Monthly Archives: March 2013

Featured Gravestone – Polly Davis


Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  Stone has typical darkening of exposed surfaces.  Some wear to edges, especially upper right.  Inscription is very legible.  Tympanum features a slender, stylized willow arching over a large covered urn.

Inscription:  Polly Davis of Watertown (Con.) AE’d 22  Died at Albany Sept. 16, 1805.

A mortality record of Watertown, Connecticut residents dating from 1741 to 1859 lists a number of parties named Davis, some of which were likely close family to Polly (who is also included).  The Common Council inventory omits her date of death.

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Featured Gravestone – John Black


Section:  Third Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  Plainly carved stone with very legible inscription.  Lower half is heavily embedded in the earth and may be broken off.

Inscription:  In Memory of John Black who departed this life  June 27, 1818.

While the lower half of the stone is not visible at this time, the listing in the Common Council inventory notes that John Black was 31 years at the time of his death.

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The State Street Burying Grounds – ca. 1835


In 1840, the libel trial brought by Albany brewer (and later Mayor) John Taylor again hotel owner Edward Delavan touched on the condition of the State Street Burying Grounds.  Delavan had made claims that Taylor’s malt-houses knowingly used water contaminated with  run-off (referred to as “wash”) from slaughter-houses, glue factories.  During the course of the trial, the condition of the State Street Burying Grounds was mentioned (sometimes in rather graphic terms) since it was located near the polluted water sources and possibly contributed to the fouled state of the so-called Poor-house Creek, Buttermilk Falls (now enclosed in a culvert in the Lincoln Park ravine), and ponds near present-day Lark Street and just south of modern Madison Avenue (then called Lydius Street).

The following are excerpts of testimony given in the trial. Continue reading


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Featured Gravestone – John Hodge

DSC00817Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  Distinctively shaped stone with typical darkening of surface and minimal wear to edge.  Inscription is very legible.  Some shallow cracking at lower end of stone.

Inscription:  This stone is erected by James & Sarah Hodges to the memory of their son John who died April 1, 1796 aged 6 years 8 months & 3 days.

Though very plainly carved, the outline of this undecorated stone is very similar to the shape of more elaborately carved stones by carvers like the later generations of the Collins family (particularly Zerubbabel and his son).  The fourth line of text comes extremely close to the edges of the stone.  James Hodge’s stone is profiled here.  The Common Council inventory lists Sarah as having died on February 20, 1804 at the age of 37.

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