History of The Jay Cemetery
The Jay Cemetery was established by John Jay in 1805. Before this family members, which included his wife Sarah Livingston Jay, were buried in a family vault, situated in the Orchard of Peter Stuyvesant, next to St Marks in the Bowerie on 10th St. and Second Ave. Several changes were happening in New York at this time. The new grid system organizing the City into Avenues and Streets meant the Orchard Burial site was to become 10th St. There was a need to remove the family vaults and this was obviously a reason the Jay Vault was moved to Rye in 1807. The decision to place the Cemetery in the East Meadow had been made in 1805, when the youngest son of John Jay’s daughter Maria died and was the first to be buried on the Rye Estate.
Why did the orchard of Peter Stuyvesant in the Bowery become the site for the family vault? I believe it goes back to the wife of Augustus Jay, the first Jay to settle in this country, Anna Maria Bayard. Her paternal grandmother was Anna Stuyvesant Bayard, the sister of Peter Stuyvesant, who had come to New Amsterdam as a widow with her four children to help her brother. She was buried with her brother in what now is St Marks on the Bowerie at 11th St. Burial of Augustus and Anna Maria was probably the start of the Jay Family vault
In 1815 John Jay, on inheriting the Rye property, set aside as a family cemetery the lot where the burials had occurred and named his eldest son Peter Augustus Jay and nephew Peter Jay Munro as Trustees. He stated that any descendant of his father Peter Jay was eligible for burial. (Also husbands, wives, and widows of such descendants)
Peter Jay Munro died in 1833 and Peter Augustus Jay died in 1843. From 1843 to 1891 John Clarkson Jay became the owner of the property and, in trust, of the Cemetery as well. It was managed by him during this period. At the time of his death the property was inherited by his heirs and his son also John Clarkson Jay was involved with its upkeep. When the property was sold in 1905 it was necessary to formalize ownership of the Cemetery and a right of way from the Post Road to it. In 1906, The Jay Cemetery, incorporated under the laws of New York State, was started which was to be held and maintained by three trustees. The trustees designated were:
John Clarkson Jay II, the son of John Clarkson Jay to continue as President until his retirement in 1920.
Banyer Clarkson, the son of Susan Matilda Jay who married Matthew Clarkson until his retirement in 1928.
John Jay, the youngest son of Rev Peter Augustus Jay who served until his death in 1928.
They all were involved with the incorporation, early financial planning and maintenance of the Cemetery.
At the time of their retirements new trustees were needed.
John Clarkson Jay III was named trustee in 1920 to replace his father. He served as Treasurer and was involved with increasing the endowment of the Cemetery until 1935.
DeLancey Kane Jay, the son of Augustus Jay replaced Banyer Clarkson in 1928. He served as secretary and was interested in the upkeep of the Cemetery. He also served until 1935.
Pierre Jay was named trustee after the death of his younger brother John Jay also in 1928. He served as treasurer after 1935 and continued as Trustee until 1945.
In 1935 new Trustees to replace John Clarkson Jay III and DeLancey Kane Jay were needed. John Clarkson Jay’s son also John Clarkson Jay IV replaced his father on the Board. The oldest son of Delancy Kane Jay was Peter Jay who became the third Trustee.
In 1938 World War II was brewing and both JCJ and PAJ were called to serve. In response to this in the early 1940’s it was decided to enlarge the number of Vice Presidents and appoint officers who were not Trustees. Also at this time it seemed necessary to enlarge the size of the Cemetery.
Pierre Jay would continue as Trustee until 1945.. His sister Mary Rutherfurd Jay had assumed a much more active role with the cemetery. Starting in 1936, she prepared a genealogy table of the descendants of Peter Jay. One of these is on permanent exhibit in the Jay Heritage Center. Mary Rutherfurd was appointed President about 1938 and became a trustee on the retirement of her brother in 1945. (Appointed Vice President was Sarah Jay Hughes and Elizabeth Jay Etnier, who served as interim Trustees during the War.)
