|The Early Years of Maple Grove
Cemetery / Alfred
H. Grebe Obituaries / More
about Alfred H. Grebe
Historic Places of Richmond Hill,
NY / Noteworthy
People of Richmond Hill
The following famed list
was researched and compiled by Jeff Gottlieb from his article "The Famed
at Maple Grove Cemetery" (c) 1999
The Famed at Maple Grove Cemetery
by Jeff Gottlieb
Opened in 1875, Maple Grove Cemetery
is a beautiful, 65-acre burial ground in Kew Gardens, with its main entrance
on Kew Gardens Road and Lefferts Boulevard. It was modeled, in part, after
the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, a 478-acre tract, also well above (478
feet) sea level, and established in 1838 as a rural cemetery and horticultural
garden, Maple Grove, like Greenwood, is an oasis in an urban environment.
John H. Sutphin (1835-1907): Born in Hicksville on August
18th, 1835. Mr. Sutphin was elected justice of the peace of Jamaica (1864),
deputy county clerk of Queens, and then county clerk of Queens (1867).
Enjoying the political world, he was chairman of the Queens Democrat County
Committee (1867-1897) before being deposed by associates of Tammanyís Richard
Croker. Living south of Jamaica Avenue, on present-day 164th Street, he
helped organize Maple Grove Cemetery in 1875, created the Bank of Jamaica
(1895), and was president of the Jamaica Savings Bank (1898-1907). He donated
access land near the planned Long Island Railroad station in downtown Jamaica.
Thus, Sutphin Boulevard came into being.
Bordered on the west by the Park Vendome, Park Chateau and Imperial,
undistinguished apartment buildings built by the Lefraks, in the north
by noisy Queens Boulevard (Hoffman Boulevard), the widest (over 250 feet
in parts of Forest Hills) street in New York City. Bordered on the east
side by the Van Wyck Expressway, a Robert Moses highway overcrowded in
its first week of use, our verdant section is not only a fine spot for
contemplation but also contains the remains of some distinguished individuals
who left a mark on Central Queens culture.
Theodore F. Archer (1837-1893): Born in Monroe County, New
York, Theodore Archer established a business in Greenpoint, Long Island,
and then a general store in Middle Village. Despite losing his shirt in
the 1873 Depression, Archer came back to become a builder, real estate
developer, and auctioneer. Archer died of kidney disease in 1893; John
H. Stuphin was a pallbearer at his funeral. His business was taken over
by son Theodore F. Archer (1866-1950), with its name changed to Theodore
F. Archer & Sons (brother James C. Archer was an associate). Son Theodore
F. rose to the post of auctioneer of the Port of New York.
J. Harvey Smedley (1840-1925): organized the Long Island City
Savings Bank and started the public school savings bank system. A member
of the Queensborough Chamber of Commerce, Smedley established, in 1865,
the first lard oil manufacturing plant, in Long Island City. He then went
on to a successful banking career. A graduate of the Rochester Institute
College and a warden of St. Johnís Episcopal Church, Smedley is known for
the street named after him in Brairwood and for his sonís accomplishments.
Mason O. Smedley was a graduate of Trinity College and an accountant who,
in the 1890ís, became sheriff of Queens County. Attaching himself to politician
Maurice Connollyís rising political star, he was hand-picked to be Queens
County Democratic leader (1917-1928). Unfortunately, when Borough President
Connolly was brought down by a sewer scandal, Mason O. gave way to John
Theofel as Democratic leader of Queens.
Joseph B. Everitt (1822-1884): was the Jamaica town undertaker,
a successful owner of a livery business, and an active member of the Jamaica
First Presbyterian Church. Son William E. Everitt (1859-1939) was also
in the livery business, supervisor of the town of Jamaica, and town clerk
(1886-1893). Both father and son were affiliated with Maple Grove and buried
numerous blacks in the Groveís Southern Border, a segregated internment
Edward Mandel (1869-1942): Proof of Maple Groveís non-sectarian
policy, Mandel was a Jewish educator. A graduate of P.S. 75 (1883) and
City College (1888), where he was captain of the Chess Team, Mandel taught
in three Manhattan schools before becoming principal of P.S. 34 (1903)
and P.S. 188 (1904). His next post was principal of Junior High School
97 in 1920. From 1921 to 1923, he headed a large Queens school district
before being made an associate superintendent of schools. Mandel also received
his M.A. at City College in 1890 and was admitted to the Bar in 1891. From
1891 to 1912, he was principal of the firm of Frankenstien and Mandel.
