Volunteers plant saplings to replace oldest trees in Green Lawn Cemetery – news – the Columbus Dispatch

Randy Rogers grabbed a shovel and started digging a hole at Green Lawn Cemetery. But the new grave in the cemetery was not meant to be a grave.

Within minutes, Rogers filled the hole with a young white oak tree, his seventh planting of the day. There were five more.

“We have to plant trees now,” said Rogers, who earned the nickname “Lorax of Green Lawn”.

“We feel like we waited until the last minute,” he said.

To replace some of the state’s oldest trees, which are nearing the end of their life cycle, the cemetery has set aside an annual budget of $ 15,000 to plant 150 to 200 native trees each year. Rogers just completed the third spring planting season of the Emergency Canopy Restoration Project.

On the cemetery grounds, 60 to 70 percent of the original oak and maple trees begin to succumb to hundreds of years of insects, disease, lightning strikes, and loss of branches and limbs from extreme weather conditions. When they were just acorns and saplings, Ohio was not yet a state.

“At one point, the tree is so old and has so much accumulated ailments that it either dies or falls,” said Rogers, who volunteers at the cemetery at least five days a week. “There is nothing behind to replace them.”

Many Green Lawn guests visit the space to study historic tombstones, jog, picnic, or walk their dogs. The non-profit association that operates the grounds offers free, self-guided, full-service historical tours. And the cemetery is often used as an educational tool and urban arboretum for forest educators.

“If you don’t plan for the future by replanting new things… all of a sudden that green canopy is gone,” said Kathy Smith, director of forestry extension at Ohio State University. “In an urban setting, you almost try to recreate what’s going on in the woods, and that has to depend on the human side.”

Green Lawn is also a popular destination for animals who should also benefit from the tree restocking effort. For example, during the first weeks of May and September, the site is a green oasis for migrating songbirds that fly to and from Canada’s boreal forests.

“It takes a lot of food and stamina to do the flight. Green Lawn is like a rest stop on a bird road, ”said Jim McCormac, retired Ohio Department of Natural Resources biologist and former member of the Green Lawn Cemetery board of directors. “These places are growing in weight and importance as we are reducing habitat at a remarkable rate.”

Rogers, who first visited Green Lawn as a bird watcher, keeps birds in mind as he maps and plants the area’s latest generation of trees. Using a palette of around 30 basic species, Rogers spread trees of varying heights, flowering seasons, and aesthetics across the field.

“My process is 70% science and 30% art,” Rogers said.

He placed witch hazel, which has medicinal properties, near the grave of Lincoln Goodale, the town’s first physician. Soon, Rogers will be taking tree seeds from Frederick Douglass’s grave at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York, and planting them in Green Lawn near the headstone of local civil rights legend, the Headstone of Reverend James. Poindexter.

“This is what we want to see our communities do – periodically make these plantings so that you have trees of different ages gradually established,” said Lisa Bowers, ODNR urban forester for central Ohio.

Diligent planting also helps protect urban trees from invasive plants, pests and disease, Bowers said.

The canopy restoration project began three years ago when a team measured, identified and mapped the 4,343 trees in the cemetery. By the end of the year, Rogers hopes to increase that number to 4,600 trees.

And by the end of the seven-year effort, the hope is to extend the life of the cemetery’s mixed oak forest for another 200 years.

Today, Green Lawn has about 11 trees per acre, a far cry from the site’s peak arboreal season around 1880, when about 15 trees graced each acre.

“This is what we want to come back to,” Rogers said.

[email protected]

@MarionRenault


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The rural cemetery of Rombout is a sacred land: Dateline

Anthony P. Musso

Located on the north side of Route 52, just west of its intersection with Route 82 in the town of Fishkill, Rombout Rural Cemetery was established in the mid-18th century as the cemetery for the Presbyterian Church of Rombout. The package contains the remains of more than 500 people buried there since it opened.

In 1747 a church congregation was formed, but the construction of a physical church was not completed for three years. That said, a member of the LaDue family was buried there in 1747, officially establishing its status as a burial place.

Judge Theodorus Van Wyck and other family members helped found the church in Brinckerhoff, a hamlet in the city, and Reverend Chauncey Graham was appointed its first pastor; he led the congregation for its first 23 years.

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During the Revolutionary War, when a smallpox epidemic affected troops at the nearby Fishkill Supply Depot, the Presbyterian Church at Rombout – as well as the Trinity Church in the village of Fishkill – was used as a military hospital to treat soldiers. Dr James Thatcher supervised the operation at Brinckerhoff Church.

The place of worship of Rombout suffered a fire in 1830 and was quickly rebuilt. However, when a second fire caused significant damage to the structure in 1866, church officials decided not to rebuild. In August 1885, the congregation was formally dissolved by order of the New York State Supreme Court in a special session held in Poughkeepsie.

