Featured Gravestones – Gertrude Visscher & David Van Der Heyden

These are two of the most distinctive gravestones in the Church Grounds; both feature soul effigies which can be attributed to known carvers.

Section:  Dutch Reformed

Material:  Brown sandstone

Misc:  Large headstone featuring two winged heads in profile facing each other.  A carved band resembling a crown or sun rays connects the figures at the top and a delicate banner carved with the words Momento Mori connect them below.  Some lichen patches and chipping along edges, but very legible with lettering legible and decorative carvings intact.

Inscription:  Here lies the body of Gertrude Wife of David Van Der Heyden who died the 27th day of September 1784 Aged 88 years & 6 months.

Born in 1696, Gertrude (or Geertruy as her name appears in some records) was the daughter of Albany trader Nanning Visscher and Alida Vinhagen.  She married David Van Der Heyden in 1725 and they had seven children.

This headstone was the work of Thomas Brown, a native of London who is known to have carved a number of sandstone markers in New York State during this era.  His name appears on the lower left of the stone below the inscription.

Section:  Dutch Reformed

Material:  Brown sandstone

Misc:  One of several 18th-century soul effigies found in the Church Grounds.  Partially sunk in the earth, surface of the stone has flaked away in large sections, but the lettering is carved deep enough to remain legible despite the damage (except where it is embedded in the ground).  Features a dour-looking face and large wings.

Inscription (legible portion only):  Lies the bod  d Van Der Heyde o died the 30 of M o Domini 1770 En 76 year of his  (Probably reads:  Here lies the body of David Van Der Heyden who died the 30th of March Anno Domini 1770 In The 76th  year of his life)

David Van Der Heyden (or Vanderheyden) was born in 1695 to Dirck Van Der Heyden and Rachel Ketelhuyn.  He spend much of his early life on a farm near Schaghticoke before returning to Albany.  A successful merchant, his business associates included Sir William Johnshon.  He also served as an assistant judge, alderman, and a major in the Albany Militia.

Th gravestone is most likely the work of John Zuricher, a carver who created numerous headstones in lower Hudson Valley.  A great many Zuricher-carved stones can be found in Sleepy Hollow, as well as Trinity Churchyard and St. Paul’s in lower Manhattan.  The distinctive facial shape and wings of this soul effigy are recognizable features of Zuricher’s work, as is the style of the lettering.  Also, there is another soul effigy in the Church Grounds which also resembles some of Zuricher’s round-faced soul effigies.


Filed under Biographies, Featured Gravestones, History, People, Photos, Soul Effigies, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Featured Gravestones – Gertrude Visscher & David Van Der Heyden

  1. CKP

    Have you seen anything to indicate that Col. David Vanderheyden’s brother Jacob is there, or their father and grandfather? http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=62681351

    • The Cemetery card file doesn’t list any Vanderheydens who died prior to 1820 (including David and his wife…they’re not on file). For some reason, they never bothered to index a few dozen graves, mostly those that came from the Middle Dutch Church (with a couple of exceptions that were moved to private plots like Anneke Bogardus in the Bleecker/Dudley lot). Still, there’s a good chance they’re there. I don’t know off the top of my head if I’ve photographed any more Vanderheydens – I have a large folder of photos I’ve taken, but haven’t sorted or labeled by name yet). I’ll keep an eye out for them, though, in my folder and the next time I’m able to get out there.

      • CKP

        Thanks! I looked around there a bit today, but there was ice and too many weeds obscuring the majority of the stones. In the Spring it might be easier.

  2. CKP

    Schermerhorn, Richard, Jr. “The Vanderheyden Family.” New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 45(4). October 1914. 312-314. http://books.google.com/books?id=5dYUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA312#v=onepage&q&f=false

  3. Pingback: Featured Gravestone – Gertrude Lush | albanychurchgrounds

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