Friday, October 10, 2014

David Zeh

This fascinating stone lies well off the main road along the North Ridge.  It faces away from the road and looks towards the Kromme Kill ravine.  In between mowings, it can quickly be swallowed up by the tall grass and clover.

The monument is made of a reddish-brown sandstone and, considering how easily this material erodes, the carved details are in fantastic shape.  If you look closely at the bottom right corner below the name, you'll see it's signed by James Gazeley.  It's likely one of his earlier works. 

The style is almost whimsical and folksy;  an angle bearing tablets carved with the words "EVEN SO" emerges from puffy clouds that almost resemble clusters of grapes.  Below the heavenly messenger, there are old-fashioned scales piled with scrolls.  There is a passage from Corinthians on either side of the scales.  Above the angel, it reads, "Scripture Balance."  Below, it reads, "On Earth Peace Good Will Toward Men."  The top of the monument is certainly missing something;  a column or urn or obelisk would've have completed it. 

This unusual stone marks the grave of David Zeh who died on April 8, 1880, but was likely erected well before his death to mark the graves of other family members.  The first burials in this lot took place in the 1850s and David Zeh probably commissioned the monument then.

David Zeh, who was born in Berne, New York in 1802, was a Trustee of the First Universalist Church in Albany.  City directories identify him as a merchant at the corner of State and Hawk Streets (with a residence nearby at 7 High Street).  Based on the burial records, it would seem he married twice;  his first wife, Catherine, died in 1833 at the age of twenty-eight.  His second wife, Mary Janes, survived him and passed away in 1893.

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