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Full text of "The civil, political, professional and ecclesiastical history, and commercial and industrial record of the county of Kings and the city of Brooklyn, N. Y., from 1683 to 1884"

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The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 



Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical 







FROM 1683 TO 1884. 


HENRY R.'^TILES, A.M., M.D., Editor-in-Chief, 

Formerly lAbrarian of the Long Islmid Historical Society ; Member of the N. Y. Genealogical and Biographical Society, 

the American Ethnological Society, etc., etc.; Author of the "History of Brooklyn," "The Wallabout Prison 

Ship Series," the "History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Conn.," and other Historical Works. 


L. B. PROCTOR, Esq., »™^ L! P ' BROCKETT, A.M., M.D., 

Author of '-'Bench and Bar of the State of N. Y.," "iiues of the Author of ''Our Western Empire," "-Our Country's Wealth and Inftri- 
State Chancellors of New Yorh," '^Lawyer and ClienU" "Life ence,'' " Geographix^al Historu of N. Y." and Geographical and 

and Times of Thomas Addis Emmett," ''Lives of Statistical Editor of ""New American" and ^'Johnson's 

Eminent American Statesmen,"' .Oyclopa^dla" and the "American Supplement to 

etc., etc. Encyclopc&diu Britannica,^'' ete.^ etc. 






Copyright, 1884. 
^A'. W. MUNSELL & CO. 


Editor's Pebfacb ...... 

Outline Histoey of ti-ib State of New York . 
General History of Long Island .... 

General History of Kings County .... 

History of the Town of Flatlands 

History of the Town of Brooklyn .... 

As A Village, 1817-1834 ... . . 

The First City of Brooklyn, 1834^1854 
History of the Town of Gratesend .... 

History of Coney Island . . . • 

History of the Town of Flatbush . . . . 

History of the Town of New Utrecht 

History of the Town of Bushwick .... 
History of the Town of Williamsburgh . 
History of the Town of New Lots .... 
The Ecclesiastical History of Kings County, 1628-1800 
The Bench and Bar of Kings County, 1668-1832 

List of County Officials ..... 

LBGiSLATnrB Officers prom Kings County 
The History of the Board of Supervisors of Kings County 
The History of Education in Kings County, 1644-1822 
Travel and Transit in Kings County . . . . 

Stages and Eailroads ..... 

Brooklyn Ferries and Ferry Rights ... 

The New York and East River Bridge 
The History op the Superintendents of the Poor . 
History of the Commissioners of Charities 
Annals of the Consolidated City of Brooklyn, 1855-1883 
The Brooklyn of To-Day, 1883 ..... 
The Municipal History of the City op Brooklyn, 1834-1884 

Department op Police and Excise 

Department of Health . . . . . 

Department op Fire and Buildings .... 

Department op City "Works .... 

Department of Parks . . . . . 

(Cemeteries) ...... 

Department op Public Education .... 
Banking (By The Editor), and Insurance 

By Rev. Anson Dubois, D. D. 
. By The Editor. 

By liev. A. P. Stockioell. 

. By Wm. H. Stillwell, Esq. 

By Reo. R. G. Strong. 

. By. Hon. T. G. Bergen. 

. By The Editor. 

a J J. M. Stearns, Esq. 

By C Warren Hamilton, Esq. 

By The Editor. 

. By L. B. Proctor, Esq. 

By L. B. Proctor, Esq. 
. By The Editor. 

By L. P. Brookett, M. D. 
. . By The Editor. 

. By B. B. Proctor, Esq. 

By B. B. Proctor, Esq. 

. By The Editor. 

By B. P. Brochett, M. B. 

By B. B. Proctor, Esq. 

. By The Editor. 

" 569, 
By Van Brunt Bergen, Esq. 

By The Editor. 

By Hon. T. Q. Bergen. 

By O. H. Butcher, Esq. 

vi., vii. 







































Ammerman, Albert 511* 

Bauer, Paul 198 

Broach, John 304 

Beekman, A. J 626 

Bergen, Hon. Tennis G- 268 

Boerum, Henry 290 

Bowne, Samuel 439 

Campbell, Hon. Felix 415^ 

Conselyea, "William 290 

Delmar, John 370 

Driggs, Edmund 512* 

Elliott, Charles B 371 

Engeman, William A 206 

Fisher, Francis B 519 

Freeman, Rev. Bernardus 334 

Gaylor, William H 580 

Hazzard, William H 591 

Howell, James 513 

Hunter, John W 511 

Humphreys, A. W 515° 

James, Hon. Darwin R 416* 

Kalbfleisch, Martin 504 

Kiernan, Hon. John J 418" 

Kingsley, William C 463" 

Low, Seth 513" 

Low, Hon. Seth 517 

Lowe, Rev. Peter 336 

McKane, John Y 209 


Miller, Francis D., M. D 323 

Murphy, Henry C 364 

Murtha, Hon. William H 562 

Patchen, Jacob 115 

Peck, Edgar F., M. D 40* 

Pierrepont, H. B 129 

Perry, Joseph A 606 

Pierrepont, Henry E 443 

Polhemus, H. D 632 

Powell, S. S 514 

Ridley, Edward 210 

Roebling, John A 458 

Roebling, Washington A 458 

Schroeder, Frederick A 512 

Schenck, Isaac , 324 

Sheldon, Henry 514* 

Sprague, William E 579 

Stranahan, James S. T 598 

Stegman, Lewis R 369 

Suydam, A. M 291 

Tanner, James 521 

Thomas, William M 582 

Tuttle, Sylvester 305 

Vanderveer, Stephen L 321 

Vanderveer, Charles B ; 322 

Van Sinderen, Rev. TJlpianus 336 

Wallace, James P 507 

Williams, John , 625 



Map of Battle of Brooklyn 51 

Battle Pass (Prospect Park) 53 

Old Jersey Prison-Ship 57 

Map of Wallabout Bay, 1776-83 57 

Tomb of the Prison-Ship Martyrs 60 

Plan of Brooklyn Fortifications, 1814 60 

Autograph — Wolfert Garretse Van Cowenhoven . 66 

" Elbert Elbertse Stoothoff 67 

" Roelof Martense Schenck 67 

" Pieter Claesen Wyokoff 67 

" Steven Koers Vorhees 67 

Map of Brooklyn Settlements, 1646 81 

Map of the Bennett and Bentyn Patent 82 

The De Hart, or Bergen House 83 

The Vechte-Cortelyou House 83 

The Schermerhorn House 84 

Autograph — Cornells Cornelisen Cool 84 

" Frederick Lubbertse 85 

" Joris Jans Rappelye 87 


Autograph — Catalyntie (Trico) Rappelye 87 

" Hans Hansen Bergen 87 

" Adam Brouwer 87 

" Tennis Gysbertse Bogaert 89 

" Michael Hansen 91 

" Jacob Hans Bergen 91 

" Claes Barentse Blom 91 

View of Brookland, 1766-7 93 

Cornell-Pierrepont Mansion (river front) 94 

Map of Old Ferry, 1766-7 95 

British Fort in Brooklyn, 1776 ' 97 

British Camp Hut, 1776 93 

View of Bedford Corners, 1776 99 

View of Brooklyn, 1798 iq2 

Map of Old Ferry District, 1816 109 

Middagh House and Barn m 

Guy's Brooklyn Snow Scene \i^ 

" Key to the same n^ 

Old Ferry Road between Prospect and Sands ... 115 



Cornell-Pierrejjont Mansion (rear view) 129 

The Fleet Mansion 133 

Map of Old Brooklyn and Jamaica Turnpike. . . . 134 

Map of Bedford-Corners, 1766-7 136 

Map of Yellow Fever District, 1822 141 

Map of Burned District, 1848 151 

Autograph — Henry Moody 158 

" Anthony Jansen (Van Salee) 158 

Ancient Plot of the town of Gravesend, 1645 . . . 161 

Autograph — George Baxter 164 

" James Hubbard 164 

John Tilton 164 

" Mattenoah (Indian) 187 

" Gutta Quoah (Indian) ; . _ 187 

The Still well House, Gravesend 187 

The Stryker House, Gravesend 188 

The Johnson House, Gravesend 188 

Residence of Rev. A. P. Stockwell 188 

Fac-simile of old map of Gravesend and Coney 

Island 190 

Sea-Side Home for Children, Coney Island 197 

Paul Bauer's West Brighton Hotel, Coney Island 198 

Feltman's Oriental Pavilion, Coney Island 199 

Mrs.Vanderveer's Bathing Pavilion, Coney Island 201 

Depot P. P. & C. I. R. R J02 

Observatory at West Brighton, Coney Island. . . 202 

Sea Beach Palace Hotel, Coney Island 203 

Bay Ridge Landing — Sea Beach R. R 203 

Brighton Pier, Coney Island 204 

Ocean Pier, Coney Island 204 

Hotel Brighton, Coney Island 205 

Brighton Beach Bathing Pavilion, Coney Island. 205 

Bathing Pavilion, Coney Island 207 

The Manhattan Beach Hotel, Coney Island 208 

The Oriental Hotel, Coney Island 208 

Residence of Edward Ridley, Gravesend 212 

Old Ridley Mansion, Gravesend 212 

Autograph — Hendry ck Reycke 217 

" Cornells Janse Yanderveer 217 

" Jans Strycker 217 

" Leffert Pietersen 217 

" Adrian Reyerse 218 

" Peter Lott 218 

" Adrian Hegeman 220 

" Willem Jacobse Yan Boerum ...... 220 

" Jans Sueberingh 220 

" Jan Snedicor 220 

" Jans Aertse Yan der Bilt 222 

" Aucke Jans Yan Nuyse 222 

" DirckJans 223 

" Michael Hainelle 224 

« Jacob Stryker 225 

Melrose'Hall, Flatbush, 1883 228 

Platbush Church, 1842 242 

Erasmus Hall Academy, 1 850 251 

« « " 1883 252 


Autograph — Cornells Barentse Van Wyck 254 

" Jacques Cortelyou 257 

" Nicasius De Sille 258 

Residence of Nicasius De Sille 259 

The Miller Homestead 272 

Autograph — Boudwyn Manout 276 

Map of " Het Dorp," Bushwick 282 

Old Bushwick Graveyard 283 

The Devoe Houses 284 

The Boerum House 286 

Autograph — Johannes Schenck ; Private and 

Official Seals of ; Silver Marks of 324-325 

Autograph of Johannes Schenck, Jr 325 

Schenck Family Arms 325 

Autograph and Seal of Rev. Henricus Selyns. . . 331 

The Second Brooklyn Church, 1766 332 

Autograph of Rev. Y. Antonides 335 

The Old Bushwick Church 337 

The Third County Court-house, Flatbush. 341 

Autograph — Carel De Bevoise 409 

Old Ferry House, 1746 429 

First Steam Ferryboat 434 

Fulton Ferry, 1865 438 

Atlantic Street or South Ferry House 440 

The Hamilton Avenue Ferry House 441 

The Montague Street Ferry House 441 

The Old Grand Street Ferry, Williamsburgh. . . . 445 

The First Brooklyn Ferry Master 446 

Sectional View of East River Bridge 453 

Elevation of Bridge 454 

Plan of New York Approach to the Bridge 454 

Plan of Brooklyn Approach to the Bridge 454 

The Bridge as seen from the Brooklyn side 457 

The Brooldyn Eagle Office and Bridge Tower. . . 459 

View in Remsen Street, looking Westward 462 

Kings County Hospital 467 

" " Penitentiary 476 

" " Almshouse 477 

" " Lunatic Asylum 485" 

Soldiers' Medal 502 

" " (Reverse) 502 

Sailors' Medal 502 

" " (Reverse) 502 

Lincoln Monument, Prospect Park 508 

City Seal of Brooklyn 564* 

Brooklyn's First Fire Engine 568 

Fireman's Monument in Greenwood Cemetery. . . 578 

Modern Steam Fire Engine 583 

Northern Entrance to Greenwood Cemetery 602 

Entrance to Greenwood Cemetery, 1845 603 

Gardener's Lodge, Battle Hill, Greenwood 603 

Western Entrance to Greenwood Cemetery 605 

The Canda Monument, Greenwood Cemetery. . . . 605 

Williamsburgh Savings Bank 621 

Kings County Savings Institution 623 

Continental Insurance Building 630 


TN presenting to the public this HlSTORY OF KlNGS COUNTY AND THE CiTY OF BROOKLYN, 
^ a few words of explanation and acknowledgment are due. The preparation of so large a mass 
of historical, biographical and statistical ijtformation as is contained in these pages {equivalent to 
nearly 4,000 pages octavo) was undertaken by the publisher in a spirit of enterprise and liberality, 
before unequalled in works of this character. By myself, the charge of its editing was accepted 
in a spirit of loyalty to the best interests of a city in which, for many years, I was a resident, 
and of which f had formerly been the historian. My long familiarity with the ground, atid my 
acquaintance with its leading citizens, encouraged me to believe that such a work would be most 
acceptable to them, and would secure their general interest and personal co-operation. The result 
has more than justified my anticipations. 

From the moment of my entrance Upon the ivork, I have been cheered by a renewal of the 
same generous response to my requests for information, and by the same personal encouragement from 
all classes of citizens, which attended my former efforts in behalf of the History of Brooklyn. 

The co-operative plan of authorship, as exhibited in the present volume, has this undoubted 
merit : that it secures, in each special department, the services and knowledge of those who are, or 
are naturally supposed to be, best qualified, by their peculiar aptitude in, or acquaintance with it, 
to present it in its fullest and best light. Thus we have, in this volume, the important subject 
of The Bench and the Bar, both of the County of Kings and of the City of Brooklyn; the 
History of the Boards of COUNTY SUPERVISORS, the SUPERINTENDENTS OF THK Poor, and the 
Commissioners of Charities, as zvell as the complicated details of Brooklyn's Municipal organiza- 
tion, traced with careful exactitude by the legally qualified mind and pen of L. B. PrOCTOR, Esq., 
the accomplished historian of the New York State Bar. The immense, but greatly underrated 
{and, by the U. S. Census authorities, greatly misrepresented) MANUFACTURING and INDUSTRIAL 
interests; the COMMERCE; the vast Real Estate and BUILDING interests of Brooklyn and Kings 
County, have here their first elaborate and honest setting forth, by Dr. L. P- Brockett, whose high 
reputation as a statistician and economist writer is widely recognized. The wonderful develop- 
ment of the Drama, Music and Art, zvith their associate interests, are for the first time dis- 
played in these pages, zvith true artistic enthusiasm, by GABRIEL HARRISON, ESQ., the well-known 
dramatist, author and artist. And so in other departments of our History — such as the PRESS, 
the Medical Profession, the Parks, Water Supply, etc, etc., of Brooklyn, and in the histories 
of the several CoUNTY ToWNS — the reader will find that we have enlisted' the aid of the best 
informed minds in our midst. To all these gentlemen — and to that still larger number whose 
names do not appear on our pages, but who have cordially assisted us in every way — are due not 
only our thanks, but those of the reading public ; thanks, indeed, which must assume a deeper 
meaning as Time adds value to the work which they have helped to make. 

There have been but two disadvantages, or difficulties, in the completion of this history. One 
{and which, indeed, affects the Editor mostly) is due to the fact that to each writer his SPECIAL 
topic is apt to shut out all else from his view; he writes as if, and, indeed, is apt to think, his 
own subject is THE most important in all the book. Like the private soldier in battle, engaged 
in a hand-to-hand struggle, he can only see what is in his own immediate vicinity; all else being 
shut out of viezv by cloud and smoke. But the general in command, from, some eminence, surveys 
the whole field, and comprehends at a glance the relative movements and positions of his different 
divisions, and the results of his preconceived combinations. So the Editor, constantly bearing- in 
mind the general scope of the zvork, and the relations of its, several parts to each other, must bend 
his energies to maintain those relations and . to secure that harmony of detail zvhich are so necessary 
to the unity of the completed whole. 

It IS in this spirit that the Editor-in-Chief has endeavored to conduct this History to its com- 
pletion , and if, here and there, he has been obliged to contract in one part, or change sometvhat 
in another, he has the satisfaction of feeling that his associates have, as a rule, yielded cheerfully 
to his wishes. He esteems himself particularly fortunate that, from the inception of the wprk to 
its close, the whole staff — both of ivriters and of those connected zvith other departments of the en- 
terprise — have seconded his every effort with the greatest alacrity, and have undertaken their sev- 
eral parts with a genuine enthusiasm and esprit du corps which has subordinated all personal 
feeling in one common purpose to secure the success of the History. 

The other, and, in fact, the greatest difficulty under which the Editor and his associates have 
labored, has been the impossibility of keeping abreast of the growth of both County and City. 
Within the thirteen years which have elapsed since the History of Brooklyn was published, the 
grozvth in all departments of material interest has been at a rate almost unexampled by that of 
any other American city; and, during the progress of this work through the press, it has been almost 
beyond our power — even vuith the facilities and the large force of workers at our disposal — to record 
the improvements, changes and unforeseen developments which are daily occurring in this community . 
At this rate, the next History of Kings County will have to be dictated and writteTi by elec- 

It only remains to say, in this connection, that the originally well-digested plan and arrange- 
ment of this History has suffered someivhat during its progress through the press. This has been 
occasioned, not only by the unexpected amount of material, but by the equally unforeseen develop- 
ment of certain industries and interests which called for far more space than had been allowed ; 
and which could, in some cases, only be accommodated by recourse to certain expedients known to 
book-makers. Among these ivas the use of inserted pages, lettered as well as folioed. Of these 
there are no less than 70 pages, which may be considered as so much additional gain to the sub- 
scribers. The work is also especially rich in biographies, containing a mass of personal and family 
history which sheds an inestimable light upon that of the County and of the City for over two hun- 
dred years. The portraits (embracing representatives from various departments of governmental, pro- 
fessional and industrial interests") with which these pages are embellished, coming as they do from 
the burins of the most eminent engravers of the day, will commend themselves to all who see 
them, not only as admirable likenesses, but as choice vuorks of art ; and the illustrations plentifully 
scattered through the volum-e possess the highest antiquarian, historical and artistic merit. Finally, 
to the Printing, Messrs. C. A. CoFFIN & Rogers, of 85 and 87 John street, New York, and to the Bind- 
ing, Messrs. A. S. Barnes & Co., Liberty, corner of Nassau street, Brooklyn, have given that care- 
ful attention which bespeaks their love for the City and County in which they are honored residents. 

And now — over three years' labor ended — the Editor, conscious that this, in a measure, falls 
short of the IDEAL history which he had proposed to himself, may well say, as did valiant Capt. 
John Mason, in his introduction to his History of the Pequot War : " I wish [this task\ had 
fallen into some better hands, that might have performed it to the life. I shall only drazv the 
curtain, and open my little casement, that so others, of larger hearts and abilities, may let in 
a bigger light." 







IN 1524 John de Verazzano, a Florentine navigator 
in the service of Francis the First of France, made 
a voyage to the North American coast, and, as is 
believed from the account which he gave, entered the 
harbor of New York. No colonies were planted, and 
no results followed ; and the voyage was almost for- 

Though discoveries were made by the French north 
from this point, and colonies planted by the English 
farther to the south, it is not known that New York was 
again visited by Europeans till 1609, when the Dutch 
East India Company sent Hendrick Hudson, an English- 
man by birth, on a voyage of discovery in a vessel called 
the " Half Moon." He reached the coast of Maine, 
sailed thence to Cape Cod, then southwesterly to the 
mouth of Chesapeake Bay, then, coasting northward, he 
entered Delaware Bay on the 28th of August. From 
thence he proceeded northward, and on the 3d of Sep- 
tember, 1609, anchored in New York Bay. On the 12th 
he entered the river that bears his name, and proceeded 
slowly up to a point just above the present site of the 
City of Hudson ; thence he sent a boat's crew to explore 
farther up, and they passed above Albany. September 
23d he set sail down the river, and immediately returned 
to Europe. 

In 1607 Samuel Champlain, a French navigator, 
sailed up the St. Lawrence, explored its tributaries, and 
on the 4th of July in that year discovered the lake 
which bears his name. 

At the time of the discovery of New York by the 
whites, the southern and eastern portions were inhabited 
by the Mahican or Mohegan Indians ; while that por- 
tion west from the Hudson River was occupied by five 

confederate tribes, afterwards named by the English the 
Five Nations, and by the French the Iroquois, and by 
themselves called Hodenosaunee — people of the Long 
House. The long house formed by this confederacy ex- 
tended east and west through the State, having at its 
eastern portal the Mohawks, and at its western the 
Senecas ; while between them dwelt the Oneidas, Onon- 
dagas, and Cayugas ; and, after 1714, a sixth nation, the 
Tuscaroras, southeast from Oneida Lake. Of these 
Indians, Parkman says that at the commencement of the 
seventeenth century, " in the region now forming the 
State of New York, a power was rising to a ferocious 
vitality, which, but for the presence of Europeans, would 
probably have subjected, absorbed or exterminated every 
other Indian community east of the Mississippi and 
north of the Ohio." 

" The Iroquois was the Indian of Indians. A thorough 
savage, yet a finished and developed savage, he is, per- 
haps, an example of the highest elevation which man 
can reach without emerging from his primitive condition 
of the hunter. A geographical position commanding on 
the one hand the portal of the great lakes, and on the 
other the sources of the streams flowing both to the 
Atlantic and the Mississippi, gave the ambitious and ag- 
gressive confederates advantages which they perfectly 
understood and by which they profited to the utmost. 
Patient and politic as they were ferocious, they were 
not only the conquerors of their own race, but the pow- 
erful allies and the dreaded foes of the French and 
English colonies, flattered and caressed by both, yet too 
sagacious to give themselves without reserve to either. 
Their organization and their history evince their intrin- 
sic superiority. Even their traditionary lore, amid its 
wild puerilities, shows at times the stamp of an energy 
and force in striking contrast with the flimsy creations 
of Algonquin fancy. That the Iroquois, left under their 
own institutions, would ever have developed a civiliza- 
tion of their own, I do not believe." 

These institutions were not only characteristic and 
curious, but almost unique. Without sharing Morgan's 



almost fanatical admiration for them, or echoing the 
praises which Parkman lavishes on them, it may be 
truly said that their wonderful and cohesive confedera- 
tion furnished a model worthy to be copied by many 
civilized nations ; while, so long as they were uncontam- 
inated by the vices of civilization, they possessed, with 
all their savagery, many noble traits of character, which 
would adorn any people in their public, social or domes- 
tic relations. 

They made themselves the dreaded masters of all their 
neighbors east of the Mississippi, and carried their vic- 
torious arms far to the north, the south, and the east. 
Their dominance is thus eloquently pictured in Street's 
" Frontenac " : 

" The fierce Adirondacs had fled from their wrath, 
The Hurons been swept from their merciless path ; 
Around, the Ottawas, lilse leaves, had been strewn, 
And the lake of the Eries struck silent and lone. 
The Lenape, lords once of valley and hill. 
Made women, bent low at their conqueror's will. 
By the far Mississippi thelUinl shrank 
When the trail of the Tortoise was seen on the bank ; 
On the hills of New England the Pequod turned pale 
When the howl of the Wolf swelled at night on the gale; 
And the Cherokee shook in his green, smiling bowers, 
When the foot of the Bear stamped his carpet of flowers." 

It will hereafter be seen that the Iroquois acted an 
important part in the early history of the State. 

Space will not permit a description of their league, or 
confederation, a sketch of their tribal relations, and 
their religious, social and domestic customs, or a history 
of their warlike achievements. 

Only an allusion can here be made to the many dim 
and shadowy records of a pre-existing people of whom 
even a faint tradition scarce remains. These records con- 
sist of stone, or bone weapons, terra cotta implements 
or ornaments, that are occasionally discovered, and of 
the remains of defensive works found here and there 
through the State. Many of these works have been 
levelled by the jjlough, and those that remain are slowly 
crumbling and passing to oblivion. Some of them, 
though they would not be regarded as models of mili- 
tary engineering at the present day, give evidence of an 
adaptation to the circumstances probably existing at 
the time of their building, and of skill in construction, 
which are not discreditable to their builders. 


TO 1765. 


IN 1610 another vessel was sent from Holland to 
trade with the natives, and in 1612 two more, soon 
after followed by others ; and a small fort and 
a few rude buildings were erected at the 
southern extremity of Manhattan Island, and the place 
was named New Amsterdam. In 1G14 the States Gen- 
eral of Holland granted a charter to the merchants 

engaged in these expeditions, giving exclusive privileges 
of trade for four years. The Hudson River had been 
ascended by Hendrick Christiansen, and a fort and trad- 
ing house erected near the present site of Albany, which 
was named Fort Orange. 

In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was char- 
tered, and in 1623 settlers were sent thither. In 1626 
Peter Minuit, as director-general or governor of the 
province, arrived with other settlers, and purchased the 
island of Manhattan from the Indians for trinkets of the 
value of about $24. In 1629 the company offered grants 
to patroons who should found settlements in the province 
(which had been named New Netherlands) of fifty or 
more adults, and several availed themselves of this offer. 
In 1633 Minuit was recalled and Wouter Van Twiller 
appointed in his place. During his administration the 
controversey concerning jurisdiction was commenced 
between the Dutch and the English, who claimed the 
country on the ground of prior discovery by Cabot and 
the grant of James I. covering the territory. 

In 1638 Van Twiller was succeeded in the gov- 
ernment of the colony by William Kieft. By rea- 
son of hostilities which occurred with the In- 
dians on Long Island in 1643-44, for which Kieft 
was censured, he was recalled, and succeeded by Peter 
Stuyvesant in 1647. The controversey concerning jur- 
isdiction continued during his administration, till, in 
1664, Charles II. of England, regardless of the claims 
of the Dutch to New Netherlands, granted to his brother, 
the Duke of York and Albany, afterwards James II., the 
whole country from the Connecticut to the Delaware, 
including the entire Dutch possessions. A fleet was 
sent under Colonel Richard Nicolls by the duke to en- 
force bis claim, and on the 3d of September, 1664, the 
province was surrendered without bloodshed, and the 
government of the^colony passed into the hands of the 

Colonel Nicolls at once assumed the functions of gov- 
ernor ; the name New Amsterdam was changed to New 
York, and Fort Orange to Albany, laws for the govern- 
ment of the province were prescribed, and courts for 
the administration of these laws established. In 1668 
Governor Nicolls resigned, and was succeeded by Col- 
onel Francis Lovelace. England, at about this time, 
became involved in a war with Holland, which govern- 
ment sent a squadron to repossess its province in 
America. This squadron arrived July 30th, 1673, and 
the fort at New York was surrendered without resist- 
ance by Captain John Manning, who was in command. 
Captain Anthony Colve became governor; but his reign 
was short, for on the conclusion of peace between the 
two powers, February 9th, 1674, the province reverted 
to the English. A new patent was issued, confirming 
the first, and Sir Edmund Andros was commissioned 
governor. The despotic agent of a despotic ruler, he was 
unpopular with the people, and became involved in dif- 
ficulties with the neighboring colonies. He was recalled 



and his successor, Thomas Dongan, arrived on the 22d 
of August, 1683. In the autumn of the same year the 
first Colonial Assembly was convened, many needed re- 
forms were instituted, and better times than the colo- 
nists had ever known appeared to have dawned. The 
most important act of this Assembly was the adoption 
of a charter of liberties and privileges, or bill of rights. 
The hopes thus raised were soon disappointed. On the 
accession of James II. to the English throne he refused 
his confirmation of the privileges which had been 
granted while he was. Duke of York, prohibited the 
Assembly, forbade the establishment of a printing press 
in the colony, and filled the principal offices in the prov- 
ince with Roman Catholics. 

In 1687 a war broke out between the Iroquois and 
the French. The country of the former was invaded 
by the French, under De la Barre and M. de Nonville 
successively ; and, in retaliation, the Iroquois, twelve 
hundred strong, fell upon the French on the south side 
of the island of Montreal, " burnt their houses, sacked 
their plantations, and put to the sword all the men, 
women and children without the skirts of the town. A 
thousand French were slain in this invasion, and twenty- 
six were carried into captivity and burnt alive." 
Shortly afterward, in another attack, the lower part 
of the town was destroyed, and in all this the assailants 
lost only three. 

In 1688 New York and the Jerseys were annexed to 
the jurisdiction of New England, and Sir Edmund An- 
dres was made governor of all. Governor Dongan was 
removed, and Francis Nicolson succeeded him. The 
government was vested in a governor and council, who 
were appointed by the king without the consent of the 

In 1689 William and Mary ascended the English 
throne. Sir Edmund Andros was seized at Boston, and 
Jacob Leisler seized the fort at New York, under the 
pretence of holding it for the new sovereigns. During 
the two years of Leisler's usurpation the French and 
Indians made a descent on Schenectady, February 8th, 

1690, and massacred about sixty of the inhabitants. 
The danger by which they were threatened induced 
the people, — who, though favorably disposed toward 
William and Mary, were opposed to Leisler-^to submit 
to his authority for the time. On the arrival, in March, 

1691, of Colonel Sloughter, who had been commissioned 
governor in 1689, Leisler at first refused to surrender 
the government to him. For this he was tried by a 
special commission, and sentenced to death. The 
governor, who refused to sign his death warrant, was 
persuaded, while intoxicated, to do so, and he was exe- 
cuted before the governor had recovered from his in- 
toxication. Governor Sloughter died in July, 1691, 
after a weak administration of only a few months. 

The colonial Assembly was again established during 
this year, and the oppressive laws which had been im- 
posed on the colony repealed. In the interim between 

the death of Sloughter and the arrival of his successor 
the chief command was committed to Richard Ingolds- 
by. In August, 1692, Benjamin Fletcher arrived with 
a commission as governor. He was narrow, violent, 
avaricious and bigoted, and his administration was a 
continual exhibition of these qualities. 

In 1693 the French and Indians under Count Fron- 
tenac invaded the country of the Iroquois, killed some, 
and took three hundred prisoners. In 1696 he made 
another incursion, and ravaged a portion of the coun- 
try. The Indians retaliated by hostile incursions 
among their enemies, but the peace of Ryswick, be- 
tween France and England, terminated these hostilities. 

Governor Fletcher was succeeded in 1698 by Richard, 
Earl of Bellemont, who died in 1701, and John Nanfan, 
the lieutenant-governor, succeeded him till the arrival 
of the next governor. Lord Cornbury, in 1702. The 
administration of this governor was chiefly distin- 
guished for religious intolerance; and he received the 
unenviable distinction of being the worst governor un- 
der the English regime. He was succeeded, December 
18th, 1708, by Lord Lovelace, who died on the 5th of 
the following May. Under Lieutenant-Governor In- 
goldsby, who administered the government after his 
death, an unsuccessful expedition against Canada was 
undertaken. Gerardus Beekman succeeded him as 
governor ^ro tern., till June 14th, 1710, when the next 
governor, Robert Hunter, arrived. In 1711 another 
disastrous expedition against Canada was made, but in 
1713 the treaty of Utrecht terminated the war between 
England and France, and put an end to Indian hostili- 
ties. In 1719 Hunter returned to England, and Peter 
Schuyler was governor, ad interim, till the arrival of 
William Burnet in 1720. On the accession to the 
throne of George II. Burnet was transferred to the 
government of Massachusetts, and succeeded, April 
15th, 1728, by John Montgomery, who died July 1st, 
1731. Rip Van Dam, by virtue of seniority in the 
council, was his successor till the arrival of William 
Cosby, the next governor, finished his administration 
and began one rendered memorable for its arbitrary 
proceedings and tumult, rather than for striking or 
important events. Cosby died March 10th, 1736, and 
was succeeded by George Clark, senior counselor after 
Van Dam, whom Cosby had caused to be suspended. 
Clark was commissioned lieutenant-governor in the 
following October. An antagonism had been growing 
during some time between the democratic and the aris- 
tocratic parties in the colonies. Clark at first sought 
to conciliate both, but in the end had the confidence of 
neither, and his retirement, on the arrival of his suc- 
cessor. Admiral George Clinton, September 23d, 1743, 
was but little regretted. The administration of Gover- 
nor Clinton was characterized by a continual conflict 
with the people, represented in the provincial Assembly. 
Unable by repeated prorogations and dissolutions to 
coerce them into submission, he resigned after an ad- 



ministration of ten years, and was succeeded, October 
10th, 1753, by Sir Danvers Osborne. He was charged 
with still more stringent instructions than his predeces- 
sors, and met with still firmer resistance from the 
people. After an administration of a few days he 
committed suicide by hanging, probably because of the 
embarrassment by which he was surrounded, and grief 
for the death of his wife. He was succeeded by 
Lieutenant-Governor James De Lancey till the arrival, 
in September, 1755, of Sir Charles Hardy, who, though 
nominally governor, surrendered the duties of the of- 
fice into the hands of De Lancey. Governor Hardy 
resigned in 1757 and De Lancey became governor. He 
died on the 30th of July, 1760, and Cadwallader Golden, 
president of the council, took charge of the government. 
He was commissioned lieutenant-governor in August, 
1761, and in October of the same year General Robert 
Moulton, who had been appointed governor, assumed 
the gubernatorial functions; but on the 13th of the fol- 
lowing month he left the administration of affairs in 
the hands of Golden, and went on an expedition against 
Martinique. Golden's administration continued till 



AS early as 1722 a trading post was established at 
Oswego by Governor Burnet, with the view of 
establishing others farther west on the lakes, 
and securing the trade of the western Indians. 
To intercept this, and secure this trade for themselves, 
the French established a post and erected a fort at 
Niagara, with the design of extending a chain of mili- 
tary posts to the Ohio River, and thus limiting the 
English trade. 

In March, 1744, war was declared between France 
and England, in which the colonies of New York and 
New England participated. During its continuance 
the country north from Albany was frequently ravaged 
by parties of French and Indians. Saratoga was burned, 
and nearly all the inhabitants either killed or made 
prisoners, and the village of Hoosic taken. 

In 1746 an unsuccessful expedition against Canada 
was undertaken, for which the colony of New York 
furnished sixteen hundred men. Peace was concluded 
at Aix La Chapelle in 1748, and a period of nominal 
tranquility followed, though the frontier was desolated 
by savage parties, encouraged by the French. 

In 1755, with the view of checking their encroach- 
ments, four expeditions were sent against them, two of 
which were in the colony of New York. One of them, 
that against Niagara, was unsuccessful, but the other. 

against Crown Point, achieved a success, which was 
not, however, followed up. 

It was not till 1756 that the English ministry aroused 
from its imbecility and formally declared war. In the 
campaign of 1756 the English and colonial forces met 
with no success, but the two forts at Oswego were lost, 
with 1,600 prisoners and much war material. The 
campaign of 1757 was equally unsuccessful and disas- 
trous. Fort William Henry, on Lake George, with 
3,000, men, fell into the hands of the French under 

On the accession of William Pitt to the head of the 
British ministry in 1*758 new energy was infused into 
their measures, and a fresh impulse given to the colon- 
ies. Success soon turned in favor of the English, and, 
with few exceptions, continued till Canada was sub- 
dued. Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Niagara and Quebec 
fell in 1758, and Montreal, Detroit, Michilimackinac 
and all other Canadian posts in 1760. A great obstacle 
to the prosperity of New York was removed by the 
conquest of Canada, which prevented further hostile 
incursions of French and Indians into its territory. 

In 1763 a controversy arose between the colonies of 
New York and New Hampshire concerning the juris- 
diction over the territory between Lake Champlain and 
the Coimecticut river, now comprising the State of 
Vermont. Proclamations and counter proclamations 
were issued, but the matter was finally referred to and 
settled for the time by the crown. 

During many years the government of Great Britain 
bad attempted to make encroachments on what the 
colonists regarded as their rights, but without success. 
The taxation of the people without their consent was 
sought to be accomplished in some insidious manner, 
and was steadfastly and watchfully guarded against by 
the colonists through their representatives in the col- 
onial Assembly. In 1764 the notorious stamp act was 
passed and its enforcement in the city of New York 
attempted. It was resisted by the populace ; the efligy 
of Governor Colden, who was charged with its execu- 
tion, was hanged and burned in the streets, and finally 
a quantity of the stamped paper was seized and con- 
sumed in a bonfire. 

Through the influence of London merchants, whose 
colonial trade suffered by reason of the act, the odious 
law was repealed in 1766 ; but its repeal was followed 
by a declaration by Parliament of the right " to tax 
the colonies in all cases whatsoever." Troops were 
quartered in New York city, really for the purpose of 
enforcing the laws that Parliament might enact. Col- 
lisions occurred between these troops and the people, 
and the Assembly refused appropriations for their sup- 
port. Parliament declared the legislative powers of 
the Assembly annulled till compliance was had with 
the demands of the government. In June, 1767 a bill 
was enacted by Parliament imposing duties on certain 
articles imported into the colonies. This was followed 



by a revival of the non-importation agreement that had 
previously been entered into by the colonists, and again 
the influence of the English merchants procured the 
repeal of all these duties, except that on tea, which was 
retained by reason of a determination to assert and 
maintain the right of taxation. 

Sir Henry Moore succeeded Governor Colden in 
I'zes, and his administration continued till his death, in 

1769, when the government again devolved on Cadwal- 
lader Colden. Between the soldiers and those colon- 
ists who were known as the Sons of Liberty, animosities 
continued to exist, and finally, on the 1 8th of January, 

1770, five years previous to the battle of Lexington, a 
collision occurred at Golden Hill, in New York city, in 
which several of the citizens were wounded. 

In October, 1770, Lord Dunmore superseded Colden 
in the government of New York, and in 1771 he was 
transferred to the government of Virginia and suc- 
ceeded in New York by William Tryon, who was ren- 
dered independent of the people by a royal decree that 
his salary should be paid from the revenue. 

The non-importation agreement was continued so far 
as related to tea, and the E^st India Company suf- 
fered severely in consequence. Doggedly determined to 
maintain the assumed right of taxation, the British gov- 
ernment abolished the export duty on such tea as was 
shipped to the colonies, thus enabling the company to 
sell it there cheaper than in England, and appointed 
consignees in the colonial ports for its sale. Regardless 
of this appeal to their cupidity, the people made such 
demonstrations of resistance that the consignees in New 
York resigned, and when an attempt was made to land a 
quantity of tea clandestinely, it was thrown overboard 
by the vigilance committee, and the vessel sent out of 
the harbor. 

It is hardly necessary to say that in the other colonies 
the oppressive acts of the King and Parliament met 
with as firm resistance as in New York. The battle of 
Lexington was the signal for a general rush to arms 
throughout the colonies. 

In New York city the arms in the arsenals were seized 
and distributed among the people, and a provisional 
government for the city was organized. Ticonderoga 
was seized on the 10th of May, 1775, by Connecticut 
patriots under Colonel Ethan Allen, and two days later 
Crown Point, both without resistance, and thus the 
command of Lake Champlain was secured. 

The Continental Congress assembled on the 10th of 
May, and on the 22d of the same month a Provincial 
Congress assembled in New York. 

In August an attack was made by the British ship of 
war " Asia " on a party who were engaged in removing 
some cannon from the battery in New York, and con- 
siderable damage was done to the buildings in the 
vicinity, but the guns were removed. In the autumn an 
armament was collected by General Schuyler at Ticon- 
deroga, and an expedition went against Canada. The 

forts at Chambly, St. Johns and Montreal were taken, 
and Quebec was assaulted, but the colonial force was 
here repulsed and driven out of Canada. 




EARLY in 1776 General Lee, with a force of twelve 
hundred men, occupied the city of New York. 
General Schuyler, with a small force, had dis- 
armed the tories of the Mohawk valley, and a like 
service had been rendered on Long Island by the New 
Jersey militia. About the first of July General Howe, 
who had previously evacuated Boston and sailed for 
Halifax, appeared off Sandy Hook with his army, where 
he was soon afterward joined by his brother, Admiral 
Howe, with a force of British regulars and Hessians, 
and Clinton and Parker, on their return from an unsuc- 
cessful attack on Charleston, making an aggregate force 
of about 30,000 men. 

The Provincial Congress of New York adjourned to 
"White Plains, where it convened on the 9th of July, 
and ratified the Declaration of Independence by the 
Continental Congress. 

On the 22d of August a British force landed on 
Long Island, and on the 27th a battle was fought, 
resulting in the defeat of the Americans, who, on the 
night of the 29th, favored by a thick fog, retreated to 
New York. The plan had been formed to capture New 
York, ascend the Hudson, effect a junction with a force 
from Canada under General Carlton, and thus cut off 
communication between the patriots of New England 
and those of the middle and southern colonies; but the 
precautions of Washington and the failure of Carlton 
frustrated the plan. 

On the 15th of September General Howe took posses- 
sion of New York, and the Americans retreated to Har- 
lem Heights. General Howe sought to gain their rear, 
but Washington's movements frustrated his designs. 

Opposed to General Carlton at the north was General 
Gates, who abandoned Crown Point and concentrated 
his forces at Ticonderoga. A small squadron was 
formed and placed on Lake Champlain under command 
of Arnold in August. An action took place in October 
between this squadron and the fleet which Carlton had 
prepared at St. Johns, in which the Americans were 
defeated and fell back on Ticonderoga. Not deeming 
it prudent to attack them there, General Carlton with- 
drew to Canada. 

On the 21st of April, 1777, a State constitution was 
adopted, and under it George Clinton was elected gov- 
ernor, and he assumed the duties of the ofiice on the Slst 
of the following July. 



The principal object of the British in the campaign 
of 1777 was to carry out the cherished design of separat- 
ing the eastern from the southern colonies by controlling 
the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. Lieutenant- 
General Burgoyne, who had superseded General Carlton, 
was to force Ms way from Canada, and meet Sir Henry 
Clinton at Albany, while Colonel St. Leger was to 
ascend the St. Lawrence, and, with a force of loyalists 
and Indians, sweep through the Mohawk valley from 
Oswego and Rome, and join them at Albany. 

In June Burgoyne moved on Ticonderoga, which the 
American commander, General St. Clair, evacuated. As 
the American army retreated some fighting took place, 
without decisive results, till at Bennington the Ameri- 
cans, under General Stark, achieved a victory over a 
detachment of the enemy under Colonel Baum, who 
was slain. 

Colonel St. Leger advanced and invested Fort Schuy- 
ler, otherwise called Fort Stanwix, now Rome. The 
battle of Oriskany was fought, soon after which St. 
Leger abandoned his undertaking and returned to 

General Burgoyne advanced to Saratoga, where he 
was surrounded, and on the 17th of October was com- 
pelled to surrender. 

While operations were in progress in the vicinity of 
Saratoga Sir Henry Clinton sought to make a diversion 
in favor of Burgoyne. He proceeded up the Hudson, 
captured Forts Montgomery and Clinton, devastated the 
settlements along the banks of the river, burnt Kingston, 
and, on learning of the surrender of Burgoyne, returned 
to New York. 

In the campaigns of 1778 and 1779 no very important 
operations were carried on in New York. The Indians 
of the Six Nations (except the Oneidas and a few others) 
were induced to carry on against the Americans their 
savage and cruel warfare, and devastation, slaughter and 
massacres were the result. To arrest these depredations 
General Sullivan, in the summer of 1779, with an army 
of 3,000 men, ascended the Susquehanna to Tioga Point, 
where he was joined by General Clinton with a thousand 
men. With these forces they penetrated the country of 
the savages, destroyed their towns, and laid waste their 
cornfields and orchards. Though not subdued by this 
punishment, they were so crippled that their inroads 
were less frequent and destructive afterward. 

During the years 1780 and 1781 the Mohawk valley 
was the scene of devastation by the savages of the Six 
Nations, particularly the Mohawks, under their cele- 
brated chief Brant; but, aside from these. New York 
was not the scene of important hostile operations. The, 
year 1780 was made memorable by the treason of 
Arnold. This gallant officer had, for some irregularities 
in Philadelphia in 1778, been court-martialed and sen- 
tenced to be reprimande<l by the commander-in-chief. 
He apparently acquiesced in the sentence, but his pride 
was deeply wounded, and he thirsted after revenge. He 

solicited and obtained command of West Point, and 
entered into negotiations with Sir Henry Clinton for 
the delivery of that fortress into the hands of the British. 
In the course of these negotiations Major Andre, of the 
British army, met General Arnold on the banks of the 
Hudson. In attempting to return he was captured, 
about thirty miles from New York, by three militiamen 
named Paulding, Williams and Van Wert, who refused 
his offered bribes, and delivered him to their commander. 
He was tried, condemned and executed as a spy. 

The Revolutionary war virtually closed with the sur- 
render of Cornwallis and his army at Yorktown on the 
19th of October, 1781. A treaty of peace was entered 
into on the 3d of September, 1783, and on the 25th of 
November in the same year the British troops evacuated 
New York. 

After the United States had achieved their independ- 
dence, it was early perceived that the confederation, 
which had been established for a particular purpose, 
lacked that cohesive force which was requisite for an 
effectual national government. Measures were accord- 
ingly instituted, first for a revision of the Articles of 
Confederation, but finally the formation of a national 
constitution was determined on; and such constitution 
was formed by the convention in Philadelphia in 1787. 
After its adoption by the requisite number of States, it 
was ratified in convention by the State of New York, by 
a close vote, on the 26th of July, 1788, but with the 
recommendation of several amendments, which, however, 
were not adopted. 

The difficulties arising out of the conflicting claims of 
New York and New Hampshire to the territory now 
comprising Vermont, which had been held in partial 
abeyance during the Revolutionary struggle, were 
finally settled by the admission of the disputed territory 
into the Union as a State, in 1790, under the name of 

By reason of indefiniteness and confusion in the 
original grants, Massachusetts claimed a portion of the 
territory of New York. This claim was settled by the 
cession to Massachusetts of all rights, except that of 
political sovereignty, over about one-fourth of the State. 
The largest tract of these lands, embracing what has 
been known as the Genesee country, was sold by Massa- 
chusetts for the sum of one million dollars. 



AT the commencement of the present century difli- 
culties arose between this country and Great 
Britain concerning the rights of neutrals on the 
seas, and the aggressions of .the British became 
a subject of bitter animosity. In addition to other en- 



croaohments, the English government claimed the right 
to search American vessels and impress into their service 
such of their crews as they chose to regard as British 
subjects. Outrages were committed in the enforcement 
of this pretended right, and for the suppression of the 
practice, and the vindication of the national honor, war 
became necessary; and it was declared on the 19th of 
June, 1812. To this measure there was a strong opposi- 
tion, both in New England and New York, and this 
opposition embarrassed the government to some extent 
in the prosecution of the war. An invasion of Canada 
was determined on, and for that purpose forces were 
collected in the vicinity of Plattsburg, on Lake Cham- 
plain, under General Dearborn, and at Lewiston, on the 
Niagara River, under General Van Rensselaer. A naval 
force was fitted up on the lakes, and Commodore Chaun- 
eey was placed in command of it. Unsuccessful attempts 
were made by the British fleet on Sackett's Harbor and 
Ogdensburg, while, on the other hand, the British vessel 
" Caledonia " was captured at the foot of Lake Erie. 
An attack was made on the heights at Queenston, on 
the Canadian bank of the Niagara, and though at first 
the Americans were successful, they were finally com- 
pelled to surrender. Nothing beyond slight skirmishing 
occurred in this quarter during the remainder of the 

Early in the spring of 1813, a successful expedition 
to Canada was made from Ogdensburg, and in retalia- 
tion an attack was made on that place, some stores 
taken, several vessels destroyed and the property of 
citizens injured. In April a successful expedition was 
sent by General Dearborn against York, now Toronto. 
In May the British were driven from Fort George, on 
the Niagara River, near Lake Ontario, and the enemy's 
post on that frontier evacuated. Sackett's Harbor was 
attacked by the British, who were repulsed, and an 
unsuccessful attack was also made by them on the 
village of Black Rock. 

The brilliant victory of Commodore Perry, on Lake 
Erie, was achieved on the 10th of September in this 
year, but the operations on Lake Ontario were less 
decisive. Late in the autumn an unsuccessful attempt 
was made to invade Canada under General Wilkinson. 
The American generals Izard and Hampton were 
repulsed near the border of Franklin county. In De- 
cember the British took Fort Niagara, and massacred a 
large part of the garrison and even hospital patients. 
Lewiston was burned, and the villages of Youngstown, 
Manchester, Schlosser and the Indian village of Tus- 
carora were devastated by the enemy. The village of 
Black Rock and Buffalo were also burned, and thus the 
desolation of the Niagara frontier was completed. 

Early in 1814 an attempt was made by the British to 
capture some military stores at Oswego Falls, but with- 
out success. On the 3d of July, 1814, Fort Erie was 
taken by the Americans, and on the 25th a battle was 
fought at Lundy's Lane. In August Port Erie was 

besieged by the British, who were compelled to retire 
about the middle of September. 

The plan of a dismemberment of the Union, by pos- 
sessing Lake Champlain and the Hudson River from 
the north, and capturing New York, was again formed, 
and it was hojjcd that discontent and opposition to the 
war in New England, and possibly in New York, might 
lead to the conclusion of a separate peace with these 
States. The people, however, were fully aroused, and 
the defenses of New York were strengthened and 
strongly garrisoned. An invasion was undertaken from 
Canada, and a descent was made on Plattsburg by an 
army of 11,000 men under Sir George Prevost, but 
after a severe engagement on the 11th of September 
this army was compelled to retire with great loss. The 
British fleet, under Commodore Downie, was on the 
same day captured on Lake Champlain by Commodore 
Macdonough. No further invasion of this frontier 
took place. On the 24th of December a treaty of peace 
was concluded at Ghent. 

No other interruption of the peaceful relations 
between this country and England has occurred. Some 
infractions of the neutrality laws have been attempted 
by people on the Canadian frontier, the chief of which 
took place during the Canadian rebellion, commonly 
known as the "Patriot war,'' in 1837-38. 

What were known as the " anti-rent disturbances " 
commenced as early as 1839, and were not terminated 
till 1846. Laws were enacted to modify the process of 
collecting rents and to extend the time for " re-entry " 
on lands where rents were in arrears. Participators in 
outrages were pardoned, and quiet was finally restored. 

The annexation of Texas to the United States led to 
hostilities between Mexico and this nation, and on the 
11th of May, 1846, Congress declared that, by the acts 
of the Mexicans, war existed between the two nations. 
The Americans were victorious in all important engage- 
ments with the Mexican army, and the part taken by 
the troops from the State of New York was conspicuous 
and highly creditable to their valor. 

From time to time the Legislature enacted laws con- 
cerning slavery, down to the year 1819. A law passed 
in 1799 provided for the gradual extinction of slavery 
in the State. " In 1817 a further act was passed decree- 
ing that there should be no slavery in the State after 
the 4th of July, 1827. Ten thousand slaves were set 
free by this act.'' 

The recognition of slavery in the territories of the 
United States was earnestly resisted during many years, 
and the controversy finally resulted in a gigantic civil 
war. On the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presi- 
dency, in 1860, on the platform of avowed hostility to 
the extension of slavery, and the failure to effect a com- 
promise by which the institution should be recognized 
or tolerated in any of the territories, the southern 
States determined to secede from the Union and estab- 
lish a separate government. The attack by the Con- 



federates, as these States styled themselves, on Fort 
Sumter, was tlie first overt act of the Kebellion, and 
its occurrence, in April, 1861, was the commencement 
of active hostilities. Before the close of that year the 
State of New York had placed in the field one hundred 
and fifteen regiments. 

In July, 1863, during the execution of a draft ordered 
by Congress, an alarming riot occurred in the city of 
New York. The police were unable to check its pro- 
gress, and during several days the city was convulsed 
with lawlessness, rapine and murder. The outbreak 
was finally quelled by military force, but not until a 
large amount of property had been destroyed and many 
lives sacrificed. The war was prolonged till the spring 
of 1865, when it terminated with the complete success 
of the Union arms, and peace has since prevailed. 



IN 1791 the Legislature ordered an exploration and 
survey to ascertain the most eligible method of 
removing obstructions from the Mohawk and 
Hudson rivers, with a view to improve their navi- 
gation by the construction of canals. The following 
year two companies were incorporated, styled the 
Northern and Western Inland Lock Navigation Com- 
panies, for the purpose of facilitating navigation by 
connecting Lake Ontario with the Mohawk and Lake 
Champlain with the Hudson by canals. 

In 1810 a provision was made by the Legislature " for 
exploring the route of an inland navigation from Hud- 
son's River to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie." It was at 
first proposed to solicit aid from the general government 
to carry out this work, but in 1812 a commission re- 
ported to the Legislature that sound policy demanded 
that this should be done by the State. War with Great 
Britain interrupted the project. 

On the termination of the war the project was revived ; 
and notwithstanding the formidable character of the 
undertaking, and the difiiculties in its way, through the 
untiring energy and perseverance of De Witt Clinton, 
an act prepared by him was passed in April, 1817, 
authorizing the construction of the work. This — ^the 
Erie Canal, as it is called — was commenced on the 4th 
of July in that year, and on the 26th of October, 1825, 
the first flotilla of boats left Buffalo for New York. The 
departure of the flotilla was communicated to New York 
in one hour and twenty minutes, by the discharge of 
cannon stationed within hearing of each other. This 
was then regarded as a rapid transmission of intelli- 

The first railroad in the State, that between Albany 
and Schenectady, was chartered in 1826 and completed 

in 1831. Other roads through the central portion of 
the State were soon constructed, and railroad connection 
between the great lakes and Hudson River established. 
In 1851 these different roads were consolidated into the 
present immense New York Central Railroad ; and, sub- 
sequently, connection was established, through the Hud- 
son River Railroad, with the city of New York. In 
1833 the New York and Erie Railway was commenced, 
but it was not completed till 1852. The enlargement 
of the Erie Canal to its present capacity was commenced 
in 1835 and completed in 1862. These constitute the 
main avenues of travel and transportation through the 
State, between its eastern and western extremities ; but 
connecting routes in every direction have come into 
existence, and the facilities for transportation and travel 
in this State are not excelled by those of any other. It 
is hardly necessary to call attention to the telegraph 
lines that ramify through all parts of the State. 

It has already been stated that a State constitution 
was adopted in 1777. Several amendments to this con- 
stitution were adopted in a convention held for that 
purpose, and the new constitution was adopted early in 
1822, at a popular election held for that purpose, by a 
majority of more than 33,000 in a total vote of 116,919. 
On the 1st of June, 1846, another constitutional 
convention met at Albany, and it continued in session 
more than four months. The amendments to the con- 
stitution adopted by that body were ratified by the 
people in the following November by a majority of 
more than 20,000 votes. 

In 1867 another constitutional convention assembled, 
on the 4th of June, and continued its session, except 
during an adjournment of two months, several weeks 
into 1868. The amended constitution framed by this 
convention was submitted to the people in November, 
1869, and resulted in its rejection, except the article 
making changes in the judiciary, by a majority of more 
than 66,000. The judiciary article was accepted by a 
small majority. 

In 1872 a commission of thirty-two persons was 
appointed to propose to the Legislature amendments to 
the constitution. In 1873 several important amend- 
ments were recommended, and ratified at the election 
in 1874. It is a notable fact that, as changes have been 
made in the constitution of the State, the right of the 
elective franchise has been extended ; till now complete 
manhood suffrage is established. 

In 1787 a law was enacted incorporating the Regents 
of the University of New York, and in their report for 
1793 they called attention to the importance of insti- 
tuting a common school system. At different times, 
from 1787 to 1795, Governor Clinton called the attention 
of the Legislature to the same subject, and in that year 
an act was passed appropriating $50,000 annually for 
five years for the encouragement of schools. In 1805, 
after attention had repeatedly been called to the subject 
by the different governors, the Legislature passed an 



act laying the foundation of the present common school 
fund. In 1812 the first common school system was adopt- 
ed, comprising substantially the features of the system 
as it existed up to 1840. Changes in this system have 
from time to time been made, till now the free school 
system of this State is believed to be, with scarcely an 
exception, the most nearly perfect of any in existence. 

The State Agricultural Society, which has been pro- 
ductive of such great benefit, was organized at a con- 
vention in Albany in 1832. It was reorganized in 1841, 
and measures were adopted for raising funds and hold- 
ing annual fairs. 

In 1836 the Legislature ordered a scientific survey of 
the State for the purpose of developing a knowledge of 
its geology, mineralogy and natural history. The pub- 
lished reports of this survey are qf very great value. 

The following list of the governors, lieutenant-gov- 
ernors and presidents of the council who have admin- 
istered the government of the Colony and of the State 
of New York from 1629 to the present time, will be 
found convenient for reference. 

Undbe the Dutch Regime — Directors General. — 
Adriaen Joris, 1623 ; Cornells Jacobsen, May, 1624 ; 
Willem Verhulst, 1625 ; Peter Minuit, 1626 ; The 
Council, 1632; Wouter Van Twiller, 1633; William 
Kieft, 1638 ; Peter Stuyvesant, 1647. 

Undbk the English Regime — Colonial Governors, 
etc., 1664-73 — Richard Nicolls, 1664; Col. Francis Love- 
lace, 1667. 

Under the Dutch again, 1673. — Cornells Evertse, 
Jr., Jacob Benckes, and Council of War, August 19; 
Anthony Colve, Sept. 19, 1673. 

Undee the English Regime — Colonial Governors, 
eta. — Maj. Edmund Andros, 1674 ; Anthony Brock- 
holies (Commander-in-Chief), 1677 ; Sir Edmund An- 
dros, 1678 ; Anthony BrockhoUes, 1681 ; Col. Thomas 
Dongan, 1682 ; Sir Edmund Andros, August 11, 1685 ; 
Francis Mcholson (Lt. Gov.), October 9, 1688 ; Jacob 
Leisler, 1689 ; Col. Henry Sloughter, March 19, 1691 ; 
Major Richard Ingoldsby, July 26, 1691 ; Col. Benj. 
Fletcher (Commander-in-Chief), 1692 ; Richard, Earl 
of Bellemont, 1698 ; John Nanfan, (Lt. Gov.) 1699 ; 
Earl of Bellemont, 1700 ; William Smith (eldest Coun- 
cillor), 1701 ; John iSTanfan (Lt. Gov.) 1701 ; Lord 

Combury, 1702 ; John, Lord Lovelace, 1708 ; Peter 
Schuyler (Pres.), May 6, Richard Ingoldsby (Lt. Gov.), 
May 9, and Peter Schuyler, May 25, and Richard In- 
goldsby (Lt. Gov.), June 1, 1709 ; Gerardus Beeokman, 
April 10 ; Brigadier Robert Hunter, June 14, 1710 ; 
Peter Schuyler (Pres.), 1719 ; William Burnet, 1720 ; 
John Montgomerie, 1728 ; Rip Van Dam (Pres.), 1731 ; 
Col. Wm. Cosby, 1732 ; Geo. Clarke (Pres.), 1736 ; 
Admiral Geo. Clinton, 1743 ; Sir Danvers Osborne, 
October 10, and James De Lancey (Lt. Gov.), October 
12, 1753 ; Sir Charles Hardy, 1755 ; James De Lancey, 
(Lt. Gov.), 1757 ; Cadwallader Colden (Pres.), 1760 ; 
Major-General Robert Monckton, October 26, and Cad- 
wallader Colden (Lt. Gov.),-November 18, 1761 ; Major- 
General Robert Monckton, 1762 ; Cadwallader Colden, 
1763 ; Sir Henry Moore, 1765 ; Cadwallader Colden, 
1769; John, Earl of Dunmore, 1770; William Tryon, 
1771 ; Cadwallader Colden (Lt. Gov.), 1774 ; WUliam 
Tryon, 1775 ; James Robertson, 1780 ; Andrew Elliott 
(Lt. Gov.), 1783. 

Governors of the State : George Clinton, 1777 ; John 
Jay, 1795 ; George Clinton, 1801 ; Morgan Lewis, 
1804 ; Daniel D. Tompkins, 1807 ; De Witt Clinton, 
1817 ; Joseph C. Yates, 1822 ; De Witt Clinton, 1824 ; 
Martin Van Buren, 1828 ; Enos T. Throop, 1830 ; Wil- 
liam L. Marcy, 1832 ; William H. Seward, 1838 ; Wil- 
liam C. Bouck, 1842 ; Silas Wright, 1844 ; John Young, 
1846 ; Hamilton Fish, 1848 ; Washington Hunt, 1850 ; 
Horatio Seymour, 1852 ; Myron H. Clark, 1854 ; John 
A. King, 1856 ; Edwin D. Morgan, 1858 ; Horatio Sey- 
mour, 1862 ; Reuben E. Fenton, 1864 ; John T. Hoff- 
man, 1868 ; John A. Dix, 1872 ; Samuel J. Tilden, 
1874 ; Lucius Robinson, 1876 ; A. B. Cornell, 1880 ; 
Grover Cleveland, 1883. 

The population of the colony and State of New York 
wasinl698, 18,067 ; 1703,20,665; 1723,40,564; 1731, 
50,824 ; 1737, 60,437 ; 1746, 61,589 ; 1749, 73,348 ; 
1756, 96,790; 1771, 163,337; 1790, 340,120; 1800, 
586,756 ; 1810, 959,049 ; 1820, 1,372,812 ; 1830, 
1,918,608 ; 1840, 2,428,921 ; 1850, 3,097,394 ; 
1860, 3,880,735 ; 1870, 4,382,759 ; 1880, 5,083,173. 

Of the total population there were in 1790, 21,324 
slaves ; in 1800, 33,343 ; 1810, 15,017 ; 1820, 10,088 ; 
1830, 75 ; 1840, 4. 






THE time has long since gone by when a belief in 
the sudden creation of the earth in its present 
form was generally prevalent. Once it was con- 
sidered not only heterodox but almost blasphe- 
mous for a man to avow his conviction that he saw, on 
the surface of the earth, indications of changes that 
occurred at a period previous to about six thousand 
years since. That continents, or even islands, should 
rise from the sea, become submerged, and emerge again 
in the lapse of immense time, was not deemed possible. 
Within the limits of historic time no record was given 
of more than slight changes ; and men had not learned 
to read the record which is written in the strata beneath 
the surface, and which science has made legible on the 
edges of those strata where they are visible. The man 
who ventured to assert that Long Island was once sub- 
merged, and that its emergence was of comparatively 
recent date, would have been regarded by some as im- 
pious and by others as mad. That period of ignorance 
has passed, and people have come to recognize the fact 
that, as far as the records of the past can be deciphered, 
the earth has been steadily changing, in the midst of its 
changing environments, and that, as far as science is 
able to peer into the future, changes will continue to 
succeed each other. 

An inspection of the map of Long Island shows that 
it, as well as the coast south from it, had its birth from 
the sea, in what, geologically speaking, may be termed 
modern times ; and there are evidences of vertical oscil- 
lations of the surface here which may have caused a 
succession of partial or complete submergences and 
The island extends from east to west about one hun- 

dred and twenty miles, and has an average width of 
about fifteen miles. Along the northern coast an aver- 
age elevation of about one hundred feet is found, though 
there are places where the hills are much higher. On 
this coast numerous " necks " of land and inlets or estu- 
aries of the Sound are seen ; and the water along this 
shore is deeper than on the southern coast. Between 
the heights along the Sound shore and the irregular 
range of hills which extend lengthwise through the 
island near the middle, for most of its length, and which 
are termed the backbone, the surface is in many places 
much broken. Harbor Hill, in North Hempstead, one 
of the highest points on the island, was found by actual 
measurement to be three hundred and eighty-four feet 
in height. 

The northern coast of the island is indented by eight 
principal bays, or fiords, which extend inland from three 
to six miles and have a width of from half a mile to a 
mile and a half. In some places in these the water has 
a depth of from thirty to fifty feet, and the average 
depth is about twenty feet. South from this central 
range the surface slopes to the coast gradually, and so 
evenly as to have the appearance of a level plain. 

Along the south shore are numerous shallow bays and 
inlets, especially toward the western extremity of the 
island. Along this shore also is a narrow sand beach, 
which incloses a bay, or rather a succession of narrow 
bays, for most of the length of the coast. This beach 
is crossed at different points by inlets, formerly called 
" guts " (Dutch " gat," or gate), which connect these 
bays with the ocean, and divide the beach into a suc- 
cession of long narrow beaches ; as narrow necks of 
land connect these beaches with the mainland and di- 
vide the long narrow bay into a succession of bays, some 
of which do not communicate vsdth the ocean. Outside 
these long narrow beaches is a shifting sand bar, and 
inside the bays are extensive salt marshes, or mea- 
dows. About forty miles of the eastern end of the 
island is divided by a succession of bays into two penin- 
sulas, each having an average width of about five miles 



and the southern extending some twenty miles further 
east than the northern, though the last seems to be con- 
tinued to about the same distance by a succession of 

When the geological survey of the State was made — 
nearly forty years since — ^it was believed that the forma- 
tion of the island was due to the action of opposite and 
resultant currents, and probably its foundation on the 
primary rock which underlies it was thus laid, in a pre- 
glacial period. The Gulf Stream from the south, as it 
is believed to have flowed ; the Arctic current from the 
north, and the action of the tides in the Atlantic, all 
combined to bring hither and deposit the materials of 
which this foundation consists. 

It is believed by geologists that the strata of rooks 
here were formerly from three hundred to one thousand 
feet lower than they now are. Then the southeastern 
shore of the United States was farther inland, and the 
Gulf Stream swept from the south parallel with and 
nearer to the base of the primary Atlantic chain of 
mountains than at present. Along the course of this 
stream, from Georgia to Maryland, extended a broad 
belt of primary rocks. These rocks, which were various 
in their character, were remarkably prone to disinte- 
gration, and the results of their wearing down were ex- 
tremely various. 

These debrita were borne northward beneath the sur- 
face by the equatorial current, and deposited, as in its 
course northward this current became less rapid ; hence 
the deposits of various kinds that are found in Virginia, 
Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. At this period 
the basin of the St. Lawrence and Pludson valleys was 
occupied by an inland sea, through which came the 
Arctic current, bringing its freight of debrita to be de- 
posited when circumstances favored its subsidence. The 
effect of the oblique meeting of those currents 
in the region of Long Island, when the force of both 
was partially spent, was to arrest their northward and 
southward flow, and to produce a gentle resultant cur- 
rent toward the east, with eddies that were influenced 
by the form of the sea bottom where the currents met, 
by storms that swept over the surface here, and by other 
storms at the north or south, which temporarily deflected, 
retarded or accelerated these currents. Thus, it was be- 
lieved, were the materials of the strata which under- 
lie Long Island, brought hither ; and thus in the result- 
ant comparatively still water and eddies were they de- 
posited; hence the lignite and the bones of marine and 
terrestrial animals that are found at great depths when 
wells are sunk and excavations made. 

After the process of piling the foundation of the island 
on the sea bottom had gone on, in the way indicated, 
during indefinite time, the upheaval took place. Pre- 
vious to the adoption of the glacial theory it was be- 
lieved that icebergs floated hither, bringing the bould- 
ers, etc., that they had torn from their beds in the north, 
and dropped them, one by one, as they slowly melted 

while circulating in the eddies here ; and that at a later 
period they became stranded or ran aground in shallow 
water, and there melted, leaving their entire cargoes to 
constitute the hills on the island as the surface was fur- 
ther upheaved. The researches of modern geologists 
seem to show that subsequent to the period spoken of, 
but in pre-glacial times, an upheaval occurred which 
carried the surface here from three hundred to four 
hundred feet higher than it now is, and that it remained 
thus elevated during the glacial period. 

It is believed that during this time of elevation the 
Hudson River had its mouth eighty miles further to the 
southeast than at present, and that its course and the 
former littoral plain through which it ran, as well as the 
old coast lines, are traceable by soundings. During 
the time of elevation the ice period occurred, and it is 
thought that the terminal moraine of the glacier extended 
lengthwise through the island and far to the east along 
the New England coast, as well as west across New 
Jersey ; and that the drift material of the Island was 
brought by this agency from the regions to the north 
and west, where it existed in place. Thus were brought 
the deposits of clay, sand and gravel which are found 
especially on the north half of the island, and which 
often vary so greatly in their character, though sepa- 
rated only by short distances. Thus, too, were brought 
hither the boulders, some of which are of immense size. 
Kidd's Rock and Millstone Rock in the town of North 
Hempstead, Queens county, may be mentioned as ex- 

The primary rock which underlies the Island comes 
to the surface at Hell Gate and Hallett's Cove, on its 
northwestern extremity, and here the drift deposit lies 
directly on this rock. Elsewhere it is superposed on 
older deposits. 

It is certain that since the glacial period a subsidence 
of the surface has taken place, and it is not considered 
impossible that several vertical oscillations have oc- 
curred. Mr. Lewis says: " If a depression of two hun- 
dred feet should take place, all of Long Island that 
would remain above the water would be a broken range 
of hills. With an elevation of two hundred feet Long 
Island Sound would be converted to dry land. The 
Connecticut and Hudson Rivers would roll along deeper 
channels, and discharge their waters many miles sea- 
ward ; while Brooklyn and New York would be inland 
cities." It is believed, as before stated, that the verti- 
cal oscillations in past time have carried the surface of 
the land here more than two hundred feet higher as well 
as lower than its present elevation. At present the sur- 
face is subsiding, though at the rate of only a few 
inches in a century. Evidences of this subsidence are 
found in abundance where excavations or borings are 
made, and in some instances where the bottom of the 
sea at some distance from the coast is explored. The 
stumps of submerged or buried forests are thus found, 
as well as other products of the former surface. Evi- 



dences of a former subsidence, much greater than at 
present, are found in the occurrence of marine deposits 
at points in the higher parts of the island. 

It is helieved that every rood of the space from the 
central range of hills " has been the shore line of, first an 
invading, afterward of a receding ocean, and the scene 
of those great coast changes which waves produce." 
These changes, which occur from time to time now as 
the results of storm and ocean currents, it is hardly nec- 
essary to detail. As the swell rolls obUquely from the 
eastward along the coast the beach is modified by the 
deposit or the washing away of the san"d ; inlets to the bays 
are choked up and obliterated, and others break out at 
other points ; sand pits and beaches form, and southerly 
winds drift the sands on the island, to be again washed 
away by the waves. 

Along the northern coast changes have taken place, 
and they are still going on, by shore erosion and the 
transportation of the detritus by storms and tidal cur- 
rents. Portions of the main island have been thus cut 
off and have become islands, and the material washed 
away has been deposited, sometimes at considerable dis- 
tance, to form shoals, beaches, or necks connecting what 
had thus been made islands with the shore again. 
Beaches have thus been formed and obliterated, inlets 
and channels have been excavated and again filled up, 
islands have been cut off and joined again to the island, 
or washed away, and changes, many of which are now 
difficult to trace and doubtless others that cannot now 
be traced, have in the lapse of time occurred. Some of 
the more recent of these may, however, be easily dis- 
cerned, and people whose lives have been spent here 
have been able to note many that have gradually oc- 
curred, or to remember others that were effected by vio- 
lent storms. 

The species of animals which were found on Long 
Island when it was first discovered did not differ from 
those on the main land. Of course its insular condition 
prevented the annual or occasional migrations which oc- 
curred elsewhere by reason of climatic changes or other 
causes, and the complete extinction here of many of 
those species took place earlier by reason of that condi- 
tion. With the long stretch of sea coast which the 
island has, of course it was the habitat of all those species 
of aquatic birds which are found in this latitude. The 
island was annually visited, also, by those migratory land 
birds that frequent regions in this latitude ; and at the 
present time it is the annual resort of many species that 
attract hither sportsmen during each season. The mu- 
seum of the Long Island Historical Society has speci- 
mens of many of these species of animals and birds, 
and in this department it is proposed to make it quite 

By reason of the prevailing character of the soil, the 
botany of the island does not embrace as wide a range 
of species as are sometimes found on equal areas in the 
same latitude. Of the trees formerly covering large 

portions of the island, the oak, pine and chestnut were 
the most abundant and valuable ; and it is said that the 
quality of this timber was far superior to that of the 
same species found elsewhere. Among the most valu- 
able species of timber growing on the island at present 
the locust occupies a prominent position. It it thought 
that Captain John Sands, who came to Sands Point 
about 1695, introduced this tree, from Virginia, about 
the year 1 700. Since that time it has spread extensively 
here. The quaUty of this timber grown here is greatly 
superior to that of the same species in the region whence 
it was brought. A few gigantic specimens of this tree 
are standing on the lawn at the residences of Mr. Bogart, 
of Roslyn, and of the late Elwood Valentine, at Glen 
Cove. Says Lewis : " It is believed that those on Mr. 
Bogart's ground, several now or recently at Sand's Point, 
and two in the dooryard of the old Thome mansion, at 
Little Neck, now occupied by Eugene Thorpe, Esq., are 
of the first imported and planted on Long Island." 
About eighty species of forest trees — indigenous and 
those that have become acclimated — are growing with- 
out cultivation on the island. Specimens of many of 
these species are now in the Historical Society's museum, 
in which a competent and energetic member of the so- 
ciety proposes to place a complete set of specimens of 
the flora and fauna of the island. An interesting article 
on the forest trees of Long Island will be the 
Brooklyn Advance, May, 1883, from the pen of EUas 
Lewis, Esq. 




By the late Alden J. Spooner, Esq. 

BEFORE the settlement by the Dutch were the 
dark ages of island history. The wampum or 
wampum belts give no record of the red men's 
origin, migrations, wars or loves. Immense 
heaps of the broken shells of the quahog, or periwinkle, 
are their only monuments. 

Every locality where one or more families were lo- 
cated had a name which gave designation to a tribe. 
The authorities on this subject have recognized thirteen 
tribes, as follows : 

The Canaesie tribe claimed the whole of Kings 
County and a part of the town of Jamaica. They in- 
cluded the Marechawicks at Brooklyn, the Nyacks at 
New Utrecht, and the Jamecos at Jamaica. Their prin- 
cipal settlement was at the place called Canarsie, which 
is still a famous place for fishing and fowling, and was 
doubtless the residence of the sachem and a great por- 
tion of the tribe. In 1643 the name of the sachem was 
Penhawitz. In 1670 the deed of that part of the city 



of Brooklyn constituting Bedford was signed by Peter, 
Elmoliar, Job, Makagiquas, and Shamese, sachems. In 
1656 the deed of Newtown was signed by Roworoesteo 
and Pomwaukon, sachems, supposed to have been of 
Canarsie. A confirmatory deed of land at Gravesend, 
in 1684, was signed by Cakewasco, Areunapoech, Arma- 
nat and Muskhesk, sachems, who called the Indian name 
of the place Makeopaca. 

The RocKAWAT tribe was scattered over the southern 
part of the town of Hempstead, which with a part of 
Jamaica and the whole of Newtown constituted their 
claim. The greater part of the tribe was at Near Rock- 
away. Part lived at the head of Maspeth Creek, in 
Newtown, and deeds for land there were executed by 
the Rockaway sachem. This tribe had also a settlement 
of several hundred acres on Hog Island in Rockaway 
Bay. The first Rockaway sachem known to the Dutch 
was Chegonoe. Nowedinah was sacliem in 1648, Esk- 
moppas in 16V0, Paman in 1685, and Quaquasho or " the 
Hunter" in 1691. 

The MoNTAUK tribe had jurisdiction over all the re- 
maining lands to Montauk, probably including Gardi- 
ner's Island ; and there seems to be evidence that to the 
sachem of this tribe was conceded the title and func- 
tions of grand sachem of Paumanake, or Long Island. 

The Meeeick, Meroke, or Merikoke tribe claimed all 
the territory south of the middle of the island from 
Near Rockaway to the west line of Oyster Bay, and was 
in all probability at some former period a part of the 
Marsapequa or Marsapeague tribe. A part of the land 
in the town of Hempstead was bought from this tribe. 
They had a large settlement on Hick's Neck, and occu- 
pied the other necks between that and their principal 
site, where the village of Merrick now stands. Their 
sachem in 164V was Wantagh. 

The Maesapequa or Marsapeague tribe had its prin- 
cipal settlement at Fort Neck, in South Oyster Bay, and 
thence extended eastward to the bounds of Islip and 
north to the middle of the island. Here were two In- 
dian forts, the larger of which was stormed by Captain 
John Underbill, in the service of the Dutch, in 1653, 
with great slaughter of the Indians. The remains of 
the fort have been encroached upon and covered by 
the waters of the Great South Bay. Tackapousha was 
sachem of this tribe in 1656 ; also chief sachem of the 
western chieftaincies of the island, after the division 
between the Dutch and the English. 

The Matinecock tribe claimed jurisdiction of the 
lands east of Newtown, as far as the west line of Smith- 
town and probably to the Nissaquag River. This was 
a numerous tribe, and had large settlements at Flushing, 
Glen Cove, Cold Spring, Huntington and Cow Harbor. 
A portion of the tribe took part in the war of 1643, un- 
der Gunwarrowe ; but their sachem at that time 
remained friendly to the Dutch, and through his diplo- 
macy succeeded in establishing peace. Whiteneymen 
(one-eyed) was sachem in 1643, and Assiapam in 1653. | 

The Nbsaquake or Missaquogue tribe possessed the 
country from the river named after them to Stony Brook 
and from the sound to the middle of the island. The 
extensive shell banks near the village of Nissaquag show 
that it was the site of a considerable settlement, and it 
was probably the residence of the sachem. Coginiquant 
was sachem in 1656. 

The Setaloat or Setauket tribe claimed from Stony 
Brook to the Wading River and was one of the most 
powerful. Its members inhabited Strong's Neck and 
the banks of the different creeks, coves and harbors. 
Warrawaken was sachem in 1655, and Gil in 1675. 

The CoECiiAUG tribe owned the territory from the 
AVading River to Oyster Ponds, and was spread along 
the north shore of Peconic Bay and over the necks ad- 
joining the sound. It probably claimed Robin's Island 
also. There is reason to believe that it was a numerous 
and powerful tribe. Momometon was sachem in 1648. 

The Manhasset tribe peopled Shelter Island and 
probably Hog Island. This tribe, although confined to 
about 10,000 acres, could, if tradition is reliable, bring 
into the field at one time more than 500 warriors. Pog- 
gattatuck, brother of Wyandanch, was sachem in 1648, 
and Tokee or Youghco in 1651. His residence was on 
Sachem's Neck. 

The Secatogde tribe adjoined the Marsapequas on 
the west and claimed the country as far east as Patch- 
ogue. The farm of the Willets at Islip is called Secca- 
togue Neck, and here is supposed to have been the prin- 
cipal settlement and probably the residence of the 
sachem, who in 1683 was Winnequaheag. 

The Patchogub tribe extended its jurisdiction east 
from Patchogue to Westhampton, and as some think to 
Canoe Place. The main settlements were at Patchogue, 
Fire Place, Mastic, Moriches and Westhampton. To- 
bacus was sachem in 1666. 

The Shinnecock tribe claimed the territory from 
Canoe Place to Easthampton, including Sag Harbor and 
the whole south shore of Peconic Bay. 

The Indians of Long Island were designated on the 
Dutch maps Mohegans, and have been so called by his- 
torians. This is but a sub-title under the general term 
Algonquins, covering a great race of savages scattered 
over Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and other 

The Indians of the island were tall and straight, 
muscular and agile, with straight hair and reddish- 
brown complexion. Their language was the Algonquin, 
the highly descriptive tongue in which the apostle Eliot 
wrote the Indian Bible, and which was used by other 
missionaries. It was the language that greeted the col- 
onists at Roanoke, and the Pilgrims at Plymouth. It 
was spoken through twenty degrees of latitude and sixty 
degrees of longitude. Strange that a language which 
a century ago was spoken so widely and freely between 
the aborigines and the settlers should have so perished 
that it is doubted whether a man is living who can speak 



it, or read the Indian Bible, so laboriously prepared by 
the apostolic John Eliot. 

The Indian names of Long Island are said to be 
Sewanhacky, Wamponomon and Paumanake. These 
names, or at least the first two, seem to have arisen from 
the abundance of the quahog or hard clam, the shell of 
which furnished the wampum or sewant, which in the 
earlier times was the money of the country, as well as 
the material for the embroidery and the record symbols 
of the Indian belts. Matouwacs is the name given the 
island on the earliest Dutch maps. The deed to the 
settlers at Easthampton styles it Paumanake. Rev. 
William Hubbard, of Ipswich, in his history of New 
England, called it Mattamwake. In books and deeds it 
bears other names, as Meitowax, Metoac, etc. Sewan- 
hacky and Wamponomon both signify " the island, or 
place, of shells." Of Mattanwake, Judge Furman says : 
" In the Narragansett language mattan was a term used 
to signify anything fine or good, and duke or alee meant 
land or earth ; thus the whole word meant ' the good or 
pleasant land,' which was certainly highly characteristic 
of Long Island, even at that period of its early settle- 

The religious notions of the Long Island Indians are 
described in a communication from the Rev. Samson 
Occum, published in the collections of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society. His words are : " They believe in 
a plurality of gods, and in one great and good being, 
who controls all the rest. They likewise believe in an 
evil spirit, and have their conjurors or paw-waws." The 
ceremony performed by these characters was so odious, 
in the opinion of the whole people, that the Duke's Laws 
of 1665 enacted that " no Indian shall be permitted to 
paw-waw or perform worship to the devil in any town 
within this government." It is evident, however, that 
they still kept up their devil-worship at the visit of the 
Labadists in 1679-80. They also had divinities in the 
winds and waters. It is surprising how few tokens are 
found, in the shape of idols, or carvings of any kind, to 
signify a reverence for their gods. The only thing 
which has attracted particular attention is " the foot- 
prints of the evil spirit " — the impression of a foot on a 
boulder, now in the possession of the Long Island His- 
torical Society, which had lain upon Montauk Point 
from the earliest English knowledge, and probably for 
centuries before, and which was always an object of 
Indian veneration. 

The lodges or wigwams of the Long Island Indians 
were fifteen or twenty feet wide, having a frame of two 
rows of poles bent together and covered with rushes, 
except along the ridge, where an opening was left for 
smoke to escape. This frame of poles was interlaced 
with the bark of trees, and continued to a length of 180 
feet or more, as the families conjointly occupying the 
wigwam might require. Fires were built along the 
floor, each family having its own for cooking and for 
comfort in cold weather. The principal household 

utensils were earthen pots and gourds for holding 

The original fur and feather clothing of these savages 
gave place to cloth after the advent of Europeans. At 
first a blanket about the shoulders and a cloth hanging 
from a belt about the waist composed their costume, but 
they afterwards imitated the dress of the whites. All 
were fond of decoration. In early deeds from them 
there is a peculiar reservation of " the trees in what 
eagles do build their nests," doubtless in order to secure 
to them the feathers of the royal bird, which were 
among their valued adornments. 

Their canoes were of different sizes, from the light 
shallop to those of sixty feet in length. They were 
wrought out of logs with stone axes, with the help of 
fire. Their pottery, of which specimens are found in 
the shell heaps, is of clay, mixed with water, hollowed 
out by the hand and baked. Most of the specimens are 
very inferior. Private collections abound in arrow- 
heads, stone axes, and the pestles and mortars which 
served them for mills. The Long Island Historical So- 
ciety has a collection of Indian relics, in which the only 
metallic instrument is an ax of native copper, unearthed 
a few years ago at Rockaway, together with a few 
stone axes and a quantity of spear heads, apparently 
buried for preservation. 

Long Island was the great source of the supply of 
wampum or sewant — the Indian shell money, as well as 
the beads which they wore as ornaments or fastened to 
their clothing. Along the shores of the island immense 
deposits of shells once existed (some of which yet re- 
main), from which the blue portion forming the eye was 
carefully removed for making blue beads ; these were 
worth three times as much as the white, which were 
made from the inner pillars of the conch shell or peri- 

Long Island will always be a monumental point in 
history as the place to which Hudson and his mariners 
first came as the key to open a world in commerce and 
civilization, to which the discoveries of Columbus were 
but the vestibule. The earliest account of the Indians 
of the island is that given by Hudson in the narrative 
of his voyage in 1609. On the 4th of September of that 
year he came to anchor in Gravesend Bay. He says the 
Canarsie Indians came on board his vessel without any 
apprehension and seemed very glad of his coming. They 
brought with them green tobacco and exchanged it for 
knives and beads. They were clad in deer skins, well 
dressed, and were " very civil." On a subsequent visit 
some of them were dressed in " mantles of feathers " and 
some in " skins of diver sorts of good furs. " Hudson 
states that " they had yellow copper and red copper to- 
bacco pipes, and ornaments of copper about their necks; " 
also that they had currants and "great store of maize or 
Indian corn, whereof they made good bread." They 
also brought liim hemp. Some of his men landed where 
is now the town of Gravesend and met many men wo- 



men and children, who gave them tobacco. They 
described the country to Hudson as " full of great tall 
oaks,- and the lands as pleasant with grass and flowers 
and goodly trees as they had ever seen." 

Doubtless the natives presented their very best festal 
appearance to the great captain of the " big canoe ; " 
though when, seventy years after (in 16'79-80), they 
were visited by the Labadist agents. Bankers and 
Sluyter, after contact with the early settlers, they had 
sadly degenerated ; and the best collection that has been 
made of their utensils and adornments fails to show any 
of the yellow copper ornaments. 

The Dutch and English found the river Indians and 
the Long Island tribes greatly reduced by their conflicts 
with the more warlike Iroquois or Five Nations, who 
had laid them, under tribute. The powerful Pequots of 
Connecticut did the same before their own extermina- 
tion. After the coming of the Dutch, under a promise 
of protection by them, the Canarsies neglected to pay 
their tribute to the Mohawks, representing the Five Na- 
tions, and in 1655 the latter made a descent on Staten 
Island, where they killed 67 of the natives, and going 
thence to Gravesend, Canarsie and other places made a 
thorough butchery. A bare remnant of the Canarsies 
escaped to Beeren Island, and Mrs. Abraham Remsen 
left the statement that she made a shroud for the last 
individual of them. The consistory of the Dutch church 
at Albany, thereafter, for many years acted as agent for 
the Indians down the Hudson in the payment of their 
tribute to the conquerors. 

The settlers at the east end of the island found 
Wyandanch, the grand sachem, at war with Ninigret, 
the sachem of the Narragansetts of Rhode Island. 
There had been retaliatory massacres on both sides. 
Ninigret struck the finishing blow on the occasion of 
the marriage of a daughter of Wyandanch to a young 
chieftain of his tribe, at Fort Pond, on Montauk. 
Knowing that all precaution would be overlooked in 
the revelry of the festive occasion, Ninigret came down 
in force upon his unprepared enemy ; slaughtered half 
the tribe, including the bridegroom, and bore away the 
bride as his captive to the mainland. This blow broke 
the power and the spirit of Wyandanch, who then, by 
a cession of Montauk, came under the government and 
protection of Easthampton. 

Hereby hangs a romance which can not be done away 
with by any captious objectors, like those who have 
sought to resolve the story of Pocohontas into a myth. 
It is secured by deed. On a square bit of paper, written 
plainly in the old English character, framed and placed 
in the noble building of the Long Island Historical 
Society, is a conveyance to Lion Gardiner, then lord of 
the Isle of Wight or Gardiner's Island, of the great 
part of Smithtown, as a consideration for his services 
in regaining from Ninigret the captive daughter of 
Wyandanch ; the last named signed the deed, as also 
did his son Wyancombone, and the latter's wife. 

Thompson ascribes the war between the Montauks 
and the Narragansetts to the refusal of the Montauk 
monarch to join in the plot for exterminating the 
Europeans. Roger Williams traced the war to the 
pride of the contending sachems. The Long Island 
chief, he said, was " proud and foolish ;" Ninigret, 
" proud and fierce." 

Lion Gardiner, in his notes on Easthampton, says 
the Block Island Indians, acting as allies of the Narra- 
gansetts, attacked the Montauks during King Philip's 
war and punished them severely. The engagement 
took place on Block Island, whither the Montauks went 
in their canoes, and the latter on landing fell into an 
ambuscade. He says : " The Montauk Indians were 
nearly all killed ; a few were protected by the Engligh 
and brought away ; the sachem was taken and carried 
to Narragansett. He was made to walk on a large flat 
rock that was heated by building fires on it, and walked 
several times over it, singing his death song ; but his 
feet being burned to the bones he fell, and they finished 
the tragical scene as usual for savages." 

T'he Long Island Indians joined the neighboring 
mainland tribes in the hostilities between them and the 
Dutch, which grew out of the murder of an Indian at 
New York in 1641. In 164.3 some Dutch farmers on 
the island ventured tp seize and carry off two wagon 
loads of corn belonging to the Indians ; the owners 
attempiting to defend their property, two of them were 

The Long Island and Hudson River Indians burning 
to avenge such outrages, more than two thousand of 
them rose in open war and made the greatest possible 
destruction of the property and lives of the settlers. A 
transient peace was patched up, the Canarsie chief 
Penhawitz being one of an embassy to New Amsterdam 
for that purpose. In a few months war broke out 
again, this time, it is said, on account of Governor 
Kief t's embezzling the presents for the natives by which 
the treaty should have been ratified. The savages, 
crossing to the island from Westchester county, de- 
stroyed the settlement of Mespat, now Newtown ; also 
the first house built in Brooklyn, that of William 
Adriance Bennett, near Gowanus. They then fell upon 
the settlement of Lady Moody at Gravesend, but were 
beaten off by a company of forty men, who had been 
recruited and disciplined by Nicholas Stillwell, and 
who were concealed in Lady Moody's log house. From 
the neighboring villages more than a hundred families 
flocked to New Amsterdam for protection. From these 
was raised a company of fifty men, who, under the 
famous John Underbill, participated in the massacre of 
over five hundred of the Indians in March, 1644, at 
Strickland's Plain, on Horse Neck, near Greenwich, 
Conn. As one of the results of this decisive blow, 
several of the Long Island chiefs went to New Amster- 
dam and made a treaty of peace. 

In 1655 Hendrick Van Dyke, the late " schout fiscal " 



of New Amsterdam, shot and killed a squaw who was 
stealing peaches from his garden. He was soon killed 
by the Indians in revenge. At the same time they per- 
petrated terrible massacres on Staten Island and in 
Kew Jersey, and spread terror on Long Island, though 
doing no damage there. Governor Stuyvesant ordered 
all persons living in secluded places to gather and 
" form villages after the fashion of our neighbors of 
New England," but little attention was paid to his 

On the division of the island in 1650 between the 
English and the Dutch, the English taking the eastern, 
and the Dutch the western part, the jurisdiction of 
Grand Sachem Wyandanch was nominally divided, 
Tackapousha being elected sachem of the chieftaincies 
in possession of the Dutch, namely, those of the 
Marsapequas, Merricks, Canarsies, Secatogues, Rook- 
aways and Matinecocks. In the winter of 1658 
the smallpox destroyed more than half the Montauks ; 
while Wyandanch lost his life by poison. The remain- 
der of the tribe, to escape the fatal malady and the 
danger of invasion in their weakened state, fled in a 
body to their white neighbors, who entertained them 
for a considerable period. 

Wyancombone succeeded his father in the sachem- 
ship, and, being a minor, divided the government with 
his mother, who was styled the squaw sachem. Lion 
Gardiner and his son David acted as guardians to the 
young chief by request of his father. At Port Pond- 
called by the Indians Konkhongank— are the remains 
of the burial ground of the chieftancy, and here once 
stood the citadel of the monarch Wyandanch. 

From the numerous array of tribes mentioned on a 
preceding page it is evident that the island was in the 
earlier periods of its history thickly settled by the 
Indians, who found support and delight in its ample 
resources of hunting, fishing and fowling ; but their 
position exposed them to invasion, and their stores of 
wampum tempted the fierce tribes of the mainland. 
They were evidently in constant fear of aggression, 
and at two points— Port Neck, at Oyster Bay, and Port 
Pond, Montauk— forts were built, capable of sheltering 
five hundred men. Governor Winthrop in 1633, refer- 
ring t\) Long Island, which had just been reconnoitred 
by his bark, the "Blessing," says, doubtless upon mere 
report : " The Indians there are very treacherous, and 
have many canoes so great as will carry eighty men." 

But the natives soon dwindled in numbers and power 
upon contact with the whites. The Dutch at the west- 
ern end of the island, coveting their corn lands, soon 
found means to purchase and appropriate them ; while 
at the east end the Narragansetts drove the tribes into 
the arms of the English. All over the island their lands 
were bought at a nominal price from the too easy 

Their inordinate fondness for "fire-water" had a 
large share in their ruin. Rev. Azariah Horton was a 

missionary to the Long Island Indians in 1741-44. He 
states that in 1741 there were at the east end two small 
towns of them, and lesser companies settled at a few 
miles distance from each other through the island. Up 
to the close of 1743 he had baptized 35 adults and 44 
children. He took pains to teach them to read, and 
some of them made considerable progress ; but, not- 
withstanding all this, Mr. Horton in 1744 complained* 
of a great defection by a relapse into their darling vice 
of drunkenness, to which Indians are everywhere so 
greatly addicted that no human power can prevent it. 

In 1761 the Indians had so diminished on Long Island 
as in some places to have entirely disappeared ; and the 
once powerful Montauks could muster but 192 souls. 
This number was reduced by the withdrawal of many 
who went to Brotherton with Rev. Samson Occum. 
This celebrated Indian preacher went, about 1755, to 
Montauk, where he preached and taught some ten 
years. He went to England and raised £1,000 for 
establishing schools among the Indians. 

Rev. Paul Cuffee was another Indian preacher on the 
island. He was buried about a mile west of Canoe 
Place, where the Indian meeting-house then stood, and 
a neat marble slab has been erected to his memory by 
the Missionary Society of New York, which employed 
him. The writer has conversed with persons who gave 
testimony to his piety and the fervor of his eloquence. 
The Indian kings at Montauk have, for a century and 
more, borne the name of Pharoah or Pharo. This was 
doubtless conferred upon them by the first missionaries, 
who are also responsible for Solomons, Tituses and 
other Christian and classic names. A squaw who died 
recently at Easthampton, at a very advanced age, was 
named Hannali Hannibal. One of the Montauk Pha- 
roahs died about three years ago and his brother suc- 
ceeded him. He bore the traits of pure blood in the 
sallow complexion and long straight hair of his race. 
With the advance of settlements on the island the 
Montauks have faded away, till but a remnant of 
scarcely a dozen pure bloods remains on the reserved 
''Indian fields " on the promontory of Montauk. Sub- 
ject to their reservations the whole promontory was 
recently sold in partition sale of the property to Arthur 
W. Benson, of Brooklyn, for $161,000. 

The influence of their friends at Easthampton kept 
these Indians from taking part in King Philip's and 
other wars, and from being violently blotted out like 
most of their brethren. Elsewhere many of them have 
succeeded in whaling enterprises, and they have been 
ingenious in basket making. Some of those remaining 
around Montauk are useful sailors or domestics. 

The Sliinnecock tribe, much modified by negro inter- 
marriages, still cluster about Southampton to the 
number of about 200. They are in general a worthy 
and industrious people, with a good school and much 
pride of character. Many will recollect the mourning 
which went abroad on the loss, in the wreck of the 



" Circassia," of that fine corps of sailors of the Shin- 
necock tribe, whose courage and manhness were of a 
high heroic type. 




THE names by which Long Island was called by the 
Indians were various. Among them were Mat- 
tanwake, Meitowax, Sewanhacky (Island of 
Shells), Paumanake, etc. By reason of its form 
the early settlers applied to the island its present name. 
The Colonial Legislature in 1693 changed it to Nassau, 
in honor of William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, and 
required that all legal instruments should- recognize 
that name. It never acquired more than a partial use, 
and though the act is unrepealed the name is obsolete. 

It has been thought that this island was visited by 
John de Verazzano, in 1524, and from some of his 
descriptions it is surmised by some that he entered 
the harbor of New York, while others insist that his 
journal gives no foundation for such a belief. The first 
absolute discovery of Long Island by Europeans was 
made early in September, 1609, by Henry Hudson, an 
Englishman in the employ of the Dutch East India 
Company. He had sailed in the " Half Moon," from 
Amsterdam, on the 25th of the preceding March, in 
search of a northwest passage to India. After touch- 
ing at various j)oints on the coast north he sailed south 
to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay ; then, passing north, 
entered Delaware Bay, from which he again sailed 
northward and entered New York Bay on the 3d of 
September. During the week that he remained there 
a boat's crew, engaged in making explorations, , landed 
at Coney Island — the first portion of Long Island 
pressed by the foot of a white man. On the 6th, John 
Colman, of a party that was sent up the river to sound 
and explore, was killed and two others were wounded 
by a party of twenty-six savagCs in two canoes. The 
next day Colman's body was buried on the shore, 
and the place of his interment was named Colman's 
Point. By some this is believed to have been Sandy 
Hook ; by others, Coney Island. After the discovery 
of the island by Hudson the region was visited by pri- 
vate adventurers to trade, but in 1614 a decree of the 
States General forbade this and gave to the East India 
Company monopoly of this trade. In that year Adrian 
Block and Hendrick Christiance visited this region 
under the East India Company and built a fort and 
some dwellings on the island of Manhattan or Man- 
hattoes, as it was called by the Indians. Captain Block 
passed with his vessel through Hell Gate and sailed 
through the sound, and first discovered the insular con- 
dition of Long Island. Block Island, which was called 

by the Indians Manissees, was named in honor of him. 
It is said that his vessel was accidentally burned, and 
that he built another on or near Manhattan in the sum- 
mer of 1614. If so, it was the first vessel built in the 
United States. 

When English settlements were made in New Eng- 
land a rivalry at once sprang up between the English 
and the Dutch, each power striving to strengthen its 
authority by extending its settlements. Under these 
cu'cumstances the settlement of the western end of the 
island by the Dutch commenced. It is not known who 
was the first actual settler on Long Island. Settlements 
were made in Flatlands, Kings county, as early as 1636, 
possibly earlier. It is not probable that any settlement 
was made at the Wallabout prior to 1636. The name 
of this bay is corrupted from "Wahle Bocht" or " Waale 
Boght," which, according to the late Hon. Teunis G. 
Bergen, means " the Beach or Shore of the Cove ;" Sam- 
uel Ogden renders it " the Bend of the Inner Harbor." 
Settlers came and located as caprice or circumstance 
seemed to dictate, without any provision for local gov- 
ernment. At nearly the same time permanent settle- 
ments were made on the west of the island by the 
Dutch, and on the east by the English. Both pur- 
chased their lands from the Indians ; the English di- 
rectly, and the Dutch through their governors, who first 
extinguished the Indian title, then parceled out the land 
to individuals in various ways, or gave permits to pur- 
chase from the Indians. 

