Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Burial Places of Abraham Ten Broeck

General Abraham Ten Broeck was laid to rest twice before coming to his current and final burial place at the Rural Cemetery.

Born on this date (May 13) in 1734, his name is still a familiar one as a historic home, a street, and a neighborhood all carry it.  

The son of Albany merchant Dirck Ten Broeck and Maria Cuyler, Abraham Ten Broeck was educated in business under the supervision of his brother-in-law (and Signer of the Declaration of Independence) Philip Livingston.  Abraham Ten Broeck applied his learning to the lumber business; exporting lumber cut from forests north of Albany and importing other goods for sale.  Before the Revolution, he owned a dock, lumber yard, and substantial amounts of residential and commercial real estate.  In 1763, he married Elizabeth Van Rensselaer, sister of the Patroon, Stephen Van Rensselaer II.  When Stephen died at the young age of twenty-seven, Abraham Ten Broeck became an administrator of his estate, the vast Manor of Rensselaerwyck, until Stephen's son and namesake came of age. Ten Broeck's public service included two tenures as Mayor of Albany.  During the Revolution, he served with the Albany County Militia and led them at the Battle of Saratoga.  He eventually attained the rank of Brigadier General.

In 1798, Abraham Ten Broeck built a handsome brick mansion on a hill just north of Albany.  This house, then called Arbor Hill, still stands as a museum and headquarters of the Albany County Historical Association

When he died on January 19, 1810,  the seventy-six year old Abraham Ten Broeck was laid to rest in a private vault on his own estate.  The site of the vault (shown in the recent photograph above) was just behind the mansion along what is now Livingston Avenue.  The condition of the vault, however, deteriorated, and the remains of General Ten Broeck and his family were removed to the private vault of the Van Rensselaers.  This vault was located on the Manor, near the corner of modern day North Pearl and Pleasant Streets This vault was torn down after 1849 and no trace of it survives today.  All the remains it had contained were brought to the new Rural Cemetery where they were placed in a large underground vault.  Above the vault, a white marble monument forms the centerpiece of the lot.  Among the members of the extended Van Rensselaer family laid to rest here was Abraham Ten Broeck. 

Ten Broeck's name does not appear on the Van Rensselaer monument, but a small bronze marker and flag-holder at the base honor his memory.  It was placed there in 1950 by the Ten Broeck Chapter of the Daughters of the War of 1812.

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