AN OLD CEMETERY,
BURIAL GROUND OF EARLY HEBREW IMMIGRANTS TO NEW AMSTERDAM.

FOUND IN THE NEW YORK HERALD NOV 9 1890

JUST WHERE NEW BOWERY ENTERS CHATHAM SQUARE & SURROUNDED ON 3 SIDES BY UNSIGHTLY TENEMENT HOUSE WALLS IS ALL THAT IS LEFT OF ONE OF THE OLDEST CEMETERIES IN THIS COUNTRY.
IT IS THE REMNANT OF THE ORIGINIAL BURYING GROUND OF THE FIRST HEBREW CONGREGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, SHEARITH ISREAL. U. S. CONSULTS, JUDGES, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS & PEOPLE WHO WERE CONSPICUOUS FIGURES AMONG THOSE WHO MADE THE HISTORY OF NY ARE BURIED HERE. THE ORIGINIAL BOUNDARIES INCLUDED A MUCH GREATER AREA, THROUGH WHICH NOW RUN NEW BOWERY, OLIVER & A NUMBER OF CROSS STREETS.
THE REMNANT OF THIS CEMETERY NOW CONTAINS ONLY A FEW GRAVES WHOSE TOMBSTONES AND MONUMENTS ARE EITEHR SHATTERED BY THE ACTION OF FROST AND WEATHER, OR ARE COVERED WITH DEBRIS AND GRASS, AND SOILED WITH THE STAINS OF DECAYED VEGETATION.
THE INSCRIPTIONS ON THE SLABS, THOUGHT NEARLY DEFACED, ARE IN HEBREW, ENGLISH & SPANISH. SOME STONES HAVING ALL 3.
AS FAST AS STREETS WERE CUT THROUGH THE CEMETERY, THE BODIES WERE REMOVED TO THE CEMETERY IN 21ST STREET. AND TO THE PRESENT BURYING GROUND OF THE CONGREGATION ON LONG ISLAND AND ONLY THOSE GREAVES REMAIN WHOSE REMOVAL HAS NOT AS YET BEEN NECESSITATED BY THE DEMAND ON THE PART OF THE CITY FOR MORE GROUND. IT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE USE OF THE TENEMENT HOUSE CAT, TOMATO CANS AND ALL SORTS OF "THROWAWAYABLE" MATTER. ON ANY DAY OF THE WEEK PASSERSBY CAN SEE HANGING ON PULLEYED ROPES, THE FAMILY WASHINGS, PULLED IN OR OUT OF ONE OF THE TENEMENT WINDOWS BY THE RED BRAWNY ARMS OF AN INMATE.
YET, NEGLECTED AS IT IS, IT IS INTERESTING AS MARKING THE SPOT WHERE THE DEAD ARE BURIED OF A PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN AN ENIGMA TO THE WORLD IN ALL AGES & COUNTRIES, &  WHOSE HISTORY IS THE HISTORY OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN CIVILIZATION.
IN THE YEAR OF THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA THERE WAS STARTED IN SPAIN A CRUSADE AGAINST ALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT DEVOUT VASSALS OF THE CHURCH
OF ROME. ITS VICTIMS WERE THE HIGH AS WELL AS THE LOWLY, AND ON ACCOUNT OF THE VAST POWER WHICH THEIR WEALTH GAVE THEM THE HEBREWS WERE
PERHAPS THE GREATEST SUFFERERS.
IN ORDER TO WORSHIP AS THEIR FATHERS DID, THEY WERE COMPELLED TO HOLD SUBTERRANEAN, MEETINGS OR CONDUCT SERVICE IN THE INNER ROOMS OF THE PRIVATE HOME OF ONE OF THEIR MEMBERS.
THESE PERSECUTIONS CONTINUED WITH UNVARYING INTENSITY FOR OVER 200 YRS. SOME OF THEM LEFT THEIR COUNTRY WHEN AMERICA WAS IN A CONDITION TO FURNISH A HOME FOR THOSE WHO WERE TOO DELICATELY REARED TO BRAVE THE HARDSHIPS OF PIONEER LIFE.
ACCORDINGLY IN 1644, WHEN THESE INTERMITTEN CRUSADES BROKE OUT A FRESH, SMALL COMPANY OF HEBREWS REPRESENTING SOME OF THE BEST & WEALTHIEST FAMILIES AMONG THEM HASTILY GATHERED UP WHAT PERSONAL PROPERTY THEY COULD CARRY AWAY WITH THEM AND CAME TO AMERICA.
SOME LANDED IN SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, SOME CAME TO NEWPORT & NY & SOME WENT TO BRAZIL, WHICH WAS A COLONY OF PORTUGAL. IN 1654 27 PEOPLE OF BOTH SEXES LEFT PORTUGALTO ESCAPE THE FURY OF THE INQUISITION THERE, AND LANDED ON THE COAST OF BRAZIL.
FINDING THERE A PREJUDICE AGAINST THIR RACE TOO STRONG, FOR THE REALIZATIONOF THEIR HOPES, THEY TOOK PASSAGE ON THE BRAZILIAN BARK SAN CATRINA BOUND FOR NEW AMSTERDAM & COMMANDED BY JACQUES DE LA MOTTA.
AMONG THESES PILGRIMS WERE ISAAC LEVI, ABRAM DE LA SIMON, ISAAC MEZA, DANIEL ISREAL, MOSES AMBRASIAS, SALVATOR D' ANDRADA,JOSEPH DE COSTA, JACOB BARSUNSON, ABRAHAM DE LUCENA, DAVID FIERA AND JACOB HENRIQUE. WHEN THEY ARRIVED AT NEW AMSTERDAM GOVERNOR STUYVESANT, ON LEARNING THAT THEY WERE HEBREWS, REFUSED AT FIRST TO LET THEM LAND AND ON COMPLAINT OF THE COMMANDER OF THE BARK, SEIZED THEIR BAGGAGE AND HELD IT UNTIL THEIR PASSAGE WAS PAID, AND PART OF THEIR NUMBER WERE HELD BY THE FIERY DUTCH GOVERNOR AS HOSTAGES UNTIL THE DEMANDS OF THE MASTER OF THE BARK WERE SATISFIED.
 
