This has been so much easier with the traveling, but DGovs (Dead
Governors) are harder to find. First of all, you have to find where they are
buried. Most were easy, using the computer, but sometimes it involved looking
at old microfilm of newspapers in the library to find obits. As I looked, I
found out that TWO of them were in the same cemetery in Jersey City,
how convenient you might think. Except that one of them doesn't even have his
name on the headstone. I had to get the women in the main office to look up
to see if he was really down there.
Then there is
the problem of who officially counts as a Governor. This wasn't easy either,
not like presidents. I came across numerous lists, all of them being
different. I finally got an official source and discovered that there are
only 50 Governors - unofficial lists has the number at near 70. We have had a
lot of interim acting governors since 1776 and the official count doesn't
count non-consecutive terms as separate, like Grover Cleveland is counted as
our 22nd and 24th President (I bet you all were really wondering about
McGreevey was governor number 51. Richard J. Codey is only acting governor,
so he is not official and doesn't have a number because he was not elected.
In November of 2005, Jon Corzine was elected
governor number 52 and in November of 2009, Chris Christie was elected
governor number 53.
So to be official, you
had to be elected and sworn in. One person was elected, but chose not to be
governor (for who knows what reason) so he doesn't count. Of the 52 ex-govs, six are still going strong - so I got to work on
finding the other 46 - how many do I have? Well, this past May 19, my wife
and I, while driving back from a hockey tournament in Delaware, stopped in
Swedesboro - exit 2 on the Turnpike - to get Governor Charles C. Stratton,
the 40th on the list. I am almost there.
of January 9, 2006, New Jersey law states that an Acting Governor serving for
180 or more days is officially considered a Governor. This applies to both
Donald DiFrancesco (51) and Richard Codey (53).
This also makes Governor Corzine number 54 instead
of 52. Governor Christie is 55.
With this new law, there are NOW eight
ex-govs still going strong; Byrne, Kean, Florio,
Whitman, DiFrancesco, McGreevey, Codey and Corzine to go along with current Governor Christie.
Even with the
ease of traveling, would you believe that 7 of the 46 are NOT buried
in New Jersey? One is in Albany (and I happen to have him already by chance -
he was in the same cemetery as president Chester Arthur), one is in
Pennsylvania, three are in Brooklyn (God knows why?) and two are in
Washington D.C. (one of these is President Woodrow Wilson).
A problem that I is that I may never get
to 46. The problem I have is that two of our governors are buried in unknown
locations. William S. Pennington, the 6th Governor, most likely was buried in
one of the old Presbyterian cemeteries in downtown Newark – there were three
of them – don’t know which one he may have been buried in. However, to make
it more difficult, they have all been moved. I can't find any mention of
where he was moved to. A plaque on the First Presbyterian Church on Broad
Street list the Revolutionary War heroes buried in their cemetery – one name
listed is William Pennington – who was a major in the 2nd New
Jersey Artillery – so was he buried there? In 1888, a nearby Presbyterian
cemetery was moved to make way for urban development – the graves were moved
to Fairmount Cemetery on Central Avenue. His son, the 12th Governor, was
buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery overlooking the Passaic River in Newark. Did
they move dad here? There is no mention on the stone, but maybe they did
anyway. I can't find anything on what happened to him. Did they not move him
and he is currently under the Prudential Center which was built behind the
First Presbyterian Church on Broad Street – maybe below center ice (don’t
worry Devils fans – this is a joke – if they found any graves when they were
building the Prudential Center they were moved). The truth is – Governor
Pennington’s remains may have been lost forever.
The other one, Isaac H. Williamson, the 8th
Governor, most likely was buried in the St. John's Episcopal Church Burying
Grounds, however, where are they? Debbie and I looked through the churchyard
next to the church, but he may have been in a separate place. Does it exist
anymore? If not, where was he moved to?
mystery is Governor George Silzer. He was cremated in Rosehill
Cemetery in Linden in 1940. However, what became of his ashes?
If I lived in Alaska, this would be so much quicker - they have only ONE
DGov, but then where would all the fun be.
They say imitation is the finest form of flattery and I am flattered. A
fellow dead president searcher, Patrick Weissend of
Batavia, New York, has created a dead Governor's of
New York site. His site is well made and is definitely worth