On the west end of the island the Dutch in 1636 set- 
tled Brooklyn, first named Breuckelen after a town of 
that name in the province of Utrecht, in Holland; Plat- 
lands, first New Amersfort, after a place of the same 
name in Holland, also in 1636; Flushing, or in Dutch 
Vlissingen, also after a place of the same name in Hol- 
land, 1645; Flatbush, originally Midwout, after Mid- 
wout in Holland, 1651; New Utrecht in 1657, and Bush- 
wick, or Woodtown in 1660. 

English immigrants were permitted to settle on terri- 
tory claimed by the Dutch on taking the oath of alle- 
giance to the Dutch government. Of the English towns 
under the jurisdiction of the Dutch, Hempstead was set- 
tled in 1643; Gravesend in 1645; Jamaica, originally 
Rusdorp, in 1655, and Newtown, first called Middlebury, 
in 1656. The jurisdiction of Oyster Bay, which was 
settled m 1653, was not during many years determined, 
but it finally came under Connecticut. 

The Dutch towns appear to have been wholly under 
the control of the governor, whose will in all matters — 
general and individual, civil and ecclesiastical — was ab- 
solute. The English towns under Dutch jurisdiction 
were allowed to choose their own ofiicers, subject to the 
approval of the governor, to hold their town meetings, 
and manage their own matters as nearly like the eastern 
towns as circumstances would permit. 

It was hardly to be expected that, in the exercise of 
power so nearly absolute, the representatives of their 



High Mightinesses, as the States General was termed, 
should not at times yield to their caprices, their sympa- 
thies or antipathies, and do arbitrary and oppressive 
acts. In the case of Governor Stuyvesant, his tyrannical 
disregard of the people's rights led to the assembling 
(1653) of delegates from N. Amsterdam, Brooklyn, Flat- 
bush, Flatlands, Gravesend, Ne^vtown, Flushing and 
Hempstead, and the adoption of an address to the gov- 
ernor and council and States General, setting forth their 
grievances, and asking that they be redressed. To this 
no reply was given, though a protest was entered on 
theii- minutes against the meeting. When, in the same 
year, a second meeting assembled, the governor ordered 
them " to disperse and not to assemble again on such 

A line had, in 1650, been established between the 
Dutch towns on the west and the English on the eastern 
end of the island, by four commissioners — two from the 
Dutch government and two from the united colonies of 
New England, although the New England colonists had 
at that time no jurisdiction on the island. This line 
ran southward across the island from the " westernmost 
part of Oyster Bay." Notwithstanding this arrange- 
ment, the Dutch governor continued to claim jurisdic- 
tion over Oyster Bay. 

The people at about this time were sorely troubled 
by what were known as " land pirates " or outlaws, who 
had been banished from New England, and against 
these the Dutch governor failed to afford them protec- 

It may here be remarked that the administration of 
Governor Stuyvesant, from about 1656 to the conquest 
in 1664, was disgraced by a degree of religious intoler- 
ance, and especially by persecution of the Quakers, which 
rivaled, but which did not equal, that of the Puritans of 
New England, of whom it may truly be said that the 
principle of religious liberty never dawned on their 
minds. For this persecution he was rebuked by the 
authorities in Holland. These persecutions were re- 
newed about the commencement of the eighteenth cen- 
tury under the administration of Lord Cornbury, who 
in religious intolerance was fully equal to Peter Stuy- 

In 1662 a new charter was granted to Connecticut, 
and this charter was interpreted to include the whole of 
Long Island. The eastern towns gladly availed them- 
selves of this interpretation, and in 1663 the English 
towns under Dutch jurisdiction resolved to withdraw 
from it and place themselves under that of Con- 
necticut. Soon afterward two commissioners were 
appointed by Connecticut to organize the government 
of that colony in these towns ; but it does not appear 
from history that they fulfilled their mission, and this 
unsatisfactory condition of things continued till the con- 
quest in 1664. 

As has been stated, the settlements of the Dutch 
were limited to the western end of the island, and their 

jurisdiction to a comparatively small portion of that 
end. The eastern end was settled by English immi- 
grants, under different auspices, and its settlement com- 
menced a few years later. 

In 1620 King James I. of England granted to the 
Plymouth Company a charter for all the land between 
the 40th and 48th degrees of north latitude, extending 
from " sea to sea," which territory was termed New 
England. In 1636, at the request of King Charles I., 
the Plymouth Company conveyed by patent to William 
Alexander, Earl of Stirling, the whole of Long Island, 
and the adjacent islands. Earl Stirling appointed 
James Farret his attorney for the sale of his real estate, 
and authorized him to select for himself twelve thous- 
and acres of the territory. Farret selected Shelter 
Island and Robbin's Island in Peconic Bay, and in 1641 
sold these to Stephen Goodyear, of New Haven. Soon 
after the death of Earl Stirling and his son in 1640, the 
heir of the latter, grandson of the earl, for a considera- 
tion of three hundred pounds, surrendered to the crown 
the grant from the Plymouth Company, and it was em- 
bodied in the grant to the Duke of York, April 2d, 
1664, which thus described it: "And also all that 
island or islands commonly called by the several name 
or names of Meitowacks, or Long Island, situate, lying 
and being toward the west of Cape Cod and the narrow 
Higansetts, abutting upon the mainland between the 
two rivers, there called or known by the several names 
of Connecticut and Hudson's River." 

In 1662 the Connecticut colony claimed Long Island 
under that clause in their charter of that year which in- 
cluded the "islands adjacent," and in 1664 sent a com- 
mission to the island to assert jurisdiction. The con- 
quest in that year put an end to their proceedings. 
With this exception no claim was made by any power 
to the eastern portion of the island between the years 
1640 and 1644. 

The eastern towns were settled by the English as 
follows : Gardiner's Island (annexed in 1680 to East- 
hampton) in 1639. It was purchased in that year by 
Lion Gardiner from the attorney-of Lord Stirling. Mr. 
Gardiner had previously purchased it from the Indians. 
This was the first English settlement, and Mr. Gardiner 
was one of the first English settlers in the State of New 
York. Southampton and Southold were settled in 1640, 
Easthampton in 1648, Shelter Island in 1652, Hunting- 
ton and Oyster Bay in 1653, though the latter was 
claimed by the Dutch, Brookhaven in 1656, and Smith- 
town in 1663. 

Most of the settlers in these towns were previous im- 
migrants in New England, who crossed the Sound in 
larger or smaller companies and established independent 
settlements; which, as their numbers increased, came to 
be little republics, completely independent of all other 
powers. Although there were differences in the details, 
there was a general similarity among the goverments 
of the different towns. Each had its legislative exec- 



iitive, and judicial department. The people, assembled 
in town meeting, constituted the legislative department, 
and, in important cases, the judicial also. In that case 
the assembly was sometimes termed the General Court 
of the town. Two or three magistrates, a clerk, and a 
constable, constituted usually the ordinary judicial and 
executive functionaries of the town. Of course the 
people required no bill of rights or constitution to pro- 
tect them from oppression by their rulers, for they were 
their own rulers. They organized companies of citi- 
zen soldiers, erected and garrisoned forts when neces- 
sary, enacted and enforced laws to regulate, not only 
civil, but also social and religious, matters ; and, to guard 
against threatened vices, as well as to restrain existing 
evils, churches were erected, schools were established, 
and ministers and teachers were supported, by taxes on 
the property of the citizens, imposed by the people 
themselves in their legislative character. 

It is hardly necessary to say that these original set- 
tlers were Puritans, and that, although they were not 
guUty of such manifestations of bigotry and intolerance 
as disgraced the Puritans of New England, they jeal- 
ously guarded against the introduction among them of 
innovations which would exert what they deemed a 
deleterious influence. They required of those who pro- 
posed to settle among them a probation of from three 
to six months, and if at the end of that time they were 
not satisfactory to the people they were notified to 
leave within a specified time. They were thus able to 
prevent undesirable people from coming among them, 
and to maintain their religious faith free from contami- 
nation by those holding heterodox opinions. To guard 
against the evils of intemperance, the sale of intoxicat- 
ing liquors was restricted under heavy penalties. The 
profanation of the Sabbath, lying, profane cursing and 
slander, were penal offences in most of the towns, and 
the whipping post, the stocks, pillory, etc., were in com- 
mon use. Thus, each town managed its own affairs, 
without any combination with neighboring towns, till 
the island came to be a part of New York in 1664. 

In view of their exposed situation, and the difficulty 
of defending themselves against hostile attacks by the 
Indians or invasions by the Dutch, these towns, one by 
one, placed themselves under the protection of the New 
England colonies, without, however, subjecting them- 
selves to taxation by those colonies, or relinquishing to 
the slightest extent their self-government. Southampton 
did this in 1644, Easthampton in 1657, Brookhaven in 
1659, and Huntington in 1660. These came under the 
protection of Connecticut. Southold and Shelter Island 
assumed the same relation to New Haven in 1648. Con- 
necticut and New Haven became united under a new 
charter in 1662, and these towns became a part of the 
new colony of Connecticut, sent representatives to the 
Colonial Assembly, and contributed toward the expense 
of the government. In the same year Oyster Bay also 
assumed this relation. 

The oppression to which the people in the towns 
under the jurisdiction of the Dutch were subjected 
has been spoken of. The inhabitants of both the Dutch 
and English towns had submitted to the tyranny of their 
rulers because they saw no way of escape. In Novem- 
ber of 1663 the people of the English towns held amass 
meeting at Jamaica to consider their condition and de- 
vise means for their relief ; but, although no attempt 
to disperse them was made, no results were accomplished. 
They were therefore ready to welcome anything which 
promised relief. 

Early in 1664 Charles the Second of England granted 
to his brother James, Duke of York, territory which 
included New Amsterdam and all of Long Island. An 
expedition was at once fitted out and sent under Colonel 
Richard Nicolls, who was commissioned deputy gov- 
ernor, to take possession of the colony. On his arrival 
at New York in August of that year he demanded of 
Governor Stuyvesant the surrender of his possessions, 
which was refused. Colonel Nicolls and the commis- 
sioners, Robert Carr, George Cartwright and Samuel 
Maverick, who had been sent with him to assist in the 
government of the colony, landed at Gravesend; and, at 
at a meeting held for that purpose, consulted with the 
people, and with Governor Winthrop, of Connecticut, 
and exhibited to them the royal grant to the Duke 
of York. He also issued a proclamation promising pro- 
tection and all the privileges of English subjects, and 
sent officers for volunteers in the western towns of the 
island. After consultation with his burgomasters and 
the people. Governor Stuyvesant, finding that the cur- 
rent of popular opinion set strongly in that direction, 
reluctantly consented to a surrender, and thus, without 
bloodshed, the government passed to the English. 

The people of the towns on the west end of the island 
acquiesced in the change, relying on the promise of 
Governor Nicolls and the commissioners that they should 
enjoy all the privileges of English subjects — a promise 
which was not fulfilled. The eastern towns, however, 
which had been independent, and which were then a 
part 'of Connecticut, were not willing to sever their polit- 
ical relations with that colony and become subject to the 
Duke of York, and Connecticut at first maintained her 
claim to them. Governor Winthrop, who had been one 
of the commissioners to arrange the terms of surrender, 
" informed the English on Long Island that Connecticut 
had no longer any claim to the island ; that what they 
had done for them was for the welfare, peace and quiet 
settlement of his Majesty's subjects, they being the 
nearest organized government to them under his 
Majesty. But, now that his Majesty's pleasure was fully 
signified by his letters patent, their jurisdiction had 
ceased and become null." 

In March, 1665, a convention of delegates from the 
towns assembled at Hempstead, in accordance with a 
proclamation of Governor Nicolls, " to settle good and 
known laws within this government for the future, and 



receive yo"" best advice and information at a gen^''' 
meeting." At this convention the boundaries and rela- 
tions of the towns were settled and determined, and 
some other matters adjusted. New patents were re- 
quired to be taken by those who had received their 
patents from the Dutch authorities, and it was required 
that patents should be taken by those who had never 
received any, as was the case with the eastern towns. 
These required a quit-rent — a relic of feudal customs — 
which was the source of much trouble, and the subject 
of abuse afterward. A code of laws for the government 
of the pr<)vince was also promulgated. These, which 
had been compiled at the dictation of the governor, were 
termed the Duke's Laws. They contained many of the 
provisions which had been adopted by the eastern towns, 
and many of the enactments would be looked on at the 
present day as curiosities. With some modifications 
they were continued in force till 1683, when the first 
Provincial Assembly held its session. Th ompson says : 
" In addition to other matters which occupied the con- 
vention at Hempstead in 1665, Long Island and Staten 
Island (and probably Westchester) were erected into a 
shire, called, after that in England, Yorkshire, which was 
in like manner divided into separate districts, denomi- 
nated ridings : the towns now included in Suffolk county 
constituted the East 'Riding;' Kings county, Staten 
Island, and the town of Newtown, the West ' Riding,' 
and the remainder of Queens county the North 'Riding,' 
of Yorkshire upon Long Island." The word " riding " 
thus used is a corruption of " trithing" — a third. The 
original names of some of the towns were changed to 
the present ones at this meeting, it is supposed. So 
highly pleased were the delegates at this convention 
with the prospect before them, under the assurances of 
the governor, that they adopted and signed an address 
to the king, pledging loyalty and submission in terms 
that were not pleasing to the people and that were criti- 
cised with such severity that the Court of Assize issued 
an edict forbidding further censure of these deputies, 
under penalty of being brought before the court " to 
answer for the slander." 

Under the Duke's Laws the justices — one in each town 
— were appointed by the governor, as was also the high 
sheriff of the shire, and a deputy sheriff for each riding. 
Each town elected at first eight and afterwards four 
overseers and a constable, who constituted a Town Court, 
with jurisdiction limited to cases of £5 or less. They 
also assessed taxes and regulated miaor matters. Each 
riding had a Court of Sessions consisting of the justices, 
with whom the high sheriff, members of the council and 
secretary of the colony, were entitled to sit. It had 
criminal jurisdiction, and in civil cases its judgments 
were final m cases less than £20. The Court of Assize, 
which consisted of the governor, council, and an indefi- 
nite number of magistrates, had appellate jurisdiction 
in cases from inferior courts, and original jurisdiction 
in suits for demands above £20. 

No provision was made for a legislature ; and, while 
this Court of Assize was nominally the head of the gov- 
ernment, the governor, who appointed the members of it, 
and who could remove most of them at his pleasure, 
really possessed unlimited legislative, executive and 
judicial authority. Thompson says : " In this court the 
governor united the character of both judge and legis- 
lator. He interpreted his own acts, and not only pro- 
nounced what the law was, but what it should be." 

Although the people on the western end of the island 
became aware that the government under the Duke of 
York was framed on no better model than that under 
the Dutch governor, and those in the English towns 
that they were shorn of all their former privileges. 
Governor Nicolls exercised his powers so carefully and 
judiciously as to allay their discontent. 

He relinquished the reins of government in legV and 
was succeeded by Francis Lovelace, who during his 
administration acquired the almost unanimous ill-will of 
the people. When, in 1670, a levy was made on the 
towns to raise money for repairing the fort at New 
York, nearly all of the English towns, by vote, refused 
to obey the order for the contribution or levy unless 
" they might have the privileges that other of his 
Majesty's subjects have and do enjoy." Thompson says: 
" The English colonists on Long Island brought with 
them the doctrine that taxes could only be imposed with 
the consent of the people by their representatives in a 
general assembly." It is not known that this tax was 
ever collected in those towns. This was the first open 
manifestation in this country of a spirit of resistance to 
the invasion of this right — a resistance which led, a cen- 
tury later, to the American Revolution. 

The resolutions of refusal were laid before the gov- 
ernor and council, and were by them ordered to be pub- 
licly burned before the town house of the city. It is 
said of Governor Lovelace, that in 1668 he wrote to 
Sir Robert Carr in New Jersey, that to keep people sub- 
missive the best method was " to lay such taxes upon 
them as may not give them liberty to entertain any 
other thoughts but how they shall discharge them." 

Had not the administration of Governor Lovelace 
come to an end by a sudden and unexpected event, he 
would probably have suffered the full consequences of 
the popular indignation which his disregard of the peo- 
ple's rights aroused. " The country, which had now 
been nine years governed by the Duke of York's depu- 
ties, and experienced in very full measure the ill effects 
of ignorance and indiscretion in the conduct of its rulers, 
came once more under the government of their ancient 
masters, the Dutch." 

Between 1672 and 1674 the English and Dutch were 
at war, and in the latter part of July, 1673,a small Dutch 
squadron entered New York harbor, and Captain Man- 
ning, the commandant of the fort, surrendered it with- 
out resistance. For this act he was afterward sentenced 
to haye his sword broken over his head. 



Captain Anthony Colve was, by the commanders of 
the squadron, appointed governor of the colony, and he 
at once set about the re-establishment of the authority 
of the Dutch government. In the towns that had be- 
fore been under the Dutch regime submission was 
readily made, but in the towns of the East riding his task 
was more difficult. Huntington and Brookhaven yielded 
after a time on certain conditions, but Southold, South- 
ampton, and Easthampton, rejected all overtures, and 
petitioned for admission to the colony of Connecticut. 
They were accepted, and when Governor Colve at- 
tempted to reduce these towns to submission by force, 
Connecticut sent troops to their assistance, and the 
Dutch were repulsed. In November, 1673, the New 
England colonies declared war against the Dutch, and 
made preparations for active hostilities. The conclu- 
sion of peace, early in 1674, between the English and 
Dutch, of course arrested their proceedings. On the 
restoration of the duke's government, these towns were 
unwilling to become subject again to a rule under which 
they had been oppressed. Resistance was unavailing, 
however, and they were compelled to submit to a repe- 
tition of the former despotic sway of the duke's gov- 

Sir Edmund Andros became governor on the restor- 
ation of the duke's authority, and his administration, 
which continued till 1681, was even more despotic than 
that of Governor Lovelace. Colonel Dongan 
succeeded Governor Andros. On his arrival, in 1682, 
he at once issued orders for summoning a general 
assembly. This was the result of a petition to the duke 
by the grand jury of the Court of Assize in 1681. 

At the first session of this Colonial Assembly, in 1683, 
they " adopted a bill of rights, established courts of jus- 
tice, repealed some of the most obnoxious of the duke's 
laws, altered and amended others, and passed such new 
laws as they judged that the circumstances of the colony 
required." At this session the " ridings " were abolished, 
and the counties of Kings, Queens, and Suffolk, organ- 
ized. Another session was held in 1684, at which, 
among other acts, the court of assize was abolished, and 
another Assembly was summoned to convene in the fol- 
lowing year. 

"Charles II. died February 6th, 1685, and the Duke 
of York succeeded him by the title of James II. ; as he 
determined to have as little to do with parliaments as 
possible, so it is probable that he revoked the power 
which he had given to his governors to call assemblies, 
and determined that they should rule the colony by his 
instructions alone, without admitting the people to any 
participation in the public councils." Under the gov- 
ernment of James no other session of the Legislature 
was ever held. 

On the occurrence of the revolution in England which 
placed William and Mary on the throne, a party of sym- 
pathizers with that revolution, led by Jacob Leisler, 
seized the government of the colony, and during two 

years matters here were in an unsettled condition. Long 
Island gave only a partial support to Leisler; and when, 
in 1690, he summoned a general assembly, no members 
from Suffolk attended and one from Queens refused to 
serve. It appears that Leisler attempted to use force 
against some portions of Long Island, which he declared 
to be in a state of rebellion, but that his efforts proved 
entirely unsuccessful. 

The fate of Leisler is briefly recounted in the outline 
history of the State on preceding pages, together with 
the succession of Colonial governors who followed him. 
After the revolution of 1689-90, the Colonial govern- 
ment settled down on a basis, which continued, with but 
few changes, till the American Revolution. It is thus 
stated by Wood : 

" The executive power was vested in the Governor, and 
the legislative power in the Governor, Council and Assem- 
bly, subject to the revision of the Bang, to whom all laws 
were to be sent within three months after their passage. 

"The Council at first consisted of seven members (which 
number was afterwards increased to twelve), who were 
appointed by the King. 

"The Assembly was composed of delegates from each 
county, chosen by the freeholders. Their number was regu- 
lated by law. The term of service was indefinite till 1743, 
when it was limited to seven years. 

" The Governor could suspend members of the Council and 
appoint others, subject to the King's approbation. He had a 
negative on the acts passed by the Assembly and Council. 
He had power to summon, prorogue, or dissolve the Assem- 
bly, to appoint all public officers, and, with the consent of 
the Council, to establish courts of justice, to dispose of the 
public lands, and to disburse the public moneys raised for 
the support of the government." 

It will be seen, at a glance, that this system of gov- 
ernment offered an open door for great abuse of power. 
The land sales, fees for new patents, and quit-rents, 
afforded revenues on which many of the governors grew 
rich ; and the absolute negative possessed by the Gov- 
ernor and the Crown rendered the Assembly almost 
powerless for the adoption of any measure not pleasing 
to them. The abuses of power, and the oppressions of 
the people which led to the American Revolution, are 
portions of the history of the whole country that it is 
not necessary to repeat here. 




THE customs of the early Dutch settlers on the west 
end of Long Island differed, in many respects, 
from those of the people who settled its eastern 
portions. Those of the former will be more par- 
ticularly spoken of in our general history of Kings 
County, which was distinctively Dutch in all its charac- 
teristics. The customs of the latter (Queens and Suffolk 



Counties), modified by the changes which two centuries 
have brought, and by the increasing cosmopolitanism of 
the American people, are yet, to a great degree, in vogue 
among their descendants, and still sufficiently indicate 
their Yankee origin. We touch then, in this brief chap- 
ter, only upon those features of social life, etc., which 
were in some measure common to the whole island ; 
premising that the peculiar circumstances by which 
these settlers were environed led to the adoption of 
some customs which have quite passed away, as these 
surroundings have given place to others. 

Since very early times the species of gambling that is 
designated as turf sports has been very prevalent on 
Long Island, and files of old newspapers abound with 
notices of races that were to take place, or accounts of 
those that had occurred. Lotteries, also, were not only 
tolerated, but were often instituted to raise 'money for 
erecting churches, or founding religious or benevolent 
associations. The latter form of gambling is now pro- 
hibited by law, but whether or not the moral sense of 
the people will ever frown down the former is an 
unsolved question. 

During many years whaling was an important indus- 
try on the southeastern coast of the island, and, at inter- 
vals along the shore, whaleboats were kept for launching 
whenever whales were sighted. Fueman, in describ- 
ing a tour around Long Island in old times, says that 
there might be seen "occasionally, at long intervals, 
small thatched huts, or wigwams, on the highest eleva- 
tions, with a staif projecting from the top. These huts 
were occupied, at certain seasons, by men on the watch 
for whales, and, when they saw them blowing, a signal 
was hoisted on this staff. Immediately the people would 
be seen coming from all directions with their whaling 
boats upon wagon-wheels, drawn by horses or oxen ; 
launch them from the beach, and be off in pursuit of 
the great fish. You would see all through this region 
these whaling boats turned upside down, lying upon a 
frame under the shade of some trees by the roadside, 
this being the only way in which they could keep them, 
having no harbors ; four or five families would club 
together in owning one of these boats and in manning 
them." So much a standard industry was this that 
shares in the results of the fisheries were sometimes 
made portions of the salaries or perquisites of clergy- 
men. In July, 1699, it was said "Twelve or thirteen 
whales have been taken on the east end of the island." 
In IVII, it was reported that four whales were taken at 
Montauk, eight at Southampton, two at Moriches, two 
and a calf at Brookhaven, two at Islip, and one drift 
whale that yielded twenty barrels of oil. In 1V21, it 
was said that forty whales had been taken on Long 
Island; but, in 1V22, onlyfourwere reported. In 1741, 
they were reported as being more abundant. The whales 
that formerly frequented this coast have long since 
been exterminated or driven away, though occasionally 
stragglers have been seen in comparatively recent times. 

The New York Times, of Feb. 21, 1858, published the 
following from a correspondent in Southampton : "At 
noon to-day the horn sounded through the streets, which 
is the signal to look out for a whale. In a few minutes 
tough old whalemen enough had mustered on the beach 
to man several boats and push out into the surf in chase 
of three whales which were leisurely spouting in the 
offing. After an exciting but brief chase the lance 
touched the life of one of the three, who spouted claret 
and turned up dead. He was towed to the shore and 
will make — the judges say — forty barrels of oil." 

The taking of shell-fish in the bays and on the coast 
has been an important and increasing industry ; and the 
capture of fish for the expression of oil and the manu- 
facture of fertilizers has come to be a business of some 

It was the custom of the Indians on this island, 
before its settlement by the whites, to annually burn the 
herbage on large portions of it, which were thus kept 
free from trees and underbrush. This enabled the early 
settlers to enter at once on the cultivation of the land, 
and to convert large tracts into common pastures. The 
arrest of the annual fires permitted underbrush to spring 
up in such profusion that the male inhabitants of the 
towns, between the ages of sixteen and sixty, were called 
out by the Court of Assize during four days of each 
year to cut away this growth. On the wooded portions 
of the island the timber was cut and converted into 
staves so rapidly by the early settlers that, Adthin 
the first twenty years, the towns instituted rules regulat- 
ing or prohibiting the cutting of trees. 

At first the scarcity of circulating medium compelled 
people to make exchanges in various kinds of produce, 
and this method necessitated the fixing of the value of 
produce, either by custom or law. The Indian sewant, 
or wampum, was very much used in place of money, 
and both it and produce were used not only in business 
transactions but in the payment of taxes, fines, etc. By 
reason of the facility with which the material could be 
procured, the manufacture of wampum was sometimes 
engaged in by the whites, within the memory of some 
now living. John Jacob Astor employed men to man- 
ufacture it here, that he might send it to the northwest 
and exchange it with the Indians there for furs. The 
following schedule of the value of produce in the mid- 
dle and latter part of the seventeenth century, when 
this custom prevailed, is taken from Wood: "Pork per 
lb., 3 pence; beef, 2; tallow, 6; butter, 6; dry hides, 4; 
green hides, 2; lard, 6; winter wheat, 4s. to 5s. per 
bush.; summer wheat, 3s. 6d. per bush.; rye, 2s. 6d. to 
38. 6d. per bush.; Indian corn, 2s. 3d. to 2s. 6d. per 
bush.; oats, 2s. per bush." Stock in 1665 was legally 
valued as follows: " Colts, one to two years, £3 each; 
two to three, £4 each; three to four, £8; horses four 
years or more of age, £12; bullocks, bulls or cows four 
years or upward, £6 each; steers and heifers, one to two 
years, each £1 10s.; two to three, £2 10s.; three to four 



£4; goats, one year, 8s.; sheep, one year, 6s. 8d.; hogs, 
one year, £1. These were the prices fixed for the guid- 
ance of the town authorities in receiving produce, etc., 
in payment of taxes. Produce in place of a circulating 
medium continued in use till about 1700, when money 
had become sufiiciently abundant for the require- 
ments of trade. Board was 5s. per week; meals, 
6d. each; lodgings, 2d. per night; beer, 2d. per 
mug; pasture per day and night. Is.; labor per day, 
2s. 6d. 

Previous to 1V93 no post office was established on the 
island and no mail was carried on it. A Scotchman 
nam.ed Dunbar rode a voluntary post as early as about 
lYVS. This was in violation of the law, but the neces- 
sity of the case caused the offense to be winked at. The 
people on the west end of the island were supposed to 
receive their letters from the post-ofiice in New York, 
and those on the east end from New London. Even as 
late as 1835, Fukman says, the mail stage left Brooklyn 
for Easthampton no oftener than once a week, and mail 
packages were often left and taken at designated places, 
such as a particular rock or a box nailed to a tree. 
Hotels were few then, and the hospitaUties of the peo- 
ple living along the route through the island were 
always readily extended to the few travelers who passed 
over it. 

During the last decade of the seventeenth century, 
the seas of the Indies were infested with pirates, who 
preyed upon the commerce of all nations. In 1695, the 
celebrated Captain William Kidd, an Englishman, was 
commissioned by the King of England, and furnished 
by an association in that country with a ship and crew, 
to go in quest of the pirates. He sailed in 1696, and 
came to the coast of America, where for a time he did 
good service. At New York he took an addition to his 
crew, sailed to the East Indies and turned pirate. After 
ravaging the eastern seas he returned to the coast of 
South America, and pursued his piratical course to the 
West Indies ; and thence, after a career of robbery and 
piracy, came to the shores of Long Island. In 1699 he 
landed at Gardiner's Island (Easthampton), and in 
the presence of the owner, John Gardiner, under 
injunctions of secrecy, buried a . large amount 
of treasure, which was afterward recovered by the 
commissioners of the Earl of Bellemont, one of 
the association, who sent Kidd forth. The freebooter 
was apprehended, sent to England, tried, convicted 
of murder, and hung in chains at Execution 

His career has been the subject of much romance 
and more superstition. It was believed that he 
buried much treasure besides that which was recovered; 
and the shores of Long Island have, again and 
again, been thoroughly searched and excavated by 
curious people, often with absurdly ridiculous cere- 
monies, but no treasure was ever known to reward their 




IT was on Long Island that the first protest against 
taxation without representation was made. In 
1691 the first permanent Assembly of representa- 
tives of the people was established, and this was 
the first step in the direction of a free government in 
the colony of New York. The Colonial governors had 
possessed very large — almost absolute — power, and that 
power had sometimes been arbitrarily exercised. The 
people's money had been used at the discretion of the 
governors, and, it was believed, had often been misap- 
plied and embezzled. On application, in 1706, to Queen 
Anne, the Assembly was authorized to appoint a treas- 
urer to receive and disburse all money which was raised 
under its authority, and it accordingly " assumed general 
control of all the finances by making specific appropri- 
ations." In 1711 the Assembly denied the right of the 
Council (which was claimed) to alter revenue bills, 
asserting that the power of the Council flowed from the 
pleasure of the prince, personified by the commission of 
the governor ; but that the power of the Assembly, in 
relation to taxes, flowed from the choice of the people, 
who could not be divested of their money without their 

From this time forward there was almost constant 
struggle between the crown, through its representatives 
the governors, on one side, and the people, •through 
their representatives the Assembly, upon the other. 
The governors sought to vex and coerce the Assembly 
into compliance with their demands, or to punish what 
they considered contumacy and contempt by frequent 
prorogations and dissolutions. Under the absurd pre- 
text that the colony had been planted and sustained in 
its infancy by the mother country, the right of almost 
absolute control over it afterward was claimed. The 
conflict continued, with the result of constantly calling 
the attention of the people to the subject, and leading 
them to investigate the principles which lie at the foun- 
dation of just government, and the sources whence the 
powers of so-called rulers are derived. Thus they came 
to know and appreciate the value of their rights, and 
thus was nurtured and developed the spirit of resist- 
ance to the exercise of a power which they had come to 
believe had no just foundation. This conflict, between 
the spirit of liberty and the encroachments of arbitrary 
power, culminated in the resistance, on the part of -the 
colonies, to the oppressive acts of the Crown and Parlia- 
ment of Great Britain that inaugurated the Revolution. 

It must be remembered that, during all this conflict 
the inhabitants of Long Island constituted a large pro- 
portion of the colony ; and, even in 1787, more than one- 
fifth of the tax of the State was assessed to the counties 




of Kings, Queens and Suffolk. The people of Long 
Island were as strongly opposed to the encroachments 
of the Crown as were those of other portions of the 
Colony ; but, by the force of circumstances, many were, 
or pretended to be, loyalists during the revolutionary 
struggle. Some, through fear of personal hardship, or 
loss of property, were induced either to remain inactive 
or to join the British cause. Others, and in no incon- 
siderable number, found, in their assumed loyalty, the 
opportunity of despoiling their neighbors and of bene- 
fitting themselves. The part taken by each of the three 
counties was singularly characteristic of the national 
traits and affiliations of those by whom they were respect- 
ively settled. The Suffolk County people, descendants 
of the original Puritans, in whom resistance to oppres- 
sion was an instinct, promptly presented a rebellious 
front to the invader. Says Field: "Out of its whole 
population of freeholders and adult male inhabitants, 
numbering 2,834 between the ages of sixteen and sixty, 
only 236 were reckoned as being of loyalist proclivities. 
The enrolled militia of the county exceeded 2,000, of 
whom 303 officers and privates were in the ranks of 
Colonel Smith's regiment, the best disciplined and armed 
on the island. It was the only one which could be con- 
sidered in any form to have survived the shock of the 
27th of August, and only a small part even of this body 
ever did service after that fatal day." In Queens 
Coimty, with its mixed Dutch and English population, 
the loyal sentiment was always largely in the ascendant ; 
though there is but little doubt that the rebel feeling 
would have become dominant had circumstances favored. 
" The whole force of the Whigs which could be mustered 
under arms was insufficient to overawe their loyalist 
neighbors. Seventeen hundred and seventy able-bodied 
men among her citizens were enrolled on the roster of 
her militia, while only 379 were by the most stringent 
measures induced to appear in arms." Meetings were 
held in the different towns and districts, at which reso- 
lutions were adopted expressive of sympathy with the 
popular cause ; and committees of correspondence, as 
they were termed, were appointed to represent them 
in county conventions and to devise such measures 
as the welfare of the country seemed to demand. After 
the Declaration of Independence by the Continental 
Congress and the approval of this action by the Provin- 
cial Congress, the enthusiasm of the Whigs in this part 
of the island rose to a high pitch. Public demonstra- 
tions were made ; and, in one instance at least, the effigy 
of George HI. was publicly hanged and burned. 

But the Dutch population of Kings County were 
very averse to engaging in the rebellion, which, from 
the first, promised to entail upon them serious conse- 
quences and probable ultimate failure. At a meeting 
of committees from the several towns of the county, 
held at Flatbush, in April, 1775, for the purpose of 
appointing delegates to a General Provincial Conven- 
tion, the town of Flatlands desired to " remain neutral ;" 

and the subsequent attendance of the delegates of some 
of these Kings County towns was so irregular, and 
their zeal so lukewarm, that the Convention felt obliged 
to request their more regular attendance. 







N June 11th, 1776, the British army, which had a 
short time previously evacuated Boston, where 
it had been closely besieged by the Americans, 
sailed from Halifax for New York harbor. The 
strategic importance of this point had long been appa- 
rent to the British commander, and it had been foreseen 
by Washington that this would be the next point 
attacked. The plan of the British campaign was to 
possess New York and Long Island with an army of 
about 35,000 men ; then to ascend the Hudson river 
and effect a junction with an army of some 13,000 that 
was to pass the lakes, penetrate to the Hudson and 
descend that river. The eastern provinces were thus 
to be divided from the middle and southern, and active 
operations were at the same time to be carried on at the 
south, and thus the rebellion was to be crushed in a 
single campaign. The failure of the southern campaign 
before the arrival of Howe at New York and the inter- 
ruption of the Canadian army at the lakes, frustrated 
the British commander's plan for the speedy subjuga- 
tion of the rebellious colonies. 

(A brief account of the Battle of Brooklyn, Aug. 27, 
1776, may be found in the General History of Kings 

The defeat of the American forces in this battle 
removed the restraint which had kept in check the strong 
feeling of loyalty in Kings and Queens counties, and in 
the following autumn about fourteen hundred inhabi- 
tants of the latter county signed a declaration of loyalty 
and petition for protection. And when the people of 
Kings County found the island — and especially that 
portion of it which they occupied — abandoned by the 
American forces, it was not strange that they eagerly 
accepted the opportunity of withdrawing from a strug- 
gle in which they had no heart, and of seeking the 
mercy and protection of the now dominant power of 

Stiles says: "On the 7th November, 1776, a large number 
of the freeholders and people of the county— availing them- 
selves of Lord Howe's recent proclamation of security of 
person and property to those who should remain peaceably 
upon their farms — submitted a very humble and loyal address 
to his Lordship, wherein they state that, ' reflecting with the 
tenderest emotions of gratitude on this instance of His 
Majesty's paternal goodness, and encouraged by the affec- 
tionate manner iu which His Majesty's gracious purpose hath 
been conveyed to us by your Excellencies, who have thereby 



evinced that humanity is inseparable from that true mag- 
Qanimity and those enlarged sentiments which form the most 
slaining characters,' they beg leave to represent that they 
have all signed the oath of allegiance. 

' ' The submission of the rank and file was soon followed by 
that of a majority of the leaders ; and the militia of the 
county, in January, 1777, further testified their ' loyalty to 
their sovereign and zeal to the constitution' by voluntarily 
contributing the sum of £310 8s. toward the expense of a new 
battalion, at that time recruited by Colonel Fanning. 

" After the evacuation of Brooklyn, the British, Hessians, 
Tories and refugees had unlimited range over Long Island, 
and were quickly joined by ' neutrals ' and ' fence gentry.' 
Most of the Whigs were absent with the army ; their wives, 
children and aged people alone remained at home, and their 
dwelhngs became the prey of these vsrretches who robbed 
friend and foe alike. The negroes, also, became their willing 
aiders and abettors, and frequently guided them in their pre- 
datory expeditions. The loyalists were all ordered to attend 
at British headquarters, at Bedford, to be registered ; after 
which they were directed to wear a red badge in their hats, 
as a protection and token of loyalty. They obeyed with 
ludicrous alacrity, and straightway the loyal badge flamed 
from every hat and cap in the county. Many ladies wore 
scarlet ribbons, while all the negroes, of course, were royalists 
and bedecked their hats with scarlet rags : and females even 
dispensed with their flannel petticoats to supply the unpre- 
cedented demand for cloth of the requisite hue. 

' 'The protection afforded to the people by the royal authori- 
ties was paternal only in its severity. Long Island and the 
vicinity of New York City were kept under the most rigorous 
miUtary rule. Elections, except annual town meetings, were 
not allowed; the civil courts were suspended; and their 
functions arbitrarily dispensed either by a king's justice or a 
military officer. A sort of police court was opened in New 
York at the Mayor's office ; and, in 1780, a similar one at 
Jamaica, for the greater convenience of the Long Island peo- 
ple. The ferry at both the New York and Long Island side 
was placed under military guards ; every market boat had to 
have a yearly license from military headquarters ; and no 
farmer or other person could transport any provisions or 
goods to or from the city without a written pass either from 
the Mayor's office or from the colonel in command at Flat- 
bush. The prices of wood and of all commodities and farm 
produce was regulated by proclamation ; and the farmers, 
their wages and servants, were liable, at any time, to be im- 
pressed into the King's service, at a stipulated price. Wood- 
land and brushwood, and even fences, were remorselessly cut 
down by the British to be used for fuel and the building of 
fortifications ; and, when the wood was at length exhausted, 
and the inhabitants began to be straitened for want of it, 
the Hessians dug up the meadows for peat, despite the expos- 
tulations of the astonished and indignant Dutch farmers, 
who before long, however, had to admit that their unwelcome 
guests had, in this respect, rendered them a great service. 
The whole district occupied by the troops in Kings County 
-was a common, and most of the land remained unf enced until 
the British left the country. In the winter season every vil- 
lage was filled with British soldiers, wagons, etc., billeted 
most summarily in private houses or cantoned in temporary 


Ondebdonk says concerning this: "Billeting of Soldiers.— 
During the summer British troops were oft' the island 
on active sei-vice : or, if a few remained here, they abode 
under tents ; but in virinter they were hutted on the sunny 
side of a hill, or else distributed in farmers' houses. A 
British officer, accompanied by a justice of the peace. 

or some prominent loyalist, as a guide, rode around the 
country, and from actual inspection decided how many sol- 
diers each house could receive, and this number was chalked 
on the door. The only notification was : ' Madam, we have 
come to take a billet on your house.' If a house had but one 
fireplace it was passed by, as the soldiers were not intended 
to form part of a family. A double house for the officers, or 
single house with a kitchen for privates was just the thing. 
The soldiers were quartered in the kitchen, and the inner 
door nailed up so that the soldiers could not intrude on the 
household. They, however, often became intimate with the 
family and sometimes intermarried. The Hessians were more 
sociable than the English soldiers, and often made little bas- 
kets and other toys for the children, taught them German 
and amused them in various ways ; sometimes corrupting 
them by their vile language and raanners. Any misconduct 
of the soldiers might be reported to their commanding offi- 
cers, who usually did justice ; but some offences could not 
be proven, such as night-stealing or damage done the house 
or to other property. As the soldiers received their pay in 
coin they were flush, and paid liberally for what they bought, 
such as vegetables, milk, or what they could not draw with 
their rations. These soldiers were a safeguard against rob- 
bers and whaleboat men. Some had their vsdves with them, 
who acted as washerwomen, and sometimes in meaner capa- 

" From a perusal of the orderly book of General Delancey, 
it appears that he used every means to protect the persons 
and property of the inhabitants of Long Island from the out- 
rages of British soldiers. They were not allowed to go more 
than half a mile from camp at daytime (and for this purpose 
roll was called several times during the day), nor leave it 
under any pretext after sundown vidthout a pass ; but now 
and then they would slip out and rob. On the 11th of June, 
1788, Mr. John Willett, of Flushing, was assaulted at his own 
house, at 11 o'clock at night, by persons unknown but sup- 
posed to be soldiers from having bayonets and red clothes, 
who threatened his life and to bum his house. The general 
offered a reward of $10 to the person who should first make 
the discovery to Major Waller ; and a like reward for the dis- 
covery of the person who robbed Mr. Willett on the 9th of 
June of two sheep, a calf and some poultry, as he was deter- 
mined to inflict exemplary punishment and put a stop to 
practices so dishonorable to the King's service. Again. March 
9th, 1778, Mrs. Hazard, of Newtown, having complained that 
the soldiers of the guard pulled down and burnt up her fence, 
that was near the guardhouse, the general at once issued an 
order to the officer that he should hold him answerable there- 
after for any damage done the fences. So, too, if a soldier 
milked the farmers' cows, he should be punished without 
mercy ; nor should he go in the hayfleld and gather up new 
mown grass to make his bed of. Generally the farmers were 
honestly paid for whatever they sold. For instance, April 
38d, 1778, they were notifled to call on Mr. Ochiltree, deputy 
commissary of forage at Flushing, with proper certificates 
and get payment for their hay." 

In January, 1777, the American prisoners in New 
York were paroled and billeted on the people in Kings 
County. One of these. Colonel Geatdon, writes : 

" The indulgence of arranging ourselves according to our 
respective circles of acquaintances was granted us, and Lieu- 
tenant Forrest and myself were billeted on Mr. Jacob Suy- 
dam, whose house was pretty large, consisting of buildings 
which appeared to have been erected at different times. The 
front and better part was occupied by Mr. Theophilus Bache 
and family from New York. Though we were generally 



civilly enough received, it cannot be supposed we were very 
welcome to our Low Dutch hosts, whose habits were very par- 
simonious, and whose winter provision was barely sufficient 
for themselves. They were, however, a people who seemed 
thoroughly disposed to submit to any power that might be 
imposed on them ; and whatever might have been their pro- 
pensities at an earlier stage of the contest, they were now the 
dutiful and loyal subjects of King George III. Their houses 
and beds we found clean, but their living extremely poor. 
A sorry wash made up of a sprinkling of bohea and the dark- 
est sugar, on the verge of fluidity, with half-baked bread (fuel 
being very scarce) and a little stale butter, constituted our 
breakfast. At our first coming, a small piece of pickled beef 
was occasionally boiled for dinner, but to the beef, which 
was soon consumed, there succeeded clippers or clams ; and 
our unvaried supper was suppaan or mush, sometimes with 
skimmed mUk, but more generally with buttermilk blended 
with molasses, which was kept for weeks in a churn, as swill 
is saved for hogs. I found it, however, after a little use, very 
eatable, and supper soon became my best meal. Their 
reUgious, like their other habits, were unostentatious and 
plain ; and a simple, silent grace before meat prevailed at 
the table of Jacob Suydam. When we were all seated he 
suddenly clapped his hands together, threw his head on one 
side, closed his eyes, and remained mute and motionless for 
about a minute. His niece and nephew followed his exam- 
ple, but with such an eager solicitude that the copied attitude 
should be prompt and simultaneous, as to give an air of 
absurdity to what might otherwise have been very decent." 
Officers and soldiers " lorded it" over the people ; and, as 
a natural consequence, insubordination arose among the 
slaves, who ran away or became less respectful to their mas- 
ters whom they saw so humbled before the British officers. 
When we add to this the carousing, gambling, profanity and 
other camp vices which were introduced into the hitherto 
quiet villages by the presence of large bodies of troops, we 
can see that the people of Long Island were not to be envied. 
It is true that farmers flourished on British gold, obtained 
for such of their produce as had been spared them by 
marauders ; but, with few opportunities for its investment, 
they were obliged to keep it by them and were often robbed.' 
The churches, also, except those of the established faith, were 
freely occupied as prisons, hospitals, storehouses, and bar- 
racks for troops ; some were even wantonly destroyed. 

During the remainder of the Eevolution, in order to 
insure the doubtful loyalty of a portion of the inhabi- 
tants, British troops, whose ranks were increased 
by enlistments from among the tories, wore sta- 
tioned at different points on the island, and against the 
lawlessness of these there was no protection. Robbery 
was still carried on by marauding gangs under the guise 
of Whig or tory partisanship ; and frequent raids were 
made by parties of Continental troops from the Connec- 
ticut shore of the Sound, although nothing occurred 
which can justly be dignified by the name of a battle. 
A few of these affairs may be mentioned bore. In 
November, 17Y6, three or four hundred troops crossed 
from New Haven to Setauket, where a sharp skirmish 
was had with a detachment of General Howe's troops. 
Eight or ten of the British troops were killed, and 23 
prisoners and 75 muskets taken. 

In April, 1Y77, an expedition was planned by General 
Parsons, the object of Mrl,ich was to destroy a quantity 

of forage and provisions that had been collected at Sag 
Harbor. For that purpose a party of two hundred men, 
under Colonel Meigs, crossed the Sound from New 
Haven on the 23d of May, in whaleboats. They secreted 
their boats about three miles from Sag Harbor, marched 
to the village, arriving at 2 a. m. ; impressed guides, by 
whom they were conducted to the quarters of the com- 
manding officer, whom they captured; forced the out- 
post by a bayonet charge and proceeded to the wharf 
where in three-fourths of an hour, although under the 
fire of an armed schooner, one hundred and fifty yards 
away, they burned twelve brigs and sloops, one hun- 
dred and twenty tons of hay, and a quantity of grain 
and destroyed ten hogsheads of rum and a quantity 
of merchandise. They also killed six of the enemy, 
took ninety prisoners, and returned after an absence of 
a little more than twenty-four hours without the loss-of 
a man. For this service Congress presented a sword to 
Colonel Meigs, and General Washington in a letter com- 
plimented General Parsons. 

In August, 1777, General Parsons organized an expe- 
dition of about one hundred and fifty men to break up 
a British outpost at Setauket, where a Presbyterian 
church had been fortified by surrounding it with an 
embankment six feet in height, and placing swivels in 
four of the gallery windows. After an engagement of 
two or three hours, with the loss of only four men. Gen- 
eral Parsons withdrew, fearing his retreat might be cut 
off by the capture of his sloop and boats. It is a nota- 
ble fact that one of the volunteers in this expedition, 
Zachariah Green, was twenty years after installed as 
minister of this same church. 

In the autumn of 1780, Major Benjamin Tallmadge 
planned and successfully executed one of the most 
audacious exploits accomplished on the island during 
the war. At Smith's Point, Mastic, on the south side 
of the island, an enclosure of several acres had been 
made, triangular in foi-m, with strongly barricaded 
houses at two of the angles, and a fort, ninety feet 
square, protected by an abattis, at the other. The fort 
was completed and garrisoned by about fifty men, and 
in it two guns were mounted. On the 21st of 
November Major Tallmadge embarked at Fairfield, 
Conn., with eighty dismounted dragoons, and landed at 
9 in the evening at Mount Sinai, where the boats were 
secured. They attempted to cross the island, but a 
ram storm drove them back to their boats and kept 
them till 7 the next evening, when they again set out. 
At 3 the next morning they arrived within two miles of 
the fort (which was called Fort George), and arranged 
to attack it simultaneously at three points, which was 
done. A breach was made, the enclosure entered, and 
the main fort carried at the point of the bayonet, with- 
out the firing of a gun, the two other attacking parties 
mounting the ramparts at the same time with shouts. 
They were fired on from one of the houses, but they 
foi-eibly entered it and threw some of their assailants 



from the chamber windows. With none killed and 
only a few slightly wounded, they destroyed the fort, 
burned a vessel and took fifty-four prisoners and a quan- 
tity of merchandise, with which they returned. A party 
of ten or twelve, with Major Tallmadge, visited Coram 
and burned some four hundred tons of hay. For this 
exploit Major Tallmadge was commended in a letter by 
General Washington. 

A year later Major Tallmadge sent a party of 150 
under Major Trescott to destroy Port Slongo, in the 
northwestern part of Smithtown. The force crossed 
from Saugjituck River in the night, attacked and de- 
stroyed the fort, which was garrisoned by 140 men, 
burned the blockhouse, destroyed two iron guns, killed 
four and wounded two of the enemy, took twenty-one 
prisoners, one brass field piece and seventy muskets, 
and returned with none killed and but one seriously 

In 1778 a fort was erected on Lloyd's Neck by the 
British for the protection of wood cutters and defense 
against raiders from the mainland. An unsuccessful 
attack was made on this fort on the 12th of July, 1781, 
by a force of French under Count de Barras, assisted 
by American volunteers. In this affair a few of the 
assailants were wounded and one or two killed. 

During the British occupation of Long Island, illicit 
trade was carried on between the people and in Con- 
necticut, by means of many ingeniously devised plans. 

Previous to the separation of the colonies non-impor- 
tation associations had existed, and the patriotic colo- 
nists had accustomed themselves to drinking sage and 
sassafras tea and wearing homespun. After the sepa- 
ration no motive of patriotism stood in the way of in- 
dulgence in the use of British goods, and with the facili- 
ties which the long stretch of the north coast, with its 
numerous estuaries, inlets and harbors, and the narrow 
Sound beyond, afforded for smuggling, it is not surpris- 
ing that Yankee shrewdness should elude the sleepy 
vigilance of government olBcials, and the people of Con- 
necticut come to be well supplied with goods that had 
been brought from New York ostensibly to supply the 
wants of loyal Long Islanders. All the ordinary devices 
of smuggling were resorted to, and even collusions were 
entered into with the so-called piratical whaleboat men, 
and stores were robbed and the goods taken across the 
Sound, the owners, of course, sharing the profits of the 
adventure. In many cases government ofiicials winked 
at this trade, because it supplied necessaries that were 
difficult to procure otherwise. In some instances it was 
believed they were secretly interested in the transac- 
tions. By reason of the long Sound-coast of Suffolk 
county, and the secret rebel sympathies of many of its 
inhabitants, a large share of this trade was done through 
that county. 

The self-sacrificing patriotism, the meritorious ser- 
vices, the pure, unselfish life and the tragic death of Gen- 
real Nathaniel Woodhull, together with the fact that 

events identified him with a^^the counties on Long Island, 
render a brief sketch of him appropriate here. He was 
born in 1729 at Mastic, in Brookhaven, received a sound 
education and early displayed those mental traits that 
qualified him for public usefulness. In 1753 he entered 
the army, and in the French and Indian war of 1754-60, 
held the position of Major. He was at Ticonderoga 
under General Abercrombie, and was with General Brad- 
street in the expedition against Fort Frontenac and the 
reduction of that fortress. He did important service in the 
exjDedition from Schenectady to the Oneida's carrying- 
place in the same summer; and in 1760, having been 
promoted to the rank of colonel, he went in command 
of the 3d regiment of New York troops in the expedi- 
tion against Canada. On the termination of hostilities 
he was discharged with the troops of the province, and 
returned to private life. In 1769 he was made a mem- 
ber of the Colonial Assembly from Suffolk county, and 
he continued a member of that body till the dissolution 
of the Colonial government in 1775. He was chosen a 
delegate to the Provincial Congress in May, 1775 ; and 
in August of the same year was made president of the 
Congress, and acted in that capacity till August 10th, 
1776. He was, also, in August, 1775, appointed briga- 
dier-general of the militia of Suffolk and Queens coun- 
ties. On the 10th of August, 1776, he obtained leave 
of absence from the Provincial Congress. On the 24th, 
two days previous to the battle of Long Island, he was 
ordered by the Convention to take command of a force 
of militia and " use all possible diligence to prevent 
the stock and other provisions from falling into the 
hands of the enemy." Pie discharged this duty to the 
best of his ability with his meager force, driving beyond 
the reach of the enemy all the cattle that could be col- 
lected, at the same time making known to the Conven- 
tion his inability to maintain himself with the force at 
his command. The unfortunate issue of the battle of 
Long Island, and the impracticability of sending the 
desired reinforcements, will be remembered. In the 
hope of sending these, however, and in accordance with 
his sense of honor and duty, he did not make a final 
retreat ; but, on the 28th, ordered his troops to a point 
four miles east of Jamaica, where, in the afternoon, he 
attempted to join them. A thunder storm arrested 
him some two miles from this town, at the tavern of 
Increase Carpenter, and he was overtaken by a party 
of dragoons and infantry, guided by some tories. 
Wood says : " The general immediately gave up his 
sword in token of surrender. The ruffian who first 
approached him (said to be a Lieutenant Huzzy), as is 
reported, ordered him to say ' God save the King.' 
The general replied ' God save us all ' ; on which he 
most cowardly and cruelly assailed the defenseless 
general with his broadsword, and would have killed him 
on the spot if he had not been prevented by the inter- 
ference of an officer of more honor and humanity (said 
to be Major De Lancey of the dragoons), who arrested 



Ms savage violence." He was removed to Jamacia, his 
wounds were dressed, and with other prisoners he was 
confined till the next day in a stone church. He was 
then sent to Gravesend, and confined with eighty others, 
in a vessel that had been used for the transportation of 
live stock, with no provision for comfort or health. 
Thence he was removed to a house in New Utrecht. 
Here it was found his injuries necessitated amputation 
of his arm. Previous to the operation he sent for his 
wife, and made arrangements for the alleviation of the 
suffering of the American prisoners at his own expense. 
Mortification soon succeeded the operation, and on the 
20th of September he died. Wood says of him : 
" With personal courage he possessed judgment, decision 
and firmness of character, tempered with conciliating 
manners, which commanded the respect and obedience 
of his troops, and at the same time secured their 
confidence and esteem." 




ON the 18th of June, 1812, a formal declaration of 
war against Great Britain was made by the 
"United States. 

In the latter part of 1812 and early in 1813 
British cruisers were stationed on the American coast. 
From the files of a paper called War, which was pub- 
lished in New York at the time, it appears that, on the 
19th of January, 1813, a British 74, two frigates and a 
gun brig were stationed off the entrance to New York 
harbor, and on the 26th it was stated that this fleet had 
been augmented, and several prizes taken. Commo- 
dore Lewis, in command of the flotilla in New York 
harbor, attempted to go down, but was prevented by 
the ice. It was not till the 20th of March, 1813, that 
the entire coast of the United States, with the ex- 
ception of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New 
Hampshire, was declared in a state of blockade. 

In April of that year, it was stated that a Bi-itish 74 
and several jjrivateers were cruising in Long Island 
Sound, that they had captured a number of coasting 
vessels, and that " the naval force now in this harbor is 
sufiioient either to capture or di-ive them off, but for 
some unaccountable reason the ' LTnited States' and 
' Macedonian ' have been suffered to lie upward of 
. three months at the navy yard entirely dismantled ; 
our enemy when occasion requires can fit out a ship of 
war in three weeks, or even less time." 

In June, 1813, the daring privateer, " Governor 
Tompkins," of New York, came through the Sound. 
Off Fisher's Island she was chased by the enemy's 
squadron cruising there, but escaped. 

Peime relates, that " in June, 1813, while a British 

squadron under Commodore Hardy lay in Gardiner's 
Bay, a launch and two barges with 100 men attempted 
to surprise Sag Harbor in the night. They landed on 
the wharf, but, an alarm being quickly given, the guns 
of a small fort were opened upon them with such effect 
that they had only time to set fire to a single sloop, and 
retreated with so much percipitation as to leave a large 
quantity of guns, swords and other arms behind them. 
The flames were speedily extinguished, and no other 
injury sustained." 

In September of the same year a flotilla of thirty gun- 
boats, under Commodore Lewis, passed through Hell 
Gate to Sands Point, in quest of some armed vessels of 
the enemy that were cruising in the Sound. The weather 
was not favorable for close action, and after a few shots 
at long range the flotilla anchored; a frigate, which had 
drawn away from its consorts returned, and the enemy's 
ships retired eastward. 

November 16th, 1813, Admiral Warren, commanding 
the blockading squadron, issued a proclamation in which 
he declared a blockade of " all that part of Long Island 
Sound being the sea coast lying within Montauk Point, 
or the eastern point of Long Island, and the point of 
land opposite thereto, commonly called Plack Point, 
situated on the sea coast of the main land; together with 
all the ports, harbors, creeks, and entrances of the East 
and North rivers of New York, as well as all the other 
ports, creeks, and bays along the coast of Long Island 
and the State of New York," etc. 

In 1813, the "Amazon," Captain Conkling, of Hunt- 
ington ; the " Sally," Captain Akerly, of Cow Harbor ; 
and the " Arago " and " Juno," Captain Jones, of Brook- 
haven, were captured in the sound by the British vessels 
" Acasta " and "Atalanta." During the same year a 
British fleet entered and remained some time in Gardi- 
ner's Bay. 

In May, 1814, the sloop " Amelia," bound for Rhode 
Island, laden with rye, pork and flour, was made a prize 
by a barge from the British ship of war " Bulwark." 
One of the owners of this sloop was, with two or three 
other men, suspected of treason. They were tried and 

In August of the same year a small schooner was 
chased on shore at Rockaway by the boats of the block- 
ading squadron, and set on fire. The fire was extin- 
guished, though those engaged in extinguishing it were 
several times fired upon. 

In 1814 the British vessels "Pomona "and "Dis- 
patch," arriving off Setauket hai'bor, sent seven barges 
into Drown Meadow Bay, where they captured the ves- 
sels " Two Friends," " Hope," " Herald," and " Mercan- 
tile," and burned the " Oneida," which were all anchored 
in the bay. 

Boat crews from the blockading squadron entered 
through Rockaway Inlet, and committed depredations 
on the inhabitants near the shores of Jamaica Bay; and 
to protect against such attacks a block-house was erected 



at the inlet. In the General History of Kings County 
an account is given of the erection of defensive works 
in Brooklyn. 



AT first, highways were established in the different 
towns according to the apparent necessities of 
the dwellers in those towns, without reference. to 
the convenience of the people elsewhere. No 
thoroughfares were projected till a long time afterward, 
and the irregularity of the roads was such that guides 
were necessary, in some places, to conduct strangers from 
place to place. These roads were often facetiously 
termed " cow-paths," because of their irregularity, which 
is still a noticeable feature of the ordinary highways. 

In view of the urgent necessity which had come to 
be felt for better facilities for travel, the Legislature 
in 1704 enacted a law, by which three commissioners in 
each of the counties on the island were appointed to lay 
out a road four rods in width, from Brooklyn ferry to 
Easthampton. Twenty years later, by another act of 
the Legislature, commissioners were appointed " for 
better clearing and further laying out of the roads on the 
island." By action of these commissioners the direct 
road from Brooklyn to Easthampton was established. 
This road ran through the center portion of the island, 
and during many years it was the main thoroughfare 
between New York and the " east end." As time went 
on, parallel roads were opened, both north and south, 
from this, and turnpikes were established between differ- 
ent localities. 

As late as 1764 the first post-route was established 
through the island, and it was called " the circuit." The 
mail was carried (on horseback) once in two weeks east- 
ward through the north part of the island, returning 
along the south shore. 

About the year 1847 what has been termed the Plank 
Road mania began to prevail through the country, and 
it reached its height about 1850 or 1851. The level 
surface of Long Island afforded better facilities for the 
construction of these roads than existed in many 
regions, and within three or four years after the first 
was built they had greatly multiplied in all parts of the 
island, and a new era of travel was thought by some to 
have dawned. The impracticability of these roads, 
however, soon became apj)arent, and here as elsewhere 
the mania subsided almost as rapidly as it had arisen. 
The projection of new roads ceased, and those which had 
been constructed were abandoned or converted into 
turnpikes and then into common highways. Of the 
many that came into existence none remain as plank 

Long Island has a railroad system that fully meets 
the wants of its inhabitants and affords ample facilities 
for pleasure seekers from abroad to visit the seaside 
resorts along its southern shore. The sole reliance of 
the roads on the island for support is on local patron- 
age ; none of them are parts of thoroughfares that open 
into regions beyond, though the Long Island Railroad 
has established ferries to New London, Conn., to Block 
Island and to Newport, connecting thus with Boston 
and the Eastern States. These ferries have not proved 
very profitable, as they could not be maintained in the 
winter, and the route was liable to other serious objec- 

The first railroad constructed on Long Island was 
that from South ferry in Brooklyn to Jamaica. This 
was opened for travel April 18th, 1836. In the same 
year the Long Island company commenced the exten- 
sion eastward of this road, and in 1837 it was in opera- 
tion to Hicksville. In 1841 it reached Suffolk Station, 
and on the 25th of July, 1844, the first train of cars 
passed over it to Greenport, a total length of ninety- 
five miles. 

From Hicksville a branch was opened to Syosset in 
1854, and an extension completed to Northport in 1868, 
and thence a road was completed to Port Jefferson in 
1872. Branches were also constructed from Mineola 
to Hempstead and to Locust Point, and from Jamaica 
to Far Rockaway. 

In 1869 the Sag Harbor branch was built, diverging 
from the main line at Manor Station, passing through 
the Hamptons and terminating at Sag Harbor. The 
road from Hunter's Point to Flushing was opened in 
1854, and it was subsequently extended to Manhasset. 
A road was also constructed from Hunter's Point to 

On the south side a road was opened from Jamaica 
to Babylon in the autumn of 1867, and extended to 
Patohogue in 1868. Branches of this road were also 
built. A. T. Stewart constructed a road to Garden 
City, and this was extended to Babylon. Other roads and 
branches sprang into existence, and a competition arose 
that was not conducive to the prosperity of the roads. 

A consolidation of these roads under the control of 
the Messrs. Poppenhusen by leases and otherwise was 
effected. Lavish expenditures were made and much 
business was done, but the management was not suc- 
cessful, and in 1877 Thomas R. Sharp was appointed 
receiver of the consolidated corporation. 

In the latter part of 1880 a controlling interest in 
the Long Island Railroad passed into the hands of 
a syndicate of Boston and London capitalists, at the 
head of which is Austin Corbin, under whose man- 
agement the road has come. 

Within a comparatively recent time several roads for 
the conveyance of passengers to and from the summer 
resorts on the south coast of Long Island have come 
into existence. 



All of the roads before mentioned, as well as the 
Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad, the Long Beach Rail- 
road, the Manhattan Beach Railroad, roads to Rook- 
away Beach and to Woodhaven, and new branches or 
extensions to Babylon, and to Montauk Point, where 
an immense hotel is now in course of construction, to 
connect with a line of very fast ocean steamers, in- 
tended to make the European voyage in five days, are 
now under the control of the Corbin Company. Some 
of the branch roads have been discontinued and 
others extended. The main track is laid with the best 
steel rails, and the running time of the fast trains will 
be about two and a quarter hours. 



WHATEVER may be the general impression of 
the value and fertility of the lands of Long 
Island, they do and will command a price 
far in excess of soils equally fertile but which 
are not situated near a great market. Easy, cheap and 
uninterrupted water communication with a center of 
trade aggregating a population of nearly two millions, 
will always make Long Island a place of peculiar in- 
terest to tillers of the soil. The vast and increasing 
demand of the city of New York for vegetables and 
fruits of a perishable nature, as well as the peculiar 
adaptation of the soil for their culture, has already 
made Kings and a large portion of Queens county one 
immense garden. Previous histories of the island are 
nearly silent upon this, the chief business of its in- 

The early settlers of Long Island, coming as they 
did chiefly from the New England colonies, naturally 
followed the same system of tillage and rotation of 
crops to which they had been accustomed. Probably 
the first settlers found sufiicient cleared land for their 
purpose ; as, according to early traditions, there was 
much cleared land, or land not covered with timber, 
besides the great plains. They very soon discovered 
that success depended upon the appHcation of manures. 
As early as 1653 the first settlers, by the terms of the 
patent from the Dutch governor for the lands they 
occupied, were required to pay to the government one- 
tenth of the revenue arising from the ground manured. 
This tax for the town of Hempstead amounted in 1657 
to one hundred schepels of wheat (the Dutch bushel of 
three pecks). In 1651 Hempstead produced from the 
proceeds of the servants' labor, corn, beef, pork, butter, 
tobacco and staves, which were exchanged for liquor 
and merchandise. 

Cattle were imported for breeding as early as 1625, 
and a cow in New York was worth £30. The abund- 

ant grass on the plains doubtless turned the attention 
of the early settlers to the raising of stock. But as 
yet there were few or no fences ; so herdsmen were 
hired by the town to take care of the cattle from the 
11th of May till the 23d of October, when the Indian 
harvest would be wholly taken in and housed. In 1667 
the town of Hempstead hired Abraham Smith to keep 
the cattle from destroying the corn planted in the plain 
called " the field," and he was to have one and a half 
bushels per acre paid him for this service. So import- 
ant was this office deemed that the conditions of agree- 
ment were entered at large on the town book. A half 
hour after sunrise, at the blowing of a horn, the owners 
of cattle drove them from their several pens into one 
common herd, when they were taken under the care of 
the cow-keeper and his dog, and driven on the plains. 
He was to keep them from going astray, or wandering 
in the woods, or getting on tilled land ; to water them 
at some pond at reasonable hours ; to drive them 
weekly to the south meadows, and then bring them 
home half an hour before sunset, that they might be 
milked. For this service (in 1658) the hire was twelve 
shillings sterling per week in butter, corn and oats. 
The calves were cared for by another keeper, who was 
required to water them twice a day, drive them to the 
salt meadows once in two weeks, and put them in an 
inclosure at night to protect them from the wolves. 
After a while cow-herds were dispensed with, and it ■ 
was found necessary to fence the pasture lands. Thus, 
Cow Neck in 1669 was fenced from Hempstead Harbor 
to Great Neck, as the turnpike now runs. Rockaway 
had, in 1690, a fence running from the landing across 
to Jamaica Bay. Each proprietor had the right to 
put cattle in the pasture ground in proportion to the 
length of fence he had made. At that time cattle 
were sold to butchers in New York, and exported alive 
to the West Indies. In 1658 cattle were bought on 
the great plains to be shipped to the colony of Dela- 
ware. In 1678 the city of New York consumed only 
four hundred beeves. 

Sheep were not introduced until a later date ; in 1643 
there were not over sixteen in the whole colony of 
New York. In 1670 sheep were pastured on the plains, 
under the care of a shepherd, who had directions not to 
let them go over half a mile in the woods, for fear of 
their being lost or destroyed by wolves. Each pro- 
prietor had an ear-mark for his own sheep, which was 
recorded in the town book. In 1737 the New York 
Gazette says : " Vast losses have been sustained in 
this colony, and those adjacent, by the death of cattle 
for the want of fodder, and many persons have been 
almost ruined thereby. We hear from Long Island 
that five thousand head of cattle have been lost this 
winter, besides sheep and lambs innumerable." 

Corn, wheat, rye, oats, flax, wood for fuel, fat cattle 
and sheep were for nearly two hundred years, or until 
the beginning of the nineteenth century, the staple pro- 



ducts of the island, and the chief source of income. 
During the Kevolutionary war, a tory advised the Brit- 
tish ministry to land forces destined for the subjugation 
of the colonies on Long Island; " for," said he, "it is 
one hundred and thirty miles long, and is very fertile, 
abounding in wheat and every other kind of grain, and 
has innumerable black cattle, sheep, hogs, etc. ; so that 
in this fertile island the army can subsist without any 
succor from England. It has a fertile plain twenty- 
four miles long, with a fertile country about it, and is 
twenty miles from New York ; and from an encamp- 
ment on this plain the British army can, in five or six 
daySj invade any of the colonies at pleasure. The spot 
I advise you to land at is Cow Bay. " The suggestion 
was acted upon. The English army occupied Long 
Island, with New York city as its headquarters, for 
nearly seven years; and drew its supplies of fresh and 
salt hay, oats, straw, wheat, rye, corn, buckwheat and 
firewood from our island. Eor an encouragement to 
farmers to raise plentiful supplies of fresh provisions, 
vegetables and forage for the army, the British com- 
mandant forbade all persons from trespassing, or 
breaking down or destroying fences, or carrying away 
produce from the owners. In 1780 the requisition on 
Queens county was for four thousand five hundred 
cords of wood. 

Since the advent of the present century, and within 
the memory of many now living, radical changes have 
been made in the system of agriculture, in the crops 
produced, fertilizers applied, machinery employed, 
domestic manufactures and manner of living. There 
are many localities in Suffolk and a few in Queens 
county, in which, from their peculiarity of position, 
primitive farming is still followed — that is, corn upon 
old sod, followed by oats the second year, which is 
succeeded in the fall by either wheat or rye, with which 
clover and timothy seed are sown. Then good crops of 
hay are cut for from three to five years; it is then pastured 
one or two years, and the same routine repeated. 

With the growth of New York and Brooklyn arose 
the demand for vegetables, milk, hay, straw and such 
articles of a perishable and bulky nature as cannot be 
profitably transported long distances. Hence we see 
that the area necessary for their production has ex- 
tended, not only eastward, over nearly two counties, 
but the country for miles around, every harbor which 
indents the shores of Long Island, as well as near every 
depot of its railroads, has been put under contribution 
to supply the demand. Consequent upon this change, 
the product of cereals is greatly reduced, and stock- 
raising is mostly abandoned as a source of profit. 

Nearly all the produce raised within twenty-five 
miles of New York is carted in with teams by the 
proprietors, in the night. The largest part is sold at 
wholesale to dealers or middle-men, between midnight 
and daylight, chiefly in the vicinity of Washington 
market, which until recently was the center of the 

retail as well as the wholesale trade. A few years ago, 
in consequence of the great throng of market wagons, 
which for years had greatly impeded business in the 
lower part of the city, a market was established in the 
vicinity of West Twelfth street and Tenth avenue. 
Those who do not sell at wholesale remain until day- 
light, when the retail trade begins. The grocers then 
come for their daily supply. Produce sent by water or 
rail is consigned to commission dealers. 

Twenty-five years ago all the milk supplied by Long 
Island was produced within so small a distance from 
the city that it was taken in in wagons. Market gar- 
dening becoming more profitable, the area of milk 
production was gradually extended eastward along the 
lines of railroad ; until, at the present time, it has 
assumed immense proportions. Swill milk is still pro- 
duced largely in the subiirbs of Brooklyn ; but that 
industry is by common consent ruled out as an agri- 
cultural pursuit. 

The selling of hay was the first innovation upon the 
old system of stock raising as a source of income. The 
old theory that unless the hay and corn were fed upon 
the land its fertility would be reduced, was soon ex- 
ploded ; and the wisdom of the new enterprise was de- 
monstrated by the fact that the returns from the sale 
of hay were so much greater than from the sale 
of stock, that the farmer could afford to buy stable 
manure, street sweepings, lime and ashes from the city 
to apply to his land. The benefits of liberal expendi- 
tures for these fertilizers in market gardening are still 
more apparent. Gaano and artificial or manufactured 
fertilizers have been largely used with good results ; 
but stable manure is the great staple maniire for mar- 
ket gardeners, for they raise double crops each year, a 
draft no land can endure without constant manuring. 

On the margins of creeks along the south side of the 
island are immense shell banks left by the Indians ; 
these clam, or quahaug, shells have been burnt and the 
lime used profitably. The fiah called menhaden, how- 
ever, has been most largely employed. Thompsoit, in 
his history of Long Island, published in 1839, estimated 
that a hundred million were annually taken for that 
purpose. He says : " The profusion of this species of 
fish and the consequent cheapness of the article will 
probably always insure its use in those parts of the 
island where they abound." But the establishment of 
factories for extracting oil from them has long since 
precluded their use ; although the refuse is dried and 
sold under the name of fish guano. 

Montauk Point is about 20 miles long and contains 
nine thousand acres. It has been owned in common by 
about forty individuals in shares. It has never been 
tilled or used for any purpose other than pasturage of 
cattle, horses and sheep ; each owner being entitled to 
place upon it seven cattle, or forty-nine sheep, per 
share. About two years since the entire area was sold 
to Arthur Benson, Esq., of Brooklyn. 



There are more ttan one hundred square miles, or 
seTenty thousand acres, of salt meadows bordering the 
bays and harbors of Long Island. From these marshes 
immense quantities of hay are taken, which, with corn 
stalks, is largely used for wintering young stock and 
dry cattle. There are three kinds of grasses growing 
upon them, distinguished by the names of sedge, salt 
and black grass. 

The scarcity and advance in the price of farm labor, 
as well as the advantages attending their use, have 
caused the introduction of the best farm implements 
and agricultural machinery. Stones are used to some 
extent as fencing material where they are available, 
but by far the largest part of the island is entirely des- 
titute of stones large enough for the purpose. Chest- 
nut timber is abundant on all the rolling woodlands, 
and furnishes the material for about all the farm 

The cranberry has recently been introduced in many 
parts of Suffolk county, with great success. The soil 
and the conditions are favorable, and this industry pro- 
mises, in a few years, to become an important one. 

The Hempstead Plains, which, through a mistaken, 
policy, have until recently been held as public domain, 
are susceptible of remunerative cultivation. The soil 
is a dark, rich vegetable mould or loam from one to 
three feet in depth. The hollovts which cross the 
tract at regular intervals appear to have been ancient 
water-courses. There is another and still more exten- 
sive tract extending eastward from the Plains, reach- 
ing to the bead of Peconic Bay, which, like Hempstead 
Plains, has hitherto suffered from an entirely unwar- 
rantable and mistaken aspersion of the character of its 
soil and consequent adaptation to cultivation. 

As all previous histories of Long Island have* 
wittingly or unwittingly perpetuated this erronous im- 
pression, we take pleasure in presenting an ample refu- 
tation of the same, in the form of an autobiographical 
sketch of Dr. Edgak F. Peck, who speaks ex cathedra 
on this subject, and who represents the enlightened 
sentiment of the present day, as regarding these much- 
abused Long Island lands. 

The central and northern portions of the island have 
a soil rich in the mineral elements and phosphates 
essential to plant growth. In many places, particu- 
larly at Brentwood and Central Islip, there is a fine 

* We make but one exception, viz., that of Mr. James B. Coopeb's brief 
History of the Town of Babylon, contained in the History of Suffolk County, 
recently published by Munsell & Co., the publishers of this work, and 
which is as follows ; 

" With the exception of the sand dunes which border the Atlantic Ocean, 
and a narrow ridge of hills known as the Half-way Hollow Hills, the surface 
of the town is remarkably level." ■' The center portion, consisting of level 
plains, up to forty years ago was covered with pine forests. Since railroads 
have been operated through these pine-lands numerous fires have occurred, 
mostly kindled by sparks from locomotives, causing great destruction to the 
timber, and there are now only found thick tangled scrub oaks and stunted 
pines. Only a smaU portion of this kind of land is under a good slate of 
cultivation. The soil is mostly a sandy loam. The land is easily cleared, 
and is adapted to the growing of grain and root crops, and probably in a 
few years large tracts wUl be cleared and cultivated." 

substratum of clay that holds the moisture and pre- 
vents leaching, the rich yellow loam being almost 
entirely destitute of sand. These clay deposits are fre- 
quently of a quality not excelled by any in America for 
building-brick; and abundant strata, fully equal to the 
best grades of Europe for pottery, have recently been 
discovered in Suffolk County. Hence wheat, potatoes, 
cabbage and other strong growing crops are more 
successfully grown than on the alluvial portions of 
the island. 


Edgar Eenn Peck, M.D., was born September 20tb, 1806, in 
the town of Amenia, Dutchess County, State of New York. His 
father, Henry Peck, was a native of Milford, Conn., and son of 
Michael Peck, a descendant of Joseph Peck, who came over witk 
Davenport's colony to New Haven in 1638, and after residing 
awhile at New Haven, settled in Milford about 1641. The house 
he built and lived in in Milford stood two hundred years, 
and was occupied by his descendants until it was taken down ; 
his descendants are in Milford now, on the paternal land. The 
mother of Dr. Edgar Fenn was Julania Chapman, daughter of 
Zervia Strong and Nehemiah Chapman, of Sharon, Conn., 
and a direct descendant by his English wife of Elder John 
Strong, of Northampton, Mass. 

The parents of Dr. Edgar Fenn removed from Amenia, when he 
was very young, to the northern part of the State of New York, 
to "Washington County, and were there during the war of 1812, 
and were in Salem in 1816, '17, and '18; and Edgar went 
to school in the Washington Academy, one of the most distin- 
guished academies in the State; he was in the English depart- 
ment under T. N. Allen. George W. Bethune, the " Yorker 
Boy," as he was called in school, was in the classical department 
in the Washington Academy; he was also in the sabbath school 
with John and Mary Williams, who became the wife of Dr. 
Bethune. He attended the church and sabbath school of the 
Eev. Dr. Alexander Proudfit, God bless his name and memory. 
Early in 1818 the family returned to Sharon, Conn., near his 
grandfather Chapman's, in the eastern part of the town . 

I now propose to change the form of narrative, and to speak 
and write in the first person. I was twelve years old when we 
returned, and here among kindred and friends of great merit, of 
religion, learning and good schools, which I attended in the win- 
ter, and worked in the summer mostly upon the farm; and here 
I acquired a most thorough knowledge of farming, for which I 
had a great desire. 

I always thought a farmer's life was the most useful and most 
happy. The immortal Washington said that "Agriculture 
" is the most healthful, the most useful, and the most noble 
" employment of man." The first work of the Lord, after the 
great creation, was to plant a garden, to the east ^of Eden. I 
would have been a farmer, but I had no means to buy a farm, 
and my kind father had none to give me; but I acquired great 
skill for a youth upon the farm. I learned to plough and to 
hoe, to plant and to sow, to reap and to mow; I learned to bud 
and graft when fourteen years old; I learned to raise trees 
from tree seed, acorns, hickory nuts, and keys from the great 
sugar maple; I learned by observation and analogy when 
a boy, by seeing or finding acorns and hickory nuts under 
the trees, in the spring, sprouted, and seeing the young 
tree-plants under the sugar maple, and the apple seeds, 
sprouted under the apple trees ; it occurred to me if those nuts 
and tree seeds were planted, they would grow ; I tried it, and 
they did grow. I had never heard or read anything about plant- 
ing tree seed ; the only thing I had ever read was that '' Tall 
oaks from little acorns grow." There was nothing said about 
planting them.. 





I had a very strong desire from my childhood for knowledge 
and learning, a thirsting after knowledge, and I spent all my 
time, when not at work, with my books and studies, and won- 
dered if I would ever become a learned man, and be good and 
useful. It was seldom that I ever spent any time in play and 
pastimes ; I had no time to spare. I never played a game of 
cards, or checkers or chess, never saw a game of billiards 
played in my life, was never in a theatre but twice, and then not 
to see the play through. I adopted total abstinence in 1824, 
two years before Dr. Beecher preached his immortal sermons 
against intemperance in Litchfield in 1826. I knew Dr. Beecher 
well in my youth. There were two men then in Connecticut 
who were my beau ideals as men and divines — Lyman Beecher, 
of Litchfield, and the Eev. Joel Hawes, of Hartford. My pious 
and excellent mother used to think that boys ought not to drink 
cider after it had fermented, and in compliance with her wish I 
abandoned it. I had never heard any temperance speech, or 
read any temperance paper; I had read but one book on tem- 
perance, the Bible; that I had learned from childhood by the 
teaching of my mother. She had instructed me on the great sin 
of drunkenness and its terrible punishments, declared by the 

In 1826 I commenced the study of medicine, in the office and 
under the tuition of a relative, my cousin Dr. Clark Chap- 
man, a man of learning and great skill as a physician. 
Dr. Chapman is now living, at the age of eighty-six, in Groton, 
Tompkins County, N. Y. I had a task before me, one that re- 
quired great industry, prudence and self-denial, to pursue my 
studies and to support myself, which I did by teaching school a 
part of the time. 

As a medical student, I took up the subject of intemperance, 
and the effect of alcohol on the human system, as opened by Dr. 
Beecher. I read everything that I could find on the subject, and 
gave special attention to diseases directly resulting from strong 
drink, particularly to delirium tremens, which was not then well 
understood — nor its treatment. I soon had the reputation of 
being very successful with hard cases of alcoholic disease in the 
different medical offices I was in during my studentship, as I 
was in more than one, and the hard cases were handed over to 
me, particularly delirium tremens, "the trembling delirium," and 
1 was very successful in treating it. My first medical lectures 
were attended in the College oi Physicians and Surgeons. I was 
licensed to practice, at Fairfield, January 30th, 1830 ; and I im- 
mediately entered practice in my native County of Dutchess, at 
Hyde Park, as a partner with the late Huntting Sherrill, M.D., 
then President of the Dutchess County Medical Society, and one 
of the principal physicians and surgeons of the county. My 
thorough study and under practice whilst a student had qualified 
me for full practice. That able, eminent Professor, David 
Hosack, M.D., whose country seat was at Hyde Park, showed me 
great kindness by giving me access to his extensive medical 
library, and instruction on any question I asked. 

In 1831 I removed to New York, and took an office at No. 96 
Duane street, near Broadway, so as to be between the Hospital 
(then on Broadway, between Duane and what is now "Worth 
street) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, then in 
Barclay street near Broadway, that I might have access to, and the 
advantages of both of these great medical institutions. The situa- 
tion or position, was central and most advantageous. I soon 
found myself in practice, and made the acquaintance of the 
leading medical men of the city, the President and professors of 
the College, from whom I received great kindness and attention. 

On the approach of the Asiatic cholera I revived my reading 
on that terrible disease, to make myself thoroughly acquainted 
with all that could be known about it. I had five years before 
read all that could be found of its history in the foreign and 
American medical journals, and as it came to New York conster- 
nation and dismay fell upon the city; all business was suspended, 
and multitudes fled to the country. 

" Come when the blessed seals. 
That close the pestilence are broke. 
And crowded cities wail its stroke ; 
Oome in consumption's ghastly form. 
The earthquake shock, or ocean storm. 
And thou, oh I Death, art terrible." 

A special medical council was formed by the city authorities, 
consisting of twelve of the most eminent physicians of the city, 
with Dr. Alexander H. Stevens, the President of the College of 
Physicians and Surgeons, at its head; and I received an appoint- 
ment under this council to take charge of the medical stations in 
the Twelfth Ward, and the hospital formed on Eighth street; and 
I had the care of all the stations from the old almshouse, which 
stood where the Worth monument now stands, to King's Bridge, 
with the exception of the Bloomingdale station, which was under 
the care of Dr. Williams. 

I entered immediately upon the work assigned, and the ter- 
rible scenes of suffering and death I cannot here describe. Those 
at the Yorkville hospital on Eighty-sixth street were horrible. 
It was filled with the dead and dying, equal to those scenes de- 
scribed by old Defoe, in his history of the Great Plague in 

One day I had six dead bodies laid out in the hospital, as the 
fear and dread upon the people was so great that no one could 
be found to take away or remove the dead. These did not all 
die in the hospital ; some were brought in dead, others speech- 
less and dying. The records were, "name and age unknown." 
I roomed in the hospital, and was there day and night. 

On the death of Dr. Arnold, of Harlem, I left the Yorkville 
hospital at the request of Dr. Stevens, and went to Harlem where 
the cholera had been extremely fatal. Whole families were 
swept away. The fate of the family of the Rev. Mr. Hinton, the 
Episcopal clergyman, was terrible. They all died in one night 
— father, mother and children. I believe there were two chil- 
dren. They died in the house on the southerly side of One 
Hundred and Twenty-seventh street, about one hundred and fifty 
feet west of Third avenue. At evening they assembled at the sup- 
per-table; when the morning came they were all dead and buried. 
Dr. Arnold, the physician who owned the house, lived with 
them, and he was smitten with the fell disease early the next 
morning, and fled to a neighbor's house, where he died before 12 
o'clock. He had been daily to the Yorkville hospital. He called 
there the afternoon before his death, and I had a full talk with 
him on the state of the pestilence in Harlem. He was greatly 
excited and anxious. The next morning, when Dr. Stevens ar- 
rived with me in Harlem, we found Dr. Arnold in a state of col- 
lapse and speechless. He died in less than half an hour. I held 
his hand when he breathed his last. 

To show with what suddenness and fatality the fell disease 
took its victims, on Dr. Stevens' return to the city he sent a 
young physician. Dr. Heston, who was from Pennsylvania, 
to take my place at the hospital. I remained in Harlem. About 1 
o'clock in the morning, after I left the hospital, a messenger 
came to me in great haste to go immediately to Yorkville — that Dr. 
Heston was sick; and, as soon as a horse could be harnessed I drove 
there, and as I arrived at the house of John G. Kip, on Third 
avenue, near Eighty-sixth street, where I had taken my meals, 
and where Dr. Heston was ; his dead body was being brought 
down-stairs in a rough board box as a coflin. Consternation and 
dismay fell upon all the people on that part of the island of New 
York. The house of the dead where death had left not one, 
"no, not one," was an object of fear and dread. No one dared 
to open it, and after several days I went to the house with the 
Eev. Dr. C. D. Westbrook, who was Health Warden of Harlem. 
Dr. Westbrook standing at the gate, I opened the house 
and went in alone and threw open the doors and windows. The 
house was silent — the silence of death. What a picture ! Every- 
thing in disorder ; table standing with dishes in confusion, un- 
washed, as if left before the meal was finished; beds in con- 



fusion, ladies and children's hats and garments hanging on 
chairs or on the floor, as if the inmates had suddenly fled 
in fright. 

I continued my medical labor on that part of the island for 
more than two years, and at the request of the Mayor and prom- 
inent citizens, I examined all that part of the island to Kings 
Bridge. There were places of low and wet ground where ma- 
larious diseases prevailed, and on these places and localities the 
cholera was most fatal, and all these places I examined specially 
with a view to their sanitary condition. 

The Harlem flats had the reputation of being unhealthy, and 
intermittent fevers were common, and fevers of a high and fatal 
grade often prevailed. It was said by medical men that these 
Harlem fevers more nearly resembled yellow fever than fevers 
In any other locality around New York. 

I attended the late Judge D. P. Ingraham through a very serious 
illness of fever, a high grade of bilious fever with typhoid symp- 
toms. I gave him the most prompt and constant attention, fori 
was doubly interested in him, not only as my patient, but as my 
friend. The late Dr. John C. Cheesman, of New York, said he 
believed that my prompt and careful attention, under Providence, 
saved Mr. Ingraham's life; because Dr. Cheesman knew the ob- 
stinate and fatal character of those Harlem fevers. I was in 
practice all this time under a license, which gave the full privi- 
leges and power of the profession, and I had the most able ad- 
visers, such as Dr. Alexander H. Stevens, President of the Col- 
lege, and all the professors, Dr. Valentine Mott, Dr. John B. 
Beek, Dr. Hosaok, and Dr. J. C. Cheesman. These eminent men 
were always ready to render me any aid or advice in practice. 

In the session of 1832-3, I graduated and received the degree 
of Doctor of Medicine from the old Barclay street College of 
Physicians and Surgeons of the City of New York. I also re- 
ceived an honorary degree of M. D. from Rutgers College. 

On the 2d December, 1834, I married Margaretta, daughter of 
the Rev. John F. Jackson, of Harlem, N.Y., a lady of great per- 
sonal beauty and merit. With her I lived forty-one years. I 
was always a domestic man. My heart was in my wife and 
children and in my home. We had two dearly beloved and 
deeply lamented daughters. The youngest, Emma Louisa, died 
young; the eldest, Julia Anna, a child of great promise, lived 
until her seventeenth year. My blessed wife died in 1875, aged 
sixty-six. I am childless and unmarried. " Nor wife nor chil- 
dren more shall I behold." 

In the spring of 1841, at a time of serious illness in my family, 
I went to Long Island. One of my daughters had died and 
the other was extremely low, and my wife's health greatly im- 
paired. Medical friends advised this removal to the country as 
the only chance for my daughter's recovery. My attention was 
directed by friends to Long Island, and to the village of Smith- 
town Branch, Suffolk County— forty-five miles from New York 

There I found a pleasant rural place, that had been occupied 
by the Eev. Ithinar Pillsbury, a Presbyterian minister, as a par- 
sonage. Mr. Pillsbury was a New England man, and had care- 
fully cultivated the garden and grounds of four acres around 
the house, and had filled the garden and orchard with choice 
fruit and ornamental shrubbery. He was a man of great learn- 
ing and ability as a divine. Eev. Dr. Prime, in his History of 
Long Island, published in 1845, says of Mr. Pillsbury that, in 
1834, " he, with a chosen company, formed in good old Puritan 
style, emigrated and settled in the town of Andover, Illinois. 
Mr. Pillsbury is deservedly regarded as the patriarch of this 
new settlement, and a worthy example of future emigrants." 
The Eev. Mr. Pillsbury founded a college at Andover, 111., and 
was president of it during the remainder of his life. There, at 
Smithtown, on this Old Parsonage Place, as it was called, we 
found a pleasant and happy home. The society was exceUent, 
and here I was induced to remain, as the health of my daughter 
improved to recovery. I knew much generally of Long Island. 

I knew it was the oldest settled part of the State, that it was 
called the "Garden of America," and I supposed it was all 
settled throughout; that all the lands on it that could be culti- 
vated had been cultivated, I had never been any further east on 
the Island than from Flushing across to Jamaica, and to Eook- 
away. I had never heard of the great " barrens" of Hempstead 
Plains. When I went to Smithtown to look at the place, I took 
the oars of the Long Island Eailroad, then completed as far as 
Hicksville, twenty-five miles from Brooklyn (it was a pleagant 
day in March), and soon after passing Jamaica we opened 
on to Hempstead Plains, a vast and beautiful country, which I 
thought was the handsomest tract of land I had ever beheld. 
That was my first impression of it then, and it is my 
opinion of it now. It was covered with cattle and sheep as far 
as the eye could see. Hempstead Plains is a great and beautiful 
prairie, an upland meadow. The old historian, Denton, who 
wrote in 1670, more than two hundred and ten years ago, whose 
bookis called the "Gem of History," says : " Towards the middle 
of the Island lieth a plain, sixteen miles long and four miles 
broad, containing sixty-four square miles, or more than forty 
thousand acres, upon which there is neither stick nor stone, and 
it produces very fine grass which makes exceeding good hay, 
which is no small benefit to the towns which own it." 

The soil of Hempstead Plains is a fine, dark and perfect loam, 
of an average depth of three feet over the centre surface of the 
whole plains, and is of the most productive kind. It is in its 
native and natural condition exactly such a soil as a lady would 
seek to fill her flower-pots with. 

A. T. Stewart, the merchant prince of New Y'ork, purchased 
of the town of Hempstead, by which it was owned as common 
land, on September 13th, 1869, 7,000 acres, at $55 an acre, and 
paid in checks, one of $200,000, and two of $100,000 each, and 
founded and laid out Garden City on Hempstead Plains, and put 
under cultivation a farm of 2,500 acres, surrounding Garden City. 

The work on this great farm was done by W. E. Hinsdale, o 
farmer, and general superintendent of the Stewart property at 
Garden City. Mr. Hinsdale is a highly intelligent agriculturist 
and practical farmer. The land of Garden City, on Hempstead 
Plains, is more than 100 feet high above tide water, an elevated 
table-land, sloping to the south ; the climate is perfectly healthy 
and the water of the purest kind, and inexhaustible. The turf 
is so thick and strong on the Plains that it is necessary to use a 
team of three horses to turn a furrow through it. This is the tract 
of land so long stigmatized by Long Islanders, and by Hemp- 
stead men in particular, as being barren and utterly worthless. 

Omitting details of culture and cost of fertilizers used, I will 
give the production of the farm of 2,500 acres for the year of 
1880, from Mr. Hinsdale's report. All of these large crops were 
raised at a profit : 

Of corn, there were 450 acres, with an unusually heavy yield 
of at least seventy bushels of shelled corn to the acre. 

Of oats, 588 acres, thirty-five bushels per acre (this was a 
better yield than on the old farms in the country). 

Of rye, 495 acres. 

Of meadow, or grass, 485 acres ; 100 acres of this was in 
Hungarian grass, which yielded two tons and a half per acre. 
The native grass of Hempstead Plains is the blue grass of Ken- 

Of buckwheat, 250 acres, 20 bushels per acre. 

Of wheat, 30 acres, 20 bushels per acre. 

Besides these, large crops of every kind of vegetables ever 

The following table has been made of the total yield of several 
crops for the year 1880 : 

Oats 20,580 bushels. 

Indian Corn 31,500 " 

Buckwheat 5,000 " 

Wheat 600 " 



Mr. Hinsdale says the lands of Hempstead Plains are the finest 
and most productive of any lands between here and San Fran- 
cisco; and he knows, as he has been all over the country, in Ohio, 
Illinois, the Hockhooking and the Soiota flats, and residecj in 

At Hicksville there was only a lonely station-house, the end of 
the railroad route— twenty -five miles from Brooklyn. Here I took 
the stage, from Hicksville to the north over the Plains to Jericho, 
an old and most beautiful and highly cultivated settlement; then 
turned eastward on the old country north-side road to Smith- 
town, a distance of twenty miles, passing through a fine farming 
region, which had been settled and cultivated for more than 200 

Arrived at Smithtown Branch, I found the village pleasant and 
desirable, but I objected to the twenty miles' stage ride, and was 
told that work was to be immediately resumed on the Long 
Island Railroad, and cars would soon run to Smithtown. 

On my return I went to the ofiBce in New York of the Long 
Island Railroad Company, and saw the President, Mr. Fiske, and 
he said that work on the railroad would be immediately re- 
sumed, and the road would be completed through the Island as 
soon as possible; that Boston men were to aid; that disasters on 
Long Island Sound had recently been so great that it was desir- 
able to get a more safe route, which he thought would be over 
Long Island. I then determined to go to Long Island, and I 
rented the Pillsbury Parsonage house, in Smithtown Branch, for 
$100 a year, and which I afterwards purchased, with fifty acres of 
land adjoining, which made my little farm there. 

I removed my family there. Soon after I arrived I met an ac- 
quaintance that I knew in New York, and he said he had a posse 
of about 100 men at work on the railroad opposite Smithtown, 
and wished I would go down and see them, as there were 
several among them that needed medical aid, having received 
accidental injuries. Up to this time, I had not heard of the 
great Barren Plains, extending eastward from Hempstead Plains 
to the head of Peconic Bay, so entirely composed of sand and 
gravel as to be unsusceptible of cultivation by any process 

This is the black and false record made by "Thompson and 
Pbime, the historians of Long Island," and which has held that 
great part of the Island in wilderness. 

The next day I started for the railroad, and I went down 
through Hauphagues, and the last house before entering the 
woods, I met a man at his wood pile ; I asked if he could direct 
me to where the railroad men were at work ? He said I must keep 
down the road into the woods and then turn to the right, on the 
road to Islip. I soon struck into the dog path, completely over- 
hung with trees and bushes, and so narrow that my wheels 
would not run in the tracks (one of them had to go on the bank). 
After a drive of about two miles I found the railroad camp, at 
where Suffolk Station was afterwards made. The woods through 
which I had gone were very dense. 

There I found my friend and his men, shanties and cabins 
scattered around, and the men were grading the railroad bed ; 
they had cut through the woods about three rods wide, and 
opening a long and beautiful vista, as far as the eye could see. 
Tall and lofty trees, that stood on each side of the railroad bed, 
as thick as they could stand, and there I found myself in the 
midst of a vast, magnificent, primeval forest. I was astonished ; 
and then I learned that this great forest and wilderness was forty 
miles long and eight miles wide — four miles each side of the 
railroad— extending from the east end of Queens County about 
thirty-one miles, from Brooklyn to Riverhead seventy mUes ; the 
trees were large and lofty, and so thick and dense that a horse 
could not go through the woods. Along the line of the railroad, 
the trees and the timber were mostly yellow pine — Finns Hgida 
— of large and most thrifty growth, from eighteen inches to two 
feet in diameter, many much larger, perfectly sound and solid ; 
they would square up from twenty to thirty feet in length, and 

the timber about equal to the best Georgia pines. A little 
to the north of the railroad line, there were oaks in variety, 
chestnuts, hickory and locust, all of large growth. These 
woodlands extended four miles each side the railroad. I am 
always impressed with wild woodlands, " when among the trees 
and Wilds where sunshine, birds sing and flowers bloom." 

There were no scrub oaks there then, in these woods ; thick 
forests overshadowed them, and they die out or disappear, but 
ready to come back again as soon as they can get possession of 
the ground. The scrub oak, of which the Long Islanders have 
such a dread and hatred, is the best friend of the Island; for, 
when the wood and trees are all destroyed, this little fellow 
comes in and takes possession of the lands, and protects them 
from becoming a barren, by being dried up by the sun and the 
elements. It is a shrub ; can never be a tree in any soil, no 
more than a lilac bush. It is indigenous, i. e., a native, to the Is- 
land, and grows all over the Island, from and in Brooklyn to 
Montauk Point. 

Judge Lefferts', of Bedford, famous Cripplebush farm, in 
Brooklyn (and willed by him to his beloved daughter, Elizabeth 
Dorothea, the wife of Mr. Brevoort), is " Scrub Oak Farm," for 
Cripplebush means "scrub oak;" Cripplebush road is "Scrub 
Oak road." 

It is set down in books of science and natural history as the 
nineteenth variety of the oak, as the " Querc-as Illieifolio.'' It is 
called Bear oak, from the great abundance of acorns that it pro- 
duces, upon which the bears feed. 

I was very greatly surprised at the soil I found there. It was 
three feet deep in the railroad cuttings, of the very finest yellow 
loam, in every way suited to culture — not a particle of sand or 
gravel or a stone in it. From that time I took a great interest 
in the railroad, and in the uncultivated lands on its borders. I 
was so weak and foolish as to think a railroad would be of great 
benefit, and a very convenient and handy thing to have on Long 
Island, and I did my uttermost to promote it. There was a very 
strong opposition to it on the Island; the people opposed it with 
the utmost violence ; they tore up the track and burned its 
bridges; and yet the road went on by force of right and might, 
until its completion, as it penetrated into the woods and wilder- 
ness of Suffolk County. Then came the conflict of fire and de- 
struction ; the people refused to do anything to protect those 
woodlands from fire, and the railroad company could not, and 
destruction and desolation of those woodlands were swift by fire 
and the axe. 

