Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Brief Obituary of Maria Rapelje of Pelham Who Died in 1803, a Daughter of Pelham's Rem Rapelje and Helen (Hardenbrook) Rapelje

The obituary was brief; only twenty two words.  It marked the end of a brief life, that of Miss Maria Rapelje of Pelham.  She was the beloved daughter of Pelhamite Rem Rapelje and his wife, Helen (Hardenbrook) Rapelje.  Maria was only twenty years old at the time of her death on July 20, 1803.

Historic Pelham has published a host of articles on the Rapelje family, early Pelham pioneers.  See, e.g.:

Fri., Mar. 03, 2017:  The Will of Rem Rapelje of Pelham, Probated on November 20, 1805.

Thu., Mar. 02, 2017:  1805 Advertisement Reveals Much About the Pelham Farm of Rem Rapelje

Fri., Jan. 08, 2016:  Pelhamite Rem Rapelje, a Loyalist, Was "Rode on Rails" During the Revolutionary War

Wed., Oct. 03, 2007:  Book by George Rapelje, Pelham Resident Along With His Father, Rem Rapelje, Published in 1834

Mon., Feb. 27, 2006:  Another Description of the Farm of Rem Rapelje of Pelham Published in 1806

Wed., Aug. 24, 2005:  1807 Advertisement for Sale of Property of Rem Rapelje in Pelham.

Maria Rapelje is buried in the cemetery of Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site located at today's address of 897 S. Columbus Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York.  The beautiful church, construction of which began in 1765 to replace an earlier wooden structure, stands within what once was the Village of Eastchester.  A section of the Eastchester Village Green remains in front of the church today.  The church was one of several in the wider region that served Pelham families in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Rapelje family was closely aligned with Saint Paul's Church.  Indeed, the magnificent pump organ located in the loft of the church that was crafted by Henry Erben of New York City was commissioned by George Rapelje, an original pew holder in Saint Paul's Church, at a cost of $800 in 1833 (about $36,500 in today's dollars).  The organ "remains one of the oldest working organs in the United States" according to the site.

The obituary of young Maria Rapelje appeared in the July 30, 1803 issue of The Spectator published in New York City ten days after her death.  The brief obituary is transcribed below, followed by a citation and link to its source.

Detail of Map Prepared in 1853 Showing Pelham Neck and Lands Owned
by the Rapelje Family. Source: Dripps, Matthew & Conner, R.F.O.,
Southern Part of West-Chester County N. Y. (1853) (Museum of the City
of New York, No. 29.100.2628). NOTE: Click on Image to Enlarge.

*          *          *          *          *


On Wednesday the 20th inst. at the Manor of Pelham, Eastchester, Miss MARIA RAPELJE, in the 20th year of her age."

Source:  DIED, The Spectator [NY, NY], Jul. 30, 1803, Vol. VI, No. 625, p. 3, col. 3.

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