A Grave Matter

A paper written by Laura Roosa

 for Melzingah Chapter D.A.R,

Fishkill on Hudson, 1906

(Excerpts by Antonia Houston)




The author comments on the book done by Elias Van Voorhis, and that he didn't copy many of the epitaphs "many of which are both quaint and curious, and quite worth recording."




My Flesh shall slumber in the ground

"till the last Trumpets Joyful sound

Then bursts the grave with sweet surprise

And in my Savior's image rise



Popular with the Van Voorhis family, with "Dearest mother, Dearest father, etc.



"Dearest Son since thou hast left us

here thy loss we deeply feel;

But "tis God that haft bereft us

`He can all our sorrows heal."



Brett, Matthew  When the church was enlarged and extended further west on Main Street, it covered Madame Brett's family plot, where she, some of her children and grand children reposed.  Matthew Brett, d. 1771, was not disturbed, it being  at the furthermost east [sic] end of the plot and some ten feet from the present edifice



Brinckerhoff, John, d. March 26, 1785

A continuation of what was in the Van Voorhis book


A friend to peace a foe to strife

In Church & state a friend and guide

Who scarce was equal'd or out vy'd

His life a Lamp of Holiness

Made him Belov'd & much cares'd

In Death releas'd from pains & care

He bids you haste to meet him there.




A Grave Matter

(Excerpts by Antonia Houston )

Page 2


Given , James

In memory of James Given

who was born in Cullycackey


April 12, 1777

Came to America in 1798,

and after a residence in this

Village of more than sixty years,

Died Nov 5, 1862

In the 86th year of his age.


 A man of spotless integrity, warm affections, and unusual public spirit, he was also a sincere christian; and he filled up his long and laborious life with great usefulness to his Family, to Society, and to the Church.


Husey, James

Roosa also claims that this stone is the oldest in the churchyard, so  if there were earlier ones they vanished  100 years ago.


Martin, Sheldon ‑ more verse

The smiling infant with all its charms

Lay struggling in its mother's arms

`Call the father that he may see

This trying scene as well as me

Dear parents view my gasping breath

And do not murmur at my death

Sleep on sweet babe 7 take thy resr

God call'd the home he thought it best.

Dear parents weep no more for me

For i have gone to rest;

But do prepare that we may meet

In Heaven among the bless'd"



Van  Voorhis,

  [The long note I copied about Johannes Conte Van Voorhis, b. April 20, 1683, d Oct 10, 1757 seems to be an abridgement of text from Roosa's book.  She said the the bodies of John and Barbara Van Dyck Van Voorhis were first buried in Van Voorhis burying ground on his farm; it was used as such to about 1790.  This particular stone was found several years ago (ie ca 1900) when the foundation of the Dutchess Hat Works were being laid, and was preserved and put here by a descendant, Mr Elias Van Voorhis.  So another case of "they moved the stones but not the grave"]


A Grave Matter

(Excerpts by Antonia Houston )

Page 3


Du Bois, Jacob, Nov 24, 1795

Jacob DuBois is my name

Fishkill is my station

Heaven is my dwelling place

And Christ is my salvation

When i am dead and turned to dust

And all my bones are rotten

These lines you see to remember me

That I am not forgotten.


Niven, Josephus

"Mourn not though I make the 4th one

Jesus takes us from your sight

We were little suffering pilgrims

We could tarry but a night"


Walmsley , William

In memory of William Walmsley

Measurer of grain in the city of New York

who departed this life

at Fishkill

Aug. 24, 1803

Aged 59 years.

Oh death, 'tis thine to end

And cut the slender thread of kindred ties.

The tenderest sympathies of Husband and wife

Dissolved by Thee soon sickens, droops and dies ‑‑

But soon terrific king thy sway shall end

For thine though long is not Eternal sleep‑‑

When the last trump shall rocks and mountains rend

The just shall rise, ascend and  cease to weep.

Accept this tribute dear departed friend

This last sad offering of thy much loved wife

and when with her the voyage of life shall end

Oh may she join thee in eternal life."

[Roosa mentions someone sitting on Walmsley's stone as she was working,

so it was there when she wrote her book.  I don't know if you found it.]

Weeks, James, d. nov 15, 1790

O remember me I once had breath

In the Midst of life you are in Death

When Death calls, you must obey

I was well was sick & died in a day.


A Grave Matter

(Excerpts by Antonia Houston )

Page 4


Van Wyck, Cornelius, d. June 28, 1761

[the long bit about "came from Hempstend, LI and purshased

. . it came from the Roosa book as well"


Westbrook, Hannah

"Sacred to the memory of Hannah Westbrook,

wife of Cornelius D. Westbrook,

 and daughter of Isaac Van Wyck;

she died on the evening of

Lord's day the 23, Feb. 1817:

in the 30 year of her age.

Her record is on high.

She was the Great grand daughter of Col. John Brinckerhoff."