The woods were set on fire, and burned with great fury every 
spring and faU. One of those fires, in 1848, burned for two 
weeks night and day; " a pillar of fire by night, a cloud of smoke 
by day." It burned over seventy-five square miles ; it broke 
out in the woods, about a mile south of the railroad, a little to 
the east of Connetquot River, or Liff Snedioor's Brook, and it 
run fifteen miles east and five miles wide, extending, in some 
places, to the water's edge of the Great South Bay. Buildings 
were often burned by these fires, as they have been during the 
past year. Great difficulty was experienced in keeping the villages 
from being burned up. After the opening of the railroad, those 
woodlands were made common plunder ground by cordwood 
men and charcoal burners, and the wood and timbers destroyed 
in the most wanton and wasteful manner. The revenue or chief 
freight business of the railroad for years was in carrying off what 
could be got off the land. Charcoal burners bought the wood, 
or large tracts, at a mere nominal price, and turned an army of 
men into their coal bush, and whole trees of the large pines were 
brought to Brooklyn and driven in as spiles" all along the shore 
and docks of Brooklyn. 

James B. Cooper, Esq., a prominent citizen of Babylon, L. I., 
says the damages by fire in the woodlands of Suffolk County, in 
the past forty years, are three millions of doUars. 

On my return from my first visit to the wilderness on the 
plains, I asked what was the reason that those lands were not 



cultivated, and every man that I saw or met in Smithtown re- 
plied that the land was worthless ; that nothing would grow on 

I said it Was covered with trees, and any land that will pro- 
duce a large growth of trees has an element in the soil that will, 
with a little variation, produce a hill of corn or a blade of wheat. 
I asked if it had ever been tried ? No ; they said it was not worth 
trying. Now, all this did not satisfy me, nor remove the impres- 
sion that was so firmly fixed upon my mind from what I had 
seen. I did not believe it possible that I could be mistaken; for 
my knowledge of lands and soil was so full and complete by prac- 
tical experience in my boyhood and youth (for I had had the 
most thorough, practical farming • ' eddication " ever a youth 
had), I did not believe I was or could be mistaken. I determined 
to make inquisition as a matter of truth and general knowledge; 
to examine the geology, soil and natural productions, for these 
are what indicate a country suitable for civilization and xise. In 
the summers of 1841, '42, and '43, I examined more than fifty 
square miles of the plains with spade in hand, all the way from 
Farmingdale to Konkonkama Lake, and also the lands from 
East New York to and around Jamaica, that I might compare the 
old settled land with the new. I had then no intention or 
thought of purchasing or buying an acre of the woods, and my 
first purchase at Suffolk Station was made at the earnest request 
of Mr. Fiske, the president of the railroad. 

I felt and believed that these vast woodlands could and ought 
to be settled and cultivated, as a great public good, and as a 
special benefit to the Long Island Railroad, to give it business. 
Mr. Fiske, who was in fall accord with me, unfortunately lost 
his health and left the railroad, and soon after died. The 
railroad was made through the Island by him and his great en- 

Subsequently, at the request of the president and directors of 
the railroad, I undertook the herculean task to bring into use, 
and before the public, these lands for settlement— and by an 
agreement in writing, a bargain with the officers, president and 
directors of the road, defining what they should do and what I 
should do. By this contract the company agreed to do all the 
carrying trade and freight for the settlement, free of cost 
or charge ; all freight, lumber and building material, manure 
and fertilizers, and all products were to be carried free, for one 
year, to each and every settler, and the head of the family to 
have a free pass to and from the city for two years. This was to 
encourage and promote settlement, and these privileges were to 
be given to every actual settler, during the settlement of the ten 
thousand acres. The settlement was to be an agricultural, or 
farming, and garden settlement; no village lots were offered. 

I purchased ten thousand acres of land of the NicoU Patent 
(adjoining Eonkonkama Lake, and extending south more than 
four miles, at from five to thirty dollars per acre), of William H. 
Ludlow, and his wife Frances Louisa Nicoll, six thousand nine 
hundred and fifty acres, in one tract, adjoining the railroad, at 
five dollars an acre ; two hundred acres north of the railroad 
and extending to the lake, thirty dollars per acre ; one hundred 
acres next to this, twenty dollars an acre; and a thousand acres 
next this, extending to the lake, at ten dollars an acre ; and of 
William Nicoll, two thousand acres at five dollars an acre. 

All these great tracts of laud were purchased on a cash 
basis, cash and mortgage (the Death (Grip or) Gage), bearing six 
per cent, interest. There was no trade or sham about it. It was 
the largest price ever given for those lands. This tract was 
selected as being the most advantageous and beautiful tract for 
settlement, of good and excellent soil. 

The situation and soil of the land were good in every particu- 
lar for the settlement. I proposed to call it Lakeland, and 
Governer King, of Jamaica, approved of it, for he said it was 
"The Land of the Lake." The lake was not in sight of the rail- 
road; the station there was first called Lakeroad Station. Gov. 
John A. King was my friend, and rendered important assistance; 

he obtained the establishment of a post-office there, and my ap- 
pointment as postmaster ; and he took great interest in my 
work for the settlement of the lands. I proceeded to erect 
buildings and to cultivate the land ; I opened roads, laid out 
and opened Ocean avenue— one hundred feet wide from the 
lake for three miles south — cleared the lands by the plough 
(without previous grubbing) ; obtained the best plough, made 
by Ruggles, Nourse & Mason, of Worcester, Mass., made with a 
locked cutter, and purchased three yoke of oxen, and ploughed 
the ground, laid out a beautiful garden by a gardener from 
Brooklyn, and raised the finest crops of wheat and corn and 
garden products ever seen on the Island. My crop of Austral- 
ian wheat was the admiration of every one that saw it. 

The Boston Oaltivator of June 20fch, 1850, gave this account of 
the place: 

Laxeland as it was in 1850. 

We call the attention of our readers and the public at large 
to the following record and evidence of the successful cultivation, 
more than thirty years ago, of the new and neglected lands of 
Long Island. 

The work of settlement and culture of the lands was broken 
up by the unfortunate failure of the Long Island Railroad in 
1851, by nothing else, and from no other cause, for the railroad 
then passed into the hands of men who were bitterly opposed 
and hostile to the lands. 

We publish an account of a visit to Lakeland, from the Suffolk 
Union, Riverhead, Suffolk County, Long Island, made by a party 
of gentlemen from Brooklyn, New York and other places, showing 
that the settlement was-then considered as prosperous and success- 
ful. The settlement and culture of the lands in that vicinity were 
then regarded as a complete success, and had the place fallen 
into honest hands after Dr. Peck left it, there would have been 
no trouble or difficulty whatever in making it one of the pleas- 
antest inland places on the island, for everything at Lakeland 
was then in a prosperous condition ; the buildings and fences 
were new, complete, and in good order; the garden and grounds 
under good culture, and everything had been done by Dr. Peck 
to make the settlement and cultivation of the then hitherto 
"Barrens of Long Island" successful. His titles were all good, 
precisely what they were represented to be, as may be seen by 
the records of the County Clerk's office at that time. 

We subjoin from the New- Yorker an account of the visit to 
Lakeland, which is not left to " speak for itself," being backed 
by a host of such witnesses as are absolutely not to be found 
again, as one might say. In justice to them, and particularly to 
Dr. Peck, whose exertions would at length appear to have been 
crowned with success the most perfect, we publish the following 
account of an excursion to Ronkonkoma Lake and to Lakeland, 
on the Long Island Railroad : 

"Moses Maynard, Esq., of the Long Island Railroad Co., with 
a party of gentlemen from New York and Brooklyn, took a trip 
on Thursday over the Long Island Railroad to the new village 
of Lakeland, and to Ronkonkoma Lake. The object was to 
examine the road, to view the famous Lake Ronkonkoma and 
the surrounding country, and also to see what progress had been 
made in the settlement and cultivation of the wild or new lands 
of the Island, through the midst of which the Long Island Railroad 
runs. The day was extremely fine, and nothing could exceed 
the rich and luxuriant fields of grain and grass to be seen on 
each side of the road through the counties of Kings and Queens. 
Arrived at Lakeland depot, the party examined the buildings 
and gardens at this place, where are now to be" seen growing in 
great perfection wheat and rye, garden vegetables, and fruits 
and flowers of great variety. 'This is a new settlement in the very 
midst of the great wilderness of the Island, a region hithertn 
regarded by the Island people and others on their authority as 
wholly unfit for cultivation ; but the crops now growing at that 
place are equal to any others on the Island, and exhibit the 
most incontestable evidence of the powers of these lands to pro- 
duce. Indeed, nothing can be more completely successful than 
have been the effijrts of Dr. Peck to cultivate these Island lands, 
as may now be so fully seen at Lakeland, where a few years since 
all was wild and desolate. 

The party were highly surprised and gratified at the great 
change made there by the hand of improvement ; all admitted 
that the evidence of the fertility in the soil was complete, and 
that there can be no doubt of the entire practicability of easily and 
profitably cultivating all those lands on the borders of the Long 
Island Railroad, and in this subject the directors and stockhold- 
ers of the Long Island Railroad Company have a deep interest, 
for the settlement and population of these lands on the im- 



mediate line of this road will add greatly to the business of 
the road. 

From Lakeland the party proceeded, some on foot, through 
the woods and fields, and some in carriages, to the famous Kon- 
konkoma, of the Indian name and memory, one of the most 
beautiful sheets of water that can be found anywhere. It was 
the unanimous opinion of the whole party that they had never 
seen any lake or sheet of water of its size more perfectly beauti- 
ful. It- is a sort of miniature sea or ocean, being about three 
miles in circuit, with a clear and pearly beach or shore, two or 
three rods wide, formed of pure white silicious sand, inlaid with 
beautiful white and variegated pebbles, the waters over which 
glittered and sparkled like the fish -pools of Heshbon. The 
shores and bottom are perfectly solid and hard. There is neither 
rook or quicksand or miry places, no sudden deep places into 
which a child at play in its tiny waves could by apy possibility 
fall, but a gradual deepening of the water from the shore to the 
center, which is about 80 feet deep. The land around the shore 
of the Konkonkoma is beautifully diversified, and much of it 
elevated and bold, and the cultivated farms and orchards give 
to the whole scene a most delightful and pleasing effect. The 
pure fragrant air that blows around the lake, and the cool and 
delicious shades offered by the large and beautiful trees 
that fringe its borders and line the surrounding fields, render 
it a most delightful resort for summer. Keturning to the hotel 
at Lakeland, a bountiful dinner was prepared in time to take 
the cars on the return train to Brooklyn, where they arrived at 
5 o'clock p. M. 

Among the party were Moses Maynard, Esq., of the Long 
Island B. E,. Co. ; Elihu Townsend, Esq., Dr. Brewer, R. L. 
Allen, Hon. Henry Meigs, of the American Institute; Geo. S. 
Eiggs, Esq., of Baltimore; D. J. Brown, Messrs. Saxton and 
Blanchard, S. Holmes, Esq., and others, directors and stock- 
holders of the L. I. E. E.; Alden J Spooner, Esq., EoUin Sand- 
ford, Esq., G. A. Brett, Esq., Dr. E. F. Peck, and James B. Staf- 
ford, Esq. 

All expressed their highest gratification at the evidence of im- 
provement which they saw at Lakeland and its vicinity, and 
were unanimous in the opinion that the successful cultivation of 
these new lands, on the borders of the railroad, will result in 
great benefit to the road as well as to the Island, and, from all 
they saw, were of opinion that the prospects of the Long Island 
Eailroad for a good and profitable business were never better 
than at present, and that a more desirable and pleasant retreat 
for summer residence cannot be found within fifty miles of 
New York, in any direction, than in the vicinity of Eonkon- 


N. B. — The above described visit was made Ihe year before the 

Long Island Mailroad Company failed, in 1851. 

I had had full experience in cultivating the lands on what I 
purchased at Suffolk Station, under the advice of Mr. George B. 
Fiske, president of the railroad company. I there, in 1845, 
held plough, and turned the first furrow ever ploughed on the 
plains; I raised wheat and corn there on the despised lands, 
with complete success. 

The settlement was complete and prosperous ; sales of land 
were making, and men of means and reputation were purchas- 
ing and preparing to settle there. I advertised the lands ex- 
tensively in this country and in Europe, as "farming and 
garden lands," in Boston, in New York, Albany, and in 
Eochester, in the London Times, and in the Mark Lane Express, 
and in Holland; and people came in great numbers to view it. 
At this juncture, in 1851, the Long Island Railroad Company 
failed, suddenly and unexpectedly ; the failure came not only 
with most disastrous and ruinous effect upon the railroad, but 
upon everything connected with it. It stopped all my work 
entirely; men who had purchased of me, and agreed to pur- 
chase, abandoned their purchase and left the place, for it was 
rumored and believed that the railroad was to be abandoned 
and the rails taken up. The fate of the Catskill and Canajo- 
harie Eailroad was held up as the fate of the Long Island 
Eailroad (the Catskill and Canajoharie Eailroad was torn up, and 
the rails, that cost $100,000, were sold as old iron for $4,000). 
Emissaries were sent out all along the railroad, who reported that 
the rails were to be taken up and the road abandoned. A suit 
was brought against the railroad, and judgment entered, and it 
was put into the hands of a receiver, Moses Maynard, who was 
the treasurer of the Long Island Eailroad Company, and the 

road was advertised to be sold at public auction — "all the right, 
title, and interest of the Long Island Railroad, franchises, real 
estate, rolling stock of every kind." Under this state of ruin 
the stock of the company fell as low as seven dollars a share. 
The plaintiff in this case was the Brooklyn and Jamaica Eailroad 
Company, that owned twelve miles of railroad between Brook- 
lyn and Jamaica. The Long Island Eailroad owned eighty -three 
miles ; both companies had distinct organizations ; the Brooklyn 
and Jamaica road was made first, and the Long Island Eailroad 
Company foolishly leased for forty years, at a yearly rent of 
$31,500 a year, in monthly payments. Whilst this state of con- 
fusion and ruin was going on, the stock of the railroad was being 
bought up from seven to ten dollars a share. I was in daily 
attendance in Maynard's office, and saw and heard all that 
passed. In comes a stockholder : " Well, Alderman, is the 
road to be sold, and what will it bring?" "Oh, yes, it is to be 
sold, and it will probably bring enough to pay some of the im- 
mediate debts ; it may bring twenty-five per cent, of the 
cost of the railroad— two millions.'' "Then it is a pretty 
poor lookout for the stockholders?" "Yes."' "I have a little 
stock, and can get a little something for it." " How much have 
you?" "I have ten shares." " How much can you get for it ?" 
"Ten dollars a share." " Then you had better sell it." So the 
stockholder, whose money had built the railroad, goes out and 
sells his stock. This is literally a true statement of what I saw 
repeatedly; for I was anxiously waiting to know what my fate 
would be, since they had repudiated the written agreement 
made by the company with me, and on which depended the 
value of my property of more than sixty thousand dollars 

After these parties had obtained a majority of the stock suffi- 
cient to control the road, they withdrew all proceedings 
against it, and reinstated it; made William E. Morris, of Phila- 
delphia, president, and turned Maynard out. Then a great fiour- 
ish of trumpets was made over the resurrection of the Long Island 
Railroad, and great things were promised, and the stock, that had 
been trampled on and hawked at ten dollars a share, increased 
marvellously. I then made every effort to have my contracts 
with the road completed, but this they positively refused. I 
felt wearied and discouraged, and sold the entire property. In 
this I made a mistake; I could and ought to have held it, but I 
thought I had done enough. I sold the property to Charles Wood 
and his associates, of New York. Mr. Wood was recommended 
as a fair and honest man by Moses Y. Beach, Alfred Beach, 
and Moses S. Beach, owners and editors of the New York Sun, 
and they sustained and aided him very greatly. I sold mostly 
on credit, and I continued to do all I could to promote the set- 
tlement of the lands, and have done so to the present day. Mr. 
Wood went on to sell and improve, but ultimately got into diffi- 
culty and failed. He was victimized by others, and Lakeland 
never recovered from the failure, and is now blotted out; while 
it is called Ronkonkoma Depot, by an act of gross injustice to 
me, and to the settlement, the pioneer settlement, in the wil- 

I have done with my journey in the wilderness, though I am 
not out of it. I propose to introduce some of my witnesses. 
I wrote to B. F. Thompson, of Hempstead, the author of the 
History of Long Island, and quoted his strange libel upon the 
lands eastward of Hempstead Plains (at page 29, vol. 1st), and 
asked him to tell me upon what that passage was founded? if 
any attempt had ever been made to cultivate the lands? if so, 
by whom, when, and where? and wherein the soil differed from 
the soils in other parts of the Island? if the soil had ever been 
chemically examined ? He answered that when he wrote that 
passage it was " the generally received opinion" on the Island 
that the soil could not be cultivated; that he knew no facts, 
and encouraged me to go on, and kindly offered to aid, and became 
my friend as long as he lived. I wrote to the Eev. Mr. Pkime, 
author of another History of Long Island, and sent him a copy 



of my letter to Mr. Thompson (see Prime's description of the 
lands, where he says, "About forty miles from the west end 
[this is where Brentwood now stands] the sand approaches to 
fluidity in fineness [for there is no soil].") Mr. Prime wrote me 
a letter of four pages of special pleading to show that he was 
right, and I was wrong. I have both of these letters yet. 

Now, I am satisfied that all the miserable drivel about and 
against these lands, which have been published in the past forty 
years in every history, book or gazette, originated from Pbtmb 
and Thompson, and from nobody else (for there is not a word 
found in all the previous history of the Island of any barren 
lands) ; and that monstrous wrong was inflicted upon Long 
Island by these histories. I have never met with a man on 
the Island who knew the first thing about the land or soil, no 
matter how much he said against it. Cross-examine him, and 
he utterly failed. 

Now let us hear what men of great intelligence, learning, and 
ability, men learned in agriculture and soils, who personally went 
on to the lands with spade and ink-horn to record the result. 
In 1847 a party of 170 of the most distinguished men in the city 
and State went expressly to examine the soil as to its fitness for 
culture. This was on the 22d of July, 1847. The party spent 
two days there. Among them were the Hon. Messrs. Ogden 
Edwards, John Lawrence, Professor Eenwick, of Columbia Col- 
lege of New York, Hon. Henry Meigs, T. B. Wakeman, Gen. 
Chandler, of the American Institute, &c. Every one of these 
pronounced the soil to be good and perfect. Dr. TJnderhill, 
of Croton Vineyard, declared it was in every way suited to 
grape culture. They made an extended report in favor of these 
lands of more than twenty-four pages : see Transactions of the 
American Institute, vol. for the year 1847, page 678 ; also The New 
York State Agricultural Society Transactions, published 1859 ; also 
the address of Gov. John A. Dix, delivered at Saratoga before 
the State Fair at Saratoga Springs ; also (in the same vol., 1859), 
an exhaustive report on the Lands of Long Island, of 40 pages, 
by Winslow C. Watson, of Port Kent, of Essex County, N. Y. 
Mr. Watson is the State geologist for the northern counties of the 
State, and is one of the most able and learned agriculturists of 
the State. He came to Long Island twice, and made careful ex- 
amination of the lands. This kind of evidence can be multiplied 
to any extent, and no acre of the ground has failed to produce. 
See the Suffolk County Almshouse farm, at Yaphank, on the 
plains, where they cut last year two hundred tons of the finest 
hay from 45 acres. See, also, the splendid stock farm of the 
Hon. August Belmont, of 1,000 acres, two miles north of Baby- 
lon, L. I. I propose, in conclusion, to give the figures of uncul- 
tivated lands in Suffolk County, which is one hundred and ten 
miles long by about ten miles wide, containing 640,000 acres. 
These figures are from the United States census for 1845, and if 
these lands were there then they are there now, for no thousands 
of acres of these lands, as I have heard of, have been since culti- 

The town of Huntington, 50,968 acres uncultivated. Hunt- 
ington has lately been divided, and the town of Babylon set off. 
Islip, 63,984 acres uncultivated; Smithtown, 27,960 acres un- 
cultivated; Brookhaven, 117,360 acres uncultivated; Eiverhead, 
25,000 acres uncultivated; Southold, 29,000 acres uncultivated; 
Shelter Island, 6,000 acres uncultivated; Southampton, 68,395 
acres uncultivated; Easthampton, 52,672 acres uncultivated, 
making 447,953 acres of uncultivated lands in Suffolk County. 
There are in Queens County 90,000 acres of uncultivated lands. 
These figures include only good arable land, no marshy land. 

I purchased in 1848. of P. M. A. Wicks, four hundred acres, at 
two dollars and seventy-five cents an acre, without the wood, 
which he retained, and this is the land on which the village of 
Brentwood now stands. As I did not intend to keep this land, 
or any part of it, I did not take the " deed for it," as I purchased 
it for the express purpose of getting it into the hands of those who 
would improve it; and I employed my friend, the late Samuel 

Fleet, then the editor of the New York Artisan (not the paper by 
that name now), and he negotiated the sale of it to Nathan 
Stephens, Christopher Wray, TJel West, J. Agate, and others ; 
and it was conveyed, on my order, under my contract with Mr. 
Wicks, to these parties. Most of these purchasers intended to 
improve the land, but were prevented by the stories that it was 
worthless and unfit for culture. 

Mr. Fleet, who was a worthy and intelligent man, had full con- 
fidence and full faith in the productive quality of the land, and 
he rendered important and valuable aid in bringing it before the 
public ; and after these first purchasers had abandoned the idea 
of improving the land, Mr. Fleet sold it to Stephen Pearl An- 
drews, of New York, who laid out and made the settlement of 
Brentwood upon it. My friends think, and say, if I had not pur- 
chased the land and put it into the market, at great trouble and 
considerable cost, it would have remained unsettled to the pres- 
ent time, and no Brentwood there ; for all the surrounding 
region that I did not put into the market is yet a wilderness — for 
they know of nobody else who would have purchased it. 

I bought and put into the market all the land that Mr. Wicks 
sold east of his house— the old Thompson station. 

I settled Mr. Kichardson, the nurseryman at Brentwood, about 
twenty years ago ; he came from Massachusetts under my adver- 
tisements in the Boston Cultivator, came to my house in Brook- 
lyn, and I went with him to examine the lands; he did not buy 
any land of me. 

There are now ten new and prosperous villages and settle- 
ments, made in the past thirty years, along the line of the Long 
Island Railroad, and on what was thirty years ago a wilderness, 
in a distance of thirty miles from Farmingdale to Yaphank, in- 
cluding Farmingdale and Yaphank — viz.: Farmingdale, Deer 
Park, Brentwood, Central Islip, Lakeland, Holbrook, Waverly, 
Medford, Yaphank, Bohemiaville and Edenvale — the settlement 
of William J. Spence. 

Bohemiaville and Edenvale are not in sight of the railroad, 
but between the railroad and the old south side country road, 
not far north of Blue Point and Patchogue. Mr. Spence settled 
there thirty years ago, in what was then the darkest part of the 
Island. Men went to him from the old settlements and warned 
him off, lest he might become a town charge ; he cleared and 
cultivated the land, has lived there thirty years, supported him- 
self and family from the land by farming, and has now a beauti- 
ful farm. Go and see his farm. Mr. Spence is dead. 
These new settlements have churches, schools, comfortable 
homes, some splendid buildings, fields of wheat, corn, 
clover, grass, and the finest fruit gardens and fruit or- 
chards that can be found on the Island, and all produced 
by ordinary culture, without extra cost or extra means ; 
and these ten villages and settlements, with their fields and gar- 
dens, over a space of thirty miles, settle the question of the pro- 
ductive quality of the land so long despised, and put to shame 
its traducers and maligners. It is rather a curious and interest- 
ing fact, that six of these new settlements, Brentwood, Central 
Islip, Lakeland, Holbrook, Bohemiaville and Edenvale, are on 
the land brought into the market and sold by me — bought and 
sold expressly for settlement and culture, and for no other pur- 
pose — bought and sold, or rather given away, in most cases, for 
less than the actual cost to me of titles and transfer. 

I never purchased an acre of land on the Island for anything 
that I expected to make on the land by a re-sale of it, but I ex- 
pected and hoped to receive my reward by what I might be able 
to retain when the settlements were made. I cast in my lot with 
the settlements and settlers, having full faith in the intrinsic 
value of the land and the country. It is the finest and most 
productive garden land, with the best markets, the most healthy 
and pleasant climate, in the State of New York. 

October 14, 1879. e. F. Peck. 

Mr. Slater's fine buildings at Central Islip are on land that I 
bought of William Nicoll in 1848. e. F. Peck. 



The City op Health. By Edgae F. Peck, M.D. 

Dr. B. W. Richardson, of London, not long ago set forth the 
admirable advantages which would accrue to a city founded on 
strictly sanitary principles— a city which should comprehend in 
full all the benefits which pertain to the best chosen situation 
with regard to climate, soil, drainage, water supply, house con- 
struction, food supplies, disposal of refuse, public buildings, 
churches, schools, hospitals, places of amusement, factories, 
fire-stations — all the appurtenances and avoidances necessary to 
the promotion and maintenance of the highest standard of hu- 
man health. But the great merchant prince of New York, A. T. 
Stewart, even before the appearance of Dr. Eiohardson's paper, 
had the sagacity to found a city— a "Garden City"— on a tract 
of land which had remained utterly neglected from the first 
settlement of this country by Europeans, on account of a singu- 
lar belief or fatuity that it was barren or unfit for culture. Yet, 
strange to say, this tract of land, on which Garden City is 
situated, possesses all the natural advantages suited to Dr. Rich- 
ardson's ideal "City of Health ; " and, with the required sanitary 
skill in the construction of this new city. Long Island will ere 
long exult in possessing the veritable City of Health so graphi- 
cally though fancifully depicted by Dr. Richardson. 

The great Hempstead Plains, which Mr. Stewart " took, held, 
and possessed," is a remarkable tract of country. An old histo- 
rian, who described it more than two hundred years ago, says : 
" Toward the middle of the Island lyeth a plain, sixteen miles 
long and four miles broad, upon which plain groweth very fine 
grass that makes exceeding good hay, and is very good pasture 
for sheep and other cattel." 

There were about sixty thousand acres in this wonderful piece 
of land ; it was, in fact, a prairie — a great and beautiful upland 
meadow, producing "very fine grass that makes exceeding good 
hay.'' I will try in a few words to describe the situation, surface, 
soil and geological structure of this celebrated spot. The west- 
erly part of the " Plains " is about fifteen miles from Brooklyn, 
and can be seen from the spires and " high house-tops " of Bed- 
ford. Starting from the South Ferry, where the rails of the old 
L. I. R. R. were seven feet above tide-water ; and at Bedford, 
two and a half miles, seventy-three feet ; at the watering-place 
formerly called Howard's "Woods, on the high ground this side 
of East New York, eighty-three feet ; thence descending to 
Jamaica Depot, where the rails are forty feet above tide-water ; 
thence easterly, the grade is uphill all the way to Hicksville, 
twenty five miles from Brooklyn, or South Ferry, where 
it is one hundred and fifty feet above tide-water. This is 
the summit level of the L. I. R. R., and is near the north- 
easterly border of Hempstead Plains, which extends north of 
Hicksville to the southerly edge of the hills of Jericho. At 
Hempstead Branch, or Mineola, about a mile north of Garden 
City Hotel, the rails are 103 feet above tide-water. These dis- 
tances or heights are given to show the situation or position of 
this great tract. It is an elevated table-land with a southern 
aspect, with a descent of about twenty feet to the mile. It is 
bounded on the north by the high grounds or ridge of hills 
running through the Island from west to east ; with this regular 
and gentle descent to the southern shore of the Island, the under 
drainage is most complete and perfect. Then the surface of the 
" Plains," from west to east, is gently undulating, in long swells; 
elevations and depressions, looking southwardly, have exactly 
the appearance of the dried beds of streams; and following them 
down towards the south borders of the Plains, streams of purest 
water are found in many of them. 

These rollings or undulations of the land present, in fact, three 
drainage surfaces on each of them, one southerly of about twenty 
feet to the mile, and one on each side, gently sloping to the west 
and to the east from the center of these elevated sections, thereby 
presenting a most wonderful natural drainage. The surface soil 
is a dark loam from fifteen inches to two feet in depth. It looks 
just what a lady would select to fill her flower-pots with, and is 

highly productive, and which grew and grows the "very fine 
grass that made exceeding good hay," according to the old 
chronicler; and what is remarkable, this grass never runs out— it 
is always fresh and green. And it may here be remarked that 
the natural grasses of Hempstead Plains are the most nutritious 
grasses that can be found in the Northern States. 

The turf upon this upper and dark soil is so thick and strong 
as to require a team of three horses with a strong plough to turn a 
furrow through it. Under this layer of dark loam is a layer of 
yellow loam, of about equal thickness, in many places a clay 
loam or clay ; and under these, generally at a depth of about 
two feet and a half or three feet, is the firm, compact gravel and 
sand that everywhere form the main body of Long Island, for it 
is literally a "child of the ocean." 

These undersands and gravels are firm and compact (there are 
no quicksands), and intermingled with fine silicious sands, com- 
minuted, almost levigated, forming the most complete and per- 
fect filter that can possibly be made; and the water found under 
this whole region, and flowing out of it, is of the purest and 
sweetest kind, and never fails. It has been claimed recently 
that a great subterranean river flows under Hempstead Plains, 
or such is the inference from the inexhaustible flow that is found 
from twenty to thirty feet under the surface. 

The climate is the finest in the State of New York, mostheaTlh- 
ful and pleasant. There are no stagnant waters nor malarious 
land within miles of this highly favored and most interesting 

There is no place like it for the foundation of a City of Health 
— the great work has been done by nature. There are not men 
and horses enough in this, the great Empire State, to form such 
a foundation for a City of Health ; and if Mrs. Stewart will im- 
prove these great natural advantages and found the first City of 
Health in America, she will become a benefactress to her race, 
and gain immortal honor. Edgab P. Peck. 

I desire also to say something about the share which I have had 
in the great discoveries in science and the arts of the age in 
which I have lived, especially that most wondrous of all, the 
uses of electricity. I only propose to say what I have seen and 
known as a matter of science, and connected with my professional 
study. I took a great interest in the study of electricity and mag- 
netism, from the time of Professor Oerstadt's (of Copenhagen) 
discovery of motion and electro-magnetism, which from that 
time took a prominent place with scholars and men of science to 
the present time. Omitting dates and particulars, I would say 
that Professor Joseph Henry, of Albany, was the American pion- 
eer in the science and use of electricity and magnetism, and it 
became the pursuit of his lifetime. In 1831 he delivered a lec- 
ture in Clinton Hall, before the New York Mercantile Library As- 
sociation, on ' ' Electricity and Magnetism, " in which he showed 
the great power of the magnet, when produced by a coil of wire, 
charged with electricity, around the iron, and this produced 
motion in the magnet. 

At the conclusion of this lecture, in speaking of the velocity of 
the electrical fluid, he said, if it was possible to put a wire around 
the globe, twenty-four thousand miles, the electrical current 
would make the circuit of 24,000 miles whilst a swallow, in its 
ordinary flight, would make three dips of his wing. I was 
present at the lecture. 

The immediate result then sought from electro-magnetism 
was moiion, that it might be applied to machinery; and this wag 
discovered and obtained by Mr. Davenport, an unlearned black- 
smith, of Brandon, Vt. He had seen for the first time, at the 
Crown Point Iron Works, the separation of iron from the pulver- 
ized iron ore by means of an electro-magnet. Going home, he 
made an electro-magnetic machine, which turned a wheel with 
great velocity. This was the first electro-magnetic machine ever 
made. He obtained a patent for it, and associated with himself 
Ransom Cook, an ingenious mechanic of Saratoga Springs, and 



they organized a, company, under the firm name of Cook & 
Davenport ; they came to New York, and their invention was 
brought extensively before the public, and attracted great atten- 
tion. The late Edward Williams, author of Williams' Register, 
became associated with them. He was a man of great intelli- 
gence and enterprise, one of the founders of the American Insti- 
tute, New York, and it was through him and for him that I un- 
dertook to furnish material aid in this work. Mr. Williams soon 
saw the difficulties in the way of a private company in bringing 
out this great invention. He thought the company should have 
a charter to define its legal rights and powers, and went to 
Rhode Island (its Legislature being then in session), where he 
had friends, and by the aid of two eminent citizens, E. J. Mallett 
and Charles Jackson, he obtained » charter from the State of 
Rhode Island for an Electro-Magneiic Company, whose object was 
to develop the power and uses of electro-magnetism. Thus to 
Rhode Island belongs the honor of granting the first charter ever 
granted for that purpose, out of which came the telegraph which 
now surrounds the world. A company was organized under this 
charter, and opened an office and rooms at No. 58 Gold street, 
New York, where it set up machinery moved by electro-magnet- 
ism. A wheel was constructed five feet in diameter, which made 
three hundred revolutions a minute and power sufficient for a 
turning lathe. Large galvanic batteries were constructed, the 
largest and most powerful, I believe, ever constructed in this 
country. Large globules of electricity were produced by these 
batteries — liquid fire — so much so, that the neighbors said "they 
make lightning over there." Great publicity was given to this 
work, and the rooms were visited by the most eminent scientific 
men in the country: Professor Ren wick, of Columbia College, 
New York; Professor Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, which 
had not then been put in use or practice; Professor Silliman, 
of Yale College, and Professor Hare, of Philadelphia. These dis- 
tinguished men made several visits there, at all of which I was 
present, for I found it necessary for me to take the supervision of 
the work there, in order to protect my interest in it, having fur- 
nished money to build the batteries and make most of the appar- 
atus used there. Mr. Williams I had also furnished with money 
for most of his personal expenses [to Rhode Island and to Albany, 
where he also went. The learned professors, whose names I 
have given, seemed to doubt if sufficient electricity could be pro- 
duced by batteries to reach distant points — that it might waste 
on the wires. I contended that it could be obtained in sufficient 
quantity and force. 

On one occasion, when these professors were present, an ear- 
nest argument arose on the power of galvanic batteries, I con- 
tending for my theory of its power, and they doubting. Mr. 
Chilton, of New York, a manufacturer of electrical machines and 
chemicals, was present, and he told one of my friends that he 
considered it was very great impudence in Dr. Peck to dispute 
with such men as Silliman and Hare on any matter of science. 

There were some objections to the Rhode Island charter, as it 
involved a personal liability ; and it was thought best to obtain 
a charter from the State of New York. At the next session of 
the Legislature, Mr. Williams made application for a charter, 
which, by the aid of Professor Henry and others, was obtained. 
Meanwhile, at the laboratory in Gold street, Professor Morse was 
in almost daily attendance, and anxious to raise means to put 
into practical operation his great invention. I, with Mr. Wil- 
liams, negotiated with him for the purchase of one-half of his 
patent for the United States. He was to have $50,000 in money, to 
be paid in installments, and $500,000 in the stock of the Electro- 
Magnetio Company. To this the machine men, who held patents 
for electro-magnetic machinery, would not consent. At this 
time it was thought by Professor Morse that his wires must be 
laid under ground, and the wires be insulated by being wound 
with cotton thread like suspender wires ; and Ezra Cornell, a 
plough-maker in one of the towns of Central New York, and a 
native of Westchester County, proposed to Professor Morse to | 

make a plough to do this work. This plough was to have two 
shares, one in front to open the furrow, in which the wires were 
to be laid from a large spool of wire in the center between the 
shares, and the rear share to turn the furrow back on the wires. 
This project brought Professor Morse and Ezra Cornell together. 
The affairs of the Electro-Magnetic Company did not prosper ; 
the machine inventors differed among themselves, and about 
1839 my interest in it ended with loss. 

Truman Cook made these large galvanic batteries at No. 58 
Gold street, which did so much to aid Professor Morse. Truman 
Cook was the brother of Ransom Cook. They were men of 
ability and great mechanical skill, and they did more than any 
other men to develop and promote the success and the use of 
electro-magnetism, out of which so great and wonderful results 
have come. Justice has not been done to their names and 
memory, as the pioneers of the great work and wonder of the 
world — the telegraph— which has come from their labor. Ran- 
som and Truman Cook were natives of Saratoga Springs, N. Y. 

During my residence from 1841 to 1847, I was extensively en- 
gaged in the practice of medicine, and earnestly in the cause 
of temperance, and cultivated my little farm at Edgewood. I 
left Smithtown in 1847, and went to the village of Jamaica, for 
the purpose of giving my daughter the advantages of Miss 
Adrain's school, in Union Hall. Then I took up a permanent 
residence in 1849 in State street, Brooklyn, which has been my 
home to the present time. I selected this place as being con- 
venient to the railroad, as accessible to my property and business 
on the Island, and to New York City, where I had large pro- 
perty interests and was connected with various institutions. I am 
one of the oldest members of the American Institute. I attended 
the first Fair, in 1831, in the old Masonic Hall, on Broadway, 
near Pearl street ; the Hon. Edward Everett delivered the 
address in the evening in the Lutheran Church, in Walker street, 
between Broadway and Elm street. I have attended every Fair 
of the American Institute for fifty-two years, the first and 
the last Pairs. I was one of the founders of the Farmers' Olvb, 
of the American Institute, and a member of the Kings County 
Medical Society, a member of the Long Island Historical Society, 
and a life member of the New York Agricultural Society, and keep 
up my interest in my life work. I am now engaged in many 
other important improvements, which I trust will be of great use 
and benefit. This — from the Signal, Babylon, L. I., February 
16th, 1884 — I wish to put on record here : 


Millions of dollars have been spent in blasting out the rooks 
of Hell Gate, and yet the work is only begun. It is somewhat 
singular that it never occurred to any of our prominent engin- 
eers to avoid this dangerous reef altogether by opening a new 
cut. It has been left for Dr. Edgar F. Peck, of Brooklyn, to 
make the suggestion, which he does in the following letter, and 
it is to be hoped his ideas will be tested at an early day. It 
would seem as though the'better policy would have been to open 
a canal as proposed, and then obstruct the gate rather than seek 
to open it, which would force the water through the canal, and 
thus keep it open and navigable for the largest ships. Such a 
work would make the Sound the safest as well as the shortest 
outlet for the commerce of New York. The following is the 
Doctor's letter : 

" Opening oir Hell Gate bx a Ship Channel. — A great deal has 
been said, but very little done, about removing the obstructions 
to navigation in Hell Gate — that being about the burden of the 
talk. Now, I propose to cut this Gordian knot by opening a 
ship channel from Hallett's Cove to Pot Cove, from 500 to 800 
feet wide and 40 feet deep. This would out off the elbow of 
Hallett's Point, that causes all the whirls and tumult and dan- 
gers in the roaring waters of Hell Gate. This ship channel 
would have to be made only about a half a mile long, from 86th 
street to 96th street, and will remove all obstructions to the full 
and free navigation of Long Island Sound, and all ships and 
vessels coming from the eastward would take the Long Island 
Sound route to New York. The whole State of Connecticut is 
deeply interested in this important work, as it would open for it 
free and clear navigation into New York. I am greatly sur- 
prised that it has not been done long ago — that the very door 



and gate to the city have been left closed by the raging waters 
and rocks of Hell Gate for more than two hundred years. The 
island of Manhattan bears an Indian name which signifies 
'roaring water,' and this term the Indians appplied to the 
waters of Hell Gate, and afterwards to the island itself. Let Gen- 
eral Newton stop his useless and costly work of digging under 
the rooks to try to blow out the bottom of Hell Gate; let him 
come out of his dark dens and work in the open day, by means 
of coffer-dams around the rocks he wishes to remove. All that 
work can be done by coffer-dams for less than half the cost now 
made in his useless work, and he would leave a clean bottom, 
not filled with broken and spioulated rooks, as he now leaves it. 
So let us have the ship channel to avoid the dangers of Hell 
Gate. Edgab F. Peck, M.D. 

"Brooklyn, January 26th, 1884." 

[From the Christian at Work, November 9i/i, 1882.] 



To the Ghrisiian at Work : 

I beg to express to you my earnest thanks, in behalf of hu- 
manity and Christianity, for your able and interesting article on 
tobacco in your last week's paper. I have been for a long time 
trying to rescue childhood and youth from the tobacco fiend, 
and am now in the midst of the conflict against the two great 
dragons, the most stupendous curses of mankind, rum and 
tobacco. I have fought these enemies all my life, and now in my 
old age am moved to enter the field once again, though I have 
been out of active service for some time. Public attention seems 
to be wakittg up to the evils of tobacco. I have been and am 
now endeavoring to concentrate forces and efforts against it, and 
I think some progress has been made. My view is, that if min- 
isters of the Gospel and medical men would abandon the use of 
tobacco, and use their influence against it, the evil could be 
greatly abated, if not entirely abandoned. 

Now as to strong drink. I differ with some of the temperance 
men of the present day on their plan of action. I want you to 
publish this plan, and I want some of your able writers to take 
up the subject on a "new departure;" to put the axe to the root 
of the great Upas tree; to stop making the infernal stuff by — pro- 
hibition. I mean, to prohibit the making of the deadly thing. 
I claim that our government is responsible for all the drunken- 
ness in the land, because it allows all the drink of the drunkards 
to be made. This is a plain truth, and cannot be denied. I 
want some able speaker or writer to present this subj ect to the 
people, and let the whole question be discussed on the merits of 
the case from this standpoint. The government is represented 
by Congress, headed by the President, and I charge that he and 
they are the responsible parties, for their fiat or authority lights 
all the lurid fires that blaze and flame in the ten thousand distil- 
leries and breweries that burn perpetually night and day, 
and pour out their streams of liquid death all over the land. 
The government is the great manufacturer in this infamous 
work; it seizes the lion's share of the plunder; it keeps an army 
of men on guard to hunt " crooked whiskey." Those grim, fiend- 
like creatures that went to Deacon Giles' distillery and offered to 
do the work of the devil on the Lord's day are quartered in bat- 
talions in every city, town, village and hamlet, and sixty mil- 
lions of money is seized by them as revenue .' Sixty millions 
from the blood and bones of the poor drunkard ! And in this 
horrible and atrocious work more than a hundred millions of 
bushels of golden grain a year — enough to feed and clothe the 
naked nations of the earth — millions of loaves of bread, the staff 
of life — are beaten, bruised, burned and transmuted into the 
deadly curse— and all by government. And if this be not a na- 
tional crime, I fail to see what can be. This money seized by 
government is blood money, and it is a disgrace to a Christian 
people to take it or to touch it. The cry of this blood money 
goes up to heaven and calls aloud for vengeance. Let the whole 
nation be aroused to the enormity of this crime; let all the 
churches pour out their indignation against the great sin. It is a 
great national crime. The capital of the nation is the great 
Gibraltar of intemperance. Washington is the great golden 
bowl from which the nation is made drunk. The White House 
is a whited sepulchre; it is full of extortion and dead men's 
bones. Let the temperance army march upon it with banners 
and battle down its walls. I am not a reformed man. I began 
my work in my youth. I adopted total abstinence in 1824, two 
years before Dr. Beeoher preached his immortal sermons against 
intemperance in Litchfield, in 1826. I knew Dr. Beecher. I 
lived then a few miles from Litchfield. I entered the study of 

medicine about that time, and I took up the whole subject, and 
for nearly forty years did my utmost in the cause. I am much 
like the aged prisoner released from the Bastile. The men 
among whom I moved and worked two generations ago have 
passed away and gone; they are nearly all dead. I can scarcely 
recall the name of a single one living; and, without boasting, 
perhaps there is no man living who has had a better opportunity 
to thoroughly understand the whole history of the temperance 
cause. I wish to do what I can to roll back the burning floods of 
intemperance, but I feel that my earthly work is about done. I 
feel humbled, humiliated, that I have done so little in propor- 
tion to what I ought to have done for my Lord and Master's ser- 
vice. My lease of life is out — the lease of the house I live in, 
my body, is out— and I am only holding over, a tenant at will — 
holding over on sufferance, liable to be ejected with or without 
notice when the great Lord of the Manor calls for His posses- 
sion, and all I have to do is to keej) myself and my house in 
order for the coming of the King. May the Lord bless you and 
your Christian work ! 
Beooklyn, N. Y. 

I have always been a temperance man, often writing and 
speaking for the cause. In politics I was one ot the earliest and 
staunchest abolitionists. I voted for John Quincy Adams in 
1828, and supported Fremont in 1856, warmly espousing the 
Republican party and principles through the war. I joined the 
Reformed Dutch Church in 1828, and for the past 30 years have 
been a member of the Old Reformed Dutch Church, near the 
City Hall. I have always been blessed with excellent health 
of body and mind through my life-long, arduous labors. 

[We have been kindly furnished by Mr. Elias Lewis, Jr., with 
some notes on Long Island, which corroborate the foregoing 
statement of Dr. Peck, and which we here present. — Editob.] 

The general form of Long Island is indicated by its name. Its 
extreme length is about 115 miles, and its average width scarcely 
more than 12 miles. Almost its entire mass is a glacial deposit 
or moraine, part of the vast deposit of similar material which 
abounds at intervals from the Island of Nantucket westward and 
northward to beyond the Mississippi River. This, geologically 
considered, is known as the terminal moraine of the ice sheet 
of the glacial age. In its structure. Long Island comprises the 
material peculiar to such deposits — sand, gravel, clay, with 
boulder in every condition of intermixture. The surface soil is 
to a large extent a sandy loam, fertile and easy of oulti^ration. 
It is especially adapted to the growth of grass, grains, and gar- 
den products. Much of the western part of the Island is being 
converted into a garden for the supply of the great cities near. 
Agricultural industry is being rapidly developed, and nowhere 
else is it more successful or profitable. The so-called sandy 
tracts of Suffolk County, concerning which a great deal of 
thoughtless and idle remark has been made, are found to yield 
a profltable return for intelligent labor. Long Island is fairly 
well wooded. Its forests are of oak, hickory, chestnut, locust, 
with many other species of deciduous trees. The evergreens in- 
digenous to the soil are almost entirely of the yellow or pitch 
pine. Firms rigida. At an early period of its history, the forest 
growth of the island was doubtless heavier than now. There 
were oaks, chestnuts, tulip trees, and others of great age and of 
immense size ; a few of these survive. The fox oaks at Flushing, 
no longer existing, were historic trees and justly celebrated. A 
white oak at Greenvale, near Glen Gove, is 21 feet in girth, and 
is probably 500 years old; another nearly as old is at Manhassett, 
in the Friends' meeting-house yard; others similar are at Smith- 
town and vicinity. A tulip tree at Lakeville, on the elevated 
grounds of S. B. M. Cornell, impaired by age and storms, is 26 
feet in girth near the ground, and was a landmark from the 
ocean more than a century ago. The famous black walnut at 
Roslyn, on grounds of the late W. 0. Bryant, is probably the 
largest tree on Long Island; it measures 29 feet in girth at the 
ground, and 21 feet at the smallest part of the trunk, below the 
spread of its enormous branches. Chestnut trees in the neigh- 
borhood of Brookville and Norwich, in the town of Oyster Bay, 
are 16, 18, and 22 feet in girth. The growth of hard-wood 
trees on Long Island is rapid. The few large trees stand- 
ing indicate what they may have been, or what they might be 
if undisturbed. The evergreens grow with equal luxuriousness. 
A century and a half ago pitch pines were abundant from 20 
inches to 36 inches in diameter. 

Nowhere on the coast does the locust flourish as it does on 
Long Island ; nor can it be found elsewhere of equal quality. 



Notwithstanding insect attacks, young forests quickly spring 

up. (See page 20.) ,,,-,, , .^ , i 

When the Island was first settled by white people, a great va- 
riety of wild animals were common, which are now extinct. 
Among these were the black bear, wolf, wild-cat, beaver, porcu- 
pine, opossum and gray fox, also several species of smaller 
quadrupeds. The deer was plenty, and is not uncommon now 
m Suffolk County. It is probable that the moose and elk were 
once found on the Island, as one of these species was found on 
Fisher's Island, a part of the town of Southold, a century and a 
half ago. 

Of birds, Long Island is the habitat, or resting-place, of about 
three hundred and twenty species. Of the species once com- 
mon here, many no longer visit us, or have left this portion of the 
coast altogether. A descriptive catalogue of the birds of Long 
Island was published by Giraud, and a very complete catalogue 
was issued by Geo. K. Lawrence, of New York, about ten years 
since. The iishes of the coast are catalogued by Professor Theo- 
dore A. Gill, formerly of Brooklyn, and included in a more 
general catalogue of the fishes of the Atlantic border of 
the United States. The species number about one hun- 
dred and ninety. In the Museum Department of the Long 
Island Historical Society, an effort is being made to pre- 
sent a collection which shall represent the fauna and flora of the 
Island, of both living and extinct species. 

The physical aspects of the Island are of rare beauty. Hills, 
plains, valleys and vast stretches of meadow occur throughout 
its length, toward the west, and a ridge of hills, which rise 
at Brooklyn to the height of 190 feet, extends eastward, 
attaining at Boslyn a height of 384 feet. This is the 
highest elevation on the Island, and commands a view which for 
extent, rarity, and picturesque beauty is not surpassed on the 
Atlantic border of the United States. Jane's Hill, one of the 
West Hill group, is 383 feet high. Other hills in Suffolk County 
are Kuland's, near Coram, 340 feet ; Osborn's, southwest of 
Eiverhead, 293 feet ; Shinnecock Hill, 140 feet. Montauk Point 
is 85 feet above tide. Throughout the western portion of this 
lineof broken hills the unmodified glacial drift prevails at the sur- 
face, makingasoil of rich, clayey loam. The " plains," which lie 
southward of the hills extending from Fort Hamilton to Shinne- 
cock, consist of what is known as "modified drift," a deposit 
in which the great glacial moraine beds have been distributed 
and assorted by moving water. A coarse gravel is frequent on 
the north side of the Island, and some of the richest soils of the 
Island lie upon a deep gravelly deposit. 

Boulders of immense size occur on the north side of the Is- 
land throughout its entire length, also along the central hills. 
The largest one is in Manhassett, in the town of North Hemp- 
stead. Its extreme length is 54 feet, width 45 feet, and the 
thickness about 16 feet, a portion lying below the surface; others 
at Wading River, in Suffolk County, are 100 feet in circumfer- 
ence, and 15 feet high, 78 feet circumference and 25 feet high ; 
and one lying 180 feet above tide measures 15 feet in height 
above the surface of the ground, and 109 feet around. 

These enormous boulders are of gneiss, as are nearly all the 
very large ones found on the Island. Deposits of excellent 
clay occur on many parts of the Island, and are profitably 
worked. The most extensive workings are by the Messrs. Cross- 
man and by the Messrs. Jones, on the east side of Cold Spring 
harbor. These mines, worked or bored to a depth of 100 feet 
or more, are practically inexhaustible. These outcrops of clay 
are e,vidently part of a vast deposit, which can be traced from 
the head of Little Neck Bay to beyond Port Jefferson, a distance 
of fifty miles. Extensive excavations are at Glen Cove, the de- 
posit being clay, kaolin and fire sand, extending apparently 
beneath the elevated promontory on which the village of Sea 
Cliff is built. What the geological age of the great clay beds 
may be, is not determined. They are evidently pre-glacial, as 
they are deeply covered by glacial drift. They may, therefore, 
extend as a layer far beneath the Island. The deposits of clay 
named are not to be confounded with others found in various 
parts of the Island, which are merely local deposits. Many 
occur upon the surface, as at Farmingdale, others underneath 
deep beds of stratified gravels and sands, as at Barnum Island, 
near Long Beach, in Queens County. At this place, 75 feet be- 
low the surface, a bed of fine compact blue clay 48 feet thick was 
passed through in an artesian boring in 1876. 

The north side of the Island is penetrated by a series of fiord 
valleys, eight in number, forming excellent harbors. In these 
the water is of sufficient depth for coasting vessels, but is 40 feet 
deep in some instances. These fiord valleys have their source 
at the central hills. 

There is evidence that the coast, of which Long Island is a 
part, has not always maintained its present position, with re- 
spect to the level of the ocean. During the glacial age, it has 
been shown that the coast was 200 feet or more higher than 

now ; the coast line was from 80 to 100 miles southward of the 
present one, and the Hudson discharged its waters into the ocean 
100 miles southeastward of Sandy Hook. The last vertical 
movement appears to have been one of subsidence. Meadow 
formations, several feet thick, with shells of the present period, 
are found 50 feet below the surface of the waters at the Narrows, 
near Fort Lafayette, and submerged swamps with stumps of 
large trees occur at many points around the shore. The only 
formations independent of the drift are the clay bed already 
noticed and a narrow expanse of gneiss at Astoria and vicinity, 
of the same general character as that of the main land op- 



IHE first steps toward the formation of the Long 
Island Historical Society were naturally taken 
by a native Long Islander, Alden F. Spoonee, 
who had atSnities by birth, marriage and residence, 
with each of the three counties. He prepared and 
caused to be widely distributed the following cir- 
cular : 

Ebooklin, February 14th, 1863. 
Deab Sm: — The time has arrived when the city of Brooklyn 
should found and foster institutions — religious, historical, liter- 
ary, scientific, educational and humanitarian— beyond the scope 
of former undertakings. As one of these, a historical society, 
associated with our peculiar geographical position, naturally 
suggests itself. We propose to establish 


The threefold Indian, Dutch and English history of the Island 
is full of interest, and there are doubtless concealed treasures in 
each department, which will be developed by research and in- 
quiry. By calling out the recollections of the living who will 
soon pass away, drawing public records and private writings 
from their concealment, having a fit place for the collection 
and deposit of trophies, memorials and historical materials, and 
also for conventions and lectures upon historic topics, it cannot 
be doubted that much valuable knowledge will be saved and 
communicated, which would otherwise be irretrievably lost. 

It is proposed to establish, first, a library and repository of 
books, documents and manuscripts, memorials, trophies and 
pictures. For this purpose all persons are requested to favor us 
with any appropriate material in their possession,"^^either by gift 
or on deposit. 

It is also proposed to encourage lectures upon historic and 
kindred topics. 

Without further developing our plans and objects in this cir- 
cular, we invite your attendance at the rooms of th« Hamilton 
Literary Association, Hamilton Building, corner of Court and 
Joralemon streets, Brooklyn (the door nearest the corner), on 
the evening of Tuesday, March 3d, 1863, at 8 o'clock, to take 
measures to organize the society. 

Henry C. Mubphy, 
Alden J. Spoonee, 
John Gkeenwood, 
John Winslow, 
Joshua M. Van Cott, 



Kings County. 

1. McOOEMTOK, Je., I „ ^ , 

:y Ondeedonk, Je., f Q^ieens County. 
HiENEY P. Hedges, Suffolk County. 



This met with a prompt response from Brooklyn's 
educated and progressive citizens. The society was 
resolved upon; appropriate committees appointed to 
prepare an act of incorporation under the general law, 
and a constitution and by-laws, and to provide the 
requisite rooms. The organization being effected, rooms 
were secured in the Hamilton Building, on the corner 
of Court and Joralemon streets. 

The first election of ofiicers took place in these rooms 
in May, 1863, the following full board being elected: 

President, James C. Brevoort ; First Vice President, 
John Greenwood; Second, Charles E. West; Foreign 
Corresponding Secretary, Henry C. Murphy; Home 
Corresponding Secretary, John Winslow; Recording 
Secretary, A. Cooke Hull, M. D.; Treasurer, Charles 
Congdon; Librarian, Henry R. Stiles. 

DiEECTOES. Charles Congdon ; Roswell Graves ; 

Thomas W. Field; A. C. Hull, M. D.; J. M. Van Cott; 
Ethelbert S. Mills; R. S. Storrs, Jr., D.D.; Henry R. 
Stiles, M. D.; A. N. Littlejohn, D. D.; Charles E. West ; 
LL. D.; A. A. Low; George W. Parsons; Alden J. 
Spooner; John Winslow; S. B. Chittenden; Hon. John 
Greenwood; George A. Stephenson; Hon. Henry C. Mur- 
phy; William Poole; Henry Sheldon; J. Carson Bre- 
voort; W. I. Buddington, D. D.; Elias Lewis, Jr.; Theo- 
dore L. Mason, M. D. ; Henry E. Pierrepont. 

CoTTsrsBLLOES — Kings Coimty : Hon. John A. Lott; 
Francis Vinton, D. D.; T. G. Bergen; F. A. Farley, D. 
D.; Benjamin D. Silliman; Hon. James Humphrey. 
Queens County: William Cullen Bryant; Hon. John A. 
King; Richard C. MoCormick; John Harold; L. B. 
Prince; Solomon D. To wnsend. Suffolk County: Hon. 
Selah B. Strong; Hon. J. L. Smith ; William S. Pelletreau; 
James H. Tuthill; Rev. E. Whitaker; Henry P. Hedges. 
ExBCUTivB Committee. — R. S. Storrs, Jr., D. D. 
(chairman); J. M. Van Cott; Alden J. Spooner; E. S. 
Mills; George W. Parsons; Henry Sheldon; Simeon B. 
Chittenden; Henry R. Stiles (secretary). 

The first annual meeting (second year) was held May 
5th, 1864, at which all the above officers were re-elected; 
and the first annual report was presented, which exhibits 
a beginning of great vigor and hopefulness. In this 
report Dr. Henet R. Stiles, the librarian, says: 

" The nucleus of a library, with which we commenced our 
operations on the 4th of June last, comprised about 800 bound 
volumes and 1,000 unbound volumes and pamphlets. This 
collection, consisting chiefly of works relating to Long Island 
and American local history, family genealogies and news- 
papers, was contributed mainly by Messrs. J. C. Brevoort, 
A. J. Spooner, E. B. Spooner, Henry Onderdonk, Jr., and 
Henry R. Stiles. We then occupied two apartments, one 
used as a lecture room ; the other and smaller of the two was 
shelved as a library room, having, as we then modestly 
thought, ample accommodations for the next two years. We 
soon found, however, that we had quite under-estimated the 
liberality of our friends ; for so large was their sympathy, so 
active their co-operation, and so steady the influx of their 
gifts— never intermitting for a single day, it might almost be 
said for a single moment— that it soon became evident we 

should need more book room. At this point in our history 
(in September, 1863), the receipt of nearly 1,100 valuable vol- 
umes from the trustees of the former City Library fairly over- 
whelmed our slender accommodations, and obliged us to ex- 
tend our borders by securing three large and commodious 
apartments adjoining the library." 

These claims for additional space made by the nat- 
ural history and museum department, as well as the 
library, soon compelled the occupation of the entire 
third story of the large building fronting on Court and 
Joralemon streets, comprising eight ample and conven- 
ient rooms, there being one reading room especially for 
ladies, with cosey alcoves for books and appropriate 
spaces for a large collection of valuable pictures. In 
these rooms the collections remained until removed to 
the Society's own building. For the annual courses 
of lectures, the large lecture room of the Packer Insti- 
tute, and, at times, the Athenaeum on Atlantic avenue, 
were used. For additional space for the lectures, the 
Society for several years latterly has occupied the 
Second Pres. Church, and the beautiful auditorium of 
the First Baptist Church on Clinton street. 

The Society having been greatly favored in the accu- 
mulation of materials of history, a spirit sprang up, among 
the members, of individual and mutual labor on works of 
local history. The principal of these were : 

A History of Brooklyn (in three volumes), by Henry E. 
Stiles, M. D. 

The Wallabout Series of Memoirs of the Prison Ships, 
with annotations (in two volumes), by Henry R. Stiles, M. D. 
Journal by two Labadists, Bankers and Sluyter, of a voy- 
age to New Netherlands, from Holland, in 1670-80, by Henry 
C. Murphy, Esq. (Vol. I. of the Society's Collections). 

History of the Battle of Long Island, by Thomas W. Field, 
Esq. (Vol. II. of the Society's Collections). 

The Campaign of 1776 around New York and Brooklyn, in- 
cluding particulars of the battle of Long Island, by H. P. 
Johnson. (Vol. III. of the Society's Collections). 

Sketch of the first settlement of Long Island, by Silas Wood; 
reprinted with biography and annotations, by A. J. Spooner, 

History of Brooklyn, by Oabriel Furman; repriuted with 
biography by A. J. Spooner, Esq., and notes by H. R. StUes, 
M. D. 

Revolutionary Incidents in Kings, Queens and Suffolk, by 
Henry Onderdonk, Jr., of Jamaica. 

Dr. Stiles, having resigned his office of librarian, was 
succeeded by George Hannah, who has served since 
July 1st, 1865. 

The collections in books and objects of art and 
curiosity increased so largely as to call imperatively 
for a new building, and an active committee was ap- 
pointed, which prosecuted the work with zeal and suc- 
cess. In November, 1877, it was reported that $100,000 
had been subscribed. Plans were solicited, and those 
of George B. Post, a New York architect, were pre- 
ferred. Under his care the edifice was completed; 
and it was formally taken possession of with appropri- 
ate ceremonies and speeches, Wednesday, January 22d, 
1881, in the lecture room of the new building. Samuel 
McLean was chairman of the building committee. 



The number of subscribers to the building fund was 
exactly 300. The amount subscribed was $137,684. 
The cost of the building was $121,250. The three lots 
on which it stands cost, in 1867, $32,500, on which 
$20,000 was then paid by subscribers, leaving a mortgage 
of $14,500 ; this was paid off on the delivery of the 
building, and a balance of $2,000 paid to the society. 
The society, like the Academy of Music and the Mer- 
cantile Library, has demonstrated the high-toned intel- 
ligence and liberality of the " City of Churches " in 
whatever concerns its religious, moral or social welfare. 
Among the benefactors of the society (much too 
numerous to permit of the mention of all, or even the 
leading contributors) should be named Miss Caroline 
and Miss Ellen Thurston, who gave $2,000 for a depart- 
ment of the History of Egypt, the Holy Land and 
Greece ; and the late Mrs. Maria Cary, who sub- 
scribed $2,500 to found a department of American 
Biography. An unknown giver donated $2,000 as the 
mucleus of a permanent fund for increasing the library. 
The principal addition to this fund has been Mr. Geo. I. 
Seney's gift of $50,000 ; while he also gave $12,000 for 
immediate expenditure in books, and $25,000 for binding 
books. The late Hon. Henry C. Murphy, in 1881, pre- 
sented 250 exceedingly valuable volumes relating to the 
history of Holland ; which Mr. J. Carson Brevoort, 
himself one of the most persistently generous donors to 
the Society since its first inception, supplemented by 
many rare and interesting and valuable works in the 
same line. There are other invested funds for special 

The Society is now established and fully equipped in 
its new and superb building, Clinton and Pierrepont 
streets, Brooklyn. The library now contains over 35,000 
volumes, exclusive of pamphlets, many of which latter 
will soon become books, through the simple process of 
binding, with nearly an equal number of pamphlets. 
To these there have been constant large additions of 
rare and valuable books in every department, from the 
funds subscribed for such purpose. 

The establishment of a Museum of Local Natural 
History and Ethnology, engaged the attention of the 
society, as early as June, 1864 ; and in the following 
year, through the enthusiastic and unwearied efforts of 
Elias Lewis, Jr., and others, a "Department of the 
Natural History of L. I." was founded ; regular special 
meetings of those members who were interested in 
Natural History studies were held in the Society's rooms; 
and the rapid influx of contributions of value soon 
assured the success of the project. Among the most 

prominent in this department of labor were, Elias Lewis, 
Jr., Charles Congdon ; J. Carson Brevoort ; Charles 
E. West ; Henry E. Pierrepont ; Wm. Goold Leveson- 

C. H. Baxter ; John Ackhurst ; Alfred Young, and 
others, both in Brooklyn and throughout the island. 
The especial object of establishing a Museum, local in 
its scope and characteristic, has found its fullest devel- 
opment in the Society's new building ; where the well 
arranged collection illustrating the Natural History 
and productions of Long Island ; the relics of its 
aboriginal inhabitants ; and many unique and interest- 
ing ethnological specimens from every part of the 
world, are admirably displayed, and form a most 
attractive feature of the society's operations. 

For all the privileges of the library, museum and lec- 
tures the fees are $5 for initiation and the same amount 
annually ; life membership $100. There are over 1,300 
annual and life members. 

Officees, 1882-3. — Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D. D., 
LL. D., President; Hon. Henry C. Murphy, LL. D., 
First Vice-President ; Joshua M. Van Cott, Second 
Vice-President ; Hon. Benjamin D. Silliman, Foreign 
Corresponding Secretary ; Rev. Charles H. Hall, D. D., 
Home Corresponding Secretary ; Chaunoey L. Mitchell, 
M. D., Recording Secretary / John S. Ward, Chairman 
of the Executive Committee ; A. W. Humphreys, Treas- 
urer ; George Hannah, librarian / Elias Lewis, Jr., 
Curator of the Museum. 

DiEECTOEs. — Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D. D., LL. D.; 
Hon. Henry C. Murphy, LL. D. ; Samuel McLean; Al- 
fred S. Barnes; Rev. Charles IL Hall, D. D.; James R. 
Taylor; Henry E. Pierrepont; Geo. L Seney; A. Abbot 
Low; Alexander M. White; Henry Sheldon; Walter 
T. Hatch; Hon. Simeon B. Chittenden; Hon. Benjamin 

D. Silliman; J. Carson Brevoort, LL. D.; Joshua M. 
Van Cott ; Alexander E. Orr ; Joseph C. Hutchison, M. D. ; 
Rev. Alfred P. Putnam, D. D. ; Elias Lewis, Jr. ; John 
S. Ward; A. W. Humphreys; Henry D. Polhemus; 
Bryan H. Smith; Chauncey L. Mitchell, M. D. 

CouNciLLOES. — Kings County. — Peter C. Cornell; 
Rt. Rev. A. N. Littlejohn, D.D.; Hon. J. S. T. Strana- 
han; Abraham R. Bay lis; David M. Stone; Thomas E. 
Stillman; Hon. John Greenwood; Rev. Frederick A. 
Farley, D.D.; Prof. Darwin G. Eaton; George L. Nich- 
ols; Rev. N. H. Schenck, D.D.; Hon. Joseph Neilson. 
Queens County. — Henry Onderdonk, Jr. ; WiUiam Floyd 
Jones; John A. King; Benjamin D. Hicks. Suffolk 
County. — James H. Tuthill; Hon. J. Lawrence Smith; 
Rev. Epher Whittaker; William Nicol; Hon. John R. 






THE territory now included in Kings county is 
bounded on the north by the East River and 
Queens county, on the east by Queens county, 
on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the 
west by the East River and New York Bay. It in- 
cludes Plum Island, Barren Island, Coney Island, and 
all the other islands south from Gravesend. It scarcely 
exceeds ten miles in extent in any direction, and has 
only an area of about 76 square miles. 

The first spot on Long Island pressed by the foot of 
a white man is within the limits of this county. For, 
even if the " most beautiful lake," said to have been 
penetratedby Verazzano in 1524, and which he described 
in glowing colors to his Royal Master the King of 
France, was indeed the bay of New York, yet his visit, 
according to his own account, was little else than a 
traveller's hurried glimpse, totally unproductive of 
results, either in respect to exploration or occupation. 
Early in September, 1609, a boat's crew from the 
" Half Moon " landed on Coney Island ; and when the 
good ship came to anchor at the mouth of the " Great 
River of the Mountains," then, undoubtedly, the eyes 
of white men rested for the first time upon the Isle of 
"Mannahata," the green shores of " Scheyichbi," or 
New Jersey, and the forest-crowned "Ihpetonga," or 
" Heights " of the present city of Brooklyn. During many 
years subsequent to that time, while trade between the 
Dutch and the natives was carried on, and while settle- 
ments for the prosecution of this trade were made at 
New York, Albany and elsewhere, no regular settlements 
are known to have been made on the western end of 
Long Island. Visits for the purpose of trade were 
made by individuals ; and, without doubt, temporary 
residences for this purpose were established. It is said, 

by some historians, that a family of French Protestants 
settled at the Wallabout in 1623 ; and that there the 
first white child native on Long Island, Sarah Rapelje, 
was born, on the 9th of June in that year. Later in- 
vestigators have shown this tradition to be incorrect ; 
that George Jans Rapelje could have made only a 
brief temporary stay, if any, there at that time ; and 
that his daughter Sarah was, in fact, born at Albany. 

The earliest recorded grant of lands in this county 
was made by the Indians to Jacob Van Corlaer, in 
June, 1636. On the same day Andries Hudde and 
Wolfert Gerritson purchased land contiguous to this ; 
and, soon afterward, the director, Wouter Van Twiller, 
also purchased adjoining lands. These purchases formed 
the site of " New Amersfoort," now Flatlands. It is 
believed that a settlement and improvements had been 
made here prior to these purchases. 

In the same year was made the Bennet and Bentyn 
purchase, from the Indians, of 930 acres at Gowanus, 
and the occupation and improvement of this land fol- 
lowed close on its purchase. In 1637, Joris Jansen de 
Rapalie bought, from the Indians, some 335 acres on 
the Wallabout Bay. These purchases were the founda- 
tion of the present City of Brooklyn. 

The settlers here were emigrants from the low lands 
in Holland, and their choice, of the flat untimbered lands 
along the shore of the bay and river, was doubtless 
directed by their acquaintance with the methods of 
agriculture in similar regions in the Fatherland. From 
this beginning the settlement of Kings county, as well 
as of the rest of Long Island and the adjacent regions, 
spread, though not with the rapidity of modern times. 

All the towns in the county were originally settled 
by the Dutch except Gravesend, which, as well as some 
of the towns in Queens county, was settled by the 
English, on condition of taking the oath of allegiance 
to the States General and to the Dutch West India 

The first purchases of land in this county were made 
by the settlers from the Indians and afterward con- 



firmed by the Dutch .authorities ; but, in 1638 and 1639, 
Director Kieft secured by purchase from the Indians the 
title to nearly all the land in the counties of Kings and 
Queens. The Director and Council of New ISTetherland 
were directed to furnish every emigrant, according to 
his condition and means, with as much land as he and 
his family could properly cultivate ; a quit rent of a 
tenth being reserved to the company, thus assuring 
legal estates of inheritance to the grantees. Each 
colonist availing himself of this privilege was required 
to sign a pledge of obedience to the oiBcers of the 
Company, acting in subordination to the States General, 
and promising in all questions and differences, which 
might arise, to abide by the decisions of the Colonial 
courts. Free passage and other inducements were also 
offered to respectable farmers who wished to emigrate 
to the new country. Thus were the titles to the land 
here originally acquired. 

As nearly as can be ascertained, the towns in Kings 
county were settled in the following order: Flatlands, 
1624; Brooklyn, 1636; Geavesend, 1645; Flatbxish, 
1651; New Utrecht, 1657; Bushwick, 1660. Under 
the . Dutch regime there were no territorial divisions 
corresponding with what are now counties. The 
simple government of the towns was in part administered 
by magistrates, nominated by the people and con- 
firmed by the governor. Practically, however, the 
power of the governor was almost absolute, and it appears 
that the rights of the people were held to be quite sub- 
ordinate to his personal preferences; for it is said that 
he sported with these rights by wantonly rejecting such 
magistrates as they had chosen, merely to gratify his 
humor or caprice. Laws which were obsolete, and illy 
adapted to the circumstances by which the people were 
surrounded, were enforced among them, and were badly 
executed; grants were witheld from actual settlers and 
bestowed with a lavish hand on particular individuals; 
magistrates were appointed without the consent of the 
people, and the government of these towns exhibited at 
the same time tyranny and imbecility on the part of 
those entrusted with its administration. It is elsewhere 
recorded that, in 1663, conventions were held, and re- 
monstrances on the subject of the many grievances of the 
people were addressed to the Governor and Council, with 
no result except a peremptory order from the irritated 
governor, to disperse and not to again assemble on such 
business. Some of the towns in Kings county were rep- 
resented in these conventions. 

It will be remembered that several of the towns in 
Queens county, though under the jurisdiction of the 
Dutch, were settled by English immigrants. These 
became anxious for a change; and the Dutch in the 
towns of Kings county, who had become disgusted with 
the government, were not averse to it. This was the 
state of feeling here when, by the revolution of 1664, 
the Colony of New Netherland was surrendered to Great 

One of the first important acts under the English 
regime was the erection of Long Island, Staten Island, 
and probably the town of Westchester, into a " shire," 
called Yorkshire; and the division of this into " ridings," 
of which Staten Island, the town of Newtown, and the 
present county of Kings, constituted the West riding. 
A deputy sheriff or high constable was appointed for 
each riding, and a justice of the peace for each town. 

This system of county governmentcontinued till 1683, 
when, by an, act of the first colonial Legislature, the 
counties were organized. Staten Island was detached 
from the West riding in 1675 ; and, by the act of 1683, 
Newtown was made a part of Queens county, leaving 
Kings county with its present boundaries. 

The expectations which had been entertained of im- 
provement by a change of masters were disappointed. 
The English governors were invested with powers as 
nearly absolute as those possessed by the directors under 
the Dutch regime. Governor Nicolls exercised these 
powers with such caution as to excite but little alarm; 
but the weaker Governor Lovelace, by his disregard of 
the people's rights, aroused such a feeling among the 
inhabitants of Kings county, that, although they were 
less demonstrative in their indignation than, their 
English neighbors, they were ready to welcome the 
restoration of the authority of their countrymen in 
1673. This, however, was of but short duration, for in 
1674 the rule of the Dutch in the colony ceased forever. 



THE following letter, descriptive of Dutch family 
nomenclature, was written by the late Hon. 
Henry C. Murphy during his residence as U. S. 
Minister at the Hague. It is so replete with in- 
formation concerning names and families in Brooklyn 
and Kings County, that it cannot fail to be of interest : 
' ' The gi-eat body of Netherlanders who settled permanently 
in America belonged, without exception, to the industrial 
classes. The most distinguished families, those whose ances- 
tors filled the most important positions in the new settlement, 
as well as others, were from the great body of burghers. 
The only Governor who remained in the country, Peter Stuy- 
vesant, was the son of a minister of Scherpenzed, in Fries- 
land ; and the only patroon who settled upon his estates, 
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, was a merchant of Amsterdam. 
Although the RepubUc confirmed no titles, it protected the 
old nobUity in their estates, and they and their families were 
content to leave the distant enterprises in the hands of the 
other classes, and remain in the province. 

' ' In the consideration of names, in order to show what 
difficulties the peculiar systems adopted in Holland and con- 
tinued by the settlers in their new home thi'ow in the way of 
tracing genealogies, it is to be observed that the first of these, 
in point of time, was the patronymic, as it is called, by which 
a child took, besides his own baptismal name, that of his 



father, with the addition of zoon or sen, meaning son. To 
illustrate this : if a child were baptised Hendrick and the 
baptismal name of his father were Jan, the child would be 
called Hendrick Jansen. His son, if baptized Tunis, would 
be called Tunis Hendricksen ; the son of the latter might be 
Willem, and would have the name of Willem Tunissen. And 
so we might have the succeeding generations called succes- 
sively Garret Willemsen, Marten Garretsen, Adrian Marten- 
sen, and so on, through the whole of the calendar of Chris- 
tian names ; or, as more frequently happened, there would 
be repetition in the second, third, or fourth generation, of 
the name of the first ; and thus, as these names were com- 
mon to the whole people, there were in every community dif- 
ferent lineages of identically the same name. This custom, 
which had prevailed in Holland for centuries, was in full 
vogue at the time of the settlement of New Netherland. In 
writing the termination sen it was frequently contracted into 
se, or z, or s. Thus the name of William Barrentsen, who 
commanded in the first three Arctic voyages of exploration, 
in 1594, 1595, and 1596, is given in the old accounts of those 
voyages, Barentsen, Barentse, Barentz, Barents, sometimes in 
one way, sometimes another, indifferently. Or, to give an 
example nearer home, both of the patronymic custom and of 
the contraction of the name, the father of Garret Martense, 
the founder of a family of that name in Flatbush, was Martin 
Adriaense, and his father was Adriffi Ryerse, who came from 
Amsterdam. The inconveniences of this practice, the confu- 
sicm to which it gave rise, and the difficulty of tracing fami- 
lies, led ultimately to its abandonment both in Holland and 
in Our own country. In doing so the patronymic which the 
person originating the name bore was adopted as the sur- 
name. Most of the family names thus formed and existing 
amongst us may be said to be of American origin, as they 
were first fixed in America, though the same names were 
adopted by others in Holland. Hence we have the names of 
such families of Dutch descent amongst us as Jansen (angrZice, 
Johnson), Garretsen, Cornelisen, Williamsen or Williamson, 
Hendricksen or Hendrickson, Clasen, Simonsen or Simon- 
son, Tysen (son of Mathias), Aresend (son of Arend), Hansen, 
Lambertsen or Lambertson, Paulisen, Remsen (sou of Rem- 
brandt, which was shortened into Rem), Ryersen, Martense, 
Adriance, Rutgers, Everts, Phillips, Lefferts and others. To 
trace connection between these families and persons in this 
country, it is evident, would be impossible, for the reason 
stated, vsdthout a regular record. 

"Another mode of nomenclature, intended to obviate the 
difficulty of an identity of names for the time being, but 
which rendered the confusion worse confounded for the future 
genealogist, was to add to the patronymic name the occupa- 
tion or some other personal characteristic of the individual. 
Thus Laurens Jansen, the inventor of the art of printing, as the 
Dutcli claim, had affixed to his name that of Coster — that is 
to say, sexton— sxx office of which he was in possession of the 
emoluments. But the same addition was not transmitted to 
the son ; and thus the son of Hendrick Jansen Coster might 
be called Tunis Hendrickson Brouwer (brewer), and his 
grandson might be William Tunissen Bleecker (bleacher). 
Upon the abandonment of the old system of names, this 
practice went with it ; but it often happened that, while one 
brother took the father's patronymic as a family name, 
another took that of his occupation or personal designation. 
Thus originated such famihes as Coster, Brouwer, Bleecker, 
Schoonmaker, Stryker, Schuyler, Cryger, Snediker, Hegeman, 
Hofman, Dykman, Bleekman, Wortman and Tieman. Like 
the others, they are not ancient family names, and are not 
all to be traced to Holland as the place where they first became 
fixed. Some of them were adopted in our own country. 

" A third practice, evidently designed, like that referred to, 
to obviate the confusions of the first, was to append the name 
of the place where the person resided — not often of a large 
city, but of a particular, limited locality, and frequently of a 
particular farm or natural object. This custom is denoted 
in all family names which have the prefix of Van Vander, 
Ver (which is the contraction of Vander), and Ten — meaning, 
respectively, of, of the, and at the. From towns in Holland 
we have the families of Van Cleef , Van Wyck, Van Schaaok, 
Van Bergen, and others ; from Guelderland, those of Van 
Sinderen, Van Dyk, and Van Buren; from Utrecht, Van 
Winkel ; from Friesland, Van Ness ; from Zeeland, Van 
Duyne. Sometimes the Van has been dropped, as in the 
name of Boerum, of the pi'ovince of Friesland ; of Covert, of 
North Brabant ; of Westervelt, of Drenthe ; of Brevoort and 
Wessels, in Guelderland. The prefixes, Vander or Ver and 
Ten were adopted where the name was derived from a par- 
ticular spot ; thus : Vanderveer (of the ferry); Vanderburg 
(of the hill); Vanderbilt (of the bilt— i. e., certain elevations 
of ground in Guelderland and New Utrecht), Vanderbeck (of 
the brook), Vanderhoff (of the court), Verplanck (of the plank), 
Verhultz (of the holly), Verkerk (of the church). Ten Eyck 
(at the oak), Tenbroeck (at the marsh). Some were derived, 
as we have observed, from particular farms ; thus : Van 
Couwenhoven (also written Van Cowdenhoven — cold farms). 
The founder of that family in America, Wolphert Gerritsen 
Van Cowenhoven, came from Amersfoort, in the province of 
Utrecht, and settled at what is now called Flatlands, in our 
county, but what was called by him New Amersfoort. Some 
names in the classification which I have attempted, have 
undergone a slight change in their transfer to America. 
Barculo is from Borculo, a town in Guelderland; Van Anden 
is from Andel, in the province of Groningea; Snediker should 
be Snediger; Bonton, if of Dutch origin, should be Bonten 
(son of Bondwijn or Baldwin), otherwise it is French. Van 
Cott was probably Van Catt, of South Holland. The Catti 
were the original inhabitants of the country, and hence the 
name. There is one family which has defied aU my etymo- 
logical research. It is evidently Dutch, but has most likely 
undergone some change, and that name is of Van Brunt. 
There is no such name now existing in Holland. There are 
a few names derived from relative situations to a place: thus 
Voorhees is simply before or in front of Hess, a town in 
Guelderland ; and Onderdonk is below Donh, which is in Bra- 
bant. There are a few names more arbitrary— Middagh 
(mid-day) ; Conrad (bold counsel) ; Hagedorn (hawthorn) ; 
Bogaert (or hard), Blauvelt (blue field), Rosevelt (rose field), 
Stuyvesant (quicksand), Wyckoff (parish court), Hooghland 
(highland), Dorland (arid land), Opdyke (on the dyke), Has- 
brook (hare's marsh) — these afford a more ready means of 
identification of relationship. The names of Brinkerhoff 
and Schenok, the latter of which is very common here, may 
be either of Dutch or German origin. Martin Schenck was a 
somewhat celebrated general in the war of independence. 
Ditmars is derived from the Danish, and Bethune is from a 
place in the Spanish Netherlands, near Lille. Lott is a Dutch 
name though it has an English sound. There is a person of 
that name, from Guelderland, residing in the Hague. Pieter 
Lots was one of the schepens of Amersfoort in 1676, and I 
infer from the patronymic form of his name that Lott is a 
baptismal name and is derived from Lodewyck or Lewis, 
and that Pieter Lots means Peter the son of Lodewyck or 
Lot, as the former is often contracted. Some names are dis- 
guised in a Latin dress. The practice prevailed, at the time 
of the emigration to our country, of changing the names of 
those who had gone through the University and received a 
degree, from plain Dutch to sonorous Roman. The names of 



all our early ministers are thus altered. Johannes or Jan 
Mecklenburg became Johannes Megapolensis; Evert Wil- 
lemse Bogaert became Everardus Bogardus; Jan Doris Pol- 
heem became Johannes Theodoms Polhemius. The last was 
the founder of the Polhemus family of Brooklyn. The records 
here show that he was a minister at Meppel, in the province 
of Drenthe, and in 1637 went as such to Brazil, under the 
auspices of the West India Company, whence he went to 
Long Island. Samuel Dries (who, by the way, was an 
Englishman, but who graduated at Leyden) was named 
Samuel Drisius. It may, therefore, be set down as a general 
rule, that the names of Dutch families ending in us have been 
thus latinized. 

"Many persons who emigrated from Holland were of 
Gallic extraction. When the bloody Duke of Alva came 
into the Spanish Netherlands in 1567, clothed by the bigoted 
Phillip II with despotic power over the provinces, more than 
100,000 of the Protestants of the GaUic provinces fled to 
England, under the protection of Queen Elizabeth, and to 
their brethren in Zeeland and Holland. They retained their 
language, that of the ancient Gauls, and were known in 
England as Walloons, and in Holland as Waalen, from the 
name of their provinces, called Gaulsche, or, as the word is 
pronounced, Waalsche provinces. The number of fugitives 
from religious persecution was increased by the flight of the 
Protestants of France at the same time, and was further aug- 
mented, five years later, by the memorable massacre of St. 
Bartholomew. When the West India Company was incor- 
porated, many of these persons and their descendants sought 
further homes in New Netherland. Such were the founders of 
the families of Rapelye, Cortelyou, Dubois, De Bevoise, Dur- 
yea, Crommelin, Conselyea, Montague, Fountain, and 
others. The Waalebocht, or Walloon's Bay, was so named 
because some of them settled there. 

"In regard to Dutch names proper, it cannot faU to have 
been observed that they are of the simplest origin. They par- 
take of the character of the people, which is eminently prac- 
tical. The English, and, in fact, all the northern nations of 
Europe, have exhibited this tendency, more or less, in the 
origin of family designations, but none of them have earned 
it to so great a degree as the Dutch. We have in America, 
both in Dutch and English, the names of White (De Witt), 
Black (Swart), and Brown (Broom) ; but not, according to my 
recollection, the names of Blue, Yellow, and Red, which exist 
in Holland." 



THE domestic history of Kings county can hardly 
be said to have commenced earlier than about 
1636, when the first land was purchased from 
the Indians. Between 1623, when the ship 
" New Netherland " brought thirty families to Man- 
hattan Island, and 1636, when the settlement of Kings 
county was commenced, isolated families may have 
established residences there, but no record of the fact 

The earliest Dutch traders led an unsettled and 
semi-savage life. The restraints of civilization did not 
reach them. They found native concubines wherever 

they w*nt, and these were changed with every temporary 
change of location; while the children were left to be 
reared by their savage mothers. 

A different life was led by the pioneers who came 
with their families. They had left the Fatherland and 
crossed the ocean to make this their permanent home, 
and they at once entered on the realities of the life 
before them. Their first dwellings were of the rudest 
kind. Some were constructed of saplings, covered with 
bark; and some were cellars excavated in the sides of 
hills, lined with bark and thatched with reeds. As 
soon as improving circumstances permitted, better 
dwellings were built. The earliest saw-mills furnished 
the timber for these, which were small, one-story build- 
ings, with straw-thatohed-roofs, stone fire-places, and 
ovens, and chimneys of boards plastered inside with 
mortar or mud. Each of these houses was protected 
against the attack of Indians by a surrounding of pali- 
sades. These dwellings were fitted with furniture of 
the simplest form, and of domestic manufacture. 
Rough shelves served instead of cupboards or pantries, 
and " slaap bancks," sleeping benches, or bunks, were 
used for bedsteads. Though unpretentious in appear- 
ance, these houses were the abodes of comfort. After the 
lapse of some years they were succeeded by larger and 
more substantial edifices, modeled, of course, after the 
houses in the Fatherland, with only such modifications 
as the change of circumstances demanded. After the es- 
tablishment of a brick-yard at N. Amsterdam, in 1666, 
brick houses became the fashion with the few who 
could afford the expense. But the best edifices of that 
day were very cheap, rarely exceeding $800 in value; 
while the cost of an ordinary house ranged from $200 to 
$500 of our present currency, and rents varied from 
$25 to $100. 

Stiles says of the farm-houses of Long Island, which 
succeeded the first rude cabins of the settlers on the 
shores of the Waale-boght, and at " the Ferry," " that 
they were generally constructed in a rough but substan- 
tial manner of stone, lighted by narrow windows, con- 
taining two small panes of glass — and protected against 
the "overloopen" or escalading of any savage foe, 
by strong well-pointed palisades ; snugness, economy, 
safety, were the characteristics of these country 
dwellings." But little change occurred in the style of 
architecture here during many years, for the Dutch 
were slow to adopt innovations. 

An interesting description of the manner in which 
the old farmers of Breuckelen lived, is given by the 
Labadist travellers, who visited this country in 1679. 
Among others, they visited Simon de Hart, whose old 
house is yet standing near the Gowanus Cove, at the 
foot of the present 38th street : 

' ' He was very glad to see us, and so was his wife. He took 
us into the house and entertained us exceedingly well. We 
found a good flre, half-way up the chimney, of clear oak and 
hickory, of which they made not the least scruple of burn- 



ing profusely. We let it penetrate us thoroughly. There 
had been already thrown upon it, to be roasted, a pail full of 
Gowanus oysters, which are the best in the country. They 
are fully as good as those of England, and better than those 
we eat at Falmouth. I had to try some of them raw. They 
are large and full, some of them not less than afoot long, and 
they grow sometimes ten, twelve, and sixteen together, and 
are then like a piece of rock. Others are young and small. 
In consequence of the great quantities of them, everybody 
keeps the shells for the purpose of burning them into lime. 
They pickle the oysters in small casks, and send them to 
Barbadoes and the other islands. We bad for supper a 
roasted haunch of venison, which he had bought of the 
Indians for three guilders and a half of seewant, that is fif- 
teen stivers of Dutch money (15 cents), and which weighed 
thirty pounds. The meat was exceedingly tender and good, 
and also quite fat. It had a slight aromatic flavor. We 
were also served with wild turkey, which was also fat and 
of a good flavor, and a wild goose, but that was rather dryt 
Every thing we had was the natural production of the 
country. We saw here, lying in a heap, a whole hill of water- 
melons, which were as large as piimpkins, and which Simon 
was going to take to the city to sell. They were very good, 
though there is a difference between them and those of the 
Carribby islands ; but this may be owing to its being very 
late in the season, and these were the last pulling. It was very 
late at night when we went to rest in a Kermis bed, as it is 
called, in the corner of the hearth, alongside of a good fire." 

They also visited Jacques Cortelyou, in New Utrecht, who 
had just built an excellent stone house, the best dwelling in 
the place. "After supper," they say, " we went to sleep in 
the bam upon some straw spread with sheepskins, in the 
midst of the continuous grunting of hogs, squeaUng of pigs, 
bleating and coughing of sheep, barking of dogs, crowing of 
cocks, cackling of hens, and especially a goodly quantity of 
fleas and vermin, of no small portion of which we were par- 
ticipants, and all with an open bam-door, through which a 
fresh north wind was blowing. * * We could not complain, 
since we had the same quarters and kind of bed that their 
own son usually had, who now, on our arrival, crept in the 
straw behind us." 

Stiles says {History of Brooklyn) that "most of the later 
dwellings of the Dutch on Long Island were of wood, 
shingled on the side, as well as the roof ; some few of brick ; 
and, here and thei'e, a substantial stone house. These 
were all one-story edifices, with either an ' overshot,' or 
projecting roof, forming a piazza both on the front and 
rear ; or the ' overshot ' in front, with the roof extending on 
the rear until within a few feet of the ground. The low-browed 
rooms were unceiled, showing overhead the broad, heavy 
oak beams, upon which the upper, or garret floor was laid. 
The lower half of the wall inside the houses was wainscoted, 
the upper half plastered. The flreplaces were usually very 
large, generally extending, without jambs, to a width suffi- 
cient to accommodate the whole family with seats near the 
fire. The chimneys were capacious, and in them the meat 
was hung for roasting, or to be 'cured' by smoking. 
They were usually kept clean by ' burning out ' during a 
rainy day, to avoid danger from fire. The jambs, when the 
fireplace had any, were usually set around with glazed blue 
delft-ware tiles, imported from Holland, representing scenes 
and Scriptural subjects, a never-failing source of amusement 
and instruction to the children, who frequently gained their 
first Bible instruction from these tile-pictures, aided by the 
explanations of the elder members of the family. Huge 
andirons and heavy fire-shovel and tongues were necessary 
for these flreplaces. The ' front stoop ' was an important 

feature in these houses. In some a seat ran the length of 
the ' stoop,' but in others there were seats at each end. It 
was, in good weather, the common gathering place of the 
family and their visitors. 

' ' Before the English conquest of the Netherlands, the do- 
mestic habits and customs of the Dutch were simple and 
democratic in their character. All had come hither in search 
of fortune, and had brought little with them in the begin- 
ning. Some, indeed, through industry or peculiar sagacity, 
had attained positions of wealth, and of increased influence, 
yet it might justly be said of the Dutch, that their social 
circles were open to aU of good character, without regard 
to business pursuits, or any factitious considerations. Rich 
and poor mingled together with a freedom and a heartiness 
of enjoyment which can hardly be expected to exist, except 
in the formative stage of society. The advent of the En- 
glish, many of whom had high social connections at home, 
and corresponding habits, etc., brought change into the 
social life of the colony, and necessarily developed an aristo- 
cratic state of society previously unknown. 

" In the ' best room' of every house, whether of the wealthy 
or humbler class, the high-posted, corded, and un wieldly bed- 
stead was a principal object, and, with its furniture and 
hangings, formed the index of the social standing of its 
owner. Upon it, according to the old Dutch fashion, were 
two feather beds — one for the sleeper to lie upon, and 
another, of a lighter weight, to be used as a covering. The 
pillow-cases were generally of check patterns; and the cur- 
tains and valance were of as expensive materials as its owner 
could afford ; while in front of the bed a rug was laid, for 
carpets were not then in common use. Among the Dutch, 
the only article of that sort, even up to the time of the Revo- 
lution, was a drugget cloth, which was spread under the table 
during meal-time, when, upon ' extra occasions,' the 
table was set in the parlor. But even these were 
unknown among the inhabitants of the neighboring 
Long Island towns. The uniform practice, after scrub- 
bing the floor well on certain days, was to place upon 
the damp boards the flne white beach sand (of which 
every family kept a supply on hand, renewing it by trips to 
the seashore twice a yeai"), arranged in small heaps, which 
the members of the family were careful not to disturb by 
treading upon ; and, on the following day, when it had become 
dry, it was swept, by the light and skillful touch of the house- 
wive's broom, into waves or other more fanciful flgures. 
Rag carpets were unknown in Kings County until about the 
middle of the present century. The capacious chest, brought 
from Holland, occupied a prominent place in the house, for 
several generations: as was also the trundle (or ' Kermis ') 
bed concealed under the bed by day, to be drawn out for the 
children's couch at night. Chairs, straight and high backed, 
were mostly of wood, sometimes covered with leather and 
studded with brass nails, but more frequently seated simply 
with matted rushes. Tables, except for kitchen use, were 
unknown to the earlier Dutch, and for many years to their 
successors. In the principal room, which held the flne bed, 
and was, also, tea and dining room on special occasions, was 
generally a round tea-table, with a leaf which could be dropped 
perpendicularly when not in use, and a large square table, 
with leaves, for use at tea-parties. Looking-glasses, in the 
early days, were generally small, with narrow black frames; 
and window-curtains were of the simplest and cheapest des- 
cription, being no better in the best apartments than a strip 
of ordinary cloth run upon a string. Clocks were rare, and 
most families marked their time by the hour-glass; — the great 
eight-day clock, which we sometimes see as heir-looms in our 
oldest faniihes, being flrst introduced in this country about 



1720. Earthenware, until about 1700, was but little used in 
ordinary table service, wooden and pewter being then univer- 
saUy in use by all classes and preferred because it did not dull 
the knives. The few articles of china, kept by some for dis- 
play upon the cupboard, were rarely used; and, though earth- 
enware came into partial use about 1680, pewter was still the 
most common up to the period of the Eevolution. Among 
the wealthy, blue and white china and porcelain, curiously 
ornamented with Cliinese pictures, were used 'for company.' 
The teacups were very diminutive in size, for tea was then an 
article of the highest luxury, and was sipped in small quanti- 
ties, alternately with a bite from the lump of loaf-sugar, which 
was laid beside each guest's plate. Sometimes china plates 
were used as waU-ornaments, suspended by a strong ribbon 
passed through a hole drilled in theii- edges. Silverware, in 
the form of tankards, beakers, porringers, spoons, snuflEers, 
candlesticks, etc., was a favorite form of display among the 
Dutch, inasmuch as it served as an index of the owner's 
wealth, and was the safest and most convenient form of 
investment for any surplus funds. Of books our ancestors 
had but few, and these were mostly Bibles, Testaments and 
Psalm-Books. These Bibles were quaint specimens of early 
Dutch printing, with thick covers, massive brass, and some- 
times silver, corner-pieces and clasps. The Psalm-Books were 
also adorned with silver edgings and clasps, and on Sab- 
baths, bung by chains of the same material to the girdle of 
matrons and maidens. Merchants who kept school-books, 
psalm-books, etc. , as a part of their stock, about the middle 
of the last century, were provided with an equal number of 
books in the Dutch and EngUsh language; showing that, 
even at that late period after the termination of the Dutch 
power, the greater part of the children of Dutch descent 
continued to be educated in the language of the Fatherland. 
Spinning-wheels were to be found in every family, many 
having four or five — some for spinning flax and others for 
wool. A Dutch matron, indeed, took great pride in her large 
stock of household linen (then cheaper than cotton); and it 
was the ambition of every maiden to take to her husband's 
house a full and complete stock of such domestic articles. 
Light was furnished only by home-made tallow ' dips.' " 

The wealthier Dutch citizens had highly ornamented 
brass hooped casks in which to keep their liquors, which 
they never bottled. Holland gin, Jamaica rum, sherry, 
Bordeaux wines, English beer, or porter, beer from 
their own brewers, and cider, were common drinks in 
early times. When a wealthy young man among these 
settlers was about to be married, he usually sent to 
Madeira for a pipe of the best wine, a portion of which 
was drunk at his marriage, another portion at the birth 
of his first son, and the remainder was preserved to be 
used at his funeral. 




THE common means of travelling, were the lumber- 
wagons, and in winter the sleigh, running upon 
split saplings, and drawn, at a uniform dog-trot 
pace, by pot-bellied nags. During the early 
part of the IVth century, the two-wheeled one-horse 

chaise came gradually into use, and was the fashionable 
vehicle up to the time of the Revolution. In riding 
horseback, the lady was mounted upon a pillow or 
padded cushion, fixed behind the saddle of the gentle- 
man or servant, upon whose support she was 
therefore dependent ; and this was the common mode 
of country travel for ladies at that day, when roads 
were generally little else than bridle paths. Side- 
saddles only came into partial use in the 18th century. 

The manners of the people were simple, unaffected, 
and economical. Industry was cultivated by all ; every 
son was brought up to the exercise of some mechanical 
employment, and every daughter to the knowledge of 
household duties. In those days, farmers made their 
own lime, tanned their own leather, often made their 
own shoes, did their own carpentering, wheelwrighting, 
and blacksmithing ; while the females spun wool and 
flax, frequently taking their spinning-wheels with them 
when they went abroad to spend an afternoon with a 
neighbor's wife. 

The Dutch were rather given to nicknaming — even 
in the public records we find such names as Friend John, 
Hans the Boore, Long Mary, Old Bush, and Top Knot 
Betty, evidently applied as expressing some individual 
peculiarity of person or character. 

