Featured A.M.E. Gravestone – Dick, Slave of John F. Pruyn

Section:  African Methodist Episcopal

Material:  Brown sandstone

Misc.:  A small, but thick stone, it is in very good shape for its age with some chipping around the edges and a small spots of lichen.  It  predates the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Dick does not appear in the massive list of graves inventoried by the Albany Common Council prior to the removal to the Rural Cemetery.  However, that list is not complete.  There are quite a few graves now in the Church Grounds that were not printed in the inventory, perhaps omitted by mistake as the stones were transcribed.  He may have originally been buried in the previous municipal cemetery which stood just off Eagle Street south of the State Capitol.  This cemetery received burials from around 1789 to 1799, the same year Dick died or he may have been buried in one of the small graveyards identified on period maps as “Negro Burying Grounds”  There is also a possibility that he was buried in a family plot at the Dutch Reformed Church’s graveyard and was among the headstone found in later excavation, then placed in the vault of the Madison Avenue Reformed Church prior to being moved to the Church Grounds.

Inscription:  DICK Slave of John F. Pruyn, Died Nov’r 15, 1799 aged 16 Yrs, 8 mos.

Nothing is known about this young man beyond the inscription on his gravestone.  John F. Pruyn, a well-known skipper and merchant, was the owner of at least six slaves whom he began to gradually emancipate not long after Dick’s death.  Exactly why Dick was provided with a headstone in an era when most slaves and even freed blacks were buried in unmarked and now lost graves is also unknown.

See also:

In Search of Dianna Mingo


A Colonel and A Faithful Slave

Not The Right Stones (Dick’s headstone is also discussed here)

1 Comment

Filed under Biographies, Featured Gravestones, History, People, Photos

One response to “Featured A.M.E. Gravestone – Dick, Slave of John F. Pruyn

  1. Pingback: Without Stones | albanychurchgrounds

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