Rick Franzen Discusses the Tabernacle cemeteries

In the late 1930’s the Works Project Administration (WPA) surveyed most cemeteries in the United States to document the gravesites of service veterans. Naturally no World War Two vets were recorded and because WW1 ended about twenty years earlier, many vets from that conflict had not yet passed. However, the final resting sites of many Civil War vets were identified and so noted on graveyard maps.

We were lucky enough to obtain a copy of one of these maps from the Office of the Burlington County Clerk. While the Junior Mechanics and African Cemeteries have one Civil War vet each, we were not able to afford the copy cost associated with those two maps. Our map led us to “unearth” 21 vets, including a Confederate soldier and another vet who had been “disinterred” and later reburied in a Pennsylvania cemetery.

But even more surprising to us was the discover of a former building’s out line just behind one of today’s cemetery buildings. More likely that not, it is the site of the schoolhouse believed built in 1856. It also could be the site of the 1780’s “tabernacle” because it does appear on an 1849 map of the area. Only it appears as a “schoolhouse,” which may be consistent with what the church was later used as. We’re still exploring this one!

For a full list of the Civil War vets, please visit our website.

The second video continues the conversation of the first, only with a second map. This map is dated 1885 and is a burial plot ownership map. The plots shown are not single or double burials, but rather are huge plots with room for many , many family members.

Again there is the outline of an earlier building, in the same spot as the one discussed in the last map. It is labeled “meeting house.” While the shape is a little different from that in the 1938 map, and the site is noted as a “meeting house,” it’s not to great a leap to assume the original church was in this area. It’s function would have been as a meeting house, church, school, sometimes just a single function and other times as a duel function.

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