The agriculture of the country, during its earlier 
years, was probably equal to that of the " Fatherland " 
at that day, all due allowance being made for the novel 
and peculiar circumstances which surround the settler 
in a new and unimproved country. At the period of the 
Revolutionary "War, the farmers of Kings County were 
in the habit of raising their own tobacco ; and during 
the century previous it was extensively exported — some 
of the best tobacco sent to Europe from the American 
colonies being raised on the Dutch tobacco plantations 
around the Wallabout, in the town of Brooklyn. The 
farmers of this vicinity, also, for some time previous to 
the Revolution, were in the habit of raising cotton — 
although to a very limited extent, and solely for the 
domestic uses of their own households. Fueman says 
in 1836 : "We have now a bedspread in our family, 
made of cotton and wool, colored blue and white, and 
woven in neat and handsome figures, the cotton of 
which, as well as the wool, was raised on my grand- 
father's farm in Kings County, L. I., in the year 1776, 
and which was cleaned, colored, and woven by the 
women of his family. It is now in use, and in good 
condition, and is one of the best fabrics I ever saw." 

Slavery was a feature of domestic history, which 
existed from an early period, and formed a considerable 
branch of the shipping interests of the Dutch. The 
mercantile value of a prime slave, both under the 
Dutch and English dynasties, was from $120 to $150, 
and when, from time to time, by natural increase and 
by importation, the number of slaves accumulated 
beyond the demand, the slave-trade decreased. Almost 
every domestic establishment of any pretensions in 



city or country was provided with one or more negro 
servants. These did the most of the farm labor, and 
their number was considered as a significant indication 
of the relative wealth of different families. They 
were, as a general thing, kindly treated and well cared 
for. The institution of slavery, however, commended 
itself to the Dutch mind rather as a necessity than as 
a desirable system. In the city, the association of so 
many blacks gave rise to much trouble, and even to 
several outbreaks during the half century preceding 
the Revolution, seriously affecting the public peace ; 
and in the rural districts, especially on Long Island, 
the intercourse of the city negroes with their own 
house and farm servants, was strongly deprecated and 
discouraged. After the Revolution, and under the 
beneficent influences of a more enlightened State legis- 
lation, slavery gradually disappeared. The last public 
sale of human beings in the town of Brooklyn is be- 
lieved to have been that of four slaves belonging to 
the widow Heltje Rappelje, of the Wallabout, in the 
year 17 73. It occurred at the division of her estate, 
and was, even at that time, considered an odious de- 
parture from the time-honored and more humane prac- 
tice, which then prevailed, of permitting slaves who 
wished to be sold, or who were offered for sale, to 
select their own masters. Indigent immigrants, also, 
sold their services for definite periods, during which 
they were as much the subject of purchase and sale as 
veritable slaves. 

As to some of the peculiar funeral customs of the 
Dutch, FxjEMAN says: 

" Among our Dutch farmers in Kings County, it has been 
from time immemorial, and still is a custom for all the young 
men, after becoming of age, to lay up a sufEicLent sum of 
money in gold to pay the expense of their funerals. In many 
families the money thus hallowed is not expended for that 
purpose, but descends as a species of heir-loom through sev- 
eral generations. I have seen gold thus saved from before 
the Revolution, and now in the hands of the grandson, him- 
self a man of family, having sons grown up to manhood, and 
which consisted of gold Johannes or Joes ($16 pieces), guineas, 

Another practice was to lay aside for each member of 
the family a linen shirt, handkerchief, etc., and never 
suffer them to be worn, but keep them clean to be buried in. 
In case a woman died in childbed, a white sheet, instead 
of a black pall, was spread over her cofiin as she was 
taken to the grave. At funerals, wines, pipes and cold 
collations were provided for the guests, and often linen 
scarfs, funeral cakes, etc., were distributed among them. 
Rev. P. Van Pelt, in a sketch of Dominie Schoon- 
maker of Brooklyn, thus describes a Dutch funeral: 

" It was in 1819 that I last heard, or recollect to have seen, 
the venerable old dominie. It was at the funeral of one of 
his old friends and associates. A custom had very generally 
prevailed, which, though then very rarely observed, yet in 
this instance was literally adhered to. The deceased had, 
many years before, provided and laid away the materials for 
his own coffin. This one was of the best seasoned and smooth- 

est boards, and beautifully grained. Other customs and 
ceremonies then existed, now almost forgotten. As I entered 
the room I observed the cofiSn elevated on a table in one cor- 
ner. The dominie, abstracted and grave, was seated at the 
upper end; and around, in solemn silence, the venei'able and 
hoary-headed friends of the deceased. All was still and 
serious. A simple recognition or a half -audible inquiry, as 
one after another arrived, was all that passed. Directly, the 
sexton, followed by a servant, made his appearance, with 
glasses and decanters. Wine was handed to each. Some 
declined; others drank a solitary glass. This ended, and 
again the sexton presented himself, with pipes and tobacco. 
The dominie smoked his pipe, and a few followed his example. 
The custom has become obsolete, and it is well that it has. 
When the whiflfs of smoke had ceased to curl around the 
head of the dominie, he arose with evident feeling, and in a 
quiet, subdued tone, made a short but apparently impressive 
address. I judged solely by his appearance and manner; for, 
although boasting a Holland descent, it was to me speaking 
in an unknown tongue. A short prayer concluded the 
service; and then the sexton, taking the lead, was followed 
by the dominie, the doctor, and the pall-bearers, with white 
scarfs and black gloves. The corpse, and a long procession of 
friends and neighbors, proceeded to the churchyard, where aU 
that was mortal was committed to the earth, till the last 
trump shall sound and the grave shall give up the dead. No 
bustle, no confusion, no noise nor indecent haste, attended 
that funeral." 

It was a custom of the Dutch families in this 
county to bury their dead in private or family burial 
grounds, without monuments. Many such, especially 
Bushwick, have been obliterated, within a few years, 
by the iextension of the city. 

It seems to have been customary, also, among the 
Dutch, about the close of the last century, to designate 
a widow as " the last wife " of her deceased husband, 
and a widower as "the last man" of his deceased wife. 

J. M. Stearns, Esq., of Williamsburgh, remarks: 
" that the old Dutch wills seem not to trust the widow 
in a second marriage." The restraints placed'upon 
remarriages, by wills, were generally in favor of the 
children of the first marriage; and the widows thus 
restricted generally signed consents to accept the 
bequests in lieu of dower, for the good reason that pro- 
priety did not allow them to refuse so soon after the 
death of their first husband; and, because the devises 
and bequests in lieu of dower vested an estate for life, 
or three-thirds of the estate subject to a contingency in 
their own control, instead of one third absolutely. The will 
of Cornelius Van Catts, of Bushwick (1726), expressed 
in a sort of half Dutch dialect, devises to his wife, 
Annetjie, his whole estate to her while she remains his 
widow — both real and personal. 

' ' But if she happen to marry, then I geff her nothing of 
my estate, neither real or personal. I geff to my well-beloved 
son, Cornelius, the best horse that I have, or else £7 10s., for 
his good as my eldest son. And then my two children, Cor- 
nelius Catts and David Catts, all heef [half] of my whole 
effects, land and movables, that is to say, Cornelius Catts 
heef of all, and David Catts heeff of all. But my wife can 
be master of all, for bringing up to good learning my two 
children ipffetten) school to learn. But if she comes to marry 



again, then her husband can take her away from the farm, 
and all will be left for the children, Cornelius Catts and 
David Catts, heeflf and heeflf." 

So also, John Burroughs, of Newtown (1678), devisets 
to his son John his then dwelling-house, barn, orchard, 
out-houses, and land, etc. 

" But not to dispossess my beloved wife during the time of 
her widowhood. But if she many, then her husband must 
provide for her, as I have done." 

They took special care to provide for the education 
of their children. Teachers were appointed only on 
the recommendation of the Governor, and their duties 
were very accurately prescribed. This subject, how- 
ever, will be more fully treated in our chapter on Edu- 
cation in Kings Go. 

What was termed " samp porridge " (from the Indian 
seaump — pounded corn) was made by long boiling the 
corn that had been pounded in a wooden mortar, a pro- 
cess that was learned from the Indians. What was 
known as sujypaan was made, in the same way, from more 
finely ground meal. These mortars or " pioneer mills," 
as they have sometimes been called, were at first the 
only means the settlers possessed of converting their 
corn into coarse meal, and the process was called 
" niggering " corn, because the work was usually done 
by negro slaves. 

Tea drinking was a custom of later date. The prac- 
tice of interchanging visits on Sunday afternoons was 
prevalent, but the clergy and some of the strictest of 
the laity, influenced by the views of their New England 
neighbors, came to regard it as an evil and it was grad- 
ually discontinued. Fueman says: 

" It seems more like puritanical rigor than an exhibi- 
tion of Christian feeling, to break up such kindly and 
social meetings as these after the religious services of 
the day have been performed." 

Under the colonial government, nearly all marriages on 
the island were under license from the governor — a 
practice which increased his income and added to the 
expense of entering the matrimonial state. Marriage 
by publication of the bans seems to have been held in 
disrepute. In 1673 there was an ofiicer in New York 
whose duty, which extended to Long Island, was to 
hear and determine matrimonial disputes. He was 
styled " the first commissary of marriage affairs." 
Such an officer at the present day would lead a busy 

Many of the amimements, sports, and fireside enjoy- 
ments of the people here, as well as their religious cus- 
toms and superstitions, were transplanted from the 
native countries of the original settlers. The origin of 
many of these in the remote past is lost; but customs 
often outlive the ideas Tfhich gave birth to them. On 
the annual return of Christmas the yule-log and Christ- 
mas candles were burned among the English settlers as 
in ancient times in " Merrie England," and the Dutch 
celebrated the holiday with still greater zest, after the 

manner of their forefathers in the Netherlands. St. 
Nicholas, or " Santa Klaas," was regarded among the 
Dutch children as a veritable personage, and they had 
a hymn in the Dutch language which they sang on the 
occasion of their Christmas festivities, the first line 
of which was " Sanctus Klaas goedt heyligh man " (St. 
Nicholas, good holy man). The practice, which was in- 
troduced by these Dutch settlers, of having their chil- 
dren's stockings hung up to be filled by Santa Klaas, is 
far from being extinct. New Year's eve and the first 
of January were formerly celebrated in a noisy way, by 
tiring guns at the doors in a neighborhood, when their 
neighbors thus saluted were expected to invite their 
friends in to partake of refreshments, and then join them 
to thus salute others till all the men were collected 
together, when they repaired to a rendezvous and passed 
the day in athletic sports and target firing. It was 
finally deemed necessary to arrest, by legal enactments, 
this practice of tiring guns on these occasions. When 
the style was changed, the Dutch here at first refused to 
recognize the change in their celebration of these festi- 
vals. New Year was never celebrated with greater 
cordiality and hospitality than by these people, and 
their old customs are plainly traceable in the manner of 
keeping the day still in vogue here. 

St. Valentine's day, called among the early Dutch 
here " Vrouwen dagh " or women's day, was a time of 
great hilarity among the young people. One peculiarity 
in their manner of celebrating it is thus described by 


" Every girl provided herself with a cord without a 
knot in the end, and on the morning of this day they 
would sally forth, and every lad whom they met was 
sure to have three or four smart strokes from the cord 
bestowed on his shoulders. These we presume were in 
those days considered as ' love taps ; ' and, in that light, 
answered all the purposes of the ' valentines ' of more 
modern times." 

Easter day, or " Pausch " (pronounced Paus), was 
observed by religious services as well as merry-makings, 
and these continued through Easter week. Ampng their 
customs was that of making presents to each other of 
colored eggs, called Easter eggs, and this still prevails 
among some of their descendants. 

" Pinckster dagh," or Pentecost, was once celebrated 
by the Dutch here on the first Monday in June, by good 
cheer among neighbors, and the use of soft waffles was 
peculiar to this festival. 

Among the Dutch people in the days of slavery the 
custom prevailed of presenting the children of their 
female slaves, at the age of three years, to some young 
member of the family of the same sex ; and the one to 
whom the child was presented at once gave it a piece 
of money and a pair of shoes, the event being often 
followed by strong and lasting attachments between 
these domestics and their destined owners. 







AT the outbreak of the Revohition the Dutch 
inhabitants of Kings County, as we have already 
stated, -were very little in sympathy with the 
patriot cause. In them, the fear of personal 
inconvenience and pecuniary loss outweighed the 
impulses of patriotism, and they looked at the approach- 
ing storm with regret. A few, however, became imbued 
with the spirit which pervaded the country. In the spring 
of 1775, action was taken in the several towns of Kings 
County (except Flatlands, which chose to remain neutral) 
for the appointment of delegates to a convention. The 
Provincial Congress was soon afterward organized, and 
in this all the towns were represented. The representa- 
tives from this county soon exhibited a want of zeal, 
which, with the evident signs of disaileotion to the 
American cause in other parts of the Island, disheart- 
ened the friends of that cause, and encouraged the 
loyalists. This was the state of feeling in Kings 
County in 17Y6. 

Washington, who was in command at the siege of 
Boston, became convinced that warlike operations were 
to be transferred to this point. General Charles Lee 
also foresaw this, and quickly raised in Connecticut a 
force of twelve thousand men, with which he arrived 
in New York February 3d. Early in March, Washing- 
ton ordered the fortification of Brooklyn; and when, after 
the sailing of the British fleet from Halifax, it became 
certain that this was to be the next point of attack, 
the work was pushed with the utmost vigor. 

Brooklyn, at that time, was no more than an agricul- 
tural village. In the vicinity of "the ferry" stood 
some fifty dwellings. Groves of cedars crowned the 
" Heights," on which were a few residences. The 
space between the East River and Joralemon and 
Fulton Streets was covered with pastures, orchards and 
market gardens. Farm houses of the Dutch citizens 
were scattered along the shore of the East River to 
Gowanus, and of the Wallabout to Bushwick, while 
the village of Brooklyn proper was a mile from the 
ferry, on the Jamaica road, and a mile and a quarter 
further was Bedford — then consisting of a few farm 

The defensive works were originally planned by 
General Lee, who, being soon called southward, was 
succeeded, March 7th, by Lord Stirling; and he in May 
by General Greene, under whom the works were com- 
pleted. Space will not permit a detailed account of 
these works. In their construction, and in the dispo- 
sition of the forces that were to man them, the Ameri- 
can officers found it necessary to provide against dif- 
ferent possible plans of attack ; and, in so doing, the 

effective American force of 20,000 men (the nominal 
force was 27,000) was extended from King's Bridge, 
on Manhattan Island; and, on Long Island, from the 
Wallabout Bay to Gowanus meadows — -a line many miles 
in length. It is proper to say that the plan of these 
fortifications has since been made the subject of much 
and diverse criticism. Johnston, the latest, and 
probably the most accurate historian of this subject, 
locates them as follows : 

Premising that "the topography of this section of Long 
Island was peculiar, presenting strong contrasts of high and 
low land. Originally, and indeed within the memory of 
citizens still living, that part of Brooklyn looking south and 
west of the line of Nevins Street, was practically a penin- 
sula, with the Wallabout Bay (present Navy Yard) on one 
side of the neck, and on the other, a mile across, the exten- 
sive Gowanus Creek and marsh, over which now run 2d, 3d 
and 4th Avenues. The creek set in from the bay where the 
Gowanus canal is retained, and rendered the marsh impassable 
at high water as far as the line of Baltic Street. Blocks of 
buildings now stand on the site of mills that were once 
worked by the ebb and flow of the tides. The lower part of 
what is known as South Brooklyn was largely swamp land 
in 1776. Here, the peninsula terminated in a nearly isolated 
triangular piece of ground jutting out into the harbor, called 
Red Hook, which figured prominently in the military opera- 
tions. From this projection to the furthest point on the 
Wallabout was a distance of three miles." 

This Red Hook, and Governor's Island opposite, were 
the first points occupied and fortified by the Americans, 
under orders of General Putnam, who had assumed the 
chief command April 4th, and who was quick to 
observe their strategic importance. His sagacity was 
justified by the alacrity with which the British ships- 
of-war took themselves out of gun-shot. 

" The occupation of these two points, clearly necessary for 
a more effective defence of the East River, resulted in a 
modification of Lee's plan of fortification; and the adopticn 
of a new line on Long Island. It was now decided to hold 
the B. peninsula with a cliain of works thrown up across the 
neck from Wallabout Bay to the Gowanus marsh." By the 
recent "fortunate recovery of General Orders of the day, 
and of original sketches of the site, it has become possible to 
locate this line, and name tlie various works with almost 
entire accuracy. To defend the approach between the bay 
and the marsh,the engineers laid out three principal forts and 
two redoubts, with breastworks connecting them. The site 
occupied was a favorable one. On the left was the higli 
ground, now known as Fort Greene, or Washington Park, 
100 feet above the sea level; and on the right, between the 
main road and marsh, were lower elevations on lands then 
owned by Rutgers Van Brunt and Johannes Debevoise. 
The flanks were thus well adapted for defence, and near 
enough each other to command the ground between them." 

Extending from the right to the left of the line of 
defence, the works erected were : 

1. On the right of the line. Fort Box (so named 
after Major Daniel Box, Gen. Greene's Brigade-Major), 
nearest to Gowanus Creek. It was of diamond shape, 
and located on, or near, the line of Pacific, just above 
Bond street. 

2. Three hundred yards, or so, to the left of Port 



Box, a short distance above Bond street, between State 
and Scbermerliorn, was Fort Greene, star-shaped, 
mounting six guns, provided with well and magazines, 
and named, of course, after Gen. Greene. Its guns 
commanded the Jamaica highway, and it was garrisoned 
by a full regiment. 

3. Still further to the left, on the other side of the 
road, was a small circular work, called the Oblong 
Redoubt. It stood on a rising ground at corner of De 
Kalb and Hudson avenues, commanded the road 
directly, and was, with Fort Greene, the centre of the 
line of defence, which, ascending northeasterly to the 
top of the hill (Washington Park), connected with 

4. Fort Putnam, star-shaped, somewhat smaller than 
Fort Greene, but mounting four or five guns. It was 
probably named after Col. Rufus Putnam, the chief 

5. At the eastern end of the hill, not far from Fort 
Putnam, and on a lower grade, was a small affair, 
called the redoubt on the left. It was on the line of 
Cumberland street, about midway between Willoughby 
and Myrtle avenues. 

" Each of these works was a complete fortification in itself, 
being surrounded with a wide ditch.^ provided with a sally- 
port, its sides lined with sharpened stakes, the garrison armed 
with spears to repel storming parties, and the well supplied 
with water and provisions against siege. The greater part 
of the line was picketed with abattis, and the woods cut 
down to give full sweep to the fire of the guns.'' 

Outside of this line of defence, there were other forti- 
fications, viz: (1), A redoubt on the crest of a conical 
hill, near the corner of Court and Atlantic streets, known 
to the Dutch inhabitants as Punkiesberg; but named by 
the Continentals, Cobble Hill, from its resemblance to a 
hiU of that name which was one of the fortified points 
in the siege of Boston, whence they had lately come. 
Its trenches ascended spirally to the top, where a plat- 
form was laid for the cannon, from which circumstance 
it derived, also, the nickname of " Corkscrew Fort." Its 
occupancy " would have prevented the enemy from get- 
ting a foothold on the peninsula in rear or flank of the 
main line, in case they had effected a landing back of 
Red Hook, or had crossed Gowanus Creek above." 
(2), Near the corner of present Degraw and Bond 
streets, a small redoubt, — in form, a right angle, — mount- 
ing one gun, and covering the narrow passage over a 
mill-dam which there crossed G.-Creek : (3), The water- 
battery on Red Hook, mounting 4 18-pounders, en bar- 
bette, to keep the enemy from landing at the southern 
extremity of the peninsula, and to cover the passage 
between this and Governor's Island. This— i^or* Defi- 
ance — was a " small, but exceedingly strong " work ; 
(4), on the corner of present Clark and Columbia 
streets, a strong, inclosed work, of 8 guns, called Fort 
Stirling, and commanding the East River channel. 

In the digging and strengthening of these works, the 
tedious but necessary performance of camp duty, and 
in occasional expeditions to suppress the latent Toryism 

which, ever and anon, would break out in both Kings 
and Queens counties, the spring of "76 slipped away 
— ^until (June 1st) the fortifications were so far advanced 
as to admit of the mountipg of the guns, and the assign- 
ment (l7th) of the various regiments to their respective 
positions. And by the middle of summer the American 
army was fairly entrenched upon the Brooklyn peninsula 
with lines which, though yet unfinished, " were still of 
very respectable strength." These fortifications on L. L, 
it must be remembered, were but part of a formidable 
line of defensive works which may be described in a 
general way, as beginning again on New York Island, 
at Corlaer's Hook ; passing around the lower end of 
present city, and up on the North River side to corner 
of present Washington and Harrison streets ; while 
another line of defence ran across New York island 
above the (then) city, from a redoubt, corner of Monroe 
and Rutger streets, along the line of Grand street to 
Bayard's Hill, corner Grand and Mulberry streets, where 
was a strong redoubt having the range of the city on 
one side, and the approach by the Bowery on the other. 
Other available points on the island, as far as Harlem 
Heights, were, also, more or less fortified, and the city 
itself was full of barricades. 






N the 29th of June, the British fleet, from Halifax, 
entered the lower bay of New York. It had 
been Gen. Howe's first intention to land at once 
on Long Island, but he was deterred from so 
doing by what he learned, from spies, of the character 
of the defences. On the 9th of July the British troops 
were landed on Staten Island, where they remained a 
month and a half, receiving re-inf oreements almost daily. 
The naval forces were commanded by Admiral Sir 
Richard Howe, brother to Gen. William Howe, who 
was in command of the land forces. Both were brave, 
skilful and experienced officers, and the plan and con- 
duct of the battle which followed fully sustained their 
good reputation. 

The transfer of the British, from Staten to Long 
Island, was begun on the morning of the 22d of August; 
and by noon, 15,000 men and 40 pieces of artillery had 
been landed at Denyse's dock (now Fort Hamilton), at 
what is now Bath, in the town of New Utrecht. 
Hitherto, Washington's chief anxiety had been, to know 
at which of the many and widely separated points open 
to the British commander, he would be attacked. 
Would the British descend upon New Jersey, from 
Staten Island ; would they make a direct attack upon 
the city with the fleet, and land troops in his rear by 
way of the Hudson ; would they cross to L. I., and fall 



THE BATTLE PASS (IN PROSPECT PAEK), BROOKLYN. (From a Sketch by G. L. Burdette, taken in 1792.) 

upon Gen. Greene in force ; or, would they make feints 
of landing at different points, as their water carriage : 
enabled them to do, and suddenly strike at his weakest 
point ? But all uncertainty as to the intentions of the 
British commander being thus dispelled, troops were 
hurried across from New York, to re-inforce those hold- 
ing the defences at Brooklyn. 

Johnston (from whose accurate pages the following 
account is mainly condensed) thus sketches the position: 

"The section of L. I., which the enemy now occupied, was 
a broad, low plain, stretching northward from the coast from 
4 to 6 miles, and eastward, a still further distance. Scattered 
over its level surface were four villages, surrounded with 
farms. Nearest to the Narrows, and nearly a mile from the 
coast, stood New Utrecht; another mile S. E. of this was 
Oravesend ; N. E. from Gravesend, nearly 3 miles, the road 
led through Ji'toiZands, and directly N. from Flatlands, and 
about half way to Brooklyn Church, lay Flatbush. Between 
this plain and the Brooklyn lines, ran a ridge of hUls, ex- 
tending from New York Bay midway through the island to 
its eastern extremity. The ridge varied in height from 100 
to 150 feet above the sea, and from the plain it rose s mewhat 
abruptly from 40 to 80 feet, but fell oflE more gradually in its 
descent on the other side. Its entire surface was covered 
with a dense growth of woods and thickets, and to an enemy 
advancing from below it presented a continuous barrier, a 
huge natural abattis, impassable to artillery, where, with pro- 
portionate numbers, a successful defense could be sustained. 
The roads across the ridge passed through its natural depres- 
sions, of which there were four within a distance of six miles 
from the harbor. The main highway, or Jamaica iJoad— that 
which led up from Brooklyn Ferry— after passing through 

Bedford, kept on stm N. of the hills, and crossed them at 
the "Jamaica Pass," about 4 miles from the fortified line. 
From this, branched three roads leading to the villages in the 
plain. The most direct was that to Flatbush, which cut 
through the ridge a mile and a half from the works. 

Three quarters of a mile to the left, towards the Jamaica 
Pass, a road from Bedford led also to Flatbush ; and near the 
coast ran the Gowanus road to the Narrows. Where the Red 
Lion Tavern stood on this road, about 3 miles from Brooklyn 
Church, a narrow lane, known as the Martense Lane, now 
marking the southern boundary of Greenwood Cemetery, 
diverged to the left through a hollow in the ridge and con- 
nected with roads on the plain. Clearly to understand suc- 
ceeding movements on L. I., it is necessary to have in mind 
the relative situation of these several routes and passes." 

The entire effective force of the American army in 
and about New York, which now awaited the approach 
of Howe's 24,000 veterans, may be estimated at not far 
from 19,000, mostly levies and militia. The British, 
however, did not attempt an advance for three days, 
although skirmishing occurred in front of Flatbush. On 
the 24th, Sullivan, attacked by severe illness, was super- 
seded in the chief command on Long Island by General 
Putnam. On the 26th, additional regiments were sent 
over from New York, among them the gallant Mary- 
landers and Delaware battalion, raising the force on 
Long Island on the night of the 26th to a total 
of about 7,000 men fit for duty; and the same night the 
British columns began their forward movement. Three 
of the passes, which we have described, were well 
guarded by the American forces, viz. ; the Flatbush Pass 



(near the junction of whicli witli the narrow Post Road, 
was a breastwork, with felled trees in its front) ; the 
CoaM Road, near the Red Lion tavern, and the Bed- 
ford Pass ; while between there was a chain of senti- 
nels. But, though the best possible disposition had been 
made of the limited force that could be spared, and 
though at the passes themselves a stout resistance could 
have been offered, it was still an attenuated line, over 
four miles long, not parallel, but oblique, to the line of 
works at Brooklyn, and distant from it not less than 
one-and-a-half, and at the farthest point nearly three 
miles. Unfortunately, the fourth or Jamaica Pass, far 
over to the left, and four miles from the lines, was left 
without any permanent guards. Its distance and isolated 
position, together with the scarcity in force, especially 
in cavalry, to a certain extent compelled its neglect; 
except such watching as the few mounted patrols could 
give it. The British forces were now moving on the 
American lines in three columns ; General Grant's divis- 
ion from the Narrows, along the Shore road; De Heis- 
ter's Hessians by the way of Flatbush Pass; and Gen- 
erals Clinton, Cornwallis and Percy, with Howe himself, 
with the main body as a flanking force, around the 
Americans' left by way of Jamaica Pass, which they 
had found to be neglected. 

Grant's advance guard, marching from the Narrows, 
struck the American pickets near the Red Lion, about 
2 a. m. of the 27th, and, when met by General Stirling, 
who had promptly responded to the alarm with two or 
three regiments, were on the full march toward the 
Brooklyn lines. As there were still good positions 
which he could occupy, Stirling immediately disposed 
his force so as to make as effective resistance as possible. 
The road wound along on the line of present 3d avenue, 
only a little distance from the bay; and, at the present 
crossing of the avenue by 23d street, there was a little 
bridge on the old road crossing a creek, which set back 
from the bay to a low and marshy piece of ground on 
the left, looking south; while just beyond the bridge, 
the land rose to quite a bluff at the water's edge, called 
by the Dutch, " Blockje's Bergh." From the bluff the 
hill fell away gradually to the marsh, the road being 
between them. On the crest of the slope, which rose 
northerly from the marsh and low land around Blockje's 
Berg, on the line of present 20th street, Stirling formed 
his brigade. On the right next the road he posted 
Small wood's Marylanders; further up the hillside, the 
Delaware troops; on their left, in the woods above, 
Atlee's Pennsylvanians, with the Pennsylvania rifle- 
men along the hedges near the foot of the hill. Seeing 
his path thus blocked. Grant drew up in line, as if 
for attack; but really (it was now V a. m.) to keep 
Stirling where he was until the other movements of 
the day were developed. In the skirmishing and 
by-play which ensued, the Americans troops displayed 
nerve and ability, standing firm under feints of attack 
and the galling fire of British artillery, and inflicting 

upon their foes a greater loss than they themselves 

Meanwhile, 9 a. m., De Heister had made no de- 
termined attack either on the Flatbush or Bedford 
roads; his Hessians were comparatively quiet at the foot 
of the hills, though sometimes exchanging shots with 
the American pickets. 

While Stirling, on the lower road, was, as he supposed, 
stubbornly holding back the British from the Brooklyn 
lines ; and all was quiet but vigilant at the Flatbush and 
Bedford passes, the web which the enemy had been 
silently weaving around them during the night, was 
almost completed. At nine p. m. of the 26th, the 
British division under Howe had been set in motion. 
Sir Henry Clinton led the van of the advance with dra- 
goons and light infantry. Cornwallis followed with the 
reserves; and after him came the First Brigade and Vlst 
Regiment with 14 pieces of field artillery. Lord Percy 
and Howe himself followed with the 2d, 3d and 5th Bri- 
gades, the Guards and ten guns; while the 49th Regiment 
with four twelve pounders, and baggage, etc., brought 
up the rear. This column, 10,000 strong, with the 
Flatbush guides, headed " across the country " towards 
the Jamaica Pass, moving cautiously along the road 
from Flatlands until it reached Schoonmaker's bridge, 
over a creek emptying into Jamaica Bay, when the col- 
umn struck over the field to the Jamaica Road, and 
halted in the open lots a little southeast of the pass and 
directly in front of Howard's Halfway House. Here 
they captured a small unmounted patrol of young 
American ofiicers, from whom the unguarded state of the 
pass was ascertained; and the British advance then 
recommenced its march, cautiously, however, reach- 
ing the Jamaica Road on the other side of the Pass by 
a round-about lane known as J;he Rockaway Path,and led 
by innkeej)er Howard and son, who were forcibly com- 
pelled to act as guides. At half -past eight a. m., after a 
slow, circuitous and difficult night's march of nine miles, 
from Flatlands, the van reached Bedford and found itself 
directly in the rear of the left of the American outposts, 
while its approach was as yet unknown in the camp 
" at Brooklyn. And when the alarm did reach the camp, 
swift upon its heels came the enemy. Hemmed in be- 
tween the Hessians in front and the British in rear, 
all along the hills from the Flatbush Pass to 
their extreme left, the Americans were, by 10 a. m., in 
full retreat, toward thd Brooklyn lines; hurrying 
through the wood, down the slopes and across the fields, 
some singly, some in groups, some keeping together in 
companies, some in battalions ; fighting light infantry, 
broken by dragoon charges, intercepted by Hessians, 
a hand-to-hand fight, but with less loss of life than 
might have been expected; though General Sullivan 
was captured about noon, and the day was lost on the 
left and center. 

On the right, Stirling, warned about 10 a. m. by the 
sound of firing in his rear, that the lines were flanked, 



still fought stubbornly, until between 11 and 12 o'clock, 
he found his retreat on the Gowanus road cut o£E by 
Comwallis with the Vlst Regiment, and 2d Grenadiers. 
But one way of escape, and that a desperate one, was 
left, viz. : to cross the Gowanus marsh and creek, where 
both were at their broadest, toward the near Brooklyn 
lines. And as his soldiers, under his orders, struggled 
across the difficult morass, he faced around with half of 
Gist's Maryland Battalion, and threw himself upon 
Cornwallis. The British posted themselves in the old 
Cortelyou house, above the upper mills, near the inter- 
section of the Post and Gowanus roads, but were nearly 
dislodged by the brave Marylanders, who, after repeated 
and heroic efforts, which have covered them with high- 
est honor in the events of that day, were finally routed, 
broken into small parties and forced to save themselves 
as best they might. Nine only escaped across the creek, 
and Stirling, making vain efforts to escape, fell in 
with the Hessian corps, which had now reached the scene 
of action, and surrendered himself to De Heister. The 
rest of the command succeeded in crossing the creek 
and marsh, with but trifling loss. By 2 p. m. the battle, 
which had commenced at 3 a. m. and had swept over a 
range of five miles, closed in defeat to American arms. 
But it was not a disgrace, for " the British and Hes- 
sians suffered a loss in hilled and wounded equal to that 
inflicted upon the Americans." The British casualties 
were 377 officers and soldiers; while the Americans lost 
800 (including 91 officers) taken prisoners, not over 6 
officers and 50 privates killed, less than 16 officers and 
150 privates wounded. "It was a field where the 
American soldier, in every firm encounter, proved him- 
self worthy of the cause he was fighting for." 

From the moment that the passes were lost, Wash- 
ington realized the danger, and took prompt measures 
to avert further disaster. During the night of the 
27th he brought over from Harlem Heights two well- 
drilled Pennsylvania and a Massachusetts regiment, 
with some others ; and when the morning of the 28th 
dawned, it found him within the Brooklyn line, with all 
the troops that could be spared from other points — 
some 9,500 — prepared to resist the British should they 
attempt to carry his position by storm. The 28th and 
29th were exceedingly rainy days, and the duty of 
guarding their Unes in this deluge, without tents or 
baggage, and almost without victuals and drink, fell 
heavily upon the dispirited but yet heroic American 
soldiers. Skirmishing occurred between the forces; 
and one affair (on the high ground between Vanderbilt 
and Clinton Avenues, on the line of De Kalb), in which 
the British entrenched themselves, probably had great 
influence, in connection with the other unfortunate cir- 
cumstances of his situation, in determining Washing- 
ton in favor of a retreat, since it fully developed the 
enemy's intention to advance by trenches and parallels. 
Within 24 hours they would have been within short 
range, and this would have unposed upon the Ameri- 

cans the necessity of driving them out of their works 
by storm. In view of the great disparity of numbers 
and the condition of his troops, this could not be 
risked ; and, at a council of war held at the old Cor- 
nell-Pierrepont house (on line of Montague Street, near 
the little iron foot-bridge which spans the carriage- 
way) late on the afternoon of the 29th a retreat was 
decided upon. Meanwhile, through Washington's 
foresight, Gen. Heath and Asst. Q. M. Hughes, on 
New York Island, were already impressing into the 
service every sloop, boat and water-craft of any 
description between Spuyten Duyvel, on the Hudson, 
and Hell Gate, on the Sound ; which, manned largely 
by the Salem and Marblehead (fishermen) troops of 
Glover and Hutchinson's regiments, were speedily 
collected on the Brooklyn shore. The final with- 
drawal of the troops from the Island was effected 
under a General Order, in which the sick and wounded, 
as being an incumbrance, were ordered to be sent over 
to the hospitals in New York ; and the army was 
informed that, in view of the expected arrival that 
evening of fresh troops from New Jersey under Gen. 
Mercer, it was proposed to relieve a portion of the 
Long Island regiments and make a change in their 
situation ; and, as it was yet undetermined which regi- 
ments could be relieved, all, or the greater part of 
them, were directed "to parade with arms, accoutre- 
ments and knapsacks, at 7 o'clock, at the head of their 
encampments, and there wait for orders." Thus, in a 
plausible and natural manner, not calculated to excite 
suspicion or alarm, the army was prepared for the final 
move. At dark, the retreat began. As one regiment 
moved towards the ferry — present Fulton Ferry — 
another extended its line so as to fill the gap. All was 
done busily, quietly, and without confusion. Between 
7 and 8 P. M. the boats manned by Glover and Hutch- 
inson's men began their trip, taking off first the militia 
and new levies. About 9 o'clock wind and tide and 
pouring rain made the navigation of the river very 
difficult, a north-easter sprang up, sloops and sail-boats 
became unmanageable, and row-boats only could be 
used, and the prospect of getting all across before day- 
light looked dubious. Fortunately, about lip. m., the 
north-easter was replaced by a southwest breeze, and 
the passage became " direct, easy and expeditious," the 
boats loaded almost to the water's edge, which was 
" smooth as glass." Meanwhile, a serious blunder had 
occurred at the lines, by which the regiments covering 
the retreat had left their post and started for the ferry ; 
but met by Washington, who was alarmed at the pos- 
sible consequences of the mistake, they promptly faced 
about and reoccupied their station until dawn of the 
30th, when, just as they were about to attempt the 
hazardous feat of withdrawing in clear daylight, in face 
of the enemy, a fog settled upon Long Island so dense 
that it obscured them from the view of British pickets. 
When the final order, therefore, came for their retreat 



— " after it was fair day," they quietly withdrew from 
their lines, distinctly hearing the sound of pickaxe and 
shovel in the British works. By 7 a. m. the entire force 
was safely in New York, the last man to cross being 
General Washington himself, whose foresight and skill 
had thus wrested victory from defeat. With the sub- 
sequent retreat of the American Army through West- 
chester, it is not the purpose of this history to deal. 

Long Island was represented in this affair by two 
militia regiments and two small companies of horse. 
The Kings County regiment was commanded by Col. 
Rutgert Van Brunt. The militia, especially in dis- 
affected Kings and Queens counties, had been mustered 
with difficulty ; and the troops raised by a draft, espec- 
ially ordered by the New York Provincial Congress, in 
August, were commanded by Col. Jeronimus Remsen, 
of Queens, with Nich. Cowenhoven, of Kings, as Lieut. 
Colonel, and Richard Thome, of Queens, as Major. This 
regiment, together with that from Suffolk County, 
Col. Josiah Smith, did not report to General Greene until 
August 15th, and after, and together mustered scarcely 
500 men. By desertions, the Kings County regiment 
was soon reduced to about 200 men, and, after the 
battle, was still further reduced by the same cause, to 
about 150 men. This remnant left the island with the 
rest of the army, and under command of Major Barent 
Johnson (father of the late General Jeremiah) marched 
to Harlem, where they dispersed without leave and 
returned to their homes, many of them being subse- 
quently captured by tories and imprisoned in New 
York. Major Johnson accompanied the army to Jersey, 
where he was captured by the British, and was paroled 
by Howe, in January, 1777. The troopers, less than 50, 
were from Brooklyn, under Captain Adolph Waldron 
and Lieut. Wm. Boerum; with a few others from the 
county at large, under Captain Lambert Suydam. 




NO chapter in the history of the American Revolu- 
tion is more appalling, or revolting to every 
human feeling, than that which records the suf- 
ferings of the prisoners who fell into the hands 
of the British. In all cases of this kind the account 
which prisoners themselves give of their treatment 
should be taken with many grains of allowance, for 
they were very prone to exaggerate ; but if the half of 
that which was related by American prisoners is true, 
the inhumanity of their keepers was truly shocking 
The capture of New York in September, 1776, and of 
Fort Washington in November of the same year, threw 
into the hands of the British a large number of prison- 
ers, which, added to those already in their hands. 

swelled the aggregate to about 5,000 in the city of New 
York. To the confusion and embarrassment which this 
sudden accumulation of prisoners necessitated, were 
added the negligence of the British commander, and the 
brutality of Provost Marshal Cunningham and his sub- 

But, if the condition of the prisoners in New York 
was pitiable, that of the seamen confined in the prison- 
ships at the Wallabout was horrible. The crowding 
together of many human beings in the hold of a ship, 
even with the best means of ventilation and the utmost 
care for their cleanliness and comfort, is disastrous to 
the health of those so situated. If then, as was the 
case of these prisoners, they are compelled to breathe 
over and over again the pestilential emanations from 
their own bodies and from the filth by which they are 
surrounded, and to subsist on food insufiicient in quan- 
tity and almost poisonous in quality, it is not a matter 
of wonder that, as was the case with those confined in 
these ships, few survived their imprisonment. 

From the autumn of 1 7 7 6, when the British came in pos- 
session of New York, during six years, one or more con- 
demned hulks were stationed at the Wallabout, in which 
were confined such American seamen as were taken 
prisoners by the British. The first of these was the 
" Whitby,'' which was moored in the Wallabout in 
October, 1776. In May, 1777, two other large ships 
were also anchored there, one of which was burned in 
October of the same year, and the other in February, 
1778. In April, 1778, the old "Jersey" was moored 
there, and the " Hope " and the " Falmouth " — two so- 
called hospital-ships — were stationed near. Up to the 
time when these hospital-ships were stationed there, no 
physicians had been in attendance on the sick in the 
prison ships. 

Rev. Thomas Andeos of Berkley, Mass., was a pris- 
oner on the old "Jersey," and relates his experience 
and observation as follows : 

"This was an old sixty-four gun ship, which through age 
had become unfit for further actual service. She was stripped 
of every spar and all her rigging. After a battle with a 
French fleet her lion figurehead was taken away to repair 
another ship ; no appearance of ornament was left, and 
nothing remained but an old, unsightly, rotten hulk. Her 
dark and filthy external appearance perfectly corresponded 
with the death and despair that reigned within ; and nothing 
could be more foreign from truth than to paint her with 
colors flying, or any circumstance or appendage to please the 
eye. She was moored at the Wallabout Bay, about three- 
quarters of a mile to the eastward of Brooklyn ferry, near a 
tide-miU on the Long Island shore. The nearest place to 
land was about twenty rods ; and doubtless no other ship in 
the British navy ever proved the means of destruction of so 
many human beings. It is computed that not less than 
eleven thousand American seamen perished in her. After it 
was next to certain death to confine a prisoner here, the inhu- 
manity and wickedness of doing it was about the same as if 
he had been taken to the city and deliberately shot in some 
public square ; but, as if mercy had fled from the earth, here 
we were doomed to dwell. And never, while I was on board, 



THE "OLB JERSEY" PKISON-SHIP. (From Dawson's edition of Dring'S "Old Jersey Captive.") 

The Flag-staff, whicli was seldom used, and only for signals. 

A canvas awning or tent, used by the guards in warm weather. 

The Quarter-deelc, with its barricade ahout ten feet high, with a door and loop- 
holes on each side. ^ ^ ^ , 

The Ship's Officers' Cabin, under the Quarter-deck. « ^, ,,, , «, 

Accommodation-ladder, on the starboard side, for the use of the ship's offlcers. 

The Steerage, occupied by the waiiors belonging to the ship. 

The Cook-room for the ship's crew and guards. _ ,4.„*..,„™ 

The Sutler's room, where articles were sold to the prisoners, and delivered to tiiem 
through an opening in tlie bulkhead. 

9 The Upper-deck and Spar-deck, where the prisoners were occasionally allowed to 

10. The Gangway ladder, on the larboard side, for the prisoners. 

11. The Derrick, on the starboard side, for taking in water, etc., etc. 

12. The Galley, or Great Copper, under the forecastle, where the provisions were 

cooked for the prisoners. 

13. The Gun-room, occupied by those prisoners who were officers. 

14. 15, Hatchways leading below, where the prisoners wpre confined. 
17, 18. Between-decks, where the prisoners were couflncd at night. 
19. The Bowsprit. 

\iti. Chain cables, by which the vessel was moored. 


iiistohy of kings county. 

did any Howard or angel of pity appear, to inquire into or 
alleviate our woes. Once or twice, by the order of a stranger 
on the quarter deck, a bag of apples was hurled promiscu- 
ously into the midst of hundreds of prisoners, crowded to- 
gether as thick as they could stand, and life and limbs were 
endangered by the scramble. This, instead of compassion, 
was a cruel sport. When I saw it about to commence I fled 
to the most distant part of the ship. 

" On the commencement of the first evening we were 
driven down to darkness, between decks secured by iron 
gratings and an armed soldiery, and a scene of hoiTor which 
bafifles all description presented itself. On every side wretched, 
desponding shapes of men could be seen. Around the well- 
room an armed guard were forcing up the prisoners to the 
winches to clear the ship of water and prevent her sinking ; 
and little else could be heard but a roar of mutual execra- 
tions, reproaches, and insults. During this operation there 
was a small, dim light admitted below, but it served to make 
darkness more visible, and horror more terrific. In my reflec- 
tions I said this must be a complete image and anticipation 
of hell. Milton's .description of the dark world rushed upon 
my mind: — 

' Sights of woe, regions of liorror doleful. 
Shades where peace and rest can never dwell.' 

"If there was any principle among the prisoners that 
could not be shaken, it was their love of country. I knew no 
one to be seduced into the British service. They attempted 
to force one of our prize-brig's crew into the navy, but he 
chose rather to die than to perform any duty, and was again 
restored to the prison-ship. 

" When I first became an inmate of this abode of suffering, 
despair and death, there were about four hundred prisoners 
on board ; but in a short time they amounted to twelve hun- 
dred, and in proportion to our numbers the mortality in- 
creased. All the most deadly diseases were pressed into the 
service of tjtie king of terrors, but his prime ministers were 
dysentery, small-pox, and yellow fever. There were two 
hospital ships near to the old 'Jersey,' but these were soon 
so crowded with the sick that they could receive no more. 
The consequence was that the diseased and the healthy were 
mingled together in the main ship. In a short time we had 
two hundred or more sick and dying lodged in the fore part 
of the lower gun deck, where all the prisoners were confined 
at night. Utter derangement was a common symptom of 
yellow fever; and, to increase the horror of the darkness that 
shrouded us Cfor we were allowed no light betwixt decks), 
the voice of warning would be heard, ' Take heed to youx-- 
selves I There is a madman stalking through the ship with 
a knife in his hand I' I sometimes found the man a corpse 
in the morning by whose side I laid myself down at night. 
At another time he would become deranged and attempt, in 
the darkness, to rise, and stumble over the bodies that every- 
where covered the deck. In this case I had to hold him in 
his place by main strength. In spite of my efforts he would 
sometimes rise, and then I had to close in with him, trip 
up his heels, and lay him again upon the deck. While so 
many were sick with raging fever there was a loud cry 
for water ; but none could be had except on the upper deck, 
and but one allowed to ascend at a time. The suffering then 
from the rage of thirst during the night was very great. 
Nor was it at all times safe to attempt to go up. Provoked 
by the continual cry for leave to ascend, when there was one 
already on deck, the sentry would push them back with his 
bayonet. By one of these thrusts, which was more spiteful 
and violent than common, I had a narrow escape of my life. 
In the morning the hatchways were thrown open and we 
were allowed to ascend, all at once, and remain on the upper 
deck during the day. But the first object that met our view 

was an appalling spectacle — a boat loaded with dead bodies 
conveying them to the Long Island shore, where they were 
slightly covered with sand. I sometimes used to stand and 
count the number of times the shovel was filled with sand to 
cover a dead body ; and certain I am that a few high tides 
or torrents of rain must have disinterred them, and had they 
not been removed I should suppose the shore even now 
would be covered with huge piles of the bones of American 

Captain Deing, who assisted on one occasion of this 
sort, thus describes the burial, which will afford a cor- 
rect idea of the general method of interment : 

" After landing at a low wharf, which had been built from 
the shore, we first went to a small hut which stood near the 
wharf, and was used as a place of deposit for the hand-barrows 
and shovels provided for these occasions. Having placed the 
corpses on the hand-barrows, and received our hoes and 
shovels, we proceeded to a bank near the Wallabout. Here 
a vacant space having been selected, we were directed to dig 
a trench in the sand of a proper length to receive the bodies. 
We continued our labor till our guards considered that a 
proper space had been excavated. The corpses were then laid 
into the trench without ceremony, and we threw sand over 
them. The whole appeared to produce no more impression 
on our guards than if we were burying the bodies of dead 
animals instead of men. They scarcely allowed us time to 
look about us ; for no sooner had we heaped the earth above 
the trench than the order was given to march. But a single 
glance was sufficient to show us parts of many bodies which 
were exposed to view ; although they had probably been 
placed there, with the same mockery of interment, but a few 
days before. Having thus performed, as vrell as we were 
permitted to do it, the last duty to the dead, and the guards 
having stationed themselves on each side of us, we began 
reluctantly to retrace our steps to the boat. We had enjoyed 
the pleasure of breathing for a few moments the air of our 
native soil, and the thought of returning to the crowded 
prison-ship was terrible in the extreme. As we passed by the 
water's side we implored our guards to allow us to bathe, or 
even to wash ourselves for a few minutes ; but this was 
refused us. I was the only prisoner of our party who wore a 
pair of shoes ; and well recollect the circumstance that I took 
them from my feet for the pleasure of feeling the earth, or 
rather the sand, as I went along. It was a high gratification 
to us to bury our feet in the sand and to shove them through 
it, as we passed on our way. We went by a small patch of 
turf, some pieces of which we tore up from the earth and 
obtained permission to carry them on board for our comrades 
to smell them. * * * Having arrived at the hut we there 
deposited our implements and walked to the landing-place, 
where we prevailed on our guards, who were Hessians, to 
allow us the gratification of remaining nearly half an hour 
before we re-entered the boat. 

" Near us stood a house, occupied by a miller ; and we had 
been told that a tide-mill, which he attended, was in the imme- 
diate vicinity; as a landing place for which the wharf where 
we stood had been erected. It would have afforded me a 
high degree of pleasure to have been permitted to enter this 
dwelling, the probable abode of harmony and peace. It was 
designated by the prisoners by the appellation of the ' Old 
Dutchman's,' and its very walls were viewed byuswithfeel- 
ings of veneration, as we had been told that the amiable 
daughter of its owner had kept a regular account of the 
number of bodies which had been brought on shore for inter- 
ment from the Jersey and the hospital ships. This could 
easily be done in the house, as its windows commanded a fair 



view of the landing place. We were not, however, gratified 
on this occasion, either by the sight of herself or of any other 
inmate of the house. Sadly did we approach and re-enter our 
foul and disgusting place of confinement. The pieces of turf 
which we carried on board were sought for by our fellow- 
prisoners with the greatest avidity ; every fragment being 
passed by them from hand to hand, and its smell inhaled, as 
if it had been a fragrant rose." 

Says Andeos, another survivor of the " Old Jersey : " 
"There were probably four hundred on board who had 
never had the small-pox. Some perhaps might have been 
saved by inoculation, but humanity was wanting to try even 
this experiment. Let our disease be what it would, we were 
abandoned to our fate. Now and then an American physi- 
cian was brought in as a captive, but if he could obtain his 
parole he left the ship ; nor could we blame him for this, for 
his own death was next to certain and his success in saving 
others by medicine in our situation was small. I remember 
only two American physicians who tarried on board a few 
days. No Enghsh physician, or any one from the city, ever, 
to my knowledge, came near us. There were thirteen of tlie 
crew to which I belonged, but in a short time all died but 
three or four. The most healthy and vigorous were first 
seized with the fever and died in a few hours. For them 
there seemed to be no mercy. My constitution was less mus- 
cular and plethoric, and I escaped the fever longer than any 
of the thirteen except one, and the first onset was less 

A very serious conflict occurred with the guard on 
the 4th of July, 1782, in consequence of the prisoners 
attempting to celebrate the day with such observances 
and amusements as their condition permitted. Upon 
going on deck in the morning they displayed thirteen 
little national flags, which were immediately torn down 
and trampled under the feet of the guard, which on 
that day happened to consist of Scotchmen. Taking no 
notice of them, the prisoners proceeded to amuse them- 
selves with patriotic songs, speeches and cheers, avoid- 
ing whatever could be construed into an intentional 
insult to the guards, who, however, at an unusually 
early hour in the afternoon, drove them below at the 
point of the bayonet, and closed the hatches. Between 
decks, the prisoners continued their singing, etc., till 
about 9 o'clock in the evening. An order to desist not 
having been promptly complied with, the hatches were 
suddenly removed, and the guards descended among 
them, with lanterns and cutlasses in their hands. Then 
ensued a scene of horror. The helpless prisoners, re- 
treating from the hatchways as fast as their crowded 
condition would permit, were followed by the guards, 
who mercilessly hacked, cut and wounded every one 
within their reach; then, returning to the upper deck, 
fastened down the hatches upon the victims of their 
cruel rage, leaving them to languish through the 
long, sultry summer night, without water to cool their 
parched throats, and without lights by which they 
might have dressed their wounds; and, to add to their 
torments, it was not until the middle of the next fore- 
noon that the prisoners were allowed to go on deck and 
slake their thirst, or to receive their rations of food, 
which that day they were obliged to eat uncooked. 

Ten corpses were found below on the morning of the 
day that succeeded that memorable 4th of July, and 
many of the survivors wei-e badly wounded. 

Equal to this in fiendish barbarity is the incident re- 
lated by Silas Talbot, as occurring on the " Stromboli," 
where he was a prisoner. The prisoners, irritated by 
their ill treatment,rose one night on their guard. 

"The commander, being on shore, and several in attempt- 
ing to escape, were either killed or wounded. The captain 
got on board just as the fray was quelled, when a poor 
fellow, lying on deck, bleeding, and almost exhausted by a 
mortal wound, called him by name, and beggged of him, 
for God's sake, a little water, for he was dying. The captain 
applied a light to his face and directly exclaimed : ' What ! 
is it you, d — n you ? I'm glad you're shot. If I knew the man 
that shot you, Fd give him a guinea. Take that you d — d 
rebel rascal !' and instantly dashed his foot in the face of the 
dying man." 

SiiEKBURNE mentions the sad case of two brothers, 
John and Abraham Fall, who lay sick upon a cot near 
his own. One night, when thus left to suffer in the 
darkness of this foul and miserable ship, Abraham Fall 
plead with his brother John to get off from him, and 
the sick around swore at John for his cruelty in lying 
on his brother; but John made no reply — he was deaf 
to the cries of his brother, and beyond the curses of 
the suffering crowd. In the morning he was found 
dead; and his brother Abraham, whose exhausted 
strength had given way under the pressure of the corpse, 
was in a dying statQ. The sick were unable to relieve 
them and the nurses were not there. 

Captain Dring thus describes the last of a poor boy, 
only twelve years old, confined with him on the old 
"Jersey," and who had been inoculated for small-pox: 

" He was a member of the same mess with myself, 
and had always looked upon me as a prottctor, and 
particularly so during his sickness. The night of his death 
was a pretty wretched one to me ; for I spent almost the 
whole of it in perfect darkness, holding him during Ms con- 
vulsions ; and it was heart-rending to hear the screams of the 
dying boy, while calling and imploring in his delirium for 
the assistance of his mother and other persons of his family. 
For a long time all persuasion or argument was useless to 
silence his groans and supplications. But exhausted nature 
at length sunk under its agonies; his screams became less 
piercing, and his struggles less violent. In the midnight 
gloom of our dungeon, I could not see him die, but knew, 
by placing my hand over his mouth, that his breathings 
were becoming shorter; and thus felt the last breath as it 
quitted his frame. The first glimmer of morning light 
through the iron grate fell upon his pallid and lifeless corpse. " 

Alexander Coffin, Jr., who was twice a prisoner on 
the old " Jersey," has related some of his experiences 
there. Of the firmness and patriotism of the American 
prisoners, even under these circumstances, he said : 

"Although there were seldom lessthan 1,000 prisoners con- 
stantly on board the ' Jersey ' — new ones coming about as fast 
as others died, or were exchanged (which, by-the-bye, was sel- 
dom) — I never, in the two different times that I was on board, 
knew of but one prisoner entering on a British ship of war, 
though the boats from the fleet were frequently there and 
the English officers were endeavoring to pei'suade them to 



enter; but their persuasions and offerings were invariably 
treated with contempt, and even by men who pretty well 
knew they should die where they were. These were the 
men whose bones have been so long bleaching on the shores 
of the Wallabout; these were the patriots who preferred 
death in its most horrible shape to the disgrace and infamy 
of fighting the battles of a base and barbarous enemy against 
the liberties of their country; these were the patriots whose 
names suffer no diminution by a comparison with the heroes 
and patriots of antiquity." 

The bodies of those who died on these ships were 
buried in the sand along the shore, on the slope of a 
hill, in a ravine and in several other localities. The 
bones of many were washed out of the sand and were 
seen lying along the shore. In 1803 some societies 
began to agitate the subject of awarding funeral honors 
to the remains of these martyrs, but nothing was accom- 
plished till 1808. The Tammany Society, which then 
embraced many Revolutionary patriots, took the lead 
in the work, and the corner stone of a monument to 
these heroes was laid April 13th of that year, on land 
donated by John Jackson, Esq., adjoining the Brooklyn 
navy-yard. Their bones, to the amount of about twenty 
hogsheads, were collected, placed in thirteen capacious 
coffins, and on the 26th of May, 1808, each coffin, in 
charge of one of the Tammanial tribes and escorted by 
eight Revolutionary soldiers as pallbearers, was born to 
the place of sepulture, and all were, with solemn and 
imposing ceremonies, deposited in a common tomb. 

After the interment of these remains, steps were taken 
toward providing funds to erect a suitable monument to 
the memory of these martyrs ; but the interest which 
was at first felt in the matter subsided, and at length 
the lot on which the vault was constructed was sold for 
taxes. It was purchased by Benjamin Romaine, who, 
to prevent its further desecration, fitted it up as a burial 
place for himself and family ; and there, at his death, in 
1844, he was entombed. 


In the year 1845, public attention was again called to 
the neglected^ condition of these remains, and the 
matter was also brought to the attention of Congress, 
by a report of tlie Military Committee of the House of 
Representatives, drawn up by the Hon. Henry C. Mur- 

phy of Brooklyn, recommending an appropriation of 
$20,000 for the purpose of affording a secure tomb and 
fitting monument to the Martyrs. This also failed of 
its object, and the matter slept for ten years. At the 
expiration of that period, in 1855, a large and influential 
meeting of the citizens of Brooklyn was held, at which 
it was resolved, " that the time has arrived when the 
cities of New York and Brooklyn cannot, without crim- 
inality, longer delay the necessary efforts for rearing 
the monument to the Martyrs of the Prison-Ships," and 
an organization was formed for the purpose, entitled 
" The Martyrs' Monument Association," in which each 
Senatorial District in the State of New York, and each 
State and Territory was represented. The association set 
to work with commendable activity, procured a fitting 
site at Washington Park, secured plans for the proposed 
monument, agitated the subject publicly and privately, 
solicited donations, etc. 

It was not, however, until 1873, that the new site was 
utilized. In that year a brick vault, 25 by 11 feet, was 
completed in the side of the hill facing toward the junc- 
' tion of Myrtle avenue and Canton street. In the mean- 
time the receptacle in Hudson avenue had been so 
neglected and became so dilapidated that the remains 
there deposited were in a very exposed state. Many of 
the old coffins were broken or defaced. New boxes were 
prepared, and in these boxes, numbering twenty-two, 
the old coffins with their contents were placed. On the 
17th of June, 1873, they were quietly removed to the 
vault at Washington Park, containing, it is supposed, 
all the remains preserved of nearly 12,000 victims of 
prison-ship captivity. The vault was covered with 
asphalt and the surface restored. The base work has 
been constructed of the intended ornamental stone 
superstructure ; which, including an elegant monumental 
shaft, will be a worthy memorial to the heroes and mar- 
tyrs whose long-neglected remains rest beneath. 



EARLY in the War of 1812 it was believed that 
New York, then, as now, the commercial metro- 
polis of the nation, would become a point of 
attack, and that the western end of Long Island 
might become, as it had been in the Revolution, the 
theater of active hostilities. In view of this possible 
danger, bodies of citizen soldiery were organized and 
drilled to meet such emergencies as might arise. Among 
these were the company of horse, or flying artillery, 
under Captain John Wilson ; the Artillerists, Captain 
Barbarin ; the Riflemen of Captain Stryker, and the 
Fusileers of Captain Herbert. The Rifles were nick- 



named " Katy Dids " because of the green frock with 
a yellow fringe which was a part of their uniform. 

Beyond the formation of these companies, Kings 
county did not become the scene of warlike preparations 
till the summer of 1814. A large British fleet was 
then concentrating near the Bermuda Islands ; and, in 
view of the possibility that New York might be its 
objective point, it was deemed expedient to take such 
measures as would prevent a repetition of the disaster 
of August, 1776. 

That such an attack was intended, became known by 
a letter from Lion Gardiner, of Gardiner's Island, to 
Jonathan Thompson, Collector of Internal Revenue of 
New York. By land, the attack might come, as in the 
Revolution, from the southern shore at Gravesend, or 
from a point above Hell Gate, both of which approaches 
were unprotected; and by either of which a position that 
would command the city could be taken. 

The people awoke from the lethargy into which 
they had been lulled by their hope of a favorable termi- 
nation of the pending negotiations for peace. A Com- 
mittee of Defence which had been constituted, recom- 

mended measures for the protection of Brooklyn against 
attack by land, and issued an address calling on the citizens 
to organize and enroll for resistance to hostile attacks ; 
and to aid by voluntary contributions of labor and 
material in the construction of defensive works at 
Brooklyn and elsewhere. The response to this appeal 
was made with alacrity. Citizens and associations, 
without distinction of party or social condition, at once 
offered their services. The rich and the poor offered 
their aid and mingled their labors on the same works, 
in the purest spirit of patriotic emulation. Those who, 
from any cause, were unable to give their personal labor 
to the common cause, voluntarily and liberally contri- 
buted of their means for the employment of substitutes ; 
while many both gave and worked. Even the women 
and school-boys caught the inspiration of the hour, and 
contributed their quota of labor on the work ; and the 
people of the interior towns in the neighboring States 
of New Jersey and Connecticut hastened to offer their 
assistance in averting what was felt to be a common 
national danger. The defensive fortifications, planned 
by Gen. Joseph G. Swift, U. S. Engineer, commenced 



at Mt. Alto, on the Hudson ; thence, by McGowan's 
PasSj^ a line of redoubts and block-houses ran along the 
Heights of Harlem, to and across Hell-Gate, including 
a block-house on Mill Rock and another on the high 
ground of Long Island. 

The defenses erected on Long Island commenced at the 
Wallabout, overlooked by Fort Greene, and extended 
across to Bergen's Heights, to Fort Lawrence, including 
several redoubts commanded by Forts Greene and Law- 
rence ; and there was also an earthwork on Red Hook. 
From the papers of that time it appears that these works 
were commenced on the 9th of August, 1 8 1 4, by a military 
company, aided by volunteers from New York. On the 
10th, the tanners and curriers and plumbers assisted the 
military force. On the 12th, a military association of 
young men, the Hamilton Society, Students of Medicine, 
sixty hands from the wire factory at Greenwich, and 
forty from the Eagle Foundry ; on the 13th, numerous 
citizens and the journeymen Cabinet Makers of New 
York ; on the 15th, military companies ; on the 16th, 
military and fire companies; on the 17th, citizens of 
Bushwick, headed by their pastor, and about 200 
citizens of New York, among whom was an old man who 
said he had worked on fortifications on the same spot 
during the Revolution, and who, with his four sons, 
labored earnestly ; on the 1 8th, the people of Flatbush ; 
on the 1 9th, the people of Flatlands and about five hun- 
dred carpenters from New York ; on the 30th, the 
citizens of Gravesend, a party of about 70 from 
Paterson, N. J.,, some 200 Irishmen and several ununi- 
formed companies of militia from the interior of the 
State ; on the 22d, the people of New Utrecht and a 
thousand colored citizens of New York ; on the 23d, the 
Mechanics' Society of Kings County, the military 
exempts, and Fire Companies Nos. 1 and 2 of Brooklyn ; 
on the 24th, the free colored people of Kings County. 

On this day the Committee of Defense published a 
card asking their fellow citizens for a " second tour of 
duty," to which ready response was made. August 25th, 
several military companies worked ; on the 26th, mili- 
tary and fire companies ; on the 27th, the people of 
Bushwick ; on the 29th, the people of Flatbush, also the 
Albany Rifies, Trojan Greens and Montgomery Ran- 
gers ; on the 30th, the people of Flatlands and Grave- 
send ; on the 31st, the Grand Lodge of Free Masons, to 
the number of seven hundred and fifty, headed by their 
Grand Master, De Witt Clinton, constructed a fort 
which was called Fort Masonic, south from the Flatbush 
road, the parole of the day being "The Grand Master 
expects every Mason to do his duty." Some two hundred 
ladies also formed a procession and marched to Fort 
Greene, where they labored during a few hours; and the 
Tammany Society and Columbian Orders, to tlie number 
of one thousand one hundred and fifty, turned out. 
September 1st, the Mechanics' Society of Kings County, 
Fire Companies Nos. 1 and 2, Exempts, and Fortitude 
Lodge of Masons ; September 3d, about eight hundred 

citizens of Newark, N. J., came in a long line of wagons, 
with bands, and flags and hats labeled, " Don't give up 
the soil ;" September 7th, one hundred and eighty-four 
inhabitants of Hanover township, Morris County, N. J., 
headed by their pastor. Rev. Mr. Phelps ; and on the 
23d, the members of the Mulberry Street (N. Y.) Bap- 
tist Church, under the lead of their pastor. Rev. Archi- 
bald McClay, labored. 

At one time the Committee of Defense announced 
their want of several thousand fascines, and stated that 
patterns were left at Creed's tavern in Jamaica, and at 
Bloom's in Newtown. The answer to this appeal was 
the bringing to Fort Greene' of a hundred and twenty 
loads of fascines, averaging twenty-five bundles to a 
load, by the citizens of Jamaica, headed by the Rev. 
Mr. Schoonmaker. Mr. Eigenbrodt, the Principal of the 
Academy, with his pupils aided in cutting these fascines. 

The works were completed in September. They were 
at once occupied by a large force from different locali- 
ties, including a brigade of Long Island militia, one 
thousand seven hundred and fifty strong, under the 
command of General Jeremiah Johnson, of Brooklyn, 
subsequently well known as antiquarian and historian. 
In addition to these, other fortifications were erected 
along the coast below Brooklyn. A block-house was 
located half or three-fourths of a mile north from Fort 
Hamilton, near the shore of the bay, on land then 
owned by Mr. Barkuloo. 

On the site of Fort Hamilton was an earthwork, and 
on that of Fort Lafayette was a log-fort. A block- 
house was located on the shore of New Utrecht Bay, 
about midway between Fort Hamilton and Bath, near 
the residence of the late Barney Williams. From the 
fact of this block-house having been located there, the 
place was long known as " Gun Field." This block- 
house stood several years after the termination of the 
war. About one-fourth of a mile southeast from Bath, 
also on the shore of New Utrecht Bay, stood another 
block-house, on land owned by the late Egbert Benson, 
and now the property of his heirs. In August, 1776, 
the forces of General Howe landed in the vicinity of 
where these last two block-houses stood, and they were 
probably erected in view of a possible similar attempt 
to land troops here during this war. Each was armed 
with a large barbette gun. They were built in the 
fashion of the block-houses of those times, with a projec- 
tion of some feet — about twelve or fifteen feet — above 
the ground, from which assailants could be fired on 
through the loopholes from directly above. 

Several regiments of militia were encamped in and 
about the works in the vicinity of Bath and Fort 
Hamilton during the continuance of hostilities. 

It is not known that any hostile vessels came within 
Sandy Hook. The storm of war was averted, however, 
and Long Island was saved from again becoming the 
scene of hostilities such as had desolated it in 1776. The 
news of an honorable peace was received Feb. 11, 1815, 



and the joy of the people was testified by illuminations, 
bonfires, etc. New York was illuminated Feb. 20th; 
and Brooklyn followed the example in handsome style 
on the evening of the 21st, when the band of the Forty- 
first U. S. regiment, stationed at Brooklyn, serenaded 
the citizens of that village. 

A more detailed account of these events will be 
found in Stiles' History of Brooklyn. 

Kings County Soldiers of i8i2. 

This County furnished the Sixty-Fourth Regiment, 
composed of five companies, of one hundred men each, 
officered as follows : Major Francis Titus, Command- 
ing ; Second Ifajor, Albert C. Van Brunt ; Adjt., Daniel 

Barre ; Q.-Master, Albert Van Brunt ; Surgeon, 


New Uteecht Company. — Capt., William Denyse ; 
Lieuts., Barcalo, Vanhise; Misign, Suydam. 

Brooklyn Company. — Capt., Joseph Dean ; Lieuts., 
Chas. J. Doughty, John Spader ; Misign, Wm. A. 

Wallabout and Bushavick Company. — Capt., 
Francis Skillman ; Lieuts., Joseph Conselyea, Daniel 

GowANUs CoMPBNY. — Capt., Peter Cowenhoven, 
afterward John T. Bergen ; Lieuts., John Lott, Adriane 
Van Brunt. 

Geavesend AND Flatbush Companies. — Capt., 
Jeremiah Lott ; Lieuts., Robert Nicholls, Charles 
Rapelye ; Ensign, Jeremiah Johnson. 

There were, also, in camp, and in the Queens Co. 
Regiment, also under command of Brig. Gen. Jeremiah 
.Tohnson, a Flatlands Company, under command of 
Capt. John Lott, Jr. ; also the Flushing, Jamaica and 
Newtown companies. 

This regiment was mustered into service at Bedford, 
Sept. 2, 1814 ; and were mustered out 13th of Novem- 
ber ensuing. The alarm-post of the regiment was the 
liouse of John R. Duryea. 

Other interesting details relating to these soldiers of 
1812 will be found in Stiles^ History of Brooklyn, vol. 
i, p. 408-410; also in Appendix XL (p. 452-454) of 
same volume. From this latter we extract the follow- 
ing names of those in actual service : 

(Explanation).— lyaW., Wallabout ; Bush., Bushwick ; 
Subs., served as substitute for others. 

In the Beooklyn Company. — Joseph Dean, Capt.; 

John Spader and Chas. J. Doughty, Lieuts.; Wm. A. 
Mercein, Mis.; Garrett Duryea, Michael Vanderlioof, 
David Storms, Thos. Chadwick, Wm. R. Dean, Orderly 
Sergts.; James Gildersleeve, Joseph Pettit, Wm. Kirk- 
patrick, Wm. Bennet, Corporals ; John Smith, (Gow.); 
Jas. C. Provost (Bush.); Uriah Ryder; Joseph Butler 
(Subs.); Michael Mapes; Benj. J. Waldron; Luke 
Covert (Subs.); Samuel Vail; Thomas Lain; David 
Hillyard (deserter from British Army in Canada, and 
Subs.); JohnSharpe; Wm. Thomas; Jacob Coope; Sam. 
Hart; Nathan Furman ; Jas. McFarlan; Sam. McGrady; 
Joseph Stringham; Joseph Robinson; Gilbert Reid; 
Elijah Raynor; John Swinburn ; John Thurston; John 
Ward; John Rogers; Nich. Covert; Stephen Austin 
(Subs.); Thos. Furman; Zach Clevenger (Bush.); David 
Craven; Josiah Applegate; Francis Meserole (Bush.); 
Peter Colyer (Bush.); Jas. McDonough; Stephen R. 
Boerum (Wall.); Philetus Fleet (Subs.); Henry Dezen- 
dorf (Subs.); John Applegate; Cornelius Van Home; 
Abraham Bennett, Jr.; John Hulst; Michael Gillen; 
Jacob W. Bennett (Bush.); Enoch Elbertson; Francis 
Blaise (Subs.); John Kaler; Jesse Waterbury (Subs.); 
Rich. M. Bonton; Abm. Blauvelt (Subs.); Sam. Gold- 
smith (Sub-i.); Isaac Devoe; Henry Wiggins; Abraham 
Bennett; Peter Snyder; John Hagerty; Jas. Strain; 
Richard Hunter; Jesse Coope; Jacob Furman; Aaron 
Swain Robbing; Jas. Lynch (Subs.); Peter Chatterlon 
(Subs.); Israel Rimmels; Sam. Pettit; Sam. Nostrand; 
Abraham Bogert ; Michael Harvey (Irish cook) ; Peter 
Bennett; William Jackson; John Fitch; Abm. Thomp- 
son (colored); Ed. Higbie (drummer). 

Pioneer Corpjs. — Wm. N. Kettletas, Sgt., and Jaques 
W. Cropsy, Corp.; Privates, Henry Van Dyke, Wm. 
G. Verity, Jacob Denyse, John Van Brunt, Wm. John- 
son, Henry Cropsy, Joseph Wardle, David Denyse, 
Jas. Wallace. 

In the BtrsHwiCK and Wallabout companies, con- 
solidated under Capt. Skillman, were {(xll substitutes) 
Thos. Gardner; David Capron, John Thursby, Joseph 
Goldsmith, Joseph Russell, Wm. Boerum, Daniel 
Bevoise, John Wheaton, Simon Denyse, Joseph Desliay, 
Jas. Van Loo, David Weed, Wm. Turner, Jos. INIiller, 
Jas. Redding, Sam. Conklin, Jas. Wallis, Jas. Kellahan, 
John Van Pelt, Zeb. Whitman, John Simpson, John 
H. Curtis, Francis Morgan, Hugh Smith, Oliver Place, 
David Stewart, Dan. Everitt, James Smith, Wm. Conk- 
lin, Hamilton Carr, John Van Tassel, Moses Gritting 
Geo. Sagors, Jonah Raymond, John Torrey. 




By Rbv. 

SITUATION. The Township of Flatlands lies 
upon the northwesterly shore of Jamaica Bay, 
and includes a number of islands within the Bay. 
It IS described, in ancient patents, as "lying 
between the Bay of the North River and the East 
River;" the former designation being applied to Jamaica 
Bay, inasmuch as the North River was regarded as dis- 
charging into the ocean at Sandy Hook. The principal 
islands within the bay, belonging to the town, are: 
Barren Island, at the extreme south; Bergen Island, 
mainly in the salt meadows ; and Bujffle Bar, at the 
eastward. Flatlands contains some 9,000 acres of land, 
about one-third of it arable, under high cultivation. 

Names. The name Flatlands is descriptive, and 
applied, originally, to the whole of the flat country 
eastward from Prospect Park Ridge, all the way from 
the Narrows to Hempstead. Gov. Stuyvbsant says : 
"I found on my arrival [1647] the Flatland so stripped 
of inhabitants that, with the exception of the three 
English villages, Hemstede, New Flushing and Graves- 
end, 50 boweries and plantations could not be enumer- 

The first plantation established in the town was called 
Achtervelt, because it lay after, or beyond the " Great 
Flats," the field, in approaching it from New Amster- 
dam. This name, however, did not attach to the town- 
ship, which was designated by its early inhabitants iVew; 
A iiiersfoort, after the city of that name on the river 
Eem in the province of Utrecht, in the Netherlands, 
whence Wolfert Gerretse, one of the patentees, and 
several others of the early settlers, immigrated. Colloqui- 
ally it was termed " The Bay" — or, in Dutch, " de Baije" 
— from its situation upon Jamaica Bay, and it is so 
named in many local documents. 

The terms New Amersfoort and Flatlands were, for 
awhile, interchangeable; but in course of time the 
descriptive word became here localized as a proper 

Aboriginal Inhabitants. The subdivision of the 
great Algonquin family of Indians inhabiting Long 

Island, living in this town, was the Canarsie, with its 
principal village at the place still bearing that name. 
Extensive banks of broken clam-shells at Canarsie and 
Bergen Island attest both their numbers here, and the 
great extent to which the manufacture of wampum, or 
Indian money, was carried on here. 

Their social condition must have been very low at the 
settlement of the town. Verazzano, who, in the ser- 
vice of Francis I, in 1524 entered a large bay in lati- 
tude 41" North, supposed by some to have been the 
Bay of of New York, gives a very flattering description 
of the natives of the adjacent shores ; and that of 
Capt. Hendrick Hudson, in 1609, is not unfavorable. 
These men, however, could hardly have known them so 
well as Rev. Jonas Michaelis, the first clergyman of 
New Amsterdam, who says : " They are as thievish 
and as treacherous as they are tall, and more inhuman 
than the people of Barbary." 

The Dutch travelers, Dankers and Sluyter (1679), 
give us a description of an Indian house at New Utrecht, 
which was probably a type of their dwellings elsewhere. 

It was sixty by fifteen feet, the frame rough posts 
and poles, and covered with reeds and bark. An open 
space the whole length of the roof, at the ridge, allowed 
the smoke to escape from fires built upon the earthen 
floor for the six or eight families inhabiting it. It had 
no windows, but was furnished with a low narrow 
door at each end. Their implements for domestic use, 
agriculture, and fishing, were few, and one of our trav- 
elers gives us a pen-and-ink sketch of an Indian woman 
of that period, drawn from life. It is not a pleasing 
picture, and gives the impression that intercourse with 
the whites had debased rather than elevated their 

There is no evidence, however, of unjust or oppressive 
treatment of the Indians by the whites in this town. 
Their lands were taken only by purchase, and no title 
was considered good until the Indian right had been 
legally extinguished. The two races lived peacefully 
together; and, when the murder of inoffensive savages 



took place at Pavonia, and Corlaer's Hook, in 1643, the 
people " dwelling at the Flatland " gave evidence of 
humane sentiments by " immediately expressing dissatis- 
faction at this sudden and unexpected slaughter." But 
the white race grew stronger, and the Indian weaker, 
until about 1830, when Jim de Wilt, or " Jim the wild 
man," died in his wretched hut at Canarsie, the miserable 
remnant of the once proud possessors of these fertile 

Settlement of the Town by the Dutch. At 
its settlement by the whites, Flatlands was divided 
into salt meadows, forest lands and prairies. The prai- 
ries, or open plains, were peculiar to this town, and 
doubtless account for its very early settlement. Bekgbn 
says: "The most tempting locality on the west end 
of Long Island, for natives of the low and level lands 
of Holland or Belgium, who were inexperienced in the 
clearing of forests, were the flats in Flatlands and 
Flatbush; miniature prairies, void of trees, with a dark- 
colored surface soil, similar to that of the western prai- 
ries; which had been subject to the rude culture of the 
natives, and were ready without much previous toil and 
labor for the plow." 

The early patents refer to " The three flats of Long 
Island." These were Van Twiller^s (central at Ave. B 
and 5th street). Van Corlaer's (central at Ave. C and 
Troy Ave.), and a third called " The Little Flats" and 
described as "The westermost of the three flats on 
Long Island." This " Little Flats," Dr. T. M. Stbong 
locates at the intersection of Flatbush ave. and the 
town line. But, while that locality was so called, the 
true locality of the " Little Flats " referred to in the 
Land Patents, as distinct from the Township Patents, 
was, without doubt, at the point where Hudden and 
Van Kouwen-Hoven formed their settlement, near the 
Flatlands Refoi-med Church, at the intersection of Flat- 
bush and Flatlands avenues. Beside these three flats 
there were maize lands, under rude Indian culture, at 
Canarsie Point and Bergen's Island. Finally, there 
were the " Great Flats," on " Flatlands Plains," cover- 
ing a large portion of the western part of the town. 
Probably, most of the Great Flats was under more im- 
perfect Indian cultivation than the other maize lands ; 
but they were destitute of trees, and we have reason to 
think that considerable portions of it were made to yield 
the scanty crops of savage agriculture. The extent of 
the Great Flats would be roughly described by a line 
drawn from the Paerdegat westward, to near the inter- 
section of the Manhattan Beach railroad and Ocean 
avenue ; thence to the residence of Jeremiah Ryder, 
near Nostrand and Ave. M ; thence to a point on Mill 
Lane, some three hundred yards beyond the Methodist 
Church ; thence to the Neck road at the Dutch Church, 
and along said road to Ave. I and 45th street, 
and thence to the place of beginning. The 
" Indian path " from Fulton Ferry to Bergen Island 
passed through the centre of this great plain, and is 

shown by the old line of Flatbush ave. and Mill lane. 
As a rule, the black soil shows the portions of the town 
originally open, while the gray soil shows that part 
covered by the forests. 

There can be no doubt that the earliest whites in Flat- 
lands located at, or near, the point where the southerly 
course of the Kings highway bends suddenly westward 
at J. B. Hendrickson & Son's store. Uniform tradition, 
the language of early patents, the debris of Holland 
brick, and the proximity of burial-place, church and 
school, all prove this spot to have been earliest occupied 
by Europeans. It was probably called " The Little 
Flats," because separated from the " Great Flats" by a 
belt of timber along the low ground, a little northeast- 
erly of the Church. This elect prairie was particularly 
eligible, because it lay^close upon the salt meadows 
(much depended on in those early times for cattle-feed) ; 
and, still more, because it was convenient to " the Bay," 
whose fish, oysters, and wild fowls, afforded our primi- 
tive inhabitants so valuable a part of their year's pro- 

Some rude settlement was probably formed here as 
early as 1624. In evidence of this we find Brooklyn 
and Amersfoort are mentioned as Dutch settlements, 
in 1649, along with the statement, " Our freemen have 
resided on that Island down from the very first." In 
1660, the West India Company say, "Long Island was 
taken possession of by planting Amersfoort," and other 
places are named after it. In all the early enumeration 
of Long Island towns, Amersfoort is placed first, doubt- 
less from its priority of settlement. Gov. Stuyvesant 
gives important testimony as to its settlement in 1624, 
by speaking, in 1664, of Long Island as "Now peace- 
fully possessed some 40, some 30, and the least 20 
years." If we accept this statement, and recede forty 
years from 1664, we shall find Amersfoort " planted," 
and " peaceably possessed " by its white inhabitants in 

Our early people were themselves fully aware of their 
seniority, in this county, and are interesting witnesses 
of it. In a statement before the County Court, at 
Gravesend, 1666, in a certain dispute with Flatbush, 
they say : 

"You may be pleased to take notice that much we might 
plead before tliem with respect to antiquity and the first 
settlers and settlement of this place ; the great brunt of 
troubles, and loss of goods, and lives of men that was gone 
through with and lost, as some of the English who shared 
therein with us can testify." 

These statements, taken in connection with the attract- 
ive conditions of the lands and waters of this township, 
are deemed suflicient to fix the date of settlement by 
the whites as early as 1624. 

Early Land Patents. — The first recorded pur- 
chase of lands in this town took place June 16th, 
1636, when Andries Huddie (or Hudden) and Wolphert 
Gerretse (Van Kouwenhoven) bought of the Indians, 
and obtained the next year from Gov. Van Twiller a 



patent for, the westernmost of the three flats on Long 
Island, called by the Indians Caskateuw (or Kaskutenu). 
" Van Corker's " and " Van Twiller's Flats " were pur- 
chased the same day. On this purchase, according to 

Tunis G. Beegen, " a plantation called ' Achtervelt ' 
was established, on which, prior to July 9, 1638, when 
an inventory was taken, they had a house set around 
with long round palisades, the house being 26 feet long, 
22 feet wide, 40 feet deep, with the roof covered above 
and around with plank ; two lofts, one above another, 
and a small chamber at their side ; one barn 40 feet 
long, 18 feet wide, aad 24 feet deep ; and one hergh 
with 5 posts, 40 feet long. The plantation was stocked 
with 6 cows, old and young, 3 oxen and 5 horses." The 
lands of Hudden and Van Kouwenhoven are described 
as extending " From a certain meadow, or valley, west- 
ward to and into the woods." That is, as we understand 
it, the patent covered all the western portion of the 
town, from the Paerdegat and its outlet,westward across 
the " plains " to, and into, the woods beyond them, or to 
the Gravesend line. We have another description inci- 
dentally given, when, in 1652, the Company directs the 
Governor to annul parts of certain land claims, and 
among them " The Great Flat, otherwise the Bay, on 
Amersfoort Flat, with the lands adjacent claimed by 
Wolfert Gerretse and Andries Hudde, containing full 
1,000 morgens, not a fiftieth part of which they are able 
to occupy." Hudde and Van Kouwenhoven, however, 
never relinquished possession, though the freeholders 
endeavored to compel them to do so under this forfeiture. 
By the account of the contest which thus grew up between 
the patentees and the town, we are able to locate most 
of the original bounds of the patent very definitely. A 
jury of the Court of Sessions, at Gravesend, in Decem- 
ber, 1679, sustained the patentees ; but disputes as to 
where the patent-lines really were, continued until 1695, 
when the heirs of Elbert Elbertse (who had acquired 
the original patentee rights), and the freeholders of the 
town, mutually bound themselves to accept as final the 
decision of a commission to locate the lines. These 
commissioners say : " The westermost bounds or limits 
of said Elbert's patent joins to the eastermost lines or 
limits of Gravesend, one patent comprehending in it the 
lands of Jan Albertse (Terhune), Jan Van Dyckhuysen, 
and Thomas Willet, and so from the northward corner 
of the said Willet, joining to Gravesend, along the 
westermost side of the Flats of Flatlands." A still later 
commission — for this old difficulty was hard to settle — 
carries the last-mentioned line " Northerly till it outs 
the line which runs westerly from the meadow or valley 
on the east side of Flatlands town, including the said 

meadow ; being bounded north by Flatbush land and 
west by Gravesend line." It is probable that the 
Wyckoffs and a few others in the southerly part of the 
town held directly from the Government; but it is clear 
from the above that the patent of Hudden 
and Van Kouwenhoven covered all the lands 
from the Paerdegat and its outlet to Graves- 
end, and northward to the Flatbush line. 

Hudde never resided here, and sold portions 
of his patent right to Wolfert Gerretse until 
September 16th, 1647, when all his remaining interests 
were thus disposed of. 

Achtervelt had assumed the appearance of a village. 
The residence of the elder Van Kouwenhoven, with his 
barns, &c., stood near where J. B. Hendrickson's store 
now is. The house was large, with two stories in the 
roof, in thorough Holland style. Van Kouwenhoven's 
second son, Gerret Wolfertse, lived near by, in a clap- 
board house, with his young family, Wellem Jan, 
Neeltje, and Marritze. This important centre of the 
settlement was inclosed by stout palisadoes and fur- 
nished with a guard of soldiers. We have no evidence 
that any hostile attack was ever made upon it, but there 
was always more or less danger from the large number 
of Indians in the immediate vicinity. At the time of 
which we speak, the Wyckoffs, the Stoothoffs, the Van 
Nostrants, the Teunessens, and some others, were per- 
manently located here, and by the time the Dutch 
church was organized, in 1654, there were prominent in 
the town the families of the Schencks, the Ammermans, 
the Strykers, the Van Sigelens, the Romeyns, the 
Bruynses, the Davises, the Van Dyckhuysens, the Van 
Arts Daalens, and doubtless others. 

The estate called Achtervelt fell, after Wolfert's 
death, to his second son, Gerret Wolfertse, who married 
Altje Cool of Gowanus, and died about 1645. His 
widow married Capt. Elbert Elbertse (Stoothoof), whose 
name is the most prominent of all in the early history 
of the town. Elbert gained possession of the whole of 
Gerret's estate by agreeing with the guardian of Gerret's 
children to pay the debts on the estate, bring up the 
children, teach them to read and write, and pay them 
each 200 guilders, except Jan, who, being lame, was to 
receive 300. This agreement did not include the sep- 
arate interest of Gerret's widow; for, by his will, made 
after her death, Capt. Elbert directs 2,000 guilders to 
be paid to Jan, and an equal amount to be divided 
among the other children of Gerret (viz. : Willem, and 
Neeltje, wife of Roeloff Martense Schenck, and the 
children of Marritse, deceased, who had married Capt. 
Stevense Voorhees) as " due them from their mother's 
and grandmother's estate." 

Town Government. — In the early settlement, 
when all were surrounded by savages and the fami- 
lies were mutually dependent on each other for pro- 
tection and comfort, no precise form of municipal 
government was needed. The laws and habits of Hoi. 



land regulated the affairs of this feeble offshoot. Titles 
of land were derived from the Governor and Council in 
New Amsterdam ; and cases in law, did any arise, were 
adjudicated by the same authority. The time came, 
however, when local courts were necessary. Gravesend, 
settled by Lady Moody early in 1643, received from 
Governor Kief t a charter in 1645; and, in it, authority to 
form a body politic and a local court of three magis- 
trates, with final jurisdiction in the amount of fifty 
guilders. Platbush had been settled by direction of the 
Governor in 1651, and three years later, March 6th, 
1654, was favored with a local court of six magistrates 
in connection with Flatlands, sitting three-fourths of 
the time at the former place and one-fourth at the latter. 
But this quarter of a loaf, tardily given, the people of 
Flatlands thought little better than no bread, and 
requested the Governor and Council to give them a 
court of their own. One was accordingly established, 
March 31st, 1661, to consist of three magistrates, the 
first being Elbert Elbertsen, Pieter Cornelissen, and 
Simon Jansen. These officers were elected annually by 
the freeholders and confirmed by the Governor. They 
were called Schepens, and the constable was called a 

There existed in this town, for one hundred and 
fifty years, a close intimacy between Church and 
State. The civil magistrates must be of the Re- 
formed religion, and the officers of 
the church were ex-officio officers 
of the town ; the elders being 
trustees of the school of the town 
and of the lands held for the use or 
benefit of the school and the church; 
while the deacons had charge of the poor, and of 
all the funds collected by tax, or by contribution, 
for their support. 

Flatlands grew into a municipality without 
formal legislation or authorization of any kind, 
except in its land grants. It was thirty years 
after its settlement before it enjoyed any privi- 
leges of a local court, and then only in connection 
with its more favored neighbor, Flatbush ; and thirty- 
seven years before it could boast one of its own, of the 
most primary jurisdiction. Its charter as a township 
was even longer in coming. An English Governor, 
NicoUs, did its people this tardy justice, October 4th, 
1667, without assuming to create a municipality, but 
expressly recognizing its existence. Omitting verbiage, 
the charter is as follows : 

" Whereas, there is a certain town in this government, 
situate in the west Eiding of Yorkshire of Long Island, 
commonly known by the name of Amersfoort, aVs Flattlands, 
which is in the occupation of several freeholders and inhabi- 
tants who heretofore have been seated there by authority. 

* * * Now for a confirmation. * * * I, Richard Nicoll, Esq., 

* * * have granted and do grant unto Elbert Elberts [Stoot- 
hoff], Govert Lockermans, Ruelof Martense [Sohenok], 
Pieter Claes [ Wyckoff], Wellem Garrita [Van Kouwenhoven], 
Tho. Hillebrants, Stephen Coertsen [Voorhees], and Coert 

Stephens [Voorhees], as Patentees, for themselves and their 
associates * * * all that tract * * * and other parcels pur- 
chased of the native Indian proprietors, or others, within 
these limits, viz. -. Prom their western bounds, which begin 
at a certain creek called the Stromme Kill [Garretsen's Mill 
Pond] they stretch to Filkin's or Varken's Hook on Hog 
Point, which is also included within their limits. [This 
Point was about the intersection of Avenue J and Bast 83d 
street, and had the meadows belonging to New Utrecht 
township northeasterly on to Vischer's Hook, or Canarsie 
Point.] Then from the limits of Middlewout aVs Flatbush 
* * * beginning at a certain tree standing upon the Little 
Flats, marked by commissioners, October 19th, 1666, a line 
stretching southeast to Canarsie. It includes within its 
bounds several parcels of land, particularly a tract granted 
by Governor Petrus Stuyvesant to Jacob Steendam and 
Welken Jans, November 12th, 1052, and transferred to Flat- 
lands November 80th, 1663. Also lands at Canarsie hereto- 
fore manured and planted by consent of the Indians, and on 
April 16th, 1665, bought for a valuable consideration by the 
inhabitants of Flatlands, together with the meadow or 
valley at Canarsie, divided April 30th last year from the 
town of Flatbush by a line half a point northerly from the 
mouth of the [Fresh] Creek. To h^ve and to hold, * * * and 
that the place of their present habitation shall continue, and 
retain the name of Amersfort aVs Flatlands. * * * 

Given * * * at Fort James, New York, October 4th, 1667. 

Matthias Nicoll, Sec'y. Richakd Nicoll. 

Facsimile of Elbei-t Elbertsen Stoothoff's sigrnatare. 


Facsimile of Roelof Martense Schenck's signature. 


Facsimile of Pieter Claesen Wyckoll's signature. 

Facaimile of Steven Koers Vorliees' signature. 

The indefinitenoss of this charter immediately occas- 
ioned difficulties as to boundary lines at Canarsie ; and 
early the next year (February 3d, 1668), Governor 
Lovelace issued another charter, confirmatory of the 
preceding, and granting certain provisions in the pur- 
chase of lands at Canarsie. Still another charter was 
granted by Governor Dongan, March 11th, 1685, to 
Elbert Elbertse (Stoothoff), Roelof Martense (Schenck), 
Pieter Classen (Wyckoff), Willem Garretsen (Van 
Kouwenhoven), Coert Stevensen (Voorhees), Lucas 
Stevensen (Voorhees), and John Teunissen, for them- 
selves and associates, according to the tenure of East 



Greenwich, they paying annually 14 bushels of good 
wheat in New York. But none of the charters defined 
the town boundaries intelligibly, and acrimonious dis- 
putes leading finally to litigations, in 1661, between 
Platlands and Flatbush, in regard to the Canarsic 
meadows, continued for the long period of thirty 
years. After the matter had occupied the attention of 
successive courts, and of several commissioners, and of 
the Governor, a joint commission from the two towns, 
in May, 1677, agreed on and staked out a line across 
the Canarsie meadows, adding to their report this 
important item : " All manner of diilerence between 
them to this day to bee forgotten and forgiven." But 
the miasma of the marsh must have soured the temper 
of the people; for, two years later (June, 1679) .the 
Flatlanders prosecuted their Flatbush brethren for 
trespass at Canarsie, and obtained judgment in £10 
damages. In 1691 the judgment was still unpaid, and 
was then reaffirmed and execution ordered. Flatbush 
thereupon appealed to the Governor and Council. We 
have no evidence that the judgment was reversed ; and, 
if not, there must be now due to this town from Flat- 
bush the original £10, with costs, and some two 
hundred years' interest. 

Flatlands was recognized by the State as a town, 
March 7th, 1788. The SupervisovK, for the last hundred 
years, have been the following: 1783, 1785, 1786, 
Ulpianus Van Sinderin ; 1784, Abram Voorhees ; 
1787-98, Capt. Nicholas Schenck ; 1799, 1800, Hen- 
drick I. Lott ; 1801-15, Johannes Remsen ; 1816-39, 
Gerrit Kouwenhoven ; 1840-43, Andrew Emmans ; 
1844-53, John A. Voorhees ; 1854, John A. Wyckoff • 
1855, to the present time, John L. Ryder. 

Thus, for a century past, the highest political office 
of the town has been held by ten men, some of them 
through terms of 9, 14, 23, and the present incumbent, 
27 years. Our people are contented when they are 
well served, and the civil service in Flatlands is not 
in need of "Reform." 

Early Inhabitants.— The following names are 
from the list of those who took the Oath of Allegiance 
to the British crown, in 1687; with the date of arrival 
in this country of the foreign-born : 

Pieter Classen Wyckoff, 1636 ; Garret Pieterse Wyckoff 
Claes Pieterse Wyckoff, Hendrick Pieterse Wyckoff Jan 
Pieterse Wyckoff, waiwes; Elbert Elbertse (Stoothoff) 1637 ■ 
Garret Elbertse (Stoothoff), Hans Janse (Van Nostrandt)' 
1640; Roelof Martense Schenck, 1650; Jan Marteuse Schenck' 
1650 ; Jan Roelof Schenck, Martin Roelof Schenck Derick 
Janse Ammerman, 1650 ; Jacob Stryker, 1651 ; Ff^rdinandes 
Van Sickelin, 1652 ; Christofile Janse Romeyne, 1653 • Ruth 
(or Rut) bruynsen, 1653 ; William Davies, 1653 ; Jan theunis 
Van duyckhuys, 1653; Simon Janse Van Arts Daelen, 1653- 
Cornelms Simonen Vanarsdalen, Pieter Cornelius Luyster' 
1656 ; Thys Pieter Luyster, 1656 ; Pieter Pieterse Tall 1657 '■ 
Jan Brouwer, 1657 ; Dirck Brouwar, hendrick Brouwer' 
Dirk Stofflese 1657; Stoflle Dirckse (Langstraat), Adriaen 
Kume, 1660 ; Court Staphense Van Voorhees. 1660 • Albert 
Courten Van Voorhees, Luycas Stephense (Van Voorhees), 

1660; Jan Stephense (Van Voorhees), 1660; Abram Wil- 
liamse, 1663; Johannis Williamse, 1663; Evert Janse Van 
Wickelen, 1664 ; theunis Janse Van Amach, 1673 ; Gerret 
hansen (Van Nostrandt), Gerret hendrickse bresse, Wellim 
Gerretse Van Couwenhoven, Gerret Williamse Van Cou- 
wenhoven, Anthony Wamshaer, William Williamse borcklo 
Jan Albertse Terhune, Pieter Nevins, Pieter Manfoort. 

Residents in 1687, and previously.— Gathered 
from Town and Church records : 

Gerret Seerjersy, Hendrick Freemensen (here in 1670) • 
Gerret Gerretsen, Abram Joeresy (Brinkerhoff), Jan Cornelis' 
Jan Barrentsen (Van Driest), Albert Albertse (Terhune), died 
1673, and Vaereyck Flieksen, all here in 1672; William 
lobbertse, Wm. Williamse (Wyckoff), Gerrit Earners, Barent 
Jureyaensy, Thunis Helebrantsy, here in 1673 ; Klaes Kor- 
nelesen, Barent the Tailor, Sawaern Jans, Hans Janse (Van 
Nostrandt), Hendrick Hermanze, Widow of Frederick Ebb- 
cott, here in 1674 ; Widow of Gerraen Keest, Willem Gansen 
Van Barkelo, Klaes Smit, Widow of Geromus Boeck, Willem 
Kuyken, Jan Snedeghyer, here in 1675 ; Abraham Jorissen 
(Brinkerhoff), Fookie Hansen, 1679 ; Cornelius Barentsen, 
Simon Jansen (Romeyne), Simon Jorisen, 1680 ; Albert Ter- 
hune, Jr., Lawrence Koeck, Hendrick Aswerus, 1682; Jan 
Hansen (Van Nostrandt), Johannis Maohgilssen, Jan Man- 
fordt. Vis Homes, Jammes Wilier, William the Shoemaker 
De Fris the tanner, Jacob Fardon, Jan Albert Terhune' 
1685 ; Rut Joosteu (Van Brunt), Cornelis Simonsen Van 

Facsimile of Entger Joostcn's (Van Brunt) signature. 

Arsdalen, Joost Rutjen (Van Brunt), Johannis Holsa, Jan 
Kilement a mason, Master Toon, the Doctor, here in 1687 ; 
also 1677-1685; Bruno Hendrickse, Rutgert Brunoos, Tjelletje 
Reimers (Wizzelpfinnig), Pieter Tull, Jan Poppe, William 
Stryker, Gerret Remmerts, Jan Kiersen, Dirckye Roelffsen, 
Pieter Hendricksen, Albert Steven (Voorhees), Steven Coerten 
(Voorhees), Martin Pieterse (Wyckoff), Luykas (Voorhees), 
Teunis Jansen, Swaen Jansen, Adam Michilse, Dierckie 
Williamse, Loureus Cornelise, William Hulett. 

The taxable property in Flatlands in 1676 amounted 
to £3,966, 13s., and the taxes were about £20 yearly. 
The number of acres of land under cultivation in 1683 
was 1,661. 

