Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The Presidential Grave
Gravespotting Chester A. Arthur.
The monument marking the resting place of President Arthur was the work of Baltimore sculptor Ephraim Keyser. Reportedly, the elegant bronze angel and black stone sarcophagus cost $10,000. The funds were raised by a group of the late President's friends. It was erected in the Arthur family lot on the South Ridge in 1889, some three years after Arthur's death.
The white marble markers seen behind the monument in the antique photo below belong to members of the Arthur family, including Chester Arther's parents. His wife's delicate Gothic sarcophagus is hidden by the larger Presidential monument in this photo, but is located just to the rear of it and it will be the subject of an upcoming post here.
In his 1893 history of the Albany Rural Cemetery, Henry P. Phelps wrote about the Arthur gravesite:
We turn now towards one of the most interesting and artistic monuments in the Cemetery, erected to the memory of Chester Alan Arthur, twenty-first president of the United States, born October 5, 1830, died November 18, 1886. The lot is not a large one, nor is it conspicuous. It was purchased by the president's father, Rev. William Arthur, and there he and the president's mother, wife, and son are buried. It was right and best, of course, that Mr. Arthur should sleep among his kindred and his grave was made there before any testimonial was projected. This is the free, cheerful, almost unasked for contribution of his friends, resident largely in the state of New York. With few words, with little publicity, and no solicitation, a handsome sum of money was promptly raised, sufficient to pay for the monument and also for a statue in New York City. The whole proceeding was conducted in the generous, gentlemanly way so much in accordance with the life and manner of the man whom it was sought thus to honor.
See also: Ellen Herndon Arthur