Tuesday, April 21, 2015
This tiny cast iron angel sits atop a plain marble shaft on the North Ridge. Currently painted yellow, it was light blue about fifteen years ago.
With small wings, a rather anxious pose, and an almost folk art look, this angel marks the grave of "The Children of Henry & Matilda Cross." The children's names and dates of death are listed on one side of the monument, but no ages are given.
Samuel - died November 25, 1838
Martha M. - died March 11, 1843
Alexander - died August 26, 1845
James Peter - died March 5, 1847
Joseph W. - died June 18, 1849
William Henry - died February 23, 1853
Francis H. - died October 3, 1847
The other sides of the shaft are blank and the parents are not buried here. Since several of the children died before the Cemetery was established, they may have originally been buried at the State Street Burying Grounds and moved here at some point between 1844 and 1869.
Most of the burials in Section 99 are African-Americans and the 1840 census indeed lists Henry Cross as black. He is identified as a laborer who resided at 245 South Pearl Street with his family. Later, the family resided on Knox Street near Lydius (now Madison Avenue). The census also notes he was born in South Carolina in 1810.
Monday, April 20, 2015
The gravestone marks the grave of Smith Weed, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and father-in-law of poet Alfred Billings Street. Weed died on July 11, 1839 at the age of 85. He was originally interred in the State Street Burying Grounds and removed to Alfred B. Street's family lot around 1869.
The sharply-angled tympanum of the marble headstone seems to imitate the outline of an obelisk-style monument and much of the space is filled with a large draped urn with a flame issuing from its opening. A popular image on headstones from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, flaming urns can represent both immortality or eternal friendship. With the veil or shroud draped around it, an urn often represents the death of an older individual. Such urns are also a nod to the funerary urns of Ancient Rome.
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's end. Above, a soldier's headstone amid the deep grass and clover of the Albany Rural Cemetery's North Ridge.
For some past Civil War posts, click here.