The following names appear in the Census of 1698. 
The first figure following a name is the number of whites 
in the family, and the second figure shows the number 
of negro slaves : 

Gerret Elbert Stoothoff, 7, 4 ; Jan Teunis Dykhuys, 5, 5 ; 
Roelif Martense (Schenck), 6, 4; Coert Stevense, 5, 2; Gerret 
Wyckoff, 5, 2; Hend'^ Wykof, 3, 3; Dirk Jans Amerman, 9; 
Adriaen Kenne, 8 ; Dirck Langstraet, 5 ; Jan Kiersen, 3, 1 ; 
Alexander Simson, 10 ; Jan Hansen, 5 ; Pieter Nevins, 9, 1 ; 
Jacob Tysse Lane, 6 ; Helena Aertsen, 5 ; Simon Jantz Van 
Aersdaelen, 5, 1 ; Cornelis Simontz Aersdaelen, 8, 1 ; Wil- 
lem Gen-ittz Van Couwenhoven, 8 ; Aernont Viele, 2, 2 ; 
Jan Albertz ter hennen, 8, 3 ; Jan Brouwer, 8, 1 ; Thunis 
Jantz Amack, 7 ; fferdinando Van Sigelen, 7, 4 ; Claes 
Wykof, 8 ; Jan Wykof, 4, 1; Willem Bi-uynen, 7, 4; Adriaen 
Langstraet, 1; Lucan Stevense, 12, 4; Pieter Pieterse Wyckoff, 
1 ; Hendrick Brouwer, 1 ; Albert Amerman, 1 ; Pieter Van Cou- 
wenhoven, 4 ; Martin Schenck, 5, 3 ; Jan Stevense (Voorhees), 
13, 1 ; Pieter Monfoor, 8, 1 ; Steven Caerten (Voorhees), 5 ; 
Rutgers Bruyn, 9, 


This census gives us 37 families, with 40 men, 39 
women, 130 children, and 40 slaves— a total of 256 
souls. The entire county then numbered 2,013 souls. 

The Militia Company of the town in 171.5 was as 
follows : 

Roelif Terhunen, Captain ; John Ameerman, Lieutenant ; 
Court Van Voorhees, Ensign; John Hansen (Van Nostrant); 
Martin Schenck ; Oka Van Voorhees ; William Kouwenho- 
ven ; Isaac Amerman ; John Van Sekellen ; Jacob Amur- 
man ; Daniel Nostrant ; Cornelis Manford ; Jacob Manford ; 
Evers Van G-elder ; Roeluf Schenck ; Roeluf Van Voorhees ; 
Lucas Van Voorhees ; Albert Van Voorhees ; John Van 
Arsdalen ; Meanu Van Voorhees ; Johannis Boyes ; Marten 
Neves ; Cornelius Neves ; Peter Neves ; Hendrick Von Voor- 
hies ; Christofer Qubartus ; John Browyer ; Albartt Terhu- 
nan ; Peter Van Voirhies. 

The following is a list of the inhabitants of Platlands 
forty years later (1738). The spelling and absence of 
capitals indicate an illiterate officer. The figures, as in 
the census above, show the membership of families, 
and the number of slaves : 

Johannes Lotts, 5; Marten Schenck,5, 3 ; hendrick wickof, 

5, 3 ; Jacobus Amerman, 5 ; yan Amerman, 6, 1 ; pieter nev- 
yus, 3 ; pieter Wickof, jur., 3, 1 ; yan Stevensen (Voorhees), 

7, 3 ; wijUem koowenoven, 18, 3 ; Steven Schenck, 8, 1 ; Gerret 
hansen (Van Nostrant) 3; 1 ; pijeter monfoort ; wijUem van 
gelder, 8 ; Corneleis van voorhees, 6, 3 ; marten Schenck, 4, 
8 ; koert van voorhees, 5 ; Luijcas Stevensen (Van Voorhees) 

8, 3 ; cornlus van arsdalen, 8 ; ijan van voorhees, 13, 1 ; 
Auken van Voorhees, 6, 1 ; teunys rijennesen, 3 ; cornelys 
nef BUS, 7 ; i jaack van voorhees, 6 ; ijan elbersen (Stoothoof ?) 

9, 1 ; pijeter wycoff, 6, 1 ; pijter wyooff, 4 ; abraham wester- 
velt, 3 ; ijohaunes van sijggelen, 3 ; ijan ouken, 7 ; ijan ter- 
hunen, 3, 5 ; wijlhelmus Stothof, 5, 4 ; cornelua Stevensen 
(Voorhees) 4 ; hermanus hoogelant, 11, 1 ; roelof van voor- 
hees, 5. This list, following the original analysis, here omit- 
ted in detail, gives us white males above 10 years of age, 81 ; 
under, 31 ; white females above 10, 70 ; under, 83. Blacks : 
males above 10, 84 ; under, 1 ; females above 10, 11 ; under, 

6. Total— PFMfes, 195 ; Blacks, 43. 

Slaves. — In 1755 there were in the town twenty 
families in which slaves were held, viz. : those of John 
Schenck, John V. Der Bilt, Wilhelmus Stoothoff, Jr., 
Hermanus hooglant, Roelif Van Voorhees, Esq., Wil- 
helmus Stoothof, Abraham Voorhees, Steve Schenck ; 
John Ditmars, William Kouwenhoven, Esq., Gerret 
Kouwenhoven, John Amerman, Gerret Wykoff, Marten 
M. Schenck, Johannis Lott, Derrick Remsen, Johannis 
W. Wykof, Pieter Wykof, and Joosh Vannuis. Of 
these families that of Johannis Lott alone had four 
slaves ; two families had three each ; all the rest one 
or two. 

A List of Inhabitants, Oct. 1, 1796, with dwellings, barns, 

farms, &c., exceeding in value $100. Explanation : H, size 

of house; C, condition of houses; V, value of dwelling with 

3 acres ; B, size of barn ; A, number of acres in farm ; 

V B, value of barns and farm ; R, remarks. 

Barant Johnson, H 43x33, C new and good, V $900, B 39x48, 

A 49, V B $3,335 ; XJlpianus Van Sinderin, H 37x33, C very 

bad, V $300, B 36x34, 3 barns, A 68, B $1,600 ; Hendrick 

Okey, H14xl8, C good, V $110, A 4, V B $100 ; Jane Okey, 

H 13x30, C very old, V $110 ; Folkert Sproug, H 35x31, Cold I 

but in middling repair, V $300, B 46x36, A, 43, V B $1,075 ; 
Abraham Voorhees, H 37x33, C good, V $600, B 46x48, A 51, 

V B $1,375 ; Johannes Remsen, H 33x38, C new and good, 

V $700, B 48x46, A 134, V B $8,680 ; Rem Hageman, H 44x35, 
C good, V $900, B 36x58, A 183, V B $3,381 ; Abraham Stoot- 
hoof, H 40x30, C old and bad, V $101, B 48x50 old, R owned 
by Johannes Ditmars; Samuel Harris, H36x38, new, V $800, 
B 46x33, A 30i, V B $540 ; Jacob Voorhees, H 38x33, C new, 

V $650, B 40x36 new, A 51, V B $1,375 ; Simon Voorhees, H 
38x33, C new and good, V $1,000, R IJ acres; Johannes Stoot- 
hoof, H 33x30, C good, V $500, B 46x36, A 47. V B $1,175 ; 
Johannes P. Lott, H 30x88, C middling, V $600, B 40x50, A 

133, V B $3,600, R adjoimngtheBay and H. Lott; Hendrick J. 
Lott, H 50x34, C old, V $600, B 48x53. A 134, V B $3,600, R 
adjoining the bay ; Isaac Selover, H 89x 34, C old, V 
$350, B 33x30 old, A 13, V B $340 ; John Baxter, H 18x88, C 
middling, V $400, B 44x36, A 91, V B $3,400, Ron road to mill 
of Martensen; Wilhelmus Stoothoof, H 36x31, Cold, V$500, 
B 39x50, A 81, V B $3,187 ; John Schenck, H 41x33, C good, 

V $650, B 44x43 mill 38x38, A 131 , V B $5,600, R owned by Jane 
Martinsen. Flatbmli ; Johannis Bergen, H 34x34, C good, V 
$350, B 36x48, A 83, VB $3,460, R owner Tunis Bergen, 
Brooklyn ; Garret G, Wyckofe. H 19x30, C good, V 350, A 30, 

V B $600. R on road to mill ; Barent WyckofiE, H 19x30, C 
now, V $350, A 89, V B $580, R on road to mill ; Peter G. 
Wyckoff, H 33x33, C very old, V $400, B 40x50 old, A 68, VB 
$1,575, R on road to mill ; Wm. & Potter Skid more, H 34x34, 
C old, V $550. B 48x53 new shingles, A. 103, V B $3,550, R 
owner Sarah Wyckoff ; Aaron Van Pelt, H 30x33, C new; V 
$500, A 4, V B$350 ; Peter Vanderbilt, H 31x88, C middling. 

V $300, B 36x43, A 33, V B $640, R on road to Graveseud ; 
Williampte Amerman, H 36x33, C good, V $550, B 44x44, A 
165, VB |3,533, R on road to Gravesend; Abrah am Terhune, 
H 38x33, C new, V $900, R owner Albert Terhune ; Deborah 
Wyckofe, H 35x33, C old, V $300, R on road to Gravesend ; 
Lemmetye Lott, H 45x31, C good, V $800, B 48x53, A 114, 

V B $3,078, R on road to Lott's landing, owner Jores Lott, 
minor ; John H. Lott, H 19x37, C good, V $450, B 48x50, A . 

134, V B $3,480, R in Flatlands Neck ; Derick Remsen, H 
46x33, C new and good, V $800, B 46x44, A 156, V B $3,180, R 
in Flatlands Neck ; Wm. Kouwenhoven, H 43x34, C good, V 
$650, B 55x50, Alio, VB $3,300 ; Johannes Ditmars, H 43x35, 
C new and good, V $900, B shingle two 48x50, A 338, V B 
$8,300 ; Garret Kouwenhoven, H 31x50, C new and good, V 
$600, B 48x50, A118, V B $3,900, R Flatlands Neck; Johannes 
Lott, H 36x33, C new and good, V $750, B 36x44, A 57, V B 
$1,354, R Flatlands Neck; Hayltje Wyckoff, H 39x37, C mid- 
ling, V $480, B 44x30, A 100, V B $3,500, R owners heirs of 
Peter Wyckoff ; Nicholas Schenck, H 43x38, C 85 years and 
good, V $850, B 40x56 36x46, A 113, V B $3,390, R Flatlands 
Neck ; John Schenck, H 38x33, C new, V $570, R Flatlands 
Neck, Nick. Schenk, owner; Folkert Sprong, H 14x18, C new, 

V $150, A 1, V B $35, R Flatlands Neck ; Peter Lake, H 
37x30, C new, V $500 ; Elias Hubbart, H 45x33, C eood, V 
$300, B 33x40, A 77, V B $1935 ; James Ellsworth, H 34x36, 
C good, V $400 ; Daniel Bremen, H 38xl7-i, V 8 00 ; John 
Voorhees, H 36x33, C new, V $700, B 48x36, A 36, V B $573, 
R on road to Flatbush; Johannes VanNuys, H 30x38, C mid- 
ling, V $350, B 40x53, A 85J, V B $1,870 ; Wilhelmus Van 
Nuys, H 33x30, C good, V $500, B 43x33, A 39, V B $897, R 
Idea Stryker owner, on road to Flatbush ; Michael Stryker, 
H 45x31, C good, V $550, R on road to Flatbush ; Ben. Ben- 
net, H 89x37, C old, V $350, R heirs of Johannes Ditmars, 
owners ; Wm. Livingston, H 36x30, C good, V $600, A 103, 

V B $3,550, R owner Johannes E. Lott ; Davee Stoothoof, A 
6J, VB $180, R Mill lane near Bay and marsh; Joseph White, 
A i, VB $30, R Mill lane near Bay and marsh ; Johannes J. Lott, 



B 48x50, A 83, V B $2,075 ; Jeromas Lott, A 70, V B |1,750 ; 
Nicholas Schenck, Jr., A 30, V B $660, E Flatlands Neck ; 
Adrian Hageman, A 5, V B, $100, R house value $30 ; Cor- 
nelius Stoothoflf, B 43x50, A 38, V B $855, R road to Flatbush ; 
Thomas Ellsworth, B 30x36, A 35, V B $787^, R road to Flat- 
bush ; Jeremiah EUsworth, A 14, V B $315, R road to Flat- 
bush ; Wilhelmus Van Nuys. A 4, V B 150, R road to his 
own property ; Ben. Bennet, A 16, V B $380, R road to his 
own property ; Luke Kouwenhoven,Jr., A 50, VB $1,350. 

Social Condition of the Early Inhabitants. — 

The early population of this town consisted of agricul- 
turalists and artisans, plain, thrifty and religious people. 
The open land of the town attracted settlers nearly as 
soon as Manhattan Island was permanently occupied, 
and large numbers of newly arrived immigrants for 
many years continued to make it a temporary abode. 
A great many families upon the Hudson and Mohawk 
and in New Jersey trace their descent through perma- 
nent or temporary residents of this township ; and Gov- 
ernor Stuyvesant speaks of this region as the only one 
which seemed to thrive under the severe trials of those 

Their dwellings must have been very plain. Two of 
them survive after a lapse of more than two hundred 
years, and may serve as examples of the better and the 
more common sort ; the first is the house at Crook's 
Mill, and the second the humble cottage in the corner 
of Theo. Bergen's field, near John L. Ryder's residence. 
Our people were the people of Holland transferred to 
Long Island. The salt meadows, the bay, and the level 
lands suited them. On the marsh the ditches dug by 
their hands are not yet filled up, and their descendants 
still go to those marshes for salt hay. On the arable 
lands the "dikes" may yet be traced along the principal 
lines dividing farms, once a sort of fond remembrance 
of their fence against the Worth Sea. The tiles still 
remaining upon the chimney pieces, at Crook's Mill 
and at Peter Remsen's, show, as fishing and Bible 
scenes, in decidedly Hollandish character. There are, 
even now, probably fewer changes in manners and habits 
of thought here, than can be found in any other part of 
the country. We have an interior view of early Flat- 
lands given in Danhar's and StryJcer's Journal oi 1679- 
1680, published by the Long Island Historical Society. 
The picture is not ilattered : 

"Monday, Oct. Sd, 1679.— ^e went after breakfast to the 
Bay. We did not find Jan Theunessen (Van Dyckhuysen) at 
home, but the father and mother (Elbert Elbertse Stoothoflf 
and wife, whose daughter Jan married) bade us welcome and 
took us around into the orchards. We found the land in 
general not so good as at Najack (New Utrecht). Toward 
the sea is a piece of low flat land which is overflowed at every 
tide, while adjoining corn lands are dry and barren for the 
most part. Some of them were now entirely covered with 
clover in blossom, which we discovered in the atmosphere 
before we saw the fields. There is here a grist mill driven 
by the (tide) water which they dam up in the creek, and 

NOTK.-Simon Voorhees and Abraham Terhuae had houses of two 
stones, all the rest were o£ one story, and all built of wood. It is not 
known that a stone or brick house has ever been built in this township. 

hereabouts they go mostly to shoot snipe and wUd geese. 
Behind the village inland are their meadows, now arid." 

" Tuesday, Sd. — Nothing but rain ; compelled to sit in the 
house, which was constantly filled with a multitude of god- 
less people. This Elbert Elbertse being the principal person 
of the place, and their Captain, and having a multitude of 
children of his own, there was a continual concourse at his 

A week later our travelers were again at Capt. Elbert's 
in the Bay. They write : 

"While we were sitting there, Domine Van Sauren came 
up, to whom the farmers called out as uncivilly and rudely 
as if he had been a boy. He had a chatting time with aU of 
them. He spoke to us, but not a word about reHgion. Indeed, 
he sat prating and gossiping with the farmers, who talked 
foully and otherwise, not only without giving them a single 
word of reproof, but without speaking a word about Gcd or 
spiritual matters. It was all about horses and cattle and 
swine and grain ; and then he went away." 

The surrender of New Netherlands to the English, 
Aug. 27th, 1664, caused no material changes in the 
social affairs of Flatlands. The magistrates continued 
in office until the usual time of elections, when the 
newly elected took the oath of allegiance to his Majesty 
of England. The people continued to be free citizens, 
enjoying their lands and privileges as before; and the 
Dutch were to enjoy liberty of conscience in worship and 
church discipline, as well as their own customs con- 
cerning inheritances. The States-General gave Amers- 
foort, and some other towns near her, a sharp reproof 
for yielding too far to English blandishments about 
this time ; and threatened their " severest indignation 
and displeasure " if they did not remain firm in their 
Dutch allegiance. The rebuke was scarcely just to this 
town. The whole of Kings County was perfectly 
defenceless, though harrasscd by daily threats of the 
English, and the men would not abandon their wives 
and children to defend those of New Amsterdam. 

There was little to disturb the peaceful flow of 
events in this town for more than a hundred years be- 
fore the Revolution. There was, indeed, at one period, 
some excitement in regard to the settlement of the pastors 
Antonides and Freeman, over the joint Dutch churches 
of Kings County ; but, finally, all parties became weary 
of the profitless quarrel and both were accepted by all 
the churches in a better spirit. In this town the ser- 
vices and care of the church, the interests of children 
in the schools, and the daily pursuits of a rural popula- 
tion, made up the history of the months and the years. 
Large and healthy families gladdened parents' hearts 
and furnished work for their hands. New men from 
the old families, and with the old names, took the places 
of those who were laid to rest " in de kerk," or in the 
burial-ground beside it. In all these years, the people 
of this town were loyal to the British crown, and con- 
tinued so, doubtless, to the outbreak of the Revolu- 
tionary War. They were not engaged in trade, were 
not excitable, were not ardent politicians or theorists, 
and were content with honest gains by the cultivation 



of their fields. Two montlis after the Declaration of 
Independence they passed under the power of the 
British army, and so remained until the evacuation of 
New York. 

Flatlands Neck. — It is proper, at this point of our 
sketch, to speak of that portion of the township of Flat- 
lands lying northward from Bedford Creek and bounded 
by Jamaica Bay, New Lots and Flatbush. At the time 
of the settlement of Achtervelt, the " westermost of the 
Three Flats of Long Island," the lands of " Van Twil- 
lers " and " Corker's Flats " were also put under culti- 
vation. It must, however, have been imperfect, as no 
concentration or settlement seems ever to have been 
formed in either locality. The Canarsie Indians were 
still numerous ; and, with the exception of their maize 
lands and the flats above named, all that portion of the 
town lay in dense forests. The " Canarsie Woods " 
have been famous even to our day, and must have once 
contained an immense mass of heavy timber. The 
farmers of Amersfoort, coming with increasing popu- 
lation to need more land, hired land of the Indians at 
Canarsie, until from twelve to twenty cultivated por- 
tions were under the management of the whites. But 
this temporary arrangement was likely to cause trouble, 
though we have no record of any. However, to put 
matters into a safe position, the Indian title was extin- 
guished and that fine portion of the town opened to 
the whites under the following contract : 

On the 33d day of April was agreed as follows, to wit. : 
Wametappaok, Sachem of Canryssen, and Eamieracy, Minne- 
quahum, Camenuck, Panwangum, and Attewarum, lawful 
owners of Canaryssen, and the appendages thereunto apper- 
taining, have agreed and sold to the inhabitants of the Town 
of Amersfoort, a parcel of land lying on Long Island, by and 
in the vicinity of the Village of AmersfoOrt, beginning at the 
west side of the " Muskyttehool " at a certain marked tree, 
thence stretching to where the end of the Flats comes by the 
two trees, situate on the north side of the said Flats to a cer- 
tain marked tree ; from thence to the Fresh KiU meadows, 
stopping at the path from the Great Flats to the Fresh Kill 
meadows and stretching in the Flats ; with all meadows, 
kills and creeks therein contained, and that for the sum of 
one hundred fathoni of white wampum, one coat, one pair of 
stockings, one pair shoes, four adzes, two cans of brandy, 
and one-half barrel of beer ; with conditions that the pur- 
chasers once for always a fence shall set at Canarissen for the 
protection of the Indian cultivation, which fence shall there- 
after by the Indians be maintained, and the land which 
becomes inclosed in fence shaU by the Indian owners 
above mentioned all their lives to be used, to wit, by Wame- 
tappaok, the Sachem, with his two brothers ; all done without 
fraud or deceit. The 6th day of April, old style. 

This is the mark of Wame X tappack. Sachem. 

This is the mark of &, Minnequahem. 

This is the mark of S Attbwaeam. 

This is the mark of A Okamgsy. 

This is the mark of V~ Rammgeeaen. 

This is the mark of E Panwangum. 

This is the mark of V Kameneck. 

This is the mark of S Wanaclyck. 

This done by me, the Constable, Minnie Johnnes. 

The stipulated price was duly paid to the Indians on 
the day of sale, under the following valuations, viz.: 
wampum, 600 gl. ; stockings, 6 gl. ; coat, 60 gl.; shoes, 
16 gl. ; 4 adzes, 16 gl.; brandy, 8 gl. ; beer, 15 gl. ; total 
721 (1418.40). The General Patent of the town, issued, 
two years later by Gov. Nicolls (Oct. 4, 1667), includes 
the Neck, and thus gives a legal sanction to the title now 
acquired from the Indians. Most of the lands were the 
undivided property of the freeholders of the town ; 
though small portions, including meadow lots, were in 
private hands. Nearly the whole of the neck was 
divided into lots of ten morgens, or 20 acres each, which 
were called " The New Lots of Flatlands." We have 
not ascertained precisely how these lots ran, except in a 
few instances. Stephen Schenck, an early settler at 
Canarsie Point, purchased a series of these lots running 
across the Point, and the nearest to the Bay. The lines 
of property at Canarsie, and especially the farm-lines of 
the Vanderveers, and Remsens, at the Neck, still give 
clear indications of this early division of the land into 

The equitable benefit to individuals to arise from 
these common lands when they became something more 
than pastures for young cattle, and especially when new 
residents settled in the town, became at length a diffi- 
cult question. The only escape was to divide the lands 
in severalty. Accordingly, on April 3d, 1705, a town 
meeting agreed to divide the common woodlands at 
Canarsie, and appointed Luykas Stevensen (Voorhees), 
Jan Terhunen, and Peter Nefius to carry out the man- 
agement. Gerrit Stoothoff, Justice; Cornelis Van 
Arsdalen and Jan Amerman, witnesses; Jan Stevensen 
(Voorhees), constable. Nothing, however, came of this 
action, and the matter seems to have been left in abey- 
ance until some years later. December 25th, 1718, 
was issued the following advertisement: 

"Whereas, There is a certain tract of land * * * 
commonly called De Baye's Neck or Flatlands Neck, and 
was given * * * as per grant of Richard Nicolls, Esq. , 

* * * Oct. 4th, 1667. * * * and aftervfard 
confirmed * * * by Thomas Dongan, Esq., Mar. 
11th, 1685. * * * Therefore, wee WUliam Gerretsen 
[Van Kouwenlioven], Lukas Stevense [Voorhees], survivors 
of the above named patentees, and Martin R. Schenck and 
Koert Voorhees, assignees of full shares of patentees, have 
mutually contracted and executed in writing * * * 
for to Divide and Lay out the above said tract of Land 

* * * on or near the 25th of March next ensuing, 

* * * and the shares * * * shall be drawn 
by Lots in the presence of Joseph Hageman, Jeronymus 
Remsen, and Samuel Gerretsen, indifferent persons nomi- 
nated by us ; * * * and we forbid trespass." 

One difiiculty in parcelling out the common lands at 
the Neck to individual owners, arose from certain obli- 
gations touching-inheritances, and the support of church 
and school, assumed by the early settlers. How impor- 
tant these were considered, and how necessary to be 
continued among the new comers, may be seen by the 
following action: 


" Be it known by all persons that it is decreed by Patentees 
of the Town of Amersfoordt, and by Assignees of full rights 
of Patentees, that the under named persons will take their 
lots on the following conditions : 1. That none of them shall 
have power to sell their lots or any part of the same to any 
person without at the same time selling to the buyer the 
house-plot attached to the lot. 2. They shall be held in addi- 
tion to aid in maintaining the School, to help in the main- 
tainance of the Preacher or Preachers, and School Master, 
and of bringing of firewood to the Preacher and Schoolmas- 
ter, all as may be determined and enjoyed by the congrega- 
tion of the said Town, each person in proportion to his rights, 
and in proportion to his neighbors' ; under the restriction that 
if any of the undernamed persons shall refuse or neglect to 
observe the above Articles or Conditions, and to keep the 
same, or to bind their assigns to their observance, they shall 
be deprived of their apportioned lot or lots, and the same 
shall become the property of the Town." 

" Done at Amersfoordt, this 30th of April, A. D. 1719." 

The persons named as receiving lots under the above 
conditions were: Jacobus Amerman, Johannes and Eva 
Van Seikelen, Josias Drake, Cornelis Van Arsdalen, 
Abraham Westervelt, Jan Lucassen (Voorhees), Anna 
Terhunen, Jan Van Nays, Jan Auken, Steven Schenck, 
Isaac Amerman, and the " Heirs of Kierstede." 

In further preparation for the eventful casting of lots, 
it was agreed that the common woodland, "to wit: the 
Neck, Fresh Kills Point, and Kanarisse, shall be drawn 
in three parts," as above, and as appears on the follow- 
ing table. It was added: " The heretics their rights to 
have on the strip of land that lies in the rear of the 
Neck dwelling plots." The word Renters here trans- 
lated heretics is differently rendered. Hon. T. G. Bbe- 
GBN says: " The word Keuters in the original is by some 
translated ' Mechanics.' The word Ketter means ' heretic' 
Keater not found in the dictionary. Dr. Stkong (His- 
tory of Flatbush) translates the word 'Mechanics." 
We are not able to add anything to these authorities. 
It is certain that "The legal agents of all the patentees " 
would enforce whatever, in behalf of Church and School 
was " Determined and enjoyned by the Congregation of 
the Town;" and if any would not accept their portion 
on the above terms, it seemed liberal in those times to 
assign them a place " On the strip of land in the rear 
of the neck dwelling plots." Keuters' Hook, or, if we 
follow this translation. Heretics' Corner, is now found 
in the north part of Flatlands, adjoining, and mostly in, 
New Lots. 

The' division and assignment, by lot, of the Neck lands 
to each individual having rights in the patent, took 
place as follows: 

"May 4, 1719.— A showing of the allotment of the divided 
land in the town of Amersfoordt, to wit. : the Fresh Kills 
Point, the Neck, and Kanarsingh; numbered and done by the 
undersigned— Joseph Hageman, Jeronymus Remsen, and 
Samuel Geri-etsen— pursuant to the charge of Lucas Steven- 
sen, Martin E. Schenck, William Couwenhoven and Koert 
Voorhees, Patentees and assignees of full rights of Patentees 
and each individual share in acres of the persons here under- 
named, as follows, to wit :" 

Lukas Stevensen ( Voorliees) 

Martin R. Schenck 

Willem Couwenhoven 

Koert Van Voorhees 

Jan Terhunen 

Martin Schenck 

Hendrick Wyckoff 

Pieter Wyckoff 

Pieter Nevius 

Albert Terhunen 

Gerret Stoothoff 

Dirk Amerman 

Jan Amerman 

Roeloff Terhunen 

Auken Van Nuyse 

Corn'l'us Coerten (Voorhees) 

Cornelis Van Arsdalen 

Abraham Lott 

Pieter Monf oordt 

Gerret Hansen 

Pieter Wyckoff, Jun 

Hermanns Hooghland 

Jan Lucassen (Voorhees). . . 
Jan Stevensen (Voorhees). . , 

Gertrude Van Gelderte 

have 3 lots, each 5 acres. 
Aukenz Janz Van Voorhees) 

Kfl, OS 

No. of 

























T* „ -^ (H ^^ 



























S? o o 
















The Period of the Revolution.— When the 
British forces landed at Bath, in New Utrecht, 
preparatory to the Battle of Brooklyn, August, 1776, 
they soon made their presence known, and swarmed 
up over the country. « Before noon," an old lady, who 
saw them, used to say, "the Red Coats were so thick in 
Flatlands you could walk on their heads." They plun- 
dered nearly, every house, especially those of the Whigs. 
The maternal grandmother of Supervisor Ryder used to 
tell of their entrance into her father's house in Gravosend. 
Her mother sent her ahead to open every chest and 
closet, so the soldiers would not break into them with 
their muskets. When, however, they seized her new 
bonnet, the girl's courage rose equal to the emergency; 
and, suddenly snatching it from them, she defended it 
so stoutly against threats and violence that they left 
the trophy in her hands. The soldiers entered the 
house of Elias Hubbard (father of the late Judge Hub- 
bard), yet standing on Hubbard's Lane, and were fur- 
nished liberally by his wife, Margaret Lake, with milk, 
bread and butter, and, in fact, with all the edibles of 
the house. But, when they attempted to drive away 
her cow, she planted herself at the yard-gate and com- 
pelled them to desist. 

At evening, after the landing, the British camp-fires 
were seen all along the road from New Utrecht to 
Flatbush. The main body passed by way of Gravesend. 
Earl Cornwallis pushed forward with the Reserves, and 
a detachment of Hessians also encamped that 'night at 



Flatbush, all having passed through Flatlands. The 
tradition is, that Col. Kniphausen's horse, and perhaps 
his whole regiment, occupied the Amerman farm, now 
Jeremiah Ryder's. With this exception, no troops are 
known to have encamped here, or to have been quar- 
tered upon the inhabitants. A guard was stationed at 
Captain Nicholas Schenck's, at Canarsie Point, and 
another at Mr. Wyckoff's, Flatlands Neck, now the 
residence of John A. Wyckoil. The soldiers occupied 
the kitchen, and the southwest room of the house was 
used as a lock-up. 

The services of the church, and of the common 
schools, were carried forward as if nothing unusual was 
occurring. Seventeen infants were baptized in the 
Flatlands Dutch Church, in the year 1776. This unin- 
terrupted worship is the more remarkable, from the fact 
that the pastor was universally regarded as a decided, 
and sometimes over-zealous, friend of the American 

At the close of the war there was a celebration at 
Flatbush, by WMgs from the county towns. Flatlands 
was represented by four men ; two of them were Abra- 
ham Voorhees (father of Hon. John A. Voorhees) and 
Elias Hubbard (grandfather of A. H. Hubbard). The 
British had left each of these two men one old horse, 
and these were each blind of one eye. The two imper- 
fect horses were harnessed together on this jubilee occa- 
sion, and drew the patriots to Flatbush. 

Reformed Dutch Church of Flatlands. — There 
are but two Dutch churches in America older than that 
of Flatlands, viz., the Collegiate Dutch Church of New 
York, formed in 1628, and the North Dutch Church of 
Albany, 1642. The churches of Flatlands and Flatbush 
were formed on the same day, February 9th, 1654, by 
Rev. Johannes M egapolensis, pastor of the Collegiate 
Church, and their history will be found in the chapter 
of this work devoted to The Ecclesiastiedl History of 
Kings County, from 165 Jf- 1800. When, in 1654, a 
church was completed at Flatbush, at a cost of $1,800, 
Flatlands contributed $48. The first minister, the Rev. 
Jo. Theodoras Polhemus must have preached in Flat- 
lands, in private houses, or in the school-house, for eight 
or nine years, until, September 12th, 1662, the people 
asked for the privilege of building themselves a church 
edifice, which was granted by the Governor and Council. 
The next year (1663) saw the enterprise completed. The 
erection of this early church by the unaided eifort of a 
small community of poor settlers, in the midst of 
heathenism, was very creditable to them. They chose- 
an excellent location, near their primitive settlement, 
and gently elevated, and which had been sacred from 
time immemorial as an Indian burial place. In form, 
the church was octagonal, with a belfry, and an inclosed 
portal called the Baptistry, or "Doophuisje;" the whole 
being covered, on roof and sides, with heavy spruce 
shingles, which were so durable as to have survived to 
our day. The people were, at first, summoned to wor- 

ship by the sound of a drum, but in 1686 a subscription 
(which still remains in the archives) was circulated, 
and 556 guilders were collected for a bell, being more 
than 100 guilders in excess of subscriptions. TJiebell 
was probably imported from Holland, as in September 
the next year 7 gl. is paid for " a rope for the bell." The 
appearance of the church in the year of its erection is 
complimented in the words of Capt. Scott : " This is a 
handsome place and has a fine church." And this, 
coming from a violent enemy, we accept as true. 

This church continued in use the long period of 131 
years, until 1794, when it was torn down and a new 
church built. The pulpit of the original church was of 
the " wine-glass " style, had a sounding board, and was 
furnished with a " bench." The hearers' seats were 
not luxurious. They were "benches." In 1697 Evert 
Van Weckelin was paid 150 gl., or $60, "for making 
benches in the church," and repairs to the benches were 
made from time to time long afterward. Chairs were 
in very moderate use. In 1716, 8 gl. were paid "for 2 
chairs in the church," and, in 1785, 18s. for a similar 
purchase. One of these chairs was for the magistrate, 
and the other for the Yef vroto, or minister's wife. The 
latter, purchased in 1685, is now preserved in afi^oc- 
tionate honor at the Flatlands parsonage. 

The church edifice was repaired and enlarged in 
1762, after it had been in use 99 years. The enlarge- 
ment consisted in advancing the three front sections of 
the original octagon, leaving the new front square and 
the full width of the building. The original seating 
capacity must have been 125 or 130. In 1762 the 122 
regular sittings, or " places," were held as follows : 

Cc)rnelius Voorhees, 5 ; Steve Schenok, 4 ; JohaBnes Lott, 
7 ; Hermann Hooglandt, 5 ; Wm. Kouwenhoven, 5 ; Eoelof 
Voorhees, 4 ; Fammetie Ditmars, 3 ; Eoelof Van Voorhees, 
4 ; John Van Der Bilt, 5 ; Jeremiah Van Derbilt, 1 ; Abraham 
Voorhees, 5 ; Folkert Sprong, 3 ; Abraham Dorye, 4 ; Coustyn 
Golneck, 1; Peter Wykof, 3; Johannes Lott, Jr., 3; Wm. 
Van Gelder, 3 ; Derrick Eemsen, 4 ; Henrick Lott, 4 ; Jan 
Schenok, 5 ; Wilhelmus Stoothoof , 7 ; Jan Ouke, 1 ; Marte 
Ouke, 1 ; Samuel Garreson, 1 ; Bernardus Eyder, 3 ; Albert 
Terhune, 4 ; James Holbert, 2 ; Fernandus Van Segelen, 1 ; 
Barent Vanderventer, 1 ; Abraham Schenok, 1 ; Callyntje 
Janse, 1 ; Garrett Wykoff, 3 ; Getore Heyn, 2 ; Jan Amer- 
man, 6 ; Anuatie Wykof, 5 ; Petrus Amerman, 3 ; Jacob 
Ouke, 1 ; Helena Ouke, 1 ; Eisack Selover, 1. 

The following are the new places : 

Pieter Wykof, 2 ; Derrick Eemsen, 1 ; Abraham Dorye, 1 ; 
Christoffer Hoogland, 1 ; Johannes Lott, 3 ; Garret Kouwen- 
hoven, 1 ; Wilhelmus Stoothoof, 2 ; Garret Wykof, 2 ; Abra- 
ham Voorhees, 1 ; Coustyn Golneck, 3 ; Henrick Wykof, 1 ; 
Joosh Van Nuys, 3 ; Nicholas Schenok, 1 ; Jan Ouke, 1 ; 
Folkert Sprong, 3 ; Eoelof Van Voorhees, 1 ; Evert Seerman, 
1 ; Jan Van Der Bilt, 1 ; Marten Ouke, 1 ; Abraham Van 
Geldrin, 1—38. 

It will be seen that the total number of sittings 
actually taken, in 1762, was 150, by 53 persons. Accord- 
ing to a list, in 1767, 41 persons hired 148 sittings. It 
would seem therefore clear that the first church build- 



ing, even wlien enlarged, would not accommodate many 
more than 150. 

The sittings in church went with the farms, and were 
often named in deeds; and, so late as the present pas- 
torate, pew-rents have been paid by agents of property 
where no use was made of the sittings, simply because 
the pew went with the property. In 1 716 it was ordered 
that a non-resident might hold his sittings by due pay- 
ment of rent. Otherwise he lost them after " one year 
and six weeks." He might sell them to a resident of 
Amersfort, but not to a non-resident. In 1794, at the 
building of the new church, the limit was reduced to 
six months. 

It became at length apparent that Flatlands needed 
a new church edifice. Influential families advocated it. 
The father of Derrick and Johannes Remsen, among 
others, urged that the church was too small and falling to 
decay. A town meeting, caUed March 4th, 1794, resolved 
to build a new church and to raise money for the work by 
the sale of the town lots, hitherto held for the benefit of 
the church. A committee appointed for both purposes 
inserted the following notice in a New York paper, 
March 8th, 1794 : "Notice is hereby given to carpen- 
ters that proposals will be received by Abram Voorhees, 
Rem Hageman and Wm. Koiiwenhoven, for building a 
church at Flatlands, 60 feet by 40 feet, timber and 
materials to be furnished by them." 

This notice was responded to by Smith &, King, 
buUders, who contracted to finish the work according to 
the specifications for £400. On March 26th, John Bax- 
ter, vendue master, sold " the Neck woods, the farm and 
commons belonging to the church." May 6th, the car- 
penters began taking down the venerable church, and 
finished May 27. July 29th and 30th the new church 
was raised. Xovember 2d the debris of the old church 
was sold. Xovember 12th a town meeting was held, 
when it was resolved to use the moneys of the Poor 
Chest to finish the church. The pews were distributed 
by lot on December 20th, and on the 13th the house 
was dedicated by Rev. Peter Lowe, one of the pastors, 
who preached from Ex. xx., 24, last clause. The bell 
was put into position December 26 ; and, the next day, 
the associate pastor. Rev. Martinus Schoonmaker, 

"There were 55 pews disposed of, leaving stUl some 
for the commons," as was at first proposed. The church 
of 1794 had a steeple containing a bell (the same now in 
use). The old bell, bought in 1686, and weighing 22 
lbs., was now taken by John Bailey of Xew York, at 
£5, 16s. 8d.; in part pay for the new bell of 458^ lbs. 
which cost £84, 15s. 2d. The building was lighted 
by five large windows on each side, and had a single 
entrance in the south side, or point. It was inclosed 
with a picket fence, a few feet from the building, on 
three sides; but having a post and rail fence at the rear. 
The church was painted a dull red color, and sanded 
while the paint was new. In later years the e£fort 

was made to paint it white. Lombardy poplars 
were at the front and rear. The interior was ceiled 
.vith pine-stufif, rendered famous by the number of 
knots which showed their dark color through the paint. 
A relic of olden times, was the Town Stocks and 
Wliipping Post, which adorned the open space in front 
of the church near the burial-ground. 

This church, like that of 1663, was destitute of heat- 
ing apparatus until 1825, when 39 persons subscribed 
$69, and a large wood stove was introduced. The old 
style of pulpit gave way in 1827, when 47 persons sub- 
scribed -S145.25, "as a New Year's gift toward build- 
ing a Xew Pulpit in our church." Of these subscribers 
one stUl lingers, Jeremiah Ryder, in honored old age. 
Xot to be outdone by the men, in March, 46 ladies sub- 
scribed ¥63, "for dressing the New Pulpit." The 
pulpit was built by Jervis R. Woolsey, for 1132.75. 

The church built in 1794 continued in use to 1848. 
The frame, which had become weakened, began to allow 
the side-waUs to spread in a threatening manner, and 
strong iron rods faded to a£Eord security. On May 31st, 
1847, the consistory resolved to solicit funds for a new 
church, and |3,817 were promised. The consistory 
associated Peter Debaun, John Holmes and Cornelius 
Kouwenhoven, with themselves as building committee; 
but, as they declined to serve, the pew-holders, by invita- 
tion of consistory, appointed (Feb. 3d, 1848) John Rem- 
sen, William Kouwenhoven and Jeromus Van Nayse, the 
BuUding Committee. The consistory confirmed this 
action. The chui'ch was built by day's work and prin- 
cipally by Henry J. Eldert. It was 63^ feet by 
44^ feet, and was completed, together with the sheds 
and fences, at a cost of |5,506.29. This house is still 
in use. When opened, it contained 66 pews, 58 of which 
were taken at once by families. In the winter of 1871 
and 1872, side galleries were introduced, adding about 
100 sittings ; and the whole house, outside and inside, 
was repaired and repainted, at a cost of about $3,500. 

In 1853, Anne Terhune conveyed to the consistory a 
lot near the south-westerly comer of the church lot, 
on which to build a house for evening lectures and Sun- 
day-school. This lot was enlarged afterward, by gift 
from Peter Lott, and Maria, his wife, to about 70 by 
40 feet. In 1853 the ladies appropriated funds of the 
sewing society, and money collected by Mrs. Martha 
Woolsey, and others, and a building was erected by 
John S. Brown at a cost of $1,300. R. Magaw, J. Wil- 
liamson and T. Garretson (beside the consistory) were 
the building committee. This building has been added 
to, and is now 58 by 26 feet. The whole was, in 1881, 
put in prime order at a cost of $350. 

The Pastors of the Dutch Church of Flatlands 
under the coUegiate system, from 1654, are given in 
the chapter on " The Eixlesiiinticul History of Kings 
(Jonnty, 1654-1800. Of these, Mr. ^'an Sinderin (1746- 
1784) married, and acquired landed property in this 
town, and is the only one of the Kings County preach- 



ers who resided and was buried here. Peter Lowe, 
(born in) Kingston, N. Y., 1764, was pastor of 
the collegiate churches 1787-1808. In the latter 
year Flatbush and Flatlands formed a union sep- 
arate from the rest, and Dominie Lowe became 
pastor of these two churches alone. He died in 1818. 
Dominie Schoonmaker continued in the pastorate of 
all the churches till his death ; Walter Monteith was 
called by Flatlands and Flatbush to his first charge in 
1819. He remained only a year. The union between 
Flatlands and Flatbush closed with the departure of 
Mr. Monteith. In May, 1822, Flatbush called Rev. 
Thomas M. Strong, D.D. During 1823 a church build- 
ing was begun in New Lots, and dedicated in July, 1824. 
The society there was part of the Flatbush congregation ; 
but in August of 1824, theClassisof Long Island organ- 
ized the New Lots people into a church, and during the 
following winter they formed a union with Flatlands. 
In February, 1825, Rev. William Cruikshank was 
settled as pastor of these united churches. It was dur- 
ing his pastorate that stoves and a modern pulpit were 
first used in the Flatlands Church. Mr. Cruikshank 
resigned in 1834, and died in 1854. On Jan. 18, 1836, 
a call by the churches of Flatlands and New Lots was 
made upon Rev. J. Abeel Baldwin, a clergyman of the 
Presbyterian Church, who continued a successful pastor- 
ate until June 9th, 1852, when he resigned. Mr. Bald- 
win still survives. The connection between Flatlands 
and New Lots Reformed Dutch Churches terminated 
with this pastorate, Nov. 24, 1852. Flatlands called 
Rev. John T. M. Davie ; and, about the same time, New 
Lots called Rev. John M. Van Buren. Mr. Davie's 
pastoral and pulpit excellencies were highly appreciated, 
and were enjoyed until his sudden death, March 8, 1862. 
On August 4, 1862, the Church called Rev. T. Sanford 
Doolittle, who remained two years, when he was invited 
to a professorship in Rutgers College, which he still 
occupies. In May, 1865, Rev. Cornelius Brett, then a 
recent graduate of the New Brunswick Seminary, was 
called, and he continued the active and useful pastor of 
the church until Dec, 1869, when he resigned, having 
accepted a call to a Reformed Dutch Church in Newark, 
N. J. He is now pastor of the venerable Church of 
Bergen, Jersey City. Rev. Anson Du Bois became pas- 
tor in Dec, 1870, and still retains the position. The 
church now reports 80 families and 200 members. 

M. E. Church of Flatlands.— The Methodist peo- 
ple had public preaching in the school-house of District 
No. 1 for about a year, when, in 1851, James Engle 
bought of Rem Hageman, a church site for them on 
Mill lane ; and the present house was built, at a cost of 
$2,700, by Mr. Youngs, of Flatbush. Mr. Engle was 
very active, but the early records of the church were 
lost, or witheld by his widow. The first preacher 
[1852-3] was Rev. Thos. H. Burch, now Presiding Elder 
of the New York District N. Y. East Conference. The 
parsonage lot was bought from John Corey, who had 

purchased of Hageman, and the house was built by 
John Rumph, for $2,300, in 1868. The society has been 
regularly supplied with preachers since its formation ; 
and, though small^ has been active and useful. It reports 
80 members. 

Protestant Methodist Church of Canarsie.— A 
Sunday-school of 23 scholars was organized at Canarsie 
in 1840, Ralph Van Houten, Superintendent. A Meth. 
Epis. Church was also constituted that year, of 12 mem- 
bers, and the meetings held in a private house until 
a small church costing $500 was built at the corner of 
Old Road and Church Lane. About 1855 the church 
became Protestant Methodist, and so remains. The first 
church building was removed in 1870, and a larger one 
built upon the same ground. The Protestant Metho- 
dist Society has had the following Pastors : Revs. Fred. 
Dickerman, J. J. Smith, Joshua Hudson, John A. Mor- 
ris, J. Serene, Robert Woodruff, Edwin Jones, R. S. 
Hulshart, John Painter, H. S. Hall, and J. H. Ilolden, 
the present pastor. The good influence of the church 
has been very marked. It is still growing, with an 
active pastor and membership. 

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, of Canarsie, of 
32 members, was formed in August, 1879, and the cor- 
ner stone of the church edifice was laid September 11th, 
1879. The church cost $4,000. Pastor Fladt, of East 
New York, served the new society six months ; when 
Pastor Ktlver, the present incumbent, took charge. 
The Sunday-school numbers 70 scholars. 

German Evangelical Reformed Church of Ca- 
narsie. — In March, 1876, Rev. C. Dickhout, of East 
New York, labored among the large German population 
of Canarsie ; and, on the 19th of that month, held public 
worship in the German School-house. An organization 
was desired, and the South Classis of Long Island, 
March 29th,1876, commissioned Revs. A. DuBois, D.D., 
J. Hones and C. F. C. Suckow, and Elder John L. 
Ryder, to constitute a church there if found advisable. 
On June 5th, 1876, the committee met a large number 
of Germans, and a church of 72 members was formed. 
P. H. Koppf and Christian Schreiber were elected 
Elders, and Christian Quaritius and Henry Shumaker 
Deacons. The examination for membership and instal- 
lation of the Consistory were conducted in German by 
Rev. Messrs. Hones and Suckow. Rev. C. Dickhout 
became pastor, and still remains such. The corner stone 
,of a church was laid June 29th, 1877, and the building 
was dedicated November 4th, 1877, at a cost of $5,000. 
There is a Sabbath-school of 60 pupils, with 150 vol- 
umes in the library. The pastor has mainly superin- 
tended the school. The church is self-supporting, pros- 
perous and growing. 

The Common Schools of Flatlands.— The com- 
mon school in Flatlands probably began with the settle- 
ment itself. We have found no records touching it 
earlier than 1675, when it was evidently in a mature 
and vigorous career, under the care of the church elders 



and was called "The School of the Town." The first 
notice we have of it is in regard to a supply of books 
by the deacons; and entries and bills, of elementary and 
religious books paid for, appear in their accounts from 
1675 for a long period of years, along with every 
variety and order of expenses. 

According to the tradition in our town, and the well- 
known usages of other Dutch settlements, the school- 
master was, by virtue of his ofiice. Reader in church. 
Chorister, and commonly Sexton also. If this be true, 
we are able to name some of the honored leaders of 
mental progress in Flatlands from very early times. 

The first who claims this honor is Wellem Gerretse 
(Van Kouwenhoven), 1675 ; the next Jan Brouwer, 
1688 ; the third Pieter Tull, 1691, though the fact that 
he afterward became a pauper does not argue liberality 
of salary. Various items were paid " to the schoolmas- 
ter," for salary and other services, until 1704, when the 
incumbent was Martin Schenck, who was also a deacon 
of the church. Isaac Slover was teacher in 1712 ; 
Yan Sudam in 1715 and apparently to 1729 ; when 
Yohannes Van Siggelon succeeded him. In 1733 
Abraham de Lanoy occupied the place. His name 
would indicate that he was French, while his re- 
ceipts for his salary of £6 a year are written 
in a bold and elegant English hand. He was doubtless 
able to teach in English. Isaac Voorhees held the place 
in 1742 ; Johannes Nevius in 1743 ; Abram Voorhees, 
1744-47; Luykas Voorhees, from 1748 to 1752 ; when 
Derick Remsen served part of a year, and Luykas Voor- 
hees again, 1755-1757. As no new name occurs, it is fair 
to infer that Voorhees continued to receive the annual 
salary of £4 from the deacons as chorister, and probably 
an additional sum from the elders as schoolmaster, until 
1768 ; when he was succeeded by Abraham Voorhees, 
the same probably who had served in 1744-'47, and 
who now held the position until 1792. This teacher 
first introduced a stove into the school-house in June, 
1789, costing £12, 15s. 6d. We judge the previous win- 
ter must have been uncommonly cold, and they would 
no longer trust to an open fire, even though they had to 
bring in the stove in the first month of summer. 

We have assumed that the chorister was also the 
school teacher, as was the universal custom of the 
Dutch. But the practice was now falling into disuse. 
It seems that Thomas Whitlock was employed during 
the latter years accredited to Abram Voorhees, and 
that John Baxter, whose journal of daily events, con- 
tinued by his son Garret, extends from 1790 to 1840, 
taught the school about 1790. We have also the fol- 
lowing as Tearhers: Peter Labagh, 1792 ; Geo. Parker, 
1795 ; Jas. Smith, 1798 ; Elijah Elwell, 1801 ; Patrick 
Noon and Hugh McGarron, 1802 ; John Burns and 

Alex. Johnson, 1804 ; Cuthbert, 1805 ; Cas- 

sidy, 1810; Hugh McGarron again 181 1-16 ;Tibbcts and 
Blundel taught a short time; James Bolton some years; 
Esterbrook, Bledsloe, Kmgsley, Topping, and Leach ; 

Slauson to 1827, when Chas. Leach resumed and taught 
to 1830 ; Ed. Berry, 1830, when David Baldwin (whose 
conversion is recorded by his pastor in a tract of the 
American Tract Society) assumed charge, but retired 
from ill health ; Albert Smith, 1831 ; Willis, and the 
same year H. D. Woodworth, now principal of a public 
school in Brooklyn ; W. S. Webb, 1833 ; and after him 
E. S. Johnson and Stephen Voorhees ; since whom 
Messrs. Sutton, Wade, Blake, and Sowles have taught. 

The present painstaking and venerated Principal, 
Voorhees Overbaugh, took charge of this school in 
1845. He was then expected to teach from 8 o'clock 
a. m. to 4 o'clock p. m., with a noon recess, five days 
each week, without a vacation of any kind during the 
whole year. He did not receive a stipulated salary, but 
a fee per capita on the scholars, and collected his own 
bills. But he has lived to see the results of his own 
toil, and more liberal appointments. His bow stUl 
" abides in strength," and his skill in teaching the 
young ideas is unimpaired. Mr. Overhaugh's assistants 
have been Miss Sarah M. Hendrickson, Simeon J. Brown, 
Miss Mary H. C. Lott, Miss Ella L. Overbaugh and 
Miss Louise Lush. 

The original school-house of District No. 1 probably 
stood on Hubbard's Lane, opposite John L. William- 
son's. On February 3d, 1696-7, the heirs of Elbert 
Elbertse, viz., Garrett Stoothoof, Thos. Willes and Jan 
Van Duyckhuisen, deeded to Coert Stevense, Derick 
Amertman and Claes Peterse, for themselves and 
others, freeholders, etc., premises described as follows : 
" All that house and garden spot, as it is now in fence, 
lying * * * jjj |.jjg town of fflatlands, adjoining 
to the house and land of ff erdinanno vasycklyn, and now 
used and occupied for a school-house for said town." Van 
Sickelin lived at the southeast corner of the church-lot, 
where his son Johannes lived in 1747. 

Confirmatory of this view is the fact that on the next 
day, viz., February 4th, 1697, the StoothofE heirs, who 
seem to have been engaged in settling up the estate, 
conveyed to the same parties, " Elders of the Dutch 
Church of fflatlands," the church-lot and burying- 
ground, and describe the latter as " Bounded north by 
Tunis Janse's fence, south by the pound, west by the 
highway," with the church-lot at the east. Thus the 
whole of the present school-lot and burial-ground is 
included, without any mention of the school-house 
being then upon it, and excluding the Van Syckelen 
lands from contiguity. The evidence seems conclusive 
that the original school-house stood east from the resi- 
dence of John B. Hendrickson. 

A new school-house seems to have been buUt about 
this time. Between September, 1694, and August, 
1697, the Deacons paid " for the school-house " in vari- 
ous items of material and work, no less a sum than 
$654.40, which could not have been for repairs. Proba- 
bly, at this time, the new school-house was placed on an 
unused part of the burial ground. The lot described 



in 1696 as the school-house lot must, soon after this, 
have fallen into private hands, foi-, in 1'729, it is deeded 
by Abram Westervelt, and Margaret, his wife, to the 
Town, together with an acre where the house of B. 
Stafford now stands. We know that the school-house 
was near its present location in 1733, for in that year 
Pieter Wyckoff conveys " a certain piece of land adjoin- 
ing the school-lot, being in breadth two rods and in 
length as far as the school-lot runs, bounded southerly 
by said school-lot, northerly by ground of said pieter 
Wyckof , westerly by the highway, and easterly by the 
land belonging to the church." The school-house first 
placed within the original lines of the grave-yard, in 
1699, was extensively repaired about 1765, the work 
having been begun in 1762, simultaneously with the 
extensive improvements and enlargement of the church. 
At this time the sum of $356 was paid for materials 
and work " for the school-house." In 1771 "a well for 
the school-house" cost £1, lis. 3d. 

In April, 1816, the town ordered a new school build- 
ing. It was completed and occupied two years later, 
and the old house sold to Nicholas Schenck for $20. 
This new building continued to be used by the school 
until 1861, when it was sold to John L. Ryder for a 
carriage-house. The school-lot was fenced in by the 
trustees, as such, in 1861, by advice of counsel. The 
building of 1861 was enlarged to more than twice its 
former capacity in 1876, and now affords ample space 
for four school departments. 

District JVb. 2 is located in Flatlands Neck. The 
present school-house was built, by subscription, in 1835, 
but the District was not regularly organized under the 
General School Law until 1843. A school had been 
taught, however, in that neighborhood for many years. 
As far back, indeed, as 1811, it seemed to have been a 
well established institution, and was then taught by 
Mr. Dean, licensed by John Baxter, as School Inspec- 
tor. In 1813 John Kouwenhoven took charge ; Mr. 
Wilson in 1817, Mr. Trumbull, 1818-1821 ; Messrs. 
Ephingstone and Wethersby to 1833. In that year 
Abram Van Keuren took charge, and he remained until 
1850. After him were A. C. McLeod, L. C. Weld, W. 
C. Pilling, Alex. Smith, G. S. Smith, (A. Van) Keuren, 
G. D. Anderson, S. J. Brown, Geo. Forbes, J. M. Barr, 
and the present teacher, John L. Williamson. 

District JVb. 3, at Canarsie, was organized August 
21st, 1844, and reorganized November 13th, 1860, as a 
Union Free School District. By permission of the 
town, the school-house was built on a part of the buvy- 
ing-ground on the road to the shore. This was used 
till 1875, when a large and commodious school-house 
was completed. On September 2d, 1875, the school 
marched with martial music to their new building. The 
first teacher of this District was Rev. John A. Morris, 
who also preached on Sabbath. His successors were : 
C. W. Richardson, 1852 ; Wm. Clark, 1853 ; Clement 
Clark, 1855 ; F. B. Ladd and Dan. Mansfield for short 

periods until 1860 ; J. A. Morris until 1867 ; John M. 
Barr till 1870, and after him Henry A. Harrison and E. 
L. G. Payne, the present Principal. The assistant 
teachers have been Miss Mary Abbie Morrison, Mrs. 
Elizabeth De Groot, Daniel Jepson, Mrs. Brown and 
Miss Jansen. 

The office of Town Superintendent of Schools, while 
in vogue, was held by Wm. Kouwenhoven, Elias Hub- 
bard, Cornelius B. Kouwenhoven, John L. Ryder and 
Rev. J. T. M. Davie. The office of County Superin- 
tendent was held the last term but one, next before 
the present incumbent, by Voorhees Overbaugh, the 
veteran Principal of the school in District No. 1. 

Sons of Temperance. — Early in 1866, and mainly 
through the efforts of Rev. C. Brett, pastor of the Ref. 
Church, an application was made to the Grand Divi- 
sion, S. of T., Eastern N. Y., and a charter received as 
Suburban Division No. JfS, Sons of Temperdnce. The 
charter members were Rev. C. Brett, J. L. Bergen, 
John Remsen, W. W. Kouwenhoven, Asher Anderson, 
G. D. Anderson, J. Flemming, P. Kouwenhoven, Jr., 
J. D. Magaw, S. W. Remsen, G. Schenck, W. K. Rem- 
sen, W. H. Cornell, J. V. Brundage, Theo. Bergen and 
S. W. Stoothoof. The first meeting was held and offi- 
cers installed May 21st, 1866. The meetingg were held 
weekly and have continued uninterruptedly to the 
present time. The following have presided in the 
Division : J. L. Bergen, J. Remsen, G. Schenck, J. 
V. Brundage, A. D. Selover, L. H. Smith, W. W. Kou- 
wenhoven, H. M. Hitchings, C. Bergen, C. Brett, G. D. 
Anderson, B. Bryan, H. Paton, G. S. Kouwenhoven, T. 
B. Woolsey, Miss Sarah liendrickson, Elias Hendrick- 
son, V. Overbagh, P. Remsen, N. Emmans and J. J. 
Van Wyck. The membership has steadily increased 
until it now numbers 60, mostly the young men of the 
village. The meetings are well attended, and the 
whole influence has been of an elevating character. 
When the society organized there were four rum-selling 
places in this part of the town. Now there is but one. 

Barren Island. — The most southerly point of Flat- 
lands is Barren Island, wholly composed of white sand 
and lying in the inlet of Jamaica Bay. Its length lay 
formerly north and south,but it now extends in greatest 
length east and west. The area of the island has very 
considerably decreased within the memory of persons 
now living; meanwhile, the point of Rockaway Beach has 
steadily extended westward several miles. Years ago 
the island was destitute of trees, producing only sedge, 
afllording coarse pasture. Sixty years ago cedar trees 
sprung up over the island, furnishing a roosting-place 
for vast numbers of crows. Few trees now remain. 

The Indian title was relinquished, according to the 
following deed, never before published : 

Know all men, &c., that we, Wawmatt Tappa and Kack- 
a-washke, the right and true proprietors of a certain island 
called by the Indians Equendito, and by the English Broken 
Lands, lying, &c., &c., in consideration of two coats, one 



kettel, one gun, one new trooper-coat, ten fathoms of wam- 
pum prage, three shirts, six pounds of powder, six barrs of 
lead and a quantity of Brandie wine, already paid unto us by 
John Tilton, sen., and Samuel Spicer, of Gravesend, L. I., 
Do, &c., sell, &c., the said Island called Equendito, &o., with 
all our right * * * both of upland and marshes, any 
way belonging thereto, as the Straun Beach or Beaches, as 
namely that running out more westerly, with the Island 
adjoining, and is at the same time by the ocean sea wholly 
inclosed, called hoopaninak and Shanscomacocke and macut- 
teris, as also all the harbors, &c., to the said John Tilton and 
Samuel Spicer * * * excepting only to ourselves the one- 
half of all such whale-fish that shall by wind and storms be 
cast upon the said Island. In witness whereof we have set 
our hands this 13 day of the 3 month, called May, Anno, 1664. 


Bambras, aU Q Wawamatt Tappa. 



Acknowledged and subscribed in presence of Cawmenorke, 


Orawase, Anascorah, Poundgar, Mawascorhere, John M Wil- 


son, Obediah Wilkins, Pieter Tilton. 

This original Indian deed bears an assignment by 
Tilton and Spicer, dated " the 2d day of the 3d month, 
called May, 1681, to Elbert Elbertsonn, bis heirs," etc. 

The island was of little value for many years, only 
affording a scant pasture for young cattle and colts. 
A rude bouse at the east end, where fishermen and 
sportsmen were entertained, was occupied about the 
close of the last century by one Dooley, who was called 
" The King of the Island." Afterwards this bouse was 
kept by Johnson, with whom Gibbs, the pirate, and bis 
associates lodged, in 1830 (after burying a large num- 
ber of Mexican dollars in the sand), the night before 
their arrest at Sheepshead Bay. (See History of Town 
of Gravesend). A Yankee named Cherry, with bis large 
family, lived in a dug-out at the west end for a long 
time, until be succeeded to the public bouse, which be 
kept as late as I860. 

In 1835 the island was held in undivided fifths by 
the following parties : 1, Peter Voorhees and Eliza 
Ann Voorhees ; 2, Isaac and John Terbune ; 3, Geo. 
Lett ; 4, H. I. Lott ; 5, Nelson Shaw. Geo. Lott dying 
in January of that year, the island, in June, was divided 
in severalty, except the western end, a part of which 
was known as "Pelican Beach." About 1842 the 
channel shifted so as to cut off this beach, and by the 
filling up of the old channel, called " Plum Gut," it 
became a part of Coney Island, and is now occupied 
by the Manhattan Beach Improvement Company. 

Meantime the fortunes of the island advanced. A 
bone-boilipg establishment was erected on the north 
side about 1845 by Wm. B. Reynolds. It was occupied 
afterwards by Prank Swift. To this, dead animals from 
New York and Brooklyn were brought. This factory 
was blown down and a new one erected in 1866 by K 
Recknagle. A previously built factory near the same 

site had been burnt. At the present time, the great 
Rendering and Fertilizer Factory of P. White & Sons 
is the successor of these establishments. It was built 
in 1868 and burnt in 1878 ; hence the five present 
buildings are new. They cover, with dockage, about 
four acres. Thirty dead animals are received daily, 
and render their last service to humanity. Every part 
of the animal, to the last flake of hair, goes to its appro- 
priate use. About 2,000 tons of fertilizers are produced 
annually, of four general sorts, viz. : phosphates, bone 
dust, guano substitutes and combinations adapted to 
particular crops. Cleanliness and care to prevent offen- 
sive smells are constant, and are rewarded with fair 
success; and, if the success is not all that is desirable, it 
would be bard to find a better place for doing this 
necessary work in disjjosing of dead animals. 

The largest concern on the island is F. Frank Goe's 
Fertilizer Factory, at the west end, established in 1877. 
An immense building, 360x224 feet, with yards and 
dock, affords ample space. A 160 horse power engine 
and 80 men (sometimes more) are employed. The 
materials used in preparing fertilizers for market are 
Peruvian guano from Curaco, bone dust, in part from 
the sugar refineries of the cities, Charleston stone, and 
menhaden scraps from the fish-rendering establish- 
ments on this island. One and a half tons of sulphuric 
acid are consumed daily, and from 40 to 50 tons of 
phosphates are daily made ready for use. The makers 
find it difficult to supply their orders, mostly from the 

The Jish- oil factories of Barren Island are interesting 
institutions. There are five of them, though one is idle 
at present. The first was built by Smith d: Co. on the 
north side of the island, about I860. In 1868 Vanan- 
tine Coon, who had worked with Smith, built on the east 
end, and carried on the concern some six years ; when 
it was bought by Louis C. De Homage, M. D., who 
continues it and has built a new factory near the old 
one. Steam power is used and about 40 men and three 
steamers are employed. The establishment can handle 
half a million of fish daily. 

The Barren Island Menhaden Company occupies 
premises near the above. Oscar O. Freedlander, 36 
Broadway, N. Y., is managing director. This factory 
was begun in 1868, by Goodkind Brothers, who, like 
Coon, had been with Smith. It occupies three build- 
ings, each 100x70 feet ; employs three steamers in 
fishing, an engine of 40 horse power and about 50 men. 
The company can handle one and a half millions of fish 
in a single day, but 2,000,000 per week is considered a 
fair average catch. 

The fish-rendering factory of Jones db Co., at the 
west end, is of about the capacity of the one just 

The Hawkins Brothers^ Fish Oil, and Fish Guano 
Factory, was built at the west end in 1869. Steam 
power, fifty men and three steamboats are employed 



from May 1st to the middle of November. About 
20,000,000 fish are worked up annually, producing about 
80,000 gallons of oil. 

We may here give a brief account of this industry. 
The fish used are almost exclusively the menhaden or 
" mossbunker," an oily and bony species unfit for food ; 
and long used in the natural state for manure. They 
pass up the Atlantic coast in immense shoals and 
are dipped into by fishermen with long seines. For- 
merly sailing vessels, but now steamers, each with a 
crew of 12 men and two foss boats, each 20 feet long, 
are used. The net swoops in a vast number of fish, 
which are hoisted into the vessel's hold ; and when this 
is full they are brought to the factory wharf, thrown 

in a measuring tub and thence into strong wooden tubs 
for boiling. The boiling is done by admitting steam, and 
then they are placed in perforated boiler-iron curbs, 
and the oil is separated by hydraulic pressure. The oil 
is used by tanners, in making ship-cordage, and in various 
other ways; and the refuse fish are dried on board-plat- 
forms, of one or two acres in extent, and sold at the 
phosphate factories on the island. 

This industry employs at the island some 350 men 
and a fleet of 10 steamers. Altogether there are em- 
ployed in all the works not less than 500 men. A dis- 
trict school is maintained ; a regular ferry connects 
with Canarsie, and several of the factories are connected 
with their New York offices by telephone. 




IT is not known that any settlement was made within 
the limits of the present city of Brooklyn earlier 
than 1636, in which year William Adriaense Ben- 
net and Jacques Bentyn purchased from the Indi- 
ans a tract of 930 acres of land at " Gowanus ;" upon 
which, at some time prior to the Indian war of 1643-'45, 
a dwelling-house was erected, affording presumptive evi- 
dence, at least, that absolute occupation and agricultural 
improvement followed close upon its purchase. The occu- 
pation of this farm, over a portion of which the village of 
Gowanus subsequently extended — and which comprised 
that portion of the present city lying between Twenty- 
seventh street and the New Utrecht line — may be con- 
sidered as the first step in the settlement of the City or 
Brooklyn. The second step, according to the best doc- 
umentary evidence, was taken about a year later, by 
Joris (George) Jansen de Rapalie, one of the Walloon 
emigrants of 1623, who first settled at Fort Orange 
(Albany), and in 1626 removed to New Amsterdam, on 
Manhattan Island. On the 16th of June, 1637, Rapa- 
lie purchased from its native proprietors a piece of land 
called " Rennegackonck,"* lying on Long Island " in the 
bend of Marechkawieck,"f now better known as Walla- 
bout Bay. This purchase, comprising about 335 acres, 
now occupied in part by the grounds of the United 
States Marine Hospital, and by that portion of the city 
between Nostrand and Grand avenues — although it may 
have been, and probably was, more or less improved as 
a farm by Rapalie — was not occupied by him as a resi- 
dence until about 1655. By that time the gradual 
influx of other settlers, many of whom were Walloons, 
had gained for the neighborhood the appellation of the 
" Waal-Bogt," or " the bay of the foreigners." Thus, 
at two isolated points — offering to the settlers similar 
agricultural advantages and inducements — were formed 
the nuclei of the present City of Brooklyn. 

• " BennegacJwTick " (sometimes spelt with an i or a u In the first syl- 
lable) is a small creek or stream of water emptying into the Wallabout 

+ The Indian name ol the territory of Brooklyn was Merychawick, or 

This name " Wallabout," corrupted from the Dutch 
Waal-Bogt, or Wahle-Boght, means, according to the 
late Hon. T. G. Bergen, " the shore or beach of the 

In 1637 also, the island called by the Indians "Pag- 
ganck," and by the Dutch, because of its abundance of 
nut trees, " Nooten," or Nutten Island, was secured for 
his own use by the Director or Governor, Van Twiller, 
and it has ever since been known as " Governor's Island." 

On the 1st of August, 1638, Governor Kieft, who 
had succeeded Van Twiller, secured for the West India 
Company a tract of land adjoining Rapalie's plantation 
on Long Island, extending from " Rennegackonck " to 
what is now known as Newtown Creek, and from the 
East River to " the swamps of Mespaetches." The price 
paid to the native " chiefs of Keskaechquerem " for this 
extensive area, which comprised the whole of the for- 
mer town of JBushwick, now forming the Eastern Dis- 
trict of the city of JBrooMyn, was eight fathoms of 
duffels cloth, eight fathoms of wampum, twelve kettles, 
eight adzes, eight axes, and some knives, corals, and 

In January, 1639, he purchased another tract, which 
included a large portion of Queens as well as Kings 
county. On November 28th of the same year, Thomas 
Bescher received a patent for " a tobacco plantation," 
on the beach of Long Island, " hard by Saphorakan," 
which is supposed to have been at Gowanus, and adjoin- 
ing to that of William Adriaense Bennet. The next 
settler, in this vicinity, was Frederick Lubbertsen, who, 
on the 27th of May, 1640, took out a patent for a large 
tract lying on the northerly side of Gowanus Cove, and 
having, also, an extensive water-front on the East 
River ; comprising, with the exception of Red Hook, 
the largest portion of what is now known as South 
Brooklyn. There is abundant evidence, also, that the 

" the sandy place ;" from mc, the article in the Algonquin dialect, 
rcc/fwa, sand, and icTf, locality. The name was probably applied, at 
first, to the bottom-land, or beach ; and what is now Wallabout Bay, 
was formerly called "The bought (or hUflit, i.e., 'bend') of Mareekawiok." 



territory (subsequently forming the town of Bushwick, 
and now the EasternJ)istriot of the city of Brooklyn), 
purchased from the Indians by the West India Com- 
pany in 1638, had been more or less cultivated — proba- 
bly by " squatter right " — by settlers who now began 
to take out patents for the lands which they had thus 
occupied. Patents were issued in August, 1640, to 
Abraham Rycken for a large plantation ; and in Sep- 
tember, 1641, to Lambert Huybertsen (Moll), for land 
on the East River previously occupied by one Cornells 
Jacobsen Sille. In the same neighborhood Hans Hansen 
Bergen was already occupying a large tract adjoining 
that of his father-in-law, Joris Rapalie, and lying partly 
on the " Waal-Bogt " and partly within the limits of 
Bushwiok; while, along the "bend of the Marechawick" 
lay the farms and " tobacco plantations " of Jan and 
Pieter Montfoort, Pieter Csesar the Italian, and others. 

During the years 1640 and 1641, some changes were 
effected in the regulation of affairs in the province, and 
an increased prosperity was the result. 

A public ferry was, by this time, permanently estab- 
lished between Manhattan and Long Island. The land- 
ing-place on the New Amsterdam side was at the 
present Peck Slip, where was a ferry-house, kept by 
Cornells Dircksen (Hooglant), the ferryman. The land- 
ing-place on this side of the river was at the foot of the 
present Fulton street, Brooklyn, near which Dircksen 
also owned " a house and garden." Southwardly from 
" The Ferry, ^' along the present " Brooklyn Heights " 
and the East River shore, stretched the farms of Claes 
Cornelissen Van Schouw (Mentelaer), Jan Manje, An- 
dries Hudde, Jacob Wolphertsen (Van Couwenhoven), 
and others ; while Red Hook had become the property 
of ex-Governor Van Twiller. 

In the years 1643 and 1644, wars between the Dutch 
and Indians were brought on by the bad policy pursued 
by Director Kieft. In these wars, which commenced 
with the river Indians, the Long Island tribes became 
involved, and the safety of the settlements was at times 
threatened. As a result of these wars, the western end 
of Long Island was almost depopulated ; but on the 
establishment of peace in 1645, the settlers returned 
and others came. 

The occupation of land within the limits of the present 
city of Brooklyn commenced with the Bennet and Ben- 
tyn purchase in 1636; and, by 1646, nearly the whole wa- 
ter front, from Newtown Creek to the southerly side of 
Gowanus Bay, was in the possession of individuals who 
were engaged in its actual cultivation. Small hamlets, 
or neighborhoods, also, seem to have grown up at the 
original centres of settlement, known respectively as 
" The Gowanus," " The Waal-bogt," and " The Ferry." 
About a mile to the southeast of the latter locality, and 
lying between the " Waal-bogt " plantations and those 
at Gowanus, was a tract, spoken of in the early patents 
as " Mereckawieck, on the Kil (or Creek) of Gowanus," 
and which was, undoubtedly, the residence of the tribe 

of that name. Here were the " maize lands" or plant- 
ing grounds, which, in 1643, were unjustly despoiled by 


the covetous whites ; and of which, during the war 
which ensued, the Indians were dispossessed. As soon 
as, and even before, hostilities ceased, the choicest por- 
tions of this tract were taken up by the white settlers 
under patents from the Dutch West India Company. 
Thus, in July, .1645, Jan Evertse Bout, followed in 
1646 byHuyck Aertsen (van Rossum), Jacob Stoffelsen, 
Pieter Cornelissen, and Joris Dircksen, and by Gerrit 
Wolphertsen van Couwenhoven and others in 1647, 
established themselves in this vicinity, on either side of 
the road that led from Flatbush to " The Perry." The 
village thus formed, and which was located on the 
present Fulton avenue, in the vicinity of the junction of 
Hoyt and Smith streets with said avenue, and southeast 
of the present City Hall, was called Beeuckblen, after 
the ancient village of the same name in Holland, some 
eighteen miles from Amsterdam. Its founders were 
the first to avail themselves of the policy recommended 
by the West India Company's Chamber of Accounts, in 
the " Code of General Instructions " which they had 
prepared for the Provincial Council in the preceding 
autumn, viz. : " to do all in their power to induce the 
colonists to establish themselves on some of the most 
suitable places, with a certain number of inhabitants, in 
the manner of towns, villages, and hamlets, as the 
English are in the habit of doing." And their expressed 
wish and intention to " found a town at their own 
expense " was promptly responded to (June, 1646) by 
the Colonial Council with the following brief or com- 
mission : 

"We, "William Kieft, Director General, and the Council 
residing in New Netherland, on behalf of the High and 
Mighty Lords States-general of the United Netherlands, His 
Highness of Orange and the Honorable Directors of the Gen- 
eral Incorporated West India Company. To all those who 
shall see these presents or hear them read, Greeting : 



"Whereas, Jan Evertsen Bout and Huyck Aertsen from 
Rossum, were on the 31st May last unanimously chosen by 
those interested of Breuckelen, situate on Long Island, as 
Schepens, to decide all questions which may arise, as they 
shall deem proper, according to the exemptions of New Neth- 
erland granted to particular Colonies, which election is sub- 
scribed by them, with express stipulation that if any one 
refuse to submit in the premises aforesaid to the above-men- 
tioned Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen, he shall forfeit the 
right he claims to land in the allotment of Breuckelen, and 
in order that everything may be done with more authority, 
We, the Director and Council aforesaid, have therefore 
authorized and appointed, and do here authorize the said Jan 
Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen to be schepens of Breuckelen ; 
and in case Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen do hereafter 
find the labor too onerous, they shall be at liberty to select 
two more from among the inhabitants of Breuckelen to 
adjoin them to themselves. We charge and command every 
inhabitant of Breuckelen to acknowledge and respect the 
above-mentioned Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen as their 
schepens, and if any one shall be found to exhibit contuma- 
ciousness towards them, he shall forfeit his share as above 
stated. Thus done in Council in Fort Amsterdam in New 

This organization of the Town of Beeuckelen was 
further perfected, during the ensuing winter, by the 
appointment of a schout or constable, as appears by the 
following commission : 

" Having seen the petition of the schepens of Breuckelen, 
that it is impossible for them to attend to all cases occurring 
there, especially criminal assaults, impounding of cattle, and 
other incidents which frequently attend agriculture ; and in 
order to prevent all disorders, it would be necessary to appoint 
a schout there, for which ofiice they propose the person of 
Jan Teunissen. Therefore we grant their request therein, 
and authorize, as we do hereby authorize, Jan Teunissen to 
act as schout, to imprison delinquents by advice of the 
schepens, to establish the pound, to impound cattle, to collect 
fines, and to perform all things that a trusty schout is bound 
to perform. Whereupon he hath taken his oath at the hands 
of us and the Fiscal, on whom he shall especially depend, as 
in Holland substitutes are bound to be dependent on the 
Upper Schout, Schouts on the Bailiff or Marshal. We com- 
mand and charge all who are included under the jurisdiction 
of Breuckelen to acknowledge him, Jan Teunissen, for 
schout. Thus done in our council in Fort Amsterdam in 
New Netherland, the first December, Anno 1646." 

Thus, more than two centuries ago, the Town of 
Beeuckelen was founded, upon nearly the same locality 
which has since become the political center of the City 
OF Beookltn. 

The towns on the eastern end of Long Island were 
generally settled by companies, and in many cases by 
religious congregations, or societies, who established 
their own system of government. The Dutch settle- 
ments on the western end mostly began as individual 
enterprises. The new-comers took up such tracts of land 
as best suited them, and commenced their cultivation. 
These lands were either selected from those of which 
the title had been already secured by the West India 
Company, or were purchased directly from the Indian 
proprietors themselves. In either case, their occupa- 
tion was duly sanctioned by a patent or " ground-brief " 

from the Company, and confirmatory patents were also 
granted after the lands had been under cultivation for 
a certain number of years. Official transcripts of most 
of these patents yet exist in the office of the Secretary 
of State at Albany; from which, together with town and 
county records, we are enabled to locate the farms or 
" bouweries " of the early settlers with a considerable 
degree of accuracy. The dates of these patents mostly 
range from 1640 to 1646, in which latter year the period 
of incubation may be said to have terminated by the 
incorporation of the village of Breuckelen. 

Copy of a Survey made May 21st, 1696, by Augustus Graham, Surveyor 
General, of the Bennett and Bentyn PmiCHASE, of the Indians, con- 
taining 930 acres. 

As before stated, the Bbnnet and Bentyn purchase 
was made in 1636, and included land extending from 
the vicinity of Twenty-eighth street along Gowanus 
Cove and the bay to the New Utrecht line. 

Within a few years after this joint purchase, Bennet 
seems to have become the owner of the whole, or nearly 
the whole, of the entire tract, and to have built himself 
a house (on or near the site of the present mansion- 
house on the Schermerhorn farm, on Third avenue, 
near Twenty-eighth street), which was burned down 
during the Indian war of 1643, in Governor Kieft's 
administration. Bennett died about the same time, and 
probably during his children's minority; and his widow 
afterward married Mr. Paulus Vander Beeck, " surgeon 
and farmer." 

As time went on, this tract was divided and subdi- 
vided among purchasers and heirs. The original stone 



^r w V 


Signature of Simon Aesen (Ter Haert.) 

jaaw»j\^=s'?^s»- ■: 



W/r* >)'^ -^^'"^^ 

Signature of Klaes AreDt3 Veoht, the b\iilder of the Vechte House. 



-walls form part of tlie present building known as 
the Schermerhorn mansion. The De Hart or Bergen 
house, on the shore of Gowanus Cove, west of Third 
avenue, near Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth streets, 
was repaired and newly roofed some sixty years since by 
Simon Bergen, and it still remains. These houses are 


older than the Cortelyou or Vechte house, on Fifth 
avenue, which was erected in 1699, and which has gen- 
erally been considered the oldest in Brooklyn. 

A patent was granted by Kieft to Coknelis Lambert- 
SE (Cool), April 5th, 1642. This patent extended from 

^<rUizZ^ >(JhhltAl^ f\ / (^azr^ 


the northerly line of Bennet's land, nearly to the head 
of Gowanus Cove, and included lands between First and 
Twenty-eighth streets. This, like all other tracts, was 
divided among many owners, in time. On the Vechte 
farm, on the west side of Fifth avenue, near Fourth 
stree^, stands the old Cortelyou house, erected 1699, 
probijbly by Claes (or Nicholas) Adriantse Van Vech- 
ten. The land on which the house stands was purchased 
in 1790 by Jaques Cortelyou. 

The " Roode Hoek," or Red IIooJc, so called from the 
color of its soil, has almost entirely lost its identity, in 
consequence of the construction of the Atlantic Docks, 
and the other extensive and important improvements in 
that part of the modern city of Brooklyn. Its original 
form and topographical appearance, however, has been 
faithfully preserved in Ratzer's map. It may be des- 
cribed, as extending from Luqueer's Mill Creek (about 
Hicks and Huntington streets), following the indenta- 
tions of the shore around the cape and headland, to 
about the western boundary of the Atlantic Docks, on 
the East River; or, in general terms, as having com- 
prised all the land west of the present Sullivan street. 
Its history commences with the year 1638, when Director 

Van Twiller petitioned for its use, which was granted 
to him on condition that he should relinquish it whenever 
the Company wanted it. Van Twiller had previously 
become possessed of " Nutten " or Governor's Island, 
several islands in the East River, near Hell-gate, and 
lands at Catskill and on Long Island, amounting in all to 
between three thousand and three 
thousand seven hundred and fifty 
acres. These, as well as similar pur- 
chases made by other officials, were 
disapproved by the authorities at 
home, — who very justly complained 
that " the whole land might thus 
be taken up, yet be a desert," — and 
finally, in 1652, were declared null 
and void, and the lands consequently 
reverted to the Company. 

The title of Red Hook being thus 
vested in the Government, was 
conveyed and granted to the town of 
Brueckelen, in 165 V, by Governor 
Stuyvesant; and was subsequently confirmed by Gov- 
ernors Nicolls and Dongan. It was sold, on the 10th 
of August, 1695, by the patentees and freeholders of 
the town, to Colonel Stephanus Van Cortlandt. 

A mill was erected on this property, previous to 1689, 
at the corner of the present Dikeman and Van Brunt 
streets. The mill has long since disappeared, and the 
old pond, which, in 1834, contained some forty-seven 
acres, is filled up and obliterated. 

Tradition asserts that Red Hook and Governor's 
Island were once connected, and that people and cattle 
waded across Buttermilk Channel. The legend prob- 
ably originated in statements made by witnesses in 
a trial which took place in 1741, between Israel Hors- 
field, plaintiff, and Hans Bergen, defendant, as to the 
boundaries of their respective farms. The theory, sus- 
tained by some in support of this tradition, that the 
docks erected along the New York shore effected a 
change, by diverting the currents of the East River 
toward Buttermilk Channel, is hardly tenable. 

May 27th, 1640, a patent was granted to Febderic 
LuBBEETSEN, of a farm comprising the whole neck of 
land between the East River and Gowanus Creek, north- 
east of the meadows which formerly separated Red 
Hook from Brooklyn. This neck, formerly known as 
the " neck of Brookland " or " Lubbertsen's neck," has 
now lost its original appearance by the filling in of 
the Atlantic Docks, the grading of streets, and the 
various improvements of the modern city ; and Lubbert- 
sen's farm can only be defined, in general terms, as 
bounded by a line drawn between Degraw and Harrison 
streets, west of Court street, the East River, Hamilton 
avenue, Gowanus Creek, and by Warren street east of 

On this patent, south of the present Harrison street, 
between Columbia street and Tiffany place, and abouT 



opposite to Sedgwick street, " a water mill for grinding 
corn," known, from its builder, as Cornelius Seabring's 
mill, and afterward as Cornell's, or the Red Mill, was 
built in 1689. 

Facsimile of Frederick Lubbertse's Autograpli. 

On the northeast corner of the present Hicks and 
Huntington streets was I. Seabring's mill, which was 
built prior to IVee. On the Lubbertsen patent, also, 
on the north side of the present Ninth street, between 
Smith street and the Gowanus Canal, was the mill and 
mill pond originally built by John Rapalje after 1766, 
and better known as " Cole's mill." 

A canal running from the East River to Gowanus 
Cove, and separating Red Hook from the mainland, was 
made, subsequent to 1664, to avoid the difficult and dan- 
gerous navigation around Red Hook by row-boats. 
March 16, 1774, the Colonial Assembly of the State 
passed an act empowering the people of Gowanus to 
widen the canal, keep it in order, and tax those who 
used it. This canal was partially closed, some twenty- 
five years ago, by improvements at Atlantic Dock; but 
there are persons yet living who have frequently passed 
through it with their boats, in going to or returning 
from New York. 

September 30th, 1645, Claes Jawsbn Van Naeeden, 
or Claes Janse Ruyter, received from Governor Kieft 
a patent of " twenty-one morgens two hundred rods," 
or about forty-three acres, lying about south by east, a 
little easterly, over against the fort, on Long Island. 

Next to Ruyter's patent, on the East River, lay that 
of Jak Manje, granted to him by Governor Kieft, 
Sept. 11, 1642; and described as " a piece of land, greatly 
(i. e., of the size of) twenty morgen, lying about south- 
east a little easterly, over against the fort in New 
Amsterdam, in Brueckelen." September 12th, 1845, 
Andries Hudde obtained by patent from Governor 
Kieft, a tract containing "37 morgen, 247 rods" lying 
"over against the fort (at New Amsterdam), lying to 
the southeast of Jan Manje." 

The three patents of Hudde, Manje and Ruytee 
comprehended the entire tract lying northeast of Lub- 
bertse's patent — and having a river front (of two thou- 
sand six hundred and forty-six feet) extending from 
about Atlantic to Clarke streets, and from Court street 
to the East River, being at present one of the most 
thickly settled portions of Brooklyn. This became, in 
1706, the property of Joris Remsen, who was the second 
son of Rem Jansen Vanderbeeck, the ancestor of the 
Remsen family in this country. Joris built a mansion 
near the brow of the heights, which then presented the 
appearance of a rough and bold promontory of rocky 
cliffs, rising from a sandy beach, and covered with a 

fine growth of cedar-trees, which gave to the place a 
remarkably picturesque appearance, as seen from the 
New York side. The Remsen mansion was used for a 
hosjjital by the British during the Revolution ; was 
afterwards occupied by William Cutting, the partner of 
Robert Fulton in the steamboat business, and after 
his death it was sold to Fanning C. Tucker, Esq. 
■ After several years he sold it to ex-Mayor Jonathan 
Trotter, from whom it passed to Mr. Wm. S. Packer, 
and its site is now marked by Grace Church. The 
building itself was launched down the face of the 
Heights, and now stands on the site of the old Joralemon 
street ferry-house, on Purman near Joralemon street. 

Philip Livingston, Esq., became the owner of an ex- 
tensive portion of the Remsen estate, prior to 1764. 
The Livingston mansion-house stood on the east side of 
the present Hicks street, about 400 feet south of 
Joralemon street; and, dixring the Revolutionary War, 
in consequence of Mr. Livingston's adherence to the 
American cause, was appropriated by the British, 
who then occupied Brooklyn, to the purposes of a naval 
hospital. After Mr. Livingston's death, his trustees dis- 
posed of that portion known as the " distillery property," 
to Daniel McCormick, in July, 1785, and, on the 29th of 
April, 1803, they sold to Teunis Joralemon the property 
south of the distillery, and the Livingston mansion 
thenceforward became known as the Joralemon House. 
It was taken down at the opening of Hicks street. 

On the 14th of November, 1642, Claes Coenelissen 
(Mentblaee) van Schouw received from Governor 
Kieft a patent for land "on Long Island, over against the 
island of Manhattan, betwixt the ferry and the land of 
Andries Hudde," containing " 16 morgen and 175 rods." 
This property, having a water-front of 1,276 feet six 
inches, probably extended from the north line of Hudde's 
patent to the ferry at the foot of the present Pulton 


At "the Ferry" and its immediate vicinity, grants for 
house or building lots were made to several individuals; 
and, by the beginning of the last century, there was 
probably quite a hamlet at this point, having several 
streets and lanes, with houses clustered closely together. 

North of the Ferry, as near as can be ascertained, 
came, either a patent for a small parcel belonging to 
CoENEHS DiECKSEN (Hooglandt), "the Ferryman," or 
that of Jacob Wolphertsen (van Couwenhoven). 

On January 24th, 1643, Dircksen sold this property 
(of which we have been unable to find any recorded 
patent), then described as " his house and garden, with 
some sixteen or seventeen acres of land on Long Island," 
to one William Thomassen, together with his right of 
ferriage, provided the Director would consent, for 2,300 
guilders in cash and merchandise. William Thomas- 
sen we suppose to be the same individual as William 
Jansen, who is known to have succeeded Cornells Dirck- 
sen as ferryman about this time. Dircksen, after retir- 
ing from the charge of the ferry, obtained from Gover- 



nor Kieft, December 12, 1645, a piece of land "hehind 
the land by him heretofore tahen up, amounting to 12 
morgen and 157 rods." 

July 3d, 1643, Governor Kieft granted a patent to 
Jacob Wolphebtsex, (von Couwenhoven), for "a 
piece of land lying on Long Island, on the East River, 
bounded north by west by Cornelis Dircksen (Hoog- 
landt), ferryman's land." The same land, having a 
water front of 686 feet, was confirmed by Governor 
Kieft to Herry Breser, September 4th, 1645, and was 
said to contain 16 morgens 468 rods." 

September 4th, 1645, a patent was granted by Gov- 
evernor Baeft to Frederic Lubbertsen, which included 
15 morgens and 52 rods adjoining Breser's. 

The patents of Lubbertsen and Breser, previous to 
the Revolution, became the property of John Rapalje, a 
great-great-grandson of the first settler. Mr. Rapalje 
was a person of considerable importance; was the owner 
of the largest estate in Brooklyn; had occupied, at one 
time, a seat in the Provincial Assembly, and enjoyed the 
highest confidence and resjJect of his fellow-citizens. 
Upon the breaking out of the Revolution, he adhered 
to the British cause, and a bill of attainder was passed 
against him October 27, 1779, and he was banished to 
New Jersey. After the occupation of Long Island by 
the British, he returned to Brooklyn, and there remained 
with his family until October, 1783, when, in company 
with his son, his son-in-law, Colonel Lutwyche, and a 
grand-daughter, he removed to England, and settled at 
Norwich, in the County of Norfolk. All efforts to pro- 
cure a reversion of his attainder, and the restoration of 
his confiscated estates in America, having failed, his 
losses were reimbursed to him by the British govern- 
ment, and he died at Kensington, in his seventy-fourth 
year, January 12, 1802. Loyalist as he was, it was often 
said of him by his old neighbors of Brooklyn, that " he 
had an honest heart, and never wronged or oppressed a 
Whig or other man." 

His lands and other property in Brooklyn were sold 
by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. That por- 
tion under consideration, lying between Gold and Fulton 
streets, was purchased, on the 13th of July, 1784, by 
Comfort and Joshua Sands, for the sum of £12,430, paid 
in State scrip. Some ten or twelve years after the war, 
Rapalje's grand-daughter, who had married George 
Weldon in England, came, with her husband, to New 
York, with the intention of prosecuting for recovery of 
the estate, on the ground that its confiscation had taken 
place subsequent to the treaty of peace. They brought 
with them the original title deeds and other documents 
of the estate; and, it is said, the town records of Brook- 
lyn, which Rapalje carried to England. A number of 
depositions were made and collected in Brooklyn, rela- 
tive to the property, and Aaron Burr and other eminent 
counsel were consulted, whose advice was adverse to 
the prosecution of the suit. The Weldons, therefore, 
returned to England, carrying with them aU the valua- 

able records and papers which they had brought with 

No further attempt has since been made to disturb 
the title, and the land was afterwards laid out in streets 
and lots by the Messrs. Sands. 


The " land lying at the west corner of Marechkawieck, 
on the East River," w^s granted to Edwaed Fiscock, 
whose widow married one Jan Haes. On April 2d, 
1647, Haes received from Governor Kieft a confirmation 
of this property, which was described as extending 

"from the land of Frederick Lubbertsen, east, southeast, 
and southeast by east to the marsh, 80 rods ; and along the 
valley (meadow), northeast, 126 rods, with certain out and in 
points ; further north by east, 45 rods ; west northwest, 30 
rods ; west by north, 80 rods ; west and west by south, 67 
rods ; along the land of Frederick Lubbertsen, and south and 
south by east, 134 rods, amounting to 38 morgens 485 rods." 

This tract, having a water-front of eight hundred and 
twenty feet and nine inches, was located at the west 
cape or point of Wallabout Bay, and embraced a part 
of the present United States Navy-yard. The point 
formed by the junction of the Waale-bogt with the 
East River was subsequently called " Martyn's Hook," 
probably from one Jan Martyn, who is mentioned as a 
proprietor in that vicinity about the year 1660. At a 
more modern day, (from a somewhat natural association 
with memories of the Prison-ship horrors,) the name 
became corrupted to that of " Martyr's Hook." 

Hans Lodewyck was the patentee of a tract, probably 
next to the Haes patent, though other lands may have 
been between them. His patent, of 14 morgens and 494 
rods, was dated November 3d, 1645. 

Michael Picet, a Frenchman, was, for a time, the 
owner of the farm next to Lodewyck's, but it was 
granted to Willem Cornelissen, February 19th, 1645. 
It contained twenty-five morgens "in the bend of 
Marechkarrck." In 1668 it became the property of 
Charles Gabrey, who afterwards fled the country; and 
the estate, being confiscated, was again granted by the 
Governor, July 12th, 1673, to Michael Heynall, Dirck 
Jansen, and Jeronimus Rapalje. 

Petee Cjesae Itaiien, or Caesar Alberti, received 
June I7th, 1643, a grant of land adjoining that of Picet. 
May 1st, 1647, he received an addition to the westerly 
side of his farm. 

These two farms, of Peter Ca}sar Italien (which had a 
river or meadow front of six hundred and ninety-nine 
feet three inches) and that of Picet, comprised the land 
now lying between Clermont and Hampden avenues. 

Petee Montpoet received a patent for 25 morgens 
and eight rods next to Pieter the Italien's, May 29th, 
1641, and May 1st, 1647, another patent for land to the 
westerly side of this, two hundred and seventy rods 
square, "provided it did not interfere with other grants." 
This land had a river or meadow front of about nine 



hundred feet, and it is now comprised between Hamil- 
ton avenue and a line a little beyond Clermont avenue. 

Jan Montfooet (probably Peter's brother) received 
also, May 29th, 1641, a grant for 28 morgen between 
the land of Peter Montfoort on the west and the farm 
of Rapalje on the east. 

In 1647 Montfoort's widow received a grant of an 
addition to the rear of the above land, of the same 
breadth, and one hundred and ninety rods in length. 
The Montfoort land, which had a river or meadow front 
of about 1,078 feet, was identical with that now located 
between Hamilton and Grand avenues. 

JoEis (George) Jansen db Rapalib, supposed to have 
been a proscribed Huguenot, from Roohelle in France, 
came to this country in 1623, in the ship Unity, with 
Catalyntie Trico, his wife, and settled first at Fort 
Orange, near Albany, from whence he removed, in 
1626, to New Amsterdam. About 1655 he probably 
removed his permanent residence to his farm at the 
" Waale-Boght." This farm consisted of 167 morgens 
and 406 rods (about 335 acres), which he had purchased 
on the 16th of June, 1637, from its Indian proprietors. 

Facsimile of Joris Jansen Eapalie's 

Autograph, or Mark. 


Mark of Catalyntie Trico, wife of l^V Joris Jaosen de Bapalie. 

On this tract, which may be described in general 
terms as comprising the lands now occupied by the 
United States Marine Ilospital, and those embraced 
between Nostrand and Grand avenues, in the present 
city of Brooklyn, and on the easterly side of the Waal- 
boght, Rapalie spent the remainder of his life, dying 
soon after the close of the Dutch administration, and 
having had eleven children. 

On the 30th of March, 1647, Hans Hansbn Bbegen, 
or " Hans the Boore," as he was sometimes familiarly 
called, received a patent for 200 morgens (400 acres) of 
land on Long Island, being a portion of the extensive 
purchase made by Governor Kieft, in 1638, from the 
Indian proprietors. This tract of land extended from 
the Creek of Runnegaconck to the present Division 
avenue, which formerly marked the boundary between 
the cities of Williamsburgh and Brooklyn. Following 
the direction of this avenue to near its intersection 
with Tenth street, it there passed over it and stretched 
in a somewhat southeasterly direction, probably as far 
as the head of Newtown Creek, in the neighborhood of 
Vandervoort avenue and Montrose street. This patent, 
therefore, was situated partly in Brooklyn and partly in 
Bushwick. ' 

Hans Hansen Bbegbn (or Van Bbegbn), the com- 
mon ancestor of the Bergen family of Long Island and 
New Jersey, was a native of Bergen, in Norway, 
whence he emigrated to Holland, and from there to 
New Netherland. His wife was Sarah, daughter of 
Joris Janse de Rapalie, and was reputed to be the first 

'white child born in the colony of New Netherland. 
Probably she was the first white female born in the 

Hans Hansen . J Bergen's Mark. 

This completes an account of the early patents along 
the water front of Breuckelen, between the bounds of 
New Utrecht and those of Bushwick. 

There was also a second tier of patents located in the 
rear of those already discussed, and lying " at Marech- 
kawieck," a name which applied to the whole of the 
county between the Waale-Boght and the head of the 
Gowanus Creek. These lands are described as "lying 
at Marechkawieck on the Gowanus Kill," proving 
that the name Marechkawieck was used to designate 
the whole country between the two localities, as well 
as the shore of the Waale-Boght. On these patents 
the village proper of Breuckelen, as distinguished 
from the hamlets of " Waale-Boght," " Gowanus," 
and " The Ferry," was afterward established. It was 
undoubtedly the site of the village of the Indian tribe 
of that name, of which they were dispossessed during 
the war of 1643. These patents may be briefly noted 
as those of Gerrit Wolphertsen ( Van Couwenhoven) , 
1647, fronting on the main road leading through the 
original settlement of Breuckelen, from Flatbush to 
"The Ferry"; of Jacob Stoffelsen, extending along the 
present Fulton avenue from Bond to about Smith or 
Hoyt streets ; of Jan Evertsen Lout, 1645, covering 
the land on which, a few years ago, were located 
Freecke's and Denton's mills. Freecke's, or the " Old 
Gowanus Mill," the oldest in the town of Breuckelen, 
as early as 1661, was occupied conjomtly by Isaac 
De Forrest and Adam Brower (the latter partly pur- 
chasing the interest of the former); and they were, 
undoubtedly, tenants of Bout, who afterwards sold to 
Brower. This mill-pond was formed by damming off 
the head of Gowanus Kill, and the old mill was located 
just north of Union, west of Nevins, and between 
that street and Bond. 



j^ « 


. iiSO. 


