Their historic church graveyard is of special interest as it is where their church bell was buried prior to the British occupying the site. The parishioners knew that the bell would be melted down for ammunition so they decided to bury it. They knew that the intruders would not be apt to start digging up what appeared to be a grave. After our war for independence was over, the bell was dug up and hung in the belfry where it is located to this very day. The graveyard is full of wonderfully entertaining stories such as this. Did you know, for instance that the remains of any number of Hessian mercenaries from the Revolutionary War are still interred therein? Numerous secrets have been taken to the grave but some of the stories of those buried at St. Paul’s will be revealed and will pique your interest enough that you will surely want to visit the historic site.
Edward Gay, the Irish landscape painter, is one name that comes to mind and his tombstone is actually a bench which was designed by his son, Duncan, a sculptor. It is a bench for lovers and is inscribed with a phrase from John Milton: “Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new.” You can hear more about the fascinating history of this churchyard at the upcoming meeting of the East Bronx History Forum. Come and enjoy this fascinating lecture which will expand your knowledge in so many fields. Mr. David Osborn, the speaker, is the director of Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site and the leading expert on this subject.
The East Bronx History Forum will host this lecture at the Huntington Free Library, conveniently located at 9 Westchester Square adjacent to the Apple Bank for Savings just south of Benson Street near entrance to the Pelham Bay line of the IRT. The lecture is free and open to the public. It will start promptly at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, and those seeking further directions may contact Catherine McChesney, the librarian, at (718) 829-7770. The forum meets on the third Wednesday of each month with the exceptions of July and August.