2011 News Archives


August 2011


Eaton Kempshall and Thomas Kempshall monument

Eaton Kempshall, a member and active supporter of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery and a resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, spent two days in July in Rochester visiting the gravesite of his ancestor, Rochester’s fourth mayor, Thomas Kempshall. Mayor Kempshall and several members of his family are interred in Section G in the older part of Mount Hope Cemetery.

While viewing cemetery records, Eaton Kempshall was excited to learn of an additional plot belonging to Willis Kempshall, with whom he was unfamiliar. Further investigation revealed that Willis was the brother of Thomas and also an early Rochester settler. Willis is listed in early city directories as a hatter and one of the original 15 trustees of the Rochester Savings Bank.

Eaton “Mac” Kempshall pays his respects to his ancestor, Mayor Thomas Kempshall.

Thomas Kempshall

Fourth Mayor of Rochester (1837). Elected as a Whig to the 26th Congress (March 1839 to March 1841)

Thomas Kempshall immigrated with his father to the United States from England and settled in Pittsford in 1806. He moved to Rochester in 1813, making his living as a carpenter and in various mercantile pursuits in his younger years. Later he became one of many successful Rochester millers. His flour mill was located where the former Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co. building stands today.


The Jacob Gould Mausoleum restoration project is nearing an end. The replacement obelisk will be the last item to be put in place. It’s expected to arrive from the quarry near the end of June

Gould Mausoleum before restoration
The Gould Mausoleum in its former condition
Gould Mausoleum restoration
The Gould Mausoleum on June 10, 2011


Section G Wall Repair Completed!

Stone wall removed

The wall is down, and the area is ready for reassembly work to begin.

completed wall

The fallen wall (as pictured in the previous update) is now fully repaired. The stone blocks are pinned to prevent movement. Immediately behind the wall is gravel, and the bottom portion includes a drainage system to move water out and away. This wall should not require any further work for at least 100 years. Our small observer, Henry Lee Selden, looks on with satisfaction (second stone from the left).

Christian Yaky Plot
This lot is located on the immediate west side of the gatehouse.

Yaky plot with capstones removed

The wrought iron fencing has been removed and sent out to be refurbished. The cap stones are down, and removal of the stone wall begins.

Yaky Plot with stone wall removed.

The wall is being disassembled.

Yaky plot with new stone wall

Reassembly begins. This wall will not be pinned, but will have a layer of metal mesh between each row of stones. The new wall consists of the original exterior stones, plus a secondary row of stones immediately behind them to give added support.

completed stone wall
view of completed wall

DONE, and awaiting the return of the fencing.

May 2011


The Jacob Gould Egyptian style mausoleum*, constructed between 1842 and 1846, is built into the side of the hill immediately to the north of the old chapel in the area of the Florentine Fountain near the entrance to the cemetery on Mount Hope Avenue across from Robinson Drive. The entrance to the mausoleum is a carved-stone wing-and-orb motif. An obelisk sits on top of the roof.

gould maus work

Although certainly not as old as the pyramids, the mausoleum has survived 165 years and now requires some restoration work to assure its continued longevity. This work is being done as part of a plan proposed and approved a few years ago by the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery. A Save America’s Treasures Grant received by the City of Rochester provides funding for the project.

Heaster Building Restoration, Inc. began work on the Gould mausoleum on May 11, 2011. The first item addressed was the removal of the obelisk, which had been deteriorating for the last several years and was in danger of collapsing. While it was a sad moment to see it gone, it is exciting to anticipate the erection in the not-too-distant future of a new obelisk of identical dimensions and material.

Other work scheduled for this structure includes repairs to the “wings” on both sides of the central structure, as well as an assessment of the roof. Human eyes have not viewed this roof in over 100 years. We wonder what we will find.

General Jacob Gould

Gould Jacob

Jacob Gould was born in Boxford, Massachusetts on February 10, 1794. His grandfather was a lieutenant of militia in the Revolutionary War. Prior to moving to Rochester in 1819, Gould had worked as a shoemaker. Not finding that to his liking, he began teaching school and subsequently took charge of the English department of the Union College Grammar School. He arrived in Rochester at a time when the population numbered about 1000.