Denton's Mill, or " the Yellow Mill," in Gowanus," 
was also built upon Bout's patent, by Adam and 
Nicholas, the sons of Adam Brower, in 1709. The 
mill-pond was formed by the damming ofi: a branch of 
the Gowanus Kill,and the mill was located on the north- 
east side of the present First street, about midway 
between Second and Third avenues. The dwelling 
house, which was burned about 1862, was in Carroll, 
midway between Nevins street and Third avenue. 


There is some uncertainty regarding the precise 
limits of these three patents of Bout, Stoffelsen and 
Van Gouwenhoven ; but, together they evidently cover 
that portion of the city included between Fulton 
avenue, Smith and Nevins streets, and described on later 
maps as lands of Martense and Gerritsen. 

In this second tier of patents, also, were those of Huych 
Aertsen (Van Rossum), 1646, bet\reen the present 
Fulton avenue, Fourth avenue, Kevins and Douglass 
streets, afterwards known as Bergen and Powers' 
property; of Joris Dlreksen, Fieter Cornelissen and 
Gornelis Dircksen, 1646, on the east side of the 
King's highway (now Fulton avenue) a somewhat 
triangular section of land which may be described in 
general terms as at present included between Fulton 
avenue, Raymond street and a line drawn a little south 
of and parallel to Tillary street. In all, it amounted 
to about 46 morgens. Cornelis Dircksen was the ferry- 
man; Pieter Dircksen was a carpenter. 

Civil History.— During the Dutch Regime, 
1646-1664. The civil history of Breuckelen, from the 
time of its incorporation in 1646 to the conquest of 
New Netherland by the English, in 1664, has but little 
interest or importance. It is mentioned, in 1649, as one 
of " two villages of little moment,'' and its course 
was simply that of an agricultural community, differing 
in no respect from the neighboring towns, and inferior 
to none (except, it may be, to Midwout, now Flatbush) 
in wealth or political influence. 

In 1647 Governor Kieft was superseded by Peter 
Stuyvesant, who did not find the affairs of the colony in 
a prosperous condition. The commonalty were dis- 
orderly and discontented ; the public revenue seriously 
impaired by inefficient or dishonest officials ; trade 
ruined by smuggling ; and the general safety weakened 
by bickerings and disputes with colonial patroons, con- 
cerning rights of jurisdiction. The savages, also, 
brooding over their past defeats, evidently waited only 
for an opportunity to avenge their losses ; and jealous 
neighbors were secretly plotting against the Dutch rule 
in America. 

With characteristic energy. Governor Stuyvesant 
entered upon the task of reform; and, within three 
months, order was restored and trade revived. The 
governmental powers which he assumed were extensive 
and often arbitrary ; and it is not surprising that in 
their exercise he developed the imperiousness, impatience 
of restraint, and disregard of the wishes of the people 
which characterized him in his gubernatorial career; and 
which were due, probably, to both his personal character 
and his previous military life. Though he was at times 
compelled to yield a reluctant, partial deference to 
popular sentiment, the history of his government is a 
record of quarrels with his English and Swedish neigh- 
bors, with colonial patroons, and with bis own people. 
So far did his assumption of authority exceed the 
patience of the commonalty that, in 1653, a convention 

of delegates met at New Amsterdam and adopted a 
remonstrance. Breuckelen was represented in this con- 
vention by Frederick Lubbertsen, Paulus Vanderbeeck, 
and William Beekman. It is unnecessary to say that 
the remonstrance produced no effect, and that on a 
second assembling of the convention the Governor 
ordered them to " disperse, and not to assemble again 
on such business." 

In 1654 the municipal privileges of Breuckelen, as 
well as of Amersfoort and Midwout, were enlarged; and, 
in Breuckelen, two schepens were added to the two 
already possessed, and David Provoost was appointed 
the first separate schout or constable. During this year 
a Reformed Dutch Church, the first on Long Island, 
was established at Midwout, under the Rev. Johannes 
Theodoras Polhemus, and morning services were held 
at Breuckelen and Amersfoort alternately. It was not 
till 1660 that the people of Breuckelen had a pastor 
settled among them. In 1665 the magistrates in Brueck- 
elen were permitted to present to the council candi- 
dates, from among whom schepens might be selected; 
and Frederick Lubbertsen, Albert Cornelissen, Jacob 
Dircksen, and Joris Rapelje were appointed. During 
this year the fees of the schout were fixed as follows : 
For copying every judicial act passed by the schepens, 
or for each apostille, 12 stivers, and 6 stivers for each 
" extract from the notules." For a petition which was 
to be signed by the petitioner, if of a civil nature, 16 
stivers ; or if it related to a criminal case, injuries, etc., 
20 stivers. For procuring a certificate, 24 stivers. Pro- 
voost died in January, 1656, and was succeeded by 
Peter Tonneman, who acted until August, 1660, when 
he became sheriff of New Amsterdam ; and in his stead 
Adriaen Hegeman was appointed, who enjoyed a salary 
of 200 guilders per annum, with half of the civil fines 
imposed by the courts, and one-third of the criminal 
fines levied by the towns, together with certain clerk's 
fees for entries and transcripts. 

In 1656 the schepens of Breuckelen required the own- 
ers of certain vacant building lots to build thereon 
within a certain specified time, and this action was 
approved by the council. 

In 165 "7, Thursday of each week was declared a mar- 
ket day in the village of Breuckelen. 

In 1660 fortifications, with palisades, etc., were 
ordered for Brooklyn and New Utrecht. In the same 
year permission was granted to several Frenchmen to 
settle at what afterward became Boswick or Bushwiok. 
Permission was also given to Aert Anthonissen Mid- 
dagh, Teunis Gybertsen Bogart, Jean Le Clerc, Gerrit 
Heyndrick Backer, Philip Barchstoel, Christina Cap- 
poens, Jacob Kip, and Joris Rapalje, residents of the 
Waal-boght neighborhood, who had petitioned the Dir- 
ector for permission to form a village "on the margin of 
the river, between the lands of said Bogaert and Kip, so 
that," as they expressed it, " we may be in sight of the 
Manhatans, or Fort Amsterdam." The position selected 



was, probably, the elevated point of land 'which jutted 
into the river about the foot of South Fourth street, in 
the present Eastern District of the city, and which was 
known in the ancient time as the " Keike," or " Look- 
out." On the petition of others, and the discussion of 
the subject, pro and con, the decision was reconsidered 
and the permission denied. 

During this year a church was organized in Breuck- 
elen, with Henricus Selyns as pastor. There were in 
the town, at that time, 31 families, or 134 persons. 
Church services were at first held in a barn. 

In 1661 the schout and schepens of the court of 
Breuckelen represented to the Director General and 
Council that they found it " necessary that a Court 



/i^/yq , 

Facsimile ot Teunis Gysbert Eogaert's Autograpli. 

Messenger was required for the Schepens' Chamber, to 
be occasionally employed in the Village of Breuckelen 
and all around where he may he needed, as well to serve 
summons, as also to conduct the service of the Church, 
and to sing on Sundays ; to take charge of the School, 
dig graves, etc., ring the Bell, and perform whatever 
else may be required." In answer to this petition, the 
Director and Council were graciously pleased to say that 
they would " pay fifty guilders, in wampum, annually, 
for the support of the precentor {voorsanger) and school- 
master in the village of Breuckelen," and Carel de Beau- 
voise was appointed. 

In 1663 Indian warfare broke out in the colony, which 
was also scourged with small-pox. Events also trans- 
pired which seemed to foreshadow the revolution of the 
next year. During this year but few events of partio- 
lar interest occurred. Petitions were presented for 
permission to establish villages, or '' concentrations," 
one of which was granted, for a settlement at a place 
" back of the Waale-Boght, or at Marcus' plantation. 

In the month of July, during the Indian troubles 
which prevailed, the Director proposed that Breuckelen 
should furnish 8, 10, or 12 men, to be " kept ready for 
the protection of one or the other place in danger, which 
may God avert !" A meeting of the inhabitants was 
forthwith held, at which every person present expressed 
a willingness to aid in protecting their neighbors on 
Long Island, but it was deemed that the town was not 
strong enough to furnish so many men. 

It is a noteworthy fact that, in 1664, the principle of 
popular representation was, for the first time, recog- 
nized in the colony. At the special request of the 
Burgomasters and Schepens, the Director convened a 
General Assembly of- delegates from the several towns, 
to discuss and consider the affairs of Nieuw Nether- 
land. This Convention, in which Breuckelen was rep- 
resented by Willem Bredenbent and Albert Cornells 

Wantanaer, assembled at the " Stadt Iluys " (or City 
Hall), in New Amsterdam, on the 10th of April, 1664. 
The revolution of 1664, which transferred the juris- 
diction of New Netherland from the Dutch to the 
English, is elsewhere spoken of. Beoadiiead says of 
it : " But, whatever may have been its ultimate conse- 
quences, this treacherous and violent seizure of the ter- 
ritory and possessions of an unsuspecting ally, was no 
less a breach of private justice than of public faith. It 
may, indeed, be affirmed that, among all the acts of sel- 
fish perfidy which royal ingratitude conceived and exe- 
cuted, there have been few more characteristic, and 
none more base." 

Under the Duke of York, 1664-1674. — After the 
revolution of 1064 the colony was recon- 
structed under the Duke of York, and its 
name was changed to that of New York. 
On the 28th of February, 1665, a convention 
met at Hempstead; and, as elsewhere stated, 
adopted regulations for the government of the colony. 
In this convention Breuckelen was represented by Fred- 
erick Lubbertsen and Jan Evertseu Bout. 

During the administration of Governoi's Nicolls and 
Lovelace, tranquility and prosperity prevailed, and 
nothing of interest is recorded of Breuckelen. 

In the autumn of 1667 Governor Nicolls granted to 
Breuckelen a full and ample patent, confii-ming the 
people in their rights and privileges. Under the Dutch 
government there was, without doubt, a charter or gen- 
eral patent of the town, which is lost. Such a charter 
was referred to in conveyances between individuals, 
and the Nicolls charter is evidently confirmatory of it. 
The following is the text of this charter : 

L. s. "Richard Nicolls, Esq., Governor-Oeneral under 
Ms Royal Highness James Duke of Yorke and Albany, etc. , of 
all his Territorys in America, To all to whom these presents 
shall come, sendeth Gi'eeting — Whereas there is a certain 
town within this government, situate, lying and being in the 
West Riding of Yorkshire, upon Long Island, commonly 
called and known by the name of Breuckelen, which said 
town is in the tenure or occupation of several freeholders 
and inhabitants, who, having heretofore been seated there by 
authority, have been at very considerable charge in manur- 
ing and planting a considerable part of the lauds belonging 
thereunto, and settled a competent number of families 
thereupon. Now, for a confirmation unto the said free- 
holders and inhabitants in their possessions and enjoyment 
of the premises. Know ye, That by virtue of the commission 
and authority unto me given by his Royal Highness, I have 
given, ratified, confirmed, and granted, and by these presents 
do give, ratify, confirm, and grant, unto Jan Everts, Jan 
Damen, Albert Cornelissen, Paulus Veei-beeck, Michael Eneyl 
(Hainelle), Thomas Lamberts, Teunis Guysbert Bogart, and 
Joris Jacobson, as patentees, for and on the behalf of them- 
selves and their associates, the freeholders and inhabitants 
of the said town, their heirs, successors and assigns, all that 
tract, together with the several parcels of land which already 
have or hereafter shall be purchased or procured for and on 
behalf of the said town, whether from the native Indian 
proprietors or others, within the bounds and limits hereafter 
set forth and exprest, viz., that is to say, the town is bounded 



westward on the farther side of the land of Mr. Paulus Veer- 
beck, from whence stretching southeast, they go over the 
hills, and so eastward along the said hills to a southeast point 
which takes in all the lotts behind the swamp, from which 
said lotts they run northwest to the River and extend to the 
farm, on the t'other side of the hill, heretofore belonging to 
Hans Hansen, over against the Kicke or Looke-out, including 
within the said bounds and hmitts all the lotts and planta- 
tions lying and being at the Gowanis, Bedford, Wallaboucht 
and the Ferry. — All which said parcels and tracks of land 
and premises within the bounds and limits afore-mentioned, 
described, and all or any plantation or plantations there- 
upon, from henceforth are to bee, appertaine, and belong to 
the said town of Breuckelen, Together with all havens, har- 
bours, creeks, quarreys, woodland, meadow-ground, reed- 
land or valley of all sorts, pastures, marshes, runs, rivers, 
lakes, hunting, fishing, hawking, and fowling, and all other 
profltts, commodities, emoluments, and hereditaments, to 
the said lands and premises within the bounds and limits 
all forth belonging, or in any wise appertaining, — and withall 
to have freedome of commonage for range and feed of cattle 
and horse into the woods, as well without as within these 
bounds and Hmitts, with the rest of their neighbours, — as 
also one-third part of a certain neck of meadow-ground or 
valley called Sellers neck, lying and being within the hmits 
of the town of Jamaica, purchased by the said town of 
Jamaica from the Indians, and sold by them unto the inhab- 
itants of Breuckelen aforesaid, as it has been lately laid out 
and divided by their mutual consent and my order, where- 
unto and from which they are likewise to have free egress 
and regress, as their occasions may require. To have and to 
hold all and singular the said tract and parcell of land, 
meadow-ground or valley, commonage, hereditaments and 
premises, with their and every of their appurtenances, and 
of every part and parcell thereof, to the said patentees and 
their associates, their heirs, successors, and assigns, to the 
proper use and behoof of the said patentees and their asso- 
ciates, their heirs, successors, and assigns forever. More- 
over, I do hereby give, ratify, confirm and grant unto the 
said patentees and their associates, their heirs, successors, 
and assigns, all the rights and privileges belonging to a town 
within this government, and that the place of their present 
habitation shall continue and retain the name of Breuckelen, 
by which name and stile it shall be distinguished and known 
in all bargains and sales made by them, the said patentees 
and their associates, their heirs, successors, and assigns, ren- 
dering and paying such duties and acknowledgments as now 
are or hereafter shall be constituted and established by the 
laws of this government, under the obedience of his Royal 
highness, his heirs and successors. Given under my hand 
and seal at Fort James, in New York, on the Island of Man- 
hattat, this 18th day of October, in the nineteenth year of 
the reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second, by the 
grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, 
King, Defender of the Faith, etc., Annoque Domini, 1667. 

"Richard Nicolls. 

"Recorded, by order of the Governor, the day and year 
above written. 

"Matthias Nicolls, Sec'ry." 

January 4, 1668, one Robert Hollis was granted the 
exclusive privilege of selling strong drink in Brueckelen. 
During this year, also, the little village-hamlet of Bed- 
ford was honored by the establishment of an inn or 
" ordinary for man and beast," kept, under an annual 
license from the Governor, by Thomas Lamberts. 

In the year 1670, the inhabitants of Breuckelen, being 

desirous of enlarging the bounds of their common 
lands, and of extinguishing the Indian title to the same, 
applied to Governor Lovelace, and obtained from him 
permission to purchase from the native proprietors a 
large tract of land in and about the hamlet then, and 
since, known as Bedford. 

In accordance with this permission a purchase was 
made from the Indians of " all that parcel of land and 
tract of land, in and about Bedford, within the jurisdic- 
tion of Breuckelen, beginning from Hendrick Van 
Aarnrem's land, by a swamp of water, and stretching 
to the hills, then going along the hills to the port or 
entrance there, and so to the Rockaway foot-path, as 
their purchase is more particularly set fforth." The com- 
pensation for this land was 100 guilders seawant, half 
a tun of strong beer, 2 half tuns of good beer, 3 guns, 
long barrels, with each a pound of powder, and lead 
proportionable — 2 bars to a gun— 4 match coates. The 
text of this Indian deed, as well as much interesting 
matter concerning the early history of the Bedf&rd dis- 
trict, will be found on pages 157-160 of Stiles' Sistory 
of Brooklyn. 

In 1673 the province passed again under the control of 
the States General, and the five Dutch towns submitted 
with alacrity to the authority of their old masters. In 
Breuckelen, and the adjoining hamlets, fifty-two out of 
eighty-one men took the oath of allegiance, and the 
remainder were ordered to do so. 

During the brief second rule of the Dutch the people 
were called on to take measures for protection against 
a threatened invasion from New England, and the 
inhabitants of Breuckelen, Boswyck, and the other 
Dutch towns were not slow to respond. 

But another change in the political condition of the 
country was at hand, and the second epoch of Dutch 
power was terminated, in February, 1674, by a treaty 
of peace between England and Holland, by which New 
Netherlands was given to the English in exchange for 
Surinam. The new governor. Sir Edmund Andros, 
arrived at New York on the 31st of October, received 
a formal surrender of the place, and re-established the 
English government. The Duke's Laws were reinstated 
and confirmed, together with such grants and privileges 
as had been previously enjoyed under his royal high-. 
ness; all legal judicial proceedings during the Dutch 
government were pronounced valid, and the inhabitants 
secured in their lawful estates and property. A special 
order, also, of November 4th, reinstated in office, for a 
period of six months, the officials of the several towns 
who were serving when the Dutch came in power. 

The fort, on Manhattan Island, which had been 
called by the Dutch, in honor of the " Staadt-holder," 
Fort William Hendrick, again became Fort James, and 
"New Orange," as the city had been rechristened, be- 
came again New York. 

Under the English, 1675-1775.— During the year 
1675 nothing occurred to disturb the equanimity of the 

UNDER THE ENGLISH, 1675-1775. 


people in Breuckelen, except the apprehension which 
they shared in common with those of the neighboring 
towns, that they might become involved in King Philip's 
war, in which it was feared the Long Island tribes might 
participate. Proper preventive measures were adopted 
by the provincial government, the fear in these towns 
subsided, and a feeling of security followed the defeat 
of that notorious chieftain. 

It appears that Breuctelen had at this time come to be 
the leading town, in population and wealth, in Kings 
County. The number of assessed persons in the town 
was 60; while that of Middlewout, which had hitherto 
exceeded it, was but 54. Its assessed valuation was 
£5,204 against £5,079 10s. in its neighbor. 

During the same year its importance was enhanced 
by its appointment as a market town. The following is 
the record concerning this: 

"Upon a proposall of having a fEayre or markett in or 
neare this Citty (New York) ; It is ordered, that after this 
season, there shall yearely be kept a flfayre and markett at 
Breucklyn, near the fferry, for all graine, cattle, or other 
produce of the country ; to bee held the first Monday, Tues- 
day and Wednesday in November, and in the Citty of New 
Yorke the thursday, ffriday, and Saturday following." 

In 1682 Colonel Thomas Dongan succeeded Governor 
Andros, and reforms were at once inaugurated. The 
towns were ordered to bring in their patents and Indian 
deeds preparatory to receiving new charters. Breuck- 
elen and Boswyck at once complied; and, after the set- 
tlement of some questions concerning its boundaries, 
Breuckelen, on the 3d of May, 1686, received from 
Governor Dongan a patent, from which the following is 
an extract : 

" The said town is bounded westward on the further side of 
the land of Mr. Paulus Verbeeck, from whence stretching 
southeast they go over the hills and so eastward along by the 
said hills to a southeast point, which takes in all the lotts 
behind the swamp, from which said lotts they run northwest 
to the Eiver, and extend to the farm on the other side of the 
hills heretofore belonging to Hans Hansen, over against Keak 
or Look-out, including within the said bounds and limitts 
all the lots and plantations, lying and being at the Gou wanes, 
Bedford, Wallabocht and the ferry, all which said parcels 
and tract of land and premises within the bounds and limitts 
aforementioned described, and all or any plantation or plan- 
tations thereupon, from henceforth are to be, appertain and 
belong to the said town of Breucklyn, Together with all har- 
bor, havens, creeks, quarx-ies, woodland, meadow ground, 
reed land or valley of all sorts, pastures, marshes, waters, 
rivers, lakes, fishing, hawking, hunting, fowling, and all 
other profits, commodities, emoluments and hereditaments 
to the said lands and premises within the bounds and limitts 
set forth, belonging, or in any wise appertaining, and with 
all to have freedom of commonage for range and feed of 
cattle and horses, into the woods with the rest of their neigh- 
bors, as also one third part of a certain neck of meadow 
ground or valley, called Seller's neck, lying and being within 
the town of Jamaica, purchased by the said town of Jamaica 
from the Indians, and sold by them unto the inhabitants of 
Breucklen aforesaid, as it was laid out aforesaid, and divided 
by their mutual consent and order of the Governor.'' 

This was a ratification and confirmation of the patent 

granted by Governor Nicolls. It was granted to Tennis 
Gysberts (Bogart), Thomas Lamberts, Peter Jansen, 
Jacobus Vander Water, Jan Dame(n), Joris Jacobs, 
Jeronimus Rapalle, Daniel Rapalle, Jan Jansen, Adrian 
Bennet, and Michael Hanse (Bergen), for and on the 

"^Mi^^y^^J^ ^OmC^ 


Facsimile of Michael Hansen's sigrnature, 

behalf of themselves and the rest of the present free- 
holders and inhabitants of the said town of Breuckelen. 

The patent contained the following provision : 
" Yielding, rendering and paying therefor yearly and 
every year, on the five and twentyeth day of March, 
forever, in lieu of all services and demands, whatsoever, 
as a quit-rent to his most sacred Majesty aforesaid, the 
heirs and successors, at the city of New York, twenty 
bushels of good merchantable wheat." 

In 1686 the oath of allegiance was signed by the fol- 
lowing (the figures indicating the time which the in- 
dividual had resided in the country) : 

Thomas Lambertse, 36 years ; Jooris Hanssen, native ; 
Hendrick Vechten, 27 years ; Claes Arense Vechten, 37 years ; 
Jan Aertsen (Middag), 38 years ; Hendrick Claasen, 38 years ; 
Jacob Hanssen Bergen, native ; Jooris Martens, native ; Hen- 

Facsimile of Jacob Hansen Bergen's signature. 

drick Thyssen, 21 years ; Mauritius Converts, native ; Willem 
Huijcken, 34 years ; Theunis Gysbertse Bogaert, 35 years ; 
Willem Bennitt, native ; Hendrick Lambertse, native ; Jan 
Fredricks, 85 years ; Jan Converts, native ; Luijcas Con- 
verts, 34 years ; Frans Abramse, native ; Gerrit Aerts Mid- 
dag, native ; Simon Aertsen, 23 years ; Matthys Cornelisen,24 
years; Ephraim Hendricks, 33 years; Claes Thomas Van Dyck, 
native ; Jeronimus d'Rapale, native ; Jeronimus Remsen, 
native ; Casper Janssen, native ; Achias Janse Vandijck, 36 
years ; Jacob Joorissen, native ; Jacobus d'Beauvois, 38 
years ; Harmen Joorissen, native ; Jacob Willemse Bennit, 
native ; Jacob Brouwer, native ; Bourgon Broulaet, 12 yeare ; 
Jan Damen, 37 years ; Cornells Subrink (Sebring), native : 
Hendrick Sleght, 35 years ; Abram Remsen, native ; Machiel 
Hanssen, native ; Theunis J[obiassen, native ; Pieter Corsen, -f- 
native ; Theunis Janse~Couv;erts, 86 years : Aert Simmons- 
sen, native ; Adam Brouwer, Junior, native ; Alexander 
Shaers, native ; Willem Pos, native ; Jan gerrise Borland, 35 
years ; Johannis Casperse, 35 years ; Claes Barentse Blom, 

t>lp/-4 liO/y-eMt^ c 

Y^CtrwL .lU^ 

Facsimile of Signature of Claes Barentse Blom. 

native ; Pieter Brouwer, native ; Abram Brouwer, native ; 
Jan Bennit, native ; Barent Sleght, native ; Jacobus Vande 
Water, 39 years ; Benjamin Vande Water, native ; Pieter 
Weijnants, native ; Joost Frannssen, 38 years ; Hendrick 
Aaten, native ; Jan Janse Staats, native ; Claes Simons, 
native ; Anthonij Souso, 5 years ; Joost Casperse, 35 years ; 



Thijs Lubberse, 50 years ; Paulus Dirckse, 36 years ; Adam 
Brouwer, 45 years ; Josias Dreths, 36 years ; Pieter Van 
Nesten, 40 years ; Jan Theunisen, native ; Dirck Janse 
Woertman, 40 years ; Daniel D'Rapale, native ; Gijsbert 
Boomgaert, native ; Volkert Vanderbraats, native ; Jan 
Buijs, 39 years ; Gerrit Dorlant, native ; Adriaen Bennet, 
native ; Thomas Verdon, native ; Pieter Janse Staats, native. 

The abdication of James II., the succession of Wil- 
liam and Mary, the career of Jacob Leisler as Gov- 
ernor, and the administration of Governor Henry 
Slaughter, are elsewhere spoken of. Under the latter 
the provincial government was reconstructed on a basis 
which continued to the close of the Revolution. 

May 6th, 1691, an act was passed by the General 
Assembly, confirming to all the towns of the colony their 
respective grants and patents, by which law both of 
the patents of Brooklyn were confirmed. 

It does not appear that there was here any lack of 
means for enforcing obedience to the laws ; for, at a 
Court of Sessions, held at Flatbush November 8th, 
1692, the following regulation was promulgated : 

"The Courte doe order that there be a good pare of stocks 
and a good pound made in every town within Kings County, 
and to be always kept in sufficient repairs, and that there be 
warrants issued to the Constables ot every towne to see the 
order of the Court performed, as they will answer the con- 
trary at their perill." 

The town of Breuckelen had, in 1670, acquired a 
large amount of common land by purchase from the 
Indians, and it was deemed expedient by the inhabi- 
tants to adopt measures for the proper division of their 
common lands with their other common lands. 

Accordingly, " at a Town meeting held the 25th day of 
February, 1693-3, att Breucklyn, in Kings County. Then 
Resolved to divide their common land and woods into three 
parts, in manner following to wit : 

"1. All the lands and woods after Bedford and Cripple- 
bush, over the hills to the path of New lotts shall belong to 
the inhabitants and freeholders of the Gowanis, beginning 
from Jacob Brewer and soe to the uttermost bounds of the 
limits of New-Utrecht. 

"3. And all the lands and woods that lyes betwixt the 
abovesaid path and the highway from the ferry toward 
Flattbush, shall belong to the freeholders and the inhabitants 
of Bedford and Cripplebush. 

"3. And all the lands that lyes in common after the 
Gowanis, betwixt the limits and bounds of Flatbush and 
New Utrecht shall belong to the freeholders and inhabitants 
of Brooklyn, fred. neck [Frederick Lubbertsen's Neck], the 
ferry and the Wallabout." 

From the meagre records of those times it appears 
that in 1693, and a few subsequent years, there were 
some disturbances, probably from political causes not 
now well understood. 

An emmfe of the disaffected people of Kings 
County occurred about 8 o'clock in the evening of the 
14th of September, 1697 (or 6?), when John Rapalje, 
Isaac Remsen, Jooris Vannesten, Joras Danielse 
Rapalje, Jacob Rcyrrsc, Acrt Aertsen, Theunis Bujs, 
Garret Cowenlioven, Gabriel Sproiig, Urian Andriese, 
John Willemse Bennett, Jacob Bennett and John 

Meserole, Jr. — most of whom will be recognized as 
inhabitants of Breuckelen and Boswyck — " met, armed, 
at the court-house of Kings, where they destroyed and 
defaced the king's arms which were hanging up there." 

November 11th, 1697, negroes were forbidden to be 
brought over from New York on the Sabbath, without 
tickets or passes. Similar legislation was made in the 
succeeding years, negroes being forbidden to "run 
about on the Sabbath," or to purchase liquors. It was 
further "ordered that no people shall pass on the 
Sabbath day, unless it be to or from church, or other 
urgent and lawful occasions, according to act of assem- 
bly, upon penalty aforesaid of fine and imprison- 

"At a towne meeting held this twentieth day of April, 
1697, at Bedford, within the jurisdiction of Broockland, in 
Kings County, upon the Island of Nassau, Resolved by all 
the flEx-eeholders of the towne of Broockland aforesaid, that 
all their common land not yet laid out and divided, belong- 
ing to their whole patent, shall be equally divided and laid 
out to each ffreeholder of said towne, his just proporcon in 
all the common lands abovesaid, except those that have but an 
house and home lott, which are only to have but half share 
of the lands aforesaid." 

By reason of the loss of all the town and county 
records from the year 1700 to the close of the Revolu- 
tion, but little material for a history of Brooklyn dur- 
ing that period can be found. Provincial records, 
stray deeds and documents, newspapers, letters, etc., 
furnish the only data for such history. 

Two bitter controversies agitated the public mind 
during that period : the first between this town 
(together with Flatbush and Bushwick) and Newtown, 
concerning their respective bounds, which ended only 
in 1769; and the second, between this town and the city 
of New York, relative to town and ferry rights. 

In the year 1703, "Brookland's improveable lands 
and meadows, within fence," were surveyed, and found 
to amount to 5,177 acres, the greatest landowner being 
Simon Aerson, who owned 200 acres. 

On the 28th of March, 1704, the main road or "king's 
highway," now called Fulton street and Fulton avenue, 
was laid out by Joseph Hegeman, Peter Cortelyou, and 
Benjamin Vandewater, commissioners, appointed by 
act of the General Assembly of the Colony of New 
York, for the laying out, regulating, clearing and pre- 
serving of public highways in the colony. The record 
of this road, which now forms the chief thoroughfare 
of the city of Brooklyn, is as follows : 

" One publique, common and general highway, to begin 
fflrom low water marke at the ferry in the township of 
Broockland, in Kings County, and flfrom thence to run flfour 
rod wide up between the houses and lands of John Aerson, 
John Coe, and George Jacobs, and soe all along to Broock- 
land towne aforesaid, through the lane that now is, and 
ffrom thence straight along a certains lane to the southward 
corner of John Van Couwenhoven's land, and ffrom thence 
straight to Bedfford as it is now staked out, to the lane 
where the house of Benjamin Vandewater stands, and ffrom 
thence straight along through Bedfford towne to Bedfford 

UNDER THE ENGLISH, 1675-1776. 


lane, running between the lands of John Garretse, Dorlant 
and Claes Barnse, to the rear of the lands of the said Cloyse, 
and ffrom thence southerly to the old path now in use, and 
see all along said path to Philip Volkertses land, taking in 
a little slip of said Philip's land on the south corner, soe all 
along said road by Isaack Greg's house to the Fflackbush 
new lotts ffence, and soe all along said fifense to the east- 
ward, to the northeast corner of Eldert Lucas's land, lying 
within the New lotts of Fflattbush aforesaid, being ffout 
rod wide all along, to be and continue forever." 

In iVoe there were 64 freeholders in the town of 
Brooklyn, and the personal estates were assessed at 
£3,122, 10s. In ITO? the real and personal estates were 
assessed at £3,091, lis. 

In 1721 several people were indicted for encroach- 
ments on the " King's highway" (now Fulton street and 
avenue). Some of these parties procured the passage 
by the Colonial Legislature of a law to establish the 
road " forever" as it then was, from the ferry upwards 
to the town of Breuckland, as far as the swinging-gate 
of John Rapalje, just above the house and land belong- 
ing to James Harding. Providing, however, against a 
possible "jam" near the ferry — although, perhaps, 
scarcely anticipating the great thoroughfare which now 
exists at that locality — -the law enacts that, if a majority 
of the inhabitants of the town should " adjudge that part 
of the road near to the ferry to be too narrow and 
inconvenient," they might cause the Sheriff to summon 
a jury of twelve, to appraise tlie land necessary to be 
taken in the widening, and that said appraisement 
should be levied and collected upon the town and paid 
to the owners. This, however, was never done, and the 
old lane continued to serve the economical townsfolk of 
Brooklyn. Its appearance may be understood by a 
glance at Guy's picture of Brooklyn, which represents 
it at its passage at Front street, but so narrow as 
hardly to lead one to suppose that it was a street. The 
" swinging-gate" here referred to was on the east side of 
the present Pulton street, about where Sands street now 
enters, and there commenced the four-foot 
road. On Ratzer's map, prepared in 
l^ee-V, this road is laid down, with the 
buildings thereon, showing conclusively 
that it was then the same as Pulton street 
before the widening in 1839. 

1732, March 27. The. New York Gazett< 
contained an advertisement by Edwaid 
Willet, offering to sell, on reasonable terms, 
a very good negro woman, aged twenty 
seven, with two fine children. She was de 
scribed as understanding all sorts of busi- 
ness in city or country, and speaking very good English 
and Dutch. 

The following shows Brooklyn's population in 1738, 
as compared with the other towns in Kings County : 
Platlands, 268; Gravesend, 235; BrooMand, 721; 
Platbush, 540 ; New Utrecht, 282 ; Bushwick, 302 ; 
total in Kings County, 2,348. 

The General Assembly of the Province met at the 

house of the Widow Sickle, in this town, in conse- 
quence of the prevalence of the small-pox in the city of 
New York, and continued sitting at Brooklyn, by seve- 
ral adjournments, until the 8th day of October. 

1752. The Colonial Legislature, during the preva- 
lence of the small-pox in New York, held their sessions 
at Brooklyn in a large building on the west side of 
Fulton street, just below Nassau. This very ancient 
edifice was constructed of small brick, said to have 
been brought from Holland, and was demolished in 
1832. At this house, also, on the 4th of June, 1752, 
2,541 bills of credit issued by the colony of New York, 
and amounting to £3,602, 18s. 3d., were cancelled by 
the Colonial Commissioners. The building was further 
honored by being made Gen. Putnam's headquarters 
during the stay of the American Army on Long Island, 

in 1770. 

1758. This year the sum of £122 18s. 7d. was as- 
sessed in two assessments, by the Justices of the Peace 
on this town, towards building " a new court-house and 
gaol " for Kings County. The whole amount assessed 
on the county was £448 4s. Id. 

1759, Nov. 26. " On Sunday week last past, a large bear 
parsed the house of Mr. Sebring, Brooklyn, and took the 
water at Red Hook, attempting to swim across the bay, 
when Cornelius Sebring and his miller immediately pushed 
off in a boat after him. The latter fired and missed, on 
which Mr. S. let fly, and sent the ball in at the back of his 
head, which came out of his eye, and killed him outright.'' 
—N. Y. Gazette. 

Of course slavery existed in Brooklyn, as in other 
parts of Long Island. In 1764 Aris Renisen offered a 
reward of seventy shillings for the apprehension of a 
runaway negro named Harry. He stated " He is apt 
to get drunk and stutters. He speaks good English, 
French, and Sjaanish, and a little of other languages." 

In 1771 Mr. Remsen offered a reward of 20s. for 
another runaway " negro man, Newport, Guinea born, 
and branded on the breast with three letters." 

View of Broockland,51766-7. From Katzer 3 Map. 

In 1768, the house of widow Rapelye, at Brooklyn 
Ferry, was robbed of money and other valuables. 
Speedy justice overtook the thief, " Garret Middagh's 
negro fellow, Caesar,'' who was tried on the 1st of 
September following, convicted, and executed on the 
15th of the same month, at Platbush, the county town. 

1774, Feb. 21. "A Ferry is now established from the Coen- 
ties Market, New York, to the landing place of P. Living- 



ston, Esq., and Henry Remsen, on Long Island, and another 
from Fly Market, and a third from Peck Slip to the present 
ferry-house at Brooklyn."— JV. K Mercury. 

The " landing place of P. Livingston, Esq., and 
Henry Remsen," was near the foot of the present 
Joralemon street. The ferry was called " St. George's 
Perry," but was discontinued in 1776, and the ferry- 
house, together with Livingston's distillery, was hurned 
after the war. 

1774, May 9. John Cornell announces, in the N. Y. 
Mercury, that he " has opened a tavern on Tower Hill, 
Brooklyn, near the new ferry, called ' St. George's.' 
Companies will be entertained if they bring their own 
liquor, and may dress turtle, etc., at the said house on 
the very lowest terms.'' And, in August following, he 
advertised that " there will be a hull halted on Tower 
Hill, at three o'clock in the afternoon, every Thursday 
during the season." " Tower Hill " was a slight emi- 
nence on the Heights, on the site of the old " Colonnade 
Row," on Columbia, between Middagh and Cranberry 

Brooklyn during the British Military Occu- 
pation, 1776-1783. Of the Battle of Brooklyn, and 
the subsequent oc- 
cupation of Long 
Island, and Kings 
County in partic- 
ular, we have al- 
ready spoken in 
the General Sis- 
tori/ of the County. 

We now pro- 
ceed to relate some 
of the incidents of 
that military occu- 
pation which most 
specially relate to 
the Town of 

At this period, and during the war, the whole of the 
land embraced between the brow of the Heights on 
the river and the present Pulton and Joralemon streets, 
was then under high cultivation. That portion of it 
nearest to Fulton street was used for pasturage, or was 
kept, at times, in grain. The middle part was almost 
entirely occupied by fine and thrifty orchards ; and the 
lower portion by gardens, which furnished an abundant 
supply of small fruit and vegetables to the New York 
markets. This tract belonged to several owners, among 
whom were the Middaghs, Bamper, Colden, Debevoises, 
Romsens. On the Heights stood the mansion of Philip 
Livingston, Esq., afterwards known as the " Joralemon 
House," a large double frame-house, constructed in the 
very best manner, having costly carved marble mantels 
imported from Italy, and other furniture at that day 
unusual to American houses. During the occupation 
of the island it was used as an hospital for the British 


navy; probably as a justifiable retaliation upon its 
owner, who was a prominent member of the Continental 
Congress. Attached to the house was an extensive gar- 
den, said to be the finest in this part of America, and 
which — to their credit be it said — was kept in good 
repair by the physicians and oflicers of the hospital, 
who appropriated the mansion-house to their own use ; 
sheds and huts being erected for the sick on the farm 
(formerly known as the Ralph Patchen property), on the 
southerly side of the present Atlantic street. In 1780- 
81, when Admiral Arbuthnot assumed the command of 
this station, he instituted various reforms, among which 
was the turning out of the surgeons and physicians from 
their comfortable quarters in the mansion-house, which 
was forthwith appropriated to the use of sick sailors. 
The principal disease among the sick was the scurvy, 
and they were buried from these hospitals, in the neigh- 
boring ground, and that (afterwards) of Hezekiah B. 
Pierrepont, to the number of twelve and fifteen a day. 
For many years afterwards, their remains were, from 
time to time, disinterred by the caving down of the 
brow of the hill all along the shore. 

Fueman's Mss. state that the old house (afterwards 

of Selah Strong, 
Esq.) which stood 
in present Strong 
Place, just behind 
Christ Church, was 
built and inhabited 
by an English 
Colonel Thornely, 
at the desire of 
the Cornells, with 
whom he had be- 
come quite intim- 
ate during the 
Revolution, and 
who sold him the 
land on which it 
among the most 
" all staunch King 

was erected. These Cornells were 
respectable citizens of old Brooklyn, 
and Church men." 

The fine old house known as the " Four Chimnies," 
afterwards as the Pierrepont mansion, was erected, as 
is supposed, by a John Cornell. On the wharf, at foot 
of present Joralemon street, was a brewery, belonging 
to Livingston, which, during the war, was employed by 
the British as a " King's Brewery," where they made 
spruce-beer for the use of the hospitals and fleet on this 
station. The old people used to call it the best beer 
that they ever tasted, and said that the hospitals used 
at the rate of twenty barrels a day for their sick. These 
patients also had the best of msdical attention, with 
abundant supplies of vegetables and excellent soups, 
and, when they became convalescent, were allowed to 
roam about the country, in order to breathe the fresh, 
pure air, and obtain exercise. 



On the edge of the Heights, between the present 
Orange and Clark streets, was a half -moon fort, garri- 
soned by Hessian troops, and having a battery of cannon 
overlooking the harbor. There were then no houses on 
the Heights, between present Doughty and Clark 
streets. The first house, a two-story frame edifice south 
of Clark street, was the residence of Mr. Lodewyck 
Bamj)er, an elderly gentleman of fortune, who was sup- 
posed to have retired from the Holland trade. He was 
largely interested in the establishment of a glass fac- 
tory, on almost the identical spot lately occupied by the 
glass-works on State street. The first bottle ever made 
at this factory, having blown on it a seal bearing the 
name of Mr. Bamper and the date 1754, is still pre- 
served among the curiosities of the Long Island His- 
torical Society. The factory, however, did not have a 
long career, on account of an insufiicient supply of the 
necessary kind of sand. He had a beautiful garden, 
and a choice collection of fruit ; seldom left his house, 
and in pleasant weather passed most of his time upon 
his piazza, which fronted the harbor, or in his gar- 
den. He usually dressed with silk breeches, a silk 
loose-gown, a silk cap upon his head, and carried a gold- 
headed cane. His residence was then a most retired spot, 
having no immediate neighbors, except the " Old 
Stone House,'' at that time belonging to Gov. Cad- 
wallader Colden,and afterwards owned by SamuelJack- 
son, Esq. Thi.s house, on Doughty street, fronting on 
Elizabeth street, was occupied by the Hessian troops as 
a guard-house and prison, and was the place where all 
persons arrested in the vicinity were detained — the 
whole island being at that time under a strict military 
police. It was a long, one-and-a-half -story building, of 
stone and brick, with a fine large garden in the rear, 
and was afterwards the residence of Mr. George Hicks. 
Past this old stone house ran a private lane or foot-path, 
from Love Lane (which then led from ITulton street to 
the edge of the hill) along the brow of the hill, and 
descending its side to a landing on present Furman, 
near Clark street. 

During the war, the British Wagon Department for 
the army on this station, was located in Brooklyn, occu- 
pying an immense yard, with sheds, stables, black- 
smith's forges, etc., and extending from the present 
Main to Jay streets, and west of Prospect street, which 
was fenced in, the main gateway being near the present 
junction of Main and Fulton streets. Joseph Fox, an 
Englishman, and an old and respected citizen of Brook- 
lyn, was for many years one of the pt-incipals of this 
wagon department. 

At the foot of, and on the northerly side of, the old 
road (now Fulton st., near corner of Front), was the 
"Ferry Tavern," a large and gloomy stone building, 
about sixty feet square and two stories high, standing in 
such a way cornerwise, as to leave only 35^ feet for the 
entire width of the street between it and the houses 
opposite. From its being owned by the Corporation of 

the city of Now York, it was known as the "Cor- 
poration House ; " also, from some incident connected 
with hoisting a cofiin on the flag-staff of the building, 
called "The Coffin House." It was the successor of 
the ferry -bouse, erected in 1746, by the Corporation of 
the city of New York, on land purchased of Jacob Mor- 
ris, in 1694 ; and which was burned down in 1748, as 
it was supposed, by the Brooklynites, who were then car- 
rying on a long and bitter litigation with the cor- 
poration concerning ferry-rights. Its site is now 


1. The " Corporation House," or "Ferry Tavern," occupied during 
the flevolutionary war by Messrs. Loosely and Elms, as the "King's 
Head Tavern." 

3 John liapelje's house, with garden extending to the river. 

3. The " Old Stone Tavern," kept by Benjamin Smith. 

4. Mr. Cary Ludlow's house. 

5. The Hicks Mansion. 

6. The Middagh Mansion. 

7. The Middagh barn. 

8. The " Whalebone Gate," so called from its being arched over with 
a whale's rib-bone. It opened at the side of Mr. Thomas Everit's 
house, into a lane leading up to Mr. Cary Ludlow's house, 

(1883) partially occupied by ISTos. 19, 21 and 23 Ful- 
ton street. At the time of the Revolution, the 
East River, at high-water mark, came nearly up to 
Front street. Subsequently to the war, this tavern 
was kept by Benjamin Smith for many years. 
It was burned down in 1812 (its walls remaining 
for many years thereafter), and Mr. Smith removed 
his stand to a stone building on the opposite side 



of Fulton street. It had been noted as a tavern 
for thirty years previous to the Revolution. Its 
last incumbent, before the Battle of Brooklyn, was Cap- 
tain Adolph Waldron, who was also " the f errymaster." 
Espousing the cause of the Rebellion, and being active 
as the commandant of a company of light-horse raised 
in Brooklyn, he was, of course, compelled to absent 
himself from Long Island during its occupation by the 
British. Waldron was succeeded by Charles Loosely 
and Thomas Elms, thorough loyalists, who named the 
old tavern " The King's Head," fitted it up in the most 
complete manner* and catered to the tastes of their 
military friends and patrons so well that it was much 
resorted to, during the war, by the officers of the 
British army and the fashionables of the day, as a place 
of amusement. Lieutenant Anbury, in a letter to a 
friend in England, dated New York, Oct. 30th, l^Sl, 
refers to it thus : " On crossing the East River from 
New York, you land at Brooklyn, which is a scattered 
village, consisting of a few houses. At this place is an 
excellent tavern, where parties are made to go and eat 
fish ; the landlord of which has saved an immense for- 
tune during this war.'' We shall have frequent occa- 
sion to refer to this head-quarters of royalists and Tories, 
which subsequently seems to have been known by the 
name of " Brooklyn Hall." Just off from this old road, 
on present westerly side of Front street, near Fulton, 
was the large stone house owned by John Rapalje, the 
Tory, which was confiscated after the Revolution, and 
afterwards sold by the Commissioners to Comfort and 
Joshua Sands, and by them to Abm. Remsen. 

1777, September 26th. The loyalists had the pleas- 
ure of welcoming Rivington the printer, on his return 
from England, whither he had been obliged to flee to 
escape the wrath of the Americans. On this occasion 
Loosely and Elms' " King's Head Tavern " was " ele- 
gantly illuminated, to testify the joy of the true ' Sons 
of Freedom.' " 

1778. During this year, from July to November, 
and probably through the winter, the following regi- 
ments were encamped at or near Bedford, the 37th, 42d, 
44th, 46th, and 16th light infantry ; between Bedford 
and Bushwick, the first battalion light infantry ; and at 
Brooklyn ferry, the New York volunteers. 

*It is probable tbat these gentlemen kept hotel "not wisely, but 
too well " for their own pockets, at least; for, soon after the signing 
of the Provisional Treaty of Peace, in November, 1782, we And a notice 
of a " Public Auction of Brooklyn Hall," for " Uic benefit of the credit- 
ors of Charles Loosely," of " all the genuine household furniture, con- 
sisting of mahogany and other bedsteads, feather beds and mattresses, 
chintz and other curtains, blankets, sheets, etc.; mahogany drawers, 
dining, tea and card tables; an elegant clock in mahogany case; a 
cwixjus eoUeethm of weU-chosen paintings and pictures; large pier and 
other looking-glasses, in gilt and plain frames ; table and tea sets of 
china, plate, etc.; a capital, well-toned organ, made by one of the first 
hands in London ; a hUliard table in thorough repair; near twenty 
globe lamps, flt for hall or passage, etc.; wagons, horses, cows, etc.; 
two tenements adjoining the house; a flag-staff, with ensigns, pend- 
ants ; and several hundred transparent and tin lamps, fitfor illuminor- 
twn;" landlord Loosely havingbeenprofuseofillumimitionson every 
possible occasion. 

A correspondent of Hivington's Gazette, of January 
24th, 1778, gives the following account of the manner 
in which the Queen's Birthday was observed, by the 
New York loyalists, at their favorite resort in Brooklyn : 

"Ab the loyalty even of individuals ought, at this time, to 
be properly encouraged, you will infinitely oblige the public 
and a number of your readers, by inserting a description of 
the grand and elegant illumination at the King's Head Tav- 
ern, on last evening, in honor of her Majesty's birthday; and 
it is the desire of the public, as Messrs. Loosely and Elms 
have ever shown their attachment to the British Government, 
and a detestation of the present rebellion, that, through the 
channel of your much-esteemed paper, their conduct may be 
known and approved of in Europe, as well as by the loyalists 
in New York. The tavern was illuminated with upwards of 
two hundred wax-lights. In the centre were the royal arms 
of Great Britain, and above it, statues of the present king 
and queen, under a canopy of state elegantly decorated, 
which shone, like their majesties' virtues, conspicuous to the 
world. The view of the reduction of Mud Fort (on one side) 
by his majesty's ships, Roebuck and Vigilant, gave that joy 
which Britons always feel on the success and honor of their 
country. On the other side, their generous indignation was 
roused by a view of those men (the Congress) whose ambition 
has almost ruined this unhappy country, and reduced its 
inha.bitantB to the greatest distress. It was very apropos of 
the painter to place the devil at the President's elbow, who 
tells him to persevere, with so significant a grin as seems to 
indicate his having no manner of doubt of their making his 
house their home in the infernal regions. The statue of Mr. 
Pitt, without its head, was placed nearthe Congress, as being 
one of their kidney, and gave a hint of what ought, long ago, 
to have been done. The verses over the tavern door were 
very proper on the occasion, and well illuminated. In short, 
every thing was well conducted, and the tout ensemble had 
really a fine effect. Much is due to Messrs. Loosely and 
Elms for their patriotic spirit, which meets the approbation 
of every man who is a friend to his king and country." 

1779. In February of this year, the 33d Regiment 
light infantry (300), and 2d battalion Highlanders (750), 
were encamped at Bedford, and the 3d Prince Heredi- 
tary (350), and 4th Charles (300), at Brooklyn. Game's 
Mercury, September 27th, advertises "a cricket match 
for fifty guineas, to be played this day at Loosely and 
Elms, 10 a. m." 

1780. In May, the newly-appointed Governor Rob- 
ertson writes to the Home Government that " a large 
square fort is built on Brooklyn Heights ; the season is 
late ; not a blade of grass. The people within the 
lines begin to repair and build houses, and manure and 
inclose lands." The fort here referred to was probably 
the one erected at the junction of Pierrepont and Henry 
streets, by far the most thoroughly constructed and 
complete fortification erected by the British during 
their stay on Long Island. The position was a very 
commanding one, f and the extremely level nature of the 

+ We learn from Mr. Henry E. Pierrepont, of Brooklyn, that, accord- 
ing to careful survey made for him In 1838, by Alfr«d Craven, the well- 
known engineer of the Erie railroad, and afterwards the head of the 
Croton Water Board, the site of this fort was found to be three feet 
one inch higher than the level of the land in Washington, near Con- 
cord streets, making it the highest, and therefore the most suitable 
position for such a fortification in that part of the town. 



ground rendered the work one of great labor. Two or 
three thousand Bi-itish soldiers engaged upon these 
works at the same time, in digging trenches, and wheel- 
ing earth in barrows, to form the walls ; in addition to 
which, all the inhabitants on the island were assessed 
according to their respective counties for a certain num- 
ber of days' work. 

This fort was 150 feet square, with ramparts rising 
above the bottom of the surrounding ditch, itself twenty 

! \i 












From Furman's Mss. 
feet in depth. At the angles of the fort were bastions, 
on each of which was planted a button-wood tree which 
grew to a very large size. In front of the fort, on the 
line of present Fulton, between Pierrepont and Clark 
streets, stood a row of army-sutlers' huts. The fort 
was not completed in July, lYSl, at which time it had 
only 18 cannon mounted. 

Gainers Mercury, of July 2, 1780, contains the fol- 
lowing advertisement, issued by Loosely & Elms : 
"Pro bono Publico: Thursday next, bull-baiting at 
Brooklyn ferry. The bull is remarkably strong and 
active ; the best dogs in the county expected, and they 
that afford the best diversion will be rewarded with sil- 
ver collars." Such were the elegant and refined amuse- 
ments with which the aristocracy of the British army 
whiled away their leisure ! 

A few days later, July I7th, a fulsome congratulatory 
address was presented to Gov. Robertson, on the occa- 
sion of his accession, in behalf and at the request of the 
inhabitants of Kings County, signed by Wm. Axtell, 
Rutgert Van Brunt, Richard Stillwell, Jeromus Lott, 
Ab. Luquere, M. Couwenhoven, Rem Couwenhoven, 
Maj. Jeromus V. D. Belt, Adrian Van Brunt, Leffert 
Lefferts, and Jonannes Bergen. 

About this time the 43d Regiment were encamped 
near Brooklyn. 

This year was a lively one for the troops quartered 
here, if we may judge from the following advertise- 
ments : 

"Peg Bono Publico.— Saturday next being the birthday 
of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Loosely, agree- 
able to an honest old custom, wishes to see his royal and 
constitutional friends— dinner at 3. The evening to conclude 

with fireworks and illuminations. A good band of music. 
Rebels approach no nearer than the heights of Brooklyn.'' 
— Rivington, Aug. 9, '80. 

" Anniversary of the Coronation of our ever good and 
gracious Bang, will be celebrated at Loosely's, 22d inst. It 
is expected that no rebel will approach nearer than Flatbush 
wood."— Rivington, Sept. 20, 1780. 

" By Permission— Three Days' Sport on Ascot Heath. 
PORMEELY Flatlands PLAIN. — Monday, 1. The Nobleman's 
and Gentleman's Purse of £60, free for any horse except Mr. 
Wortman's and Mr. Allen's Dulcimore, who won the plate at 
Beaver Pond last season. 3. A saddle, bridle and whip, 
worth £15, ponies not exceeding 13^ hands : Tuesday, 1. 
Ladies' subscription purse of £50. 2. To be run for by 
women, a Holland sniook and chintz gown, full-trimmed, to 
run the best two in 3, quarter-mile heats ; the first to have 
the smock and gown of 4 guineas value, the second a guinea, 
the third a half-guinea : Wednesday. County subscription 
purse of £50. No perton will erect a booth or sell liquor, 
without subscribing two guineas towards the expense of the 
race. Gentlemen fond of fox-hunting will meet at Loosely's 
King's Head Tavern at daybreak during the races. 

" Ood Save the King" Tp]a.yed every hour." — Rivington, 
Nov. 4, 1780. 

A jockey or racing club was formed in the year 

1780, within the British lines. Bryant Connor, of 
New York, was Chief Jockey. Flatluiul Pluin, 
then called " Ascot Heath," was then a beautiful 
open plain, well adapted for racing or parades. Public 
races were held here until October, 1783. The British 
officers, with the refugees and Tories, ruled the course. 
The American officers, then prisoners in Kings County, 
attended these races, and were frequently insulted by 
the loyalists, which gave rise to frequent fracases. 
Wherever a fine horse was known to be owned by any 
American farmer in the county, the refugee horse- 
thieves would soon put him into the hands of the 
jockeys, and the course was thus kept well supplied. 
General Johnson saw a NeA\' Jersey farmer claim a 
horse on Ascot Heath, in October, 1783, which had 
been purchased by Mr. John Cornell, of Brooklyn, 
from a refugee, and entered for the race. The owner 
permitted the horse to run the race ; after which, Mr. 
Cornell surrendered the animal to the owner in a gen- 
tlemanly manner. Whether he ever found the thief 
afterwards is uncertain. 

In the early autumn of this year, Lt. Gen. Riedesel 
was appointed by Gen. Clinton to the command of 
Brooklyn, a mark of especial confidence; as Long Island, 
then the great depot of supplies for the British Army 
in New York, was occupied by the best English troops, 
but few of the German mercenaries being garrisoned 
there. Although the British were usually averse to the 
authority of any of the foreign generals, yet so great 
was the reputation of this amiable and talented soldier 
that all, and especially the officers, vied with each other 
in manifesting their own good-will, as well as their 
appreciation of his merits. His headquarters were in a 
small house on the shore, where, early in the spring of 

1781, he was joined by his wife and family. His 



domestic comfort, however, was much disturbed by his 
apprehensions of capture by the Americans, who were 
always on the alert; and to whom the peculiar nature of 
the country, with its bays, creeks, and inlets, afforded 
many chances of success. So careful was he, " that he 
slept only while his wife was awake ; the least noise 
brought him out of his bed." He had sentinels in and 
about his house, but never trusted entirely to their 
watchfulness. The detail of guard-service had been 
much neglected by the English officers previously in 
command, but Riedesel instituted very thorough and 
wholesome reforms in this respect. 

On the 22d of July, 1781, the general, with his fam- 
ily and attendants, embarked for Canada. 

During the winter of 1780-81, the East River was 
frozen solid, from the Brooklyn shore half-way across, 
and on the edge of the ice, near the" centre of the river, 
hundreds of cords of wood were piled for the use of the 
English army. The Long Island farmers, bringing 
produce to the city, drove on the ice to the middle of 
the river, where they placed their loads on board the 
ferry-boats. The English feared lest the Americans 
should take advantage of the ice to attack New York. 
The Americans, however, transported some troops and 
cannon on the ice from New Jersey to Staten Island. — 
FuEMAN Mss. 

1781, "Pro Bono Publico. — By permission, four 
days sport, on Easter Monday, on Ascot Heath. Purses 
of £50, £50, £100, £100."— Bivington, Feb. 12. 

" Grand Races at Ascot Heath postponed until June 6, on 
account of the King's birthday : on which occasion it is ex- 
pected that every true subject will so strain bis nerves in re- 
joicing, as to prevent this amusement being agreeable be- 
fore that time. A hurling match on tlie ground, June 5, 
when those who have a curiosity to play (or see) that ancient 
diversion, will get hurls and bats at the Irish Flag.— Game, 
May 30, '81. 

" To all who know it not, be it understood 
Pro bono publico means mankind's good." 

"This day, being Wednesday, the 20th. of June, will be 
exhibited, at Brooklyn Ferry, a bull-baiting after the true 
English manner. Taurus will be brought to the ring at 
half -past three o'clock ; some good dogs are already provided, 
but every assistance of that sort will be esteemed a favor. A 
dinner exactly British will be upon Loosely's table at eleven 
o'clock, after which there is no doubt but that the song of 
' Oh ! the Roast Beef of Old England !' wiU be sung ^^ ith 
harmony and glee. 

"This notice gives to all who covet 
Baiting the bull and dearly love it. 
To-morrow's very afternoon, 
At three— or rather not so soon — 
A bull of magnitude and spirit 
Will dare the dog's presuming merit. 
Taurus is steel to the back-bone, 
And canine cunning does disown ; 
True British blood runs through his v Ins 
And barking numbers he disdains. 
Sooner than knavish dogs shall rule, 
He'll prove himself a irue John Bull." 

At this time (July 8) Brooklyn Fort, although yet 
imperfect, having but eighteen cannon mounted, had 
two bomb-proof magazines and a garrison of two hun- 

dred Brunswickers. " Cobble Hill," also in process of 
repair, was occupied by two companies. The 54th 
Regiment were encamped at " Ferry Hill," two rriiles 
from Brooklyn, and at Bedford were two hundred 

The stationary camp at Bedford was located on 
broken ground, then on the farm of Barent Lefferts, 
now crossed by Franklin and Classon avenues, Bergen, 
Wykoff, Warren, Baltic and Butler streets. The huts 
or barracks were built by throwing out the earth from 
a trench thirty to fifty feet long and about twelve or 
fifteen feet wide, with a board roof resting on the bank 
formed by the excavated earth. A large stone fire-place, 
or two, were arranged in each one. These huts were 
irregularly scattered, according to the slope of the 
ground, so as to have the entrance at the middle of the 
lower side. The officers were located outside of this 


camp, in the adjacent woods, wherever convenient and 
pleasant spots tempted them to pitch their tents. 
Head-quarters were at the Leffert Lefferts house (corner 
of Fulton avenue and Clove road). See right-hand cor- 
ner view of Bedford Corners on opposite page. Major 
John Andre was quartered at this house when called to 
New York on the interview with Gen. Clinton, which re- 
sulted in his being sent up the North River on the mis- 
sion which terminated in his capture and execution as a 
In the Boyal Gazette ot August 8th, 1871, published at New 
York, Charles Loosely advertises a lottery of |12,500 to be 
drawn at "Brooklyn Hall." The same paper contains 
the following advertisement: " Pbo bono publico. — Gen- 
tlemen that are fond of fox hunting are requested to meet at 
Loosely's Tavern, on Ascot Heath, on Friday morning next, 
between the hours of five and six, as a pack of hounds will 
be there purposely for a trial of their abilities. Breakfasting 
and Relishes until the Races commence. At eleven o'clock 
vidll be run for, an elegant saddle, etc., value at least twenty 
pounds, for which upwards of twelve gentlemen will ride 
their own horses. At twelve a match will be rode by two 
gentlemen. Horse for Horse. At one, a match for thirty 
guineas, by two gentlemen, who will also ride their own 
horses. Dinner will be ready at two o'clock, after which 
and suitable regalements, racing and other diversions will 
be calculated to conclude the day with pleasure and har- 
mony. Brooklyn Hall, August, 1781." 

" B. Creed's Jamaica and Brooklyn Hall Stage Machine, 6s. 
a passage ; not answerable for money, plate, and jewels, un- 
less entered and paid toi."—Sivington, March, 1781. f 

And again : " Brooklyn Hunt.— The hounds will throw off 
at Denyse Ferry at 9, Thursday morning. A guinea or more 
will be given for a good, strong bag fox by Charles Loosely." 
—Riv., Nov. 14, '81. 




The Anhault Zerbet Regiment were at this time 
stationed at Brooklyn. 

' "A sweepstakes of 300 guineas was won by Jacob Jack- 
son's mare, Slow and Easy, over Mercury and Goldfinder, on 
Ascot Heath. The two beaten horses are to run for 100 gui- 
neas a side, on Wednesday next, on the same ground. " — Jtiv- 
ington, April 37, '83. 

" May 3, on Monday se'nnight the enemy (British) began 

i to break ground to cut a canal on L. I., to run from the 

; Wallabout to the Pond, taking in Cobble Hill Fort. The 

length of the trench is 2^^ miles. The militia are called out 

in rotation one day in a week, none above 15 being excused 

from labor." — Conn. Current, May 7, '83. 

This " canal " is more accurately described by Gen- 
eral Jeremiah Johnson as a strong line of intrenchment, 
extending from the bill of Rem. A. Remsen along the 
the higb lands of John Rapelje, crossing Sands street 
near Jay street, and thence over the highest land in 
Washington street, between Concord and Nassau 
streets, across the Jamaica Road (Fulton street) to the 
large fort, already described, on the corner of Henry 
and Pierrepont streets. 

June 3d. " The lines drawn between Brooklyn 
Church and the Ferry, by Clinton, are not likely to be 
completed by Carlton. They are carting fascines now. 
On Long Island are now about 3,500 men." 

As we have already seen, the enterprising landlord 
of " King's Head " tavern was not insensible to the ad- 
vantages of advertising ; and this summer, by way of 
tickling the humors of his patrons, and, perhaps, of aid- 
ing a lottery enterprise which he had in hand, he issued 

a newspaper. This, the first j)aper ever issued in Brook- 
lyn, was printed upon a dingy sheet about the ordinary 
" letter size " now in use, and contained three columns 
of " close matter," printed on one side of the sheet 
only. It was named (with Loosely's usual preface, 
"Pro bono Publico''''), "The Beooklyn-Hall Supee- 
ExTEA Gazette," dated Saturday, June 8th, 1782, and 
its contents may be characterized as displaying more 
loyalty and " heavy wit " than literary merit. A copy 
of this sheet, the only one known to be in existence, 
can be seen at the Naval Lyceum, in the U. S. Navy 
Yard, in this city, and was republished in Stiles' History 
of Brooklyn. 

" Baron de Walzogen, Capt. Commandant of the 
combined detachment of Brunswick and Hessian Hanau 
troops, nov) at Brooklyn camp, received an address 
from the inhabitants of New Utrecht, thanking him for 
the vigilant care, good order, and discipline prevailing 
among the officers and soldiers under his command at 
the Narrows, etc." — Gaine, Aug. 6, '82. 

The crops, at this time, were indifferent in many 
parts of the country. It was a very dry summer on 
Long Island. 

In December of this year there were stationed at 
Brooklyn, Hackenbergh's regiment of Hessians, in the 
large fort back of the Ferry, and in the redoubts a 
number. At Bedford, also, the garrison battalion of 
invalids, about one hundred in number, of whom a half 
were officers, was quartered at the houses of the differ- 
ent inhabitants. 



The state of things had changed. No longer did the 
newspapers teem with festive advertisements and loy- 
alist literature. The war was virtually ended by the 
Provisional Treaty of Peace, signed November 30, 1'782, 
and the British were about to leave the land where, for 
nearly sevfin years, their presence had rested like a 
hideous nightmare upon the people whom they sought 
to subdue. The sound of preparation for departure 
was everywhere heard, and the papers (significant in- 
dices of every passing breeze of popular events) were 
now occupied with advertisements such as the follow- 
ing : 

"At auction at the King's Naval Brewery, L. I., 60 or 70 
tons of iron-hoops, and 70,000 dry and provision-casks, staves, 
and heading, in lots of 10,0 O."~ltivington, May 26, '83. 

" Auction at Flatbush.— The Waldeck Stores, viz. : sol- 
diers' shirts ; blue, white, and yellow cloth ; thread-stock- 
ings, shoe-soles, heel-taps, etc., eto."—Rivington, July 2, '83. 

"Saddle-horses, wagons, carts, harness, etc., at auction 
every Wednesday, at the wagon-yard, Brooklyn. "— Came, 
Sept. 8, '83. 

"King's draft and saddle horses, wagons, carts, and har- 
ness for sale at the wagon-yard, Brooklyn." — Rivington, 
August 27, '83. 

Desertions also became frequent among the Hessians, who 
preferred to remain in this country. Tunis Bennet of Brook- 
lyn was imprisoned in the Provost for carrying Hessian de- 
serters over to the Jersey shore. 

At length, after protracted negotiations, a Definite Treaty 
of Peace was signed at Paris, between the American and 
British commissioners, on the 3d of September, 1784. And 
on the 25th of November following, Brooklyn and the city 
of New York were formally evacuated by the British troops 
and refugees. 

Stiles says: " Brooklyn, which, during the war, had been 
wholly military ground, presented a sadder scene of desola- 
tion than any other town in Kings County. In 1780, after 
its occupation by the British, free range had been given to 
the pillaging propensities of the soldiery. Farms had been 
laid waste, and those belonging to exiled Whigs given to the 
Tory favorites of Governor Tryon. Woodlands were i-uth- 
lessly cut down for fuel, buildings were injured, fences re- 
moved, and boundaries effaced. Farmers were despoiled of 
their cattle, horses, swine, poultry, vegetables, and of almost 
every necessary article of subsistence, except their grain, 
which fortunately had been housed before the invasion. 
Their houses were also plundered of every article which the 
cupidity of lawless soldiery deemed worthy of possession, 
and much furniture was wantonly destroyed. At the close 
of this year's campaign, DdHeister, the Hessian general, re- 
turned to Europe with a ship-load of plundered property. 
During the next year (1777), the farmers had cultivated but 
little more than a bare sufficiency for their own subsistence. 
and even that was frequently stolen or destroyed. Stock be- 
came very scarce and dear, and the farmer of Brooklyn who 
owned a pair of horses and two or three cows, was "well off." 
The scarcity prevailing in the markets, however, soon ren- 
dered it necessary for the British commanders to restrain 
this system of indiscriminate marauding, and to encoui-age 
agriculture. After the capture of General Burgoyne's army, 
rebel prisoners were treated with more lenity ; and in 1778, 
the towns of Flatbush, Gravesend, and New Utecht were set 
apart as a parole-ground, for the purpose of quartering 
American olficers whom the fortunes of war had thrown 
upon their hands. In these towns, therefore, a greater de- 

gree of peace and order prevailed; and the farmers had -the 
twofold advantage of receiving high prices for their produce 
and pay for boarding the prisoners. Brooklyn, however, re- 
mained a gan-ison town until the peace, and many farms 
were not inclosed until after the evacuation, in 1783. 

When, therefore, the inhabitants returned to their deso- 
lated and long-deserted homes, their first efforts were di- 
rected to the cultivation of their lands, the re-establishment 
of their farm boundaries, and the restoration of their private 
affairs. This being accomplished, their attention was next 
turned to reorganization of the town — whose records had 
been removed, and whose functions and privileges had been 
totally suspended during the seven years' military occupa- 
tion by the On the first Tuesday of April, 1784, was 
held the first town-meeting since April, 1776. Jacob Sharpe, 
Esq., was chosen Town Clerk, and applied to Leflfert Lefiferts, 
Esq., the previous clerk, for the town records. Lefferts de- 
posed, on oath, that they had been removed from his custody, 
during the war, by a person or persons to him unknown ; 
and although that person was afterwards identified, the sub- 
sequent fate of the records themselves is, to this day, un- 

These records and papers were taken to England by 
Rapalje, in October, 1776, and his lands were confis- 
cated, and afterwards became the property of J. & C 
Sands. After his death, the papers fell into the pos- 
session of his grand-daughter, who married William 
Weldon, of Norwich, County of Norfolk, England. 
William Weldon and his wife came to New York about 
the year 1810, to recover the estates of John Rapalje, 
and employed D. B. Ogden and Aaron Burr as counsel, 
who advised them that the Act of Attainder, passed by 
the Legislature against Rapalje and others, barred their 
claim. Weldon and his wife brought over with them 
the lost records of the town of Brooklyn, and offered 
them to the town for a large sum (according to some, 
$10,000), but would not even allow them to be examined 
before delivery. Although a writ of replevin might 
easily have secured them to the town again, the 
apathetic Dutchmen of that day were too indifferent to 
the value of these records, and they were allowed to 
return to England. — (Ms. Note of Jeremiah Johnson.) 

Gradually, under the benign influences of Liberty and 
Law, order emerged from chaos. The few law^less mis- 
creants who remained were speedily restrained from 
their mischievous propensities by the whipping-post and 
imprisonment; angry passions subsided, and those citi- 
zens who had hitherto viewed each other as enemies 
became united. 

A Military Execution at Brooklyn. — In the 
summer of 1782, three men, named Porter, Tench, and 
Parrot, members of the 54th Regiment, then encamped 
on the farm of Martin Schenck, at the Wallabout, were 
arrested and tried for their complicity in a foul murder 
committed on Bennet's Point, in Newtown, three years 
before. They were sentenced to be hung, but Parrot 
was pardoned and sent on board a man-of-war. The 
execution of Porter and Tench, notable as the only 
case of capital punishment for injuries done to citizens, 
was witnessed by the late General Jeremiah Johnson, 



who thus describes the scene : " The gallows was the 
limb of a large chestnut-tree, on the farm of Martin 
Schenck. About 10 a. m., a brigade formed a hollow 
square around the tree ; the culprits, dressed in white 
jackets and pantaloons, and firmly pinioned, were 
brought into the square, and halters, about eight feet 
long, were fastened to the limb, about four feet apart. 
Tench ascended the ladder first, followed by Cunning- 
ham's yellow hangman, who adjusted the halter, drew a 
cap over the culprit's face, and, then descending, turned 
him off the ladder. The like was done to Porter, who 
ascended the ladder by the side of his hanging com- 
panion, in an undaunted manner, and was turned 
towards him and struck against him. They boxed 
together thus several times, hanging in mid-air about 
ten feet from the ground, until they were dead. The 
field and stafE officers were inside the square, and after 
the execution Cunningham reported to the commanding 
officer (said to be General Gray), who also appeared to 
treat him with contempt. The troops then left the 
ground, and the bodies were buried under the tree." 

Military Punishments. — The British soldiers were 
punished by whipping or flogging with the " cat-o'-nine- 
tails," executed by the drummers. The regimental 
surgeons were obliged to attend the punishments, which 
were usually very severe — sometimes as many as five 
hundred lashes being given. Citizens were allowed to 
be present at these floggings, except at punishments of 
the 42d Highland Regiment, when only the other 
regiments were allowed to be witnesses. Punishments 
in this regiment were, however, infrequent. The 
dragoons were punished by picketing'; the Germans by 
being made to run the gauntlet. On these occasions 
the regiment formed in two parallel lines, facing inwards; 
the culprit passed down between these lines, having an 
officer before and behind him, and was struck by each 
soldier with rods. An officer also passed down on the 
outside of each line, administering a heavy blow to any 
soldier who did not give the culprit a fair and good 
stroke. Hessians were also punished by the gauntlet, 
while the band played a tune set to the following words: 

"Father and mother, do not mourn 
Over your only son ; 
He never did you any good, 
And now he gets his doom— doom— doom— doom." 

The officers often treated their men cruelly. General 
Johnson remembered to have seen Captain Westerhauge 
and Lieutenant Conrady beat a corporal with their 
swords on his back, over his waiscoat, so that he died 
the next day. They beat the man about two in the 
afternoon. He was standing : the captain first gave 
him a number of blows, and then the lieutenant com- 
menced ; but before he had finished the man was too 
feeble to stand, and the captain stood before him and 
held him up. The man then laid down on the grass, 
while the surgeon's mate examined his body, which was 
a mass of bruised and blistered flesh. His back was 
roughly scarified by the surgeon's mate, and he was 

then removed to a barn, where he died the next day — 
never having uttered a word from the moment of the 
first blow. Mrs. Peter Wyckoff, mother of Mr. Nicholas 
Wyckoff, President of the City Bank of Brooklyn, and 
a daughter of Lambert Suydam, a brave officer in the 
Continental Army, informed Dr. Stiles, in 1861, that she 
distinctly remembers, when a school-girl at Bedford, 
having seen British soldiers tied up to a tree, in front 
of the house of Judge Lefferts, and flogged. 

Among the patriotic deeds of the adherents of the 
American cause in Kings County were the loans of 
money furnished to the State Government by them. It 
was effected in the following manner : Lieutenant 
Samuel Dodge and Captains Gilleland and Mott, of the 
American army, had been captured at Fort Montgomery, 
and were confined as prisoners, under a British guard, at 
the residence of Barent Johnson, in the Wallabout. 
Dodge was exchanged in the course of a month, and 
reported the practicability of borrowing specie from 
Whigs in Kings County, mentioning Johnson as one 
who would risk all in the undertaking. It was there- 
fore agreed that confidential officers should be 
exchanged, who were to act as agents in these trans- 
actions. Colonel William Ellison was fixed upon to 
receive the loan. He was exchanged in November, 1777, 
and conveyed $2,000 in gold to Governor Clinton, a 
simple receipt being given. In this manner, before 
1782, large sums had been loaned to the State. In 1780, 
Major H. Wyckoff was hid for two days in the upper 
room of Rem. A. Remsen's house, in the Wallabout, 
while the lieutenant of the guard of the " Old Jersey" 
British prison-ship was quartered in the house. Remsen 
loaned him as much as he could carry, and conveyed 
him in a sleigh, at night, to Cow Neck, from whence he 
crossed to Poughkeepsie. 

The patriotism of many of New York's bravest 
soldiers was poorly rewarded by the passage of a 
legislative act. May 6th, 1784, levying a tax of £100,000 
upon the Southern District of the State, a portion of 
which could be paid in State scrip, which the soldier had 
received for his services, and had sold to speculators for 
from two to six pence per pound. The scrip, it is 
almost needless to say, immediately rose to the value of 
ten shillings on the pound, leaving a very handsome 
profit to the speculators, who had invested it largely in 
the purchase of confiscated estates. 

Brooklyn from the close of the Revolution to 
the War of 1812. Brooklyn's shai'e in the actual 
hostilities of the Revolutionary War has been already 
given in our chapter on the General History of Kings 
County. For the first few years succeeding the war, 
but little of interest occurred in the town. Its in- 
habitants doubtless found plenty to do in repair- 
ing the ravages which their property had suffered 
during a seven years' hostile occupation. Yet the 
spirit of improvement was astir; and, in 1785, the 
staid old Dutchmen who worshipped in the ancient 



edifice in the middle of the road at "Brooklyn 
Church," as well as the few but loyal Episcopalians, 
who had set up their Ebenezer in John Middagh's 
barn, on the corner of Henry and Poplar streets, found 
a denominational rival in the little handful of stout- 
hearted " Independents," who erected a small place of 
worship on the ground now occupied by " St. Anne's 
Buildings," on Fulton street. In this year, also, were 
the beginnings of the " Brooklyn Fire Department." 

Brooklyn was recognized as a town under the State 
government March 7th, I'ZSS. 

That the people were in favor of the preservation of 
order and the enforcement of the law, is' evident from 
the fact that at a town meeting in April, 1794, it was 
" Resolved, that the Supervisors raise the sum of £10, 
13s., 6d., which money has been expended for the pur- 
pose of building a cage and stocks.'''' 

The " New," or Catharine street, ferry, was established 
in the summer of 1795 by William Furman and Theo- 
dosius Hunt. A bell " for the use of the town of 
Brooklyn" was purchased at a cost of £49, 4s., which 
sum was raised by subscription. It was hung in a small 
cupola on the top of Buckbee's hay scales, which stood 
on the southerly side of Fulton street, close by " Buck- 
bee's alley, now Poplar place, a crooked alley running 
from Poplar to Fulton street, between Henry and Hicks 

A theological school was established in the spring of 
1796, at Bedford, by the Rev. Dr. John Henry Living- 
ston of the Reformed Dutch Church. It had only a 
brief existence. 

view of Brooklyn in 1798 (as seen from the North). 

Rev. Jedediah Moore's " American Gazetteer," pub- 
lished in 1798, thus briefly disposes of Brooklyn : "A 
township in Kings County, N. Y., on the west end of 
Long Island, having 1,603 inhabitants, and 224 are 
electors, by the State census of 1796. There are a 
Presbyterian church, a Dutch Reformed church, a pow- 
der magazine, and some elegant houses, which lie 
chiefly on one street. East River, near a mile broad, 
separates the town from New York." 

On the 6th of June, 1799, the " Courier and New 
York and Long Island Advertiser," the second paper 
ever published on Long Island, was commenced at 
Brooklyn, by Thomas Kirk. It was a small, dingy 

sheet, purporting to be published " every Wednesday 
morning," and possessed little or nothing of interest to 
us of the present day. 

1800. In an old scrap-book of this date, in the pos- 
session of the family of General Jeremiah Johnson, is 
preserved what may be called the first written history 
of Brooklyn. It consists of newspaper slips, undoubt- 
edly cut from the columns of Thomas Kirk's paper, 
" The Long Island Courier," to which are added numer- 
ous manuscript corrections, notes, and even whole pages 
of new matter, in the well-known handwriting of Gen- 
eral Johnson, to whom it is probably not an error to 
attribute their authorship. That this careful arrange- 
ment and revision of these papers was made with a 
view to their republication in pamphlet form, is apparent 
from the fact that they are preceded by a title-page in 
Ms., "A Topographical View of the Township of 
Brooklyn,in Kings County, State of New Tor A,' (motto), 
Brooklyn: Printed by Thomas Kirk. 1800." The 
series consisted of about six papers, which form an 
interesting, though diffuse, pot-pourri of historical 
facts, speculations, etc., from which a few samples are 

" Kings County," says the author, " contains 4,495 inhabit- 
ants, including 621 electors ; 930 of these are free white males, 
of ten and upwards ; 700 free white males under that age ; 
1,449 free white females ; 1,432 slaves, and 46 free persons not 
enumerated. The inhabitants are chiefly of Dutch extrac- 
tion. Some are attached to their old prejudices ; but, within 
a few years past, liberality and a taste for the fine arts have 
made considerable progress. The slaves are treated well, but 
the opinion relative to their freedom is yet too much influ- 
enced by pecuniary motives. It would cer- 
tainly redound to the honor of humanity, 
could that blessing be effected here." 

The town of Brooklyn at this per- 
iod — and, indeed, until the incorporation 
of the village of Brooklyn — was divided, 
for ecclesiastical, school, and other pur- 
poses, into seven districts, retaining the 
same names which had descended from 
the "neighborhoods," or hamlets, of the 
earlier settlements, viz. : " The Ferry " 
(Jiet Veer) ; the " Red Hook (de Roede 
Seek) ; " Brooklyn " {Breuckelen) ; 
"Bedford" (Z?e«/or<); " Gowanus " {Goujanes or Gou- 
anes); " Cripplebush " {het Creupelbosch); and "the 
Wallabout" {de Waal-boght). 

After defining the boundaries of the town, and enum- 
erating these districts (See Stiles' History of Brooklyti, 
i, 381), he mentions : 

" Olympia," a tract of land which, he says, "was surveyed 
and laid out in streets as long ago as the year 1787, and then 
intended as a city; its progress has been arranged according 
to the plan, and begins to have the appearance of regularity. 
It lies to the east of Brooklyn Ferry, and is bounded by the 
Wallabout and the East River." 

This was evidently the Comfort and Joshua Sands 
estate; purchased by them, in 1784, from the Commis- 



sioners of Forfeiture — it having been the property of 
John Rapalje, the loyalist. John Jackson's Remsen 
estate was also included within the bounds of the pros- 
pective village. The author then proceeds to say that 

"The holders of this tract [i. e., Messrs. Sands and John 
Jackson — Ed.] appear to be desirous to encourage the under- 
taking, by their willingness to dispose of lots at a reasonable 
price. * * * This village, contemplatively a city, com- 
prehends at preseat an extent of land within the following 
boundaries, viz. : Beginning at two rocks called ' The Broth- 
ers,' situated in the East Biver, from those to Brooklyn 
Square [the neighborhood of the old Dutch Church], 
through James street to Main and Road streets, to the 
seat formerly the residence of the Rev. Mr. Johnson, now 
Red Hook road [corner of Fulton avenue and Red Hook lane], 
from thence across the Wallabout, then to the East River to 
the place of beginning. This tract of land is better situated 
than any other near New York for the counterpart of that 
city. It is certain that, on the southern side of Brooklyn 
Ferry ["the Heights." — Ed.] the hills are so high, and such 
astonishing exertion is necessary to remove them, that Brook- 
lyn Ferry can never extend any great ^distance upon that 
quarter, and all improvements must necessarily be made in 
Olympia. Add to this the want of disposition in the propri- 
etors of that soil to sell any part of it. And, moreover, Olym- 
pia and Brooklyn Ferry must always continue to increase in 
a ratio with New York, unless some exertion of their own is 
made. But as that city can never extend further southward, 
but is continually progressing a contrary way, it is evident, 
if the former position be true, that Olympia must receive the 
whole progress which otherwise would be given to Brooklyn 

"Olympia is extremely well calculated for a city; on a 
point of land which presents its front up the East River, sur- 
rounded almost with water, the conveniences are almost 
manifest. A considerable country in the rear affords the easy 
attainment of produce. A pure and salubrious atmosphere, 
excellent spring water, and good society, are among a host of 
other desirable advantages. As regards health in particular, 
it is situated on the natural soil— no noxious vapors, genera- 
ted by exhalations, from dock-logs, water, and filth sunk a 
• century under its foundations, are raised here. Sand and clay 
for building are in the village. Stone is brought from a short 
distance. Timber, lath and boards are to be had on the spot. 
In fact, almost every article for building is afforded here as 
cheap as in New York. Could the inhabitants once divest 
themselves of their dependence upon that city, and with 
unanimous consent resolve that their own village should 
prosper, there requires no supernatural agent to inform us of 
the consequence. 

"Want of good title has been alleged by some against 
building here [an aUusion to the Rapelje estate— Ed.] ; but it 
is ascertained, and from undoubted authority, that none was 
ever Clearer or less entangled, and tliat reports here circu- 
lated what truth is obliged to deny. 

"The i^rincipal streets of this village are sixty feet, but the 
oross-Sitreete are not so wide. They are not yet paved, though 
a vast number of pebbles may be had there. Latterly, it ap- 
pears to have had the appearance of a regular town. Edifices 
are erecting, aad other improvements constantly making. 
When we observe the elevated situations, the agreeable pros- 
pects, the salubrity of the atmosphere, and the contiguous- 
ness to New York, with many other interesting advantages, 
it may claim, perhaps, more consideration than any part 
of the township." 

The sagacity of the author is manifest from the fol- 
lowing (the italics are our own — Ed.) : 

" It has been suggested that a bridge should be constructed 
from this village across the East River to New York. This 
idea has been treated as chimerical, from the magnitude of 
the design ; but whoever takes it into their serious considera- 
tion, will find more weight in the practicability of the scheme 
than at first view is imagined. This would be the means of 
raising the value of the lands on the east side of the river. It 
has been observed that every objection to the building of this 
bridge could be refuted, and that it only wanted a combina- 
tion of opinion to favor the attempt. A plan has already 
been laid down on paper, and a gentleman of acknowledged 
abilities and good sense has observed that he would engage 
to erect it in two years' time." 

" It has also been observed that the Wallabout would form 
an excellent navy-yard. Should such a plan be carried into 
execution, it would considerably increase the importance of 
this place. As a retreat from New York in summer, Olympia 
would furnish many superior excellences over other places — 
such as its vicinity to that city, the opportunity of freighting 
and unloading vessels during the period of fever, the sale of 
goods to the yeomanry who are fearful of entering the city, 
etc. [Here a mutilation breaks the narrative.] * * * often 
the resort of the inhabitants of New York in their pedestrian 
excursions. This village has no peculiar privileges of its own. 
Joined with several townships, it supports two ministers." 

In speaking of manufactures, he says : " With respect to 
' Olympia ' and Brooklvn Ferry, which are the principal vil- 
lages in this township, they produce scarcely any thing of 
the manufacturing kind but what is useful in common life. 
There are eight grist-mills in this township, which grind by 
means of the tide in the East River. Some of these mills are 
employed to grind grain for exportation, others to supply the 
neighboring farmers. Cables, cordage, lines, and twine are 
spun and laid to considerable profit. A new patent floor-cloth 
manufactory is about to be introduced. * * * Brewing 
and distilling, with a capital, might be carried on to advan- 
tage. Nails are afllorded very cheap. Chair-making, too, 
answers extremely well. Besides these, there are all the dif- 
ferent mechanical trades peculiar to settlements of this kind." 

In regard to literature and education, he says : " There are 
three schools in the township — one at Bedford, one at Gow- 
anus, and the other at the Brooklyn Ferry. This last claims 
the preference, having been established a considerable length 
of time, under the superintendence of trustees. There are 
about sixty scholars, who are taught the common rudiments 
of education, with English grammar, geography, and astron- 
omy. Two preceptors have the immediate direction. A 
beautiful eminence to the east of Brooklyn Ferry will afford 
an eligible situation for an academy." Thomas Kirk's news- 
paper. The Courier, then in its first year, is favorably men- 
tioned ; and, it is stated, that there are "no libraries, or 
places for the sale of books in the town." " There is but one 
society, properly speaking, in this township, and that is the 
Masonic. This, which is the first and only Lodge in the 
county, was erected in 1798 in Olympia, at the corner of Main 
and James streets." 

A brief outline of some of the main points of early Brook- 
lyn history is given, and reference is made to two volunteer 
companies, " whose uniform is as handsome as their conduct 
is patriotic." A powder-house and arsenal are said to be 
" already established." In the Appendix to this compilation. 
General Johnson strongly advocates the establishment of a 
village corporation, concerning the advantages of which he 
discusses fully and eloquently; considering it "now proper 



time that a corporation for Olympia should commence its 
operations, and particular appropriations be made for exten- 
sive market-places, a square for an academy, another for a 
promenade, others for public buildings of different sorts, as 
churches, court-houses, alms-houses, etc. , and not to sleep on 
an ideal prospect." And, long before the venerable author 
was gathered to his fathers, he had seen the more than reali- 
zation of his "ideal prospect." 

The spirit of speculation, as will be seen from the 
above glowing account of " Olympia," had begun to 
agitate the minds of the Brooklynites, and it received 
no inconsiderable impulse, in 1801, from Mr. John 
Jackson's sale to the United States of forty acres of the 
Wallabout, including the old mill-pond, for the hand- 
some sum of $40,000. Shortly after this, a portion of 
the estate of Comfort Sands, contiguous to the lands of 
Mr. Jackson, was sold, and Jackson street was opened 
to Jackson Ferry. About this time, also, the suppres- 
sion of the rebellion in Ireland caused the emigration to 
this country of many persons who had been engaged in 
that unfortunate struggle, some of whom came to New 
York. A portion of these refugees, who had a little 
property, were induced to purchase lots on Jackson's 
land, at a spot to which — cleverly appealing to their 
patriotism — he had given the name of " Vinegar Hill," 
in honor of the scene of the last conflict of that mem- 
orable rebellion. 

On the 2d of April, 1801, the village of Brooklyn was 
incorporated as a fire district, by an act entitled "An 
Act to vest certain powers in the Freeholders and In- 
habitants of part of the Town of Brooklyn, in Kings 
County," etc., the 6th section of which is of much im- 
portance, inasmuch as it authenticated the copies of Old 
Road Records, then recently transferred from the 
County Clerk's oflice to the office of the Clerk of the 

Crime and vice seem to have made fresh and increas- 
ing inroads upon the primitive simplicity of this old 
Dutch town ; for, in 1805, the town took measures to 
determine the location and ascertain the expense of 
erecting a " cage, or watch-house ;" whether a rebuild- 
ing of the old one, or an additional one, is somewhat 
uncertain. At the same meeting, the foremen of the 
fire-engines were authorized to establish and regulate a 
" Guard, or Night- Watch within the Fire District, by 
and with the consent of the majority of the inhabitants." 

1806. In the columns of The Long Island Weekly 
Intelligencer, published by Robinson & Little, Book- 
sellers and Stationers, corner of Old Ferry and Front 
streets, October 9th, vol. i.. No. 15, are the advertise- 
ments of Thomas Langdon, dealer in boots and shoes ; 
Henry liewlet, general merchandise, near the Old 
Ferry ; John Cole, coach-maker ; Dr. Lowe " at the 
Rev. Mr. Lowe's, corner of Red Hook Road " (present 
corner of Fulton street and Red Hook Lane); and Wil- 
liam Cornwall, merchant tailor, corner of Front and 
Main streets, near the New Ferry. Five apprentices 
are wanted at Amos Cheney's Ship-yard ; William Mil- 

ward, Block and Pump Maker, is located " at the Yel- 
low Store, on Joshua Sands', Esq., wharf, between the 
Old and New Ferries ;" while Benjamin Hilton sells 
china, glass, and earthenware, " at New York prices," 
in Old Ferry street, in the house formerly occupied by 
Mr. Derick Amerman. Land and property is advertised 
by Henry Stanton, corner of Front and Main streets ; 
by Robert M. Malcolm, corner of Washington and 
Sands streets, and by Thomas Lalliet. Joel Bunce, 
Postmaster, advertises the address of 53 letters uncalled 
for in his office. 

In the issue of October 23d, is the advertisement of 
Augustine Eliott, " Taylor and Lady's Dress-Maker," in 
old Ferry street ; and five verses of original poetry, 
" after the manner of Burns," extolling the beauties of, 
and the splendid prospect to be obtained from, " Brook- 
lyn, or McKenzie's One Tree Hill." This hill was 
located on Pearl street, between York and Prospect 
streets. All around that portion of Brooklyn, north of 
Washington and west of Sands street, was a series of 
hills, some of which were covered with grass and had a 
few trees ; others were of sandy soil, with here and 
there a slight covering of grass, and with some button- 
wood trees, while others still were nothing but sand- 
hills. McKenzie's Hill, the most noted of these, was a 
fine green elevation, crowned with a single gigantic but- 
tonwood tree, and afforded a beautiful view of the city 
and harbor of New York. It was marked, as were many 
of the -surrounding hills, by the traces of intrenchments 
and fortifications thrown up by the British during their 
occupation of the Island ; and was finally levelled about 
1807-9, in order to fill in the wharves built out over the 
flats in the river, to the northwest of Main street. 
Another rather noted hill was located some distance 
farther west (bounded by Front, Adams, and Bridge 
streets, near the water-line of the East River), and was 
a barren, sandy eminence, on which every pebble or ' 
stone seemed to have been calcined by some extreme 
heat, while three or four feet below the surface were 
found regular layers of ashes, mingled with bits of char- 
coal, and vitrifled stones and sand. All of these hills 
have now disappeared — that known as " Fort Greene, 
or Washington Park," being the only one which 

In August, 1808, the town was one day startled by 
the explosion of Sands' Powder Mill, which was situ- 
ated in the vicinity of the present Jay and Tillary 
streets. Fortunately, it happened between twelve and 
one o'clock in the day, when the people were all at din- 
ner — consequently no lives were lost, although forty 
kegs of powder were lost. The recently erected stone 
church, belonging to St. Anne's Episcopal Society, was 
considerably damaged, its walls being somewhat weak- 
ened, and the windows badly broken. An adjoining 
ropewalk was also levelled to the ground. This year 
the sum of $1500 was appropriated by the town for the 
erection of a new "Poor-house." 



1809, March IVth. "The Brooklyn, Jamaica and 
Flatbush Turnpike Company " was incorporated. The 
Company, during the year, paved Main and Old Ferry 
streets in the village. 

In June of this year the Long Island Star was estab- 
lished by Thomas Kirk. The number for June 22d 
contains, among other advertisements, one by George 
Hamilton, who kept a select school " where students 
were taught to make their own pens." 

September 7th, John Gibbons announces that he has 
opened an Academy for both sexes, at the place lately 
occupied by Geo. Hamilton, where the various branches 
of education are " taught on unerring principles." Also 
"Mrs. Gibbons will instruct little Girls in Spelling, 
Reading, Sewing and Marking." An evening school 
for young men is proposed, and " N. B. Good Pronun- 

During the months of July, August and September, 
of this year, the yellow fever prevailed in Brooklyn, 
which gave rise to a long and wordy newspaper war 
between the physicians of the village, Drs. Osborn, 
Ball, and Wendell. On the 27th of September, DeWitt 
Clinton, Mayor of New York, issued a Proclamation, 
announcing the disappearance of the disease, and the 
resumption of the ordinary intercourse between that 
city and Brooklyn, which had been interdicted by his 
previous proclamation of 2d of August. Twenty-eight 
persons had died of the fever in Brooklyn, all of whom 
were under twenty-eight years of age. It was at first 
thought that the contagion was brought in the ship 
Concordia, Captain Coffin, on board of which vessel the 
first case and death occurred. But in the long and very 
able report of Dr. Rogers, the Health-officer of the 
Board of Health of New York, which was published in 

December, after the subsidence of the disease, the 
epidemic in Brooklyn was imputed to purely local 

Brooklyn, at this time, was well supplied with private 
schools. One Whitney kept school opposite the Post- 
office; there was also the Brooklyn Select Academy, 
taught by Mr. John Mabon, and having as trustees, 
Messrs. Joshua Sands, S. Sackett, and H. I. Feltus. 
Piatt Kennedy's scholars were advertised to hold an ex- 
hibition on Christmas Eve, at the Inn of Benjamin 
Smith, a large stone building on the east side of the 
road, opposite the old " Corporation House." 

The industrial interests of Brooklyn were at this time 
represented by I. Harmer's Floor-Cloth Manufactory; 
Chricton's Cotton-Good Manufactory, employing eight 
to ten looms, and three or four extensive Rope-walks; 
furnishing work to over one hundred persons. 

The Long Island Star, of February 14th, 1811, con- 
tains a petition to the Legislature for the establishment 
of a Bank in Brooklyn. The great inconvenience of 
crossing the ferry in bad weather, on days when notes 
fall due, is particularly dwelt on by the petitioners. 
There was, at this time, only one dry-goods store in 
town, which was kept by Abraham Remsen, on the cor- 
ner of Old Ferry (now Fulton) and Front streets; and 
the mails passed through Long Island only once a week. 
The publication of the Long Island Star was relinquished 
by Mr. Kirk, on June 1st, to Alden Spoon er. 

In July, 1811, the census of Long Island estimates 
the population of Brooklyn as being 4,402. 

1812, June 11. News was received in Brooklyn of 
the I^eclaration of War between the United States and 
Great Britain. (See Chapter VIII, of History of Kings 



(The Village as it appeared Seventy-Seven Years ago.) 

NOTHING of historical importance occurred in 
the town of Brooklyn during the year 1812, 
except a serious fire on the east side of Main 
street, near the Old Perry. Inadequate facili- 
ties for crossing the river prevented the early arrival of 
firemen from New York with their machines, and im- 
provements in this respect were strongly recommended. 
The subsequent introduction of team and steam-boats, 
upon both of the Brooklyn ferries, gave the much-needed 
facilities for succor from New York, and consequently 
largely diminished the risks to which Brooklyn had, 
hitherto, been exposed by fires. 

In 1813 an enterprise originated which ultimately re- 
sulted in the establishment of the first pubUc school. A 

number of charitable ladies of the village formed an or- 
ganization and established a school known as the Loisian 
Seminary, named after Lois, the grandmother of 
Timothy the Apostle. The object of the association 
was to teach poor children reading, writing, arithmetic, 
knitting, and sewing-, gratis. The teachers were twenty- 
four young ladies, members of the society, who attend- 
ed in rotation, two each week. One of the regulations 
of the seminary was as follows: 

" It will be necessary that the presiding Trustee ob- 
serve that the children attend punctually, no trifling 
excuse to be admitted, and that they are kept clean, 
and behave in a decent manner." 

This school continued for five years. Some of the 



teachers married, others tired of their duties, and finally 
a lady was engaged to teach at a salary. In ISlY Mr. 
Andrew Mercein had requested of the lady mana- 
gers that a teacher might be employed at a salary and 
the school be converted into a pubhc school, which 
could only be done under the then-existing laws by 
showing that the school was conducted by a teacher or 
teachers who had been drawing pay. This was agreed 
to, and Mr. Mercein and his associates in the enterprise 
then transferred the school — which had been held in 
the houses of the members of the society, without any 
permanent building — to a small framed house on the 
corner of Concord and Adams streets, which was subse- 
quently removed to make room for the present build- 
ing, occupied by Public School No. 1. 

The principal events of the year 1814 are spoken of 
elsewhere. They were the introduction of steam ferry- 
boats on the Brooklyn Ferry, and defensive measures 
adopted in view of the war then in progress. 

During the winter of 1815-16, small-pox prevailed to 
some extent in Brooklyn, and several deaths from the 
disease occurred. It is worthy of record that Drs. Ball 
and Wendell, by advertisement, offered their gratuitous 
services for the vaccination of such as desired. 

1816, January 6th, a public meeting was held for the 
organization of a public school. At this meeting An- 
drew Mercein, John Seaman and Robert Snow were 
chosen trustees. At a subsequent meeting measures 
were taken for the purchase of a site and the erection 
of a school-house. 

