Monday, October 22, 2012
Now & Then - The Isaac Vosburgh Lot
This is the family lot of Albany merchant Isaac Vosburgh on the Cemetery's South Ridge. This lot stands atop a hill just beyond the Main Lodge in a section called Chapel Grove and Evenlow Lawn on older maps of the grounds, now it is merely referred to as Section 4.
This lot was purchased by Isaac W. Vosburgh for the burial of his son, also named Isaac, who died in 1848 at the age of six. It had been only four years since the Cemetery was consecrated and, when Vosburgh erected this marble to mark his family plot, there were only a few such gravestones present.
In 1849, James McDonald Hart depicted this monument in a painting now on display at the Albany Institute of History & Art.
Albany Institute of History & Art - Albany Rural Cemetery - James M. Hart
(Be sure to click on the painting in the above link to zoom in on its details)
The painting shows the wooded South Ridge with a broad, unpaved path winding through a landscape with very monuments except for the Vosburgh lot (which, at the time, was enclosed by a low iron railing with marble fence posts) and two others which can just be glimpsed through the trees. Several couples are seen strolling the grounds, a popular pastime before the establishment of Washington Park, and a small horse-drawn carriage can be seen on the dirt path. Isaac W. Vosburgh himself is shown seated on the grassy edge of the family plot with his face turned away from the viewer as he recalls his departed child.
Many monuments fill this area now, including a number of smaller stones crowding the Vosburgh lot. The dirt lane is now a grassy footpath bypassed by the larger South Ridge Road. Many of the trees, too, which crowd around the lot in the 1878 engraving below are also long gone.