Milford Christian Churchyard

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Milford Christian Churchyard

Source:  "The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey";  Vol. 55, 13 - 23; 1980.

The Christian Church came into being on the eastern seaboard shortly after the Revolutionary War, beginning in Virginia and North Carolina, and extending into New York, Pennsylvania, and as far west as Ohio.  The Church, based on Fundamentalist principles, gathered its membership from the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian faiths.  The first meetings in New Jersey were held in 1825, and by 1831 there were 400 members in eight congregations.  In Hunterdon County there were meetings at Locktown, Frenchtown, Little York, and Milford, the largest congregation being at Milford.  The groups prospered during the mid-19th century and some well into the 20th century, but by 1929, when the denomination merged with the Congregational Church, the individual congregations had fallen upon hard times.  Their church buildings were sold or fell into decay, and the members drifted to other denominations.

One of the features of the Christian Church was its female exhorters.  Two of the most prominent were Miss Ann Rexford and Mrs. Abigail Roberts.   It was through the preaching and efforts of Mrs. Roberts and her husband, Nathan, who held meetings in the open air in the Milford area, that the Milford Church was founded in April of 1827.  By November of the same year, a house of worship was erected and in use.  The present church building was erected in 1870 and today houses a United Church of Christ congregation.

The churchyard, surrounding the house of worship, was laid out at the time the church was founded.  Over the years, it suffered through periods of neglect, but in the late 1960's it was cleaned up and the stones reset.  Although it is not used actively at present, it remains in good condition.  The following list of inscriptions was copied and checked at various times during 1977 by Donald A. Sinclair, Dorothy A. Stratford and Fred Sisser III.  The inscriptions have been consolidated into family groups.  An asterisk after a name indicates that the person and the relationship were given in an inscription, but no gravestone was found for that person.   Inscriptions "on the same stone," "in same plot," etc., suggest a family relationship but none was stated on the stones or is assumed in this compilation.