On the 8th of the same month a public meeting of the 
freeholders and inhabitants of the town of Brooklyn 
was held at the public house of Lawrence Brower, " to 
take into consideration the proposed application for an 
incorporation of Brooklyn." On the following day, 
Messrs. Thomas Everit, Alden Spooner, Joshua Sands, 
Rev. John Ireland, and John Doughty, who had been 
appointed a committee to draft the required petition 
and bill, met at the residence of Mr. Hez. B. Pierrepont, 
and proceeded to perform the important task assigned 
to them. 

April 12. The act incorporating the village ofJBrooJc- 
lyn passed the legislature of the State. 

That portion of the tovm of Brooklyn, thus set aside 
as a distinct government, had previously been known as 
the fire district, established in 1801, and was described 
as "beginning at the Public Landing south of Pierre- 
pont's Distillery, formerly the property of Philip Liv- 
ingston deceased, on the East River; thence running 
along the Public Road leading from said Landing, to 
its intersection with Red Hook Lane; thence along said 
Red Hook Lane to where it intersects the Jamaica 
Turnpike Road; thence a north-east course to the head 
of the Wallaboght Mill-pond; thence through the cen- 
tre of the Mill-pond to the East River; and thence down 
the East River to the place of beginning." 

Messrs. Andrew Mercein, John Garrison, John 

Doughty, John Seaman, and John Dean, were named, 
by the act, as the first trustees of the village, to remain 
in office until the first Monday in May, 1817, when an 
election was to be held by the people. 

On the 29th of April these gentlemen took the oath 
of office as trustees, and held their first meeting on the 
4th of May following. 

In March, 1816, a Sunday-school was "in operation 
in the village of Brooklyn," with more than seventy 
scholars. It was " under the management of four sup- 
erintendents, a standing committee of seven, and a num- 
ber of (volunteer) teachers, male and female." The 
design of the institution was deelared to be the combin- 
ing " of moral and religious instruction with ordinary 
school learning." The parents and guardians of the 
children who attended were requested to indicate what 
catechism they wished them to study, and the hearty 
co-operation of all the ladies and gentlemen in the vil- 
lage was asked for the school. It appears that the prin- 
cipal founders of this school were Andrew Mercein, 
Mobert Snovj, Joseph S. Harrison, John Murphy, and 
Joseph Herbert. Success followed the efforts of these 
benevolent and philanthropic men, and the " JBrooMyn 
Sunday-school Union Society " was soon afterward or- 

The school was at first held in Thomas Kirk's print- 
ing office, a long, narrow, two-story frame edifice, on 
the westerly side of Adams street, between High and 
Sands; but it was now removed to the school building 
of District School, No. 1, on the corner of Concord and 
Adams streets. As far as is known, this non-sectarian 
effort was continued till 1818, when the Episcopalians 
commenced a Sunday-school of their own, which, with 
temporary intermissions, has continued to the present 
time. The union effort seems to have declined ; but it was 
revived about 1812, and simultaneously other sectarian 
schools sprang up, all of which, as well as the union 
school, were prosperous. 

During the first year after the incorporation of the 
village a seal was adopted, and many ordinances were 
passed, of which space will not permit a record here. 

An effort was made to procure the passage of an act 
so amending the charter as to enable the trustees to fill 
all vacancies occurring in the board, and to restrict the 
right of suffrage to freeholders in votes for raising taxes. 
This was looked on by the people as an invasion of 
their rights, and so strong a remonstrance was sent to 
the legislature, that nothing more was heard of the pro- 
posed amendments. 

Brooklyn Seventy-Seven Years Ago.— Before 
tracing further the history of Brooklyn, it seems desir- 
able to present a brief sketch of the village as it appeared 
in 1816, and, with not much change, for about fifteen 
years thereafter. Should such a sketch fail to attract 
some people at the present, it is safe to predict that it 
will be read with increasing interest as time goes on. 

Brooklyn, as seen from the New York side of the 



river, during the first third of the present century, pre- 
sented features of simple rural beauty, sti-ongly in con- 
trast with its present imposing aspect. Around the 
" Old (now Fulton) FeiTy " there was a clustering of 
houses, taverns, stables and shanties, which had grown 
up since the earliest establishment of a ferry at that 
point, and which formed the nucleus of a considerable 
business activity. From the ferry-slip (with its horse- 
boat, its one steam-boat and its row-boat accommoda- 
tions, but with no such accommodations as the present 
ferry-house affords, and with no bell save the resonant 
throat of the ferryman), the old country road, the 
" king's highway " of the colonial and revolutionary 
periods, straggled crookedly upward and backward, out 
past the old Dutch church, out through Bedford Corn- 
ers, and away beyond Jamaica, even to Montauk Point; 
being, in fact, the great highway of travel of Long 
Island itself. As far as the junction of this old road 
(now Fulton street) with the new road (now Main 
street), which came up from the " New Ferry " (as it 
was even then called, although it had been established 
some twenty years), it was tolerably well lined with 
buildings of various shapes and sizes. Pert-looking 
Yankee frame edifices rudely intruded their angulari- 
ties among the hump-backed Dutch houses quaintly built 
of stone, or of small imported Holland bricks. Yet one 
and all wore such an unpretentious and neighborly 
look, under the brooding shadows of the noble trees, 
with which the village abounded, that it was plainly 
evident, even to the most casual observer, that no pre- 
monition of the future greatness, so soon to be thrust 
upon them, had as yet disturbed the minds of their 

Less than a quarter of a mile to the left of the " Old 
Ferry " was the " New Ferry " to Catherine street. New 
York; and the road (or present Main street) which led 
from it up the hill, till it met the " Old Ferry road " 
(now Fulton street), was beginning to show a respect- 
able number of frame buildings — all, however, of com- 
paratively recent origin. Beyond this ferry and street 
the land stretched northwardly (broken by McKenzie's, 
Vinegar, and other hills before mentioned) to the verge 
of the Wallabout bay, where John Jackson had a ship- 
yard, and eight or ten houses for workmen. Adjacent 
to this was the infant United States Navy Yard (estab- 
lished in 1801); while beyond, along the curving shore 
of the bay, were the farms of the Johnsons, Schencks, 
Remsens, Boerums, and others. 

On the right of the Old Ferry, and with an abrupt- 
ness which, even at this day, is scarce concealed by the 
streets and buildings covering it, rose the northernmost 
corner, or edge of that portion of the present city known 
as " The Heights," stretching southwardly to near the 
foot of the present Joralemon street. The face and 
brow of this noble bluff were covered with a beautiful 
growth of cedar and locust, while its base was constant- 
ly washed by the waves of the East river. From its 

summit the land stretched away in orchards, gardens 
and pasture, out to the old highway (Fulton street). 
The Indians named it in their expressive language 
"Ihpetonga," or "the high sandy bank." To the early 
villagers it was known as " Clover Hill," and its owners 
(at that time Messrs. Cary Ludlow, the Ilickses, Waring, 
Kimberly, Middagh, De Bevoises,' Pierrepont and Joi-- 
alemon) resided upon their respective farms in a state of 
semi-seclusion, almost prophetic of that social aristoc- 
racy which has since claimed " The Heights " as exclu- 
sively its own. From this elevated plateau the eye 
rested upon a panoramic scene of unsurpassed beauty ; 
the city of New York, with its glorious bay ; Staten 
Island, with the numerous lesser islands studding the 
bosom of the harbor ; the Jersey shore, with the Orange 
mountains in the background ; further to the southward 
was Red Hook with its old mills ; the scattered farm- 
houses nestled around the bay ; Yellow Hook, and the 
forest slopes of Greenwood. 

The Village. — In taking a view of the village as it 
then was, the portion along the old highway (now Ful- 
ton street), as far as the present City Hall, first claims 

At the " Old Ferry " landing, which was then situated 
much farther inland, and to the southward of the pres- 
ent lower ferry-slip, was a dock (Map a, 3), on one side 
of which were steps for the accommodation of the 
wherry, or row-boat passengers; while on the other, or 
upper side, the larger boats or scows landed their freight; 
and, after the steam-boat was placed on the ferry, it was 
known as the "steam-boat slip." 

Some fifty or sixty feet from the slip was a flag-staff, 
or liberty-pole, of which Burdet Stryker, the butcher, 
who occupied a stand in the neighboring market-build- 
ing, was the custodian. 

It is related by Col. De Voe, that when this liberty- 
pole became dangerous from decay, Mr. Stryker sought 
to raise funds, by subscription, for a new one. He ap- 
pealed to some of the " Society of Friends," who declined 
to subscribe because they were opposed to liberty-poles. 
He appealed to his old " boss," Thomas Everit, the 
Quaker, who at once told him that he was opposed to 
liberty-poles ; but, at the same time, he would give ten 
dollars to assist in taking down the old one. It is hardly 
necessary to add that he succeeded in raising the 
required amount. 

In the middle of the street, about fifty or sixty feet 
east of the flag-staff, stood the old market, a long, shab- 
by, wooden structure, the head of which was opposite 
Carll's stables, near Elizabeth street. It was slightly 
raised above the level of the street, had a rounding roof, 
and contained six stalls, or stands, one of which is re- 
membered to have been occupied by Burdet Stryker, 
another by John Doughty, another as a fish-stand, etc. 
The locality was a sort of rendezvous for all the butch- 
ers, of whom, from time immemorial, there had been a 
large number resident in Brooklyn. Many of them- had 



their slaughter-houses near by, and every morning came 
down to the ferry-stairs with their wheelbarrow-loads of 
nicely-dressed meats, which they trundled aboard the 
boats, barrows and all, and were ferried over to the city. 
The old market, also, was the great resort of the sport- 
ive blacks, who formed no inconsiderable portion of the 
population of Brooklyn, at that early day. They were 
much employed by the butchers and others, and were 
fat, sleek and happy fellows, generally on the best of 
terms with their masters and " all the world besides," 
and full to overflowing of the waggery and tricks for 
which the Dutch negroes have always been noted. At 
the market, also, these negroes celebrated their annual 
"Pinkster" holiday, which corresponded to their masters' 
" Paass " festival. The old building finally became so 
dilapidated as to be a nuisance, and was torn down one 
night, in 1814, by a party of young men and boys. It 
was a public institution, and the "market fees" were 
always collected by William Furman, one of the over- 
seers of the poor, and who occupied a large double 
frame house (Map a, 1), with a long, high piazza in front, 
which stood on the site of the present City Railroad 
Company's elegant edifice. The house then stood right 
in front of the ferry-stairs, which led down on the lower 
side of the slip ; and, in the basement nearest the water, 
he kept an oyster-house, where, for the charge of 
twelve-and-a-half cents, one could be furnished with 
as many fine roasted oysters as he could eat at a 

William Furman, or "Judge Furman" as he was called, 
was of a Newtown family ; came here soon after the Revolu- 
tion; was one of the founders of the New (or Catharine street) 
ferry ; first judge of tlie county, 1808-1823 ; a village trustee 
in 1817 ; several years a supervisor ; member of State leg- 
islature, 1827 ; a warm friend of Governor Clinton ; presi- 
dent of the Brooklyn Fire Ins. Co.; and, in many ways, 
identified with the interests of the village. He died in 1852, 
aged 86 years. He was the father of Gabriel Furman, the 
talented lawyer and historian of Brooklyn, who was born in 
the above-described house in January, 1800. 

Adjoining the western side of Purman's house, on 
the corner of the beach under the Heights (now Furman 
street), was a small shanty kept as a sort of opposition 
fish and oyster-house, by another Furman. 

Between Furman's house and the corner of the pres- 
ent Columbia street there had originally been, in the 
early colonial times, a cattle-yard or enclosure, wherein 
were confined the cattle brought down from the Island 
for sale in the New York markets, and which were often 
delayed, by stress of weather, from crossing the East 
river for days together. It is probable that this cattle- 
yard (represented in the view of the Brookland Ferry 
House, in 1745— See Chapter on Ferries) originally ex- 
tended to Doughty street, for there is evidence of there 
having been a public landing place at the foot of that 
street. On the site of this yard, adjoining to Furman's 
dweUing, there was, at the time spoken of, a two-story 
frame house, with dormer windows and a long front 

stoop, occupied by John Bedell as a " stage-house " and 
grocery. ISText to this (Map a, 5)wa8 a large brick sta- 
ble, with slate roof, said to be the best on the island. 
On the corner of the narrow lane, now called Elizabeth 
street, was a very old brick building (Map a, 8), of ante- 
revolutionary date, owned by John Carpenter and sub- 
sequently occupied by Daniel Mott as a tavern. Mott 
was burned out in January, 1814, by a great fire which 
involved some of his neighbors, between his place and 
the river, among whom were Thomas Everit and John 
Bedell. After this, for many years, the ground was oc- 
cupied by a temjDorary structure used as a grocery, until 
the erection (about 1 832) of the brick edifice known from 
that day to the present as " Carll's stables." 

Across the lane stood the old stone tavern (Map a, 9) 
to which Benjamin Smith removed after he was burned 
out of the " Corporation House," on the opposite side of 
the road (Fulton street), in 1812. It was a two-story 
stone edifice, of about fifty feet front, with its bar and 
sitting-room on the corner next the lane, and a sign, 
swinging before the door, proclaimed it to be " The 
Traveller's Inn. JBy Jienjamin Sniith." It was after- 
wards known as "Smith and Woods," and, at a later 
date still, was kept by Samuel Birdsall, the father of Mr. 
Thos. W. Birdsall, and was a noted stopping-place for 
the Quakers when they came to Brooklyn. At times, it 
was said, as many as a hundred and fifty horses 
munched their oats, stamped their feet and whisked 
away the flies, in the stables of the inn, and great was its 
fame among the " broad-brims." It was also the place 
of deposit for the New York newspapers, which were 
brought over in small boats, and left here for delivery to 
subscribers ; for, in that day, the post-ofiice confined its 
operations simply to the transmission of letters. Next 
above Smith's was James W. Burtis's feed-store (Map a, 
29); and a tavern (also Map a, 29) kept by Martin 
Boeruni, a son of an old citizen of Brooklyn, who owned 
a large farm near the Wallabout. Upon his father's 
death, Martin assumed charge of his patrimonial farm, 
and sold out his tavern-stand to John Hunter, a rough, 
jovial man, who (by virtue of having formerly been a 
member of the " Horse artillery " of the county) em- 
blazoned upon his sign the rude delineation of a 
mounted artilleryman, above the words "Hunter's 

Next to Hunter's, and about opposite to Front street, 
was Selah Smith's tavern (Map a, 30), a double frame 
building, erected in 1*780, and framed entirely of oak, 
even to the rafters. Furman''s Manuscripts record (in 
1824), that, "in digging the cellar of this house, a large 
rock was found, in endeavoring to sink which, it slipped, 
and one of the workmen fell under it, and there his 
bones remain to the present day;" which legend, of 
course, gives to that building and its present successor 
an indubitable right to have a ghost of its own. 

Along the easterly side of the tavern ran the alley 
leading to the stables in the rear, and the gateway at 



its entrance was spanned by a huge arch, formed out 
of a whale's jaw-bones, and painted blue. Selah Smith 
died in the early part of the year 1819, and the business 
was continued by his widow, Ann. Adjoining the 
other side of the alley was the ancient two-story brick 
building, with a very high stoop (Map a, 31), occupied 

was a tallow-chandler, in Brooklyn. In 1794 he was one 
of the eight firemen chosen by the citizens, at annual 
town meeting, to man the new fire-engine, the second one 
in the infant fire department of Brooklyn. He was iden- 
tified with the establishment of Methodism in Brooklyn, 
being one of the trustees of the newly incorporated Methodist 
church in Sands street. He was much interested in military 
matters, being captain of the village militia company, the 
" RepubUcan Rifies," which subsequently, 
during the war of 1812, volunteered, and 
performed a tour of duty at New Utrecht, 
with much credit. He was an ardent poli- 
tician of the Jeffersonian school, and a 
member of the celebrated " Tammany 
Society, or Columbian order," being one of 
the "WaUabout committee," in 1808, to 
make arrangements for the sepulture of the 
martyrs of the prison-ships, at the WaUa- 
bout. Subsequently, he left the democratic 
ranks and espoused the cause of De Witt 
Clinton, with whom he was on terms of con- 
siderable intimacy. He had a peculiar 
aversion to the practice of "splitting tick- 
ets," against which he was wont to inveigh 
with great warmth, insisting, in his sput- 
tering Dutch way, that folks " should take 
de tail, mit de hide." Though eccentric, 
he was noted for his philanthropy. On the 
several occasions when Brooklyn was visited 
by the yellow fever, and small-pox, he 
distinguished himself by his fearless, patient 
and thorough devotion to the sick. Wlien 
friends and family fied from the touch of 
the pestilence, then Burdet Stryker ap- 
peared at the bed-side of the sufferer, and, 
regardless of color, social position, and 
condition, he nursed them tenderly as if 
they had been his own " kith and kin;" 
and, if needs be, as frequently happened, 
he performed the last sad oifices and buried 
them with his own hands. He died in 

On the opposite or northerly side of 
Fulton street, between the river and Ei'ont 
street, was the ferry -tavern, or " Cor- 
poration House," the nearest building 
to the river. As late as the close of 
the revolutionary period, the high-water 
mark of the East river, north of the 
ferry, extended nearly to the westerly 
line of Front street. Between the Cor- 
poration House and the ferry-stairs. 
Map of the Old Ferhy District of the Tillage in 1816. during the revolutionary period, there 

The dotted lines indicate old roads, lots and estates. FiG. 1, the Ludlow Estate; FiG. 2, ° , ., t ^ ^i -,, 

the Hicks Estate ; Fio. 3, the Middagh Estate. The smaller figures are alluded to in the text, -y^ras a frame building, together With a 

barn for stabling, both of which were enclosed within 
the tavern-yard. After the close of the war, Capt. 

as a residence by Buedbt Stetkbe, the father of ex- 
Mayor F. B. Stryker, tallow chandler and butcher, 
his shop being in the basement. 

He was a native of New York City ; born in 1769 ; served 
his apprenticeship with that good old Quaker butcher, 
Thomas Everit, Jr., near the Old Ferry, Brooklyn ; and, on 
arriving of age, set up for himself in the village, where he 
continued in business during his life-time. His slaughter- 
house was, at first, in Doughty street, and he had a stand 
(No. 60) in the.old Fly Market, New York ; afterwards he 

Adolph Waldron, the former occupant, returned from 
the exile to which his political principles had forced 
him, and resumed his ferry and tavern leases, which 
he carried on for some years thereafter; being succeed- 
ed, in 1789, by Capt. Henry Dawson, one of the three 
new ferrymen that year appointed by the corporation 
of New York. 



The tavern was next found in the hands of Capt. 
Benjamin Smith, who was burned out, as before stated, 
in 1812 ; but in 1816, the block between the ferry and 
Front street had been much extended by filling in, and 
its appearance totally changed by the erection of a line 
of buildings, mostly occupied by stores, taverns and 

At the ferry-slip, upon the site of the " ladies' sitting- 
room " in the present ferry-house, was a small shanty 
(Map A, 4) built and occupied by Daniel Wright, as an 
oyster-saloon, his oysters being conveniently kept fresh 
in the water which flowed beneath. To the north, or 
left of this shanty, the original beach appeared; while 
on the corner now occupied by Marston & Son's ex- 
tensive coal-yard (Map a, 50), was originally Richard 
Mott's livery and tavern, afterwards kept successively 
by Townsend & Cox, Joel Conklin, and Daniel Wright, 
and it was a general stopping-place for the habitues of 
the ferry. Opposite, on the easterly side of Water 
street, and on land owned by the corporation of New 
York, was a block of four buildings, all under one roof, 
and fronting on Pulton street. The corner one (Map 
A, 19), late "The Franklin House," was originally a 
tavern kept by Capt. King, and afterwards by Mr. 
Barnum, subsequently the proprietor of the widely 
known and popular "Barnum's Hotel," in the city of 
Baltimore. He was succeeded by Abiather Young, who 
kept here " The Steamboat Hotel," and he, in turn, was 
followed by G-erardus C. Langdon. In the upper part 
of the hotel was a large ball-room, where entertain- 
ments were given, and where many an old Brooklynite 
learned to " shake the light fantastic toe " under the 
able instruction of Mr. Whale, dancing-master. In this 
room, also, Elias Hicks, the celebrated Quaker preacher, 
frequently held forth to large audiences, of all denomi- 
nations, who were always attracted to his preaching. 

Next above " Gerardy" Langdon's was Coe S. Down- 
ing's tavern (Map a, 20) and stage-house, upon the 
stoop of which, at almost every hour of the day, mine 
host could be seen, comfortably seated in a chair adapted 
to his especial use; for he was a Daniel Lambert of a 
man, to whom quiescence was far easier than locomo- 
tion. But he was vivacious, intelligent and shrewd; a 
democrat, and the leading politician of that party in the 
county; had served acceptably as supervisor, as judge of 
the municipal court, and in the Legislature. Then (Map 
A, 21) the liquor and grocery-store of old Mr. Evert 
Barkeloo; and, as a modest little sign over the door an- 
nounced, the " Office of the Trustees of the Town of 
Brooklyn," of which body Mr. B. was clerk. Next 
door (Map a, 22) was Thomas Burroughs', the harness 
maker; and, next to him, was Samuel Carman's tavern 
(Map A, 23). Next him was the shop of Samuel Penny 
(Map A, 24), whose sign of " merchant harher" burlesqued 
that of his next-door neighbor, Peter Prest (Map a, 25), 
the "merchant tailor." On Penny's place "Sheriff'' 
John T. Bergen afterwards built and kept a grocery. 

store. Adjoining Prest's was the wholesale grocery 
(Map A, 26) of Messrs. J. & S. Schenck, occupying the 
site of the old " Corporation (or Perry) House." 

The angling position of the " Corporation House" left, 
on the westerly corner of the present Front and Pulton 
streets, a " gore" between it and the stone mansion of 
John Rapalje. On this vacant space was subsequently 
erected an engine-house, for the accommodation of the 
first fire-engine introduced into the town. The town's 
fire-bell was swung upon the roof of the adjoining Ra- 
palje house (Map a, 28), then occupied by Mr. Abraham 
Rem^en, who, in return for the accommodation, was 
granted all the privileges and immunities belonging to 
the firemen; a courtesy which was no more than just, 
inasmuch as tradition says that he was the only man in 
the place who was willing to accept the risk of having 
his slumbers disturbed by the clanging of the bell over 
his head. The Rapalje house passed into the hands of 
Mr. Abraham Remsen, above mentioned, who demol- 
ished it and used a portion of the stone in the erection 
upon the same site of a brick and stone store and dwell- 
ing, where he kept dry-goods and groceries. After his 
removal to Newtown, L. I., this brick building gave 
place to that occupied for many years (until May, 1861) 
by the Long Island Insurance Company, and at present 
by that of the Long Island Safe Deposit Company. 

Recrossing to the southerly side of tJie Old Road, 
from opposite Front street to Middagh street, we 
come, next above Burdet Stryker's, to some lots owned 
by the French church {^Fglise du Sainte Esprit) 
of New York, on which were two or three small frame 
buildings. One of these (Map a, 32), adjoining Stryker's, 
was the residence of Henry Dawson, Jr., a ferryman, 
who kept one of the " sixpenny-boats," as the row-boats 
were called, from the amount charged for ferriage; then 
(Map A, 33) the residence of John Simonson, a well- 
known butcher; then (Map a, 34) a house occupied by 
the Misses Van Cleef, sisters of old Rulof Van Cleef, 
the ferryman. They were market-women, and acquired 
a comfortable property. Then (Map a, 35) was the 
shoe-shop of Isaac Van Nostrand, who used to say that 
he " could fit a man's foot, but he could not fit his eye;" 
then (Map a, 37) John Rusher, tin and wooden-ware; 
and, on the corner of Hicks street, the low one-and-a- 
half -story store of D. Pell, grocer, afterwards, in 1831, 
fitted up as a drug-store for Dr. James W. Smith, by 
his village friends. Across the then narrow mouth of 
Hicks street (Map a, 38, and Pig. 5, Map of Brookland 
Perry) was an ancient, roomy, low-roofed house of stone, 
roughly plastered over and shaded by two immense wil- 
low-trees. This was the Hicks mansion, in which resided 
the brothers John M. and Jacob M. Hicks, who had inher- 
ited, through their mother, a fine portion of the original 
Middagh estate. Exempted, by the possession of ample 
means, from the necessity of engaging in business or 
active labor, they passed their lives in a quiet, leisurely 
manner, which gained for them, from their less f ortu- 



nate neighbors, the appellation (distinguishing them 
from others of the same name in the village) of "the 
gentlemen Hicks." John M. (known as "Milk" Hicks, 
from the fact that he sold milk) resided in the small 
frame house, still standing, on the south-west corner of 
Hicks and Doughty streets. Jacob M. (generally called 
" Spitter" Hicks, from the habit he had of constantly 
expectorating) resided in the old mansion above referred 
to, which was levelled when Hicks street was finally 
opened to Fulton street. The Hicks estate (designated 
by large tig. 5, on Map a) comprised most of " Clover 
Hill," as the Heights were then called. 

Some years before the incorporation of the village, 
and in consequence of a dispute between the Hickses and 
their neighbor Aert Middagh as to the boundary line 
between their respective properties, the two estates 
were surveyed by Mr. Jeremiah Lott, of Flatbush, then 
the leading, if not the only, surveyor in Kings County. 
He surveyed and plotted the two estates in blocks 200 
feet square and " two feet thrown in for good measure " 
to each block. When the village of Brooklyn was incor- 
porated, in 1816, Mr. Lott, who was employed to prepare 
a map of the same, proposed to carry out his survey on 
the same scale as that of his previous plotting of these 
two estates. Mr. Hezekiah B. Pierrepont, whose large 
property on the Heights was also included within the 
limits of the proposed survey, wished to prevent this 
wasteful plan, and to secure one with wider streets 
(they were only 40 feet wide) and larger blocks. He 
therefore employed, at his own expense, a competent 
Englishman, Thomas Poppleton by name, who was a 
city surveyor of New York, to make a plan for laying 
out the Heights. Poppleton surveyed all the village, 
from Fulton street to Jerolemon's lane, and made a 
map, still in existence, upon which all the streets and 
buildings, wharves, etc., which then existed, were laid 
down with great accuracy. On this map he laid out 
all the ground south of the Hicks and Middagh estates 
at Clark street, in blocks 400 and 500 feet long, with 
streets 50 and 60 feet wide; and this plan, fortunately 
for Brooklyn, was adopted for that part of the village 
south of Clark street. At first, the Hickses poohed at 
what they considered Mr. Pierrepont's visionary plans; 
but when, in due course of time, they saw the superior 
class of purchasers which his property secured, and the 
many advantages it presented, they appreciated his fore- 
sight, and were candid enough to say so. Moreover, 
they abandoned the old stone-house, which they had so 
long occupied, and, moving up Hicks street near to 
Clark, built there handsome houses for themselves, on 
the line of their old estate, and where they could enjoy 
the pleasanter surroundings due to their Yankee neigh- 
bor's broader streets, etc. 

""radition says that the whole of this hill between 
Poplar, Hicks, Furman and Orange streets, was used 
during the Kevolutionary war as a burying-ground for 
British soldiers and sailors, and was thickly covered 

with graves, which were all levelled off when the 
Hickses took possession at the close of the war. 

Beyond the Hicks mansion and garden were the 
places of Mrs. Thomas, who kept green-groceries, can- 
dy and yeast, and was succeeded in the same business 
by Mrs. Flowers; of John Cole, carriage-maker; of Gil- 
bert Reid, saddler; of John McKenney, coach-maker 
(afterwards occupied by John Gildersleeve, in the same 
business); then Mrs. Johnson's fruit and candy-shop; 
John Bergen's shoe-shop, subsequently Abraham Van 
Nostrand's; and lastly," Buckbee's Alley," now "Poplar 
Place;" and in front of it was the public hay -scales, upon 
which farmers, coming to the ferry to sell their hay, 
could drive their loads for weighing, and upon the top 
of which, at one time, hung the town's fire-bell. Next 
was the house of Ogilvie, the cooper (Map a, 41), and 
Stephen S. Yoris', formerly John Middagh's, hat-store 
(Map A, 42). On the corner of the present Henry and 
Fulton streets stood the old Middagh mansion, at this 
time occupied by Aert Middagh, the hatter. It was an 
ancient two-story frame building, standing crosswise to 
the road; and, when Fulton street was widened, was 
moved back to the line of the street; and, about 1840, 
was raised up by Mr. T. W. Peck, who placed three 
stores under it. It was partly destroyed by fire in 1850. 

In the rear of the mansion, on present corner of Hen- 
ry and Poplar streets, was the Middagh barn (No. 7, 
Map of Brookland Ferry, page 95), where, for a time, 
the Episcopalians of Brooklyn held their meetings. It 
was occupied for a while by Elizur Tompkins, and then 

Middagh House and Barn. 

by Mr. D. S. Quimby, who subsequently built a brick 
building upon this corner, having carried on the stove 
and range business here for nearly thirty years. 

The accompanying view of the old mansion and barn, 
as they appeared about 1843 or '44, is from a painting 
by the late James W. Peck, Jr., son of James W. Peck, 
the well-known hatter, who, for so many years, has oc- 
cupied the opposite corner, 98 Fulton street, where his 
sons still continue the business. The old pump, seen in 
the picture, was removed, and the well filled up, during 
the summer of 1868. 



On the easterly corner of Henry and Fulton streets 
was a frame house (May a, 44) occupied by the widow 
of Dirck Amerman, the ferryman, who died during the 
yellow fever season of 1809; and adjoining, a similar 
building, owned by sheriff Wyckoff, and in which Judge 
Dikeman first "put out his shingles" as a lawyer; 
shortly thereafter succeeding old Mr. Barkeloo, as clerk 
to the trustees of the village. 

Between this and Middagh street was leased proper- 
ty, belonging to the Middagh estate, and occupied by 
some small frame tenements; only one of which chal- 
lenged attention, a neat, genteel little house, standing 
back from the road, about fifty feet westerly of Mid- 
dagh street. Here lived Mr. James Harper, the 
grandfather of the well-known publishers, " Harper 
Brothers." The building was built by Mr. Thomas 
Kirk for his printing-office, and was occupied as such, 
after his failure, by Mr. George L. Bii-ch, editor of the 
Patriot. On the corner of Middagh and Fulton streets 
stood the little dwelling of St. Clair, the stocking-weav- 
er, said to be the first to introduce into the United 
States the knitting of stockings by machinery. 

Northerly side of the Old Road (Fulton street), from 
Front street to Sands. 

On the north-east corner of Front street and the Old 
Road, site of present building of the Brooklyn Union 
and Argus Office (Map a .39), was the large and very 
old frame building, originally Kirk & Mercein's print- 
ing-office, prior to their removal to New York, about 
1813 or '14. It was next occupied as a hardware store 
by Thomas W. Birdsall and Joel Bunce; and its por- 
trait at this period has been faithfully preserved (No.l) 
in Guy's "Snow Scene of Brooklyn, in 1820."* It was, 
also, for many years the post-office — Mr. Bunce, and 
after him, in 1819, Mr. Birdsall, being post-master. At 
a later period it became the property of the Couven- 
hoven family of New Lotts; was occupied, for several 

*Guy'9 "Snow Scene" representing the most important and com- 
pact portion of Brooklyn as it was from 1815-1820, will forever be 
invaluable as exhibiting the architectural character of the village at 
that period, and, in some degree, for half a century previous. It was 
taken from a second-story window of the artist's residence, the mid- 
dle one (present No. 11 Front street) of the three Fisher houses. In 
order to properly understand this picture (a reduced copy of 
which is herewith presented) the modern observer should place him- 
self near the corner of Front and Dock streets, and look up James 
street on the opposite side. He will then look along Front street, 
on his left, as far as the eye can reach, to Main street, indicated by 
horses and teams passing up from the Main Street Ferry ; and, on his 
right, to Fulton street, which is indicated by the horse and sleigh 
passing down to the Old or Fulton Ferry. A confusion of ideas is 
generally produced in the mind of the modern observer by mistaking 
the rears of the old buildings' directly in the front of the picture, for 
their fronts. But it should be remembered that the fronts, which are 
on Fulton street, are invisible. Tracing, however, the line of roofs, 
and rears by the aid of the Jteu which we have appended to this pic- 
ture, the reader will be able to follow Fulton street up as far as Sands 
street. The high grounds on the right of the picture have been lev- 
eled and streets graded, so that nothing of their original conforma- 
tion is now visible. As to the likenesses introduced, most of them are 
very striking, and the accuracy with which their faces are painted 
(the small size of the figures considered) is wonderful ; one of the most 
striking productions in it being that of Mr. Patchen, the butcher, who 
Is crossing Front street with a fore-quarter of mutton in one hand 
and a basket in the other. 

years, by Sylvanus B. Stillwell's tailor-shop, and, about 
1830, was supplanted by brick buildings erected by the 
Brooklyn Fire Insurance Company. 

First above Birdsall's corner was the residence of 
Abiel Titus (Map a, 45), a small frame dwelling, with 
a narrow front on Fulton street, and not shown in 
Guy's picture. Titus is represented in that picture as 
feeding his chickens in the gateway of the yard between 
his house and his bam and slaughter-house. 

In 1822 Wm. J. Dodge and Nathaniel F. "Waring, 
Esqs., leased a lot, 18 x 20 feet, on the site of this yard, 
at a ground-rent of $80 — which, in those days, was con- 
sidered an extravagant figure — and on which they erec- 
ted a small brick building, the first ever put up on this 
side of Front street between Fulton and James. Here 
Mr. Waring opened his law-office. Subsequently, a 
building called " The Mechanics' Exchange " was put 
up, fronting the old pump seen in Guy's picture, and 
this, somewhat remodeled, was occupied by the Brook- 
lyn Union office, previous to the completion of its new 
edifice on the corner of Fulton street. 

Next to Titus' was a large one-and-a-half-story 
house (No. 2, Guy's picture) built of small yellow 
bricks, and possessing the indubitable appearance of 
very great antiquity. From all the data obtainable 
it appears probable that the old building was the 
original John Rajialje homestead. It is also interest- 
ing as having been the scene of occasional religious 
services of the Episcopal order during the occupation 
of Brooklyn by the British. 

In one side of this ancient house was Ansel Titus' 
wheelwright-shop; and, in the other, Mrs. Eagles' candy- 
shop. This somewhat remarkable female rejoiced in the 
sobriquet of " The American Heroine," from a current 
tradition that she had once worn a uniform, and seen 
service in the Revolutionary war. She was a little, 
squat, "snapping-eyed" woman; always wore a red-and- 
white plaid turban; and, to the great delectation of the 
village, " bossed it " most tyranically over her husband 
Jacob, a tall, lank, easy-going man, who called himself 
a grocer. She was succeeded, after a while, by Mrs. 
Burnet (wife of Martin Burnet, wheelwright), whose 
portrait is preserved in Guy's picture (Fig. 26), and who, 
in addition to candies, kept that sine qua non of every 
civilized community, " a thread-and-needle store." 

Adjoining this old house was a shed — previously 
a dwelling — then Edward Cooper's blacksmith-shop, 
(No. 3, Guy's picture). Next, George Fricke's carriage- 
shop (No. 4, Guy's picture); then, directly opposite 
Hicks street, was a small brick building (Guy's picture. 
No. 5), at one time the residence of Diana Rapalje. 
This lady was the daughter of Garret Rapalje and a 
descendant of the first white female child born in New 
Netherland. In early life a favorite in the presidential 
circles at Washington, she was, in her later days (we 
will not say decline, for her bearing was erect and firm 
to the last), a stately exhibitor of the fashions of '76; 



Key to GtUY's Brooklyn Snow Scene 

Dwelling and store of Thos. W. Birdsall. 12. 

Rouae of Abiel Titus. 13. 

Edward Coope's blaclismitii-shop. 14. 

Geo. Friclce's carriage-shop. 15. 

JSiaoa Kapelje's liouse. 16. 

Mrs. Middagh's tiouse. 17. 

St. Ann's Church, corner of Sands and Wash- 18. 

ington streets. 19. 

Residence of Edward Coope. 20. 

Abiel Titus' barn and slaughter-house. 21. 

Benjamin's Meeker's house and shop. 32. 

Mrs. Chester's " Coffee Room." 23. 

Robert Cunningham's. 3i. 

Jacob Hicks' wood-yard, corner Main street. 26. 

.Joshua Sands' residence. 27. 

Augustus G-raham's residence, cor. Dock St. 28. 

Burdet Stryker's house and butcher-shop. 29. 

Selah Smith's tavern. 30. 

Morrison's, on the Heights. 31. 

Dr. Ball's house, opposite Morrison's. 32. 

Augustus G-raham, conversing with 33. 

Joshua Sands. 34. 

Mrs. Harmer and daughters. 35. 
Mrs. Guy (the artist's wife). 

Jacob Patchen. 

Mrs. Burnett. 

Benjamin Meeker, talking with 

Judge John Garrison. 

Thos. W. Birdsall. 

Jacob Hicks. 

Abiel Titus. 

Mrs. Gilbert Titus. 

Abiel Titus' negro-servant "Jeff." 

James (son of Abiel) Titus, on horseback. 

Samuel Foster (negro). 

Guy's Brooklyn Snow Scene, 1820. 



and, as was natural, from her earlier associations, con- 
siderable of a politician in her peculiar way. Her er- 
ratic doings, from middle age to the close of life, indi- 
cated that moderate form of insanity which is termed 
eccentricity; and which, in her case, manifested itself 
in many absurd, amusing, and (to those concerned in 
litigation to her) troublesome forms. It was said that 
she had loved and had been disappointed ; and that, from 
that time, pride and self-reliance drove her to seclusion 
and made her disrespectful of the customs and usages 
of society, in many minor points. Yet, in certain mat- 
ters of etiquette, no queen could be more haughty. (See 
Stiles' History of BruoliJi/n, pages 61 to 63). 

She was twice married after the age of fifty-seven, 
and she died in her eighty-second year. Her house was 
afterwards purchased by Col. Alden Spooner, who oc- 
cupied it as a residence and as the printing-office of the 
Star. It is said that Talleyrand, the eminent French 
diplomatist, resided in one of the three buildings opposite 
Hicks street for a time during his stay in America. 

Next above Diana Rapalje's house stood an old yellow 
framed-dwelling, its stoop furnished with seats on each 
side of the front door. This was the residence of John 
Doughty, who was long known as a faithful and 
honest public officer, and most excellent man. The 
authorities, in consideration of his great public worth, 
attached his name to one of the streets in this place. 

He received a liberal education, and began business with 
his father in the Fly Market, about the period of tbe Revolu- 
tion. In 1785 he was elected one of the seven members of 
Brooklyn's first fire-company, and served eight years. In 
1790 he was one of the three assessors for the town, and 
held the office three years in succession. In 1796 he was 
made town-clerk, which office he held for the space of 
thirty-four consecutive years, and gave general satisfaction. 
On the 4th of March, 1797, he manumitted and set free his 
negro-man, Caesar Foster, aged about 28 years, the first re- 
corded act of manumission; from which dated the move- 
ment of practical emancipation which resulted (by about the 
year 1825) in the removal of the entire institution of slavery 
from the town of Brooklyn. As town-clerk he witnessed 
and recorded more manumissions from slavery than any 
other person in the town; "and, in fact, the duties of his 
office about this period required a greater portion of his 
time," as the " act for the judicial abolition of slavery" was 
passed in the month of March, 1799, after which ume all the 
births and names of the children of sJaves were ordered to be 
recorded in the books of the town-clerk. The various duties 
imposed upon Doughty continued to increase very fast; and, 
as the public duties could not be neglected, it occasionally 
became quite onerous to him, as his daily business at the 
market called him before daylight and usually ended at 
noon ; then the crossing of the ferry, followed with a hasty 
meal, when official or other duties began, which sometimes 
kept him constantly employed, even unto the midnight hour. 
Four hours duty, from ten to two, did not then, as now, con- 
stitute an official day's work ; but the business daily pre- 
senting itself was daily attended to ; and Doughty performed 
all the required services satisfactorily. In 1813, and 1819, 
he was overseer of the highway. In 1812 he was a " fire- 
engineer," also clerk and treasurer of the fire-department ; 
and was chosen the first incumbent of the office of chief -engi- 

neer in 1816, which he resigned the next year. 1821 to 1823, 
he again occupied the position ; and, when the department 
was incorporated, he was unanimously chosen president. 
In 1801 he was one of the school-committee for "the Ferry 
district," and held the office several years, becoming clerk of 
District School No. 1, upon its organization in 1816. In 
that year the village of Brooklyn was incorporated ; and 
Mr. Doughty was among the trustees named in the bill. 
From 1819, until 1829, he was a trustee, a portion of the 
time as presiding officer. In 1830 he was "collector of the 
village." In fact, it may be said tliat through a long and 
well-spent life, Doughty held nearly all the various positions 
of a public and private character that belonged to the town 
and village. One of his sons, John S. Doughty, was for many 
years treasurer of the village and city, and at the time of his 
death was cashier of the Atlantic Bank of Brooklyn. 

A vacant lot intervened; then came two brick build- 
ings erected by Wm. Van Nostrand, brother of Mrs. 
John Middagh; then, after another va,cant lot, Mrs. 
Middagh's house, a two-story framed structure with a 
double-pitched roof (No. 6, in Guy's picture). 

Next on the same side of Fulton street, where Market 
street now enters it, came a quaint and ancient oak- 
framed, scallop-shingled, frame house, standing with its 
gable-end to the street and shadowed by two large and 
venerable locust-trees. Tradition, probably, does not 
err in attributing its erection to Rem Jansen van der 
Beeck, the ancestor of the Remsen family and an early 
settler here, where he married, in 1642, a daughter of 
Jan Joris de Rapalje. This old house, however, was 
destined to acquire an additional and peculiar interest 
in connection with the history of the village and city 
which subsequently grew up around it. As the resi- 
dence of Jacob Patchen, "the last of the leather- 
breeches," it was the scene of a memorable conflict 
between individual obstinacy and old-fogyism, on the 
one part, and the imperative necessities of public con- 
venience and improvement on the other, with the usual 
result in favor of the latter. 

The " Patchen difficulties," which during so many 
years alternately annoyed and diverted the public of 
Brooklyn, form an amusing episode which cannot, for 
want of space, be given here. They were not termi- 
nated till after Mr. Patohen's death. 

The following description of this eccentric man was 
by one who knew him intimately: 

"His dress was seldom varied or replaced; each 
article — a part of which he made himself — always bore 
the same appearance. The round-crowned felt-hat, 
with a broad brim rolled up all around, sat firmly down 
upon' his head, much lower behind than before; and this 
at times was ornamented with a well-smoked pipe, 
secured under the band. Then he presented the short 
kersey coat, cut in a sort of semi-quaker style, covered 
with metal buttons the size of a Spanish dollar; a single- 
breasted waistcoat, buttoned up to the throat, contain- 
ing two pockets large enough to shelter his doubled 
hands, clutching and guarding their sterling contents, 
the sinews of his business. ' Glancing downward, your 



eyes met his stoutly-formed nether limbs, encased 
with ancient buckskin, 
remarkable for its high 
polish, by an adhesive 
grease and other mat- 
ter, which had rendered 
it waterproof ; while, 
below it, appeared 
stockings, usually gray 
in color, and stout in 
texture ; and Patchen 
fastened them below 
the knee by the com- 
pression of the ties of 
those famous leather 
breeches. A broad and 
thick pair of cow-skin 
shoes, fastened on the 
top with large steel 
buckles, completed his 
attire.'' Aside from 
his eccentricities, Mr. Patchen had the reputation of 
being a conscientiously honest man. 

A little beyond Patchen's was the crockery and earth- 
enware store of Mrs. Coope (mother of David Coope). 
Above her were the stores of old Joseph Fox ; Wilson 
(baker) ; Wynant Bennet (shoes) ; Mrs. Earles (thread 
and needles); and, on the corner formed by the junction 
of Old and New I'erry roads, a confectionery-store 
which often changed owners. Crossing the head of 

Old Ferry-Road, between Prospect and Sands. 

Main and Prospect streets, we came to a block (a view 
given above), between the latter street and Sands street. 
On the corner was the residence of Theodorius Hunt, 
one of the proprietors of the New (Catherine street) 
Ferry. In a small building adjoining a man Lippincott 
kept a grocery. The next, a high-stooped, double- 
pitched, dormer- windowed house, was the bakery of 
William Philip, the baker, par excellence, of the village. 

He was the father of Frederick A. Philip, the artist ; Wil- 
liam H. Philip, the sculptor ; Dr. John C. Philip ; Eev. Joseph 
D. Philip ; and five other childi-en, all of whom have been 
honorably identified with Brooklyn interests. 

Next was the shop of Peter Prest, who had moved 
up from his old shop. In the rear part of the same 

house was a small dry-goods and thread-and-needle 
store, kept by Mrs. Williams, an Englishwoman. It 
was, par excellence, the gossip-place for the Brooklyn 
village dames of that day; Mrs. Williams' repertoire 
being constantly replenished with the most diverting 
tit-bits of scandal, which were here retailed to every 
customer or caller — and to each in strict confidence. 

Adjoining, was the residence of Cyrus Bill, the father 
of Chas. E. Bill. The old gentleman kept a school and 
a dry-goods store, the latter being attended by his 
daughter (who subsequently married George Hicks), 
and his son Charles. Mr. Bill's school, which was 
opened in November, 1818, was the successor of one 
kept by a Mr. D. De Vinne. 

On the corner of Sands street was Drs. Ball and 
Wendell's office. These were prominent and highly 
respectable practitioners in Brooklyn. Dr. Wendell 
was of the family of that name in Albany. 

Westerly side of the Old Road (Fidton street) from 
Middagh to the present Montague street. 

On the southerly side of Middagh street, after pass- 
ing two small frame buildings, we come to the low 
one-story house of Marvellous Richardson, shoe-maker; 
whose name, in common parlance, was either ab- 
breviated to " Marvel," or lengthened to " Miraculous 
Marvel." It was built by the Hessians, during the 
Revolutionary war, as a guard-house; and here, also, 
for a short time, during the rectorship of Rev. Mr. 
Wright, the Episcopalians worshipped in a hired room, 
rudely fitted up for the purpose, with pulpit, reading- 
desk and seats, and here gathered the few churchmen 
of the village, and, indeed, of the county, among whom 
was Aquila Giles, Esq., and his family, from Flatbush. 

Next was the dwelling of Richard H. Cornwell, cabi- 
net and coffin maker, and a man of considerable ability. 
He was, in 1832, Surrogate of the county, to which 
office (so grimly humorously appropriate to his business) 
he was elected by the Methodist influence, which then 
largOly controlled local politics. Just opposite to 
the lower corner of what is now High street, was 
the wheelwright-shop of George Smith, the father of 
Mr. Crawford C. Smith. It was a long, two-story 
frame edifice, originally erected on Sands street, and 
occupied by the Methodist church. When, in 1810, 
they determined to build larger, it had been purchased 
by Mr. Smith, moved into this spot, and converted to a 
shop. It had a long flight of stairs on the outside, 
leading up to Judge Garrison's Court Room, on the 
second floor. 

John Garrison was for many years intimately connected 
with the interests of Brooklyn. He was born at Grave- 
send in 1764. When quite young his parents removed 
to Brooklyn; and, his father dying soon after, he, under 
the instruction of Matthew Gleaves, became a butcher, 
commencing business, on his own account, about 1785 ; 
and, for many years, had a stand in the Fly Market, 
New York. In November, 1793, he experienced religious 
convictions, and when the first Methodist church was formed 



ia the village, in 1794, he was chosen one of its board of trus- 
tees, which ofifice he continued to hold for thirty-six years. 
In politics he was a violent democrat, of the old school, and 
was naturally regarded, by some, as a man of bitter and vin- 
dictive feelings ; while, in fact, a kinder-hearted man never 
Uved. He was a fireman in 1787, 1790, 1791, 1793, 1794 ; over- 
seer of the poor in 1803 and 1804 ; one of the committee of 
the board of health in 1809 ; a school commissioner in 1806 
and 1807 ; was a village trustee in 1816 and 1836, and for the 
larger portion of his life-time a judge of the common pleas, 
or justice of the peace. Indeed, he, in connection with 
Squii-e Nichols, dispensed nearly all the justice that was 
needed to keep the Brooklynites straight in those primitive 
days ; and, though his legal attainments were not extensive, 
his strong common sense, his shrewdness in judging charac- 
ter, and his straight-forward way of getting at the justice, if 
not the law, of the cases brought before him, rendered him, 
in the opinion of all who knew him, one of the best justices 
Brooklyn ever had. In person he was six feet two inches 
high, remarkably large, and weighing thi e hundred pounds. 
Towards the close of his life he inclined towards corpulency, 
but always retained his early activity and erectness. He was 
invariably dressed in a suit of "pepper-and-salt" mixed 
clothing, cut very loose. Many pleasant stories are yet told 
of his queer ways and sayings, by those who were wont to 
frequent his court-room. A characteristic one is the foUow- 
ing: On one occasion, a trial was going on before Judge 
Garrison, the case being a suit for money. The long, warm 
summer's day had been almost entirely occupied by the argu- 
ments and pleadings of the opposing counsel, and judge and 
jury gave indubitable signs of weariness. The lawyer who 
closed the case requested the judge to " charge the jury," a 
proceeding somewhat unusual in the simple routine of the 
justice's court. Thereupon, the judge, rising with great de- 
liberation and with some evident hesitancy, turned his burly 
figure towards the jury, and delivered himself thus : "Gen- 
tlemen of the Jury 1 You have heard the learned counsel on 
both sides, and the last lawyer who spoke has asked me to 
charge the jury. My charge shall be very short;" and turn- 
ing to the contesting parties in the suit, he exclaimed, " I 
think that that man (pointing to one) owes that man (point- 
ing to the other) the money, and he ought to pay UP' Again, 
M. T. sued G. T., before Judge Garrison, for the sum of ten 
shillings, and got a decision in his favor. G. T., however, 
contumaciously refused to pay, whereupon M. T. complained 
to the judge. " What!" said the judge, " won't he pay you ? 
Well, I'll issue a summons and I'll guarantee he'll pay you, 
then." Accordingly, the summons was issued, and judgment 
obtained, but the money didn't come. Whereupon, M. T., 
meeting the judge soon after, said to him, "Look here. 
Squire, you guaranteed that debt, and now, if you don't pay 
it, I'll sue you." "Oh, well," said the judge, "that debt 
must be settled," and forthwith paid M. T. five shillings out 
of his own pocket. He died January, 1831, his remains being 
interred under the Sands street Methodist church, of which 
he so long had been a useful and devoted member. Judge 
Garrison's residence, during the early portion of his life, was 
in Doughty street ; afterwards on the south-east corner of 
Washington and High streets. His portrait is preserved in 
Guy's Brooklyn picture. 

Next the wheelwright-slio]) was a house occupied by 
Joseph Moser and wife, known to every one in the 
village as "Uncle Josey," and "Aunt Rachel." 

Joseph Mosee, like his friend "Poppy" Snow, with whom 
he was associated in " every good word and work," was one 
of those quiet public benefactors which every community I 

needs. Peculiar in gait, clean-shaven, round-shouldered, and 
dressed always in drab-colored clothes, he was never missed 
from his place in the Methodist church on the Sabbath. His 
ministrations to the sick, and the heavy laden ; his labors in 
the Sabbath-school ; his untiring interest in the youth of the 
place, endeared him to the hearts of both old and young. He 
was a builder, and amassed what, in those days, was an in- 
dependent fortune ; and many of Brooklyn's most prosperous 
citizens owed their welfare to his unsolicited aid. His purse 
was ever open, and it probably never entered his head to say 
' ' No !" when called upon. Especially in the establishment 
of the churches of his own beloved denomination, was his 
liberality unbounded. But, through losses entailed upon him 
by others, he became deprived of his hard-earned property, 
and dependent upon the charity of relatives. Within a few 
years of his death, which occurred on the 8th of February, 
1854, in his seventy-eighth year, he occupied, for the brief 
period of a few months, an inspectorship in the New York 
customs, and an inspectorship of pavements in Brooklyn, 
both of which were bestowed upon him unsolicited, and by 
his political adversaries. His life and death alike proved 
him a devoted, active and useful Christian. 

A very old one-and-a-half- story house stood on the 
corner of the present Cranberry street; then a carpen- 
ter-shop — subsequently the paint-shop of old Matthew 
(father of ex-mayor George) Hall. Just beyond, and 
nearly on the line of the present Orange street, was 
an old house occupied by Cortlandt Van Buren, and 
afterward the residence of Losee Van Nostrand. Next 
to this Avas " Biddy Stephenson's liquor-saloon and Ice- 
Cream Garden," a place much resorted to for the hold- 
ing of town, village, and public meetings. The " Gar- 
den" extended to the property of James B. Clark, Esq., 
an industrious, plodding attorney, for many years Dis- 
trict Attorney of the County, and a dealer in real-estate, 
who occupied a large piece of land (some 200 feet 
front) leased from the Middagh estate, through which 
Pineapple street has since been opened, leaving the old 
" Clarke pump " out, on the corner. 

Next to Mr. Clarke's grounds was the parsonage 
building of St. Ann's; and next to it, just on the lower 
side of the turn of the present Clinton street into 
Fulton, was the pretty two-story framed dwelling of 
Samuel Sackett. 

He was of a Newtown family and a most excellent man ; 
for many years overseer of the poor, in Brooklyn, to which, 
as well as to the duties of a trustee of the only public school, 
he gave his undivided attention. He was a man of pohshed 
manners and agreeable address, and the father of Clarence 
D., and Grenville A., both lawyers and deceased. The 
former was a village trustee in 1826, and a member of the 
State legislature; while the latter, although a diligent and 
competent lawyer, was possessed of more than ordinary poeti- 
cal genius, and, under the signature of " Alfred," wrote some 
of the best and most widely circulated of the fugitive poetry 
of the day, in The New York Mirror, The New York Times 
and Long Island Star. 

Along the westerly side of the Old Road (Fulton 
street), from Orange to Clinton streets, extended a row 
of magnificent old elms; the largest, perhaps, being 
those along in front of Lawyer Clarke's grounds. Elm, 
mulberry, locust, cedar, and willow-trees abounded in 



tte village at that day, to a greater extent than the 
promenaders of the present city can realize. 

The next house on this side of the road, and very 
nearly opposite to the present Johnson street, was the 
residence of JoHsr Valentine Swbetcope, one of 
those Hessians who had been left (perhaps not unwil- 
lingly) upon our shores by the receding wave of British 
domiQation, after the declaration of peace in 1783. 

With his long gray beard, his soldierly tread and strongly 
marked features, he was certainly the quaintest and most 
original character in the village. In the British service he 
had been an armorer ; and, very naturally, found some em- 
ployment in furbishing and repairing the guns, pistols, etc., 
of his neighbors in Brooklyn. By industry and thrift he 
amassed a very snug little property, so that he was commonly 
reputed to have found a buried treasure. In course of time 
he purchased from the De Bevoise brothers a strip of land 
off the end of their farm, upon which he erected a dwelling- 
house, and, adjoining it on the north, a gunsmith-shop, 
mostly used by his son John. Old Swertcope, among other 
contrivances, invented an air-gun, the balls of which were 
clay pellets; and this weapon was an object of great curi- 
osity, and of no small fear, to the boys especially, in their 
predatory excursions into the old man's orchard. Much 
of his time was occupied in attending to his fine garden 
and orchard, where he used to prowl about, in apple season, 
with whip in hand and a dog at his heels, ready to pounce 
upon the boys who were skirmishing around his trees. 
He also did a considerable business in the distilling of rose- 
water. Eoses, at that time, were raised in great abund- 
ance in the gardens of Brooklyn ; and many persons were 
accustomed to send their annual crop of rose-leaves to Swert- 
cope, who returned to each customer one-half the yield in 
rose-water ; reserving the other half as payment for services 
in distillation. Having procured from the De Bevoises some 
of their fine strawberry-plants, of which fruit they had pre- 
viously held the monopoly in the New York market, he very 
soon, by his good management, succeeded in dividing with 
them the reputation and the business of the best berries. In 
addition to these, he derived no inconsiderable income from 
the sale of a superior kind of bitters, which he manufactured; 
and he might be seen almost every morning, wending his 
way to the ferry, with a basketful of bottles of these bitters, 
which he peddled off in New York, before his return to 
Brooklyn. He was somewhat of a miser, and the large amount 
of money which he amassed, aU in specie, was kept in a heavy 
iron-bound box, under his bed ; and its key during his last 
illness was always placed under his pillow. The late George 
Hall used to relate that, having occasion to visit him, a little 
before his death, some one called at the house to obtain pay- 
ment of a small bill, and the sick man directed his daughter 
to get the necessary amount out of the trunk. As she was 
engaged a little too long in. searching for a coin, the sick man 
became impatient and suspicious, and raising himself up in 
bed, exclaimed, " Come away ! Come away ! vat you doin' 
mit your tarn money-rousin ?" 

In the rear of Swertcope's land, just behind the pres- 
ent Presbyterian church, on the west side of Clinton 
street, was the ancient private burial-ground of the 
Middagh family. Along the southerly side of Swert- 
cope's land was " Love lane," leading down the De 
Bevoise place on the Heights; and, a little distance be- 
yond the lane was Lawrence Brewer's tavern, called 
"Mount Pleasant Garden." 

Beyond Brewer's, a little north of the corner of 
Montague street, was the "Bee-Hive," kept by Mrs. 
Wells, the mother-in-law of Capt. Hudson, U. S. N. 
It stood back a little from the old road, with its " bee- 
hive " sign projecting over the walk, and was subse- 
quently occupied by Dr. Hurd. 

The easterly side of the Old Road [Fulton street) from 
Sands street to Myrtle avenue. 

On the southerly corner of Sands street was John 
Harmer's patent floor-cloth factory. Subsequently, 
about 1819, he erected a new factory in Middagh, near 
Fulton street. Next to Harmer's was the residence and 
grocery- store of high sheriff John Dean, father of Col. 
Joseph Dean. He was a prominent politician in the 
county, was appointed sherifi! in March, 1813, and 
" Dean's Corners," as it was generally called, was to the 
male portion of the village what Mrs. Williams' shop 
was to the female, a great rendezvous for (political and 
business) " chit-chat." Adjoining Mr. Dean's grocery, 
with an intervening space, was his extensive shoe-shop. 
Beyond this were two small old buildings; then the 
residence of George Smith, whose Avheelwright-shop 
was on the opposite side of the road; and then, the two- 
story frame dwelling-house and grocery-store of Isaac 
Moser, brother of " Uncle Josey " Moser, of whom we 
have already spoken. 

Across High street was a bakery-shop ; JNlr. John 
G. Murphy's house; " Gus " Back's, with his whip-fac- 
tory in the rear; some vacant lots, and then a little 
north of the corner of Nassau street, a long, one-story- 
and-a-half edifice, built of small brick said to have been 
brought from Holland. This venerable building had 
been honored by having been the seat of the New York 
Provincial Congress, in 1746 and 1762, when driven from 
New York city by the prevalence there of the small- 
pox, and many important acts were passed here. It 
was also Gen. Putnam's head-quarters, previous to the 
battle of Brooklyn, in August, 1776. It stood some 
fifteen or eighteen feet above the level of the road and 
was, for many years, occupied by old Squiee Nichols, 
a cabinet-maker by trade, and, for thirteen years 
previous to 1822, a justice of the peace. 

His shop adjoined the eastern end of the dwelling. Sub- 
sequently it was occupied by Samuel E. Clements, as the 
post-oflice and the ofiice of his paper, The Long Island Pat- 
riot. On the second floor old Mr. William Hartshorn (who 
died in 1859) kept a little stationery-shop, and cases where he 
set type for the Patriot. In 1833, in consequence of the wid- 
ening of Fulton street, the old house was condemned to de- 
molition. Squire Nichols, though far from rich, was an honest 
man and universaUy respected. He was a native of Newark, 
N. J. ; entered the American army as a private in 1775 ; was in 
the whole of that wonderful and unfortunate expedition of 
the northern army, under Gen. Arnold, against Quebec; and 
was appointed adjutant of the 4th regiment, commanded by 
Col. Holmes. In 1776 he was a lieutenant in Col. Nicholson's 
regiment raised at Quebec, was at the siege of Fort Schuyler, 
and the capture of Burgoyne's army. Also, in the actions of 
September 19th and October 7th, and other skirmishes ; and, 



at the battle of Ehode Island, October 14th, 1778, where he 
commanded his company, in the absence of its captain, was 
twice woimded. He was short and stout in stature and very 
actiTe and energetic in mind, although somewhat crippled in 
his feet ; and, even until within a few years of his death, 
was one of the most active jiistices of the peace which Brook- 
lyn ever had, although he would drink, and not unfrequently 
swear, even "while on the bench ;" still these were faults 
which were attributable probably to his early army associa- 
tions. He died in November, 1835, and his remains were es- 
corted to the tomb by the mayor and civU officers of the city, 
by four military companies of Brooklyn, and two from Xew 
York, forming the largest funeral which was ever known in 
Brooklyn, and Capt. Brower's Infantry company fired a vol- 
ley over the grave of the old veteran. 

Across ^Tassau street, on the southerly corner, was the 
large square house occupied by Capt. John O'SuUivan, 
a retired shipmaster, and father-in-law of Dr. R. S. 
Thorne and Dr. Hazlett. Then Willy Stephenson's 
" Auld Lang Syne " Inn, and the gardens attached to 
its southerly side. On the site of these gardens after- 
wards stood the old theatre. Xext, on the corner of 
Concord street, was the residence of Dr. Joseph Gedney 
Tarlton Hunt, for many years in active service as a 
naval surgeon, and subsequently on duty at the Brooklyn 

The southerly corner of Concord street was then a 
vacant lot, adjoining which was the residence of Rike 
Reid, hatter; and for many years a constable in the 
village, thus commemorated in village rhyme : 

Do you not fear the terrors of the law, 
The direful energy of Justice Nichols ? 

Or lest Rike Reid let fall his mighty paw, 
And put you all in very pretty pickles. 

Then, the house of Joseph Sprague (afterwards 
mayor), who had in the rear of his ground a factory for 
making (by dog-power) the " AVhittemore cards " used 
in the manufacture of woolen goods. 

A little above stood an old meeting-house originally 
erected for the use of the " Independent " society, in 
1785, and which afterwards came into the hands of the 
Episcopalians of Brooklyn. It adjoined the northerly 
side of the old Episcopal bui-ial-ground belonging to St. 
Ann's congregation. It gradually fell into decay, but 
was patched up and occupied as a school-room, by Rev. 
Samuel Seabury and John Swinburne, who kept here a 
classical and English school of great excellence, at 
which many of our oldest citizens, now living, received 
their early education. 3Ir. Seabury, who had been an 
assistant to Mr. Evan BejTion, in his school on Concord 
street, until the death of that worthy pedagogue, was 
a fine scholar, a strict disciplinarian and a thorough 
teacher, and was afterward widely known as an accom- 
plished editor and theologian of the Episcopal church. 
His assistant, John Swinburne, was a conscientious, 
methodical teacher, a good disciplinarian, and in all 
respects a faithful teacher and worthy man. The grave- 
yard was for many years disused, being finally removed 
in 1860, and " St. Ann's Buildings" erected on its site. 

Adjoining the southerly side of the Episcopal burying- 
ground was the Matthew Gleaves property, extending 
along the road to a point about midway between Til- 
lary and Johnson streets, and back from the road to a 
point nearly midway between Washington and Adams 
streets. On this (subsequently known as the TUlary) 
property stood the head of Norris L. Martin's rope- 
walk, which extended back to the WaUabout Meadows. 
The next building was Dempsey's hotel, " The Village 
Garden," where the gay young fellows used to go to 
" shoot turkey." Then, with an intervening vacant 
space, the residence of Capt. Samuel Angus, United 
States Navy, originally built by old Matthew Gleaves. 
Then, the home of old Mrs. Sliller, mother of Mr. E. G. 
Miller ; afterward Mr. Henry Waring built a residence 
for himself on this property. 

Xear lilrs. Miller's was Moses Montgomery, originally 
a gardener, and his garden was called " Shamrock Hall." 
From this garden, the Johnson estate extended up to the 
line of the Duflield estate, about the comer of Adams 
and WiUoughby streets, where was the rope- walk, which 
extended along the line of the estate, and was leased by 
James Engles. 

That portion of the village lying north and east of the 
Old Ferry road (Fidton street), and along the streets 
at that time opened through it, ).nz. : "Water, Front, 
Main, Prospect, Sands, Sigh, Concord and Nassau 

Water street. On the north side of the street, be- 
tween Old Ferry road and Dock street, were but sis 
buildings, of which only two challenge any special no- 
tice, viz.: Townsend & Cox's (afterwards Richard 
Mott's) tavern; and the large brick and stone distillery 
not far from Dock street and fronting the river, said 
to have been built by John Jackson. It was here 
that the Brothers Graham commenced their Brooklyn 
career as distillers, about 1816, and were succeeded by 
old Cunningham, the Scotchman ; and he in turn by 
Robert Bach. 

On the south side of the street, between Old Ferry and 
Dock streets, were : on the corner, Barnum's Hotel ; va- 
cant lots ; the livery stables belonging to the Town- 
send & Cox tavern opposite ; the tan-yard of Losee Tan 
Xustrand (afterwards of Talford <fc Van Nostrand) ; 
and some vacant lots (extending nearly to the comer of 
Dock street) upon which Alexander Birbeck subse- 
quently erected his blacksmithery. 

At the foot of Dock street, a few years later, was 
Da-vdd Anderson's stone-yard, and from this point there 
was nothing on the north side of the street, which was 
washed Ijy the tide, except a few tar-sheds belonging to 
^Ir. A. H. Van Bokkelin, until within fifty or sixty feet 
of Main street, where was a small blacksmith-shop, 
and next it, on the corner, a large frame building used 
for storage of salt. 

On the east side, between Dock and Main streets, 



were the rears of Augustus Graham's and Joshua 
Sands' gardens; the dwelling of William Cornwell, the 
tailor; and, on the south-west corner of Water and 
Main streets, a tavern and livery-stable kept by White- 
head Howard, and in which one of the Bownes was in- 

At the foot of Main street was the " New," or Catha- 
rine street, ferry, and a small public market, bearing a 
close resemblance to that at the Fulton ferry, and 
commonly known as " Titus' market," from the fact 
that Abiel Titus kept a butcher's stand there. 

On the north-east corner of Main and Water streets 
was Van Winkle's tavern and grocery, and, a little be- 
yond, a cooper-shop; and, on the south-east corner, a 
grocery kept by Peter Snyder, who was also a ferry- 
man upon the New ferry; and from this point, to near 
the line of the present Bridge street, was an open sand- 
beach, upon which the ship and dock-builders of New 
York were accustomed to moor their timber-rafts, 
which had been floated down the North river, and were 
sold and delivered from this spot. Main street was 
between high and low-water mark, until it reached the 
corner of present Pearl street; then, the water-lines ran 
out to the corner of the present Gold street, and thence, 
along the line of the present Marshall street, to the 
navy-yard. From the beach the land rose gradually 
into hills; and, near the foot of one of these eminences, 
about eighty feet eastward of where the present Adams 
street comes to the river, stood the famous " old Tulip 
Tree," said to have measured thirty feet at its lower, and 
twenty-five feet at its upper, circumference. 

On a high hill, near the line of the present Bridge 
street, was a large establishment called " Mount Pros- 
pect Tavern," a great resort of the New York rowdies, 
who used to come over in row-boats from the city, 
accompanied by their girls, and hold high carnival 

On the north-east corner of Water and Bridge streets 
was a large frame building known as " the Red Stores," 
used as a hay-press by the Messrs. Thorne, with a dock 
in front, upon which the hay-sloops discharged their 
cargoes. From this point to the present Little street 
were only high sand-hills, with here and there a 
shabby house. 

Upon the south-west corner of Water and Little 
streets was an old tavern, kept by one Scott, and torn 
down, after his death, by his widow, who erected a 
new house upon the spot, which was kept as an inn for 
many years after. In 1817, Capt. Evans, then com- 
tnandant at the United States navy-yard, opened, 
mainly for his convenience, a gate into the yard, on 
the line of Water street; and, in connection with John 
Little, established a ferry from the foot of Little street 
to Walnut (near Jackson) street. New York (as they 
said), for the accommodation of the mechanics and 
others employed in the yard. The establishment of 
the ferry was speedily followed by the erection of a 

number of dwellings, on the eastern line of Little 
street, up to the navy-yard wall. On the opposite side 
of the street, and against the navy-yard wall. Little set 
up' a tavern; and, adjoining him, Barney Henrietta, an 
Irish sawyer in the yard, purchased a house and lot, 
which he occupied until his death, in 1825. Grog- 
shops arose in all directions in the neighborhood, and 
real-estate commanded a better price than it then did 
at the Fulton ferry. Upon the hill, immediately in 
the rear of Henrietta's house, was erected a building, 
the first floor of which was occupied as a " Shooting 
Gallery," and, in the upper part, which overlooked the 
interior of the navy-yard, was placed a " shuffle-board." 
This building, overlooking the navy-yard, was a great 
place of resort for those who wished to obtain a view 
thereof; the principal attraction, at that time, being 
the building of the United States line-of-battle ship 
Ohio, by Henry Eckford, which was launched in May, 

Front street, west side. Next to the Remsen house 
(which stood upon the site of the old Rapalje house), 
during the years immediately succeeding the Revolu- 
tionary war (1784-1815), there had been an old 
two-story framed dwelling occupied by Dr. Barbarin, 
the first settled physician of Brooklyn; while, next 
beyond, with an intervening space, was a small framed 
dwelling belonging to the Rapalje estate. This estate, 
comprising about one hundred and sixty acres, had 
been purchased from the commissioners of forfeiture 
by Messrs. Comfort and Joshua Sands, who paid for it, 
it is said, in soldiers' pay-certificates, which they had 
bought up in large quantities at a rate of discount 
which made the operation a very good speculation for 
them. Old Mrs. Rapalje, the mother of John Rapalje, 
by virtue of some right in the property, refused to give 
possession, which necessitated the oflicial interference 
of the sheriff, who put the old lady out into the street, 
in her arm-chair. 

The Sands Brothers were from Cow Neck, since 
called Sands' Point, Queens County, L. I., at which 
place their great-grandfather was an original settler. 

COMFOET, the eldest, born in 1748, was, during early life, a 
clerk in a store of his native village ; went to New York in 
1762, and entered a store in Peck Slip. In 1769 he com- 
menced business on his own account and also married, and 
had amassed a considerable fortune before the opening of the 
Revolutionary war. After the Declaration of Peace, in 1783, 
he settled permanently at New York. He was an ac- 
tive and useful patriot. He served from Nov., 1775, to July, 
1770, as a member of the New York Provincial congress; was 
then chosen, by the New York convention, as auditor-general 
of the State, at a salary of £300. This office he resigned Oct., 
1781, and, with his brothers Richardson and Joshua, took a 
contract to supply the northern army with provisions for the 
year 1782. In 1783 he became a partner with his brother 
Joshua, and carried on an extensive and lucrative mercantile 
business, until 1794 ; and represented the city several times 
in the assembly. He was twice married, and died at Hobo- 
ken, N. J., September 22 J, 1834, aged eighty-six years. As 



a merchant, one of the first directors of the old bank of New 
York, and president of the Chamber of Commerce, he held a 
high position in the mercantile circles of his day. 

His younger brother, Joshua Sands, who became more inti- 
mately identified with Brooklyn, by the purchase of the Ra- 
palje estate, was born in 1757. At the age of fifteen he com- 
menced his business-life as a clerk ; but, in 1776, was invited 
by Col. Trumbull, of Connecticut, to accept a position in the 
commissariat department of the American army, with the 
rank of captain. He contributed very material aid in facili- 

' tating the retreat of the American army from Long Island, 
after the battle of August 26th, 1776. In 1777 he, together 
with his brothers Richardson and Comfort, tendered pro- 
posals for the supply of clothing and provisions to the north- 

. em army. These were accepted by Robert Morris, and were 
faithfully carried out on their part ; but the scarcity of 
means at the command of the treasury department not al- 
lowing of a fulfillment of the contract on the part of the 
government, they became great sufiferers, although afterwards 
partially reimbursed by a special act of congress. At the 
close of the war he became a partner with his brother Com- 
fort in mercantile pursuits, and, in 1784, they were the pur- 
chasers of the Rapalje estate, as already stated. In 1786 he 
i-emoved his residence to Brooklyn and built for himself, on 
his new purchase, a handsome frame mansion, about fifty 
feet square, and furnished with remarkable elegance for that 
day. This house, situated on the north side of Front street, 
about a hundred feet east of Dock street (his coach-house and 
stables being on the opposite side of Front street), was the 
largest in the village at the time, and was surrounded by a 
fine garden, which extended to the river. It subsequently 
came into the possession of John B. Cazeaux, Esq. , who, in 
1824, converted it into two dwellings, one remaining as No. 
25 Front street. About this time, also, Mr. Sands made 
another addition to the material interests of the town, with 
which he had become identified by residence. Conceiving 
the idea of manufacturing the cordage and rigging for his 
own vessels, he imported both machinery and workmen from 
England, and established here extensive rope-walks, which 
became the beginning of a new and most important branch 
of industry. Mr. Sands represented this district in the State 
senate, from 1792 to 1798 ; was a member of the council of 
appointment for the southern district of New York, in Janu- 
ary, 1797, and was judge of the county of Kings. In 1797 he 
was appointed collector of the customs of the port of New 
York, but was removed by President Jefferson in 1801. He 
was, also, president of the Merchants' Bank ; and, in 1803- 
1805, represented this district in congress, to which he was 
again sent in 1825-1827. In 1834 he was chosen president of 
the board of trustees of Brooklyn, with which village he was 
always prominently connected in political, religious and 
social affairs, and which he Uved to see an incorporated and 
thriving city. He died in 1835, universaUy respected, it hav- 
ing been justly said of him, that "no man enjoyed more 
fully the esteem and confidence of the inhabitants, without 
distinction of party, andaU his official duties were pert rmed 
with singular ability and fidelity." 

This was the appearance of Front street during tho 
first few years after the Revolution. In 1815, its ap- 
pearance had somewhat changed. Beyond the Remsen 
house and two vacant lots was a modem brick house, 
owned by Mr. John Cox; then, three yellow brick 
houses (present Nos. 9, 11, 13 Front street) belonging 
to John Fisher, who lived in the corner store "(on 
Dock street), his garden extending back to Water 

street. On the other side of Dock street was the 
substantial brick house built by Augustus Graham, 
in 1814 or 1815. On the rear of this property Mr. 
Graham subsequently erected his white-lead manufac- 
tory. Beyond the Sands mansion and several vacant 
lots was an old-fashioned two-story house, said to have 
belonged to the Rapalje family, and afterward to have 
been occupied by Mr. Adrian Van Bokkelen, merchant, 
whose tar-sheds on the rear of this lot have already 
been spoken of. Then Robert Bach's house, afterward 
occupied by John Benson; and, with another interval,'' 
the two-story framed dwelling of William Cornwell, 
the tailor. On the north-west corner of Front and 
Main streets stood a two-story framed grocery, in 
which the late Edward Copeland (ex-Mayor) was said 
to have commenced business. 

On the southerly side of Front street, on the corner 
of the Old Ferry road, was the Thomas W. Birdsall 
house and store (Guy's picture, No. 1) ; then Abiel Titus' 
yard and his slaughter-house (Guy's picture, No. 9), on 
the corner of the present James street, which, however, 
at that time, was simply a passage-way up from Front 
street, containing a few small buildings, mostly occupied 
by negroes. On the opposite corner of the alley was 
the carpenter's shop and dwelling (Guy's picture. No. 
10) of Benjamin Meeker. He was a quiet, unassuming 
man; a "good Clintonian" in politics; originally an 
attendant at the Methodist Church, but afterwards a 
Presbyterian; was a member of the Mechanics Associa- 
tion, and died in 1849, much respected. His portrait 
is one of those given in Guy's picture. Next, with an 
intervening vacant lot, was Mrs. Chester's (Guy's pictm-e. 
No. 11), memorable as the "Cradle of the Drama" in 
Brooklyn, a two-story house with a long stoop in front; 
and then (Guy's picture, No. 12) a large brick house, old 
Mr. Cunningham's residence, still standing; then an alley 
which is now called Garrison street. Between this alley 
and Main street (Guy's picture, No. 13) were about six 
lots of ground occupied as a wood and lumber-yard, by 
Jacob Hicks, who lived on the corner. 

"Wood Hicks," as he was called — the better to distinguish 
him from several others of the same name — was a clever, 
jolly old man, with a "horse-laugh" that might be heard a 
mile off — always clad in a roundabout, and carrying in his 
hand the measuring-stick with which he measured his stock- 
in-trade. He had two children, Charles and John M. Hicks, 
who inherited the ample fortune whicli their father's industry 
had accumulated. 

Upon the north-east corner of Front and Main streets 
was a grocery, and upon the south-east corner a large 
tenement-house; but, although Front street was opened 
for travel for some five hundred yards farther from 
this point, northward to where the sand-hills again pre- 
sented themselves, yet there were no buildings of any 
importance on its north side, and only a few miserable 
ones on its south side. 

Main street. Omitting a repetition of the buildings 
already mentioned, as on the corners of Water and 



Front streets, simply those of importance on this street 
from the river to Prospect street may be noticed. 

On the westerly side of the street, and south of Hicks' 
wood-yard, were a few small wooden'dwellings, and then 
David Anderson's house, whose stone-yard has already 
been mentioned as being at the foot of Dock street. 
There were no other houses of note on this side but 
those near the junction of Fulton and Main, all of which 
extended through from street to street. 

Along the easterly side of Main street were but few 
buildings. On, or near, the present corner of Main and 
York streets, was John Moon's house; and his next 
neighbor was the house and garden of Capt. John O. 
Zuill, master of the good ship Gleaner, in the West 
India trade. Next him was James Cornell, butcher, 
his slaughter-house in the rear, and adjoining his house 
an ice-house — he being, it is said, the first man in Brook- 
lyn who put up ice for summer use. Next was the 
house and paint-shop of Capt. John Allen, commander 
of one of the uniformed military companies of the vil- 

Then some small tenements, and, on the north-east 
corner of Prospect street, a large frame building, where 
James Burtis kept a grocery and feed-store. Along the 
north side of Prospect street, next to Burtis', there 
were, on either corner of Stewart's alley, small two- 
story frame houses. The north-east corner of Prospect 
street and Stewart's alley was most pleasantly associ- 
ated, in the minds of early Brooklynites, with a famous 
restaurant kept there for many years, by John Joseph, 
otherwise better known as " Johnny Joe," and who was 
" a character " of the olden times. Then Mr. Stewart's 
comfortable double house, and a frame dwelling adjoin- 
ing. Then were hills, about as far as the present Jay 
street, where there was a two-story frame house, with a 
daii-y establishment attached. Beyond this. Prospect 
street, although open, did not contain more than ten 
small tenements. At, or near, the present Gold street 
was a gate, from which a pathway, or lane, led up to 
King's hill, as it was then called, to a large mansion 
situated on the highest part of the hill, and occupied by 
Robert Morris. 

At about the termination of the present York street, 
were the United States Marine Barracks, which could 
only be reached (for York street was not then open or 
used as a street) " across lots " from Sands street, or 
via Jackson street, at that time a mere crooked lane. 
These barracks, substantially built of brick, were occu- 
pied in front as the residence of the commandant of the 
corps, and the rear (which extended into the navy- 
yard) by the inferior officers and privates. The south- 
ern entrance to the yard was some fifty feet west of the 
present one. 

Sands street, from the Old road {Fulton street) to 
the Wallabout toll-bridge. 
Beyond Drs. Ball and Wendell's office and drug- 

store, on the northerly side of Sands street, after leav- 
ing the Old road, were vacant lots to old St. Ann's 
church, which then fronted on Sands street, with its 
side doors on Washington street. It was, at that time, 
the new St. Ann's, the first permanent home which the 
Episcopalians of Brooklyn had attained, after nearly a 
quarter of a century's buffeting about among private 
houses, barns, and old barracks. It was erected in 1805, 
during the rectorship of the Rev. John Ireland. Heavy 
in form, constructed of rough stone, overlaid with a 
coat of plaster and painted of a dark blue color, it would 
probably be considered, now-a-days, as a miracle of ug- 
liness. Even then, the smallness of its windows and 
the tout ensemble of its exterior gave point to the jocu- 
lar remark of an irreverent wag of a rival denomina- 
tion, that, he " had often heard of the church militant, 
and its canons, but he'd never before seen its port- 
holes." The ground upon which itN^tood had been 
given, for the purpose, by Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Sands, 
whose benefactions ceased only with their lives; and it 
was a deserved as well as graceful compliment to the 
latter, which combined her name with that of an ancient 
saint, in the naming of the edifice. 

It was a goodly company which assembled within the 
hallowed walls of old St. Ann's in those days. There 
was Joshua Sands, tall and commanding, and with the 
air of one whom no amount of business could perplex ; 
Major Fanning C. Tucker, still taller in figure, and add- 
ing to the strict performance of every church duty the 
graces of the highest breeding ; gentlemanly John 
Moore; the dignified and courteous Gen. J. G. Swift ; 
the Pierreponts ; the Treadwells ; the Clarkes ; Sacketts ; 
Ellisons ; Coleses ; Petits ; Smiths ; Van Burens ; Van 
Nostrands ; Sullivans ; Hudsons ; Worthingtons ; Stew- 
arts ; Gibbses ; Cornells ; Middaghs ; Hickses ; Warings ; 
Marches ; Carters ; Spooners, etc., etc. ; indeed, the cata- 
logue would embrace a history of Brooklyn ! 

On the opposite or northeast corner of Sands and 
Washington streets was the residence of Fanning C. 
Tucker, and next beyond, on the same side of the street, 
was a neat and handsome two-story frame house, occu- 
pied by old Mr. John Moore and his two maiden sisters. 

On the same side of Sands, below Pearl street, was a 
large two-story brick house, in which, after about 1818, 
George S. Wise, jr.. Purser in the United States Navy- 
yard, resided. Between Purser Wise's and the nearest 
line of Jay street was the residence of Josey Herbert. 

With the exception of a few small tenements, Wise's 
and Herbert's were about the last buildings upon the 
north side of Sands street. From the end of Sands 
street extended the Wallabout bridge to about the junc- 
tion of present Flushing and Portland avenues, where 
the toll-gate controlled the travel of the Newtown Pike 
road, by Sands street, and also by the road running past 
Fort Greene, across to the Flatbush turnpike. Near the 
Wallabout bridge was Sands' rope-walk, extending from 
the south side of Sands street, all along the Wallabout 



meado-ws, to about the foot of the present Tillary 
street, in some places being built upon piles. Around 
this walk were several tenements, occupied by the em- 
ployes in the walk. 

Returning, along the south side of Sands street, to 
what is now Bridge street, was nothing but sand-hills, 
among which nestled a few negro shanties. On the 
corner of Bridge street was a substantial frame dwelling 
with a large garden attached; the next most noteworthy 
house being that of Panning C. Tucker, which he occu- 
pied after he sold his other house to Mr. Carter. 

Across by the present Pearl street was Thomas C. 
Spink's cottage, and which, like all the residences on 
Sands street, was furnished with a large flower and veg- 
etable garden. A large two-story dwelling stood on the 
south-east corner of Sands and Washington streets, 
fronting on the latter, and with stables in rear; and, on 
the opposite corner, was Dr. Chas. Hall's house, with a 
fine garden attached. Then the Methodist church, com- 
monly known as the " Old White Church," occupying 
the site of the present Sands street Methodist Episcopal 
Church. Next to the church was the residence of one 
of the " fathers " of the village, " Poppy " Snow. 

After the date of this sketch (about 1816), Sands 
street began to fill up rapidly, and was for many years 
quite a fashionable avenue of residences. Among these 
later comers may be mentioned, on the north side, Mr. 
Cunningham, the distiller, who built next to John 
Moore, between Washington and Adams; Josiah Bowen, 
a printer (of the firm of Pray & Bowen), and subse- 
quently a Methodist preacher, next west of Purser 
Wise's house; below Jay street, Mr. Jehiel Jagger, a 
hatter, doing business in the city of New York. Mr. 
Jagger took the house, about 1820, from its previous 
owner, Capt. Clarke. On the southern side James B. 
Clarke, Esq., and Thomas Kirk, between Washington 
and Adams ; between Adams and Pearl, Aime J. Bar- 
barin, father of Mr. George Barbarin ; Capt. Angus, of 
the navy; John C. Bennett, tailor; James Herbert, gro- 
cer, etc. 

High street, although opened nearly to the present 
Bridge street, had but few buildings. Upon its north 
side, near Fulton, was Isaac Moser's grocery store, a 
brother of « Uncle Jo " Moser. Then, vacant lots up to 
an alley, on the easterly corner of which lived Richard 
V. W. Thome. Next him was the Methodist parsonage 
house; and, then, a building used by that congregation 
for "class-meetings," and, adjoining, the rear entrance 
to their burial-ground and church. Beyond this point, 
on the north side of the street, were but few houses, the 
land being mostly occupied by the grounds and gardens 
of the residences on the south side of Sands street. 
Along the south side of High street, between Pulton and 
Washington streets, were only three or four houses, and, 
beyond the latter street, not over six or seven. About 
on the line of the present Bridge street, in front of the 
African Methodist Church, was a splendid grove of pop- 

lars. From 1813 to 1818 there was a great mania in 
Brooklyn for this kind of tree, and scarcely a place of 
any pretension that did not have its poplar. On this spot 
a nursery of these trees was established by an enterpris- 
ing citizen, to his ultimate loss. 

JVassau street. Beyond Justice Nichols' place, on the 
north corner of Fulton street, were but one or two 
houses before reaching Washington street, on the north- 
west corner of which was Mr. John Green's house, and 
a large garden, and next him Evan Beynon's school- 
house. Beyond this were but few houses of any note. 

On the south side of Nassau street, adjoining Capt. 
Sullivan's, on the corner of Fulton street, was Mr. 
Samuel Vail's neat two-story frame house, and between 
that and Washington street two or three houses. On 
the south-east corner of Washington street was the 
large frame house built by an Englishman, and after- 
ward occupied by J. Fletcher Garrison, Esq., son of old 
Judge John Garrison. Adjoining his garden was the 
residence of Mr. William Wallace, a cloth merchant in 
New York. Beyond, on the south side of Nassau, were 
only some ten or fifteen houses, occupied, mostly, by 
mechanics and laboring men. The only noticeable 
building was the old "Alms House," a large framed 
edifice, about one hundred feet from the present Jay 
street, and surrounded by about two acres of ground. 
A lower room in this building also served the purpose 
of a "lock-up" or police station, wherein the village 
constables confined those committed to their charge for 
safe keeping. The old Alms-house building was sub- 
sequently purchased in 1825, by Mr. Josiah Dow, who 
converted it into a dwelling-house for his own use; and, 
in order to rid it of the odium attaching to the name of 
a " poor-house," erected upon it a large sign of " Wake- 
field House." The sign, however (while it gradually 
effaced from the public mind the stigma of the old 
name), provoked numberless calls from strangers, who 
very naturally mistook the place for a hotel; so that, as 
soon as practicable, Mr. Dow was glad to remove the 

Concord street. On its northern side, at its junction 
with Fulton, was Dr. Joseph J. G. T. Hunt's office and 
drug-shop, with stable adjoining. Then came an alley, 
the present Liberty street. Beyond, on north-west 
corner of present Washington street, was Dr. Osborne's 
residence and garden. On the north-east corner of the 
present Washington street was the large framed house 
of Adam Tread well, a New York merchant. Between 
this house and the present Pearl street was a consider- 
able hill, upon which were no improvements. From 
thence to the line of the present Gold street were only 
a few small houses, chiefly occupied by laboring men 
and mechanics; and the same may be said of the oppo- 
site or southern side of the street, on which the school- 
house of District No. 1 (where a Public School now 
stands) was the only noticeable feature. Concord 
street, "sixty years ago," was the last public street, 



within the village limits, whicli was opened eastward 
from Fulton street. 

We next pass through that portioti of the village 
lying south and west of the old highway (Fulton street), 
now known as " The Heights-" and the streets which 
had at thai time been opened in that direction, viz. : the 
Shore road (now Furman street), Joralemon^s lane, 
Everit, Elizabeth, Hicks, Aert (now Henry street), Mid- 
dagh. Doughty and McKenney streets, etc. 

Elizabeth street, so named, it is said, after the wife of 
one of its old residents, still exists between Fulton street 
(just above Carll's stables) and Doughty street. In the 
olden time it was the only means of access to the ferry 
from the road along the beach, now Furman street. 

Doughty street, into which Elizabeth street opened, 
extended from Hicks street to the East river, at which 
was a public landing used by the butchers of Brooklyn 
from time immemorial. On the southerly side of 
Doughty street were four or five dwellings; one of 
which, a brick and stone house, directly opposite to the 
head of Elizabeth street, was originally the residence of 
Israe^. Horsfield; and, during the revolutionary war, was 
occupied by the Hessians as their main guard-room. 

Israel and Timothy Horsfield— men of mark in their 
day — were the sons of Timothy Horsfield, of Liverpool, En- 
gland, where they were bom. Israel came to this country in 
1720, and became a freeman of New York. About three years 
after, his brother Timothy arrived and entered into business 
with him, as butchers. Their trade (principally with the ship- 
ping) increased, in a few years, to such an extent that they 
were obliged to seek other accommodations than could be 
obtained in the city of New York for the prosecution of their 
business. Long Island, which at that time furnished the New 
York market with most of its live stock, presented advan- 
tages which, together with the offer by the corporation, in 
1734, of a favorable lease of a portion of the Brooklyn shore, 
near the ferry, induced them to remove there. They imme- 
diately bmlt a wharf at the foot of the present Doughty street, 
together with a slaughtering place and the necessary buildings 
for residence. The next year they leased the two best stands 
(Nos. 1 and 2) in the Old Slip market, in the city of New 
York ; their dressed meat being brought over daily, in row- 
boats, by their own slaves, directly to the " Old Slip," whence 
it was carried, in wheelbarrows, to their stands in the mar- 
ket. The Horsflelds accumulated a large property and owned 
a considerable amount of land on the Heights, near the ferry. 

Timothy Horsfield, in 1739, was awakened by the preach- 
ing of the celebrated Whitfield, then visiting in America ; 
and, in 1741, became acquainted with the Brethren (Mora- 
vians), and joined their church. In 1745 (during the French 
and Indian war) he was appointed colonel of the Brooklyn 
militia, but resigned his commission on account of much 
jealousy, which was felt and expressed in certain quarters. 
Soon after he was made the executor of the estate of an inti- 
mate friend and zealous Moravian, and, in 1750, removed 
with his family to Bethlehem, Penn., where he resided in a 
stone house, built for him by the brethren, which is still 
standing. His ample means enabled him to live among the 
Moravians without business cares, except such as pertained 
to the oface of justice of the peace, which he held among 
them for twelve years. He stood deservedly high among 

them, being a man of unblemished character, and was of 
much assistance to the brethren in their intercourse with the 
provincial government and with the Indian tribes in that 
part of the colony, while his acquaintance with business 
matters rendered him a kind of legal adviser to his German 
friends, who were unacquainted with the modes of transact- 
ing matters in this New World. 

Israel continued the business until his son Israel, Junior, 
became of age, when he transferred it to the young man, 
erected a brew-house near the ferry (Map a, 18) and 
engaged in the brewing of ale and beer. 

At that period it was owned and occupied by George 
Hicks, commonly distinguished as "Ferry-master 
Hicks." He was originally a Fulton market butcher, 
but afterwards ferry-master at the Old Perry, after the 
introduction thereon of steam-boats. 

A large frame building somewhat westerly of the last 
named was probably also a Horsfield house; and, at a 
later period, was occupied by John Carpenter. He was 
a butcher, of some note, and in 1785 he was the treas- 
urer and one of the trustees of an Independent congre- 
gation, which was incorporated in the town of Brook- 
lyn, and which erected a frame church-edifice in what 
was afterwards St. Ann's burial-ground. Fuemak says 
(Mss. Notes) that, "disliking the proceedings of his as- 
sociates, and the church being very much indebted to 
him. Carpenter locked up the church-building, put the 
key in his pocket, refused them admission, and after- 
wards sold the church and ground to the Episcopalian 
congregation, which he joined," and from which he 
was a lay delegate in 1788, '90 and '91. 

From the southerly side of Doughty street, about one 
hundred feet west of George Hicks' house, commenced 
a lane or road extending south-westerly, along under 
the edge of the Heights, till it met the beach of the 
East river, at a little distance beyond the foot of the 
present Poplar street. This road, originally opened, 
perhaps, by the Horsflelds, was, about 1816, paved 
from Doughty street as far as Gaze's factory, and rend- 
ered more passable than it had previously been, by 
Thomas Everit, Jr., and Caze, whose property fronted 
upon it, on either side. 

On the westerly side of this road (Map a, 10, 
11, 12), was Everit's tan-yard, a wooden storehouse for 
hides, and slaughter-houses; and next to them (Map a, 
18), were John Doughty's. On the easterly side 
of the road was the old Everit house (Map a, 
14), where Thomas Everit, Jr., was born. By the side 
of the house was the famous Whalebone gate, from 
which a lane led up the hill to Mr. Gary Ludlow's resi- 

The Eveeit Family. — Thomas Everit, Sen., came from 
an old stock of butchers. About 1720 he commenced busi- 
ness in a slaughter-house on a smaU creek which put up from 
the East Kiver, in the town of Brookland, at about the inter- 
section of Columbia and Doughty streets. On the breaking 
out of the Revolution, September, 1775, he was elected second 
lieutenant of the Company of Light Horse, of Brooklyn. In 
the month of March following (1776), he signed the declara- 



tion and took up Ms commission. This troop were first in 
service under Gen. Greene, who ordered them to seize all the 
fat stock of the disaffected for Commissary Brown. They 
next drove off stock under Gen. WoodhuU ; and, after the 
defeat at Brooklyn, in August, 1776, as they were proceeding 
eastward to join Colonel Livingston, they were ordered off 
the island by Colonel Potter. Everit, however, returned ; 
and, in the month of November, following, renewed his alle- 
giance to King Greorge. He was a man of considerable talent, 
strictly honest, and possessed a very kind heart. His sons, 
Thomas, WiUiam, and Eichard, were also butchers, and will 
be noticed in their proper order. 

Thomas Eveeit, Je., born in Brooklyn, in 1764, was re- 
markable for his quiet and studious habits; and, an excellent 
scholar. He served with his father until he mastered his pro- 
fession, when he took charge of his father's stall and business 
in the old Fly Market, in New York, where he continued 
until about the year 1796, when he quit the market ; became 
engaged in farming, near Hempstead ; and joined the Society 
of Friends. After the lapse of a few years, he returned to 
Brooklyn. Here, with his old bosom-friend, John Doughty, 
he formed a partnership in the tanning and wool-business, 
and established a successful and extensive trade ; after which 
his partner retired from the firm. He was an honest, unpre- 
tending, good man, whose simple habits, dress and speech, 
were fully and faithfully carried out, in his new faith. He 
was always seeking to do his fellow-man some service, either 
by advice or assistance, and this, too, in the most unassuming 
manner. He continued business, many years, in Brooklyn, 
from whence he afterwards removed it to New York, and 
died in 1841, leaving many relatives and friends, the latter of 
whom yet speak glowingly of his many virtues. 

His brother William, in 1775, joined the troop with 
Thomas, as a private, and continued with it until it left Long 
Island ; and was afterward engaged in the commissary de- 
partment of the American army. In 1786 he appeared in the 
Fly Market, and was a resident of the city of New York. 

RiOHAiiD Eveeit, another brother, also attended the same 
market as his father; afterwards became one of the first board 
of trustees of the First Methodist Episcopal meeting-house, 
established here in 1794, and died of yellow fever in 1798. 

Beyond the house, and opposite the slaughter-houses 
already mentioned, were the residences of Mike Trap- 
pel (Map A, 15), designated in some old maps as 
house of Sarah (widow of Isaac) Hicks, and Burdet 
Stryker, their entrance heing on an alley which led into 
the hill. On the other side of the alley was a large, 
old-fashioned building (Map a, 16), at one time 
occupied by Caze & Richaud's distillery, afterwards 
purchased by Robert Bach, for the same purpose ; and 
then, with an intervening space, was a large brick 
edifice (Map a, 18), known, from the name of 
its occupant and owner, as " the (John) Sedgfield man- 

Along, on the same side of the street, were three or 
four small houses, in one of which, about where the 
road debouched to the river-beach, resided a man named 
Coombs, who once had the audacity to impede the pub- 
lic's right-of-way, by erecting a gate across the road, in 
front of his place, and allowing no one to pass without 
paying toll. This obstruction, however, was speedily 
removed, vi et armis, by Hugh McLaughlin, a stalwart 

Irishman who lived a few doors below; and, fortunately 
for the peace of the neighborhood, was never replaced. 

The road which passed by Event's and the distillery 
was obliterated, or rather superseded, by the opening of 
Columbia and Furman streets to the line of Doughty. 

In ] 823 or '24 travel was opened from the northerly 
end of Columbia street into Fulton street, by the open- 
ing of a short and narrow street called jEverit street; 
and, on the easterly corner of its junction with Fulton, 
Obed Jackson built a substantial brick building after- 
wards occupied as a store by alderman D. D. Whitney. 

On the beach road, which extended along the river 
under the Heights on the line of the present Furman 
street, on the viest side, was a long wooden building 
used as a slaughter-house; then the house of Thomas 
Goen, who manufactured salt here by evaporation from 
salt water. Next were the residences of William 
Thompson, the waterman, who supplied the New York 
shipping with fresh water, and a tavern kept by an 
Englishman, whose sign was a swinging gate projecting 
over the street, bearing on its bars the following in- 
scription : 

"This signiangs high, 
It hinders none. 
Come, take a nip. 
And travel on." 

On the east side of the road, a little beyond the line 
of the present Middagh street, were Thompson's 

The beach here was usually strewn with water-butts, 
and lined with water-boats, awaiting their cargoes. 

