Monday, September 10, 2012

Captain Townsend's Anchor

The Townsend family plot is a large fenced lot alongside the Moordanaers Kill on a low path between the Cemetery's Middle and South Ridges.  Located just across from the De Peyster Douw hillside crypt, it contains a number of noteworthy graves, but the most distinctive monument here is undoubtedly the massive granite anchor marking the resting place of Captain Robert Townsend.

A member of a prominent Albany family which included mayors, generals, and businessmen, Captain Townsend served in the U.S. Navy during the Mexican War (commanding the Porpoise) and the Civil War (commanding the Miami and Essex).  At the age of forty-six, he died of heatstroke in China while in command of the Wachusett

 A set of historic artifacts which once belonged to Captain Robert Townsend was recently the subject of a Times Union article

The photo below shows Townsend lot as it appeared in the late 1800s.  An early history of the Cemetery describes the anchor tomb as "at once elegant, modest, and substantial." 

Anchors appears on a number of other monuments in the Cemetery (such as the John Bogart marble), either as a symbol of steadfast faith or an emblem of a maritime career. 

(An iron cover made by the Townsend Furnace can still be seen near the Capitol.  Click here for a photo.)

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