It’s often reported that 40,000 graves were removed from the State Street Burying Grounds to the Church Grounds at Albany Rural.
A recent find in the Albany Institute of History & Library sets the record straight.
This is a wonderfully detailed gravestone in the St. Peter’s Episcopal section of the Church Grounds. The tympanum features an excellent example of a mourner similar to those described in this blog post. The mourner wears a contemporary dress, complete with a bow tied at the back and what appears to be some sort of cap or bonnet. In her hands, she holds an object which could be either a fan, handkerchief, a wreath or garland to be laid on the grave, or even some sort of purse or reticule. The figure is shown leaning towards a monument, bowed under the weight of grief. The monument depicted is an obelisk atop o a square pedestal (a common style in the early to mid-19th-century). Both the mourner and the monument are positioned beneath the branches of a willow tree.
The bottom of the stone is broken and several small portions of the inscription are missing. However, the epitaph was transcribed in the burial records. The complete inscription reads:
Beneath this sod is interd the remains of Thomas E. Hewson who died Sept. 28th, 1818 in the 27th year of his age.
And are thou gone sweet friend ne’er to return To charm thease eyes and soothe this aching bre’st. Must weeping friendship scatter oer thy urn Her tributary tears with grief opprest But heaven decread and heaven’s decree is just Thine earth should mingle with it’s native dust.