Kurt's Historic Sites

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George Clinton

Interment LocationVisitedSequence in Graves I Have Visited
Kingston, NYMay 22, 201027th Vice President visited

Photographed May 22, 2010.

The first governor of New York was General George Clinton, who served in that capacity from 1777 to 1804, with the exception of a six-year gap between 1795 and 1801. His 21 years as chief magistrate remain a state record. Clinton later went on to become the first person to serve as vice president under multiple U.S. presidents, as well as the first VP to die in office. He rests on the grounds of the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, New York. Although he was not a member of that church’s congregation, the general is in familiar company as he is buried among numerous soldiers who served under him during the American Revolution, per this sign in the graveyard.

Clinton’s imposing 6,000-lb monument is made of Indiana limestone. The grave is decorated with a bas-relief likeness of the Founding Father, as well as a plaque and a tablet with a lengthy epitaph. It is topped with a metal torch — and although its dark color blends in with the tree leaves, you may be able to better discern it by clicking this image and making it larger.

Photographed May 22, 2010.
Photographed May 22, 2010.

The fourth vice president was originally interred in the city of his death, Washington, D.C., within Congressional Cemetery. When workers went to exhume Clinton in 1908 to have him reinterred in his hometown in New York, disassembling and crating his immense memorial was not the most challenging part of the process. The party struggled to locate Clinton’s triple-layered coffin at first. They eventually found it by probing the ground with pikes. The group took the body to a naval hospital close by, where evidence confirmed it was the former VP, buried in his general’s uniform from the American Revolution. Despite the passage of 96 years, the remains were intact enough that examiners determined he died of pneumonia. His subsequent journey northward was a spectacle. Members of Congress watched from the Capitol steps as the remains were taken to Union Station, and upwards of 40,000 people paid their respects when Clinton lay in state at New York City Hall for two days. The ballyhoo continued, as the Founding Father was transported up the Hudson River via a Navy warship while cannons roared from surrounding communities. Despite the inclement whether, his reburial in Kingston on May 30, 1908 was observed by a reported 75,000 people — a number nearly triple the town’s residents at the time.

2010 was a prolific year in my vice presidential burial site quest: I saw 12 that calendar year between April and July. My visit to Clinton on May 22nd marked my third vice presidential grave of that one afternoon, following fellow New Yorkers Nelson Rockefeller and Levi P. Morton. Later on that day I proceeded to visit William Paterson — a Supreme Court justice and Constitution signer — at Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands.

Photographed May 22, 2010.

Fast Facts

Born: July 26, 1739 in Little Britain, New York

Spouse: Sarah Cornelia Tappen Clinton (m. 1770-1800)

Military Rank: Brigadier General — Continental Army

Political Affiliation: Democratic-Republican Party

Vice Presidential Term: 1805-1809 under Thomas Jefferson; 1809-1812 under James Madison

Died: April 20, 1812 in Washington, D.C.

Age: 72

Cause of Death: Pneumonia

Interment: Old Dutch Church, Kingston, New York

"I have indeed to regret that my Zeal for the public Interest led me on that Occasion into bad Company without suspecting that I was under the Roof of a corrupt Intriguer surrounded by his worthless Minions[.]"
- George Clinton

December 22, 1803 in a letter to President Thomas Jefferson, referring to his presence at a meeting in the house of Vice President Aaron Burr

Sources Consulted

Clinton, George. George Clinton to Thomas Jefferson, December 22, 1803. Letter. From National Archives, Founders Online. Accessed January 17, 2022. https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-42-02-0138.

Reynolds, Hugh. “Old Dutch the center of Friday’s Clinton commemoration.” Hudson Valley One. April 16, 2012. https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2012/04/16/old-dutch-the-center-of-fridays-clinton-commemoration/2/.

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