A pandemic project: NJ man visits the graves of dead US presidents
Many New Jerseyans have had a lot of time on their hands for the last seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic. A Jackson Township man used his free time to tackle a unique and presidential pursuit.
TJ Fallon says that when he was furloughed from his job during the pandemic, he found himself with a lot of free time.
“One day after a few weeks of being inside, locked down, I just started googling things. I actually googled ‘famous gravesites in New Jersey,’” Fallon says.
The curiosity led Fallon to make it his mission to look for the graves of deceased United States presidents, vice presidents and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. So far, he has visited 37 of 39 presidential graves, 41 of 42 vice presidential graves and the graves of 53 of the 56 declaration signers.
“With the exception of [Abraham] Lincoln’s tomb in Illinois, I never saw another living soul,” Fallon says.
Fallon admits that it was a strange task to complete.
“It was one of those things. It wasn’t one of those things where I had this idea for years or months. I kind of have a completest attitude with things. Things I collect. Things I do, and once I got the idea, this is something I could do,” he says.
Fallon says that New Jersey native President Grover Cleveland’s grave was one of the least impressive ones he visited.
“There’s actually nothing that actually says, ‘President of the United States,’ which is rare. It’s extremely rare,” he says.
Fallon says that he will need to travel out to California to see the graves of the last two presidents on his list – Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
Princeton was a good place for Fallon to begin his journey. It is not only the location of Cleveland’s grave but also Vice President Aaron Burr and Declaration of Independence signer John Witherspoon.