Posts Tagged ‘The New York City Marble Cemetery’

The graves of New York City’s founding families

April 15, 2010

The city’s oldest cemeteries are home to the tombstones of early bigwig early New Yorkers.

The first Riker (of Rikers Island fame, of course) arrived in New Amsterdam from Holland in 1638.

His descendent, John Lafayette Riker, was a Civil War colonel in a Union Army volunteer regiment called the Anderson Zouaves.

Riker was killed at the Battle of Fair Oaks in 1862 and buried in Green-Wood Cemetery.

William Drayton Blackwell was a member of the Blackwell family, New Yorkers since 1776.

The Blackwells originally owned their namesake island in the East River, which eventually became Roosevelt Island in 1973.

This Blackwell, a slovenly “rich eccentric” according to a Brooklyn genealogy website, now lies in The New York City Marble Cemetery, at Second Street between Second and and First Avenues.

St. Marks in the Bouwerie Church, on Second Avenue and Tenth Street in the East Village, also contains the tombs of prominent 18th and 19th century families. 

The Samuel C. Ellis, MD buried here is probably the same Samuel Ellis who lived at One Greenwich Street and sold Little Oyster Island—eventually Ellis Island—to the federal government around 1800.

The final resting place of the Kip family

May 4, 2009

That’s Kip as in the Kips Bay Kips, the New Amsterdam family that acquired a land grant along the East River in the mid-17th century and called it Kips Bay Farm. Now the area is Kips Bay the neighborhood.

The Kip house, a landmark at a time when few homes existed north of lower Manhattan, stood at what is now the Eastern end of 34th Street from 1655 to 1851.


Dozens of Kip family members were interred in this vault from 1842 to 1895. It’s in The New York City Marble Cemetery, on Second Street between First and Second Avenues, along with the vaults of other old New York families.