Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Sweet Surprise

As mentioned in a previous post, the Rural Cemetery has been full of surprises this spring.  As I stopped to take a picture on the North Ridge near the Kreuder monument, I noticed something different set against the trees at the edge of the ravine.

From a distance, it was actually difficult to tell just what was set atop this tall monument.  At first, it appeared to be a large bird, but it was too still and lacked the coloring of the hawks which are fairly common here.  It might have been a simple draped urn or even a statue.  Upon a closer look, it turned out to be the latter.

It's located not too far from the Hallenbake lot and the little headstones of the Prentice daughters.  It was also mentioned in Henry Churchill's 1858 Guide Through The Rural Cemetery.  Yet, somehow, I'd never seen it before.  Perhaps because, the last time I was close to it, I was limping along with a cane and, on previous wanderings, I was too busy picking my way down the marble steps that lead from the Hallenbake enclosure to the old, narrow path that runs along the north shoulder of the ravine.

One reason it's easy to miss is because it was meant to be seen from that path, identified on older maps as Dell Side Avenue.  It faces the ravine and, when the old bridges which linked the North, Middle, and South Ridges, there would have been several scenic approaches to this lot.  From the lot, there would have been a lovely view of the Kromme Kill and Indian Lake.

The little statue atop the monument turned out to be quite familiar.  I've seen examples of this kneeling child before.  There is a similar one in Schenectady's Vale Cemetery and other copies appear in burial grounds around the country.  A similar figure also appears as a stock image in old advertisements for stonecutters such as William Manson and James Gazeley

A check of burial records shows that this is the Anderson family monument and there's the sweet aspect;  the Andersons were in the candy business.  A city directory from 1848 lists George Anderson as a "Plain and Ornamental Confectioner" at the corner of Broadway and Lydius Street (now Madison Avenue).  The advertisement offers various sweet goods such as ice cream, jellies, cakes, and pastries.  A few years later, the 1853 directory featured a full page advertisement for Anderson & Wright, a well-stocked candy "manufactory" and soda foundation.

George Anderson was born in England around 1818.  His burial records state he died of consumption on March 11, 1856.  His widow, Sarah, was born in Berne, New York in 1820.  She passed away on Christmas Eve, 1879.  About a dozen other family members are interred around this lot, including George's siblings, Charles and Mary Anderson.  Charles and Mary both died of consumption within days of each other;  thirty-five year Charles on March 8, 1844 and twenty-nine year old Mary on March 14, 1844 died on March 8, 1844.  The Rural Cemetery had not yet been consecrated so Charles and Mary were temporarily interred at the State Street Burying Grounds as their burial records indicate that they were "removed from Albany" to this lot.
 The ad above is borrowed from the Albany...The Way It Was image collection on Flick.

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