Thursday, October 4, 2012

Teunis Van Vechten

This monument stands so close to the edge of the Church Grounds that, at first glance, it almost seems to be a part of that section.  It is, however, a private family lot in an adjacent section.

This cross-topped spire marks the grave of Albany mayor Teunis Van Vechten and his family.  A descendent of one of Albany's oldest Dutch colonial families, he was born in 1785 and educated at Union College.  After graduating with honors, he studied law and eventually became the legal adviser to the last Patroon, Stephen Van Rensselaer during the turbulent era of the Anti-Rent Wars.  He served four terms as Mayor of Albany.  He also served on the committee organized to establish the Rural Cemetery.

He died at his home (725 Broadway) on February 4, 1859.  His wife, Catherine Cuyler Gansevoort, predeceased him in 1831.  Several of their children are also buried here.

The Van Vechtan monument is wonderfully detailed.  The white marble pedestal is embellished with a pair of large inverted torches and a graceful winged hourglass.  The cross-topped spire atop it stands on heavy lion's feet and is decorated stylized foliage and wreath of laurels.  The style is very typical of sculptor Robert Launitz and may be his work.

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