Sunday, April 01, 2007

I Told James.....

....I'd Blame Him

And I will....

I was working and my computer this afternoon and who should pull into my driveway but James. Back from a fruitful morning of research about the Van Dyke family, he happened to be passing and decided to visit.

On a impluse he offered to take me on a tour of some of the cemeteries he's been talking about and off we went. It was an enjoyable adventure. For the first time, I saw the Dean cemetery with old headstones dating back to the 1700's. Set far off the beaten track, this graveyard has a collection of unmarked stones at one side which may well have marked slave graves. While this is only speculation, it quite possibly follows a tradition of the area.

Then we drove to the well tended cemetery at Ten Mile Run. (This is a village named for a nearby stream.) There, to James' delight, we found the tombstone of Jan (John) Van Dyke who was the patriarch of the Van Dyke family, one of the key figures James had been reading about earlier in the day. As well there is a monument to the workers who lost their lives while building the Deleware-Raritan Canal, a prime transportation and shipping canal for the 19th century.

Our final stop was the Higgins cemetery with some more intriguing stones memorializing local families and quite possibly their servants.

On the way home, I convinced James to stop at the end of my road so we could look at the little cemetery on the hill next to the huge Pro Logis warehouse. Now fenced in the place is a wreck of vines, briars, and inderbrush. There are mostly broken stones there, but one fallen monument has been a local curiousity for years. It is a well crafted stone reading: "Colonel Godfrey Krause of St. Croix Island, departed this life, April 8, 1776, age 79 years."

Who was he? Is this St. Croix of the Virgin Islands, or St Croix Island off the coast of Maine where there had been an early settlement doomed by harsh weather and sickness? What was he doing in New Jersey? And a Colonel? Of what? The date falls close to the American Revolution and we do suspect part of the Continental Army might have been nearby, but at 79, would the Colonel still be active? And why such a fine stone? This one has toppled off a carved base.

James hopes to do some research on the Colonel at some point and considering his skill, he just may find a few answers.

So, where does this all lead? By the time the trip was done, it was time to feed the Boys. Then I came back inside, did a few chores, became the "victim" of a few phone calls, and I never did ride.

The "Horses of Follywoods" blog is becoming the "Horses of Folly."

I don't think they mind. Tucker and Chance would much rather chase each other around playing anyhow.

What did Miss Scarlett say? "Tomorrow is another day."

3 comments:

  1. that caught my interest

    here's a possible descendant (an obit on Princeton's website, a google search):

    GODFREY KRAUSE PREISER JR ’49

    G. K. died Dec. 20, 2001. He was 73. He prepared for Princeton at Newark Academy. He majored in public and international affairs, was a reporter for the Daily Princetonian, a member of the choir, and a member of Cloister Inn.

    After graduation G.K. attended NYU School of Law, graduating in 1951. In 1953 he was commissioned in the Air Force and served on active duty until 1955. He then joined the legal department of Bell Labs, where he remained until retirement. G.K. was active in community affairs in his hometown of Basking Ridge, N.J., serving on the planning board and on the library board.

    He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, daughter Patricia Keener, sons Thomas and Andrew, and several grandchildren. The class extends its sympathies to them on their loss.

    The Class of 1949

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  2. We'll see what James comes up with.

    Could be a relation, or might not be. At least the grography is fairly close. The name "Krause" shows up in lots of places and there is a St. Croix connection in places too, but no Godfrey. The Colonel may well be the key to finding something.

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  3. This man is like a ghost. My usual haunts are yeilding nothing....

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