Mary Rutherfurd as president, took on three tasks. The first was to develop a genealogy of the family to include all related to John Jay’s father Peter Jay. This she completed in 1936. The second was to purchase property from the owners of the property, Mr and Mrs Walter Devereau, to enlarge the cemetery to its maximum of 2.85 acres. This took over two years to do, but in 1946 the purchase with approvals was completed. The third was to write and publish a book for the family on The Jay Cemetery. This was done in 1947.
She was also involved with her brother Pierre in increasing the endowment of the cemetery and raising funds for its enlargement. In 1947 the value of the Cemetery endowment fund was about $55,000. This was managed by the firm Pierre Jay had started now Fiduciary Trust.
By 1948 several other Vice Presidents had been appointed which included Dr Robert Ogden Du Bois, Elizabeth Jay Etnier, Alexander Duer Harvey, Rev William Dudley Hughes, Mrs Peter Augustus Jay, Seth Low Pierrepont, John Jay Ide, and Chauncey Devereux Stillman. Alexander Jay Bruen was appointed Treasurer and his sister Evelyn Bruen Trevor was made secretary.
In 1948, a new cemetery trustee and new officers were needed. Pierre Jay died in 1949 and Mary Rutherfurd Jay wished to retire. At this time the two trustees were John Clarkson Jay IV and Peter Jay who had returned from the War. Alexander Jay Bruen who was serving as treasurer was appointed Trustee and he continued as treasurer of the Cemetery. Other officers were appointed. My Uncle, Dr. Robert Ogden Du Bois took over Mary Rutherfurds role as president. He served as President until 1970, when I, his nephew was appointed. Evelyn Bruen Trevor became secretary. It was in her house, 15 East 90th Street, that all the annual meetings were held while she was secretary.
Under Alexander Jay Bruen guidance the legal framework of the Cemetery was strengthened and family sections for burial were defined. Increase in the Cemetery endowment came with his guidance. The Cemetery continued to use Fiduciary Trust for its investments.
The trustees at this time (1980) were:
Peter A Jay
John Clarkson Jay
Alexander Jay Bruen, Treasurer.
John Jay Du Bois, President
Evelyn Bruen Trevor, Secretary
With the retirement of the three trustees about 1980 a fourth group of trustees was needed.
John Jay Du Bois who became President when his Uncle retired in 1970 was appointed a Trustee.
Nicholas Jay Bruen was appointed Trustee and Treasurer to replace his Uncle.
Sybil Jay Baldwin was appointed Trustee and Secretary when her uncle Peter Jay retired.
Several Vice Presidents were also appointed that included Peter Jay, Charles Doane, Anne Patten Miliken, Edward Livingston Bruen,
This again was a period of property change. In 1965, the house and property owned by the Mr and Mrs Devereux since 1910 was to be sold. Very careful division of the land was planed by them. The bottom acreage was to be given to the County of Westchester to use for a Park. A side portion was to be sold in lots for housing to give tax revenue to the City of Rye. The Peter Augustus Jay House and surrounding property were to be given to the Methodist Church.
The upper portion of land including the Greek Revival house built by Peter Augustus Jay that had been given to the Methodist Church was found to be impossible for them to maintain. This was put on the market and in 1983 was bought for Real Estate development. This started a long process spear headed by “The Jay Coalition”. The Jay Cemetery supported the effort to restore the PAJ house and preserve the property around it. President John Jay Du Bois and his wife Sharon were active with others in the Jay Coalition. This was successful but was not finalized until 1990. At this time the house has been restored and is being successfully run as the Jay Heritage Center.
In 1990 there was another need for a change in Trustees. John Jay Du Bois retired as trustee ex officio. Nicholas Jay Bruen who had served as Trustee and with Fiduciary Trust had managed the Cemetery endowment retired with health issues. Sybil Jay Baldwin also retired as Secretary.
New Trustees were needed.
Dr Theodora Budnick was named President,
Houston Huffman, Treasurer
Peter A Jay.
Vice Presidents include Charles Doane, Susan Lodge, John Trevor IV, Sandy Trevor and Tielman Van Vieck.
This group continues to manage the Cemetery.