Monthly Archives: November 2013

Featured Gravestone – George Vernon

DSC02655Section:  Saint Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Plain stone with typical darkening from exposure and a large section of the base broken off.  Deeply-carved inscription is very legible.

Inscription:  Sacred to memory of George Vernon who departed this life on the 13th of June 1830 after a painful and lingering illness which he bore with the meekness and resignation of a true christian and died in the hope of a blessed eternity.  He was most warmly esteemed by all who Knew him.  This Stone erected as a tribute of affection by his bereaved and afflicted widow.

George Vernon was born George Verrall in 1800.  An English actor, he came to Albany with a family of fellow thespians named Fisher.  He married a member of this family, Jane, and on March 18, 1828, took over the management of Albany’s Pearl Street Theatre.  This theatre was, at the time, struggling, but Vernon was able to make it successful within two seasons.  His successes were, unfortunately, short-lived as he died in 1830.  More on George, his career, and his wife can be found here.

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Featured Gravestone – Merit Ogden

DSC00872Section:  First Presbyterian

Material: Brown sandstone

Simple, narrow stone with some lichen and obvious chipping to finials and edges.  There are some gouges near the base which resemble numbers, but may just be tool marks.

Inscription:  In Memory of Merit Son of Benjamin and Welthey Ogden Who departed this life 26th April 1815 Aged 2 months & 21 days.  Sleep on, sweet babe, and take your rest, for God has done as he thought best.

The Common Council’s inventory of graves incorrectly lists Merit’s date of death as April 20.  The epitaph on his stone is identical to one found on the grave of Nicholas Smith in the A.M.E. lot.

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Featured Gravestone – Robert Gray

DSC02682Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Small, very plain stone with minimal wear to inscription.  Some chipping of edges and usual darkening.

Inscription:  Robert Gray Died 1837

Census records show a Robert Gray between the age of twenty and thirty as a resident of Albany’s 1st ward in 1830. The Albany Chronicles compiled by Cuyler Reynolds note that a Robert Gray, “first librarian of the Y.M.A.” died on February 29, 2837.  The Y.M.A. was the Young Men’s Association, an organization which included a lending library, lectures, and other activities for “mutual improvement.”  It was established in 1833.

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Featured Gravestone – Penelope Denny

DSC02715Section:  Saint Peter’s Episcopal

Material: White marble

Simple stone without any ornament, typical darkening.  One finial is broken and a large piece near the base has broken off.  Inscription is very legible.

Inscriptions:  In Memory of Penelope Denny relict of Capt. John Denny of the Revolutionary Army who died January 9th, 1831, aged 73 years, 7 mos., and 8 days.

Born around 1758,  Penelope was a resident of Schenectady at the time she married John Denny there in 1770.  It has been suggested that she was a daughter of the Lydius family (marriage records spell her maiden name as “Leede”).  Her husband, John, served under Gosen Van Schaick during the Revolution.  They settled in Albany around 1799.  John appears to have died around 1812.  His widow appears in census records as keeping an inn on Eagle Street (near the present-day corner with State Street).

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Featured Gravestone – Margaret Chinn

DSC02674

Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Simple stone with darkening and a few pits.  Bottom half is broken off.  Inscription is legible.

Inscription:  In Memory of Margaret Chinn Consort of Edward Chinn who died on the 17th of Nov. 1820 Aged 78 yrs and 27 days.

The wife of Edward Chinn, Margaret spent much of her early live divided between Montreal and Albany.  Like her husband, her father, John Livingston, was active as a trader in Canada prior to the Revolutionary War.  Her mother was Catharina, daughter of Dirck Ten Broeck and Margarita Cuyler.  Following her husband’s death, Margaret lived in Albany at 26 Maiden Lane.

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Featured Gravestones – Edward Chinn. Esq.

DSC02651Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

A very simple stone without decoration, but a lengthy inscription carved from edge to edge.  Stone is darkened with a large section flaked away near the base, but the entire inscription is intact and very legible.

Inscription:  Here lie the remains of Edward Chinn, Esq. was was a native of the town of Bridgewater in the County of Somerset and who after upwards of 40 years in North American departed this life in this city on the 17th of August 1802 in the 71st year of his age.  I know that my Redeemer liveth.

Edward Chinn was born around 1732 and came to North America to work as a trader in Montreal, often spending winters among the Ottawa near the Great Lakes.   During the Revolutionary War, he departed Canada for New York and embraced the colonial cause.   In a letter to General Horatio Gates, Chinn described himself as “one of those Persons, who was obliged to leave Canada, when the American Army retreated therefrom and waiting with Expectation of one day being able to return.”  Chinn served in the 1st Canadian Regiment of the Continental Army and, in 1779 married Margaret Livingston, the sister of his commanding officer.

Following the war, the Chinns settled in Claverack.  Census records show they owned three to four slaves between 1790 and the time of Edward Chinn’s death.  Edward Chinn was buried in the Episcopal section of the State Street Burying Grounds and census records show that his widow relocated to Maiden Lane in Albany until her death in 1820.  She is also buried in this section, but her stone is some distance away.

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Featured Gravestone – Balthasar Lydius

DSC02698Section:  St. Peter’s Episcopal

Material:  White marble

Small, simple stone with the usual darkening from exposure.  Lower half is broken away across the last visible line of text.

Inscription:  In Memory of Balthasar Lydius who departed this life November 19, 1815, age 78 years.

Also know as Baltus, Balthasar Lydius was well-known at the time of his death as an “eccentric old bachelor” and his death marked the end of the Lydius family line in Albany. His grandfather, Domine Johannes Lydius, came from Antwerp to lead the Dutch Reformed Church here and his father, Johan Henry Lydius, was active in the fur trade between Albany and Montreal.  Bathasar’s mother, Genevieve Masse, was said to be part French and part Mohawk.  The family home where Balthasar spent much of his life stood at northeast corner of State and Pearl Streets (a plaque now marks the location of “Lydius Corner”) and Madison Avenue was formerly called  Lydius Street.

A biography of Balthasar Lydius can be found at the People of Colonial Albany project.

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