Category Archives: News

Rediscovering Sibbie

A notation on a burial card for Section 98 leads to the final resting place of the last documented slave at the Schuyler Flatts.

Rediscovering Sibbie


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Friends of the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery

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:

Friends of the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery

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New Page – The Potter’s Field

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.

The Potter’s Field

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Schuyler Slaves Reburial Update

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.

TU – Slave reburial funds at risk

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.

See previous posts on the Schuyler slave remains.

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Update – Reburial of The Schuyler Slaves

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

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Reburial of Schuyler Slaves

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.

Input Sought On Schuyler Slaves Reburial

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.

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The African Methodist Episcopal Section

Very close to the wooded edge of the Church Grounds is the small African Methodist section.  It consists of a two short rows of gravestones transferred from the A.M.E. Church’s lot at the State Street Burying Grounds (though it is possible that at least one grave might have originally come from a different burial ground as it predates the establishment of the State Street cemetery by a year). Continue reading

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Welcome to a new blog focusing on the Church Grounds section of the historic Albany Rural Cemetery.

If you’ve come here from one of my existing blogs or social media profiles, you might know that I’ve been working on a book about the Albany Rural Cemetery.  In the course of my research for the book, I’ve been increasingly fascinated by an area known as the Church Grounds.

It’s not the Cemetery’s most spectacular areas, but this unassuming field of headstones has become one of my favorites and one that will have its own chapter in my book.

This section contains graves moved from other resting places; primarily the State Street Burying Grounds, but including headstones from even older churchyards with some of the earliest stones dating back to the 1720s.

These stones are old and many have already weathered to illegibility, but those than can be read are a treasure trove of local history and it is my goal to document as much of the Church Grounds as possible.

This project is in its earliest stages as we begin 2012, but I will be updating this blog with photos, articles, and other findings as the project  progress.

For more information, please see the menu above the banner and select About or The Project.

Thanks for visiting and check back often.

Happy New Year!


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