A Stroll Through the Tappan Cemetery

Tappan Cemetery

Sometimes, a stroll through a quiet place is just what a day needs.

After an especially hectic day traveling for business, I found myself in Tappan, New York, a small town 12 miles north of New York City. The Rockland County community of Tappan was settled by 16 families in 1686, and is home to a beautiful historic district. (The New York Times did a piece on the history of Tappan that I quite enjoyed, you can find it here.)

Drawing my attention immediately was the peaceful cemetery at the Reformed Dutch Church of Tappan. The little brick church was formed in 1694, and has been rebuilt twice over the years. The current church, the third on the site, was built in 1835.

Tappan Cemetery

I stopped in a small lot nearby and walked through the quiet space, reading the names and dates. Some stones are inscribed in Dutch, others are very difficult to read.

Tappan Cemetery

Tappan Cemetery

Original settlers of Rockland County, early ministers of the Reformed Dutch Church of Tappan, and American Revolutionary War Soldiers can all be found buried here. One of my favorite things to do while roaming through a cemetery is to consider the stories of those whose lives are honored by the headstones.

Tappan Cemetery

William Campbell, born February 24, 1740, died March 27, 1757. According to cemetery records, his son “Corn. Campbell” is buried nearby, having died the year after his father at the age of 23. I love this one even more because of the spelling – deceased with four “e’s”, lies with a “y”, etc. It just adds a dimension of personality!

Tappan Cemetery

Another great example of a stone with personality. Elizabeth Cammen was born on February 24, 1740, and died on March 27, 1957. (Thank you to to Gertrude A. Barber for her work to transcribe the stones of the Reformed Dutch Church of Tappan Cemetery in 1931. If you are interested, that record can be found on the Dutch Door Genealogy site.)

Tappan Cemetery

Tappan Cemetery

Old cemeteries are of my favorite places to slow down and reflect. What are your favorites? Have you been to an amazing cemetery? Please tell me about it in the comments below!


  1. I had no idea this was here! I’m a history teacher, so I enjoyed this little bit of colonial history about the cemetery. Interesting read.

  2. I love visiting cemeteries so seeing your photos was super cool. Thanks for sharing!

  3. That’s interesting that you even noticed those small spelling details on the head stones. Amazing eye for detail!

  4. Wow this is so interesting! I love cemeteries too; we don’t have any quite this old where i’m from but I like to check out the oldest tombstones I can find. They’re my favorite places to photograph!

  5. Strolls like these really put things in to perspective for me. Live the life you want because we’re not around forever. Thanks for sharing, the photos are beautiful 🙂

  6. Old cemeteries are SO interesting! I once wrote a four-part series for a newspaper about cemeteries and gravestone symbolism. You can learn a lot about a community and the people who have lived there if you keep your eyes open!

  7. […] Find more photos of the historic stones here. […]

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