“As the church was not going to be rebuilt after the second fire, it was dissolved and possibly incorporated into another local congregation,” said Lisa Daley, member of the Rombout Rural Cemetery Association. “State law prohibits the sale of a cemetery by a non-profit entity for profit or for any reason other than the cemetery. Any transfer of ownership must be made and approved by the courts.

The proposed transfer of ownership to the new Rombout Rural Cemetery Association was drafted in September 1885 and the transaction was finalized with a document filed in Orange County three months later.

While the ruins of the church have been cleared from the land, the space it once occupied remains intact.

“We have no evidence that the earth has been officially decommissioned,” said Daley. “Frankly, even if we did, historically it made sense to leave the space open so people could see where the church was. If you look at the patch from the right angle, you can see where the building foundation lines are.

Although the church has disappeared, the cemetery continued as an active entity. Among the buried personalities are General Abraham Van Wyck, Dr William Annan, and Colonel and Mrs Jacob Griffin. The latter couple owned Griffin’s Tavern, the ruins of which today stand along Route 82, just east of All Angels Road. During the American Revolution, the tavern was an important meeting place for Patriot activity and was frequently visited by Washington, Lafayette, Putnam, and Steuben, as well as many soldiers from the Continental and French Army.

In recent years, the association of cemeteries was in danger of disappearing. Fishkill resident Arnold Restivo has started contacting family members of those buried at the Rombout rural cemetery to alert them to impending action. In response, the association was relaunched in November 2013.

Since that time, the association’s trustees have mapped the cemetery land and located the existing plots and sections that are currently available for sale. Along with local residents, association administrator Ethan Dickerman found the graves of veterans that represent the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and II, the Korean War and Vietnam War.

“Another notable person buried in the cemetery is John Haight, captain of the 7th Regiment during the Revolutionary War, and subsequently served as a judge in Putnam County,” Dickerman said.

The council oversees all plot transactions and information for burial can be obtained by calling 845-393-4793.

Dateline ”appears on Wednesday. To suggest a topic, email Anthony Musso at [email protected]


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Security camera shows latest vandal to damage Green Lawn cemetery – news – the Columbus Dispatch

Yellow warning tape flapped in the wind, crisscrossing the entrance to a mausoleum erected nearly 100 years ago.

It is the latest sign of vandalism at Green Lawn Cemetery, where more than 600 graves have been damaged over the past two years at a cost of over $ 1 million.

The latest incident happened on January 9 when a man entered through a broken fence and damaged a mausoleum and eight burial sites before grabbing a handful of American flags from the graves of veterans and lighting them. He threw the burning flags into a heap of brush – an act captured by a security camera – before leaving the cemetery.

“The fences are a lot like locks. They keep honest people out,” said Randy Rogers, administrator on the Cemetery Volunteer Council.

The cemetery houses the graves of five governors and five Medal of Honor recipients, including Civil War veteran Ovid Smith, whose headstone was damaged by vandals on August 14.

The 360-acre Green Lawn Cemetery was founded in 1848 and designed by a landscape architect to be a rural cemetery that would offer peace and quiet.

Many personalities are buried there, including Samuel Bush, a grandfather of President George HW Bush; comedian James Thurber; and Cromwell Dixon, a 19-year-old who was the first person to fly over the Continental Divide.

The damaged mausoleum is where Al G. Field was buried 96 years ago. He was known for his minstrel shows which toured 46 weeks a year in the Midwest and East Coast and an extended tour in the South, according to Dispatch records.

“Minstrel shows are a mixed part of our history. On the one hand, they have perpetuated a lot of racist stereotypes,” Rogers said. “On the other hand, they also introduced a certain black culture to white Americans when they had the black minstrel shows.”

Field’s shows were notable in that he also hosted a separate show with an all-black cast, Rogers said.

Field’s grave was disrupted a few weeks ago when a vandal attempted to smash the glass on the front doors. The doors had been replaced with safety glass after a previous incident. This time, a point had cracks around the point of impact.

At the back of the mausoleum, shards of stained glass in purple and blue hues remain around the frame of a window. Its replacement will cost around $ 3,500.

Cemetery staff could not reach any of Field’s descendants. There may not be. This has been a challenge for many damaged historic burial sites, leaving the cemetery association to find the money to pay for repairs.

“Everyone is saddened and heartbroken by this. Everyone is angry about it,” Rogers said.

The Columbus Landmarks Foundation held a walking tour of the damage on Sunday, with all proceeds going to restoration efforts.

Rogers later said more than 80 people attended and someone donated $ 3,500 to repair the stained glass.

Columbus State Community College created a course this semester that allows students to map damaged burial sites to aid cemetery employees.

A GoFundMe.com page for cemetery restoration was set up a few months ago, and nearly $ 6,000 was raised through this effort and Sunday’s walk.

Central Ohio Crime Stoppers, which offers the $ 1,000 reward, posted photos of the latest vandalism in hopes that someone will present a tip leading to an arrest.

