It’s often reported that 40,000 graves were removed from the State Street Burying Grounds to the Church Grounds at Albany Rural.
A recent find in the Albany Institute of History & Library sets the record straight.
This is a wonderfully detailed gravestone in the St. Peter’s Episcopal section of the Church Grounds. The tympanum features an excellent example of a mourner similar to those described in this blog post. The mourner wears a contemporary dress, complete with a bow tied at the back and what appears to be some sort of cap or bonnet. In her hands, she holds an object which could be either a fan, handkerchief, a wreath or garland to be laid on the grave, or even some sort of purse or reticule. The figure is shown leaning towards a monument, bowed under the weight of grief. The monument depicted is an obelisk atop o a square pedestal (a common style in the early to mid-19th-century). Both the mourner and the monument are positioned beneath the branches of a willow tree.
The bottom of the stone is broken and several small portions of the inscription are missing. However, the epitaph was transcribed in the burial records. The complete inscription reads:
Beneath this sod is interd the remains of Thomas E. Hewson who died Sept. 28th, 1818 in the 27th year of his age.
And are thou gone sweet friend ne’er to return To charm thease eyes and soothe this aching bre’st. Must weeping friendship scatter oer thy urn Her tributary tears with grief opprest But heaven decread and heaven’s decree is just Thine earth should mingle with it’s native dust.
Material: Brown sandstone
A small stone with a heavy amount of lichen on the surface. Carving is partly obscured by the lichen, but otherwise legible. Bottom of stone was broken, possibly at time of transfer.
Inscription: In memory of Jane Wendell daughter of John and Cathalina Wendell who departed this life November 24, 1795 aged 1 year, 9 months and 21 days.
She was the daughter of John H. Wendell
Material: White marbl
A double stone, there is a complete diagonal break beginning at the top between the two halves and continuing downward through Mary’s half of the stone. Upper part of Mary’s section is also partly embedded in the earth. Stone has darkening from exposure, but text is generally legible.
Inscription: In Memory of Pamelia C. Pells who died Sept. 30 1831 aged 2 years 2 months. In Memory of Mary J. Pells who died Oct 1, 1831 aged 9 months. Gone is the flowers sweet buds of early spring Thy ruthless Death cold finger rudely press’d Yet ah grim tyrant pointless is thy sting They fading fell to ripen with the blest. Parents to you this cheering hope is given They sank to Earth to freshly bloom in Heaven.
The stone makes no mention of the parents’ names, however, burial records show an Ebenezer Pells, age twenty-six, also buried in this lot. He died approximately seven months after these two little girls and the epitaph from his widow is written in a similar tone to that of these children making it possible that he was the father of Pamelia and Mary.
Section: Lutheran Ebenezer Church
Material: White marble
Stone lies at the end of a row and at a slight angle to it. Edges are partially embedded in the earth with usual darkening and some chipping. Inscription is legible, though the first line of smaller text is somewhat faint. Very stylized willow and urn motif.
Inscription: To the memory of Martha J. Ross wife of John F. Tuger born in the city of Banbridge, County Down Ireland March 20, 1825 died April 3, 1850. Frederick Richard their son died Aug 7 1850 aged 4 months & 14 days.
Martha’s husband, John F. Tuger, was a native of Germany who worked as a cabinetmaker in Massachusetts and Albany. Following the death of his wife and son, John Tuger relocated to Michigan and, later, to St. Louis where he was later described as “one who stood high in the esteem of all, not only as a business man, but as an energetic, progressive citizen.” He remarried while in Michigan; his second wife, Christina Wagner, was born in Bavaria. By his second wife, he had three children. John F. Tuger died on November 4, 1900.