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Hanging corpse in old Fairview NJ Cemetery

Fairfield Cemetery boasts of its fine collection of trees.
Fairfield Cemetery boasts of its fine collection of trees.
Courtesy of Fairfield Cemetery

Fairview Cemetery is located in Colonial Westfield in Union County New Jersey. The cemetery was founded in 1868 and covers about 105 acres. It is non-sectarian, non-profit organization, and is owned and operated solely for the benefit of its property owners in an area of natural beauty. Fairview Cemetery is surrounded by rolling wooded hills and a tree lined pond.

Fairview Cemetery has been recognized by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. Each numbered tree on the tour has been identified by a corresponding sign for your convenience. Contact the cemetery for information on special tours of the over 61 species of trees on the grounds.

Notable burials are singer Whitney Houston (1963-2012), Claydes Charles Smith (1948-2006) co-founder of Kool & the Gang, and US Congressman Charles Newell Fowler. (1852-1932)

In January 1921, Fairview Cemetery became a part of a macabre mystery. Workmen in the cemetery were frightened as they entered the grounds to tend to the fine landscaped lawns only to make a grisly discovery. The local Elizabeth Police Department was immediately called upon to try and trace the identity of a man found hanging by a length of picture frame wire from a heavy tree limb in the historic cemetery.

The officers cut the man loose and laid him in the grass. Their only clue was a hand written note they found in one of his silk lined jacket pockets.

“Pardon me for coming 3,000 miles to use your cemetery. This is my reason for returning to my native country.”
The suicide note was signed “William J. P. Warburton, 3rd.”

The troubled man had only 63 cents in his pants pocket and wore a plain gold band ring. He looked as though he was about sixty-five years old and his clothing was made of fine material and in good shape. There is no indication whether or not Mr. Warburton was buried at Fairview Cemetery. Does this troubled soul still wander among the trees in this well-kept cemetery?

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