A family cemetery at South Pearl and Hamilton Street

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Throwback to when there was a large graveyard on what is now the southeast corner of South Pearl and Hamilton Street (now the site of the South Mall Towers apartment building).

It was established by Hendrick Hallenbeck (also spelled Hallenbeek and Hallenbake) in a will written in 1766. He set aside a portion of his land to be used as a family burying ground and maintained by his heirs. When he dies two years later, he was laid to rest there. It would not be his final rest, though. Over the years, as descendants moved away, streets were widens, and new buildings (including a bell foundry) surrounded the little cemetery, its upkeep became a burden to the remaining family members. By the mid-1800s, there were few new burials of family, but some of the space was used to bury victims of the 1832 cholera epidemic. In 1860, the corner lot was sold for taxes and a part of the proceeds used to relocate the Hallenbeck burial ground.

A large plot was purchased on the North Ridge at Albany Rural Cemetery. The graves from the corner of South Pearl and Hamilton were relocated there, a process that attracted so many onlookers that the police had to block their view of the exhumations and hold back the curious. A large marble monument with the names of Hendrick and his immediate family was erected in Section 73. The plot is just behind the Soldiers Lot on the edge of Glen Wood Hill. A small gate allowed visitors to access the plot from Dell Side Avenue overlooking the Kromme Kill.

From Paula Lemire’s Albany Rural Cemetery-Beyond the Graves on Facebook.