The Book of Burials contains a list of individuals buried at The Flatts, the large Schuyler farm north of Albany. These burials took place between 1728 and 1755. They represent only a portion of the total burials in The Flatts cemetery. The remains, along with a number of headstones, were removed from the Flatts to the Rural Cemetery in 1921.
Onondiyo, known to the Dutch and English at Albany as Captain John, was an Oneida sachem respected as both a fine orator and a warrior who had served as a scout to the Americans during the Revolution. He was described by white contemporaries as “a young Chief of first abilities” in his nation.
Along with Skenandoah (Shenandoah), he was a member of a delegation of Oneida sachems who had traveled to Albany to negotiate a treaty between their nation and New York State. While in Albany, Skenandoah and Onondiyo both fell seriously ill, possibly from smallpox. Skenandoah recovered, but Onondiyo died on September 12, 1795. The Oneida delegation remained in the city to honor him with their own rites according to a September 15 death notice printed by Joel Munsell in Volume 3 of his Annals of Albany.
Capt. John, one of the Oneida sachems, and the principal orator and public speaker of the nation, died and was interred in the Presbyterian cemetery. The deputation of chiefs and sachems of the Oneidas, then in this city, attended the funeral, and performed the solemnities thereof, according to the custom of their nation.
Onondiyo was a Presbyterian convert and, as noted above, buried in that church’s cemetery. The Presbyterians had recently acquired a section of the municipal burial ground just off Eagle Street and immediately south of the present East Capitol Park. The remains in this early municipal cemetery were removed to the State Street Burying Grounds after 1800, and, ultimately, reburied in the Presbyterian portion of the Rural Cemetery’s Church Grounds. Among the many remains interred here without any record or headstone are those of the eloquent Onondiyo.
The greatest percentage of interments records in The Book of Burials are those from the churchyard. Established around 1676 on Beaver Street east of South Pearl, this churchyard was the successor to the burial ground alongside the Dutch Reformed Church at Broadway and State Street. In addition to new burials, it received remains moved from its predecessor. As this graveyard ran out of room, the headstones would be laid flat over the graves and a new six-foot deep layer of earth spread over it. New graves would then be opened in this layer above the older burials, a process repeated at least three times.
In 1806, the Second or Middle Dutch Reformed Church was constructed on the site and, again, the remaining headstones were laid over the graves and covered with earth. Burials here had, by this time, ended with the opening of a municipal cemetery just south of the Capitol and, later, with the establishment of the State Street Burying Grounds which included two large sections for Dutch Reformed interments. Continue reading
Material: White marble
A very simple rectangular slab with the upper left corner broken and darkening of surface. Inscription is legible.
Inscription: Died July 14th, 1840 Augustus Winfield Son of Isaac & Mary Thayer aged 7 years 8 months & 12 days. When blooming youth is snatched away By death’s relentless hand Our hearts the mournful tribute pay Which pity must demand.
The Albany Argus carried the sad details of the boy’s accidental death:
Shocking Accident – A child of 6 or 7 years of age, the son of Mr. Isaac Thayer, deputy sheriff, was killed almost instantly yesterday afternoon at the turner’s shop of Mr. Stevens, in Howard Street. The lad was at play in the shop, when by some means he removed the support to some heavy timber, which fell and crushed him in a most shocking manner. He was taken up alive, but died in a few minutes.
A subsequent death notice also mentions that he was the Thayer’s youngest son and that the timber fell from a lathe. His funeral was held at his parents’ house at 64 Howard Street. The site of his death was the shop of Peter D. Stevens at 50 Howard Street.
A view of the old West Lodge at the edge of the Church Grounds. The lodge overlooked the road connecting to Loudonville via the adjacent Beth Emeth Cemetery. One of the Boyd family monuments can also be seen in the background.
The headstone visible to the left of the cottage is that of Charles Fairfield. Born in Nottingham, England on December 28, 1825, he was one of the proprietors of the Windsor Restaurant on Maiden Lane. An ad for the establishment can be seen here. He died at the age of sixty-nine on December 13, 1894 and was interred in the Church Grounds lot assigned to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. His granite headstone is one of the few upright markers in the entire section.
The Book of Burials contains a number of individuals who are listed as being buried “in the church,” most likely meaning their coffins were laid directly beneath the church floor. This practice was not uncommon in parts of Europe and colonial New York. The first person on this list is Susana Brat (Susanna Dircks Bradt) whose grandson, Barent Brat, was the clerk of the church who kept this Book of Burials. Susana was placed in the church on May 8, 1722; the next burial in the church occurred in 1729 with the interment of Anna Brat. It was then another seventeen years before another person was buried in the church; it is possible that, by 1746, room was no longer available in the vault below the church. As with the vault burials, these would have been removed when the church was demolished and brought to either the burial ground at the Second Reformed Church or its vault.