ALTHOUGH THE HEBREWS WERE RECEIVED MUCH MORE KINDLY BY THE DUTCH IN THE MOTHER COUNTRY AND HER COLONIES, STILL THESE PEOPLE ENCOUNTERED A GREAT DEAL OF HOSTILE PREJUDICE AT THE HANDS OF THE INHABITANTS OF
NEW AMSTERDAM.
GOV. STUYVESANT WROTE TO HOLLAND FOR ADVICE AS TO WHAT HE SHOULD DO WITH THESE PEOPLE. THE REPLY FROM THE HOME GOV. MUST HAVE BEEN FAVORABLE TO THE HEBREWS, FOR WE FIND THAT THEY HAD LANDED, & HAD ESTABLISHED A CONGREGATION & A DEFINATE PLACE OF WORSHIP, WITH SAMUEL BROWN AND ABRAM DE LUCENA THE LATER ONE OF THE SAN CATRINA PASSENGERS AS THEIR FRIST MINISTERS.

IN 1690 THEY BEGAN TO MEET IN EACH OTEHR'S HOUSES FOR WORSHIP. PREVIOUS TO THIS TIME THEY WERE UNABLE TO WORSHIP PUBLICLY , AND 5  YEARS LATER THEY BUILT THE FIRST SYNAGOGUE IN MISS STREET. WHICH RAN OUT OF BROAD IN A CURVE TO SOUTH WILLIAM STREET. THE STREET WAS WIPED OUT BY THE GREAT FIRE OF 1835. IN 1729 THE SYNAGOGUE WAS REBUILT WITH THE REV. JOSEPH JASURUM PINOT AS MINSTER OF THE CONGREGATION. THIS BUILDING STOOD UNTIL 1818.

