Landmarks Preservation Commission

May 26, 1981, Designation List 144

LP-1177


REMSEN CEMETERY, between Alderton Street and Trotting Course Lane, adjoining 69-43 Trotting Course Lane, Borough of Queens.

 

Landmark Site: Borough of Queens Tax Map Block 3178, Lot 44.


     On July 8, 1980, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on the proposed designation as a Landmark of the Remsen Cemetery and the proposed designation of the related Landmark Site(Item No. 4).    The hearing had been duly advertised in accordance with the provisions of law. At the public hearing there were five speakers in favor of designation and none opposed. Twenty-three letters were received supporting designation and none against.


DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS


The Remsen Cemetery is a tangible reminder of the colonial past of this section of Queens. Typical of the small private cemeteries that were favored by early settlers, it commemorates one of New York's earliest families and the role it. played in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War. The plot has been preserved and maintained by various local organizations and citizens within the community.


The Remsen family ancestors immigrated to America in the 17th century from northern Germany and eventually settled in Queens County. The founding father of the clan in America was Rem Jansen Van der Beeck; his sons adopted the surname Remsen. One son, Abraham Remsen, settled at Hempstead Swamp, as this area of Queens County was then called, and had a son named Jeromus. Jeromus lived on the paternal farm and had a son, also named Jeromus, born on November 22, 1735.  It is not known if the younger Jeromus grew up to live on or simply near the family homestead.  The younger Jeromis served during the French and Indian War of 1757 and became active in Whig politics prior to the Revolutionary War. After the Continental Congress of 1774 was established the inhabitants of New Towne (Newtown) assembled at the request of Jeromus Remsen and appointed a committee to insure adherence to congressional measures

within the limits of the town.     Jeromus Remsen was a member and clerk of the county committee.  Later he was appointed colonel over half the militia of Kings and Queens counties and joined forces under the brigade of General Greene in Brooklyn. These American forces were routed at the Battle of Long Island and after their retreat Colonel Remsen was forced to flee to safety in New Jersey; where he resided until the war's end.    Jeramus had married Ann(a), daughter of Cornelius Rapelje on April 31, 1768. She bore him seven children of whom only three sons survived infancy. Jeromus died in 1790 while Anna lived until 1816.


The original cemetery lay solely within the property of the Remsen family and it is typical of the private family cemeteries favored by New York's colonial settlers. In a February 23, 1887 article in a Kings County newspaper the cemetery was described as lying between the old Remsen house and the Suydam homestead, neither of which survives. This small cemetery is believed to have been used from the mid-18th through the 19th centuries for Remsen family members. The oldest known grave is that of Jeromus Remsen from 1790.  In a survey of 1925, the graves and grave stones of eight Remsen family members were identified These included those of Colonel Jeromus Remsen, his wife Ann(a) Remsen, a Jeromus Remsen who was probably their son, three Remsen children, a Bridget Remsen, and Major Abraham Remsen who is described as the colonel's brother. Presently the cemetery features a group of three brownstone gravestones near. Alderton Avenue, formerly Orville Street

(the two Jeromus Remsens and Anna Remsen) two along the northwesterly perimeter (Jerome Remsen and Ann Elizabeth Remsen), and the remnants of another tombstone along the southern property line (Brisger Remsen). These tombstones date from 1790 through 1819.  Recently, commemorative gravestones have been drected by this Veterans Administration in honor of Col. Remsen, Major Abraham Remsen, and their two brothers Aert Remsen and Garret Remsen, who were also Revolutionary War Officers.A War I memorial, honoring the community`s service in that war occupies the center of the cemetery. It consists of two doughboy statues flanking a flagpole.


The Remsen cemetery remains an important element in the community commemorating an early New York family and their ccntributions to our heritage.


Report prepared by Daniel P. Brunetto,

Research Department



FOOTNOTES


1. Kings County newspaper clipping. February 23, 1887 (excerpt in Landmrarks Preeervation Commission files).


2. Charles U. Powell, _Description of Private and Family Cemeteries in the Borough of Queens, Alice N. Meigs, ed. (Jamaica, New York: Long Island Collection, Queens Borough Public Library, 1932) pp. 7, 62,63.




LIST OF INSCRIPTIONS IN REMSEN CEMETERY


No I. BROWN STONE (Poor)

JEROMUS REMSEN,

son of Jeromus and June Remsen;

born Now. 21, 1735; died Jun. 7, 1790; aged 55 years.


No. 2. BROWN STONE (Good)

In Memory of ANNA REMSEN,

who departed this lite April 19th, 1816, in the 75th year of her age.


No 3. BROWN STONE (Good)

In Memory of JEROME REMSEN,

who departed this life 4th Jan'ry, 1805; aged 23 years, 8 months and 20 days.


No. 4. BROWN STONE )Good)

In Memory of JEROME REMSEN,

who departed this life 22nd December, 180-1; aged 6 years and 12 days.


No 5. BROWN STONE (Poor)

In Memory of CORNELIUS REMSEN,

who de-parted this life September 10th, 1805; aged 1 year, 5 months and 16 days.


No 6. BROWN STONE (Good)

In Memory of ANN ELIZABETH REMSEN, who departed this life April 4th, 1808; aged 1 year, 7 months and 20 days.


No 7. BROWN STONE (Poor)

BRIDGET REMSEN; died Mar. 13, 1819; aged 39 years, 3 mos. and 1 day.


Major ABRAHAM REMSEN. (Unknown location)




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