Busy life! Mr. Mandel also wrote a series of language texts and was a founder
of the teacherís pension system. He formed a law partnership with son Austin
ďRedĒ Mandel (1901-1963), a stalwart of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic
Club, located above the Inwood (now Cinemart) Movie Theatre, on Metropolitan
Avenue, Forest Hills. Austin became an assemblyman, in 1936, with his one
legislative success being the exemption of the teachers from jury duty.
He was adventurous, first showing this trait by being an under-age volunteer
in World War 1 and later in life by taking on Robert Moses in an attempt
to prevent the extension of Jewel Avenue to the Grand Central Parkway service
road. The Mandel family lived at 108-43 Jewel Avenue, Forest Hills, with
P. S. 220 being named, in 1956, after the senior Mandel.
Don Marquis (1878-1937): was a popular New
York newspaper columnist, short story writer and humorist from 1912
through the mid-1930s. He wrote for The Sun, the New York Tribune and
numerous magazines, and he authored a half-dozen plays and 27 books.
He is best known for the fanciful characters created in his columns,
including Archy and Mehitabel, a cockroach and alley cat whose exploits
filled three books, and the Old Soak, a determined foe of Prohibition
who was the subject of two books, a hit Broadway play and two movies.
He lived at 51 Wendover Road in Forest Hills.
Harold G. Campbell (1884-1942): Superintendent of New York City
schools from 1934 to 1942, Campbell was born in Scotland and came to the
United States in 1888. After receiving his B.A. at Brooklyn Poly (1908)
and M.A. at NYU (1910), he taught at Eastern District High School before
being appointed principal of Flushing High School (1920-1924). He moved
up to deputy superintendent of schools before attaining the rank of superintendent,
in 1943, and being re-elected, for a six-year term, in 1940, at $25,000
a year. Nice sum of money in 1940. He was tarnished in the Parental School
abuse scandal of 1934. Despite a valiant Board of Education defense of
school practices, the Flushing institute was shuttered, eventually opening
as Queens College in 1937. Campbell was later memorialized (in 1956) by
having Junior High School 218, on Main Street, Flushing, named after him.
No luck, here, as it later was closed in 1982 and reopened as the City
University of New York law School, in 1986.
Issac E. Failor (1851-1925): The former superintendent of the Richmond
Hill Village Schools and a teacher at Boys High School (1892-1897), he
was appointed the first principal, in 1899, of Richmond Hill High School.
There were only three faculty members at this time, besides himself. An
avid astronomer, he had an observatory built at the school. Living at 84-23
113th Street, Richmond Hill, Failor retired in 1917.
John E Backus (1846-1911): was born the son of the famed Ascan
Backus, a large-scale truck farmer in the area now known as Forest Hills.
John Backus was educated at the Flushing Institute and became manager of
his fatherís estate, besides being treasurer of the Citizens Water Supply
Company and a commissioner of the Jamaica Normal School. In April 1873,
he married Phoebe S. Vanderveer, granddaughter of the famed John R. Pitkin,
founder of Woodhaven. Among John Backusí most famous accomplishments was
his work as deputy bridge commissioner for Queens. He strongly and successfully
urged the building of the Queensborough Bridge.
John Townsend Suydam (1856-1930): had Woodhaven properties.
A Republican who held several minor offices, his family background showed
the intense intermarriage customs of the Dutch-descendents settlers. Suydamís
wife, Anna J. Debevoise, of Jamaica, was active in the Reformed Church
of Jamaica. Sister Sarah Suydam married Charles Lott, a retired farmer,
while sister Ida C. Suydam married John A. Vanderveer, a Flatlands farmer.
Williams H. Simonson (1860-1923): ran the Queens County mortuary
when it was located at 94th Street and 101st Avenue, Ozone Park. A businessman,
he became well known even before son Clarence F. Simonson (1895-1958) moved
the business to its present location, at 119-04 Hillside Avenue, Richmond
Hill, in 1920. It is one of the last independent funeral homes.
