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The Mystery of Ten Mile Hollow

Little left of tiny Pinelands community built in 1800s off Dover Road

There has long been a story of almost urban legend status (but not quite) of a pet cemetery hidden in the woods somewhere in or around Bayville.

It seems only a handful of people have heard of it. And apparently next to none have actually been to it or knows where it even is.

“There’s a pet cemetery somewhere in the woods off Dover Road.”  I had heard this a few times while growing up and found the claim intriguing. Yet I also wondered why not a single person who supposedly knew of the graveyard had no idea of its exact location.  More confusing is that the “pet cemetery’s” location seemed to move from person to person - “by Bamber Lake” and “kind of by Double Trouble” were two other descriptions.

Why is there a seemingly elusive graveyard for pets?  Usually such places are well known and surely well marked. The truth is that while there is indeed a difficult-to-find cemetery, it is not and has never been for pets.

Off the beaten path along Dover Road, scant remains can be found of a tiny community once known as Ten Mile Hollow.  Ten Mile Hollow was essentially a company town, built around 1810, to accommodate the workers of Dover Forge.  Its residents were for the most part destitute, and most could not afford to be buried in the local cemeteries.  A field in the nearby woods was cleared out and used as a cheaper alternative.

Not surprisingly, the cemetery was known as Hollow Field. Time and locals looking for a place to party have not been kind to Ten Mile Hollow or to its deceased.  Very little is left of the actual town. Most of it has been reclaimed by thorns, forest fires and decades of layers of pine needles. 

A few cellar holes can be found around the Dover Forge area, but they are fairly difficult to find. Very little identifies Hollow Field as a graveyard today. 

A large cross made of sign or fence posts is at its front.  More recently, a sign was placed on the cross that identified what the field was, but this has since disappeared.  Around its perimeter are posts of where a fence used to be, some of which have wood wired to them. As for the graves themselves, no markers remain. There are several bits of broken markers among the area, though. There are no names on any of the pieces. Beer cans, half-charred Penthouse magazines, and the remains of a hunter stand litter the field.

Finding Hollow Field was difficult.  I looked for it many times at many different spots for a few years, but saying it’s “off a dirt road near Bamber” makes finding Hollow Field difficult.  I looked for it many times at many different spots for a few years, but saying it’s “off a dirt road near Bamber” is like telling someone to take a Parkway or Turnpike exit without giving them the exit number.

One day my wife and I lucked out while revisiting a trail close to the Dover Forge site.  Along the path we came across a pile of flower pots.  Now why would flower pots be in the middle of the woods?  We were right to assume the graveyard was close by. A barely discernible footpath, its beginning concealed by some plants, was right by the pile of pots.

This took us right to the “pet cemetery” I had heard about for so long. Why has this cemetery been known for so long as one for pets?  The likely answer is because there are no grave markers, and there apparently haven’t been for quite some time.  According to some people, at one time each grave was actually marked with a pile of rock.  No such piles can be found now.

While the tale of the “Pet Cemetery” is not entirely true, it goes to show that in many a myth can be found a grain of truth.


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