Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tillie Boehm


This small headstone of black granite stands out among the uneven rows of flat stones in the Church Grounds.  It is unusual, not only because it is one of only a few upright stones in this lot, but because it is also much newer.  It was not among the scores of old stones brought to Albany Rural Cemetery from the State Street Burying Grounds when the Common Council cleared the old graveyard to make way for Washington Park, but was placed here over twenty years after the massive transfer of remains.

On September 10, 1893, a woman’s hat was found on the edge of Washington Park Lake.  A short time later, the body of Tillie Boehm was pulled from the water.  She was twenty-three years old and the newspapers reported that no motive could be assigned to her suicide.  The papers also noted that she was the adopted daughter of Professor William Boehm.  The German-born Professor Boehm was a music teacher, organist at Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Albany’s Ten Broeck neighborhood, and organizer of The Mozart Singing Society, a local musical club.

Tillie was short for Matilda and the 1880 census lists a ten-year old daughter by that name in the household of William and Louisa Boehm.  The census lists another daughter, Amelia, as the same age; it is possible that she was Tillie’s twin sister.  The other children in the family were listed as William (age five) and Kate (age three).  The 1892 census adds another child, Gertrude (age four), but Matildia/Tillie is not listed as residing with the family at this time, but appears on the census for the town of Bethlehem.

The records, unfortunately, give few hints as to why Tillie drowned in the Washington Park Lake or why she was buried among the much older graves in the Church Grounds.

Leave a comment

Filed under People

Featured Gravestone – Sarah Carls

029Section:  see below

Material:  White marble

Inscription:  In Memory of Sarah, Wife of John D. Carls, Died March 13, 1845 in the 29th year of her Age.  A faithful wife, a loving mother, A Christian true this stone does cover.  Patient in suffering, strong in love, Dead to this world, but lives above.  And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me write blessed are the dead with die in the Lord, henceforth, yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours and their work do follow them.

Misc.:  A large, simple stone with only minor chipping.  Surface is heavily discolored, but inscription is generally legible (and transcribed on the burial index card at the Cemetery office).  Lower portion is partly embedded in the ground.

The Common Council inventory lists Sarah Carls as originally buried in the Baptist section of the State Street Burying Grounds.  However, the burial card on file at the Cemetery office lists Garretson Station Methodist Episcopal.   The 1855 census shows John D. Carls as an iron worker living in Albany’s 10th Ward with a second wife (unfortunately only identified as “Mrs. J.D.”) and the following children:  Emma (age 8), John (age 4), and Charles (age 1).  A Lydia Green, age 20, is also listed with the Carls, possibly a servant.  None of the children listed is old enough to have been Sarah’s child.  Since the stone refers to her as a mother, it is very possible that she had a child who died sometime between 1845 and 1855.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Gravestones, People

The Garden Gravestone

While most of the graves and headstones in the State Street Burying Grounds were moved by the city’s Common Council to the Church Grounds lot, there were exceptions.

Some graves, of course, were removed by relatives to private family plots in the Albany Rural Cemetery.  In other cases, the remains presumably made the journey to the Cemetery safely, but their headstones did not.  There have been several incidents of gravestones found on properties along the route from the old burial ground to the Rural Cemetery.  However, stones originating in the State Street Burying Grounds have also been discovered well away from their original location, including this one which found its way to a backyard near the Empire State Plaza.

The Garden Gravestone

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized