Tag Archives: first presbytarian church

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.

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Onondiyo

Onondiyo, known to the Dutch and English at Albany as Captain John, was an Oneida sachem respected as both a fine orator and a warrior who had served as a scout to the Americans during the Revolution.  He was described by white contemporaries as “a young Chief of first abilities” in his nation.

Along with Skenandoah (Shenandoah), he was a member of a delegation of Oneida sachems who had traveled to Albany to negotiate a treaty between their nation and New York State.  While in Albany, Skenandoah and Onondiyo both fell seriously ill, possibly from smallpox.  Skenandoah recovered, but Onondiyo died on September 12, 1795.   The Oneida delegation remained in the city to honor him with their own rites according to a September 15 death notice printed by Joel Munsell in Volume 3 of his Annals of Albany.

Capt. John, one of the Oneida sachems, and the principal orator and public speaker of the nation, died and was interred in the Presbyterian cemetery. The deputation of chiefs and sachems of the Oneidas, then in this city, attended the funeral, and performed the solemnities thereof, according to the custom of their nation.

Onondiyo was a Presbyterian convert and, as noted above, buried in that church’s cemetery.  The Presbyterians had recently acquired a section of the municipal burial ground just off Eagle Street and immediately south of the present East Capitol Park.   The remains in this early municipal cemetery were removed to the State Street Burying Grounds after 1800, and, ultimately, reburied in the Presbyterian portion of the Rural Cemetery’s Church Grounds.  Among the many remains interred here without any record or headstone are those of the eloquent Onondiyo.

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Featured Gravestone – James Hodge

DSC00855Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Stone has damage to left finial, along with the usual darkening of the surface.  Some wear to edges and bottom is embedded in the soil.  Inscription is crisp and legible.

Inscription:  In Memory of James Hodge who was born at New Windsor, Orange County October 4, 1761 and died at Albany  January 10, 1819  in the 58th year of his age.  He was distinguished for filial rely conjugal & parental affection & Mechanical skill.  Blessed are the pure in heart For they shall see God.

Various genealogical resources identify James Hodge as the son of Isaac Hodge and Jane Moffat.  Records idicate that Isaac Hodge and James’ wife, Sarah McCready, are also buried in this section though their stones have not yet been photographed for the blog.  Sarah died in 1804 and James remarried a woman named Jane (maiden name not recorded).  He had two children by his first marriage; a son named John Hodge (died at the age of six and is also buried here) and Jane (died in 1838).

John Hodge’s headstone was previously posted here.

According to information compiled by Joel Munsell the Annals of Albany, James Hodge was a founding member of the Albany Mechanics Society and a deacon of the First Presbyterian Church.  A contemporary of architect Philip Hooker, he is known to have worked as a stone mason on the building of the second St. Peter’s Episcopal Church which was designed by Hooker.  Also,  a half dozen mantels in the United States Capitol are attributed to him and date from the reconstruction of the building following the damages of the War of 1812.

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Featured Gravestone – Merit Ogden

DSC00872Section:  First Presbyterian

Material: Brown sandstone

Simple, narrow stone with some lichen and obvious chipping to finials and edges.  There are some gouges near the base which resemble numbers, but may just be tool marks.

Inscription:  In Memory of Merit Son of Benjamin and Welthey Ogden Who departed this life 26th April 1815 Aged 2 months & 21 days.  Sleep on, sweet babe, and take your rest, for God has done as he thought best.

The Common Council’s inventory of graves incorrectly lists Merit’s date of death as April 20.  The epitaph on his stone is identical to one found on the grave of Nicholas Smith in the A.M.E. lot.

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Featured Gravestone – Peter V. Bradt

DSC01661Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Rectangular stone with much darkening and erosion to the inscription.  Some chipping to upper right corner.  It features a large urn beneath a stylized willow tree.

Inscription:  In memory of Peter V. Bradt who died Sept. 10, 1844, in the 46th year of his age.

Bradt appears on the 1840 census as a resident of Ward 2 in Albany.  In 1844, the year of his death, he was listed in the city directory as a cartman residing at 275 Washington Avenue.

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Featured Gravestone – Missouri Strevell

DSC01659

Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  Simple, large marble headstone.  With the exception of the first name, inscription is very worn and almost impossible to read in person.  It can, however be deciphered with the help of the Common Council inventory.

Inscription:  Missouri (rest not legible – see below)

As noted above, the stone is very difficult to read in person, but matching the name with the Common Council listing (which was transcribed directly from the stone in 1868) shows this is the gravestone of Missouri Strevell, daughter of William Strevell and his wife, Elizabeth.  Missouri died on September 25, 1847, aged 2 years, 10 months, and 8 days.  William was born in Albany in 1817, but moved to Berne in the Hilltowns where he married Elizabeth Zeh in 1838.

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Featured Gravestone – Polly Davis

DSC00873

Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  Stone has typical darkening of exposed surfaces.  Some wear to edges, especially upper right.  Inscription is very legible.  Tympanum features a slender, stylized willow arching over a large covered urn.

Inscription:  Polly Davis of Watertown (Con.) AE’d 22  Died at Albany Sept. 16, 1805.

A mortality record of Watertown, Connecticut residents dating from 1741 to 1859 lists a number of parties named Davis, some of which were likely close family to Polly (who is also included).  The Common Council inventory omits her date of death.

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Featured Gravestone – John Hodge

DSC00817Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  Distinctively shaped stone with typical darkening of surface and minimal wear to edge.  Inscription is very legible.  Some shallow cracking at lower end of stone.

Inscription:  This stone is erected by James & Sarah Hodges to the memory of their son John who died April 1, 1796 aged 6 years 8 months & 3 days.

Though very plainly carved, the outline of this undecorated stone is very similar to the shape of more elaborately carved stones by carvers like the later generations of the Collins family (particularly Zerubbabel and his son).  The fourth line of text comes extremely close to the edges of the stone.  James Hodge’s stone is profiled here.  The Common Council inventory lists Sarah as having died on February 20, 1804 at the age of 37.

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Featured Gravestone – Gennet Palmer

DSC00838

Section:  First Presbyterian

Material:  White marble

Misc.:  Typical darkening of exposed surfaces to gray, top edge embedded and partially broken, sides and bottom also embedded in the earth.  Inscription is generally legible.

Inscription:  In memory of Gennet: the amiable consort of Joseph Palmer who died August 4th, 1808, in the 49th Year

At present, little information is available about either Gennet or Joseph Palmer, but the Common Council lists her name as Janet.

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The Phelps Stone

DSC00844Unlike many stones in the Church Grounds which have broken or suffered other damage since being transferred to the Albany Rural Cemetery, this one was damaged prior to its removal from the State Street Burying Grounds.  The entry for it in the Common Council’s inventory of graves places it in the First Presbyterian Church’s lot and notes “”stone broken and gone.”

Exactly how the stone was damaged or when is not known, but it would have occurred prior to 1868 when the inventory was compiled.  The breakage may have happened when the grave was moved from its original location Most likely this headstone was first placed in the First Presbyterian Church’s graveyard and probably moved to the congregation’s section of the municipal burial ground just south of modern-day East Capitol Park before being moved yet again to the State Street Burying Grounds after 1806.  With so many relocations, it’s easy to see how the stone could have been broken prior to its final move to the Rural Cemetery.

Burial records from this church only begin in 1786, but at some point after the death of this unknown Phelps as I have not yet been able to locate any information on this woman beyond what is carved on the stone.  She would have been born around 1726, but her first name, maiden name (assuming that Phelps is her marriage name), and other information remain unknown at this point.  Evidently, whomever commissioned the stone was prosperous enough to afford one of the more elaborately-carved markers from this period and lot.  The tablet is surrounded by a border of bold scrollwork and it is very possible a stone like this would have featured some sort of soul effigy or other decorative element at the top.  The inscription includes a short epitaph:  Death is a debt to nature due:  Which I have paid and so must you.

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