Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cornelius and Anne Van Vechten

The elements have been very unkind to this little headstone on the South Ridge.  The face is quite eroded and covered with raised streaks as if the marble melted and then solidified again.  The inscription is almost completely illegible;  the most that could be deciphered was part of a name which appeared to be Knickerbocker and, just below, what appeared to be the name Cornelius

There is, of course, a Daughters of the American Revolution plaque at the base and it might have been easier to identify the grave by contacting the local chapter and inquiring.  However, I usually prefer to do things the hard way (and I found a few other interesting things to pursue along the way).

The lots in a given section aren't numbered sequentially on the maps, but it was easy to look up the names of the adjacent lots to pin down the number.  With that lot number, I was able to identify the names of every individual interred there.  Two matched the legible bits of the inscription;  Cornelius Van Van Vechten and his wife, Anne Knickerbacker Van Vechten.

Born in 1735, Cornelius Van Vecthen was the son of a Schagticoke landowner who also served as a firemaster in Albany for a time.  At the age of twenty-two, Cornelius married Anne Knickerbacker.  Though they married at the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany, both were then residents of Scahagticoke.  Like his father, he also had ties to the city of Albany and also served as a firemaster.  He was among the signers of the constitution of the Albany Sons of Liberty in 1766 and, in October 1775, he received a commision as Lieutenant Colonel of the Eleventh or Saratoga regiment of the Albany County militia.  He served for the duration of the war.  At the time of the Saratoga campaign, his family home at Coveville (Saratoga County) was burned by the advancing British under General Burgoyne.  Following the Revolution, Van Vechten served in the State Assembly and, later, as the town clerk in Schaghticoke.  He died at the age of seventy-eight on October 20, 1815.

Anne Knickerbacker was the daughter of Wouter Knickerbacker and Elizabeth Fonda.  Two years young than Cornelius, she died in 1809.

Both Cornelius and Anne were likely buried in the Dutch Reformed section of the old State Street Burying Grounds and moved here to the Rural Cemetery by family members before 1868 as they do not appear on the list of graves transferred to the Cemetery by the Albany Common Council.

Maria Van Vechten, the oldest daughter of Cornelius and Anne married Enoch Leonard who is buried adjacent.  It was the Leonard monument that particularly helped to identify the Van Vechten headstone on the lot map.

1 comment:

  1. "There is, of course, a Daughters of the American Revolution plaque at the base and it might have been easier to identify the grave by contacting the local chapter and inquiring."

    True, though one can't always trust that a metal marker has remained at the side of the correct stone. Similarly, patriotic organizations' chapters have dwindled over the decades, and the remaining chapters don't always have records for the work of all those chapters - sometimes not even for their own, unfortunately. I found one chapter that had paid for a NYS Education Department-style historical marker years ago (they're named on the sign) that had no record of their having done so.

    Check out the thread "My new toy" in the Cemetery Preservation forum at findagraveforums - the flashlight described, or perhaps any of similar intensity, might help with reading a stone such as Cornelius and Anne Van Vechten's. I'd guess that's a stone that was purchased after they were reinterred to Albany Rural - it doesn't seem characteristic of 1809-1815.