Rake Cemetery, Final Installment

Saturday, May 29, 2010
By Marfy Goodspeed

The Sad Fate of John Rake Jr.
The eldest child of John Rake of Sand Brook was John Rake Jr., born 22 May 1768. His was not a remarkable life. He farmed with his father and was taxed with him on the home plantation. About 1790 he married his wife Euphemia or ‘Ufamy’, who might have been related to the nearby Myers family. In the 1820s, he bought a couple small lots from the Myers, and then in 1826, this item appeared in the Hunterdon Gazette:

Thursday, March 9, 1826, [Editorial, Hunterdon Gazette]   On Sunday night last an inquest was held on the body of a man by the name of John Rake, found dead about half a mile from his house, 3 miles from this place, in the direction of Centre Bridge. The verdict of the jury was, that he came to his death by intoxication, and lying upon the wet and cold ground all the preceding night. It appears that he had been to a chopping frolick on Saturday afternoon, where it is believed he drank to excess, and on his way home was so much overcome with the effect of the liquor that he fell down, and was unable to rise again.  He was about 60 years of age.

“Frolick” is a wonderful term for an ancient practice. Any kind of work that needed many hands to be accomplished was eligible to be called a frolick. Mowing a wheat field, raising a barn, threshing flax, chopping I’m not sure what, slaughtering animalsso much hard work, it took some incentives to get people to chip in and help out. One incentive was a good meal provided by the wives. The other was an abundance of home brew. By 1826, the temperance movement was still in its infancy, and the amount of alcohol commonly consumed was a staggering 7 gallons per person per year. John Rake was not the only one who succumbed.

As for that “chopping frolick,” since the event took place in early March, whatever was being chopped had to be some agricultural produce that had been stored over winter. Exactly what that might be, I cannot say. Apples? Potatoes? Dried corn? Your guess is as good as mine.

At the time of his death, Rake’s seven children were 20 years or older. His eldest child, Joseph, had died in 1816, at the age of 25. He might be buried in the Rake Cemetery, but his stone is gone. The Rake family bible gives the birth dates for all seven children, but the only other death date I know of is daughter Eleanor (born 24 Nov 1799) who married Charles Ewing in 1819 and died in 1870 in Hopewell. The other Rake children probably left Delaware Township.

John Rake Jr. might have been buried in the Rake Cemetery, but his stone is also missing.

Where Were Sand Brook Residents Buried?
Having written about Lakes, Rakes, Larews, Godowns Gordons and Williamsons all being buried here, it strikes me as a little odd that more residents of Sand Brook are not here. There is no one from the Fauss family, no Rockafellars, Kitchens or Moores. This is a reminder that people have many different reasons for choosing where to be buried. For many people, church-connected cemeteries were most important, which is why many Sand Brook residents were buried in the Lower Amwell Old Yard (associated with the German Baptist or Dunkard church) and Larison’s Corner Cemetery (associated with the Amwell First Presbyterian church). The Sand Brook Cemetery next to the church holds the graves of some former residents of the village. Examples are Jeremiah Trout (d. 1896), his wife Mary Ann Dunn (d. 1900), and Israel P. Williamson (d. 1932).

A fair number were buried in the Rosemont Cemetery, like William T. Sergeant (d. 1918) and wife Mary Manning (d. 1933), Stephan Knowle (d. 1945), and Sarah Johnson Kerr (d. after 1950). Others chose to be buried in plots connected with families that lived away from Sand Brook. One such burial is Jane Robins, who died at Sand Brook at an advanced age in 1834, and was buried in the graveyard used by the family of her husband Amos Sutton. The Sutton Family Burying Ground is on my list of places to write about.

Here are some Sand Brook area people of yore who were buried elsewhere:

Ida M. Bearder, died 1954, buried in the Cherryville Cemetery
John Carr Dilts, died 1901, buried in the  Lower Amwell Old Yard
Children of Arthur Fauss: John Fauss died 1940, Rachel Fauss died 1937
both buried in the Sand Brook Church Cemetery
Hannah Higgins, wife of Samuel Gary, died 1884, buried Sandy Ridge Cemetery
George N. Holcombe, died 1900, buried Sandy Ridge Cemetery
Sarah Johnson, wife of Ervin Frank Kerr, died after 1950, buried in Rosemont
Mary Wolverton, wife of Harrison Kinsey, died 1884, buried Sand Brook Church Cemetery
Stephan Knowll, died 1945, buried Rosemont Cemetery
Mary Manning, wife of Wm. T. Sergeant, died 1933, buried Rosemont Cemetery
Wm. T. Sergeant died 1918, buried Rosemont Cemetery
Jane Robins, wife of Amos Sutton, died 1934, buried Sutton Burying Ground
Mary Ann Dunn, wife of Jeremiah Trout, died 1900, buried Sand Brook Church Cemetery
Jeremiah Trout, died 1896, buried Sand Brook Church Cemetery
Israel P. Williamson, died 1932, buried Sand Brook Church Cemetery

If any readers can add names to this list, please do so in the comments.

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