Sunday, July 29, 2012

Captain William T. Wooley

This marble stone with a cap and sword marks the grave of Captain William T. Wooley of the Albany Republican Artillery.  During the Civil War, he served with Company A of the 25th New York State Militia.

According to Rufus Wheelwright Clark's 1867 Heroes of Albany: A Memorial To The Patriot-Martyrs of The City and County of Albany, Wooley's patriotism was "strikingly conspicuous."

He was one of the first to respond to the call of his country, and in spite of ill health, and the remonstrances of friends who felt that his impaired strength rendered him unfit for service, he persevered in his efforts for the defense of the nation until his death which occurred in the Georgetown hospital, July 13, 1861.

Wooley was thirty-four at the time of his death.  His wife,  Susan, is also buried here.  She survived him by thirteen years.

The Wooley monument stands in a rather secluded section of the North Ridge.  Half-lost in a waist-high mix of grass, clover, and Queen Anne's Lace, it was apparently overlooked when new flags were placed on the graves of soldiers this past Memorial Day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rensselaer Westerlo

This large, simple sandstone cross is located in the oldest section of the Cemetery's North Ridge, an area called Beaulieu Hill and Kennesau Hill on the oldest maps of the grounds and Landscape Hill on later maps.

The cross marks the grave of Rensselaer Westerlo who represented New York's 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1817 to 1819.

Rensselaer Westerlo was connected to several of the area's most prominent families.  His father was the Reverand Eilardus Westerlo, a native of Holland who served as the greatly influential pastor of Albany's First Dutch Reformed Church during the Revolutionary War.  His mother, Catharina, was the daughter of Philip Livingston, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence.  By her first husband, Catharina was the mother of Albany's "Last Patroon," Stephen Van Rensselaer II.  Rensselar Westerlo's wife, Jane, was the daughter of the State Chancellor, John J. Lansing.

This handsome stone was erected by Rensselaer Westerlo's children following his death on April 18, 1851.  He was less than a month away from his 75th birthday.  The base of the monument is carved with words from The Book of Genesis:  He was not, for God took him.

Several other members of Westerlo's family are buried in this lot; an inscription on the east side notes that a son named Eilardus died in California in 1859.

The Westerlo lot is quite close to the Lochner, Gould, and Disney plots.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Cobb Crypt

This old crypt is set into a North Ridge hill called.  It was, according to the marble plaque above the doors, built for one Benjamin F. Cobb. I've yet to find much information on him, though there are census records showing a Benjamin F. Cobb residing in nearby West Troy, now Watervliet. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Old Bell Tower

Located just above the Rural Cemetery's main Lodge at the foot of the South Ridge is the old metal and wood bell tower. 

During the Cemetery's early years, this bell would be tolled for each arriving funeral but this practice was discontinued as the increasing number of burials made the ringing incessant and impractical.  Later, it was used to signal the beginning and end of the work day for the Cemetery's workers, but this practice also ended.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Minnie & Katie

This monument to two little girls stands on the Middle Ridge, just off the main paved road and above the western end of Ravine Side Way

The white marble stone features an angel standing guard over a reclining child.  The angel's head and face are badly worn (giving the figure a somewhat macabre look) and the child's legs and arm are broken.  A beautifully carved wreath of flowers encircles the name "Minnie" with the name "Katie" underneath which suggests that Minnie died first and Katie's name was added sometime later.  The lamb sleeping atop the monument seems almost to have been added later, perhaps at the time of Katie's burial.  The lamb, too, has suffered damage to its head.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


The steep hillside and shifting earth have caused this old marble monument to fall down onto Ravine Side Way, a low grassy path running along the south shoulder of the Middle Ridge.