Section: African Methodist Episcopal
Material: Brown sandstone
Misc.: A small, but thick stone, it is in very good shape for its age with some chipping around the edges and a small spots of lichen. It predates the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Dick does not appear in the massive list of graves inventoried by the Albany Common Council prior to the removal to the Rural Cemetery. However, that list is not complete. There are quite a few graves now in the Church Grounds that were not printed in the inventory, perhaps omitted by mistake as the stones were transcribed. He may have originally been buried in the previous municipal cemetery which stood just off Eagle Street south of the State Capitol. This cemetery received burials from around 1789 to 1799, the same year Dick died or he may have been buried in one of the small graveyards identified on period maps as “Negro Burying Grounds” There is also a possibility that he was buried in a family plot at the Dutch Reformed Church’s graveyard and was among the headstone found in later excavation, then placed in the vault of the Madison Avenue Reformed Church prior to being moved to the Church Grounds.
Inscription: DICK Slave of John F. Pruyn, Died Nov’r 15, 1799 aged 16 Yrs, 8 mos.
Nothing is known about this young man beyond the inscription on his gravestone. John F. Pruyn, a well-known skipper and merchant, was the owner of at least six slaves whom he began to gradually emancipate not long after Dick’s death. Exactly why Dick was provided with a headstone in an era when most slaves and even freed blacks were buried in unmarked and now lost graves is also unknown.
In Search of Dianna Mingo
A Colonel and A Faithful Slave
Not The Right Stones (Dick’s headstone is also discussed here)
These are two of the most distinctive gravestones in the Church Grounds; both feature soul effigies which can be attributed to known carvers.
Section: First Presbyterian Church
Inscription: This stone records the death Thomas Smith Diamond Who departed this life July 18th, 1796. Aged 59 years. Also Mary Diamond Relict of the above who departed this life December 16th, 1817 Aged 79 years.
This stone is in reasonably good condition with no visible breaks, although the lower half is embedded in the earth and exposure to the elements has darkened the white marble to a dull gray. It remains legible.
Thomas Diamond was reportedly of Huguenot ancestry. He is known to have been a member of the Albany Masonic Lodge and to have served in the Albany militia during the Revolution as he was granted a land bounty after the war. A carpenter by trade, he worked on the building of the Van Rensselaer Manor. Before settling permanently in the city of Albany, he lived for a time in Lansingburgh and his son, William, was said to be the first male child born there.
Mary Diamond’s maiden name was McLane. After Thomas’ death, she is known to have lived at 109 Lydius Street (now Madison Avenue near South Pearl Street).
Section: Dutch Reformed
Material: Brown sandstone
Misc.: Small, faint carvings can be see at the bottom edge of the stone (which would have been underground when the stone was upright in its original location) and include the number 73.
Inscription: In Memory of Andrew Abel who departed this life October 5th 1793 Aged 48 years and 11 Days
This stone has some minor damage to the lower half and some minor scaling of the stone the beginning of the last line of text, but is very legible.
Andrew Abel was born in Hanover, Germany and emigrated to Albany sometime prior to 1768 when the first local written record of him appears. Abel served as a constable and firemaster in Albany where he married Anna Marshall in 1771. He also served as an apprentice to shoemaker Jacob Groesbeck.