Saturday, December 28, 2013

Theodore Freylinghausen Wyckoff

This simple stone stands on the edge of Moordanaers Kill across the Pumpelly vault and just up the path from the massive granite monument of William Appleton.  It's one that I passed many times, yet never noticed until one day the sunlight fell across it at just the right angle and the carving caught my eye.  It's one of the most beautifully carved roses I've seen in Albany Rural. 

A close-up of the rose from my Instagram page.  The pale green lichen highlights the delicate petals.

This lovely monument marks the graves of Theodore Freylinghausen Wyckoff, a Dutch Reformed minister who was born in Catskill, New York in 1820 and died in the West Indies at the age of thirty-five.  The McClintock Bible Encyclopedia gives a short profile of him:

He graduated at Rutgers College in 1839, and at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in 1841; was pastor of the Second Reformed Church of Ghent, N.Y., from the 1843 to 1844; of the South Reformed Church, West Troy, from 1845 to 1854, and ministered at St. Thomas, W.I., in 1854-55.  He died of yellow fever, Jan. 19 of the latter year, only a few weeks after his arrival in St. Thomas.  He was a young man of cultivated mind and manners, a careful student, scholarly in his tastes and refined in accomplishments; he wrote much and well for the periodical press.  His sermons were ornate in style, evangelical in matter and spirit, and full of promise.

Three Little Lambs

This triple stone - now tilted and quite illegible - most likely marks the graves of children.  Lambs, of course, have long been a common symbol of innocence and childhood in cemeteries.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Pyramid of Samuel Brown

Monuments inspired by the art and architecture of Ancient Egypt are fairly common in cemeteries.  The Rural Cemetery's twin receiving vaults and the hillside crypt of the Brinckerhoff-Pumpelly family are both Egyptian in style.  Most were designed as part of the fashion called "Egyptomania" when the art of the ancient Nile kingdom influenced everything from dresses and wallpaper to public buildings and monuments. 

This simple granite pyramid on the crest of the South Ridge, though, is especially appropriate.  It marks the grave of Samuel Brown, the Albany businessman who traveled to Egypt to purchase the pair of mummies which have been an extremely popular attraction at the Albany Institute of History & Art (and the subject of a special exhibit currently open at the museum).

Handwritten letter from Brown regarding the mummies.

More on the Albany mummies.