Daniel D. Tompkins

(Originally visited 29 November 1997.)

ddt3Thanksgiving of 1997 was a time of great uncertainty in my life. I had just received a very lucrative job offer that would have meant leaving my home in the woods.

Since I’m using the unreal conditional past tense you know I didn’t take the job, but at the time I visited Daniel D. Tompkins grave, I was profoundly uncertain. I very much enjoy my home by the lake, but there was this offer which would have meant a raise of more than 20% and a move to New York City.

Some people can’t imagine living there. Others can’t imagine living anywhere else. While I haven’t lived in The City, I have lived in other cities and believe I would enjoy Manhattan. So I drove down on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to try to make up my mind.


It was a bright warm late autumn day and everyone was out for a walk. I did my share of walking too. Usually decisions come easy to me, but this one was very taxing. The beautiful women of New York almost swayed the decision in their favor, but even they weren’t quite enough to convince me.

Now, New York is a big place, so I did a little research to know just where Tompkins was interred and had St. Mark’s located on my map. It’s right in the Bowery. The only trouble in finding it was negotiating the one way streets and road construction.

I found the grave behind a large metal gate separating the churchyard from the city. The term ‘churchyard’ is a bit of an exaggeration. This ‘yard’ is almost entirely paved. There are some trees growing incongruously from the cement but that hardly makes it a ‘yard’.

So, there I was, but I didn’t have a camera to record the visit. (I haven’t officially attended the grave until I take a picture.) But this is New York City, there was a small convenience store right across the street and they were more than happy to sell me a one-use camera.


By the way, all the photos you see on this site have been taken with that class of camera. I just have the images sent to me on disk. I am being tempted by those digital cameras though…

Around to the front of the church there is a bust of Tompkins with his political accomplishments engraved on the pedestal. Though I’m not sure how many of the people walking the sidewalks around the church know that a Vice President is buried within. That’s part of the fun of finding the Vice Presidents.

Within a year of my decision to not to accept the job in New York, I was offered a position in another office, only eight miles from my home. That job I accepted.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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