I always love finding new places that hold more historical items for us to investigate here in Ocean County and once again I was surprised to find history right under my nose here in Toms River.

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This time around I discovered some unique Ocean County history in the Silverton section of Toms River...the historic Silverton Cemetery.

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The Silverton Cemetery is located along Hooper Avenue in Toms River. I guess I never really saw this location because businesses have grown all around the cemetery and its a busy section of highway, so if you are not looking you probably will drive right by it.

The Silverton Cemetery is 206 years old, dating back to circa 1815. Imagine what Toms River looked like just after the War of 1812.

Names like Smith and Clayton seem to be visible at the Silverton Cemetery. One of the oldest tombstones is that of John Henry Clayton, who was born in 1776 and passed in 1845 at the age of 69. Another is David Clayton who died in 1857 at the age of 47...164 years ago here in Toms River. Rachel Halsey may be one of the oldest as she passed in 1844 at the age of 38. However, the oldest I found was dating back to 1840, 181 years ago, that of John H McKelvey, who died in December of 1840. There may be older tombstones dating to 1815 but they are not legible at this point in time.

Want to thank Helen for her added facts on social media... "The Ocean County Historical Society has many documents on file making reference to that cemetery's beginnings. The original cemetery, east side of Hooper Avenue, was the original and was restored under the guidance of Toms River Kiwanis Club on or about 1970 or '80's. They wanted to show respect and recognition the departed souls deserve for their role in "wrestling our nation out of the hands of the British in the Revolutionary War and the war of 1812 and those who united our torn country in the Civil War." In 1809 a log chapel was built by Joseph Polhemus. He preached there himself to local families in the area; the Polhemus, Irons, Tilton, Clayton, Tice, and McKelvey families. The new church was built within the cemetery grounds 1868-1869. That church burned to the ground during a forest fire in 1926. The new church was later built on the east side of Hooper Avenue allowing for the expansion of the cemetery on the west side where the old church was located."

Do you have any more information about the history of the Silverton Cemetery? I'd love to hear and share with our audience...post your thoughts below :)


Historic Silverton Cemetery

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