Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Harp With A Broken String

Located on the South Ridge, this small, ornate marble headstone features the beautiful symbol of a harp with a broken string and delicately carved lettering.  It was signed by the maker, James Gazeley.

This beautiful stone marks the graves of Samuel Pruyn and his first wife, Helen.  Helen died on October 28, 1833 at the age of thirty-three.  Originally interred in the Dutch Reformed section of the State Street Burying Grounds, she was reburied here after Samuel Pruyn's death.  A small, plainer stone visible just behind this one marks the grave of Anna, a daughter of Samuel and Helen who died at the age of sixteen.  Like her mother, she was buried at the old municipal cemetery and reburied here.  There are a total of twenty members of the family buried in this lot and one adjacent.

As for Samuel Pruyn, the Albany Evening Journal provided a long and detailed death notice in the February 19, 1862 edition:

Sudden Death of Col. Samuel Pruyn.

Our citizens were startled this morning by the announcement that Col. SAMUEL PRUYN was dead. The announcement came with paralyzing suddenness to those who met him, in his usual robust health and spirits, last evening--rejoicing with his fellow-citizens over the good news brought to us from the seat of war. No man was happier, or seemed more likely to pass on healthfully into a green old age.

Col. PRUYN was one of our most estimable citizens. Descended from a family which has been identified with the city from a period long anterior to the Revolution, no man was better acquainted with its local history, or with the men or incidents of the past. He was himself, in all his habits, thoughts and associations, an Albanian -- linking the past with the present, and partaking of the highest and noblest qualities of both periods.

Although greatly absorbed by business cares from early manhood, as merchant, Bank Director, Supervisor, Inspector of the Penitentiary from its inception, and the prudent guardian of his own large estate, he devoted many hours of every day to the careful study of standard literature. He was profound in chronology, history and biography, and his library is adorned with many of the best and rarest works in these several departments. Those who shared his literary tastes will miss him.

Mr. PRUYN leaves a large family to weep over his sudden decease. 

The cause and manner of his death is unknown. It has been his custom to spend his evenings in his office, which is detached, by the space of the garden, from his dwelling. Last evening Mrs. PRUYN was from home, at the sick bed of a niece dangerously ill. She remained there during the night, and other members of the family supposed that he had, as usual, come in from his office and retired. Nothing different was known until this morning, when one of the servants discovered the dead body at the foot of the stairs leading up from the garden to the house. He had fallen heavily, for his nose was broken and his face lacerated. Whether he merely slipped and fell, and so received fatal injury, or fell in an apoplectic fit, is a mystery. During the day, he had complained of a slight headache, but deemed it so trifling as to require no assistance. All that is known is, that he is dead -- having reached his 63d year.

Several other monuments in the Rural Cemetery feature a harp.  The broken string symbolizes that the song of this life has ended and this instrument will never play again.

No comments:

Post a Comment