Friday, February 6, 2015

Peter Douw Beekman

A sandstone shaft on the Middle Ridge just down the road from the Delavan family lot marks the grave of Peter Douw Beekman.  A veteran of the Revolutionary War who later served as a justice of the peace, Beekman was born in 1762 and married Hannah Hilton.  The couple lived in Albany on Van Schaick Street, a short street that ran between Fox Street (now Sheridan Avenue) and Orange Street.  The home overlooked the Vozenkill, also known as Fox Creek and now buried under Sheridan Avenue.  

When he died in 1835, he was buried in the Dutch Reformed section of the State Street Burying Grounds where several of his children who had predeceased him were already laid to rest (including two unmarried daughters Phebe who died in 1819 at the age of 20 and Elizabeth who died in 1823 at the age of 32).  These graves were removed from the Burying Grounds to Albany Rural Cemetery well in advance of the general disinterment in the late 1860s, probably after the death of his widow, Hannah, in 1849. This family's burials don't appear in the Cemetery's index card files, a common case with these older reinterments.

The sandstone shaft may be the original monument brought over from the burial grounds.  The front of the shaft has a carved shield with the family name.  Above the name is an open book, probably representing the Bible or symbolic of wisdom.  Below it is a garland of woody stems ending with tulip-like buds.

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