Gould’s career was long and varied. It included an appointment by Governor Clinton as a major general of artillery. He was a delegate appointed to escort General Lafayette to Rochester in 1824. President Jackson and then President Van Buren both appointed him Collector of Customs for the Port of the Genesee. He was associated with the Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Bank, and involved in the completion of the New York Central Railroad to Auburn. He entertained Presidents Tyler and Van Buren when they visited Rochester. He was married twice—first to Ruby Swan of North Andover, Massachusetts, who died at age 24; and then to Sarah T. Seward, principal of the Seward Female Seminary.

General Gould died in 1867. He may be best remembered as the man who opposed the choice of the site of Mount Hope Cemetery, stating, “It is all up hill and down dale, and with a gully at the entrance at that. Why, that ground isn’t fit for pasturing rabbits.” He was reminded, “…we are not going to pasture rabbits.” Gould must have changed his thinking, since he was one of the first to purchase land and build his conspicuous mausoleum in Mount Hope.

*The Egyptian style of architecture became popular following Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign in 1798-1799. A publication of the expedition’s scientific component, entitled Description de l’Egypte began in 1809 and was  published as a series through 1826. In the United States, Egyptian motifs were applied to public buildings, particularly educational buildings, churches, cemetery entrances and tombs, memorials and homes.

April 2011

2011 An Exciting Year

carriage road around fountain 1885

Restoration Work at the North Entrance
A plan proposed and approved a few years ago by the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery will become a reality, thanks to funding received by the City of Rochester from a Federal Save America’s Treasures Grant. Keep an eye out in the vicinity of the north cemetery entrance. As soon as spring weather is here to stay, activity will be underway. Follow progress on this website and on Facebook.

Fountain and Carriage Road c1885

wall bordering Section G

Section G Wall Repair—Your membership and donation money at work!

Starting the last week in April, the structural wall located at the southeast end of Section G will undergo repair. The partially collapsed wall must be completely taken down. A more functional drainage system will be included in the reassembly process. The old wall has lasted a good many years, but with the improvement, the new wall’s life expectancy will be dramatically increased.

Permanent Residents Watching:

The wall fronts Lot 114, the resting place of the Samuel Lee Selden family. Samuel (1800-1876) was born in Lyme, Connecticut. When his sister married Rochester lawyer Joseph Spencer, Samuel moved here as well. He studied law with Addison Gardiner, went into partnership with him, and started practicing in 1825. In July, 1831 he married Susan Matilda Ward, daughter of Dr. Levi Ward. Susan had 12 siblings. Lot 114 is probably best known for the sad story of Samuel and Susan’s only son, Henry Lee Selden (1846–1858), who drowned while learning to swim in Irondequoit Bay. His beautiful monument was sculpted by Robert Eberhard Launitz, a celebrated funerary sculptor.

Other Seldens in Mount Hope Cemetery:

portraits of Henry and George Selden

In Section C, Lot 108 rest Samuel’s brother Henry Roger Selden (1805-1885) and Henry’s son, George B. (1846-1922).

Henry was born in Lyme, Connecticut. At 19 years of age he served in the Connecticut militia. After moving to Rochester, he went on to become a New York State Supreme Court judge as well as one of the most able and accomplished judges on the New York State Court of Appeals.

Henry (left) and George (right) Selden

George Selden with automobile

George B. Selden was a lawyer, but his true love was inventing. He is well known for being granted the first U.S. patent for an automobile, which he invented in 1877. An image of it is engraved on his gravestone.

Section G:

A walk through Section G will introduce you to many of Rochester’s prominent early families. You will meet Harriet Bentley, founder of the Harley School; Elizabeth Hollister Frost, eminent Rochester novelist and poet; Myron Holley, treasurer of the Erie Canal and a member of the Liberty Party; Thomas Kempshall, 4th mayor of Rochester; Elisha Gaylord Marshall, West Point graduate who was promoted to Brevet Brigadier General and later Major General for gallant and meritorious service during the Civil War; Blake McKelvey, long-time City Historian; the Porter family, Quakers who were ardent temperance and anti-slavery activists; and Henry Augustus Ward, world-renowned geologist and naturalist.

Learn about these people and many others in Richard O. Reisem’s book, Buried Treasures, available from the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop