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Catawba Church and Burying Ground
Atlantic County
New Jersey  USA

Cemetery notes and/or description:
What is left of the cemetery is in the woods perpendicular to the Mays Landing-Somers Point Road at the sign. You can see a few depressions in the ground from the historical marker.
This is the burial ground of the George West family, whose elegant home was across the road from the church. In 1829, the local people became suspicious of Joseph West, a lawyer by profession, when his father George, mother Amy, and brothers James S and George S all died of a "short illness" within 22 days, leaving Joseph the sole heir of the family estate. Joseph was an expert in title and real estate law, and amassed a large land holding throughout southern New Jersey. Ultimately, he was sent to state prison for forging titles and the properties that remained were sold at sheriff's sale to General Enoch Doughty. The manor house was dismantled, the lumber stored by Doughty, and the marble mantles given to the Doughty children for their homes. A fire later destroyed all of the lumber.

(from Absegami Annals of Eyren Haven and Atlantic City, 1609-1904 by Alfred M Heston)
The members of the Reuben Steelman family interred here were survived by two siblings. A son, Oliver, appropriated grave markers and had them erected for each family member. A daughter, Miriam Steelman, married Jeremiah Barrett and their first child, Japhet, was born May 8, 1813.
By the 1920s, the buildings, church, and cemetery were gone through neglect and some vandalism.

(from "West Jersey Under Four Flags" by Dr. Ralph K Turp, D.Ed., J.D.; 1975)
It was reported that Joseph E West (and wife Huldah Stewart West of Philadelphia) returned to his "native state" and no survivors of his family remained.
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Catawba Church and Burying Ground
Added by: Mark Maxwell
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