A view of the old West Lodge at the edge of the Church Grounds. The lodge overlooked the road connecting to Loudonville via the adjacent Beth Emeth Cemetery. One of the Boyd family monuments can also be seen in the background.
The headstone visible to the left of the cottage is that of Charles Fairfield. Born in Nottingham, England on December 28, 1825, he was one of the proprietors of the Windsor Restaurant on Maiden Lane. An ad for the establishment can be seen here. He died at the age of sixty-nine on December 13, 1894 and was interred in the Church Grounds lot assigned to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. His granite headstone is one of the few upright markers in the entire section.
The Book of Burials contains a number of individuals who are listed as being buried “in the church,” most likely meaning their coffins were laid directly beneath the church floor. This practice was not uncommon in parts of Europe and colonial New York. The first person on this list is Susana Brat (Susanna Dircks Bradt) whose grandson, Barent Brat, was the clerk of the church who kept this Book of Burials. Susana was placed in the church on May 8, 1722; the next burial in the church occurred in 1729 with the interment of Anna Brat. It was then another seventeen years before another person was buried in the church; it is possible that, by 1746, room was no longer available in the vault below the church. As with the vault burials, these would have been removed when the church was demolished and brought to either the burial ground at the Second Reformed Church or its vault.
Below is a chronological list of burials in the vault of the First Dutch Reformed Church which stood on Broadway at the foot of State Street hill until 1806.
Many of these burials were removed to the Second Dutch Reformed Church where they were placed in a vault beneath the bell tower. Later, some were moved to the Madison Avenue Reformed Church and, eventually, to the Church Grounds (see Albany’s Dutch Stones and Not The Right Stones).
See The Book of Burials master post for further details on the list.
Filed under History, People
Volume I of Joel Munsell’s Annals of Albany includes a list of over 1,700 burials from the Dutch Reformed Church. The list includes interments in the churchyard just off South Pearl Street (later the site of the Second Dutch Reformed Church), the vault beneath the old church at Sate and Broadway, as well as those buried on their own property, in the burial ground at “Papskinee” (near Schodack), The Flatts, and other locations, as well as several individuals buried at the Episcopal and Lutheran churches. The list is arranged by year. Often, only a surname is given for married women or young children, such as “Child of Abram Yates” or “Child of Abram Yates.” The list was compiled from a “Book of Burials” kept by Barent Brat and which passed to Harmanus Bleecker. Munsell also gives some details on the cost of burials and other related information which will be dealt with in future posts. These burials can be found on-line on various genealogy sites, typically sorted alphabetically by surname. Sorting the list by date and burial location, however, reveals some interesting patterns. For example, in 1731-2, there is an extreme increase in deaths, especially among children. This increase can be linked to an epidemic (possibly smallpox) that struck the city and claimed over seventy lives. One of the victims was profiled here. Another pattern appears in the location of burials; in 1746, burials in the church’s vault stop and, at the same time, burials described as “in the church” increase. It is possible that there was no longer room in the old vault and those individuals who still wished to be interred within the church were buried beneath the floor. The burial list will be posted here in chronological order by location, beginning with the vault interments.
In The Church
At The Flatts
At The English Church
At Papskinee (Papscanee Island)
Section: St. Peter’s Episcopal
Heavily discolored stone with large lichen patches. Most edges are embedded in the soil. Inscription is generally legible despite the darkened and lichen.
Inscription: This Tomb is erected over the remains and in memory of Henry Cuyler, Esq. Late of Green Bush Who departed this life Feby. 5th 1803 Aged 67 years 5 months & 10 days
Henry Cuyler, Esq., a merchant and British sympathizer during the Revolution, is profiled by the Colonial Albany project. His biography can be found here.