Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Young Double Stone


This stone, lying flush with the earth on the Middle Ridge, is one of the most distinctive.  Cut from a dull blue-gray slate, this double stone features two wonderful examples of New England gravestone art and has an interesting family story as well.

The stone was carved by William Young, known to gravestone historians as "the thistle-carver" since he often incorporated that plant into his designs.  This stone does not include any thistles, but does feature a pair of William's distinctive bewigged heads with their prominent noses, small mouths, and staring eyes.  William's work was almost exclusively confined to the area around Worcester, Massachusetts so finding one such as this here in New York is extremely unusual.  In fact, a bit of carving at the bottom of the stone indicates that this was actually removed from Worcester in the early 1870s.


This stone was carved by William Young to mark the graves of his father and grandfather, originally located in Worcester's Commons burial ground.  The neatly lettered inscription reads:

Here lyes interred the Remains of John Young who was born in the Isl of Bert near Londonderry in the Kingdom of Ireland.  He departed this life June 30th, 1730, aged 107.

Here lyes interred ye Remains of David Young, who was born in the Parish of Tahboyn, County of Donegall & Kingdom of Ireland.  He departed this life Decemb'r 23rd, 1776, age 94.

As one can see from the inscription, John Young and his son David lived exceptionally long lives in an era where men often died before the age of forty.

John Young immigrated from Ireland to Massachusetts at the age of ninety-five, bringing with him a family that included his son, David, and David's son, William.  The Young family settled near Worcester as farmers, but William would later be described as gentleman squire.  Well read, his personal library included six law books, six history books, six science books, eighteen on religious matters, one of poetry, and seven school texts. He would serve as the town Surveyor and a Justice of the Peace.  Carving gravestones was apparently only a side job for him, but he was certainly an active carver; the Farber Gravestone Collection contains photographs of numerous stones attributed to him, including the John and David Young double stone.

The John & David Young stone in the Farber Gravestone Collection

The Young monument came to Albany Rural Cemetery in 1873 when a descendent had it removed to a family plot here.  Unfortunately, when the stone was removed from its original site, the homespun epitaph at the bottom - presumably composed by William - was cut away.  The missing portion once read:

The aged Son and the more aged Father Beneath this stone their mouldering bones here rest together.

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