The old cemetery across the street from Westfield Presbyterian has been officially noted on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Burial Ground of the Presbyterian Church in the West Fields of Elizabethtown” since 2007.
The gate shuts out casual onlookers because the headstones are soooo old and fragile that they can fall apart if you touch them. People were buried here from 1730-1958 (give or take 10 years); if you lived in Westfield, this was the only public burial ground available to you until Fairview Cemetery opened a little over a mile up the road in 1868.
The site includes ~70 Revolutionary War veterans, three War of 1812 veterans, and eight Civil War veterans, as well as a few veterans from WWI and WWII.
Originally, local residents could just select whatever random spot they liked, pick up a shovel, and bury their loved ones (at no cost). Eventually the Presbyterian church got its act together and enforced some sort of organization here.
NJ DEP – Historic Preservation Office. (2012). “New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places – Union County.” p.6. Retrieved August 31, 2012. http://www.state.nj.us/dep/hpo/1identify/nrsr_lists/union.pdf.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield. (n.d.). “Cemetery information.” http://www.westfieldpc.org/AboutUs/CemeteryInformation/tabid/32234/Default.aspx.
Westfield Bicentennial Committee. (1976). “The Westfield Bicentennial Committee has designated the Revolutionary Cemetery…” (Plaque). Documented May 2013.