“This is no trivial case of vandalism. It is repeating itself,” said Kristen McKinley, chairman of the board of Central Ohio Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information can call 614-461-TIPS (8477), submit a tip online at stopcrime.org or message CRIMES, or 274637, and use the keyword CMH.

The director of the dispatch library, Julie Fulton, contributed to this story.

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@abburger


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Green Lawn cemetery vandals cause $ 1.25 million in damage – news – the Columbus Dispatch

Gravestones nearly two centuries old lie on their side in the dirt. The obelisks are shattered into pieces. Statues that have watched over the decades are pushed straight from their pedestals. Over the course of two summers, vandals repeatedly infiltrated historic Green Lawn Cemetery after dark and kicked and pushed and made their way through more than 1.25 million dollars in damage. The nonprofit Green Lawn Cemetery turned to Central Ohio Crime Stoppers – and the public – for help.

Gravestones nearly two centuries old lie on their side in the dirt. The obelisks are shattered into pieces. Statues that have watched over the decades are pushed straight from their pedestals.

Over the course of two summers, vandals repeatedly infiltrated historic Green Lawn Cemetery after dark and kicked and pushed and made their way through more than 1.25 million dollars in damage. The nonprofit Green Lawn Cemetery turned to Central Ohio Crime Stoppers and the public ?? to help.

“A few damaged markers, we can handle that,” said Randy Rogers, administrator of Green Lawn. This happens during a storm or when a giant branch falls from an old tree. But more than 600 monuments? “It’s completely overwhelming.”

Anyone who comes forward with information leading to the arrest of a vandal or cemetery thief will receive a cash reward of $ 1,000, said Crime Stoppers President Kristen McKinley. It will be an ongoing partnership between the two groups, with Crime Stoppers collecting information from informants, who will remain anonymous, and the cemetery funding the rewards. Signs will be posted around the cemetery announcing the prize, which officials hope will serve as a deterrent.

“To the person or persons who do these heinous acts, you will get caught,” McKinley said. “To the person or people who have information about this or who know who is doing this, think of the families of the deceased who are buried in these graves. How would you feel? … Do the right thing. ”

Due to the dollar amount involved, said Detective Jason Evans of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, this is a crime of vandalism. He got some leads but could use more information, he said.

Green Lawn Cemetery, established in 1848, spans 360 acres of rolling hills designed by a landscape architect. Many personalities are buried there, including Samuel Bush, the grandfather of President George HW Bush; former Ohio Governor and US Senator John Bricker, who was running mate of presidential candidate Thomas Dewey in 1944; World War I aviation ace Eddie Rickenbacker; and comedian James Thurber.

The oldest sections of the cemetery, which suffered the most damage, are furthest from the main entrance.

The perimeter is approximately 3 1/2 miles with 2.2 miles of fence. On Tuesday, a man cutting through the graveyard slipped just between two folded slats of the fence retreating towards Brown Road.

Cemetery officials believe the ten or so incidents, all of which occurred during the hot months of 2015 and 2016, are linked. The security patrol chased and nearly grabbed two men on one occasion, and described them as two white men of about 20 years of age, of average height and build.

On August 14, vandals damaged 109 monuments overnight. On November 26, the most recent incident, they pushed over 30 to 40 markers, causing between $ 35,000 and $ 45,000 in damage. Simply resetting a small stone marker costs $ 600, Rogers said.

“They were very vindictive,” he said. “They will pick up a tablet and smash it on another tablet.”

Some of the most significant damage is to a monument to Gustavus Swan, a War of 1812 veteran, Ohio Supreme Court judge in 1829-30 and best known for organizing Ohio’s first banking system . He died on February 6, 1860.

The vandals had to climb the high stone base to reach the columned part at the top, and they smashed a life-size Swan bust. The pieces, with the face destroyed, are still sitting at the base.

The cemetery has a portrait of Swan and a piece of the tile from which the bust was made. But to do it again will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

People can call Central Ohio Crime Stoppers for advice at 614-461-8477 or by using the stopcrime.org website. Identities are kept anonymous, McKinley said.

The association accepts donations from the public, both by mail and in person at the Green Lawn office. Rogers also launched a GoFundMe.com page for cemetery restoration about a month ago.

[email protected]

@shangilchrist


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The History of the Potter’s Field at New Paltz Rural Cemetery

Lisa Curtis, Office Manager at New Paltz Rural Cemetery, in the Special Needs Section of Plains Road Cemetery. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

This is the “Special Needs Section” of the New Paltz Rural Cemetery. Like all euphemisms, especially those relating to death, the title aims to soften a harsh reality.

This reality is complex: we all die, of course. But some of us die far from home. Some of us die lost, with no memory of our friends or family. Some of us die in back alleys or in emergency rooms. Some die face down in drainage ditches or under frozen sheets of broken cardboard. Some of us, in other words, die broken, alone, forgotten. These are the people whose bodies have for thousands of years filled what is most commonly known as the “potter’s fields”.

