Tales From Our Crypts: Augustus Van Horne Stuyvesant Jr.

Tales From Our Crypts: Augustus Van Horne Stuyvesant Jr.
Burial marker for the Stuyvesant family crypt.
Burial marker for the Stuyvesant family crypt.

Burial marker for the Stuyvesant family crypt.

Gone but not forgotten, the Village is as much defined by what is above as much as it is by who is below.  Though burials in Manhattan were officially banned by the Common Council of New York City in 1852, a handful of spaces continued to serve the deceased up through the 20th century and still to this day.  In this new series, we will be focusing on some of the more notable dearly departed whose remains still or once had called the crypts, tombs, and graves of the Village their final resting places.

Inside the Stuyvesant family crypt on the day it was sealed. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

Inside the Stuyvesant family crypt on the day it was sealed. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

Augustus Van Horne Stuyvesant Jr. was the last direct descendent of Petrus Stuyvesant (also referred to as Peter, d. 1672), the 17th century Dutch governor of New Amsterdam.  He is also the last Stuyvesant to be buried in the family crypt at St. Mark’s in the Bowery Church.  On August 14, 1953 Augustus Jr.’s body was laid to rest, he passed three days before.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

Augustus Jr.  was born in 1870, a reclusive bachelor who never married, the last twenty years of his life he rarely left his family’s 5th Avenue mansion.  His funeral was attended by members from the branches of the Stuyvesant, business associates, and his home staff.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

The family crypt where Augustus Jr. was interred is located on the eastern side of St. Marks, within their courtyard facing 2nd Avenue.  It can currently be recognized by a black stone plaque over the location.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

The crypt is said to contain over 80 members of the Stuyvesant family, including Governor Peter, as well as British Colonel and friend of the governor Henry Sloughter and some of the late governor’s own slaves.  About 40 years before his son’s death, Augustus Van Horne Stuyvesant Sr. remodeled the entrance to the crypt and installed a marble catacomb.   On January 21, 1954, about 5 months after Augustus Jr.’s interment, the Stuyvesant family crypt was permanently sealed.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

Sealing the Stuyvesant family crypt. Photo from the archives of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.

We would also like to extend a thanks to the Neighborhood Preservation Center for providing these images of the sealing of the crypt, as well as information on Augustus Jr.

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