Cemetery’s New Signage Points To South Jersey History

By: Paige Britt, Follow South Jersey Intern

New sign at Boling Cemetery marks resting place of African American Civil War veterans. Photo credit: Atlantic County.

PORT REPUBLIC, N.J. — The historic Boling Cemetery in Port Republic is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Atlantic County and the Veterans Advisory Board have created a sign to properly mark the territory and its history.

Michael Bibb, member of the Veterans Advisory Board, led them in researching information to put on the sign with the help of Stockton University and Doris Bugdon, Port Republic historian.

Boling Cemetery is located on the border of Port Republic and Galloway Township. The property itself is the Boling Settlement, which once had the Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, built by the Boling family in the late 19th century.

The cemetery contains only five headstones and four of them mark the graves of African American Civil War veterans.

The headstones belong to Josiah Boling, Charles Boling, Samuel S. Boling, Alexander Smith, and William Lee. Alexander Smith was in the 25th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Infantry, and William Lee was in the 24th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Infantry and a family friend of the Boling family. Josiah and Charles Boling were both a part of the 25th Regiment. Samuel S. Boling, son of Charles, was a World War I veteran. It is believed that the patriarch of the family, Henry Boling Sr., is buried alongside the family along with 15 others. It is said that the last Boling family member left the community in the mid-1910s.

Henry Boiling was the patriarch of the Boling Family. Henry and his wife Grace were a part of the “Free Colored People” of Hamilton Township, NJ. In 1857 Henry bought his first piece of land, founding the Boling Settlement.

Josiah Boling was born in 1834 to Henry and Grace Boling. When he was 26, he expanded the Boling Settlement by purchasing a few acres of land. After serving in the war, he was a laborer and then moved to Atlantic City with his wife. Josiah also played a big part in founding the church on the settlement.

Charles Boling was born in 1840, the third eldest to Henry and Grace. Charles enlisted in the 25th Regiment with Josiah and his two brothers-in-law, James Trusty and Alexander Smith. Like his brother, he was instrumental in the founding of the Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The history of the Boling Cemetery was close to being lost in the past. Wendel White, Professor of Art at Stockton University, has played a crucial part in bringing the story of the Boling family to light through his Small Towns, Black Lives project.

Between the people at Stockton University and the Veterans Advisory Board, the Boling family is getting the recognition they deserve.

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