As awkward and inaccurate as it may be, no one at rural New Paltz cemetery would choose to have the special needs section portrayed by that dismal title. Better to mysteriously understate the markerless area along the cemetery’s northwest border than to bring additional indignity to the people whose bodies are buried there.

The term “potter’s field” has biblical roots. The story goes that after betraying Jesus, a desolate Judas threw the 30 pieces of silver he had received for his work at the feet of the high priests who had served him. Money was considered stained with blood, so priests used it to buy land where clay was dug for pottery. Useless for agriculture, the land was considered a suitable place to bury criminals, the forgotten and the poor.

The history of the potter’s fields is dark. In New York City alone, an estimated one million destitute and forgotten people were buried – most in trenches – on Hart Island, off the coast of the Bronx. Closer to home, the bodies of the fools, the poor and the helpless were routinely wrapped in sheets and dumped in shallow graves surrounding the Ulster County Poorhouse, on land that now includes the County Fairgrounds.

New Paltz Rural Cemetery was established in 1861, at a time when traditional family burial in cemeteries and near homes was fading. Civil war raged, causing a sudden need for more burial space. As of those days, nearly 7,000 bodies have rested there on 32 acres of land framed by a view of Shawangunk Ridge.

The special needs section of the cemetery, which was established in 1982, now includes 25 rows of burial plots located on the northwest side of the cemetery. It’s easy to miss, as no commemorative stones are allowed (which makes maintenance easier). Instead, plastic stakes with a name and a year of burial and here and there a stone in the ground mark the places where the bodies of the needy now lie.

In Ulster County, the history of the destitute dead is being studied by the County Social Services Department. The person may be known to the department, but may also be from outside the county. According to the commissioner of the department Michael Iapoce, the financial situation of a person is sought. If it is determined that the person is in fact indigent, the ministry will pay a funeral home $ 1,800 for basic funeral services, including a casket. The cemetery will receive $ 1,000 to cover its costs, he said. Additional money may be available for things like transporting the body.

Lisa Curtis is the office manager of the New Paltz Rural Cemetery Association, the non-profit organization that manages the Plains Road Cemetery. She knows better than anyone how many stories are buried in the expanse of the cemetery. Some are of historical interest. Some are inspiring. But the stories of the Special Needs Section are invariably heartbreaking.

The circumstances of death can vary from person to person, but rich or poor they have one thing in common: “Grieving is grieving, and everyone is grieving,” Curtis says.

Curtis remembers the family member who was able to place a gravestone in the ground over his mother’s grave 20 years after her death.

The association updates its archives, creates a database that will make it easier to identify and even memorize the people who are buried there.

Sometimes people come to the door of the association looking for the graves of missing relatives who are buried in the special needs section.
“They almost apologize. I’m trying to make them understand that it’s not necessary, ”Curtis says.

While searching the cemetery archives, Curtis came across what appeared to be a curious anomaly: four people buried on the same day in May 1986 in the special needs section. It didn’t seem possible. She contacted Carol Johnson, city historian and coordinator of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection, who was involved in efforts to improve the cemetery’s historical records. Johnson confirmed the record to be accurate and tragic.

All four burials were the result of a house fire that claimed the lives of four Kingston residents; an 83-year-old grandfather, his 62-year-old son and two of the son’s children, a four-year-old daughter and her 13-year-old sister. All were buried, side by side, in the special needs section.

The blaze made headlines at the time, with neighbors expressing concern that the house was a known Midtown fire trap. This controversial fire and its victims have long been forgotten, an iconic fate of every lost or forgotten soul in the realm of every potter everywhere.

“It’s sad,” Curtis says, reflecting on some of the people and stories she’s seen at her job. “No one should be forgotten. My grandmother told me that no one should die without someone to hold their hand.


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Volunteers with Shadow Lawn Cemetery plan museum, memorial

A volunteer mows the grass at Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens and Cemetery (Source: Lydia Hu / WBRC)
Tomb of Benjamin Hardman (Source: Lydia Hu / WBRC)
Tomb of Benjamin Hardman (Source: Lydia Hu / WBRC)
Tomb of DT Shields (Source: Lydia Hu / WBRC)
Tomb of DT Shields (Source: Lydia Hu / WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Wednesday marked the twentieth time the grass has been cut in the past year at Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens and Cemetery.

A volunteer weaving the gasoline tractor through the gravestones said it would take eight days to cover the 40 acres.

This volunteer is part of a small group that makes up the Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens Maintenance and Perpetual Care Association. He works to preserve the cemetery and to study the family history and genealogy of the people who lie there.

Founded in 1889 for a dollar, the cemetery was intended for African Americans who could not afford a proper burial.

