Friday, September 19, 2014

The Boyd Family

When this impressively tall white marble shaft was raised, it was at the very edge of the Albany Rural Cemetery.

At the time, the Rural Cemetery had only been open for two years and this lot on the Middle Ridge was close to its western boundary.  A map published that same year shows the section was then called Wildrose Bank;  at the time, the sections were known by such fanciful names as Kelpiesford, Songbird's Bower, and Poetry Glen.  Later, the Church Grounds would be laid out just beyond this point and a lodge built here.

Before the Rural Cemetery was founded, most residents of Albany were laid to rest in the municipal State Street Burying Grounds.  Once the new Cemetery was consecrated in 1844, however, there was increasing interest in closing the old municipal graveyard and removing its burials.  By the end of the Civil War, the City's Common Council had begun that process in order to redevelop the old Burying Grounds into a public park. 

Some families, however, didn't wait for the City to disinterred their dearly departed en masse.  They made their own arrangements to have their loved ones' graves removed to newly purchased lots at the Rural Cemetery.

James and Peter Boyd, sons of a prominent Albany brewer also named James Boyd, purchased this lot in 1846.  That June, the remains of their parents and six siblings were exhumed from their graves in the First Presbyterian section of the State Street Burying Grounds, an event noted on the monument itself.  A month later, they were laid to a final rest on Wildrose Bank.  Also buried with them was Peter Boyd who himself passed away just before the re-interment.


James Boyd (the elder) was born in Scotland, but settled in Albany before the Revolutionary War.  In 1776, he married another native of Scotland, Jane McMaster.  In 1796, he founded the Arch Street Brewery (later known as the Albany Breweing Company) on a site near South Pearl Street and the outlet of the Beaverkill.   He died in 1832.

Another member of the Boyd family is buried just down the Middle Ridge Road beneath a large and elaborate monument.

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