Featured Gravestones – Samuel and Mary Hill

DSC02692Location:  St. Peter’s Episcopal (both stones)

Material:  White marble (both stones)

A matched pair of stones for a husband and wife.  Both feature a willow-and-urn motif and oval tablets surrounded by wreaths of foliage.  Both feature inscriptions below the tablets and a twisted-rope border near the base.  Samuel Hill’s stone has typical darkening.  Inscription is deeply carved and very legible.  There is a large break at the base on the right side and some wear to the finials, especially on the right.  Mary Hill’s stone is in comparable condition.

Inscription:  Sacred to the memory of Samuel Hill who departed this life May 12, 1819 in the 52nd year of his age.  Friends nor physicians could not save This mortal body from the grave Nor can the grave confine me here When Christ commands me to appear.

Inscription:  Sacred to the memory of Mary Hill who departed this life January 15, 1816 in the 44th year of her age.  Behold we see while here we look The dearest ties of friendship broke The grief and sorrow pierce the heart The dearest friends we must see part.

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Samuel and Mary’s son, Thomas B. Hill, is also buried in the Church Grounds and featured in this post.  His headstone also features a willow-and-urn motif, but in a different style, more ornate style.

Samuel Hill was a prominent Albany merchant whose brick mansion (designed by Philip Hooker) still stands as the Fort Orange Club on Washington Avenue.  More on Hill can be found here.  His wife, Mary, was the daughter of Thomas Barry, an Irish-born merchant whose business contacts included Sir William Johnson and who was a founding member of Albany’s first Catholic Church, St. Mary’s.

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Featured Gravestone – Margaret Livingston

068Section:  United Presbyerian

Material:  White marble

Small stone with a carved border of what appears to be raspberry vines.  Stone is darkened and embedded in the grass, but visible portions are legible.

Inscription:  Margaret Livingston Died May 16, 1858 Aged 7 years 10 months and 9 days.  Erected by her father Peter Livingston.

According to census records, Margaret was mostly likely the daughter of Peter, a farmer in New Scotland, and his wife, Mary.   She is listed as one of six children in the household in 1850.

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Featured Gravestone – Robert Kerr

DSC02729Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

While the carving on this stone remains very legible, a large portion of the lower left corner is broken and missing.  The surviving portion of the bottom edge is decoratively carved.  The tympanum is finely carved with a willow tree arching over an obelisk-style monument.  Unfortunately, a substantial portion of this carving is broken.  Despite this, it is one of the best documented stones and interments in the Church Grounds.

Inscription:  Sacred to the memory of Robert Kerr, Esq.  Judge of the Surrogate Court and an Active Magistrate for the District of Niagara in Upper Canada.  Descended from an ancient family in North Britain, he faithfully served his Kings as Surgeon to the forces and on the Staff for upwards of forty six years.  His social habits and kindness of heart endeared him to his acquaintance.  His loss will long be felt by those who knew him as a distinguished Mason and a Deputy Grand Master of the province.  The honors paid to his remains by the Ancient Fraternity and by several honorable members of at Albany in the State of New York where he died in the 69th year of his age on the 25th February 1824 are gratefully acknowledged by his sorrowing friends. 

The History of Freemasonry In Canada (published in 1900) contains the complete inscription as the stone was not broken at that time and was described as “in a fair state of preservation.”

Kerr died in Albany at Cruttenden’s (later Congress Hall) and his funeral was held from there.  It was reported that the funeral was attended by numerous Albany citizens and many members of the State Legislature who came to honor a man described as “this respectable stranger.” Records indicate that he was buried in the lot of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church “situated near the State Capitol.”  This refers to the church’s section of the old municipal cemetery formerly located just yards east of the Capitol off Eagle Street.  The remains were later moved to the State Street Burying Grounds and, eventually, to the Rural Cemetery.

The History of Freemasonry also reprints several newspaper death notices, observing that Kerr had a reputation for”liberal hospitality” and “uniform kindness” towards the American army during the  War of 1812.

A descendent of Sir Robert Kerr, Duke of Roxburgh, Robert Kerr served as a surgeon in the British army in Canada and settled in Niagara in the late 1780s.  He was also known as the “boxing magistrate” for his athletic interest and skill with as a boxer.  He had moved to Albany less than a year before his death.

His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1794 at the age of 32 and is buried in Niagara.  She was a daughter of Sir William Johnson.

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Featured Gravestone – Mary Eliza Francis

DSC02727Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Small stone with typical darkening of surface.  Inscription is legible, including lower portion.  Some minor wear around edges and some chipping near the beginning of the epitaph.

Inscription:  In memory of Mary Eliza daughter of Joseph & Eliza Francis who died February 8th, 1842 aged 6 weeks.  Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

A very graceful little stone, it features a draped urn in the tympanum and fan-shaped decorations in the upper corners of the tablet.  Burial records show an Eliza Francis (died 1884) buried in the Jackson Grounds* on the North Ridge of the Cemetery.  At this point, it is not possible to say if this is the same Eliza named on the stone, but she would have been around thirty at the time of little Mary Eliza’s death.  There is no record of Joseph Francis’ burial here.

*The Jackson Grounds refers to a large lot in Section 99.  The will of a woman named Ellen Jackson provided for the purchase of the lot for the interment of African-Americans who could not afford burial plots otherwise.

 

 

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Featured Gravestone – Captain Ralph Burton Cuyler

DSC02685Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Stone in generally good condition with darkening.  Some erosion to lettering, but generally legible.  Bottom edge is cut off fairly close to the last line of inscription.

Inscription:  In memory of Capt. Ralph Burton Culyer who departed this life March 5, 1817 aged 34 years 10 months And 5 days.

Records list Ralph Burton Cuyler as an adjutant in Lieutenant Colonel John J. Van Rensselaer’s regiment of calvary, third division (Montgomery County).  He was the son of Hendrick C. Cuyler and Catharina Lydius (a sister of Balthazar Lydius).  His father, also known as Henry, is profiled here.

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Featured Gravestone – William M. Johnson

028Section:  Dutch Reformed

Material:  White marble

Small headstone with some edge damage, especially to upper right corner with a portion has chipped away.  Inscription is legible in places, but lower portion is harder to read.

Inscription:  In Memory of Wm. M. Johnson Son of John and Elizabeth Johnson who was drowned on the 16 of June 1827 aged 7 years 7 mos & 12 days.  With innocence and spotless soul  I wandered to the river Then in the water I did wade and lost my life forever. 

This inscription is among those copied in Volume 8 of Joel Munsell’s Annals of Albany.

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Featured Gravestone – George Pincott

DSC03176Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Legible stone with darkening and some edge wear.

Inscription:  Erected in memory of George Pincott who departed this life July 21, 1822 Aged 21 years & 24 days.

During the terrible cholera epidemic that struck Albany in 1832, the Albany Argus newspaper regularly printed Board of Health reports listing the names and conditions of those afflicted by the illness.  The report dated July 22 listed fourteen new fatalities, including “George Pincott, 22, western turnpike.”

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