Trinity Churchyard Cemetery

[The churchyard shortly after 9-11-2001]

October 1, 2003

I'm glad the Sept. 11 memorial day is over. I didn't want to go to the two cemeteries around that time. I'm not sure whether I will wander over to the footrints of the World Trade Center or not. I think I will have my hands full just looking at gravestones, and hope to have time to get to the NYC Historical Society.

October 8, 2003

After much deliberation about the weather, I went to the big city [New York City] on Monday. It was a 3 1/2 hour trip (from Massachusetts). Not bad. On the way we passed through Rye, NY. [Charles Crommelin's last days (or years) were spent as a merchant in the town of Rye, N.Y. This is on the coast opposite Long Island. Today it is considered an affluent NYC suburb close to the ritzy commuter town of Greenwich, and not far from La Rochelle as well.] I couldn't see much except the commuter station, high voltage areas etc. I'm sure it's a pretty nice town, or the suburbs are anyway.

The ground at Trinity was quite large. I could see immediately that I had an enormous problem because you are not allowed to walk on the grass, and only a small percentage of stones are viewable from the walkways.

(Here you can find 8 Crommelin records in the Trinity Churchyard
and 4 Crommelin references in the Parish records)

After wandering the entire cemetery, but concentrating more on the north part, I boldly began walking on the grassy areas. Good thing too: Charles and Daniel share a common slab stone slightly inset on the ground with a good deal of the wording worn away. I did my best to interpret it. I got about 13 good photos and a couple of closeups. The sun started to come out but there were so many trees around, and being in the financial district, the sun didn't benefit me too much. The pictures are quite good.

I also picked up some brochures. I picked up a French brochure of St. Paul's for Mariad and an English one for us re Trinity and St. Paul's. St. Paul's was a disappointment. The grounds were locked and off-limits to all visitors - for how long I do not know. I saw the inside of St. Paul's but I did not come to see that.

No other relatives could be found at Trinity. The number of stones in which the wording had flaked off and/or were 2/3 broken, was substantial. I was totally stymied in my initial search, but after about 1 1/2 hours I finally found it. I was worried it might be unreadable and that I could not identify it since the tombstone would be over 260 years old and dates back to well before the American Revolution. I hope you like the photos. You can even read the wording which I was sure would not reproduce.


"[Here la]y Body of Charles Crommelin
[son of Da]niel Crommelin who departed
[his life January] the 8th 1739 Aged 63 years"

All in all I was quite pleased. On behalf of you and Mariad, I paid my respects there at their gravesite, and in the special chapel as well. I also laid an attractive leaf on the stone and photographed it. This leaf was from a species of tree I wasn't familiar with. At the train station, tickets were inspected and at that time one leaf fluttered down from my bag, all withered and brown. The inspector saw it on the station floor and her eyes opened wide. Perhaps she thought it was marijuana! I found it rather amusing. I managed to flatten one out and preserve it for you and hope I can do the same for Mariad.

Then I paid a visit to the pit of hell at the World Trade Center site. It was nearby, as you know. There were many people there; the ladies were crying. The pit was perhaps 8 stories deep (about 80 feet). It was an emotional day.

The church was most impressive. Their gravestone will never be lost again. I photographed it from every angle. It was my pleasure, believe me. I will get duplicate photos made for you and Mariad. In the meantime I will write about their chronology in Orange County for your archives. I will also contact the Trinity Archives (which is located elsewhere) and see who else might be buried there. I hope they will answer me with regards to the Sinclairs and Anne Testart. I will do the same for St. Paul's.

Jay Robbins

A 'rubbing' made of Daniel and Charlse's tombstone
by Paul and Mary-Ann Crommelin of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The Trinity Church website shows the location of the Daniel/Charles Crommelin tombstone. Anne Testart and her son Isaac Crommelin were probably buried in a common grave during the epidemic of 1702.

A massive fire which destroyed the church on this site in 1776 also obliterated the face of many tombstones. Owing to the fact that all records of burials prior to 1750 were kept in the clerk's office which were burned when the Trinity School in Rector Street was destroyed by another fire, the Crommelin burial records would have been lost.

Between 12 am and 1 am on September 21, a fire broke out in buildings on Whitehall Street and burned through the night. Conditions were conducive to fire: the city was dry and a brisk southeasterly wind blew. Between 1000 and 1500 houses burned to the ground. A newspaper reported:

"The Fire…swept away all the Buildings between Broad Street and the North-River, almost as high as the City-Hall; and from thence, all the houses between Broadway and the North-River, as far as King’s College…Long before the main Fire reached Trinity Church, that large, ancient and venerable Edifice was in Flames, which baffled every Effort to suppress them. The Steeple, which was 140 feet high, the upper Part of Wood…resembled a vast Pyramid of Fire…Several Women and Children perished in the Fire, their Shrieks, joined to the roaring of the Flames, the Crash of falling Houses…formed a scene of Horror beyond Description. Besides Trinity Church, the Rector’s House, the Charity School…and many other fine Buildings were consumed. St. Paul’s Church and King’s College were directly in the Line of Fire, but saved with very great Difficulty."