THE GRAVES WICH ARE STILL IN THE CEMETERY IN NEW BOWERY ARE AMONG THE OLDEST BELONGING TO THE CONGREGATION SHERITH ISREAL, AND INCLUDE THOSE OF ALEXANDER RAPHAEL ZUNTZ, WHO CAME OVER H ERE IN 1777 WITH THE HESSIANS WHO WERE THE ALLIES OF ENGLAND DURING THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION. HE WAS COMISSIONER AND ADJUTANT TO THE GENERAL STAFF AND WAS ENGAGES IN THE BATTLE AT TRENTON. URIAH HENDRICKS WHO WAS BURIED HERE IN 1798, WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE PRESENT OHOUSE OF HENDRICKS BROTHERS, NO 49 CLIFF STREET.
THIS HOUSE SAID TO BE THE OLDEST COMMERICAL HOUSE INT HE UNITED STATES. HERE ALSO IS THE GRAVE OF GRESHOM MENDEX SEIXAS, WHO WAS MINISTER OF THE CONGREGATION FOR OVER FIFTY YEARS, AND A TRUSTEE OF COLUMIA COLLEGE FROM 1787-1815, AND THE GRANDFATHER OF JACOB HART LAZARUS, THE CELEBRATED PAINTER, WHO HAS RECENTLY PAINTED PORTRAITS OF THE ASTORS FOR THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. ALSO MANUEL NOAH'S GRAVE IS HERE.
HIS SON, MORDECAI M. NOAH, WAS IN UNITES CONSULT TO TUNIS AND TRIPOLI UNTIL 1815, WHEN HE RESIGNED. HE WAS ALSO SURVEYOR OF THE PORT OF NY IN 1825 AND SHERIFF OF NY COUNTY IN 1822. HE WAS ALSO JUDGE OF THE COURT OF SESSIONS IN THIS CITY AND FOUNDER OF NOAH'S SUNDAY TIMES AND MESSENGER, A WEEKLY PAPER WHICH STILL EXISTS, HE WAS ALSO CONNECTED WITH THE NY COURIER AND ENQUIRER AND AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH WAS A MEMBER OF THE NY HISTORICAL SOCIETY. JONAS PHILLIPS GRAVE IS HERE ALSO.
HE WAS A MEMEBER OF CONGRESS FROM PHILADELPHIA DURING THE WAR. HIS FATHER, ZELIGMAN PHILIPS WAS CONSIDERED THE MOST CELEBRATED CRIMINAL LAWYER OF HIS TIME.
ISAAC PHILLIPS NE OF JONAS PHILLIPS GRANDSON'S WAS A COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION OF THIS CITY AND WAS THE FIRST HEBREW WHO EVER HELD THE OFFICE OF GRAND MASTER OF THE GRAND LODGE OF FREE MASONS OF THE STATE OF NY.
HE WAS ALSO APPRAISER OF THE PORT OF NY. THE FATHER OF SEIXAS NATHAN WHO WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF NY STOCK EXCHANGE, IS BURIED HERE.
HERE ALSO IS THE GRAVE JACOB HAYS , WHO WAS CONSTABLE OF NY ABOUT REVOLUTIONARY TIMES.
THE OTHER GRAVES ARE THOSE OF HAYMAN LEVY, A MERCHANT IN NY , WHO WAS THE MAN FOR WHOM THE FIRST JOHN JACOB ASTOR BEAT FURS AT $1 A DAY. THE GRANDMOTHER OF CONTROLLER MYERS IS BURIED HERE.
BENJAMIN MENDEX SEIXAS, GRANDFATHER OF THE LATE BENJAMIN F. PEIXOTT IS ALSO BURIED HERE.
THE LATTER WAS UNITED STATES CONSUL AT ROMANIA AND ALSO AT LYONS FRANCE. HAVING BEEN APPOINTED TO LATTER PLACE BY PRESIDENT HAYNES IN 1877.
HE WAS ALSO THE FOUNDER OF THE INDEPENDENT ORDER BENAI BERITH.
THE OLDEST STONE IN THE GRAVEYARD MARKS THE GRAVE OF BENJAMIN BUENO MESQUITA. IT BEARS THE DATE 1683.      
MT. OLIVET CEMETERY, MASPETH QUEENS, NY
CONTRIBUTED BY: KATHY UNSEL GILLIS, WBGILLIS@snet.net

Mount Olivet Cemetery
Maspeth, Queens County, New York
6540 Grand Avenue
Maspeth, NY 11378
(718) 326-1777


Plot purchased by my husband's great grandfather William GILLIS in 1859. It has 16 graves in it.
They are all in Section E-Lot 133 (A & B)-some of the grave numbers are duplicated.
We have the cemetery deed and I sent for the records of the people in the graves.  We have a diagram of the plot also.

