Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Star Gazer

This monument, located at the base of the North Ridge's east slope, is quite weathered and much of its inscription is impossible to read. The name appears to be Hollam, followed by the initials or abbreviation L.C.E.. But, while the epitaph is obscured, the carved telescope makes it clear that whomever is buried here had more than a passing interest in astronomy.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lilies & Cypress Trees

An exquisite stained glass window (possibly Tiffany) in a private mausoleum.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


A refreshing sight on a hot day; one of the streams which traverse the Rural Cemetery. This one is near the main road running between the Lodge and the Chapel.

Monday, July 4, 2011

William Paterson, Signer of the Constitution

In addition to a President, Governors, and scores of other prominent statesmen, the Albany Rural Cemetery is also the final resting place of a Signer of the United States Constitution.

Buried in the Van Rensselaer family plot along the Cemetery's South Ridge Road, William Paterson also served as first Attorney General of New Jersey, Governor of New Jersey and as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

The namesake of Paterson, New Jersey, he died at the age of sixty in Albany while en route to Ballston Spa where he meant to visit the mineral springs in the hope of easing his recovery from injuries caused by a carriage accident. Paterson's daughter, Cornelia, had married General Stephan Van Rensselaer in 1802 and it was at the Van Rensselaer Manor that Justice William Paterson passed away on September 9, 1806.

Originally buried in the private family cemetery at the Manor, Paterson was reburied in the Rural Cemetery when the remains of the Van Rensselaer family were transferred there.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Walter Whitney, Revolutionary War Soldier

Hidden in almost knee-deep clover and grass on the North Ridge is a white marble monument to one Walter Whitney. The monument tilts forward so much that you may need to kneel in order to see the carved eagle and cannons above the inscription. A small metal marker from the Sons of the American Revolution is staked into the ground next to it.

Walter Whitney was born in Fairfield, Connecticut on January 23, 1760 to Samuel Whitney and Amy Northrup. Revolutionary War pension rolls list him as having served as a private and corporal in the Connecticut militia. After the War, he married Anah Wells and eventually relocated to the Albany area. Genealogical records give his occupation as both a farmer and a school teacher. He died "of a fall" in Albany on July 18, 1846. At the time of his death, his residence was listed as 26 DeWitt Street (now a very small cul-de-sac between Broadway and Erie Boulevard). Walter was the father of six children; Amy, Mary, Hezekiah, Charles, Betsey, and Nehemiah.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The North Ridge

The Albany Rural Cemetery is divided into three sections - the North, Middle, and South Ridges - with two deep ravines separating them.

The vast North Ridge section contains some of the Cemetery's oldest graves. When the Cemetery first offered lots for sale, this area was the least expensive and, as a result, it lacks the grander monuments of the other sections. There are, of course, exceptions such as the massive Winslow family vault at the foot of North Ridge Road, the majestic eagle-topped column of Colonel Mills who fell at Sacketts Harbor, and the Civil War monument watching over the Soldiers Plot.

For the most part, though, this area is filled with smaller monuments and simpler headstones compared to the South and Middle Ridges. This statue is one of the fancier monuments on the North Ridge and is quite easy to miss as it is set back from the main road and faces the heavily wooded gully that cuts between the North and Middle Ridges.