Over fifteen years ago, dozens of people protested at Shadow Lawn about the conditions at the cemetery. The owners subsequently declared bankruptcy and left the cemetery without a guard.

John Lanier, one of the Association’s volunteers, says several members of his family are buried at Shadow Lawn, including his father and mother. Although the Lanier family plot was purchased for 24 people, half of the plots are occupied by foreigners.

“We thought, ‘This can’t happen. When did that happen? When did they bury people in this section?’”, Recalls Lanier.

Without a cemetery keeper, Lanier is committed to taking care of his family’s graves. And the plots intended for his family but occupied by strangers. And, also, all the other 40,000 graves on the cemetery grounds.

“There should be no doubt that your final resting place will be taken care of,” Lanier said.

He calls it a “labor of love”. The retired government worker, who returned to Birmingham after four decades in Washington, DC, says he never dreamed he would step into running the cemetery.

“Why am I doing this?” Lanier wondered. He has been volunteering for ten years.

“I love to play golf, I love to travel,” he said. “But it’s like a feeling of… it’s an obligation in a way even though we’re all volunteers. I just believe the Lord sends people, puts you in a certain place at a certain time, to do a certain thing. “

Lanier, who studied genealogy at the National Archives in Washington, DC, researched many people buried at Shadow Lawn.

Near the gated entrance, Lanier stops at the grave of Benjamin Hardman, a Spanish-American War veteran from Tallapoosa, Alabama.

“This guy had a brilliant military record,” Lanier said. “His commander said he was smart.

Hardman was wounded in the war when he was shot in the wrist.

It’s a short walk from a small gravestone for DT Sheilds.

“He’s the great-great, maybe the third grandfather of Mrs. Michelle Obama from her mother’s side of the family,” Lanier said. “He was a founding member of Trinity Baptist Church.”

Nelson Sturdivant, a man born into slavery in Dallas County, near Selma, Alabama, rests at the perimeter of the cemetery. The marker indicates that Sturdivant was born in 1853, but Lanier says his research suggests he was born in 1855.

“He married in 1874 and he and his wife had four children,” Lanier explained, standing next to the deteriorating gravestone. Unlike most granite headstones, the maker of Sturdivant is made from a composite of granite and concrete.

“We have kids from local schools who need to know this,” Lanier says of all the gravestones and the history he’s researched. “There is a lot of history in this cemetery, despite some overgrown areas there is so much history about mostly African Americans and that puts it in context.”

The Association earns interest on a state-mandated investment account, which is used for upkeep and maintenance. Lanier says that typically totals less than $ 10,000 each year, an amount that doesn’t even cover lawn maintenance.

Lanier hopes to be able to raise funds to take better care of the cemetery and create a small permanent museum open to the public. He says that as 501 (c) (13) every dollar goes towards the upkeep, operation and management of the cemetery. Lanier is not paid.

“We will need funding, funding for various purposes. Of course, we want to maintain the grounds. Of course, we want to eventually move forward with a memorial, with a museum. We want this museum to make this place even more alive, ”he said.

“There is a legacy that must be preserved here,” Lanier said, looking at the cemetery.

Read a copy of the 1889 act for Shadow Lawn below:

Copyright 2016 WBRC. All rights reserved.


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Without upgrades, a woman will move her twin sister’s grave from Shadow Lawn cemetery

Source: WBRC video
Source: WBRC video
Source: WBRC video
Source: WBRC video
Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – On a hot Friday afternoon, Ja’Mesha McClellan searched for her sister’s gravestone at the Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens and Cemetery.

Holding old photos of the engraver, she guided her search by looking for gravestones and prominent shrubs nearby.

Eventually, she found him and fell to her knees to repel the weeds that had invaded the small stone carved with her sister’s name, Car’Nesha.

“I always talk about my sister because I wish I could have met her. I write books about her. I think about her every day. She was my imaginary friend growing up. I used to him. talk and everything, ”McClellan said. Over 23 years ago, her sister passed away at just one month old.

McClellan has visited Car’Nesha’s grave all his life. Lately, she has considered moving the grave to another cemetery.

“I hate to see the cemetery like this,” McClellan said. “The grass is tall. They have holes in the grass. You are afraid to step into something. Some tombstones are removed.”

McClellan thinks his sister and the others buried at Shadow Lawn deserve better.

“This should be a big problem in our community,” she said.

John Lanier, treasurer of the non-profit organization that manages the upkeep and care of the cemetery, said others have already paid to move the graves at Shadow Lawn.

Lanier says the association is struggling to maintain the 40 acres of land on less than ten thousand dollars a year. This money comes from a few donations and interest earned on a state-mandated cemetery investment account.

McClellan says she would consider donating money to upgrade Shadow Lawn, instead of moving the grave, if she was confident the donation would be spent on upgrades.

According to Lanier, 100 percent of donations go to administrative costs and maintenance. No staff member is paid for their cemetery maintenance work.

