Burying Ground 1696-1916
The 1898 "Sunday School" Annex was built over part of the cemetery's South Section. It was necessary to move six graves to make room for the foundation pillars of the addition: Jan Van Bunschoten and Abagail, John, Mary, Anne and Abraham Tyson. They were reburied in the "New" section.
Several families chose to move remains rather than have the graves rendered inaccessible. The Rev. Vander Naald refers in his history of 1955 to the "field day" had by local newspapers when graves were disturbed:
704 burials. 192 family names.
83 families have Staten Island streets named after them.
"Disturbing Ancient Graves. Chapel to be Built in Historic Cemetery"
"A Gruesome Spectacle: Bones of Old Families Dug Up."
Other graves were not moved, the families did not object even though they could not visit their loved ones. These are still visible in the crawl space beneath the building.
They include the graves of the Martling, Tyson, Vreeland, De Hart,
Van Name and Braisted families. These are among the oldest Island families. The Braisteds were particularly devoted congregants.
One of New York City's secret places.
In 1923, 704 stones were counted. All headstone inscriptions face east. There are also numerous footstones in all three sections. Among the early Dutch and Huguenot families are: 54 Post; 53 Van Name; 36 Housman; 34 Tyson; 32 Mersereau; 24 Corsen; 17 De Hart and Zeluff; 15 Bush; 14 Prall; and 11 each Decker, Drake, LaTourette and Vreeland.
Today the Cemetery is a place of changing beauty in all light and weather conditions. Many of the gravestones are considered works of art.