Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Hamilton Cross In Black & White

I occasionally post "Throwback Thursday" photos at a Facebook page and website I manage so I decided to look through some of the photos I took at the Rural Cemetery in the early to mid-1990s. 

At the time, I think I was more interested in just taking cool photos that actually documenting the Cemetery, though I was already percolating the idea of writing a book on the subject.

The photo about is the ornate Hamilton family monument by Marcus T. Reynolds.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Kreuder Lot

Churchill's Guide Through The Albany Rural Cemetery is one of the oldest printed works about the Cemetery.  The subtitle notes that it contains "Illustrations of ALL The Principal Monuments, Tombs, Etc." and, in the 1858 second edition, "all" totals about three dozen.  Some of the engravings show monuments which are still very recognizable like the Douw and Yates vaults or the Anthony Strong lot.  A few are harder to identify now and may no longer exist, having been replaced by a different monument, heavily altered, or torn down to due structural problems.

One recognizable monument depicted is the one shown in the engraving above and identified as belonging to one "G. Kreuder."

This monument still stands, minus the path and fence around it.  It is located on the North Ridge, quite near the Hallenbeek enclosure and the Soldiers Lot.  From a distance, the design on the main face appears to a chalice or monstrance within an ornate border.  Up close, however, it is neither and seems to be a sort of rounded urn.

The names and dates carved on the monument were not cut deeply and are now somewhat difficult to read, but it bears the name of George Kreuder who died on February 5, 1863 at the age of forty-five. 

The monument was originally erected by George for his son, Augustus, who died on August 22, 1852.  He was twenty years old and drowned when a ferry boat capsized in the Hudson River.  The ferry, which carried passengers between the foot of Maiden Lane and the Boston Railroad landing, was said to be overcrowded with some twenty passengers and the intoxicated ferryman insisted it was safe to enough to "take them over, even if it killed him" even though it was reported that the water came within three or four inches of the top of craft.  It was also windy and the river was choppy enough to form small whitecaps that day.  Halfway from the pier, the water began to flow over one side of the boat and some passengers thought to correct the situation by shifting their weight to the opposite side.  Their well-intention actions, however, caused the entire ferry to capsize.  All passengers (including women and children) and the ferryman were thrown into the river.  The ferryman was among the dead, as was young Augustus Kreuder of 15 Montgomery Street whom the newspaper's casualty list noted had come from Germany and lived here fifteen years.

George Kreuder, born around 1818, was born in Albany.  He emigrated to the United States with his wife (Caroline - died of consumption in 1856), his father (John - died 1859 at the age of 71), and two sons (Augustus, and Charles who became a lawyer).  Two other children born in Albany died in infancy in the late 1850s and are also buried here.  George was listed in the census as a hotel keeper.  An 1853 article in the Albany Evening Journal reported that Kreuder, keeper of a hotel for immigrants on Columbia Street, was arrested for the "gross outrage" of "confining" a party of non-paying customers inside his establishment until they had missed their cars.  He was held to bail and given "a good lecture."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wreath and Rose

Sometimes it's an historic name or other story associated with a headstone that gets my attention.  Sometimes, though, I just want to sit back and appreciate a lovely little detail such as this beautiful marble rose within a wreath. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Albany Rural Cemetery by Alfred B. Street

Grave of Elizabeth Weed, Wife of Alfred Billings Street, ca. 1993

The following sentimental verses were written for the Cemetery's consecration ceremony in 1844.  On that occasion, poet Alfred Billings Street read his composition to the crowd assembled in a small, natural amphitheater overlooking one of the Cemetery's scenic lakes.  The poem was reprinted in the local newspapers in the following days, as well as in two collections of Street's poetry and in Henry P. Phelps' book, The Albany Rural Cemetery - Its Beauties, Its Memories.