colonial Graveyard in the center of the borough, said Tuesday the vandalism happened during the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 19.
"This opinion (that the damage was intentional) is based on the types of breaks, placement, presence of lichen/dirt/debris, and the timing. The stones were in various states of repair, but all were standing until very, very recently, if not only this past Thursday afternoon," Reuter said of the damage she called "non-insignificant."
Reuter also believes the vandals tried to knock over the headstones, which were loose because of the soft ground from rain.
"It's a wonderful, great spot that really links to the history of the town," Reuter said of the cemetery, which was the original burying ground for the area dating back to the early 1700s. "The European founders of this area are all buried there," including Revolutionary War soldiers with tombstones made of white marble, brownstone, granite and a few slates done by well known carvers of New Jersey stone.
It's also one of the few cemeteries in the country that kept records of women and children who were buried, according to Reuter.
Reuter said the damage seems to be in a north-south line through the cemetery leading towards a gate near NJ Transit property.
"There is a security camera near that gate and it's being looked into if they caught anything," Reuter said.
Reuter asked anyone with information about the incident to call Metuchen police at 732-632-8500.