Van Campen Cemetery: Update

On the 16th of last month I posted about my attempts to locate the Van Campen burial ground near the former site of Calno, New Jersey, and about the overgrown mess I found once I was successful. At the time I expressed disappointment with the National Park Service for not keeping the property cleared. I have since exchanged emails with Mr. John Wright, Park Archeologist and chief of Cultural Resources at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Mr. Wright was kind enough to fill me in on the situation with the burial ground, and I hope he won’t mind my repeating the outline of the tale here.

It turns out that the family burial grounds in the region were exempted from the federal land acquisition program back in the Tocks Island Dam days, and are still privately owned. The cemetery near Calno had been maintained for some time by Mr. Harold Van Campen and Ms. Jean Zipser, however it has fallen into neglect since their deaths. Mr. Wright has offered to pass along my report to members of the Van Campen family, and I in turn have offered to help them clear the property if they have a mind to do so. Mr. Wright did not mention who currently owns it, but it is probably a safe assumption that it is still in Van Campen family hands.

So there you have it: no government negligence; but just the perhaps-unavoidable decline of will over the years. This is, after all, the eventual fate of all old burial grounds. I do hope, though, that this one has a few more years left in it.

14 thoughts on “Van Campen Cemetery: Update

  1. My husband is a direct descendant of the VanCampen Clan…It’s unfortunate that we didnt get to meet Mr. Van Campen – I have been doing geneology research for two yrs now and just located Mr. Harold Van Campen’s name while researching.

    Thanks for caring (and sharing) the information concerning the burial grounds

    I will show your article to my husband

    Questions or concerns:

    Thanks again

  2. Mark and “Van Campen” Family members:

    I am a photographer in North Jersey and have photographed burial grounds around the state. If there comes a time when you would like to have the grounds and gravemarkers photographed, please contact me. This is a personal interest of mine and I am not looking for $$$.

    Donna Herrrmann

    on Facebook: Circa Photography NJ

  3. Hi, Donna. I have no particular interest in having the graves photographed. Unless things have changed quite a bit they are extremely overgrown and it is very hard to both get to them, and move around near them. Thanks for stopping by, though. Perhaps someone with a personal interest will see your comment and follow up. If you go, take a good pair of brush cutters with you, and dress for thorns.

  4. Hello folks:

    My family and I spent summers up there till the Tocks Island project forced us off the land. I knew Walter? and Sadie Van Campen (I think they were Harold’s parents or grandparents), and the cemetery is covered with wild raspberry bushes, very prickly, the proverbial briar patch. That might be the best for this site as it keeps it safe and inaccessible. I’ll go back up there sometime when I’m back East.

    Ted Scherf

  5. Hi, Ted. Thanks for stopping by the site. Yes, the graveyard is certainly protected from casual wanderers given its current condition. The land itself is still in private hands, so I expect it will continue to be slowly reclaimed by the forest.

  6. I believe my grandparents are buried there and that this is where my uncle took me in the 1980’s to see their graves. I took photographs but lost them in Hurricane Ivan and was wondering if you have any photographs of markers that belong to John and/or Margaret Stoddart and if you do would you mind sharing them with me?

  7. Hi, PJ. Thanks for stopping by. I looked through my raw files from that day, and unfortunately I did not capture any images of Stoddart gravestones. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The site is extremely overgrown and rather difficult to get to and move around in (that is, unless the brush has been cut back in the last two years or so). I’m quite sure I was able to view only a small number of the stones that are there.

  8. I remember it being a bit overgrown when I visited there and that the headstones were small and possibly horizontal. Thank you for responding, I really appreciate it.

  9. Did you know there were also graves located behind the old Van Campen Cemetery? I was just up there and located a 4 grave plot near the old house and red barns. I too want that cemetery cleaned up as I have been going there for years taking photos. Brian.

  10. I didn’t know about that plot, Brian, but it doesn’t surprise me. You didn’t happen to notice whether the stones were from a particular period, or record any of the names by any chance?

  11. My second great-grandfather and his wife are buried there. Their marker was one of the ones you photographed. I had not realized that the burial grounds were in such a remote area. I live in California and I’m thinking of visiting the Van Campen-Calvo cemetery. Would you happen to have the geographic coordinates of it? Or at least driving directions on Old Mine Road? Or point me to some old maps?

  12. Hi, Roger. Thanks for stopping by. I haven’t been up there in several years but I think I can give you a Google Maps link to the right spot:,-75.003365,18.79z

    That small side road or drive leads SE off Old Mine Rd. up to a small farmhouse with a couple of outbuildings. The old cemetery is on the northeast side of the drive about halfway up to the house, on the other side of a low wash next to the drive. Be aware that unless they have done some clearing back there it was very tough going. The entire plot was overgrown with very thick brambles.

    Good luck!

  13. Thank you very much Mark. I’m just now seeing your response. Thank you also for the pictures you took of my ancestors headstones.

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