Saturday, February 7, 2015

Rachel Groesbeck Van Santvoord

While transcribing some Dutch Reformed burial ground inscriptions from one of Joel Munsell's many and always useful volumes of Albany history, one particular inscription stood out from the long list.

In memory of Rachel Groesbeck, Wife of Anthony Van Santvoord, who departed this life in the middle Dutch church, the 8th day of March, 1835, aged 60 years, 2 months and 3 days. 

 While seated in the house of God To worship him she loved, He called her from his house below, To worship him above.

It's the first time I've encountered the epitaph of someone who passed away during church services and I was certain that, while I didn't recall seeing that part of the epitaph, I had indeed seen the name on headstone and photographed it.  It took a bit of searching, but I finally located the photo in a folder full of iron fences, toppled tombstones, fallen trees, and other odds and ends from the Cemetery's North Ridge.

It's an old marble slab-style headstone now flat and embedded in the ground on the same high hill as David Strain, the Lockwood family and the Lochner monument with its pretty urns.  Between the usual darkening of the stone and the overlapping turf, it was easy to miss the complete inscription at the time the photo was taken.

The daughter of Anthony Groesbeck and Cathalyntje De Forest, Rachel was born on January 5, 1775.  She married Anthony Van Santvoord (also spelled Santvoort) in 1806. She was his second wife;  his first wife, Maria Roff, had died in 1800 at the age of thirty-four.  

Anthony Van Santvoord, who resided on Market Street (now Broadway), was a merchant and, like Captain Bogart, one of the last of Albany's Hudson River skippers.  He died in 1852 at the age of ninety.  After his death, he was extensively profiled in Munsell's Annals of Albany.

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