Ann Eliza Bleecker

DSC05500From the companion blog, the story of the Revolutionary War-era poet and novelist, Ann Eliza Bleecker.

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Upright Stones – Eliza Maxwell

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One of several stones set upright along the edge of the Church Grounds, the gravestone of Eliza Maxwell is broken, stained and spotted with lichen.  Despite the damages, it remains a beautiful and detailed monument.  The upper portion features a pair of clasped hands, often a symbol of eternal affection.  Above the joined hands, the stone is crowned with a heavy arrangement of flowers and foliage centered around a rose.

The inscription on this gravestone reads:

Eliza Wife of James Maxwell Died Nov. 2, 1858 Aged 32 year.  A loving wife to me most dear, A faithful comrade I parted here, Her days ith me was short but sweet, I hope with her in Heaven to meet.

Eliza was first interred in the Episcopal section of the State Street Burying Ground and brought to the Rural Cemetery in the general removal of remains and markers when the old graveyard was transformed into Washington Park.

There were several James Maxwells residing in Albany at the time of Eliza’s death.  One is listed in the city directories as a marbleworker residing at 40 Park Avenue.  It is quite possible that this was Eliza’s husband and that he carved this stone for her grave himself.

See other upright stones in the Church Grounds.

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Featured Gravestone – Martha J. Ross Tuger

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Section:  Lutheran Ebenezer Church

Material:  White marble

Stone lies at the end of a row and at a slight angle to it.  Edges are partially embedded in the earth with usual darkening and some chipping.  Inscription is legible, though the first line of smaller text is somewhat faint.  Very stylized willow and urn motif.

Inscription:  To the memory of Martha J. Ross wife of John F. Tuger born in the city of Banbridge, County Down Ireland March 20, 1825 died April 3, 1850.  Frederick Richard their son died Aug 7 1850 aged 4 months & 14 days.

Martha’s husband, John F. Tuger, was a native of Germany who worked as a cabinetmaker in Massachusetts and Albany.  Following the death of his wife and son, John Tuger relocated to Michigan and, later, to St. Louis where he was later described as “one who stood high in the esteem of all, not only as a business man, but as an energetic, progressive citizen.”  He remarried while in Michigan; his second wife, Christina Wagner, was born in Bavaria.  By his second wife, he had three children. John F. Tuger died on November 4, 1900.

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Featured Gravestone – William Burdett Reed

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Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

A worn marble stone with erosion to the inscription, particularly on the upper half.  The bottom has less staining as it was likely embedded in the earth for some time and only recently exposed.

Inscription:  In memory of Reed, William Burdett son of Samuel and Laura M. Reed who died Feb 6, 1831 aged 5 months and 16 daysOne only son what pleasure bright His joyful birth did give He’s gone his parents chief delight To moulder in the grave Yet let their troubled hearts be taught Their darling rests in peace With God who gave them happy thought And bids their anguish cease.

While this stone is difficult to read in person, enough of the epitaph is legible making it possible to identify this stone and the full inscription from the burial index card.  The father may have been  engaged in the plastering business in Albany;  the name Samuel Reed is signed to an advertisement in the Albany Evening Journal in 1832 offering a reward of six cents for information on a runaway apprentice.

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Featured Gravestone – Thomas Martin

DSC04386Section:  Garretson Methodist Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Plain stone with darkening, only minor wear to edges and generally legible inscription.  Some spotting from lichen near top edge.

Inscription:  In memory of Thomas Martin who died July 23, 1844, aged 49 years.

City directories show a Thomas Martin, a laborer residing at 11 Liberty Street around the time of his death.

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The Albany Vault Company

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From the advertisement appearing in the Albany Argus newspapers in 1830-1:

ALBANY VAULT COMPANY – Notice is hereby given that the said company have erected and finished in a substantial manner, a vault, west of the burying grounds of the First Presbyterian church, into which they will admit the bodies of deceased persons for a certain period previous to their interments.  For terms, apply to Joseph T. Rice, No. 17 South Pearl street, or to the subscriber, No. 226, N. Market street.  DAN’L CARMICHAEL, Secretary

Incorporated in 1831 with a capitol of $1,500.00, the Albany Vault Company constructed at least several receiving vaults at the State Street Burying Grounds and, possibly, some of the private vaults erected there.

At least one private vault was deeded to Blandina Bleecker Dudley and in use until Mrs. Dudley removed the remains of her family from the Burying Grounds and other locations to a lot on the Middle Ridge of the Rural Cemetery.

A vault belonging to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church temporarily received the body of Major Richard Garland of Anitgua who fell ill while staying at the Mansion House hotel and was removed to the quieter residence of “the Misses Carter” where he died on August 8, 1831

In The Grave-Digger of Other Days, an Albany policeman reminisced about an attempted burglary of a vault at the Burying Grounds;  the crime was thwarted (at least temporarily) by a storm and fire.

When the State Street Burying Grounds closed, the vaults were demolished and their bricks, stone, iron, and other materials sold at public auction for reuse.

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Featured Gravestone – Thomas B. Heermans

DSC00809Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Bottom edge of stone is embedded in the ground below the last line of the inscription.  Inscription is deeply carved and very legible.  Upper portion of the stone features an open book (likely the Bible) with a saw-tooth border above and fan-shaped insets in the upper corners.  Some darkening, but decorative carving is generally intact.

Inscription:  In memory of Thomas B. Heermans who died April 4 A.D. 1830 aged 33 years 6 months

Heermance was, along with Erastus Corning, Joel Rathbone, and John T. Norton, a partner in a firm which offered hardware and cutlery, as well as stoves and iron sheet work to order.  About a month before his death, a notice appeared in the Albany Argus which announced the dissolution of the firm Rathbone, Heermans, & Company by “mutual consent.”  The company retained the same name for some time after under the sole leadership of Rathbone.

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