The Grecian Bend

The Grecian Bend

The “Grecian Bend” ran along Richmond Terrace between Bement and Pelton Avenues. It was depicted in an 1889 publication about Staten Island. The image is posted below. The area around Richmond Terrace and Bement Avenue is significant for another reason…

The Cruser-Pelton House, Richmond Terrace., 1907. It is the tri-colored building under the name Daniel Pelton. The Cruser Homestead Graveyard was near Bement Avenue and Richmond Terrace.

By 1889, most of the homestead graveyards on the north shore of Staten Island had been obliterated by the houses, business, and industries that were being established between Mariner’s Harbor and Clifton. For this reason, residents of the north shore were opting for interment in the public “Burial Ground” at what is now the Reformed Church of Port Richmond. Historic family graveyards were simply becoming a thing of the past.

The Cruser-Pelton House, Richmond Terrace and Pelton Avenue, 1914.

One of the last north shore homestead graveyards was located in the vicinity of Richmond Terrace and Bement Avenue in West New Brighton. What we now call the Cruser-Pelton House stands nearby at Pelton Avenue and Richmond Terrace. These same Cruser’s owned many acres of land in the vicinity of their home. This fact led to the family having their own homestead graveyard. Burials were said to have ceased in the mid-1800s. When the family sold their property, they did retain rights to the burial ground, but according to William T. Davis when money was tight the remaining parcel was sold for $500. According to Mr. Davis the headstones were removed and two of them were used for flagging. In those days everything was recycled, therefore if an old tombstone could serve as a doorstep, so be it.

William T. Davis, circa 1920s.

Mr. Davis also discovered a vault in the vicinity of where the tombstones once stood. After sticking his head into an opening in the ground, he found two headstones. One was in memory of Cornelius Cruser, who died on Christmas Day in 1807. The other was for his wife, Beliche Cruser, who succumbed to some ailment in 1815. According to Mr. Davis and Mr. Leng three more headstones were discovered at this location in 1902. With Dutch inscriptions, the names of Gerrit Kroese and his daughter Cornelia were visible. Both passed on in 1760. Another stone to the wife of Garret Cruser, more than likely the previously named Gerrit Kroese, was inscribed for Closha, who passed on in 1787.

The “Grecian Bend” from “Rides & Rambles on Staten Island” by Reau Campbell, 1889.

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