Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Then & Now - The Howe-Robinson Lot

Edward Fitzgerald's 1871 Handbook For The Albany Rural Cemetery describes monument as a very striking little structure of polished Scotch granite surmounted by a chaste marble of the most delightful little specimens we have yet seen.  The admiration it receives is partly due to the fact that it embodies that highly appropriate ideal for a cemetery memorial - Remembrance.  The darker color of the polished pedestal gives pleasing prominence to the pure white marble figure, so sweet in expression, graceful in form and pose, and perfect in finish.

The monument stands on the South Ridge, just north of the Van Rensselaer lot and close to the enclosed lot of William James' family.  The statue which elicited such enthusiasm from Fitzgerald is surrounded by small granite headstones, each carved with a stylized floral motif.

The graves of Silas B. Howe and his wife, Eliza, are located on the south side of the lot.  A city directory for 1844 lists Howe as a draper at 28 Division Street.  He died in 1869 in New York City at the age of sixty-four and Joel Munsell noted his passing in Collections On The History of Albany.

Silas Howe will long be remembered for his genial and catholic spirit, and friendly disposition.  His ear and heart were always open to the needy, and of his means, those who knew him best, were well aware that he bestowed with liberality, even perhaps to a fault.

The 1850 census lists Howe's household as the following:  Silas B. (44), Eliza (38), Benjamin (14). Alexander (8), Margaret (4).  Also listed in the same household are Samuel Robinson (32), Margaret Robinson (36), Alexander Lloyd (45), and a servant from Ireland, Bridget Howard (25).  Alexander was Margaret's older brother.

Samuel Robinson and his wife, Margaret, are buried on the east side of the lot.  He died in 1876, she in 1870.
The engraving at the top of this post was published in Fitzgerald's Handbook shows the area around the monument free from any other gravestones.  This was definitely a bit of artistic license as many memorials surrounding the Howe-Robinson lot now are from the same period or earlier.

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