Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Albany Vault Company

albanyvaultcompanyad

From the advertisement appearing in the Albany Argus newspapers in 1830-1:

ALBANY VAULT COMPANY – Notice is hereby given that the said company have erected and finished in a substantial manner, a vault, west of the burying grounds of the First Presbyterian church, into which they will admit the bodies of deceased persons for a certain period previous to their interments.  For terms, apply to Joseph T. Rice, No. 17 South Pearl street, or to the subscriber, No. 226, N. Market street.  DAN’L CARMICHAEL, Secretary

Incorporated in 1831 with a capitol of $1,500.00, the Albany Vault Company constructed at least several receiving vaults at the State Street Burying Grounds and, possibly, some of the private vaults erected there.

At least one private vault was deeded to Blandina Bleecker Dudley and in use until Mrs. Dudley removed the remains of her family from the Burying Grounds and other locations to a lot on the Middle Ridge of the Rural Cemetery.

A vault belonging to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church temporarily received the body of Major Richard Garland of Anitgua who fell ill while staying at the Mansion House hotel and was removed to the quieter residence of “the Misses Carter” where he died on August 8, 1831

In The Grave-Digger of Other Days, an Albany policeman reminisced about an attempted burglary of a vault at the Burying Grounds;  the crime was thwarted (at least temporarily) by a storm and fire.

When the State Street Burying Grounds closed, the vaults were demolished and their bricks, stone, iron, and other materials sold at public auction for reuse.

1 Comment

Filed under History

Featured Gravestone – Thomas B. Heermans

DSC00809Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Bottom edge of stone is embedded in the ground below the last line of the inscription.  Inscription is deeply carved and very legible.  Upper portion of the stone features an open book (likely the Bible) with a saw-tooth border above and fan-shaped insets in the upper corners.  Some darkening, but decorative carving is generally intact.

Inscription:  In memory of Thomas B. Heermans who died April 4 A.D. 1830 aged 33 years 6 months

Heermance was, along with Erastus Corning, Joel Rathbone, and John T. Norton, a partner in a firm which offered hardware and cutlery, as well as stoves and iron sheet work to order.  About a month before his death, a notice appeared in the Albany Argus which announced the dissolution of the firm Rathbone, Heermans, & Company by “mutual consent.”  The company retained the same name for some time after under the sole leadership of Rathbone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Gravestones, People

Featured Gravestone – John Alden

DSC03877

Section:  First Universalist

Material:  White marble

Rectangular stone with incised border.  Some chipping around edges, including upper corners.  Darkened surface, but inscriptions is legible.

Inscription:  John Alden Born at Claremont N.H. Dec 20, 1809 Died at Albany June 16, 1845 An Honest Man

City directories published shortly before his death list one John Alden as a brickmaker residing at 383 Lydius Street (now Madison Avenue).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Featured Gravestone – Ruth Mead

DSC04385

Section:  Garrstson Methodist Episcopal Church

Material:  White marble

A small stone, probably truncated during its transfer.  Darkened surface and some wear to inscription.

Inscription:  Ruth Mead died 1843

This plain stone gives very little information on the deceased;  her age and date of death are not provided.  The surname Mead was fairly common in Albany at the time and this woman appears several times on newspaper lists of individuals with letters or other mail awaiting them at the Albany post office.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Gravestones

The Book of Burials – In The English Church

The Book of Burials also contains the names of individuals who were, for reasons not stated, buried at the English and Dutch churches, but included in the Dutch Reformed Church’s burial records.

 The English church was St. Peter’s Episcopal which, at the time, stood in the center of State Street near Lodge Street.  Its graveyard was on the north side of the church. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Markers of Famed Albanians ‘Rescued’ in 1945

hookerinknicknewsAbove:  George E. Weisenforth, at left, and Harold W. Littlejohn, employees of Stephen A. Scullen, Loudonville contractor, raise the headstone of Philip Hooker, famed Albany architect, in long neglected section of Albany Rural Cemetery, now being improved. Headstones will be cleaned and replaced in a two-acres area of the cemetery.

Seventy-five years after thousands of graves were relocated from the State Street Burying Grounds to the Church Grounds lot at the Rural Cemetery, the condition of this final resting place had deteriorated to the point that a contractor was assigned the task of clearing the badly overgrown field, locating hundreds of historic headstones to be cleaned, identified, and set in rows.   An article in the October 29, 1945 edition of The Knickerbocker News gave some details of the project. Markers of Famed Albanians ‘Rescued’ By Francis P. Kimball Burial places of Philip Hooker, noted architect, Gen. Peter Gansevoort, Revolutionary hero, and other famed Albanians, neglected and virtually lost for more than half a century, are being “rescued” and identified as a result of a reconstruction project covering two acres in Albany Rural Cemetery. Work on the project has just been started under a contract awarded to Stephen A. Scullen, Loudonville, on recommendations of Charles B. Heisler, cemetery superintendent. In a special report to the cemetery association, Mr. Heisler asserted the area had fallen into such neglect as to become a “wilderness.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Articles