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First, Second, and Third

A cache by scrabblescott Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 12/08/2013
1 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Cemetery cache in the New Cemetery in Somerville.

I'd been scouting for a spot to hide a cache over here in the New Cemetery when I came across this spot, which seemed to be ideal, particularly because it's got a story behind it involving three generations of a local family here in Somerville.

The Hardgroves had mainly lived in Bridgewater during the 19th century, but one branch of their family tree moved into the Somerville area. William Hardgrove was the patriarch. He is listed in most census documents as either being a farmer, laborer, or some other general menial task. He had three sons: David, Winthrop, and William. Winthrop is the one who we'll be discussing here.

Winthrop Jonas Hardgrove was born 8 July 1873 in Bridgewater, NJ. He was married to Mary Ethel Wilson at the age of 20 in 1893 and is listed in most census documents as a stationary engineer, teamster, or machinist. They had four children: Ethel, William, Blanche, and Winthrop Jr. He died 5 August 1937 in Pequannock, NJ, and was buried at the New Cemetery in Somerville. At the time I was there, I noted a veteran's flag placed at his graveside, and I suspect he was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, though I've found no evidence of this.

Winthrop's son, Winthrop Jonas Hardgrove, Jr., was born 27 September 1900 in Bridgewater, NJ. He grew up in Bridgewater and enlisted in the US Army at the age of 16 (!) on 12 July 1917, a couple of months after war was declared against Germany, resulting in American involvement in World War I. He served as a private in B Company of the 104th Engineers, attached to the 29th Infantry Division. This division fought in Europe late in the war and suffered 30% casualties (either killed or wounded) during only 21 days of combat. Winthrop was one of the surviviors. He returned to the USA and was discharged on 30 May 1919. In 1923 he married Mary Rynan and moved to Somerville. They had two sons: Winthrop J. Hardgrove III and John. Winthrop was first employed as a surveyor and later as a policeman and pipe fitter in Somerville. He died on 2 May 1960 at the age of 59 and was buried in New Cemetery in Somerville.

Winthrop J. Hardgrove, Jr.'s, son, Winthrop J. Hardgrove III was born 27 June 1927 and grew up in Somerville. He served in World War II as a Motor Machinists Mate, 3rd Class, on the USS Tantalus (ARL-27). The Tantalus was launched in January 1945, and she served her part of World War II in mainly friendly waters between her launch point at Jacksonville, FL, her shakedown cruise off Hampton Roads in Virginia, and cruising through the Panama Canal Zone to San Diego, where she sounded her whistles and sirens as the Japanese surrendered in August 1945. She thence made her way to the Phillipines and the Ryukyu Islands in Japan for work in 1946, before being decommissioned in 1947. He married a woman named Vera and lived in Somerville as an accountant until his death in August 1978.

The New Cemetery of Somerville was begun in 1867 through the cooperative efforts of the existing six local churches because Somerville had outgrown the space available in the old Raritan Cemetery across the road.  At the time, the founding members, desiring the finest burial grounds possible, secured the design services of Ernest L. Meyer of Elizabeth, New Jersey.  Mr. Meyer was a recognized expert in rural garden cemetery planning which was then gaining popularity.  Garden cemeteries, in contrast to older cemeteries where tombstones stand in solemn rows, are laid out as landscaped parks where beautiful surroundings invite calm and peaceful contemplation. The founders expected that this new town cemetery would suffice to meet the needs of Somerville for a hundred years.  It has far exceeded expectations and continues to serve the town and surrounding communities.  Its original design remains essentially unchanged and has matured into a handsome example of a Victorian cemetery with rustic roadways winding among a random profusion of grave markers and majestic trees keeping watch over the departed. The proximity of the old Raritan Cemetery led Somerville residents to refer to our cemetery as the “New Cemetery,” a name reflected in many documents in that era. The New Cemetery of Somerville became its official name in 2008.

While seeking the cache please be respectful of the memorials and grave sites. There's no need to step on or walk across any graves in order to find the cache. You'll need a writing implement.

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