Featured Gravestone – William Woods

Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  This stone may have been cleaned as the marble is exceptionally white compared to many other monuments from the same period here.  There is a sizable chip on the base and a large piece has broken off from one of the finials.  The stone’s text is very clear, though there is some softening of the carvings from erosion.  The stone features a very distinctive soul effigy; the head is topped with a crown or halo resembling a gentleman’s wig of the era.  The wings sweep dramatically downward.  The head is flanked by carved flowers and a banner above reads “Memento Mori.”  This stone is attributed to John Collins, son of stonecarver Zerubbabel Collins.  The elder Collins carved the nearby headstone of Femmite Snyder.

Inscription:  In Memory of Mr. William Woods who died Sept. 20th, 1799 in the 66th year of his age.

So far, there is little information on William Woods beyond what his headstone gives us.  He does appear in a late 19th-century list of New England natives residing in Albany which gives at least a hint to his origins.  There was a William, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wood, christened in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1733.  This may be the same person.  The 1790 New York census contains two entries for the name, one at a Stillwater residence and one at Cambridge.  Whether these are two different William Woods or the same person and if there is any connection to this William Woods is not yet known.  It may be worth noting that a large number stones either by the Collins family or in their style appear in the Revolutionary War-era graveyard at Salem, not too far from both Stillwater and Cambridge.

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Filed under Featured Gravestones, Soul Effigies

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