The Blawenburg Dutch Reformed Church

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The Blawenburg Reformed church is located in Montgomery Township, NJ at 452 County Road 518. The church was built in this location to accommodate the growing population of Dutch Reformed Church members in the Blawenburg area in the early nineteenth century. The Church was built in 1830 and the Dutch Reformed Church helped but the building into existence. The Blawenburg Reformed Church tells the story of the strong influence of the Dutch in central New Jersey in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Dutch population in this rural farm town was clearly large, as another Dutch Reformed Church existed in neighboring Harlingen only four miles away. Although this artifact is not related to Rutgers directly, our university did originally function as a seminary for this denomination, making it a possibility that some of the Blawenburg Reformed preachers received their instruction at Rutgers. This church actually has a personal connection to one of our group members, as her parents were married in the building, and this is just another example of the far-stretching influence of the Dutch in everyday American life. This church still has an active congregation currently, and its historical value is appreciated by the congregants. Church member, Grace Terhune, said that the church is, “essential to understanding Blawenburg and its history”, and that it formed “the center of the town” along with the schoolhouse. Indeed, this landmark, still in use, is rich in historical significance and important in revealing the story of the Dutch in America.
The Blawenburg Dutch Reformed Church has the design of a classic American chapel: a large, wooden building with a gabled roof and a gorgeous steeple. The structure that stands today is not quite the one raised in three days back in 1830 – several additions have been added since its original construction. In 1860 the pulpit was moved 20 feet to allow more room for the growing congregation. In the same decade, a bell was donated and a pipe organ was added. In the 1890s the church was electrified and the ceiling was renovated. An education wing was added in the 1950s. Despite all of these renovations, sitting in one of the wooden pews of the church one still gets the sense that they are a part of history: the congregation has done a wonderful job preserving the original architecture, and every square inch of the building has a bit of history behind it.

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Blawenburg Reformed Church

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Blawenburg Reformed Church 40.408382, -74.699293

David Kornmehl, Kyle Silver, Erin Kelly -Section 04

Sources:

http://blawenburg.rcachurches.org/

“Interview 2.” Interview by James Misek. Blawenburg Reformed Church. N.p., n.d. Web.

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The Grave of Reverend John Henry Livingston

By Vanessa Gao, Timothy Reilly, April Rickle, and Paul Shin

John Henry Livingston earned his Doctorate in theology at Utrecht University.  He then returned to the United States, where he was born, and became the leader of the Reformed Church in New York City.  The story of John Henry Livingston represents that of an American with Dutch ancestry, who returned to his ancestral homeland for educational purposes, only to return to the place of his birth and become a successful pastor.

Livingston was the fourth president and professor theology at Queen’s College, what is now known as Rutgers University. He was also the most influential reverend at the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Livingston started as the reverend for the Church, but was offered presidency at Queens College in 1807. He did not accept this offer until 1810, and then continued to serve until his death in 1825.

After Livingston accepted presidency, Queens College was forced to close because of financial problems. He continued to teach theology at the theology school, while also raising funds to help reopen Queens College. Livingston died on January 25, 1825 and was then buried at the First Reformed Church at 9 Bayard Street New Brunswick, New Jersey. Queens College was reopened 10 months later.

Livingston’s grave is particularly special because of the over ground stone grave. This stone grave was erected to emphasize his dignity, and was funded by the church. This artifact, the grave, is the last remnant of one of the earliest presidents of our university.  As a student at this university, it is important to understand the history of important figures that helped shape our universities past. We must be respectful to ancestors of this church and commemorate their contributions to the creation of Rutgers University.

Interested parties may get there by taking the EE bus to Patterson street, and then walking down Neilson to the corner of Bayard.

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Reverend John Henry Livingston's Grave

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Reverend John Henry Livingston\'s Grave 40.495057, -74.442349

Livingston’s grave consists of two parts- a gravestone, and a box grave. The gravestone itself is not as fancy as one might imagine; it stands to the left of the box grave, and the stone cut inscription has weathered over the years to the point that it is nearly illegible.

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The box grave, which once had Livingston’s name carved into it, is similarly worn due to the fact that its inscription has lied face-up, exposed to the wind and rain, for so many years. The point of the box grave, Reverend Hartmut Kramer-Mills told us, was to emphasize the dignity of the person buried below. Though the body is interred in the ground, a stone box is erected over it as a secondary monument. In recent years, a violent storm knocked a tree branch onto the box tomb, breaking its face. Though the tomb was repaired, the mortar has evaporated, leaving deep cracks in the stone.

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Though the tombs are slowly falling into disrepair, one may still find the full inscriptions on this website, along with a description of Livingston’s life. Though he has been gone for nearly 200 years, Livingston will live on in memory as a man “with dignified appearance, extensive erudition, almost unrivalled [sic] talents as a sacred orator and professor, were blended manners polished, candid and attractive, all ennobled by the entire devotion to his Savior” (Stanton).

Works Cited

Frusciano, Thomas J. “John Henry Livingston.” John Henry Livingston. Rutgers University. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

Stanton, Shirley. “Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials.” Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. Find a Grave, 7 Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

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