When plans were put in place to close the old State Street Burying Grounds after more than sixty years of burials and the graves located there inventoried by the Common Council, some families chose not to wait for the mass removal of bodies from the Burying Grounds to the plot now called the Church Grounds and undertook to transfer the graves of their departed relatives themselves. In most cases, these graves were privately transferred to new plots at the Rural Cemetery. Therefore, a number of names which appear in the Common Council’s published inventory are not found in the Church Grounds, but in family plots and single graves spread throughout the Rural Cemetery’s 467 acres.
While these relocated graves can be found throughout the Cemetery and are easy to recognize since the stones have death dates prior to the Cemetery’s consecration, there are a large number of these transplanted graves at the western end of the North Ridge, just a short distance from both the Church Grounds and the modern flat-marker sections.
These stones on the North Ridge mark the graves of several members of the Groesbeck family who were originally buried in the Dutch Reformed section at the State Street Burying Grounds.
The large stone on the left in the foreground marks the graves of two women from this family:
In memory of Sally Ann, wife of James A. Hewson and daughter of David W. Groesbeck and Ann Willett who departed this life March 16th, 1842, in the 34th year of her age. Also, Lydia, relict of the later Peter Van Deusen, Apil 26th, 1832, in her 70th year.
(I have not yet established who Lydia Van Deusen was, but she was probably the mother of David Groesbeck’s third wife, Lucy Van Deusen.)
The stone on the right in the foreground features the willow tree popular on early 19th-century headstones and floral finials.
In memory of Eliza, daughter of David W. Groesbeck and Ann Willett who departed this life May 26th, 1833, aged 22 years, 7 months, and 11 days.
The sandstone slab visible between them is the oldest gravestone in this plot. It is, unfortunately, broken and the upper half is missing, however, the date visible on the remaining portion is enough identify it from the Common Council inventory.
Ann Willett Groesbeck, wife of David W., died May 6, 1810, 33 years, 2 months, 27 days
The two stones visible in the rear left of the photo, behind Eliza’s monument, are the two newest stones in the plot.
David W. Groesbeck, born April 30, 1772, died December 9, 1857, aged 85 years, 8 months, and 10 days
Lucy G. Van Deusen, wife of David W. Groesbeck, April 16, 1855, 68 years, 23 days.
I have not yet come across the stones, but it is likely that David’s first wife, Elizabeth Burton (died September 29, 1804, aged 30 years, 22 days) and David, his son by Lucy (died July 5, 1840, aged 9 years, 6 months, and 11 days) are also buried here. It is possible that their stones were lost or damaged, but I will continue to look for them in this area.
Another example of a transferred grave not located in the Church Grounds, but also on the North Ridge is the ornate stone of David Fonda.