Dr. Edgar Dubs Shimer (1853-1933): was a forty-eight year
veteran (1857-1923) of the New York City public school system. A graduate
of Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1874, Dr. Shimer was
first intent on becoming a minister. After teaching at P.S. 42, Manhattan,
Shimer was appointed principal in 1896 and an assistant superintendent
in 1902. Living at 88-21 162nd Street, Jamaica, he was a professor of psychology
at New York University. Dr. Shimer was also locally prominent, being a
director of the Jamaica Savings Bank and an elder in the First Presbyterian
Church of Jamaica. Shimer Junior High School (P.S. 142), Jamaica, was named
after him in 1923. This Linden Boulevard institute is now called ďThe School
for Career DevelopmentĒ.
Frederick W. Dunton (1851-1931): Born in Newton, New Hampshire,
Dunton was blessed with his motherís being a sister to Austin Corbin, president
of the Long Island Railroad. Frederick Dunton went on to found Hollis (1884)
and then Dunton (now Morris Park), southeast of Richmond Hill. His residence,
called Holliswood Hall, had a fine view of the Atlantic Ocean! Among Duntonís
accomplishments was his help in founding the Bank of Jamaica, his election
(1869) and re-election (1896) to the Board of Supervisors of Queens County,
and his being supervisor of the Town of Jamaica.
Charles Albert Vosburgh (1876-1967): started his teaching
career in 1896 at Jamaica High School, then located at Hillside Avenue,
off 162nd Street. The institution in 1896 was a kindergarten through twelfth
grade school, with four teachers and eighty students. Vosburgh became principal
of Jamaica High School in 1919 and remained there until retirement in 1946.
Charles Vosburgh had many civic accomplishments, including presidency
of the Long Island Branch, Holland Society of New York, and being president
of the Queens Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was a Mason for seventy
years and lived at 68-07 Burns Street, Forest Hills.
Albon Platt Man (1845-1920): elder brother of Alrick Man,
founder of Kew Gardens, and son of Albon Platt Man, founder of Richmond
Hill. An engineer, he joined with Alrick to form the Kew Gardens Corporation
in order to develop the Richmond Hill Golf Course into prime real estate
property, with over 300 homes.
Rev. Dr. William Agur Matson (1819-1904): an Episcopal clergyman
with a distinguished career. Ordained to the ministry by Bishop DeLancey
in 1840, he was, for fifteen years, secretary of the Diocese of Western
New York State. He was recording secretary of the General Board of Missions
(1867-1877) and third rector of the Richmond Hill Church of the Resurrection
Episcopal (1877-1885, 1886-1887). His daughter Kate wrote a history of
Richmond Hill in 1905. Dr. Matson lived at 115-01 84th Avenue (then called
Division Avenue) and then, after a disastrous 1895 fire, moved to the servantsí
quarters at 115-05 84th Avenue. This wealthy divine was a graduate of Hobart
Charles C. Protheroe (1857-1912): Law partner (1884) of Kew
Gardens founder Alrick Man, Protheroe was a classmate of Manís at City
College and Columbia Law School. He specialized in trusts and corporation
law, arguing motions in court while Alrick Man handled office operations.
His home was across Church Street (118th Street, today) from Manís.
Elizabeth Riis (1835-1905): wife of reformer Jacob Riis. They
lived at 84-39 120th Street. Richmond Hill, from 1886 on. A friend of Police
Commissioner, and later president, Theodore Roosevelt, Jake Riis championed
playgrounds for youths and the Croton Water Supply, preserving drinking
water for New York City.
John Budion (d. 1948): A stone mason and monument maker, Budion
worked on the 83rd Avenue side of Maple Grove Cemetery, in his own stone
Frederick D. Backus (1850-1937): Treasurer and director of the Cord
Meyer Development Company, builders of early Forest Hills, he was a Jamaica
Savings Bank trustee. Backus (brother of John E. Backus) obtained his power
from his father, Ascan Backus (1864-1880), a son of a German farmer who
came to New York on July 4th, 1829. A successful farmer, he passed on his
wealth to his sons in 1880, consisting of Forest Hills acreage, which passed
into Cord Meyers hands in the first decade of this century.