The association is considering submitting a request for financial aid to Birmingham City Council.

“Just know that I wished and prayed that they could do a lot better for you all,” McClellan whispered into his sister’s gravestone. “I really hate it. May you rest in peace.”

Copyright 2016 WBRC. All rights reserved.


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Albany Rural Cemetery: A Visit Of (A Few) Faves

By Paula Lemire

Albany’s rural cemetery can be a lovely place for a stroll. As spring arrives, we asked Paula Lemire, who studies the history of Albany’s august park-like cemetery for Albany Rural – Beyond The Graves, to share some of her favorite landmarks there.

If one spends enough time walking and exploring the 467 acres of rural Albany cemetery, it becomes very difficult to choose one’s favorite monument. With over 200 numbered sections and thousands of graves ranging from crumbling sandstone slabs to larger-than-life statues, I fall in love with a new favorite with every visit.

That said, here are a few of my favorites – at least until the next walk.

Georgia (Lot 30, Section 5)

Albanian rural cemetery Georgie Shortiss monument

This gravestone caught my eye on my first visit to the rural cemetery years ago. At the time, someone had left a small jar of little thoughts at its base. Another time, I found stuck marigolds.

The weathered white marble shows a well-dressed young boy, an open book in one hand, pausing beside a tree stump shrouded in morning glory vines (the stump and the flowers are both symbols of premature death).

Albany Rural Cemetery Georgie Shortiss butterfly detail monument

There is an old story that this eleven year old boy was fatally stung by a bee on his way home from school and his sculpted likeness is staring at the bee as it comes to rest on his hand. The sculpture is (or was before the elements eroded some of the monument’s finer details) makes it a butterfly, a symbol of rebirth. Contrary to history, however, the burial records show that eleven-year-old George M. Shortiss died of typhus on February 1, 1861.

Georgie was the only son of George Shortiss and his wife, the former Mary Montheath. Originally from England, the elder George Shortiss was a baking soda merchant with a store at 43 Quay Street and a house at 259 State Street.

The McIntosh Vault (Lot 1, Section 10)

McIntosh vault albany rural cemetery

Part of the charm of this vault is its location. It is not visible from any of the main roads and is only accessible by isolated paths through the ravine that separates the southern and middle ridges. It overlooks a small stone bridge and the dry remains of the Lake of Consecration, where the fountains once sparkled and swans imported from Europe glided.

However, the site has not always been so isolated. When the vault was built, it overlooked one of the first portions of the Tour, a scenic route that visitors can follow through the cemetery. It was a highly visible section and considered top notch real estate. An engraving of the vault was even included in Churchill’s Guide Through Rural Albany Cemetery, the first manual for visitors and future lot owners.

Built partially into the hillside, the McIntosh vault is now missing the statue that once stood at the top, and the door is sealed with masonry blocks. Above the door, a dramatic winged hourglass illustrates the ancient saying “Time flies”. Although the vault is quite large, it contains only two burials: Ezekiel C. McIntosh and his first wife, Delia B. Tisdale.

Albany Rural Cemetery Detail of the McIntosh Arch

A native of Troy, McIntosh began his business career as a merchant of porcelain, tableware and lamps. With the money from his business venture, he is investing in real estate and, more importantly, in the new rail industry with Erastus Corning and Russell Sage. He was an investor in the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad and later chairman of the Schenectady and Troy Railroad.

Delia McIntosh died in 1826 after only five years of marriage. Eighteen years later, Ezekiel married Caroline Carmichael and purchased Schuyler Mansion as his primary residence.

Ezekiel McIntosh died on May 23, 1855 at the age of 49. Three years later his wealthy widow (who was described as possessing “a cheerful disposition and a cultivated mind”) married former President Millard Fillmore in the same mansion salon where, in 1780, Alexander Hamilton had married Elizabeth Schuyler.

This old grave even made a cameo appearance in a TV commercial for the iconic 288 nightclub on Lark Street.

Angel Parsons (Lot 12, Section 29)

albany parsons angel large rural cemetery

Unlike the McIntosh Crypt, the Parsons Monument is easy to find at the junction of Linden and Cypress avenues. It is an imposing cross of pale stone; at the base, a graceful bronze angel stands with open arms. The monument was one of two collaborations between famous Albany architect Marcus T. Reynolds and Oscar Lenz, a protégé of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Reynolds created many works for the rural cemetery, including the main gate to Route 32, the now vacant Superintendent’s Cottage, and several monuments.

Oscar Lenz was born in Providence, Rhode Island. At twelve, he joined the Rhode Island School of Design, and at 16, he joined the Art Students League of New York where he attracted the attention of Saint-Gaudens. Working under Saint-Gaudens, Lenz contributed plaster models of the famous statue of Diana from the tower that stood atop the second Madison Square Garden. He also worked with Saint-Gaudens on several miniatures for the original Penn Station.

