Hudson County Burial Grounds

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The Hudson County Burial Grounds are also known as the Secaucus Potter's Field and Snake Hill Cemetery and it is located in Secaucus, New Jersey. The cemetery was cleared of bodies to make room for the Secaucus Transfer Station and Exit 15 of the New Jersey Turnpike between 1992-2003.[1][2][3] The bodies were to be interred at Hoboken Cemetery, North Bergen, but when pits were dug for the bodies, human remains were found, in what was sold as virgin cemetery space.[4][5] Unrecovered remain in unmarked graves outside the original construction area.[6]

The bodies were reburied at the Maple Grove Park Cemetery in Hackensack, New Jersey. The last body was removed from the cemetery on October 31, 2003. The remains of 4,572 were transferred. The Register of Burials listed interments between December 31, 1880, and April 12, 1962, but those within the removal area were from between 1920 and 1962. The cemetery served the insane asylum and the poor house that later became the Meadowview Psychiatric Hospital.

Snake Hill[edit]

The Snake Hill region of Secaucus, New Jersey, was the location of the Old Bergen Poor Farm in the late 18th century. In 1840 the southern part of Bergen became Hudson County, which later purchased the land and placed their Insane Asylum and Alms House there.[7]


The Berger Group which performed the removals[8] wrote:

A total of 113,532 artifacts or non-skeletal objects were recovered of which over 50 percent were coffin nails. Other personal effects or "grave goods" included dentures, glass eyes, coins, clay smoking pipes, embalming bottles, whiskey/wine bottles, combs, over 4,500 buttons, over 500 ceramic fragments, clothing remnants, shoes, hats, jewelry, military medals, religious items, and medical devices or prosthetics. ... Using historic maps, original hand-written burial ledgers, osteological examination, background research, and artifact analysis, Berger's team was able to determine possible identities for approximately 900 of the disinterred remains. Of particular note, positive identifications were established for two interments who have living linear descendants. The remains of a woman who died in 1928 and a man who was buried in 1949 were returned to their respective families for private ceremonies and reburial - ending the search for their long-lost grandparents.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "55 years later, reburial heals indignity. Family bids farewell to remains from potter's field.". Bergen Record. 2003-11-30. Pallbearers carried Leonardo Andriani's casket to a quiet corner of Maple Grove Park Cemetery on Saturday where only cedars and the headstones of soldiers who died in the Spanish-American War can be found. One by one, 30 friends and family members put their hands on the casket to say goodbye to the Hoboken longshoreman who ... 
  3. ^ "Discovery stalls move of 3,000 remains". The Philadelphia Inquirer. August 9, 2003. The journey of more than 3,000 displaced souls to a final resting place has been delayed again after state officials discovered the North Jersey burial site they had chosen is already taken. In what has been called the largest single exhumation in the country's history, archaeologists have been digging up an old potter's field for the last five months to make way for an interchange off the New Jersey Turnpike to serve the new Secaucus transfer station. Officials were 
  4. ^ "New burial spot needed for remains". Bergen Record. Retrieved 2007-08-21. Exasperated turnpike officials say the Hoboken Cemetery in North Bergen violated its contract when it promised there weren't any prior burials in the 2,430-foot section reserved for the potter's field bodies. The cemetery says it has no record of any bodies and the remains could have been fragments excavated from other areas on its grounds. Nevertheless, it has agreed to return the agency's $150,000 by Friday - the cost for reinterring the bodies. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Families Think Potter's Field Holds Clues To Long Lost Kin.". Bergen Record. Retrieved 2008-04-05. But to one Morris County man, a potter's field in Secaucus is more than an obstacle in the state's plan to build a sprawling $225 million turnpike interchange. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Background History and Review of Previously Conducted Studies" (PDF). Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project DEIS. 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  8. ^ Cho, Aileen (November 29, 2004). "Busy New Jersey Span Gets New Bearings, and Shorter Too". Engineering News-Record 253 (21): 19–20. ISSN 0891-9526. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Secaucus Potter's Field Cemetery". Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2007-08-26. The Potter's Field Cemetery is one of three cemeteries documented in Secaucus near Laurel Hill, but it will be the only one impacted by the Secaucus Interchange Project. These three cemeteries were used to bury deceased indigents from Hudson County's former institutional complex at Snake Hill (now called Laurel Hill). ... According to historic documents, the Snake Hill region of Secaucus was occupied by the Old Bergen County Poor Farm in the late 1700s. In 1845, Old Bergen County split into Passaic and Bergen counties, and Hudson County purchased the poor farm to locate a variety of county facilities. In 1855, Hudson County began building several institutions here, and between 1855 and 1962, the facility included insane asylums, jails, almshouses, orphanages, hospitals, the county agricultural farm and piggery, and three cemeteries. The Potter's Field Cemetery, one of the three original cemeteries associated with the Hudson County facility, appears to have been established in the early twentieth century. In 1962, the cemetery ceased operations. 

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Coordinates: 40°45′42″N 74°04′30″W / 40.76161°N 74.074985°W / 40.76161; -74.074985