About Hilltop Cemetery
Hilltop Cemetery is a Non-denominational cemetery as well as Catholic Church Consecrated Ground.
Despite the cemetery’s non-denominational status, the origins of Hilltop Cemetery are forever tied to the history of the Mendham area as well as that of the Hilltop Presbyterian Church.
As early as 1738 there was a religious settlement in what is today known as Ralston where a place of worship was first built. The early location was called Rocksiticus, but later known as Mendham. It was also a time when a town was only considered complete if it had a place of worship
The Township of Mendham, which at that time included what is known today as Mendham Borough, was formed on March 29th, 1749. Mendham Borough became a separate municipality in May of 1906.
By 1774 there was a movement afoot against the British who ruled the American Colonies that became the Revolutionary War. By this time the church at Rocksiticus had moved to the location we know today and is called Hilltop Church. A deed was recorded in November of 1745 for the land on which the church stands today.
During that Revolutionary War there were many troops stationed in the area as they fought against the British armies. Early in the spring of 1777 a smallpox scourge took hold in Mendham and the Hilltop Church was opened as a hospital for the local victims as well as those from nearby army camps. Twenty-seven soldiers died in the Church hospital and are buried in a cemetery established beside and behind the Hilltop Church.
The earliest reference to the churchyard in the records is on June 10th 1788. At that time the congregation voted to define the Grave Yard and eventually fenced it. This Grave Yard was used jointly by the Presbyterian and the Methodist Churches of Mendham.
The Mendham Cemetery Association was officially founded in 1891 by a group of interdenominational citizens.
A member of the Hilltop Church, William Phoenix, applied for a burial ground, but the congregation refused him as he kept a bar in his inn. He then bought a large plot adjoining the Church Yard (or Grave Yard) and around it built the stone fence which remains to this day. This plot has always been outside the church property, but as time went on the new Hill Top Cemetery, and later the Mendham Cemetery Association, extended their bounds around it. Today it is part of the Associations cemetery grounds.
Some local citizens who wanted larger grave sites purchased land and later deeded that land to the Mendham Cemetery Association. Through a variety of acquisitions and gifts the cemetery grew from a few acres to todays size of 17 acres.
Today Hilltop Cemetery still has beautiful grave sites available. Situated on one of the higher points in the central portion of Mendham Borough, Hilltop Cemetery is a gradually sloping ground with beautiful views over a large portion of the town.
As times have changed the Hilltop Cemetery recognized a new need and added a section for burial of persons who have been cremated. This cremains section offers lower cost burial as compared to the purchase of full cemetery grave sites.
The Hilltop Cemetery is fully compliant with NJ Law and contributes a portion of all grave site, cremains site and interment fees to a Perpetual Trust Fund to assure maintenance of the cemetery far into the future.