A notation on a burial card for Section 98 leads to the final resting place of the last documented slave at the Schuyler Flatts.
If you’re interested in helping restore what is likely the oldest cemetery still existing within the city lines of Albany, please visit the new blog below:
A new page focusing on the Potter’s Field section of the Church Grounds has been added to the blog. It can be accessed by the link below or from the main menu at the top of the page.
Today’s Times Union has a short article on the effort to rebury the bones of slaves exhumed during sewer work not far from the Albany Rural Cemetery and the Schuyler Flatts.
In the event that this item is vetoed, perhaps it would be possible to raise the money for the reburial without state funding. $4,000 is not an impossible amount for fundraising with enough public interest and support from local companies.
This afternoon, an informational meeting was held at the Albany Public Library to discuss the reburial of skeletons discovered near the Schuyler Flatts. The remains are of fourteen people who were undoubtedly slaves owned by the Schuyler family from the early 18th to early 19th centuries. The speaker was Paul Stewart of the Underground Railroad History Project; representatives from the New York State Museum, St. Agnes’ Roman Catholic Cemetery, and Albany Rural Cemetery were present, along with the Town of Colonie’s historian.
Some background information on the discovery of the skeletons and proposals for reburial were discussed. Continue reading
The Times Union has a very fascinating article on the reburial of the remains of slaves discovered near the Schuyler Flatts. The Flatts, a large farm which belonged to the Schuyler family for over two centuries, is now a park and is located just across Broadway from the main gate of the Albany Rural Cemetery.
One site proposed for the reburial of these remains is the Church Grounds.
“Peter Hess, the president of Albany Steel and the owner of some of the land on which the bones were discovered in June 2005, said he would like to see them returned not far from where they were found.
Hess is a past president of nearby historic Albany Rural Cemetery and suggested that might be an appropriate final resting place. He noted that a section of Albany Rural was devoted to the relocation of 18 cemeteries from the city of Albany, including two belonging to black churches.
“These are not arrowheads. They didn’t find some strings of wampum. These are human remains,” Hess said. “There should be some kind of a ceremony, and they should be put to rest and not left in some cardboard box on a shelf forever. I just think, ‘How would I feel if this were my family?'”
In the past, it has not been uncommon for historic remains unearthed by construction projects to be reburied at the Rural Cemetery. When the Alms House burial ground just off New Scotland Avenue was excavated, the bodies removed from that site were interred in a section of the Church Grounds and the spot marked with a large granite monument.
At this point, I agree that the Church Ground would be a very appropriate resting place for these remains. It is close to their original burial place and there is precedent for such interments here. Another possible section, if there is sufficient space, would be the North Ridge lot purchased by one Ellen Jackson in the 19th-century for the burial of Albany’s black residents.
I will be following this story with interest and post updates as they become available.