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.

1 comment:

  1. Nice match - I'd love to see the picture mentioned in the following news item to try to match it to the cemetery it depicted:

    "The new trustee room was also thrown open for the first time yesterday. It has been fitted up with Georgia pine and furnished with black walnut furniture and presents a neat appearance. Two handsome pictures adorn the walls; one is of the Hebrew cemetery on the river road just below the city; while the other contains a set of the original donors to the synagogue. The services today were of the usual character, being quite solemn and interesting."
    "Feast of Schuboth; Confirmation of the Beth El Synagogue—An Interesting Occasion—The Services To-day—The Synagogue Beautifully Decorated." Albany Daily Evening Times. June 4, 1881: 3.

    One wonders just how many lesser-known artistic renditions of area cemeteries there might be.