Pardon Me. Are You Aaron Burr, Sir?

That depends. Who’s asking?

My family came up to visit on Saturday. After eating peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes at PJ’s and walking around, we went to the Princeton Cemetery.

Why do cemeteries have fences? Because people are dying to get in!

Sorry, I had to exhume that joke from my brain. My mom insisted on playing “Aaron Burr, Sir” as we drove down the cemetery roads. In the song, he mentioned that graduating college was, “[his] parents’ dying wish before they passed.” This is not surprising considering the fact that his father was the President of Princeton, and many of the early presidents died after 1-3 years of being in office.

While we were there, I went to the graves of Aaron Burr I, Aaron Burr II, and Jonathan Edwards (yes, the Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God one). He was a real fire and brimstone preacher. Ironically, he died from a small pox inoculation that he was promoting to the University’s students. It was apparent that a lot of people had come to see Aaron Burr’s grave. I saw at least two other groups of people go to it. There was also a memorial for Samuel Finley, whose story I believe that I have not mentioned yet.

Shortly after submitting my Princeton application in December 2015, I began competing in the American Legion’s oratorical contest (some of you remember the Constitution Day posters at CR). After winning at the state level, I was also entered into the national speech contest for the Sons of the American Revolution (which I won in July). As I was preparing my speech in March, they did some genealogy research into my family to see if I could become a member. They discovered that on my mother’s side, I am descended from Reverend James Finley, who attended Princeton. His brother, my great (x10) grand uncle, is Revered Samuel Finley, who was one of the founding trustees of Princeton and later the President of the University. Several weeks after I learned of this, I received my acceptance letter to Princeton. Was it fate that brought me here?

Another notable figure buried here is Paul Tulane, the founder of Tulane University in New Orleans.

We also briefly drove by the location for the Battle of Princeton.


The Battlefield of the Battle of Princeton