#b#The Scheide Legacy#/b#

I loved the September 6 cover story on the enduring legacy of William Scheide. Our community is truly blessed to have reaped the ongoing benefit of this legendary philanthropist.

Bill Scheide was one of these unique individuals who embraced the biblical injunction that to those “entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). The idea of “to whom much is given, much will be required” is that if we are blessed with wealth, it is expected that we will use our wealth to benefit others and not just ourselves.

What was truly remarkable about Bill Scheide was the range and the scope of his philanthropy. His concern for the least among us included those who were denied equal education opportunity, those who were wrongfully incarcerated, those who are disabled, and those who are economically disadvantaged.

All of us, no matter what our level of wealth, can learn much about philanthropy from Bill Scheide. His message: we should use a significant part of wealth to help others.

Irwin Stoolmacher

Stoolmacher is president of the Stoolmacher Consulting Group, which advises charities in fundraising and strategic planning.

#b#PennEast Report Misses Burial Site#/b#

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) near perfect record of granting approvals, some with eminent domain powers, must be formally investigated by Congress. The formally approved commissioners rely on staff to review applications. The staff in turn hires consultants to review and value the application prepared by consultants for the applicants. This creates a “swamp” where what will be approved and what information will be disapproved is therefore “redlined,” giving the commission only what is needed for approval.

A good example is the PennEast Pipeline report to the FERC that references a “burial ground” located in West Amwell, Hunterdon County, right in the path of the proposed pipeline. The Penn East consultants, through archeological and architectural process, concluded that this burial ground was nonexistent. His reference to the burial ground is in actuality the Potter’s Field containing the remains of 1832 Asiatic cholera pandemic victims: Irish canal workers and their family members as well as African American free men of color who volunteered to serve — 200 people or more were interred.

Sarah A. Gallagher in her “Early History of Lambertville, N.J. 1703-1903,” published in 1903, in the Library of Congress and on archive.org, presents an eyewitness account of the tragedy and the precise location of the Potter’s Field. Gallagher was alive during the pandemic and also when the field was purchased by a descendant of Dr. John Lilly, who was the head of the hospital during the pandemic.

Further, J. Roscoe Howell, noted New Jersey historian, in his 1960-’61 written submissions to the New Jersey Historical Society on Ashbel Welch references “Male Negroes of the area, regarded as quite immune from the dread disease, heroically answered the call for the care of the stricken and burial of the dead. Few of the stricken survived.” Those who perished including the volunteers were stripped of their diseased riddled clothing and buried in this common Potter’s Field.

The PennEast consultants determined that the location of the Potter’s Field identified by Sarah Gallagher was incorrect thereby studying an adjacent field, finding nothing, and reporting same. Doing so, the PennEast consultants actually identified an alternate route for the pipe that should be used. Due to the “redlining process,” which rules out from disclosure any references deemed to harmful to the approval of the application, it was rewritten to disregard any existence of the Potter’s Field.

This mixed heritage sacred ground — a 32-acre parcel located on what is now Old Rock Road — must be celebrated and not destroyed by the pipeline route. The FERC process is flawed and must be examined critically. Let your elected officials know the the facts must be presented fully and accurately before approvals are granted.

John and Barbara Hencheck


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