Rezeau-Van Pelt Cemetery #14

The Rezeau-Van Pelt Cemetery is located near the intersection of Tysen Court and Center Street, just west of the Third County Courthouse, on the original site where it was established in the 1780s (decades before the courthouse was built). It is a small homestead graveyard, the type of family burial plot that was once commonly found on private property. It has ten small headstones and one larger monument with a molded arched pediment.

The iron fence around the cemetery replicates an original fence built ca. 1850. It features decorative ironwork with sculptural details. A gate on the south side has a large angel's head with radiating beams of light, as well as tassels and a plaque naming "C.R. Van Pelt." The fence's crossbars are marked with winged hourglasses. The corner posts are topped with draped urns, another funerary symbol.

This private cemetery was used by families that occupied the structure now known as the Voorlezer's House. It was part of an 80 acre parcel owned by Rene Rezeau and passed to descendents with the names of Van Pelt and Wheatley. In 1854 surrounding land, excluding the cemetery, was sold by Cavalier Van Pelt to Richard Tysen. The cemetery does not appear on maps of the area until the 1911 Sanborn Atlas and the 1911 Topographic Map.

Individual graves include Wyntje (or Wyntjie) Rezeau Johnson (died 1788 at age 43), Richard Johnson, husband of Wyntje (died 1815 at age 79), Richard Johnson, son of Wyntje (died at age 14), and Jacob Rezeau (headstone 1789), father of Wyntje.

The large monument erected in memory of John A. and Susannah Van Pelt (who died in 1826 and 1863, respectively) was inscribed: "...granddaughter of Jacob Rezeau Senr. And the last of five generations interred in this burying ground. They were Huguenots, who left France when persecuted for their religion; settled in this neighborhood. They selected this spot for their last resting place on earth. Sacred be their dust."

The Landmarks Preservation Commission of New York City designated this small cemetery as a landmark in 1969. Restoration work on the fence and monuments ca. 2003 was made possible by State Senator John J. Marchi; Staten Island Historical Society; and New York City, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Sarah Hermann