In 1906, Lenz created two bronzes for the monument Reynolds had designed for the Parsons family land. The first was the angel who stands framed by an arch. The figure is beautiful and wonderfully detailed, from the delicate folds of her dress to the garland of olive trees that serves as her belt. Although the spots have given the face a gloomy look from afar, the features are refined and the expression soft when seen up close. Closer examination is absolutely necessary to appreciate the intricate bronze frieze that surrounds the sides and rear of the monument. Dozens of figures appear in an ancient funeral procession. There are men and women, infants and the elderly. Some sing hymns written on scrolls, others wear crowns. Some seem hopeful, others are bowed down with grief.

Albany parsons rural cemetery angel frieze closeup

The monument was commissioned by Agnes Chase Parsons, wife of John D. Parsons, Jr., chairman of the Albany Trust Company and the National Exchange Bank, also known for her extensive collection of autographs and rare books. Parsons was a major benefactor of the former Albany Orphan Asylum, which eventually became the Parsons Child and Family Center. John Parsons died at the age of 57 on December 16, 1904. The design of his monument was based on ideas provided by his wife.

Reynolds and Lenz also collaborated at the Hilton Mausoleum just down the Angel Parsons Path in 1909. The simple granite vault features a solid bronze relief that depicts an angel offering a poppy to a seated man. Unfortunately, this will be their last collaboration. Oscar Lenz, a young man of great personal charm and wonderful artistry, died on June 25, 1912. He was 39 years old.

Emily Weed Barnes (lots 1-3, section 109)

Emily Weed Barnes poem rural albany cemetery

The Weed-Barnes lot is just across Linden Avenue from Angel Parsons. The centerpiece of the lot is a huge dark gray granite well honoring these two influential Albany editors, Thurlow Weed and his son-in-law, William Barnes. Around the imposing obelisk are assorted smaller tombstones.

As the sun set on September 8, 1848, Emily Weed Barnes, then 20, daughter of Thurlow Weed and future wife of William Barnes, wrote the following verses about the rural cemetery, which had only been consecrated four years earlier. :

As the children got tired of playing
Throw away their toys and yearn for rest
Fly into a mother’s arms
And fall asleep on his chest,

So, Tawasentha, my soul
Beside his thrown earthly toys,
So will he have your sweet control.
And sleep softly here at last.

Tawasentha was Mohawk for “the place of many dead” and was one of the first names proposed for the rural cemetery in Albany. (Naming the cemetery was a surprisingly touchy subject with many letters and editorials in the Albany Argus suggesting and debating various names). The name Tawasentha was most often applied to the Normanskill Valley and was popularized in Longfellow’s Hiawatha song.

Emily Weed was born in 1827 and in 1849 married William Barnes who succeeded her father as editor of the Albany Evening Journal. As the registration secretary of the Albany Army Relief Association during the Civil War, she was active with the famous Albany Army Relief Bazaar (also known as the Sanitary Bazaar) which opened in Academy Park in 1864 This fair raised around $ 85,000 for the Union War. effort and is perhaps best known for the auction of the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation which was sent to Emily by President Lincoln via a family friend, Secretary of State William Henry Seward. This project is now owned by the New York State Library.

Emily Weed Barnes died on February 10, 1889. The verses she had written 41 years earlier were cast in bronze and affixed to her gravestone.

Elsie Cuyler Ten Eyck (Lot 1, item 49)

Albany rural cemetery Elsie Cuyler Ten Eyck gravestone

I really like the effigies of souls, winged faces or skulls which were a popular motif on tombstones from the late 17th to early 18th century. While these designs are much less common in Albany than in the Hudson Valley or New England, there are some wonderful examples at the rural cemetery.

This particular soul effigy does not have the usual wings and is simply surrounded by delicate flowers. The expression is serene and direct. It may even have been designed as a simple portrait of the deceased. The stone is unfortunately not signed by the sculptor.

Albany Rural Cemetery Elsie Cuyler Ten Eyck soul effigy image

This sandstone bollard was originally erected in the Dutch Reformed Cemetery that once stretched from Beaver Street to Hudson Avenue, just east of South Pearl. Over the years it has been moved several times from the original tomb to an arch under the Second Reformed Church which was built on top of the burial grounds. Eventually, it was placed in the Church Grounds section of the Rural Cemetery next to many old gravestones and relocated remains from the Old State Street Cemetery and other ancient Albany cemeteries.

The stone marked the grave of Elsie Cuyler, wife of Barent C. Ten Eyck. Born in 1728, she married in 1756. Her husband was a prominent silversmith and town councilor in Albany. Elsie died on November 27, 1791. She had no children and her gravestone was probably ordered by Barent, who survived her for four years.

Paula Lemire is the creator of Albany Rural – Beyond The Graves on Facebook.


