Designated as a New York City Landmark in 1976, Prospect Cemetery, the
original Old Burial Ground of the Village of Jamaica is one of the
few remaining Colonial cemeteries in Queens. The earliest written record
of the cemetery dates back to 1668. Prospect Cemetery is a valuable
reminder of the Village of Jamaica's history and the important part its
families played in shaping the early course of the United States.
Prospect Cemetery is the resting place of important figures in early New
York City history. One example is Egbert Benson, a friend to Alexander
Hamilton who acted as his secretary at the Constitutional Convention.
Benson was a judge, State Attorney General and Congressman. Many
Revolutionary War veterans, a great deal of whom served with Skidmore's
Minutemen, are also buried here. Many descendants of those families
fought in the Civil War, and were buried here as well.
Grave markers range in style from the simple hand-carved fieldstone
of Thomas Wiggins, dated 1728, to professionally carved brownstones
with depictions of winged skulls and angels, to the striking marble
and granite obelisks made fashionable in the 1800s.
In 1857 Nicholas Ludlum, a wealthy New York merchant born in Jamaica
added land purchased from the Long Island Railroad to the eastern side of
the cemetery and commissioned
the construction of The Chapel of the Sisters.
The Chapel was Ludlum's grieving tribute to his three daughters, all of
whom died young. The Chapel's builder, Thomas Clary, is also buried here.