The Mount Peace Cemetery Association needs volunteers to coordinate land-clearing, clean-up and maintenance, conduct historical research, raise funds and explore ways to reach the families of those who are buried there. The clean-ups on March 11 and 31 went extremely well. Subsequent cleanups went well and were covered by the media. Thanks to all who participated.
New meeting and cleanup dates will be announced.
Meetings are usually held the first Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m., Lawnside Borough Hall, 4 Douglas Ave. All are invited to come with ideas.
To volunteer call Yolanda Romero, secretary of the cemetery association, 856-546-9069 or email her at email@example.com.
Tax-deductible contributions can be made by check payable to the Lawnside Historical Society, Inc., earmarked for the Mount Peace Cemetery Restoration Project and sent to P.O. Box 608, Lawnside, NJ 08045. Click the "Donate" button to make a secure, dedicated contribution to the Mount Peace project through PayPal. Do not use the buttons on the "Make a Donation" page for Mount Peace.
The Society, Cemetery Association and the Scribe Video Center produced a short documentary about Mount Peace Cemetery, one of New Jersey's largest remaining African-American cemeteries.
The film, "On Mount Peace," is available from the Historical Society for $25; proceeds benefit the restoration project.
Mount Peace Cemetery was organized in 1890 as a resting place for African Americans who were excluded from other cemeteries because of race.
In 1978, Mount Peace was overgrown with shurbbery and had become a virtual djumping ground. Cleaning it became a engibrohood volunteer project. Residents came out every Saturday during the spring and summer brining their own tools and equipment to clean up and cut back the undergrowth. After two years, the damage to their tools caused the enthusiasm to fizzle. Bryson Armstead suggested that the Lawnside Men's Association take over the project under the leadership of Lloyd Romero who had initiated the original cleanup.
One of the 77 African-American Civil War veterans buried at Mount Peace Cemetery is John Henry Lawson, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery on board the U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan on August 5, 1864. Fort Morgan became well known during the Civil War, when Union Admiral D.G. Farragut led a fleet to close the bay.
Before his death in June 2000, Mr. Romero with assistance from Mr. Armstead, catalogued all of the Civil War veterans' graves. Yolanda Romero has been able to confirm most of their service records through military archives.