January 13: Cortland Hempstead

January 13: The Steamboat “Lexington” burns in Long Island Sound on January 13, 1840; 139 of the 143 people on board die. Cortland Hempstead, the ship’s chief engineer who died in the disaster, now lies beneath a gravestone decorated with a carving of the ship on fire.

January 12: John Matthews

January 12: John Matthews, “The Soda Fountain King,” who pioneered the flavoring of carbonated water, died on this date in 1870. His Green-Wood monument, dressed with gargoyles, soon wins “Mortuary Monument of the Year.”

January 11: Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

January 11: The Beecher-Tilton trial, the “Trial of the Century” in which Theodore Tilton sued “The Great Divine,” Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, for having had an affair with Tilton’s wife, begins.

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett Dead at 76

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, internationally-acclaimed composer, died on Christmas Eve, 2012. His remains will be interred at Green-Wood. It turns out that Sir Richard and Sir Paul–Paul McCartney, that is–were good friends. Here is Paul’s website, as it appears today, January 10, 2013: And, also on that home page, “A personal message from Paul on … Read more

January 10: John Wolfe Ambrose

January 10: John Wolfe Ambrose, who mapped New York Harbor, and for whom the Ambrose Lightship, long-stationed at the mouth of New York Harbor, was named, was born on this date in 1838. That ship survives at South Street Seaport.

January 9: Sarah W. Kairns

January 9: On this date in 1855, Sarah W. Kairns, mother of 22 who had died two months earlier, finally is placed in her final resting place at Green-Wood. Sarah, who died at the age of 117 years, 3 months, and 16 days, is the oldest of the more than 500,000 individuals who are interred at Green-Wood.

January 8: George Bellows

January 8: Realist painter George Bellows, only 42 years old, dies of a ruptured appendix. An exhibit of his work, “George Bellows,” is now running at The Met.

Grant For The Weir Greenhouse Restoration

Green-Wood just has been awarded a grant of $500,000 by New York State’s Regional Economic Development Council to begin work on the restoration of the landmarked Weir Greenhouse, at Green-Wood’s main entrance, the corner of 25th Street and Fifth Avenue. The greenhouse, in disrepair, was purchased by Green-Wood in February, 2012, for use as a … Read more

January 7: Anna Case

January 7: Anna Case, lyric soprano with the Metropolitan Opera, who married Clarence Hungerford Mackay (one of the wealthiest men in America) in 1931, died on this date in 1984.