GILLIS, ROBERT
Place of death - New York
Age - 42 years 6 months
Date of burial - May 13, 1859
Undertaker -  N.S. Reed
Date of death - March 12, 1859
Grave 1
Lot 133A   Section E

GILLIS, ELLEN
Place of death - Astoria
Age -  63 years
Date of burial - June 9, 1859
Undertaker -  C.W. Hallett
Date of death - June 8, 1859
Grave 4
Lot 133A  Section E

GILLIS, ISAAC
Place of death - Astoria
Age 29 years
Date of burial - November 22, 1859
Undertaker - C.W. Hallett
Date of death - November 20, 1859
Grave 2
Lot 133A     Section E

GILLIS, ANNIE
Pace of death - Fulton St., Astoria
Age - 39 years
Date of burial - March 23, 1872
Underataker - C.W. Hallett
Date of death - March 22, 1872
Grave 2
Lot 133A    Section E

GILLIS, MARGARET
Place of death -  201 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn
Age - 70 years
Date of burial - Auagust 4, 1887
Undertaker - H. Hamilton
Date of death - August 2, 1887
Grave 5
Lot 133 A     Section E

GILLIS, WILLIAM
Place of death - Long Island City, New York
Age 79 years
Date of burial - April 1, 1891
Undertaker - Charles W. Hallett
Date of death - March 29, 1891
Grave 3
Lot 133A   Section E

GILLIS, ANNIE
Date of burial - January 6, 1902
Age 34 years
Place of death - Long Island City, New York
Undertaker - C.W. Hallett
Date of death - January 2, 1902
Grave 3
Lot 133A  Section E

CRAIG, ELIZA
Date of burial - June 9, 1917
Age 69 years
Place of death-N.Y. Home for Aged & Infirm. NY
Undertaker - Luckings & Co.
Date of death - June 7, 1917
Grave 5
Lot 133A  Section E

GILLIS, JANE
Date of burial -  June 19, 1930
Age 61
Place of death - 3127-37th, Queensboro, NY
Undertaker - Luckings, Bender & Schutte
Date of death June 16, 1930
Grave 6
Lot 133 A  Section E

GILLIS, FANNIE S.
Date of burial - January 10, 1953
Age -  89 years, 11 months, 23 days
Place of death - Cen. Islip St. Hospital, Central Islip, NY
Undertaker - Hallett & Hallett
Date of death - January 6, 1953
Grave 6
Lot 133A     Section E

(These are LOT 133B-No grave numbers given in records. I do have the diagram but not with me.  Do you need the numbers?-KG)
BAISLEY, ANGELINA H.   (my note-Her maiden name was HEMPSTEAD-KG)
Age 46
Date of death - March 5, 1859
Place of death - Astoria, NY
Interred on March 8, 1859
Funeral Director - C.W. Hallett
Lot 133B Section E

BAISLEY, WATSON
Age 62 years, 5 months and 9 days
Date of death - March 24, 1876
Place of death - Astoria, NY
Interred on March 27, 1876
Funeral director - C.W. Hallett
Lot 133B Section E

HOWELL, CHARLES
Age 71 years
Date of death - January 1, 1890
Place of death - Long Island City, NY
Interred on January 3, 1890
Funeral director - William Nason
Lot 133B Section E

HOWELL, CHARLES HENRY    ( my note-no date of death given-KG)
Adult
Interred on July 31, 1896
Resided at Glen Cove, L.I., NY
Funeral director - J.C. Dodge
Lot 133B Section E

STOREY, FANNY
Age 72 years
Died on February 12, 1900
Place of death - 135 Fulton Street, Long Island City, NY
Interred on February 15, 1900
Funeral director - C.W. Hallett
Lot 133B Section E

HOWELL, MARIANNA B.
Adult
Died on September 17, 1924
Place of death - Glen Cove, Long Island, NY
Interred on September 20, 1924
Funeral director - J.C. Dodge
Lot 133B Section E