Monday, January 26, 2015

A Colonel and A Faithful Slave

This tall, lichen-spotted sandstone with an urn and flame atop it stands on the old South Ridge within sight of the Ann Elizabeth Brown Wiles cross and the McIntyre lot.

Sandstone likes this tends to weather quite poorly, but this one is in fairly good condition and much of its lettering is still quite legible.

The Relatives and Descendants of Henry Quackenbush 
Whose remains are deposited here, to wit: 
Elizabeth Rosebone, his widow
Catherine and Catalina, his daughters
Jacob J. Lansing, his son in law
Jacob J. Lansing
Jacob Lansing and Susan Benedict, children of his grandson
Jacob Lansing,
John Quackenbush and Catherine, his wife
And Nancy, his servant.  A faithful slave.

Sacred to the memory of Col. Henry Quackenbush
Who having lived the life, died the death
Of the righteous on the 2d February 1813
Aged 76 years.
Co. Quackenbish was with Lord Amherst at
Ticonderoga, with Gen. Gates at Saratoga,
"In the days that tried mens soulds."
Chairman of the Committee of Safety, member
Of the Colonie Legislature, Elector of President
and Vice-President
In all the relations of life virtuous.
In all the stations which he filled faithful,
Respected and honored in life lamented
In death.

His POSTERITY as a memento of their regard
For his memory, have erected this monument.

Born in  1737, he was the son of Peter Quackenbush and Anna Oothout.  His family built the Quackenbush House, the city's second oldest building which now houses the Olde English Pub & Pantry.  Hendrick married Margaritta Oouthout in 1764, but she passed away in 1764* leaving him a widower with five children.  He married Elizabeth Roseboom six years later.

More details on his life can be found at the People of Colonial Albany site.

Given the date of his death, Quackenbush would likely have been interred in the Dutch Reformed lot at the State Street Burying Grounds and removed to this lot at the Rural Cemetery prior to 1868.

Census records indicate that Quackenbush owned nine slaves and this woman was likely one of them.  Unfortunately, there is almost no other information about her beyond these carved lines and one is simply left to wonder about her relationship with the Quackenbush family.  She was evidently valued enough to be buried with the family, but not enough to be given her freedom.

*In 1882, excavations in the area of the old Dutch Reformed burial ground near Beaver and South Pearl Streets uncovered several graves and headstones.  Among them was that of Margaritta Oothout. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ann Elizabeth Brown Wiles

According to the dates on her beautiful gravestone, Ann Elizabeth Brown was born on January 12, 1839, was the wife of Thomas S. Wiles, and died on December 7, 1881.

Ann and Thomas were married in Albany on October 27, 1864.  She was only forty-two and the mother of an eight-year old girl named Bertha at the time of her death from consumption.  According to the Cemetery's records, her late residence was at 53 Dove Street in Albany (the house, built in 1860, still stands).

Her husband, Thomas Shire Wiles, was a native of Albany.  Described as one of the area's great inventors, he held a number of patents and his primary professional interest was in the washing and ironing machines used by laundries of the era.  He established the Wiles Laundry Company which was the largest of its kind in the area with some two-hundred and fifty employees.  He also had a great interest in photography, serving as secretary of the Albany Camera Club.  He married twice after Ann's death and later resided in Troy. Thomas Wiles died in Pennsylvania in 1916.

Because she passed away in the winter, Ann was not buried until the following June.  Her monument is a tall, rosy-beige stone cross decorated with finely carved lilies.  Her lovely bronze portrait was the work of Charles Caverley.  Around the medallion are the words, Blessed Are The Pure In Heart For They Shall See God.  It is located in one of the older sections of the South Ridge, just a few steps away from the Archibald McIntyre lot.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Francis E. Cornwell

This weathered little stone on the Middle Ridge records that Francis E. Cornwell died in Buffalo on November 2, 1869 at the age of forty-seven.  The Biographical Record of Yale University's Class of 1842 gives a detail account of his life and death.

Born in New Britain, Connecticut to Deacon Chauncey Cornwell and Mary Cosslett Cornwell, he came to Albany as a teacher shortly after graduating from Yale.  He relocated to Lyons in Wayne County where he studied law.  He was admitted to the bar in 1847, the same year in which he married Albany resident Catharine Livingstone Howe.  The couple resided in Buffalo where he possessed "an excellent reputation" as a lawyer and, in 1869, was nominated for Judge of the New York State Supreme Court.  Sadly, just two weeks before Election Day, Cornwell took ill.  The local newspapers described his sickness as "typhoid fever, complicated by a dangerous carbuncle on his head."  He left behind his widow, Catharine, and six children.

He was buried in a lot belonging to his wife's family.  Catharine passed away in 1906 at the age eighty-two.  Her headstone lies next to his.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cemetery Avenue

A Throwback Thursday showing Cemetery Avenue ca. 1900.  This is, of course, the road that runs from the main gate on Route 32 (Broadway) in Menands to St. Agnes Roman Catholic Cemetery and the Rural Cemetery's main offices.  A few years after this photo was taken, the wooden fence lining the road was replace with the iron one which still stands.  The lovely elm trees which shade the road in this photo are long gone, though; they were probably victims of the Dutch Elm Disease epidemic that destroyed many trees in the 1900s.

Friday, January 2, 2015


I will admit I was not very quick to make use of Pinterest, but I find myself using it quite a bit these days.  So, naturally, I've made a board of pins relating to the Albany Rural Cemetery. 

If you're a Pinterest user, please follow it.  You'll find some of my own photos, antique images, links to revisit older posts from this blog, pictures I've found on my wanderings around the Internet, and other bits and pieces that might not fit on this blog or in my book-in-progress.

You can find the board on the lower right side of this blog;  there's a widget for it.  Or click the link below.

My Albany Rural Cemetery board on Pinterest

Above:  Close-up of the intricate carvings on the De Witt family monument, one of the most recent pins.