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White Plains rural cemetery wants a crematorium

WHITE PLAINS – The historic rural White Plains cemetery is requesting a zoning change for the town to allow for the construction of a crematorium.

“In light of the clear trends from underground burials to cremation,” the cemetery said the cremation facility is necessary “to remain financially viable in the long term,” in a letter submitted to the Joint Council last week.

167 North Broadway Cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is requesting that the zoning code be amended to allow the construction of a crematorium on properties over 20 acres and currently set up as cemeteries. The municipal council referred the request to various municipal agencies for review and comment; a vote on the request has not yet been scheduled.

If approved, the White Plains Rural Cemetery Association said in its letter that a one-story, 1,800-square-foot crematorium building would be constructed on an existing maintenance site located off of Cemetery Road, adjacent to the ‘Interstate 287, about 100 yards down the hill from North Broadway. The neighborhood is not near residential buildings on North Broadway or near Ferris Avenue.

Cemetery officials could not be reached for comment.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the number of cremations performed in the United States has increased steadily in recent years. In 2010, 61.4% of all funerals ended in burials. This year, the association predicts that 46.7% will involve cremation this year. By 2020, most funerals will involve cremation.

Organized in 1854, the 30-acre cemetery includes graves from the 1700s, when it was part of the First Methodist Church in White Plains. The church building now serves as the cemetery office. The city’s annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations are held here.

Notable graves include James Bard, a 19th century painter of Hudson River ships; Margaret Floy Washburn, the first woman to earn a doctorate in psychology; “The Waltons” television actor Ralph Waite; and former heavyweight boxing contender Carl “The Truth” Williams.

Twitter: @RIchLiebson



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Westerlo Rural Cemetery needs your help

For the publisher:

The Westerlo The cemetery is one of the oldest in New York State with burials dating back to 1800. Did you know we have veterans as far back as the War of Independence, through Civil War to conflict the most recent ?

When you walk past Memorial Day or Veterans Day, you see how many of our veterans who fought for our freedom come from here to Westerlo. Not only that, but many families, friends and local neighbors are buried here.

We need your help.

The cemetery has seen a complete change of officers and administrators this year. All of these members are volunteers. In order to honor those who are buried here, and will be in the future, we now need your help in maintaining the cemetery.

The state imposes what can and cannot be done in cemeteries, while offering no help with running costs. The only source of guaranteed income is the interest generated by the permanent investments that the state regulates on the amount of each funeral that must be deposited as such. Everything but $ 50 goes to this fund.

We have an average of eight burials a year. Years ago, with high interest rates, there was a high return on operating costs, but today it is around $ 2,500, which has to cover everything – insurance, fees. ‘Condition, repairs, lawn mowing, pruning, equipment, cemetery backfilling, road care and gas.

The cemetery is approximately seven acres of which three quarters are currently mowed and trimmed. The equipment that the new agents started with this year is in poor condition and needs to be repaired or replaced. Once again, we need your help.

The reality is that if we exhaust all funds and all options, we are forced to turn the cemetery over to the city. The guidelines under which cities are required to take care of cemeteries are neither what we expect to see nor what our deceased family and friends deserve.

Help us maintain our rural and historic cemetery by making a donation today. Your donation is extremely important to the Westerlo Rural Cemetery as it provides resources that have an immediate impact, which will help us through these interesting and difficult times.

All donations are tax deductible and should be sent to “Westerlo Rural Cemetery” and mailed to Westerlo Rural Cemetery, Post Office Box 29, Westerlo, NY 12193. If you would like a receipt, please attach a stamped envelope to your address.

Did you know that you can also remember the cemetery with an endowment or life insurance policy? When making your donation tax deductible, mark it on your calendar to do so annually

Also, did you know that if you have a tombstone on your family land, by law you and your family are responsible for the maintenance of that stone? Many did not know it.

We are planning a fall clean-up day on November 7 from 10 a.m. to noon and we plan to put flags for Veterans Day, then in the spring we will have a clean-up day on April 30, 2016, again from 10 h at noon.

Your whole family is invited! In addition, we need more volunteers to sit on the board. We need you! Please mark your calendar.

To receive email notifications for upcoming meetings and events, please send an email to [email protected] and thank you for identifying yourself.

We plan to do more fundraisers over the next year and hope you will be behind us in our efforts to keep your cemetery going. We plan to put the information about the cemetery tombs online for historians and people logging into their family tree, erect fences, repair abandoned historic stones, plant flowers and trees in strategic areas. and set up boxes for cremation.

We are posting our next meeting on the City of Westerlo website – http://townofwesterlony.com – so please mark it on your calendar and come join us. We are trying for October 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Many thanks to you for taking the time to understand our dilemma, reading our letter, and sending a gift today. Your donation will make all the difference. We promise you.

Betty Filkins, Vice-President

and Steve Peck

Fundraising Committee

Westerlo Rural Cemetery volunteers


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