Further along, on the west side, between the lines of 
the present Cranberry and Orange streets, were the 
dock and extensive store-houses belonging to Jonathan 
Thompson, one of the pioneers of the warehousing bus- 
iness in Brooklyn. In 1797 the firm of Gardinier, 
Thompson and Co. purchased a water-lot here, and 
erected a bulkhead and warehouse for storage purposes 
in connection with their business as West India mer- 
chants. In 1800 the partnership was dissolved, and the 
storage business was continued, thenceforth, by Jona- 
than Thompson, until his death. For a longtime 
his warehouses were known as the White Cot- 
ton stores ; and it is worthy of remark that a large 
number of the cotton-bales used by Gov. Jackson, at 
the battle of New Orleans, were there repacked and 

Jonathan Thompson was a native of Islip, L. I. As a pol- 
itician, previous to and during the war of 1812, he was prom- 
inent in the old Republican party of that period, of&ciating 
for ten successive years as chairman of the Republican Gen- 
eral Committee, at that time an important position. In con- 
sequence of his long service as presiding officer, he received 
the appellation of " Everlasting Chairman." He was Collec- 
tor of Internal Revenue from 1813 to 1819; and of Customs of 
the Port of N. Y. from 1820 to 1839; discharging his financial 
duties with remarkable fidelity and accuracy. 

Opposite to Mr. Thompson's stores, and on the east 



side of the way, was the little house occupied by his 
foreman ; and behind it, half way up the bank, was a 
notable spring of excellent water. 

Between this point and Pierrepont's distillery, at the 
foot of Joralemon's lane, five or six small dwellings 
nestled along under the Heights on the eastern side of 
the road, some of which were coopers' shops, and one, 
near the line of the present Clarke street, a tavern kept 
by the Widow Yanderveer. 

On the west, or river side of the road, we notice next 
beyond Jonathan Thompson's stores, at about the 
foot of the present Orange street, a dock known 
as the Milkmen's dock. Here, every morning, 
" rain or shine," came the venders of " lacteal fluid," 
stabled their horses in a row of sheds erected for the 
purpose, under the shelter of the Heights ; and, clubbing 
together in the hire of boats, were rowed with their 
milk-cans over to New York, encountering, not infre- 
quently, during the severe winter months, much suffer- 
ing, and even serious danger, from fierce winds and 
floating ice. Their cans were suspended from yokes 
across their shoulders ; and, thus accoutered, they ped- 
dled off their milk in the city and returned in the after- 
noon, wind and weather permitting, to the Brooklyn 
side, where they " hitched up " their teams and started 
for their homes. Next were Treadwell & Thome's 
stores ; then a storehouse owned by Robert Black, and 
which, during the war of 1812, he converted into a man- 
ufactory of salt, produced from the waters of the East 
river, by evaporation ; the large wooden " Red stores," 
as they were called, belonging to Messrs. Kimberly & 
Waring (afterwards to Mr. Henry Waring) ; then a 
row of tar-sheds, and another large wooden store be- 
longing to the same firm, and near the adjoining slip 
stood Tony Philpot's little ale-shop, with its sign rep- 
resenting two flagons of ale, one emptying into the 
other. Tony was an Englishman, and his place, well 
furnished with nine-pin alley, shuffle-board, etc., was a 
great resort for the long-shore-men and lower classes, to 
whom its semi-secluded position afforded free opportu- 
nity for the exercise of unrestrained and often uproari- 
ous jollity. In the slip near by, Mr. William Niblo, 
the well-known caterer of New York, had a floating 
crib in which he kept the turtles, which, from time to 
time, he served up upon the tables of his hotel ; 
not forgetting to give his friend, Mr. Henry Waring, 
at least once a year, a fine green turtle, by way of 

Beyond this was open shore, to a point about half 
way between the lines of the present Clarke and Pierre- 
pont streets, where was located a public landing called 
the Kingston lot ; next to which, and north of the hne 
of Pierrepont street, if continued, was Samuel Jack- 
son's large dock, upon which were erected three 
wooden stores. 

From this dock to Pierrepont's distillery, at the foot of 
Joralemon street, was an open sandy beach, along which 

the tide ebbed and flowed to such an extent as to render 
it, at times, impassable. 

Pierrepont's Anchor Gin distillery was on the site of 
the old Livingston brewery, at the foot of Joralemon's 
lane. Mr. Pierrepont had rebuilt the old brewery 
building, a large wharf, a windmill, which was 
exclusively used for the purposes of the distillery, 
and several large wooden storehouses, in which he kept 
the gin stored for a full year after it was made; by 
which it acquired the mellowness for which it was pe- 
culiary esteemed. The distillery was discontinued about 
1819 ; was sold to Mr. Samuel Mitchell, who used it as a 
candle-factory for a time ; and subsequently was occu- 
pied, as a distillery, by Messrs. Schenck & Rutherford. 
The old windmill remained until about 1825, though 

JoralemorHs lane was a miserable rutted country-road 
between the Joralemon and Remsen farms ; and, to- 
wards its lower portion (from Hicks street to the East 
river), preserved much of its original character of a ra- 
vine, along under the southerly edge of the Heights. 
At that time it was little traversed, except by carts 
bearing distillery swill, or grain going to be ground in- 
to gin. It was originally laid out by Hendrick and 
Peter Remsen and Phillip Livingston, Esq., as a road of 
convenience or common way between their respective 
farms "from the highway and to the river," on the 14th 
of December, 1762 ; and was then two rods, or thirty- 
two feet, wide, increased by Loss' map, 1801, to fifty feet. 

As we emerge from Joralemon's lane we pass, upon 
the site of the present First Dutch Reformed church 
building, its predecessor, erected in 1810. It was a 
heavily proportioned edifice, of gray-stone, with small 
windows and a square tower in front, surmounted by a 
square cupola. The space in front of it, now occupied 
by the City Hall, was then an open field, skirted by the 
old highway. Where the lane debouched into the high- 
way, and on the site of the stately County Court House, 
there then stood the Military Garden, a place of 
resort famous in the village annals of Brooklyn. The 
small building which many of our readers will remem- 
ber to have formed the western part of the Military 
Garden was originally occupied, as nearly as can be as- 
certained, by Thomas Coe, a blacksmith, who had his 
shop adjoining. It passed, about 1810, into the keep- 
ing of eccenti-ic old Col. Greene, at which time it first 
became known as Military Garden. It reached its max- 
imum of reputation, however, during the regim,e of 
MoNS. John Pkancois Louis Du Flon, a rosy-cheeked, 
cheery Swiss. 

He purchased this property in 1823, and although neither 
he nor his wife had been bred to this occupation, they soon 
developed the tact and enterprise which proved that they 
could keep a hotel. He was induced by the Freemasons, who 
had hitherto been occupying lodge-rooms in Lawrence Brew- 
er's tavern, to erect a larger building, in which suitabla 
accommodations could be furnished to the craft. It was the 
beginning of a series of pecuniary embarrassments, which 



finally ended in bankruptcy. Yet Du Flon was a general 
favorite ; his pleasant Garden, with its superior ice-cream, 
its tastefully-appointed viands, its attractions of flowers and 
shrubbery — for he and his wife had the characteristic of their 
countrymen, a passion for floral pleasures ; his own urbanity 
and cheerfulness of disposition, made his place the resort, 
par excellence, of the best village society ; and his hall, from 
its superior size and accommodations, afforded an excellent 
place for the balls, amateur concerts, and traveling shows, 
which from time to time visited the village. When Greneral 
Lafayette visited Brooklyn, during his visit to America, in 
1824, he received his friends at the Military Garden ; and in 
Poppy Du Flon (for such was the respectfully familiar nick- 
name given him by his fellow-vfllagers) he recognized the 
sick man whom he had attended, among others, at a lonely 
house on the frontier, during the Revolutionary war, and 
whom he had sat up with, watched and nursed, for several 
days. Both were affected to tears. Poppy Du Flon's life 
was unobtrusive, but useful ; and his death, in his 88th year, 
was lamented by all. 

In the rear of the garden was the old Potter's field, 
now covered by stables and Burnham's gymnasium. 

Hicks street was, as will be seen by reference to 
Map A, quite narrow at its entrance on the old 
road, and climbed the hill (between present Fulton and 
Middagh streets), which was so steep as to be ascended, 
by loaded vehicles, with considerable difficulty. Be- 
yond the John M. Hicks house already mentioned, 
on the corner of Doughty street, and garden 
adjoining, on the westerly side, was Mr. Brown's; Alex. 
Birbeck's blacksmith's shop and his dwelling adjoining; 
then, Mr. Haight's, on the corner of Poplar street.' 
Between this and Middagh street were six frame 
houses, mostly occupied by two families apiece; be- 
yond Middagh, three small houses, standing back from 
the street; then James Weaver's house, next the corner 
of the present Cranberry street. This was the end of 
Hicks street— all beyond being fields and orchards. 
Along the easterly side of Hicks street were but five 
buildings, one of which was occupied by William 
Thompson, formerly a negro slave of the Hiokses, from 
whom he had received his freedom and the lot upon 
which he lived. Next, was the old Hicks mansion 
at the corner of Fulton and Hicks street. 

In the rear of Hicks street (between Poplar and 
Doughty) was McKenney street, a narrow lane, origin- 
ally 14^ feet wide, in which were about a dozen dwel- 

From the western side of McKenney street, about 
equi-distant from Doughty and Poplar, extended a 
short cul-de-sac lane, about 20 feet wide, originally 
known as Fyhe street, from its fancied resemblance to 
a fisherman's net. About twenty years ago, it was 
opened through to Columbia street, and is now known 
as Vine street, so named from a huge grape-vine which 
covered the front of the house occupied by Polly 
Fisher, one of the original residents of that locality 
Vme street contained seven dwellings; so that it may 
be safely estimated that these three little streets, ^«. 
McKenney and Vine, represented about one hundred 

souls, in the early enumeration of the village inhabi- 

Middagh was the last street opened on the west side 
of the Old Ferry road, within the village limits, with 
the exception of a small portion of Joralemon's lane 
near the Dutch church, and a small portion of Red 
Hook lane. On its northerly side was the Consistory- 
room of the Dutch Reformed church. In this humble 
building, which then stood in the midst of Aert Mid- 
dagh's fields, a school was kept under the direction of 
the trustees of the church. There were but five other 
buildings on the street; although, on a little lane run- 
ning out of it, about where Henry street now is, there 
were four or five small dwellings. A few houses (per- 
haps not more than six) were to be found on a road 
now called Poplar street, extending then only as far as 
Buckbee's alley (now Poplar place) ; and three on the, 
road, now Cranberry street, between Hicks and Willow. 
On what is now the corner of Cranberry and Willow 
streets was the house built by Mr. George Gibbs, in 
whose garden the Isabella grape-vine first obtained its 
notoriety, about the year 1816. His wife obtained it 
from North Carolina, and, after its value became 
known, she gave cuttings liberally to her neighbors. 
A few gentlemen of Brooklyn, in compliment, gave it 
her name, Isabella, and exerted themselves to multiply 
cuttings, and make its fine qualities more widely 
known. By the aid of various publications, in the 
Long Island Star, and other papers, it soon became 
the cherished ornament and pride of every garden and 
door-ya«J, and rapidly spread, not only through Brook- 
lyn and Long Island, but even into far-distant States of 
the Union. 

There were, also, several small houses erected in 
different fields of the Hicks, Middagh, and Johnson 
estates, none of which, however, were get-at-able, except 
by paths across the fields. 

Brooklyn Heights.— The estates of the landed 
proprietors on Clover Hill or Brooklyn Heights, were: 

I. The Cary Ludlow estate (Fig. 1, Map a), on the 
north-west corner of the Heights. This was a portion 
of the original Horsfield estate. Mr. Ludlow, who 
purchased it from the Horsfields, was a prominent 
New York merchant, and was not identified with 
Brooklyn, except by residence in the house which he 
erected on the western line of Willow street, about 
one hundred and twenty-five feet north of Middagh. 
The only access to it being by the roundabout way of 
the Old Ferry road and Hicks street, Mr. Ludlow 
secured a right-of-way up the hill-side, from Doughty 
street, through the old Whalebone gate, at the corner 
of Tommy Everit's house. 

IL The Hides estate (Fig. 2, Map a), and 

III. The Middagh estate, have been already suffi- 
ciently described (Fig. 3, Map a). 

IV. The Waring Estate. Adjoining, and running 
in the same direction with the southeriy Une of the 



Hicks estate, was a strip of land, its western end on 
the river, and its east end' reaching nearly to Henry 
street, which belonged, at that time, to Mr. Heney 
Waring, a native of Greenwich, Conn. 

His father had served with considerable distinction as cap- 
tain of an artillery company during the Revolutionary war. 
Henry, born 1773, was the eldest son ; and in early life came 
to New York and became a merchant's clerk. In 1793 he 
went to sea, and subsequently commanded a vessel, trading 
between New York and the West Indies. In 1795 he was 
taken prisoner by a French sloop-of-war, and a prize crew 
was placed upon his vessel, which was ordered to Martinique. 
"While on the voyage thither, he and a man named Bills rose 
upon the prize-crew, retook the vessel, placed the crew (seven 
in number) in the forecastle, and steered for the island of 
Jamaica. Unfortunately, when within ten days' sail of that 
place, he was spoken and boarded by a Spanish frigate. The 
suspicions of the boarding-officer being aroused by finding 
the vessel in the hands of only two men, he instituted a 
search, found the seven Frenchmen imprisoned in the fore- 
castle, liberated them and restored to them the possession of 
the vessel. Waring and Bills were then taken to the island 
of Eustatia, and there imprisoned for several months, when 
they were exchanged and sent to New York, ^oon after his 
return, a privateer, mounting seven guns, and named the 
Adelia, was fitted out by private subscription among the 
merchants of New York, and he was placed in command. 
His first cruise was successful, taking one or two prizes. 
When the United States navy was reorganized he was 
offered a commission, but declined it, because his old friend 
and messmate (Commodore) Chauncey received a higher 
position than was offered to himself. He then became senior 
partner in the New York firm of Waring & Eden. Subse- 
quently, in 1796, he engaged in business with Mr. Gideon 
Kimberly, under the firm-name of Kimberly & Waring. 
From him, in 1806, he purchased the property on Brooklyn 
Heights, before alluded to, and in 1813 he made Brooklyn his 
permanent residence. With his partner, he became largely 
interested in the naval-stoi-e business, owning many vessels 
iu the southern trade, and receiving large consignments of 
southern goods. In 1826, '27, '28, '29 and '30, he was a village 
trustee, serving the public interest with great zeal and 
fidelity, and possessing a leading influence in the board. In 
1832 he was chosen as one of the presidential electors, and 
cast his vote for Jackson. In 1836 he sold his property upon 
the Heights, and purchased the property bounded by Fulton, 
Washington and Johnson streets, upon which he erected a 
residence. He was one of the first directors of the Long Is- 
land Bank ; but, in 1840, having lost his wife, and being 
about to retire from business, he resigned that, and also his 
connection with the Brooklyn Savings Bank, of which he 
was one of the original trustees. He died in 1848. Mr. War- 
ing possessed very pleasant and genial manners, and was 
very fond of social enjoyments. Strictly moral and consci- 
entious in all duties, he held the entire confidence of the mer- 
cantile community. In politics he was an old-hne democrat, 
a member of the first regular organized republican (as they 
were then called) society in the city of New York, out of 
which the present-Tammany Society was organized ; and an 
early and steadfast friend of Gov. DeWitt Clinton. 

V. Next south to the Waring property was the 
Gideon Kimberly estate, a wedge-shaped piece of land, 
its broadest end on the river, and its apex reaching the 
Old Fort on Henry street. 

Gideon Kimberly was born in Vermont, in 1750 ; and in 

1768 came to New York city, and became clerk to Messrs. 
Bedient & Hubbell, merchants in the Fly Market slip. Mr. 
Hubbell died about 1777, and young Kimberly became part- 
ner to Mr. Bedient, under the firm style of Bedient & Kim- 
berly. In 1791 Mr, Kimberly formed a partnership with his 
old fellow-clerk Henry Waring, under the firm name of Kim- 
berly & Waring, the business being conducted in Burling 
slip, near the present corner of Front street. Mr. Kimberly 
married in 1792, and, about the time of his marriage, settled 
on what was then known as Clover hill in Brooklyn, upon 
property purchased from the executors of Noel John Bar- 
barin. This property, which was the old Hamper estate, 
commenced at the shore opposite to, and about two hundred 
feet south of, the south-west corner of Clarke and Columbia 
streets, and extended east from the river to the Old Fort, at 
Henry street. The present Mansion House in Hicks street 
stands upon a portion of this land. Mr. Kimberly retired 
from business in 1815, and died suddenly of apoplexy, at the 
Tontine Coffee House, in New York, in February, 1817, aged 
sixty-eight years. He was a regular attendant upon the 
Dutch Reformed church in Brooklyn ; in poUtics was a 
democrat of the JeSersoniau school, and a prominent mem- 
ber and officer of the Tammany Society, in New York city. 
He was scrupulously honest, and, though a close business 
man, was humane and charitable. He had no children, and 
his wealth descended to heirs, many of whom he had never 
seen, or even heard of, during his life. After his death his 
real-estate in Brooklyn was sold in partition in the court of 
chancery, and the larger portion of it was purchased by his 
neighbors, Henry Waring and Samuel Jackson. 

VI. The next estate to the Kimberly property was 
that belonging to Samuel Jackson, one of the oldest 
merchants in the city of New York, and descended 
from an ancient English family, among the first of the 
Society of Friends to settle on Long Island. 

He was bom at Jerusalem, L. I., and previous to the Revo- 
lution became a clerk with his, Mr. Milton a 
New York merchant ; and after the decease of the latter he 
became the trustee of the estate. Removing to Brooklyn 
with his widowed sister and her son, to whom he devoted the 
rest of his life, he purchased this pioperty. It extended in 
width from the Kimberly line to the northeasterly side of 
Love lane ; and, in length, from the line of the present Col- 
umbia street to the westerly line of Swertcope's estate, which 
was about 400 or 500 feet from Fulton street, as it now is. 
He also had a large wharf property in front of his dwelling, 
known as Jackson's Stores. His house, generally known as 
the "Old Stone House," was probably the old Timothy 
Horsfield house, afterwards occupied by Gov. Cadwallader 
Golden. It faced the river on the line of present Columbia 
street, about 250 feet north of Pierrepont. Mr. Jackson had 
succeeded to Mr. Milton's business, and successfully carried 
it on in South street, between Burling slip and Maiden lane 
in the city of New York. The death of his nephew, in 1818, 
whom he had intended to make his heir, and, shortly after 
that of his mother, left Mr. Jackson alone in the old mansion 
with none to keep him company except his two servants 
(formerly his slaves), Harry and Susannah. He now turned 
his attention to ornamental gardening, and few private gar- 
dens in the town were so attractive as his — a walk to Clover 
hill and Jackson's garden being, in those days, the favorite 
walk of the young people of both sexes. And, to protect 
the contents of his garden, when any person entered it, un- 
accompanied by himself, his "man Harry" was always on 
hand to see that none of the ornamental plants were dis- 
turbed. Here the rich old bachelor hved and distributed his 



hospitality with great liberality, until about the year 1&20 
when his favorite servant Suke died, and he shortly after 
broke up his bachelor establishment and took board at Moi- 
rison's hotel, north-west comer of Columbia and Cranberry 
streets. His house he rented to John Wells, Esq., a distin- 
guished member of the New York bar, who died in it, of the 
yeUow fever, in the year 1823. This old house afterwards 
became the asylum for some aged women, gathered together 
by the charitable exertions of Mrs. PierrepOnt, Mrs. Richards, 
and other ladies — from which enterprise finally came the 
noble institution known as The Church Charity Foundation. 
It was said of Mr. Jackson that, although he seldom visited 
the city of NewYork, he would sit in his parlor, and from in- 
formation derived from the New York newspapers, of which 
he was a constant reader, could direct purchases and mate 
more money than any merchant in that city, in his line of 
business, which consisted chiefly of grain, naval stores and 
cotton. Mr. Jackson was nearly six feet high, and had a sal- 
low complexion ; dressed with remarkable neatness, some- 
what after the old style of the Society of Friends ; with cue ; 
white top boots in cold weather ; shoes, knee-buckles and 
shorts, in summer, etc. He was dignified and retiring, and 
made but few intimate friends, and was never known to at- 
tend a public-meeting of any description. His income was 
very large, and he contributed a large portion of it to private 
charities, and, though somewhat stern in his dealings with 
men, was always kind and considerate to children. When 
Forts Greene and Swift were constracted, in 1813, a commit- 
tee called upon Mr. Jackson to request from him assistance 
in that important and patriotic work, although with little 
expectation that he would render any aid, inasmuch as he 
was known to be affiliated with the Society of Friends, who 
were opposed to the war. To their surprise he employed six 
men, at his own expense, to work on the forts for three 
months, during which time he daily inspected their labors. 

VII. Next south of the Jackson property was a 
tract of 14 acres, extending from the East river to the 
Old road (Fulton street), and in width from Love lane 
to a line a little north of the present Pierrepont street. 
This strip of land was owned by the brothers Robekt 
and John De Bevoisb, whose grandfather Jacobus 
purchased it from Joris Remsen in 1734. They were 
descendants of Carel De Beauvois, who came from 
Leyden, in Holland, in 1659, and was the first school- 
master of Brooklyn. 

Robert, the elder brother, was a stout, strong, broad-faced 
man; but having, unfortunately, lost his nose and palate, in 
consequence of a cancerous disease, was, although really of a 
kindly disposition, quite an object of terror to the village ur- 
chins — which was by no means lessened by the savage dis- 
position of twenty or thirty dogs which he kept around the 
house. John De Bevoise was a strong contrast to his brother 
Robert — being thin, pale and consumptive. Both were bach- 
elors, and, being well off, occupied their time alternately in 
fishmg and gardening. Their dwelling, a small, ancient and 
rather dilapidated Dutch edifice (on the Lne of Columbia 
street, about 160 feet north of the line of Pierrepont), was 
graced by the presence of an exceedingly beautiful girl who 
filled the place of a daughter to the two old men, whose name 
she bore. Saeah De Bevoise had many admirers, and the 
private lane which led down to the house, between the De 
Bevoise and Pierrepont estates, is said to have received its 
name of Love lane, from the numerous love-lines, initials of 
Miss De B. and her love-lorn swains, which were scribbled 
and cut upon its fence by the young men of the village. It 

is related of old Bob De Bevoise, that his ground was enclosed 
by a high board-fence; and, as the trees were thick on the 
line of the fence, when the posts gave away, from time to 
time, he nailed the boards to the trees. But the winds stirred 
the trees, and thereby loosened the boards again; so that, fi- 
nally, it became a regular Sunday morrdng job with Bob to 
mend up his fences; and his neighbors, without reference to an 
almanac, could always tell when the Sabbath came, by the con- 
tinual hammer, hammer, hammering which resounded along 
the line of partition. To Bob De Bevoise, also, belongs the 
honor of first gratifying the New Yorkers with the taste of 
garden-cultivated strawberries. Previous to the beginning 
of the present century, this delicious fruit had been known 
to the New York market, only by the few wild berries which 
were brought in by women from Tappan and New Jersey. 
But, about 1800-1802, Robert De Bevoise commenced then- 
systematic cultivation for the market, sending them to 
market in crockery bowls, at two shillings per pint bowl; 
and, by refusing to sell any of his plants (people, at that day, 
were too honest to steal them), secured, and, for about three 
years, retained, the monopoly in the city. As a great favor, 
he gave some of his plants to his neighbor, old Swertcope, 
the Hessian, and he, too, in a short time made it a profitable 
business. The cry of "hot corn !" formerly heard on sum- 
mer evenings in the streets of Brooklyn, is associated with 
the De Bevoise family. Furman says, "at this season of the 
year, when I was a boy of about seven or eight years of age, 
1807-8, in the evening, an old colored woman, familiarly 
known as De Bevoise's Black Peg, or rather Margaret, or 
Peggy, the slave of Robert De Bevoise, made her appearance 
in the main street, then called the Old Ferry road, now Ful- 
ton street, crying 'Hot cornl nice hot corn! piping hot!' 
This was her cry for a time, until the corn got a little too 
tough from the ripening effects of the sun (for then we did 
not have green corn all the summer through, but had to de- 
pend alone on what was raised in Kings county); and, the 
large bell pears having attained nearly their fuU size, she 
stewed them whole until they were soft, and then poured 
molasses over them while they were hot, and carried them 
through the streets as 'baked pears,' and very palatable 
they were, as I well recollect; but this cry has gone out of 
vogue; I have not heard it for years," The selling of hot 
corn and baked pears were the perquisites of Black Peg. 
When, in 1816, the village was incorporated, and streets and 
lots began to be plotted over the old farm-Unes, Robert De 
Bevoise took alarm, and expressed a determination to move 
out of the reach of the modern improvements. Hearing of 
this, his next neighbor, Mr. Hez. B. Pierrepont, inquired his 
price, and, $28,000 being named, immediately accepted the 
offer, much to old Bob's astonishment, who supposed he had 
placed it at so high a figure that no one would buy. He con- 
tinued to reside on the place, however, for two years after 
the sale, and then removed to the neighborhood of the Black 
Horse tavern, and built a dwelling known as the Abbey, in 
Fulton avenue. Soon, however, streets and houses made 
then- distasteful appearance in the vicinity, and he "pulled 
up stakes " and settled at Bedford. Again the city jostled 
him, and, in despair, he fled to Jamaica, L. I., where he died 
some years after. 

VIII. Next came the Pierrepont property, which, 
including the above-named De Bevoise farm, com- 
prised a tract of sixty acres between Love lane and the 
line of the present Remsen street, and extending from 
the East river to the Old Ferry road, now Fulton 

This, together with the De Bevoise, Remsen and Jo- 



ralemon farms, originally formed the estate of Joris 
Remsen, who purchased it in lYoe from his father-in- 
law, Dirck Janse Woertman, who had consolidated the 
titles of the ancient Hudde, Manje and Ruyter patents. 
This Joris Remsen, in 1734, sold to his son-in-law, Ja- 
cobus De Bevoise, the fourteen acres known as the De 
Bevoise farm. 

The Pierrepont mansion (a front view of which we 
have given on'page 94) was erected by John Cornell 
at the foot of the present Montague street. It was 
purchased in 1V95 by James Arden, who added wings, 
and about 1804 it became the property of Mr. Pierre- 
pont, who, in 1802, had purchased the old Livingston 
distillery at the foot of Joralemon street, not far away. 

Hezekiah Beers Pierrepont, born in New Haven, Conn., 
in 1768, was the grandson of the Eev. James Pierrepont, 
the first minister settled in that colony. The father of the 
Rev. James Pierrepont belonged to the family of Holme 
Pierrepont in Nottinghamshire, England, descendants from 
Robert de Pierrepont of Normandy. The family name being 
French, became an- 
glicized in this coun- 
try and spelt Pier- 
pont ; the correct 
spelhng being re- 
sumed by the sub- 
ject of this memoir. 
He displayed at an 
early age an enter- 
prising spirit, and 
fondness for active 
life. While at col- 
lege, he became dis- 
satisfied with the 
prospect of a profes- 
sional life, and pro- 
posed to his father 
that if he would 
permit him to leave 
his studies, he would 
provide for himself, 
and ask no share 

of his estate. His father consented, and he fulfilled his 
promise, and thereafter provided for his own support. He 
first entered the ofiice of his uncle, Mr. Isaac Beers, in New 
Haven ; and, afterwards, to extend his knowledge of com- 
mercial affairs, engaged as a clerk in the Custom House, in 
New York. He then became the agent of Messrs. Watson & 
Greenleaf , in Philadelphia, in the purchase of the national 
debt, realizing thereby, in a short time, a small fortune. In 
1793 he estabUshed, in New York, the commercial house of 
LefBngwell & Pierrepont, engaging in shipping provisions to 
France, where scarcity prevailed in consequence of the 
Revolution. He removed to France, to attend to the ship- 
ments of his firm, and resided in Paris, during the reign of 
terror, and saw Robespierre beheaded. The seizure of 
American vessels, carrying provisions to France, by England, 
then at war with France, so embarrassed this trade, that he 
relinquished it. In 1795 he purchased, in England, a fine 
ship named the Confederacy, and went on a trading-voyage 
to India and China, as owner and supercargo. On his return- 
voyage, in 1797, with a valuable cargo, his ship was seized by 
a French privateer, condemned and sold, for want of a rdle 
d'iquipage, contrary to the laws of nations, and ou» treaty 


stipulations. After an absence abroad, of seven years, Mr. 
Pierrepont returned, in 1800, to New York; and married, in 
1802, Anna Maria, daughter of William Constable, a distin- 
guished merchant, and the largest owner of wild-land in the 
State of New York. Considering foreign commerce, in the 
then disturbed political state of Europe, too hazardous, he 
abandoned it. He visited New England to examine into its 
manufactories, and, finding distilling of gin very profitable, 
he engaged Colonel James Anderson, of Connecticut, to es- 
tablish a factory for him. In 1802 he purchased, in Brook- 
lyn, the brewery belonging to Philip Livingston, at the foot 
of Joralemon street, which had been burnt during the war of 
the Revolution, and there established his factory, which ob- 
tained a high reputation, and was at that time the only 
manufactory of the kind in the State. His attention being 
thus drawn to Brooklyn, he purchased, on the Heights, the 
Benson farm and spacious residence, and removed to it. The 
success of his factory induced competition and diminished 
its profits, and, in 1819, he abandoned it, and thereafter gave 
his whole attention to the improvement of his Brooklyn 
property, and the settlement of his wild-land, amounting to 
nearly half a million of acres, situated in the northern part of 
the State, in the counties of Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis, St. 

Lawrenc e and 
Franklin. During 
the remainder of 
his life, he spent 
part of every sum- 
mer in visiting these 
lands, in company 
with his two sons, 
William and Henry, 
whom he had edu- 
cated with special 
reference to their 
management. He 
foresaw,at this early 
period, the future 
growth of Brooklyn; 
was one of a com- 
mittee, in 1815, who 
framed and pro- 
cured the act for in- 
corporating Brook- 
lyn as a village, and 
afterwards served as one of the trustees. The legislature 
having passed an act for laying out streets in the village, Mr. 
Pierrepont gave his exertions and infiuence to have a proper 
plan adopted. He procured Mr. Poppleton, a distinguished 
city surveyor, at his private expense, to make a plan, sug- 
gesting wider streets and larger blocks, instead of the narrow 
streets and one acre blocks of two hundred feet square recom- 
mended to the trustees ; and succeeded in getting his plan 
adopted for that part of the Heights south of Clark street. 
In order to widen Hicks street, between Cranberry and Clark 
streets, and stop the extension of leasehold property and poor 
buildings of wood, he engaged Mr. Joel Bunoe to purchase 
for him, from the Messrs. Hicks, that part of their property. 
He then widened the street as far as Cranberry street, by re- 
stricting the purchasers to a building-line. With a liberal 
public spirit, he voluntarily removed his fence on Fulton 
street, widening the street without compensation, while he 
was afterwards heavily assessed for the widening of the same 
street towai-ds Fulton Ferry. In laying out Pierrepont 
street, he adopted a building-line making the width of the 
street between the houses eighty feet, and Montague and 
Remsen streets seventy-six feet. An intimacy, commenced 



in Europe, with Robert Fulton, was continued during the too 
short Hfe of the latter. He aided Mr. Fulton with his advice 
and influence in the establishment of Fulton ferry, in which 
he always took great interest. He subscribed towards the 
purchase of this ferry, from Fulton's assignee, in whose 
hands it had not been conducted with due regard to Brooklyn 
interests ; and continued one of its directors till his death. 
In 1827 and 1838 Mr. Pierrepont served, with ability, as a 
member of the board of village trustees. As chairman of the 
street-committee, he exerted himself to secure an open prom- 
enade for the public, on the Heights, from Fulton ferry to 
Joralemon street. He had a map and plan drawn for the 
improvement by Mr. Silas Ludlam, and procured the con- 
sent of the proprietors for a cession of the property, except 
from his neighbor and friend Judge Radoliff, who opposed 
the scheme so violently, that Mr. Pierrepont, rather than 
have a contest with a friend, withdrew from the attempt, 
and himself paid the expenses incurred for the survey and 
plan, though he had ordered it oflicially. He lived and died 
in the belief and desire, that the Heights would some day be 
made a public promenade, on some similar plan. Before his 
estate was divided and sold, his executors gave the oppor- 
tunity to the city to take the property between Love lane and 
Remsen street and Willow street, the only part of the Heights 
that remained unoccupied, for such a public place, and a pe- 
tition was signed by a few public-spirited men for the object. 
But it was defeated before the city authorities by overwhelm- 
ing remonstrances, very generally signed in the large district 
of assessment that was proposed. It appears from his diary, 
that, as early as the year 1818, he made inquiry as to the cost 
of stone wharves. He reluctantly improved liis water-front 
with timber, only when he found, from the depth of water, 
the cost of stone structures was too great to be warranted 
by the small income derived by wharf-owners under our 
present port-laws. He persistently declined to sell his lots, 
except where good private dwellings of brick or stone were 
engaged to be erected, suited to the future character of his 
finely-situated property. Time has now proved the sound- 
ness of his judgment. His property is now covered by ele- 
gant mansions, besides five fine churches, the City Hall, 
Academy of Music, Mercantile Library, and other public 
buildings, while the front on the bay is occupied by exten- 
sive wharves and warehouses. Mr. Pierrepont possessed 
great energy of character, and a sound judgment ; was domes- 
tic in his habits, and had no ambition for public ofiSce, or 
relish for poUtical life. Yet he gave his services freely to his 
fellow-citizens, in aid of their local affairs. He died in 1838, 
aged seventy years, leaving a widow, two sons and eight 
daughters. His widow died in 1859. We add a list of the 
children of Mr. Pierrepont, to whom his Brooklyn property 
has descended : William Constable Pierrepont, residing at 
Pierrepont manor, Jefferson county ; Henry Evelyn Pierre- 
pont, Brooklyn ; Anna Constable Pierrepont, deceased, wife 
of Hubert Van Wagenen ; Emily Constable Pierrepont, mar- 
ried Joseph A. Perry ; Frances Matilda Pierrepont, married 
Rev. Frederick S. Wiley ; Mary Montague Pierrepont, died 
in 1859, unmarried ; Harriet Constable Pierrepont, married 
Edgar J. Bartow, died 1855 ; Maria Theresa Pierrepont, mar- 
ried Joseph J. Bicknell ; Julia Evelyn Pierrepont, married 
John Constable, of Constableville ; Ellen Isaphine, married 
Dr. James M. Minor. 

On the beach under the Heights, in front of the man- 
sion, was a dock, accessible from the house by means of 
a pathway, with two or three flights of stone steps lead- 
ing down the face of the bluflf. At this dock always 
lay a i-ow-boat, which was Mr. Pierrepont's ordinary 

means of travel to and from New York. Aside from 
this road along the beach (now Furman street), the 
only way to reach the village from his residence was 
by a private lane, which opened upon the Old Ferry 
road (Fulton street), close by Larry Brewer's tavern. 

On the corner of Pierrepont and Henry streets, Mr. 
Thomas March, of the firm of March & Benson, the 
principal wine-merchants of New York at that day, 
built a residence, about 1833. 

IX. Between Mr. Pierrepont's southerly line and the 
present Joralemon street was the remainder of the 
Eemse7i estate, owned by Peter Remsen. After his 
death, Maj. Fanning C. Tucker, Robert Carter, Adam 
Treadwell, and Mr. Pierrepont, purchased that portion 
nearest the river, and bounded by Joralemon, Clinton 
and Remsen streets; which streets were laid out and 
named by Mr. Pierrepont. The remaining portion of 
the estate, that bounded by Clinton, Joralemon and the 
Old road (Fulton street), was retained by Henry Rem- 
sen and his sister Matilda, children of Peter. The most 
easterly extremity of their land was purchased as a site 
for the City Hall; and, finally, they sold out all their 
property in Brooklyn. The old Remsen house now 
forms Nos. 2 and 4 Joralemon street, near Furman, and 
the old well is still under the baptismal font of Grace 

The Heights at that day were handsomely wooded ; 
at the southern extremity (above the present corner of 
Joralemon and Furman streets) was a large grove, 
with ravines leading down to the shore, beautifully 
shaded with cedars. This was called " Lover's (or Hy- 
men's) grove." Under the cliff stood the old (St. 
George's) Ferry house, occupying nearly the same site 
as the old Eagle tavern. 

From Mdton avenue, down Med Hook lane, and 
thence along the river-side, to Joralemon^ lane, includes 
the district now known as South Brooklyn. This lane 
diverged from Fulton avenue, as previously stated, a 
short distance east from Du Flon's Military Garden. 
It seems to have been laid out, according to record, 
about the 6th of June, 1760; appears upon Ratzer's 
map (I766-6V) and all subsequent maps; and, although 
mostly swallowed up by the growth of the city, a rem- 
nant still survives, between Fulton avenue and Livings- 
ton street, and is particularly noticeable as containing 
the modest retreat of the Board of Education. 

This lane passed on the east of the old Potter's field 
and along Judge Joralemon's land, until, at about the 
junction of the present Court and Pacific streets, it met 
a very considerable conical-shaped hill (Ponkiesbergh, or 
Cobble-hill, of Revolutionary memory), which reared it- 
self above the surrounding corn-fields. Red Hook lane 
passed in a westerly direction around and along the base 
of this hill for about three hundred feet, then turned 
southwardly. Just at this turn, on the west side, com- 
menced the private road or lane called Patchen^s lane, 



which led down to Ralph Patchen's house, near the foot 
of the present Atlantic street, where there was a public 
landing-place six rods long at low- water mark. Upon 
the incorporation of the village, in 1816, this lane was 
absorbed by District street, which followed the same 
course and became the southern boundary of the village. 
District street, in turn, merged its identity in Atlantic 

Near the southei-n boundary of Patchen's land an- 
other private road diverged from the easterly side of 
Red Hook lane, known as Preeke's lane, or the Mill- 
road. From its point of divergence, on the line of 
Court street, between East Warren and Baltic, it ran 
southerly to the mills of John C. Freeke and Nehemiah 
Denton, — thence to Gowanus. Further down the lane, 
between the lands of Anthony Worthington on the west 
and Jacob Bergen on the east, was a small framed 
school-house, built by the farmers of the neighborhood; 
and near it, on the west side of the lane (at near the 
junction of present Butler and Court streets), was a 
gate opening into Cornell's lane, leading down towards 
the river to the house of Isaac Cornell, farmer and dis- 

From this point (Cornell's gate), the Red Hook lane 
passed along, still through Bergen's land, in a southerly 
direction, towards Red Hook. On its easterly side, in 
a retired and beautiful spot, near the line of the present 
Carroll, between Clinton and Henry streets, was a small 
cottage occupied, for many years in the early part of 
the present century, by the well-known actress, Mes. 
Chaelotte Mblmoth. 

Mrs. Melmoth was much esteemed for her excellent pri- 
vate character ; and, compelled at length by advancing age 
to leave the stage, she purchased this cottage in the quiet and 
beautiful Red Hook lane, and took boarders. Stuart, the 
artist, was, for a while, an inmate of her family; and his board- 
bills seem to have been paid, in part, at least, with some of 
his inimitable portraits, which adorned Mrs. Melmoth's 
parlor, and one of which, that of Judge Egbert Benson, after- 
wards found its appropriate resting-place upon the waUs of 
the Long Island Historical Society. At this time, also, Or 
subsequently, Mrs. Melmoth kept a school for young ladies 
and children at her residence, her pupils mostly belonging to 
the Cutting, Cornell, Pierrepont, (John) Jackson, and Luquer 
families. Some of these children, now men and women 
grown, arestillliving, and enjoy very pleasant and respectful 
memories of their old school-mistress, with whom they 
boarded during the week, returning to their respective homes 
on Saturday to spend the Sabbath. The nearest neighbor was 
Mr. Suydam's, where they took turns in going daily for milk, 
wherewith to furnish the suppan and milk, which was a 
favorite article of food. Her family consisted of herself, her 
friend Miss Butler, and two aged Dutch negro-slaves, a man 
and a woman. In person, she was fleshy and heavy, some- 
what dignified in manner, but kind in word and deed. She 
always spoke with emphasis, and was esteemed by her 
patrons as peculiarly successful in advancing her pupils in 
reading and elocution. After a residence of some ten or 
twelve years in Brooklyn, she died here, in October, 1833, aged 
73 years, much regretted by her friends, and was interred in 
the burial-ground of St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York city. 

After her decease the house was converted into a 
tavern, which became a favorite resort for the dissi- 
pated young men of the town, who there indulged in 
drinking, eating oysters, raffling for turkeys, geese, etc., 
their orgies being carried on with a freedom to which 
the retired character of the spot was peculiarly con- 

Beyond Mrs. Melmoth's, on the westerly side of Red 
Hook lane, was a high and beautiful elevation, which 
sloped gently off to the river, and which was subse- 
quently known as Prospect hill, or Hoyt's hill, from its 
owner, Mr. Charles Hoyt, who first (about 1826) pushed 
streets through it, and brought it into the market. It 
is said that the first lithographic property-maps, since 
so commonly used among real-estate men, were made 
to illustrate this property. On the highest point of 
this, elevation, Mr. James W. Moulton, the accom- 
plished historian of our State, erected a very elegant 
residence of the Gothic style, which, upon his removal 
to Roslyn, L. I., was purchased and occupied by A. J. 
Spooner, Esq. The extension of Summit street in- 
volved its destruction. 

The road made a bend between Rapalje and Coles 
streets, on the line of Hicks, around to the residence 
and mill of Nicholas Luquer. The long, low and cozy- 
looking homestead was surrounded by trees, through 
whose branches a pleasant breeze seemed always to 
play. It fronted the mill-pond, wherein Mr. Luquer, a 
thin French-looking man, raised oysters of extraordi- 
nary size and delicacy. His mill (called on Ratzer's 
map the I. Seabring mill) was mostly employed for 
grinding grain for the use of Mr. Pierrepont's distillery 
at the foot of Joralemon's lane. Between Luquer's resi- 
dence and mill, and in about the line of the present 
Coles street, ran a road down to Jordon Coles' tide- 
mills. Coles' mill-pond, like that of Luquer, was con- 
structed artificially. Across the road, near Coles' house, 
was a gate, which prevented cattle from straying on to 
Red Hook. Prom Luquer's mill, at corner of present 
Hicks and Huntington streets, the road turned to the 
corner of the present William and Columbia streets, 
crossed Bull creek, Koenties- kill, or Cow's creek, and, 
by a bridge, the stream which divided Red Hook from 
the mainland. 

Red HooJc was, at that time, in the possession of 
Matthias and Nicholas Van Dyke. The southern por- 
tion of the Hook was a high hill covered with locust, 
poplar, cedar, and sassafras-trees. This hill was cut 
down, in 1835, by Messrs. Dikeman, Waring and Un- 
derbill, for the purpose of filling up the neighboring 
mill-ponds, lower ground and drowned marsh. There 
were, on the island proper, only six buildings. On the 
extreme south-western point, known as Powder-house 
point, was a brick powder-house erected by Messrs. 
Jeromus Johnson, Charles J. Howell, and John Hoff 
(afterwards surveyor of the port of New York), who 
purchased from the Van Dycks an acre of land for that 



purpose. Johnson and his associates had formerly a 
powder-house upon a little island, called " Cornell's 
island," situated about five hundred yards north of 
Bull creek, but this had been washed away by the tide. 
On the northern end of the island was the dwelling of 
the Van Dyck brothers; on the east side, their two 
mills and a small house occupied by the miller. Mat- 
thias' mill was known as " Ginger-mill," from its 
being used solely in the grinding of that article; while 
Nicholas' was called the "Flour," or "Tide-mill." 
The large adjoining mill-pond extended to Boomties 
Hook, and was famous for its fine oysters. The brothers 
Van Dyke always lived together in the same house — 
Nicholas being a bachelor. Matthias died first, and his 
estate was sold in 1834, under a decree of the court of 
chancery, to parties who organized the Red Hook 
Building Co., having for its object the sale of the lands, 
and the issuing of stocks, at one dollar per share, 
redeemable at a half per cent, discount in Wall street. 
The undertaking, however, proved too heavy for those 
who had undertaken it; and, in 1835, it was taken hold 
of by Messrs. Voorhees, Stranahan & Co., who organ- 
ized the well known Atlantic Dock Company, and 
erected thereon the extensive warehouses and stores 
known as the Atlantic Docks. 

Along the western side of the Hook, at low water, 
was a large flat, extending up to Pierrepont's distillery 
at the foot of Joralemon'g lane. Northward, along the 
shore of the East river, were the following farms, all 
lying between the river and Red Hook lane, viz. : 

I. CorweS's, previously alluded to in passing down 
Red Hook lane, which formed its eastern boundary. 

n. Parmenus Johnson's estate, lying between the 
river and the lane, and extending from Baltic nearly to 
Congress street. Mr. Johnson came from Oyster Bay, 
L. I., about 1818, and purchased sixteen acres of the 
old Rynier Suydam farm; to which he added forty or 
more acres by filling in and docking out upon his water 
front. The old Rynier Suydam house, a venerable 
Dutch edifice, stood on the site of Mr. Johnson's pres- 
ent residence, on the corner of Hicks and West Baltic 
streets, surrounded with pear-trees a century old; and 
the water, at that time, came up as high as the present 
line of Henry street. 

HI. The estate of Cornelius Heeney. 

IV. Ralph Patche7i's farm, extending from Congress 
to District (now Atlantic) street. He was one of the 
old Fly Market butchers, an honest man, but rough in 
conversation, and at times very severe and personal; he 
had, however, the confidence of his fellow-citizens, who 
several times placed him in public office. He purchased 
the distillery of Isaac Cornell, and the land of William 
Cornell. The large dock near his distillery was long 
known as Patchen's dock; and his residence was on the 
line of the present Hicks street, a few doors south of 

V. The Joralemon estate, extending from the East 

river to the lane, and from about 100 feet north of pres- 
ent State street, to Joralemon's lane. This was pur- 
chased, in 1803, by Tunis Joralemon, from the executors 
of Philip Livingston, Esq. 

Tunis Joealemon, a native of New Jersey, was born in 
1760, and was, for a while, a harness and saddle-maker near 
Fiatbush. After his purchase of the Livingston estate, he 
devoted his attention to his garden ; sold milk and vegetables 
in the New York market, and was a prominent man in the 
Dutch church. He was, at one time, justice of the peace, 
and a trustee of the village in 1817, '18, '19, '20, '31. In per- 
son he was tall, slim and slightly bent ; his austere features 
strongly resembling the portraits of Dante, the great Italian 
poet. He was indeed of Italian descent, and his manner ener- 
getic and determined. He was most obstinately opposed to 
having streets opened through his farm. In 1826 Mr. Charles 
Hoyt forced Henry street thi-ough it, which was the com- 
mencement of the spread of land-speculation in Brooklyn. 
Shortly afterwards Mr. Pierrepont, who had laid out a street 
through his own estate, called Clinton street (because it was 
projected at the time that that celebrated statesman suc- 
ceeded in carrying out his great project of the canal), endeav- 
ored to force it through Joralemon's land by action of the 
village trustees. Mr. Joralemon opposed it bitterly, mainly 
because he disliked Clinton and his hig ditch, and did not 
wish a street named after him. He died in 1840, leaving 
behind him the name of an honest man, and a property 
which, at the time, was estimated as worth from six to seven 
hundred thousand dollars. In 1841 the old Livingston man- 
sion, which he had so long occupied, was destroyed by fire. 
Two mayors of Brooklyn, the Hon. Samuel Smith and Hon. 
T. Gr. Talmadge, married daughters of Mr. Joralemon. 

Livingston street, and, also, Sidney Place, were laid 
out on the old map of 1801, by which the Livingston 
farm was sold — but no names were then affixed, they 
being simply called new roads. 

Along the river-front of Joralemon's property lay 
what was called " the Fishing-place," it having been, from 
time immemorial, a favorite resort of the towns-people 
to draw their nets for fish; and it is said that Mr. Liv- 
in ston, the former owner of the Joralemon estate, was 
accustomed to grant a privilege to fish at this place, at 
a stipulated price per day. 

The region along the Broohlyn and Ilatbush turn- 
pike {Fulton and Flathush avenues), to the town-line; 
along the Brooklyn and Jamaica Turnpike [Fulton 
avenue), to Bedford Corners; and, down the Fort 
Greene road to the Wallabout, may now be noticed. 
The old Ferry road has been described as far as the 
junction of the present Fulton street, Myrtle avenue, 
and Washington street. Myrtle avenue had not been 
opened, although its germ existed in a little street 
called Myrtle street, which extended only a short dis- 
tance eastwardly from the main road. A little way 
from this Myrtle street, on the north side of the road, 
and elevated several feet above its level, on the site of 
the Halsey buildings, was Nicholas Rouse's grocery 
store and garden. Nicholas was a German, who had 
been for many years a resident of the village, and was 
much respected. His whole yard was covered by a 



fine grape-vine,wliicli bore abundantly ; and the citizens 
of Brooklyn were wont, during the warm summer 
months, to resort here in great numbers to partake of his 
excellent mead-cakes ; while, in autumn, they sought the 
grateful shades of his arbor, to enjoy the delicious 
grapes and the fine prospect; there being, at that time, 
no houses between his place and the Wallabout. After 
Brooklyn began to improve, and new streets were 
opened and old ones repaved, it disturbed Mynheer 
Rouse so that he removed to New York. 

Beyond Rouse's, near the point of the present Wil- 
loughby street, stood the large and pleasantly willow- 
shaded residence of Mr. Nathaniel Howland, father of 
George S. Howland. On the point, now occupied by 
Jones' Building, where the L. I. Savings Bank is located, 
stood Ralph Malbone's grocery. Immediately adjoin- 
ng this was Rowland's rope- 
walk, extending along the north- 
erly line of the Duffield estate, 
from Fulton to near Bridge 
street. From this point, the 
Duffield estate extended along 
the northerly side of the turn- 
pike to about the present junc- 
tion of Duffield street and Ful- 
ton avenue. This estate, like 
the Johnson property, was of a 
triangular shape, its apex rest- 
ing on the site of the present 
City park. 

The old Duffield house (No. 
4, Map b) stood near the west- 
erly corner of the present Duf- 
field street as it enters Fulton 
avenue, and its portrait is well 
jDreserved in the view of the 
old Brooklyn Church elsewhere 
given. During the Revolu- 
tionary war it was occupied by 
the British; and its door-posts 

bore the broad-arrow mark which indicated appro- 
priation to army uses. Its owner, at that time, was 
Mr. Johannes De Bevoise, who received it as a 
wedding-day gift from his father. He was clerk of 
the town, and, for many years also, of the old Dutch 
church, which stood near by ; and his residence very 
naturally became the Dominie's house, where the minis- 
ters were always expected to stay for rest and refresh- 
ment between church services on the Sabbath ; for 
receiving applications for baptism, membership, etc. ; 
for meeting the consistory, church-masters and others, 
and for attending generally to their official duties when- 
ever they visited Brooklyn. Mr. De Bevoise's wife is 
said to have burned in her oven a large quantity of the 
old church papers and documents, alleging, with house- 
wifely hatred of such lumbering trash, that old papers 
always made so much trouble. Margaret De Bevoise, 

the daughter of the worthy town-clerk Johannes, married 
Dr. John Duffield, an American army-surgeon. 

The private burying-ground of the Duffield family 
(No. 5, Map b) formerly stood upon the southerly side 
of the road, a little westward of the present Gold street. 
When the road was straightened into the present Fulton 
avenue, the little burial-place found itself in the very 
centre of the avenue, and was blotted out of existence. 

From the corner of the present Duffield street, to the 
junction of the present Fulton and De Kalb avenues, 
the Samuel Fleet estate fronted on the turnpike, stretch- 
ing back to the site of the present City park. 

The name of Fleet seems to have been a slight change 
from that of the English ancestor of the family, Admiral 
Fleetwood. During the emigration which followed the 
troubles between Charles T. and his Parliament, one of that 

Thk Fleet Mansion. 
(Fulton Avenue, corner of Gold Street). 

The erection by the Fleet family of a row of handsome stone-front stores on Fulton avenue, has 
obliterated this fine old-fashioned homestead, with its beautiful lawn and trees, which had so long 
formed a most attractive feature of Brooklyn's principal thoroughfare. 

family, Capt. Thomas Fleet, came from London, accom- 
panied by his family, in his own vessel, and located near the 
head of Huntington Bay, which oflEered peculiar advantages 
for the prosecution of trading operations with the West 
Indies. Some idea may be formed of the growth and extent 
of his business, from the fact that, as early as 1675, he was 
assessed on the rate-list of the Town of Huntington for forty 
vessels, beside land and stock. From 1681-85 he became an 
extensive freeholder ; and, in 1688, was one of the patentees 
named in the patent for lands granted by Governor Dongan. 
Samuel Fleet, the owner of this mansion, was a farmer, 
and made a snug property during the war of 1813, when grain 
and produce were very high ; and, by the purchase of this 
farm, and other property in Brooklyn, became a very wealthy 
man. His life furnished a bright example of uprightness 
and punctuality. 

A little above the present junction of De Kalb and 
Fulton avenues was the Black Horse tavern, kept, for 
many years, by Isaac De Voe, and afterwards owned by 



Robert De Bevoise. Just this side stood the old sycamore 
tree which marked the place where the earth-work line 
of defense crossed the turnpike, in the Revolutionary 
war, and, also, in the war of 1812. 

Beyond, and on the corner of a road which ran east 
to Fort Greene, stood another tavern kept by Charles 
Poling, who was connected with the horse-artillery of 
the county, the members of which generally assembled 
here before parade, etc. Opposite the tavern, which 

7-, ^ 


Showing (by dotted lines) the 
course of the old Brooklyn and 
Jamaica Turnpike, between the 
present City Hall and Bond 


1. Du Flon's "Military Garden." 

2. The Willoughby Mansion. 

3. Site of the Old Dutch Church. 

4. The Duffleld House. (See also 

picture ol the Old Dutch 
Church— chapter on Ecclesv- 
skmUcal History nf. Kings 

5. The Duffleld family burial- 


N. B. — The squares, in light 
lines, indicate the sites of old 
houses removed by the opening 
of the present Fulton avenue. 











; I 



faced on this side of the road, was a hay-scales, bear- 
ing, in an niche, high upon its front, in an oval, an 
excellent profile, designed for, and understood to be, 
during the Revolution, that of King George III. When 
peace was again restored, however, it was found to be 
expedient, in order to save it from harm, to inscribe 
upon it the name of Franklin, and it ever after passed 
for a bona-Jide representation of that American. 
The road before mentioned as passing eastward, past 

Poling's tavern, led to a house on Fort Greene occu- 
pied by a milkman named George McCloskey, who was 
the father of the present Roman Catholic Cardinal 
archbishop of New York. 

From McCloskey's house the road ran northwardly 
until it entered the Newtown turnpike, near the east- 
erly termination of the Wallabout bridge, about at the 
junction of the present Flushing and Portland avenues 
where a toll-gate controlled the travel over both roads. 
A little south of the easterly end of the bridge was a 
mill ; and over the Wallabout Flats was another wind- 
mill. Proceeding along the Newtown turnpike, on the 
south side was the dwelling of William Cornell (son of 
old Whitehead Cornell), who owned a valuable farm 
lying east of the toll-bridge, and which included a part 
of Fort Greene. 

Beyond Uncle Billy's house, on both sides of the New- 
town turnpike, to the town line between Brooklyn and 
Bushwick, there were only some ten houses, occupied 
by farmers, milkmen, and gardeners. 

Beyond Poling's tavern, on the Jamaica turnpike, 
were three or four small dwellings and a carriage-shop, 
before coming to the estate of John Jackson, extending 
along the easterly side of the turnpike, from a point . 
opposite the junction of Livingston street and present 
Flatbush avenue, to the southerly side of Hanson place. 
His residence was located on the north-east corner of 
the present Navy street and Lafayette avenue, while 
back, on the line of Raymond street and Lafayette ave- 
nue, were his barns, stables and gardens. 

Retracing our steps, now, to Red Hook lane, we find 
on the southerly side of the turnpike, at the corner 
of Boerum and Fulton streets, a short distance back 
from the street, a two-story framed house, occupied at 
that time by Christopher Codwise. It was built by Dr. 
Benjamin Lowe, brother of the Rev. Peter Lowe, 
interred at Flatbush. 

Beyond this was the residence of Tunis Johnson; then 
the grave-yard belonging to the Dutch- church ; then, 
with a considerable intervening space, an old frame 
house, shaded in front by two enormous black- walnut 
trees, and occupied by one Voorhis, who kept a carriage 
and blacksmith -shop nearly adjoining his residence. 
Then, opposite the Jackson estate, the residence of 
George Powers, who purchased this farm from Michael 
Grant Bergen, who emigrated to Nova Scotia, with many 
other loyalists, shortly after the close of the Revolu- 
tionary war. 

GrEORGE Powers, Senior, demands at least a line of record. 
Although tradition says he was a Hessian soldier during the 
Revolution, an examination of the subject proves that he was 
not of those hirelings ; but, on the other hand, he was among 
those who suffered much for their love of country. Before 
the Revolution he was a butcher in the old Fly Market, from 
which, in 1774, he advertised a run-away. On the breakiug 
out of the Revolution, he took sides with the Sons of Liberty, 
and joined the Brooklyn Troop of Horse, under Capt. Adolph 
Waldron, then an inn-holder, at Brooklyn Ferry. When 



his company was ordered off Long Island, Powers and several 
others crossed the sound, from Huntington to Norwalk, 
leaving their horses behind, which were lost to them ; and 
we find these men in Dutchess county, in October, 1776, in 
destitute circumstances ; when they received their pay from 
the Convention. In 1782, before the termination of the war, 
although it was known to be near. Powers returned to Brook- 
lyn, where he again commenced business. His early return 
gave him many advantages in establishing a profitable busi- 
ness before the British troops left tlie country ; also, there 
were offered many opportunities for investing a small amount 
of money in various ways, as in teams of horses and cattle, 
wagons, etc., which the retreating British troops could not 
carry away with them. These investments, after a few years, 
returned large profits. His gains were laid out principally 
in landed property in the town, which afterwards became 
very valuable. 

Just beyond Powers' was the old toll-gate before 
mentioned, which stood a little south of the present 
Hanson place, and about seventy-five feet west of St. 
Felix street. Some one hundred and fifty yards to the 
southward of the toll-gate stood the old John Cowen- 
hoven house, a large heavy building of the Dutch type, 
with hump-backed roof, shaded by enormous willows and 
fronting south. Its location may be described as being 
on the west side of Fort Greene place, about one hundred 
and sixty feet north of Atlantic avenue, and with its 
gable on the Flatbush turnpike; it was pulled down 
only a few years since. 

About two hundred feet south of the Cowenhoven 
house stood Baker's tavern, associated with the battle of 
Brooklyn, as being the point at which the long flanking- 
maroh of the British army finally ended on that day. A 
fine view of this building, more lately known as the old 
Bull's Head tavern, will be found in the Srooldyn Cor- 
poration Manual for 1867. 

From the southerly side of the Flatbush turnpike, be- 
yond the toll-gate, a road branched off, at about the 
present junction of Flatbush and Fifth avenues, to 
Growanus. The Flatbush turnpike swept along, through 
fields and woods, up to the top of Flatbush hill, through 
what is now Prospect Park, and down the hill to a 
building in the hollow known as the "Valley Grove tav- 
ern" — nesEr the boundary line between Flatbush and 
Brooklyn. At this point (about the corner of present 
Eleventh avenue and First street, as laid out on city 
maps, before Prospect Park was designed), it met a road 
running westward (nearly in line of the present First 
street), to a point in the middle of block now bounded 
by Fourth and Fifth avenues and Macomb and First 
streets, where it met the Gowanus road, just mentioned, 
as well as the road to Denton's and Freeke's mills. 
This, known as the old Post-road, from a very early 
period, and memorably connected with the history of 
the battle of Long Island, was also familiarly known, 
by latter generations, as the Shun-pike road; for, by 
travelling this route to Red Hook lane, the inhabitants 
of Flatbush, and others going to and from Brooklyn, 
avoided the toll-gate upon the Flatbush turnpike. 

On the Flatbush turnpike, between the toll-gate and 
the Flatbush and Brooklyn boundary line, the only 
buildings were the " Valley Grove tavern," above men- 
tioned; another about five hundred yards to the west- 
wai-d, called the "Farmer's Resort and Citizen's Retreat;" 
a small building in the woods on the top of the hill; a 
small house about half-way down the (Brooklyn) side of 
the hill; and another near the junction of the Flatbush 
and Jamaica roads, now Elliott place and Atlantic 
avenue. These were all on the easterly side of the road. 
Of that portion of the road which passed through what 
is now Prospect Park, it may be said that it was then 
almost uninhabitable on account of the agues, fall fev- 
ers, and other malarious diseases arising from the several 
stagnant ponds, hidden among the thick woods, which 
covered this locality. 

At the junction of the Flatbush and Jamaica roads 
(present Atlantic avenue and Elliott place) was the 
site, afterward, of the extensive horticultural garden of 
Mr. Andre Parmentier. 

He was a native of Belgium ; was of a highly respectable 
family ; had enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education, 
and was a relative of Anthony Parmentier, who introduced 
the potato in France. Pecuniary losses induced Mr. Parmen- 
tier, who was a merchant, to come to this country, in 1824. 
Stopping a while in New York city, he was finally induced, 
by his passion for botanical pursuits, to devote himself to 
gardening on a f cale heretofore almost unknown in this sec- 
tion. Refusing the superintendence of the once famous Bo- 
tanical Garden of New York, which was urgently pressed 
upon him by Dr. Hosack and others, he selected and pur- 
chased in Brooklyn, this tract of twenty-five acres, lying be- 
tween the Jamaica and Flatbush roads, on the 4th of Octo- 
ber, 1825, for the sum of |4,000. Although beautifully and 
advantageously located, the surface of these grounds was a 
bed of rocks, some of which were used in enclosing the garden 
with a wall. Mr. Parmentier erected a dwelling and garden- 
house, and stocked the land with a great variety of trees and 
plants, useful and ornamental, indigenous and exotic. The 
garden soon grew into importance and attracted large num- 
bers ot visitors, from all quarters. In it theMorus MuUicau- 
lis plant was first introduced into America by Mr. Parmen- 
tier, whose enthusiastic devotion to floral pursuits promised 
brilliantly for his own interests, as well as for the public 
benefit. But, to the great regret of all who knew him, he 
was cut off by death, in 1830. His widow strove hard to 
continue the business ; but failing in consequence of the 
death of her only son, was finally obliged to dispose of the 
trees and plants ; and the grounds, once occupied by their at- 
tractive garden, were cut up into building-lots and streets. 
Mr. Parmentier was, also, an excellent musician, and pos- 
sessed artistic powers of no mean quality. 

From this point the old Jamaica turnpike ran through 
fields, farms and woods, to Bedford-Corners, which was 
a simple, forest-environed cluster of ancient, low-browed 
Dutch houses, presenting a scene of quiet beauty (See 
page 99) which has but lately, and reluctantly, 
yielded its charms to the rude embrace of city im- 
provements. Bedford-Corners was especially the seat of 
the Lefferts family, the principal member of which, 
sixty years ago, was Leffert Lefferts, Esq., or Judge 



Lefferts, as he was usually called, who resided in the 
old Lefferts house on the south-west corner of the cross- 
roads. His biography will be found in the chapter in 
this volume devoted to " The Bench and Bar; " and a 
genealogy of the LefEerts family is given in ^tiUs' His- 
tory of Brooklyn.. 

From Bedford-Corners the Crippkbush road ran 
north-easterly to Newtown; the Clove road (called by 
the British "the Bedford pass") southerly through the 
clove or cleft in the hills, and the Brooklyn and Jamaica 
road, or " Kings' highway," ran easterly. 

That portion of Brooklyn along the Old Qowanu.s 
road to the Denton and Freeche mill-ponds, and thence 

along the Bay shore to the New Utrecht tovm-line, re- 
mains to be described. 

This road, which was established in 1704, left the 
Flatbush turnpike just above the toll-gate, and ran 
southerly in the same general direction as the present 
Fifth avenue, until it reached the vicinity of the present 
Fifth street, where it deflected south westerly towards 
the present junction of Middle street with Third avenue, 
thence following the line of that avenue along the 
shore. The first house was a low one-story building on 
the westerly side of the road, in the vicinity of the 
present Dean and Bergen streets. It stood on the low 
ground, at some distance from the road; and, together 

Map of Bedford-Corners in 1766-67. 

(From Ratzer's Survey of 1766- '67, and shows the farm-liues, roads, houses, etc., etc., as then existing.) 

P. Reid (?). I 4. Jeremiah Meserole. 

Teunis Tiebout, 1776. 5. — Johnson. 

Peter Stothoff. | 6. Jacob Ryerson. 

Rem Remsen, afterwards Barent Lefferts. House pulled down 

about 1840. 
Barent Lefferts. 
Michael Vandervoort, 1776: afterwards Jacobus DeBevoise. House 

pulled down recently. 
Cornelius Vanderhoef, afterwards Leffert Lefferts. 
Jeronimus Remsen, afterwards Barent Lefferts and Rem Lefferts 

House pulled down 1838. 
Lambert Suydam, afterwards Daniel Lott, now Chas. Betts House 

pulled down 1856. 
Abraham Van Anden, afterwards Benjamin Hinchman. House 

pulled down 1819. 
Nicholas Blom, afterwards Charles Turnbull, Leffert Lefferts sr 

1791, and John Lefferts. House rebuilt about 1787. ' 

Peter Vandewater. " ' ■ ■ ~ - 


Andris Andriese, Leffert Lefferts, sr., 1774; Leffert Lefferts, jr 
Benjamin and Jacobus Vandewater to Hendrick Fine, 1743 • Fine 

to Jacobus Lefferts, 1753; L. Lefferts, sr. and jr. ' 

H. Fine to Jacobus Lefferts, 1763. Partly from Executors of Andris 

Andriese. House built about 1760. 
Peter Vandewater, Robert De Bevoise. 
Isaac (?) Selover. 
Rem Cowenhoven, Teunis Tiebout, Nicholas Cowenhoven 

Hendrick Suydam, 1791; Leffert Lefferts, jr.. 

32. Rem Vanderbeck and Lambert Andriese, afterwards Barent Lef- 


33. John Cowenhoven, Isaac Cortelyou, and others, being part of first 

division Brooklyn Wood-lands. 

1. The Tiebout house, afterwards occupied by Nicholas Cowenhoven, 

subsequently by Robert Wilson. 
3. The Selover house. 

3. Hem Vanderbeck, afterwards Eobert De Bevoise. 

4. Judge Leffert Lefferts' house, built in 1838, now the residence of J. 

Carson Brevoort, Esq. 
B. Judge Leffeit Lefferts' old house, built about 1753. 
6. N. Blom'a house, rebuilt, 1787, by Charles Turnbull, an officer of the 
r » British army, afterwards occupied by John Lefferts. 
I. Abm. Van Enden's, then B. Hinohman's, and more recently J. P. 


8. Lambert Suydam, afterwards Daniel Lott. 

9. Jeronimus Remsen, then Barent Lefferts, then Rem Lefferts. 

10. The old Bedford village school— afterwards Public School No. 3. 

11. Old house pulled down in 1841. 

12. Michael Vandervoort, afterwards Jacobus De Bevoise. 

13. Bedford village burial-ground— the Lefferts' family burylng-ground 

in the rear. 
If- Old Remsen (?) family burylng-jfround. 

15. Two acres bought by Brooklyn and Jamaica Turnpike Co., for a 


16. Negro burying-ground^ 



witli the farm attached, was the property of Thomas 
Poole, who had purchased it from Thomas Baisley. At 
this period it was occupied by Van Houten, a milkman. 
A little beyond, on the easterly side of the road, and 
in the vicinity of WyckofE and Warren streets, was the 
two-story house of Mr. Willetts, a retired merchant, 
built in a style, and with pretensions, above the ordinary 

The next house on the same side of the road was an 
old one-story building, standing several hundred feet 
back from the road, and with a fine cherry-orchard in 
front, occupied by tenants of Adolphus (or " Dolph ") 
Brower, whose residence stood next, on the same farm, 
near the road. ISTearly opposite, on the west side of 
the road, John Ham built a fine two-story house, 
standing several hundred feet back from the road; and 
there he resided in style so long as the money lasted to 
which he had fallen heir — finally ending his life in pov- 
erty — his last occupation being that of driving a swill- 
cart. Ham's house, erected after 1815, was burned a 
few years j-go. Brewer's and Ham's houses were 
located near the line of the present Butler street. 

On the same side of the road, after passing Brower's 
(near the present Degraw street), was the residence and 
premises of Tom Poole, farmer, milkman and keeper of 
a small grocery and tavern. On the same side of the 
road, close to Poole's, and belonging to him, stood an 
ancient stone house, occupied by tenants. 

On the same side of the road, between the present 
Union and Sackett streets, was Jeremiah (or Jerry) 
Brower's, who owned a few acres, afterwards bought 
by Jaques Cortelyou. 

Next, on the easterly side of the road, in the vicinity 
of President street, was the house of old Theodorus 

On the corner of the Gowanus road and the Post road 
leading to Flatbush (near Macomb street), stood a long 
one-story building, one end occupied as a school-room, 
and the other by a farm-laborer's family. 

On the opposite corner stood William (or Bill) 
Furman's tavern. 

Branching off westerly from the Gowanus road, at 
this point, was the road leading to Denton and 
Freeke's mills. On this were the fine houses, first of 
Xehemiah Denton, near the intersection of the present 
Powers and Carroll streets, and next that of John C. 
Freelce, near the intersection of Nevins and Union 
streets; each having a tide-mill attached to his prem- 
ises. Both of these were flour-mills. Both Denton 
and Freeke had been merchants ; were rich ; and 
among the first in Brooklyn to use coaches, or barouches. 
Freeke's mill, otherwise known as "Brower's," or the 
"old Gowanus mill," was the oldest in the town; and, un- 
til recently, portions of its dam were easily discernible 
between Third and Fourth avenues. Both Denton's 
and Freeke's mill are closely associated vsdth the tragic 
incidients which marked the closing rout of the Ameri- 

can forces, at, the battle of Brooklyn, August 2'7th, 


Denton's pond was the subject of a curious contract 
about 1709, between its original proprietors, Abram 
and Nicholas Brower, and Nicholas Vechte, the builder 
and occupant of the old 1699, or Cortelyou, house. 
With the strong predilection of his race for canals and 
dikes and water-communications, old Vechte added 
the traits of eccentricity and independence. His house 
stood on a bank a few feet above the salt-meadow, at a 
distance of a hundred yards from the navigable waters of 
the creek. To secure access, to them, from his kitchen 
door, Vechte dug a narrow canal to the creek, but the 
ebb-tide often left his boat firmly sunk in the mud, 
when he wished to reach the city market with the pro- 
duce of his farm. He therefore contracted with the 
Browers to supply him with water from their pond; 
and a channel was dug, in furtherance of his scheme, to 
a water-gate, through which his canal was to be flooded. 
The old Dutch farmer was accustomed to seat himself 
in his loaded boat, while it was resting in the mud of 
the empty channel, and hoist his paddle as a signal to 
his negro-servant to raise the gate. The flood soon 
floated his boat, and bore him out to the creek, exulting 
with great glee over his neighbors, whose stranded 
boats must await the next flood. The contract for this 
privilege, as well as another, by which Vechte leased 
the right to plant the ponds with oysters, are in posses- 
sion of Mr. Arthur Benson. 

On the south-west corner of the Gowanus road and 
the road leading to these mills was the house of Joe 
Poole, a shoemaker. Farther down, on the east side of 
the road, was the Cortelyou or Vechte house, already 

On the block between Second and Third streets, and 
about a hundred feet east of Fifth avenue, was a small 
private burial-place, apparently that of the Cowen- 
hoven family. The earliest date of the one or two re- 
maining monuments is that of Nicolms Kowenhoeven, 
February, 1792. 

■ Next, on the west side of the road, and between the 
present Fifth and Sixth streets, was a house, originally 
built by Tunis Tiebout, belonging to Theodorus Polhe- 

Next beyond, on the same side of the road, between 
Ninth and Tenth streets, was the house of Cornelius 
Van Brunt, on a farm which he purchased from the 
Staats family. Opposite to his house, and between 
Eighth and Ninth streets, was the residence of his 
father-in-law. Rem Adriance. 

Next, on the west side of the road, between Thir- 
teenth and Fourteenth streets, was the house of Mr. 
Walter Berry, who, in 1813, was gored to death by a 
bull which he was fattening. In 1816 it was occupied 
by his son Richard. 

On the same side of the road, about on line of present 
Fifteenth street, on the adjoining farm, stood a house 



formerly occupied by Derrick and Deborah Bergen, and 
afterwards by their son-in-law, Joseph (or Josey) Smith. 
This building was originally erected on the Cortelyou 
property, at the Narrows; but was taken apart and 
removed by water to its present site, on the purchase 
of the property by Derrick; his wife, Deborah, being a 
daughter of one of the Narrows' Cortelyous. 

Opposite to Smith's, on the east 'side of the road, stood 
a small house occupied by Tiesje Carson, another 
daughter of Derrick and Deborah Bergen, and widow 
of Ebenezer Carson. 

The next house on the east side of the road, and still 
standing on Sixteenth street, was that of Rachel Derry, 
widow of Walter, before named, who, after her hus- 
band's death, built upon her share of her father's (Der- 
rick Bergen) farm. 

On the west side of the road, at the corner of Hamil- 
ton and Third avenues, was the house of Peter Wyc- 
off, occupied by one of his grand-daughters. It stood 
upon the site of the old Van Duyne mansion. 

The next house stood on the east side of the road, 
between the present Twentieth and Twenty-first streets, 
and was occupied by Anthony (or "Tony'") Hulse, the 
owner of a large farm adjacent. A little beyond this 
house, on the same side of the road, stood a one-story 
house, erected before the Revolution, for his son John. 
Across a bridge, which spanned a small stream of 
water that drained the swamp above, was the house of 
George Bennet, on the west side of the road, and, a 
little beyond, the elevation known as Blokje's Bergh. 

Next, on the east side of the road, was the one-story 
stone house of Wynant Bennet, a one-armed man. It 
was built at a very early date, and stood on the edge of 
the road (on the very brink of the cove) on the line- of 
the present Third avenue and Twenty -seventh street. 

The next house was that of the brothers Simon and 
Peter Schermerhorn (see cut on page 84), erected by 
the Bennets prior to 1695, on what is now Third 
avenue, near Twenty-sixth street. A little farther, on 
the same side of the road, in the vicinity of Thirtieth 
street, stood the house occupied by Stephen Hendrick- 
son, son-in-law of George Powers. 

On the adjoining farm, on the westerly side of the old 
road, on the present Third avenue near Twenty-third 
street, stood the house of Garret Bergen— erected, it is 
supposed, some years before the Revolution, by one of 
the Bennets; but enlarged and rebuilt about 1800, after 
the property came into possession of Teunis Bergen 
father of Garret. This Garret was generally known as 
Squire Bergen, having for many years held the office of 
justice of the peace, as also that of anassistant judge of 
the county. He was noted for keeping peace among his 
neighbors; always refusing a warrant while the appli- 
cant was in a passion, and putting him oflf, until he had 
cooled down, after which an amicable settlement was 
generally effected with ease. He was an elder in the 
church, and a truly upright man, whose word was as 

good as his bond, and whose conscientious life was ad- 
mired and respected by all who knew him. His sons 
were the late Hon. Tunis G., favorably known as a pub- 
lic man, and an industrious genealogist ; Peter G. a 
merchant in New York ; John G., the late able and 
popular police commissioner ; and Garret G., a farmer. 
His only daughter married Mr. Tunis S. Barkeloo. 

At the time of the Revolution, the Bennets owned 
the water-front on the Gowanus cove, from Twenty- 
fifth to Thirty-seventh streets, inclusive, and it was 
probably between Thirty-second and Thirty-seventh 
streets that the British reinforcements landed during 
the progress of the battle of Brooklyn. 

The next house was that of the children of John 
Cropsey. It was a one-story framed building, with a 
wing on its easterly side, and stood near the easterly 
corner of the Gowanus road and Marten's lane, at a 
point on the present thirty-fifth street about half way 
between Third and Fourth avenues. 

In the wing of the house they kept a store and a 
small tavern, and had a blacksmith's shop on the corner 
of the road. It is believed that a tavern, known as " The 
Red Lion," was kept in this building during the Revolu- 

On the opposite corner of Marten's lane stood a small 
house occupied by Gysbert Bogert, a fisherman. 

Next, on the same side of the road, on a plot of 
about an acre, stood the house of Abraham Bennet, de- 
ceased, occupied by Caty, his widow. 

Beyond Abraham's house stood that of his brother 
Anthony, also, on a lot of about an acre, afterward 
owned by Abraham Tysen, a Jerseyman, who carried 
on shoemaking and tanning; his vats being located in 
the low ground near the edge of the meadow. 

On the land of Simon Bergen, on the same side of 
the road as the last house, and about a hundred feet 
beyond it, stood the school-house of District No. 2, an 
old one-story framed building. The predecessor of 
this school, and the first in the district, was a log 
house, which stood near the swinging-gate leading to 
John S. Bergen's, between Second and Third avenues, 
near Forty-fourth street. About seventy years ago 
the school was kept by an Irishman named Hogan, who 
fell in love with one of his female scholars, and made 
an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide, by cutting 
his throat, because neither she nor her parents would 
listen to his proposals. After Hogan, the school was 
taught by a man named Cisley, who, to punish his 
scholars, made a fool's-cap, with a red face, ram's 
horns at the sides, and a cow's tail hanging down be- 
hind (the latter articles procured at Tysen's tannery), 
which he placed upon the head of the offenders, and 
then had him, or her, escorted around the neighbor- 
hood by two of the larger scholars. This, however, 
did not operate long ; for, one day, while they were 
thus exhibiting a daughter of Stephen Hendriokson, 
Mrs. Headrickson happened to meet them, and straight- 



way seizing the scarecrow cap, rent it into tatters, and 
threatened the pedagogue with her direst vengeance, if 
such a punishment as that was ever tried on again. 
After the failure of his fool's-cap experiment, Cisley 
used to punish the children by locking them up in the 
garret, or loft of the school-house, which had no win- 
dow, and was entered by a trap-door. This, however, 
was no great punishment for the youngsters, who 
amused themselves during confinement in various ways ; 
among others, by chasing and arousing the flying-squir- 
rels which had their nests behind the chimney. 

Next, was the old De Hart house (see cut, page 83), 
owned by Simon Bergen, who had previously built on 
the hill, west of the old house, a new habitation in 
modern style. Both houses stood on the shore of the 
bay, on the westerly side of the road, and were 
approached through a common lane. Simon was con- 
sidered a rich man, and a good horseman, generally 
driving a spirited team in such style as, on some 
occasions, to excite the apprehensions of his wife 
Jannetje, whose remonstrances he would effectually 
silence by offering her the reins. 

Next was the swinging-gate, leading to a small house 
on the shore of the bay, near Forty-third street, the 
residence of John S. Bergen, a brother of Simon. 

The next house was that of Wynant Van Pelt, 
which stood on the east side of the road, between Forty- 
seventh and Forty-eighth streets — a small building, 
which had never been troubled by the painter. 

After passing this we come to the lane leading to the 
old Van Pelt mansion, a low roofed one-story house, 
then occupied by Henry Van Pelt; and, also, to a 
small modern-built house occupied by Tunis Van 
Pelt, both located near the bay and Forty-seventh 

On the main road, on its east side, near present Forty- 
eighth street, was a shabby-looking dwelling, the house 
of Christopher (or " Chris."), another of the sons of 
Wynant Van Pelt. 

Further along, on the west side of the road, was the 
swinging-gate and lane leading to Peter Bergenia, 
whose house, a modern two story erection, with a base- 
ment, stood on the banks of the bay, near Fiftieth street. 

Then a lane led to the house of Michael Bergen, a 
modern one-story building, standing on the bay, near 
Fifty-third street. 

The next lane led to the house of Theodorus, a son of 
Michael, and cpmmonly known as Dorus Bergen, an 
ancient one-story building, partly constructed of stone, 
on the bay, near Fifty-first street. 

Beyond his lane was that leading to Tunis (or Major) 
Bergen's, the last house within the bounds of the town 
of Brooklyn, a two-story building, with a wing, yet 
standing on the bay, near Fifty-eighth street. 

The most fashionable style of houses among the 
wealthier farmers of the county, about the beginning of 
the present century, and of which there are many speci- 
mens yet extant, was a main building of about one story 
and a half in height, without attic windows, the second 
story gaining its light from gable windows; the roof, 
with a double pitch, extending over the eaves some four 
or five feet, in a curved manner, so as to form a piazza 
and cover the front and rear stoops, but without 
columns for support. A wide hall ran through the 
centre of the house, with two, and in some instances 
three, rooms on each side of the hall, the upper story 
being somewhat similarly divided. A wing was gener- 
ally added for a kitchen. On this general plan were 
the Tiebout, WyckofF, George Bennett, G. Bergen, J. 
Bergen and M. Bergen houses. 



ISlY. — The winter of this year was unusually severe. 
The harbor was at one time dosed by ice, both at the 
Narrows and at Hell Gate ; and foot-passengers crossed 
on the ice near the ferry. 

There was much distress among the poor, and a 
Brooklyn Humane Society was formed for their relief. 
It was dissolved within a year, because, as was believed, 
" habits of imprudence, indolence, and dissipation, and 
consequently pauperism," were engendered by its well- 
intended efforts. 

Town meetings were held during the year to take 
measures against the storage of powder at Fort Greene, 
and with reference to ferry-rights, concerning which 
disagreements arose between the people and the ferry- 

The name of " Old Ferry street " was changed to IM,- 
ton street by the trustees. At the first municipal elec- 
tion, William Furman, Henry Stanton, Tunis Joralemon, 
and Noah Waterbury were chosen trustees. In June 
the village was visited by President Monroe. 

1818. — A survey of the village was made by Jeremiah 
Lott and William M. Stewart, assisted by Gabriel Fur- 
man, the historian, and John Cole. The boundaries 
were, on the south. District street (since Atlantic 
street), Red Hook lane, Fulton street, and thence a 
straight line to the head of Wallabout Bay. This sur- 
vey, which was adopted by the trustees, was completed 
at a cost of five hundred dollars. Sign-boards were put 
up at the corners of the streets at an expense of $50. 

1819. February. The village was visited by General 



Andrew Jackson. In March of this year the County 
Clerk's office was removed hither from Flatbush. The 
danger from powder-magazines at Fort Greene again 
agitated the public mind, and a committee to abate the 
nuisance was appointed. Thomas Birdsall succeeded 
Joel Bunce as postmaster in October of this year. An 
Agricultural Society was formed in the county. 

1820. — The population of the village was .5,210, 
according to the census. Daily mails were established 
in May between this village and New York, as well as 

It is recorded that several whales appeared this year 
near Sandy Hook, and that one, nearly seventy feet in 
length, was taken and towed into a slip at the foot of 
Pineapple street, where it was exhibited to those who 
wished to feast their eyes and regale their noses, till the 
stench became unbearable. 

1821. March. The first number of the Long Island 
Patriot appeared. It was edited and published by George 
L. Birch. 

Levels of the village were taken by Jeremiah Lott, 
and a compensation of $250 was awarded by the 

The number of buildings in the village this year was 
867. Of these 96 were groceries and taverns. Accord- 
ing to Furman there were, within the same limits, at the 
close of the Revolution, fifty-six buildings. 

1822. — Sands street was this year paved, and in 
March, in compliance with a petition from the inhabit- 
ants, the trustees directed that the houses on Fulton, 
Main, Front, Hicks and High streets, should be num- 
bered, at the expense of their owners. It was, also, an- 
nounced that a graveled side-walk and curb-stones 
would be made in Fulton street, to the extremity of the 
village, near Military Garden. Fifty dwelling-houses 
were erected in the village this year. 

March 13th, the First Presbyterian Ghurch was 

In May of this year Alden Spooner published the 
first BrooJdyn Directory. A Medical Society was 
established in Kings county. 

On the 25th of July the corner-stone of the Jirst 
Roman Catholic Church (St. James) was laid in Jay 
street, the society being incorporated on the 20th of 
November following. 

In September precautionary measures were adopted 
by the trustees to prevent the introduction into the vil- 
lage of the yellow fever, then just making its appear- 
ance in New York; and the business of that city being 
necessarily transferred to Greenwich village, the steam 
ferry-boat Nassau plied regularly between that village 
and Brooklyn. 

1823. March 3d, a severe storm occurred, which blew 
away the rope-walks of Joshua Sands and N. L. Mar- 
tin, and did much other damage. 

June 5th. Spooner's Brooklyn Directory, second 
issue, estimates a gain of 190 families during the year 

The population of the town at this time was 
about 9,000 ; that of the village 7,000. During this 
spring Henry street was opened. 

In July, also, one of the public stores attached to 
the Custom-house of the port of New York was moved 
to the village of Brooklyn, and kept in a three-story 
fire-proof building, on Furman street, erected by Jona- 
than Thompson, collector of New York. This was the 
first, and for many years the only, bonded warehouse in 
Brooklyn, and was situated on the dock on Furman 
street near Cranberry street. (Map c, i). Another 
addition to the prosperity of the place was the erec- 
tion of a laboratory for the manufacture of whiting 
and colors, by Hiram & Arthur Hunt, situated near 
Isaac Cornell's distillery, and named The Nassau Whit- 
ing and Color Manufactory, and Furmanh Mss. record 
that, on the Ist of August, there were no less than 53 
vessels at the wharves of Brooklyn, besides eight 
vessels in the United States Navy-yard. On the 28th 
of this month the Apprentices Library was organized, 
which may be considered the event of the year. 

The village had been visited, in 1803 and 1809, 
by epidemics of yellow fever. The first, which oc- 
curred in a year of uncommon salubrity, broke out at 
the Wallabout settlement, near the navy-yard, where 
two vessels from infected ports had discharged their 
bilge water. In this epidemic seventeen persons were 
attacked, of whom six died. 

In the summer of 1809, another remarkably healthy 
season, the second epidemic occurred, traceable to a 
ship from Havana, which landed at Sands' lower dock, 
between Fulton and Catherine street ferries. In this 
case much discussion arose as to its cause, not all of 
which was entirely courteous in its character. Twenty- 
eight deaths occurred. 

During this summer (1823) Brooklyn was again 
visited by the yellow fever. It was supposed by some 
to have been imported into the village by the ship 
Diana, or the brig Trio, which had lost her mate at 
sea by the same disease. The Diana, however, seems 
to have been fairly cleared, by concurrent testimony, 
from the imputation. Many inhabitants were disposed 
to trace the infection to certain stores belonging to 
Samuel Jackson and George Hicks, in which were 
stored large quantities of fish, from which arose an al- 
most insupportable stench. The first case occurred on 
August 22d, in a house on Furman street (Map c, s), 
and was fatal. In the same dwelling seven persons 
subsequently sickened, two of whom died ; and two 
who had removed from the house were attacked and 
died at a place in Nassau street near the Alms house in 
the back part of the village. Another who was ascer- 
tained frequently to have passed through the infected 
district, and, as it was believed, had frequently visited 
the house on Furman street (Map c, g), died at the 
Mansion house on Columbia street. On the same street, 
also (Map c, d), John Wells, Esq., an eminent member 



of the New York bar, expired on the 7 th of September. 
Another fatal case occurred on Furman street (Map 
c, e), above the cooper's shop of F. Tuttle (Map o, m) ; 
another on the same street, near Caze and Richaud's 
distillery, which recovered ; and a case at Toby Phil- 
pot's, a public tavern on Furman street, recovered. A 
young woman, also from Furman street, died in Pearl 
near Nassau street ; and two cases of sickness occurred, 
one without the infected district, and one who sickened 
on board the Diana, of which her husband was captain, 
and was reported to the New York Board of Health, 
and the health-officer attributed her illness rather to 
the atmosphere of that part of Brooklyn where the 

Map C— of Yellow Fever District, 1822, 
OopiecJ from one, in Gabriel Furman's Mss. Notes. 
A.— Wharf and store of Samuel Jaoksoa and George Hicks. 
11.— Where the ship Diana lay. 
G.— House where the fever appeared. 
D.— Residence of John Wells, Esq. 
E.— House where Thomas Orx sickened and died. 
X.— Mansion house, owned by Alex. Robinson, Esq., and in which John Ward, Esq, 

gff.— Fences erected by the Trustees. 
H.— Toby Philpot's, 
T.— Stone store of Henry Waring. 
K. — Thomas Armstrong's tavern. 
1.— Jonatlian Thompson's brick store. 
M.— Furman Tuttle's, and Mrs. Vanderveer's. 
N. — Residence of S. S. Newman. 
0.— Henry Waring's house. 
"^P.— David Kimberly's house. 

QQ.— Step-ladder to ascend the hill, from Furman street. 
R.— Road up the hill. 

ship lay, to which she imprudently exposed herself in 
the night, than to any infection in the ship. The last 
death occurred on September 22d, just one month from 
the day of the iirst death, and on the same day the 
fences (Map c, g, g), which had been erected at each 
end of the infected district, were removed by the 
trustees. The ravages of the disease may be briefly 
summed up, as follows : 19 cases, of which 10 were 

Oct. 15th, the' Mr St Baptist Church in BrooJdynvfBts, 

1824. This year Brooklyn's career of progress may 

be said to have fully commenced. Awaking suddenly, 
as it were, to an appreciation of the resources and ad- 
vantages which they possessed, and flattered by the 
evidences of prosperity everywhere apparent, its inhabi- 
tants agitated great improvements. Streets and roads, 
hitherto considered as good enough, were now voted to 
be insufiicient, and nuisances ; and, as vast mounds of 
earth vanished before the steady approach of pick and 
spade, new avenues and streets, nearly all of which 
were re-graded and paved, sprang into existence with 
the suddenness of magic. Here and there, also, at pri- 
vate expense, a lamp was hung out, serving only to 
make darkness more grimly visible ; and the imperfect 
water-courses, which ran through the middle 
of the streets, were replaced by carefully con- 
structed side gutters. A commodious market 
was built, a village watch was organized, a 
municipal court established, and the eflScient 
force of the fire-department nearly doubled. 
More attention was paid to everything relat- 
ing to the village government; and the village 
authorities, whose functions had previously 
been quite limited, were reassured by the 
growing public interest, and strengthened by 
various subsequent acts of legislation, so that 
their action became gradually more decided 
and eflicient. On every side, buildings arose 
of higher architectural pretensions and beauty 
than those which had preceded them ; and, 
led on by the enterprise of Dr. Charles Ball, 
followed by Z. Lewis, A. Van Sinderen, and 
others, the village began to assume a more 
elegant and creditable appearance. Every- 
where the evidences abounded that the hither- 
to shiftless stand-still village was too near the 
heart of the leviathan metropolis, not to feel 
its throb, and be quickened by the rush of the 
life-current that circulated through its im- 
mense arteries. From this period the march 
of the village was impetuously forward, never 
stopping, never wavering till its rapid career 
culminated in its incorporation, ten years 
later, as a city. In quick succession, one street 
after another was opened, graded, paved and 
■ lighted ; and radiating countrywards in every 
direction from the Fulton ferry, were daily-increasing 
evidences that there was a reality and a soundness in 
all this prosperity, that fully attested its permanence. 

Brooklyn had now come to be the third town in 
the State, and the sixteenth in the United States ; hav- 
ing in its incorporated part a population of more than 
7,000. An urgent necessity was felt for a bank. Ac- 
cordingly, the Long Island Bank was chartered and 
established during this year, with a capital of $300,000. 
Furman says : " An error will not be committed in 
saying that the growth and prosperity of Brooklyn 
have been largely promoted by this bank." 



January 6th. Brooklyn was designated, in a report 
of the Secretary of the U. S. Navy, as one of the places 
at which the ten first-class navy-yards were recom- 
mended to be established. The BrooUyn Fire Insur- 
ance Company was also incorporated, and the first 
Baptist church established here. 

By acts of the legislature the trustees were consti- 
tuted a Board of Health, and the Brooklyn Fire De- 
partment was incorporated. It was stated that in 1824 
the village contained 865 buildings, and the town 160, 
making a total of 1025, of which 146 were of stone or 
brick. The number of buildings erected during the 
year was 164. The village then contained seven 
churches, eight rope-walks, seven distilleries, two chain- 
cable manufactories, two tanneries, two extensive white- 
lead manufactories, one glass factory, one floor-cloth 
ditto, one card ditto, one pocket-book ditto, one comb 
ditto, one seal-skin ditto, seyen tide and two wind-mills, 
an extensive establishment for the preparation of drugs, 
and articles required for dyeing and manufacturing, 
conducted by Dr. Noyes, late professor of Hamilton 
College, seventy grocery and dry-goods stores, two 
printing establishments, lumber and wood-yards, master 
masons and carpenters. 

The rope- walks manufactured 1,130 tons of cordage 
annually, at an expenditure of |260,000, and employed 
200 persons. The distilleries consumed, on an average, 
'780 bushels of grain per day, at an expense of |368,200 
per annum. The seal-skin factory employed 60 men ; 
pocket-book factory 40 persons ; comb factory 20; the 
card factory, 300 persons ; and other branches in all 
400 to 500 persons. Immense quantities of naval-stores, 
hemp, cotton, India goods, hides, provisions and lumber, 
were stored at Brooklyn. 

Not least among the improvements, which indicated 
that the hitherto shiftless village had woke up, was the 
care which the authorities began to exhibit for the 
removal of nuisances, the cleansing of the streets, 
and other measures pertaining to the health, appear- 
ance and welfare of the place. On tn3 19th of May, 
the trustees passed a law to regulate the cleansing 
of Fulton, Main, Front, Water, Elizabeth and Doughty 
streets, which required that said streets should be 
swept, and the dirt and rubbish collected in heaps 
every Tuesday and Friday morning, between the 
first day of April and the first day of December, 
before ten o'clock, under the penalty of $2 for every 

In May of this year a distillery of spirits of turpen- 
tine was erected at the corner of York and Adams 
streets, by David F. Cooper, Esq. 

Measures were instituted for the establishment of a 
poor-house and hospital. A site near Fort Greene, in- 
cluding 19| acres, was purchased of Leffert Lefferts, 
Esq., for $3,750. The existence of six powder-maga- 
zines in the vicinity of this site was considered objec- 
tionable, and measures were taken to petition the 

legislature for the passage of an act forbidding the 
storage of gunpowder at Fort Greene. 

During the month of June several improvements 
were made in the village. Orange street was opened 
into Fulton street, by taking down the small, ancient 
wooden dwelling-house No. 153 Fulton street. Water 
street, between Main and Washington, and which was 
previously an almost impassable slough, was raised and 
regulated. Prospect street was also regulated. " Here 
the hills literally bow their heads, and the valleys are 
exalted." The rocks in the vicinity of this street, form- 
erly an incumbrance on the ground, were blasted and 
converted into building-stone ; and the ground on the 
hills, before considered of little account, became so 
valuable that boards were erected thereon, inscribed, 
" All persons are forbid taking any of this earth." 

July 1st. Joseph Sprague and Alden Spooner gave 
public notice, by advertisement in the Long Island Star, 
that they, in behalf of themselves and their associates, 
would make application to the legislature of the State, 
at their next session, for an act of incorporation, under 
the style of The Brooldyn Gas light Company, with 
a capital of $150,000, for the purpose of lighting streets, 
dwellings and manufactories with gas. Mr. Sprague 
gives, in his Mss. Autobiography, an interesting account 
of the inception of this enterprise. " About this time," 
says he, " Alden Spooner and myself, for amusement, 
made application for a Gas Light Company, fully aware 
that Brooklyn could not then sustain it. We inserted 
a notice for it, without the least thought of asking the 
legislature to grant it, desirous only to create a little 
sensation. After our notice appeared, another set of 
gentlemen demanded a withdrawal of it, asserting that 
they only were the rightful heirs to such a privilege, 
and declaring that they would drive us from the field. 
Such impertinence roused our Yankee blood to yield to 
no such demand, believing that as citizens we had 
rights. The demand being persisted in, it was deter- 
mined that I should go to Albany for a charter, which 
I did ; and without delay procured its passage through 
the Assembly, when the other gentlemen appeared, with 
counsel, and assured me that I might go home. Know- 
ing that one charter could not be sustained, and two 
much less, I allowed them to pass their bill through the 
Assembly. We were now both in the Senate, where I 
had enough friends, clearly ascertained, by whose ad- 
vice I was warranted in saying to the other gentlemen 
that they might go home with their counsel. They fin- 
ally retired, while I remained, adding by agreement a 
part of them as directors, and thus passed a bill that is 
now giving light to Brooklyn. The stock was all taken 
up and immediately sold at ten per cent, advance, such 
being the misguided zeal, at that time, for any kind of 
stocks. It was amusing to see the estimation of direc- 
tors, claiming great sagacity in counting up the fortunes 
to be made by gas ! It was doubly amusing to see the 
infatuated dignity of the directors in their meetings, 



over a worthless charter ; yet to them a rich placer of 
gold. The directors monopolized nearly all the stock, 
and resolved that no one should sell a share without the 
consent of the board. Various committees were put in 
motion, lots bought for gas-works, plans and estimates 
examined, until the great men of the day became con- 
vinced that to proceed would end in something more 
than gas. At this juncture, I moved that the money 
paid in be refunded, and all operations be discontinued, 
until the increase of Brooklyn should afford a reasonable 
prospect of supporting a gas company, which sugges- 
tion was adopted, and the money honestly returned, 
with interest." 

In July of this year the first iron-foundry in Brook- 
lyn was established by Alexander Birbeck, on Water 
street, between Pulton and Dock streets. 

On the 10th of August, the village was honored by 
a visit from General Lafayette. 

1825. In January a portion of the ground near Fort 
Greene, lately purchased by the town of Brooklyn, was 
appropriated for a cemetery, and divided into conven- 
ient parcels, which were allotted to tlie different relig- 
ious denominations of the town, viz. : Dutch Reformed, 
Friends, Presbyterians, Roman Catholic, Methodist 
Episcopalian, Universalist, Episcopalian, Baptist, and a 
Common Plot. 

February. A flag-stone walk was laid from the gate 
of the Old or Fulton ferry, to the Steamboat Hotel, a 
large wooden building, which stood on the easterly 
corner of Fulton and Water streets, in Brooklyn. It 
was the first walk ever laid to the ferry. 

At this time the five trustees of the village held their 
meeting in a room over a grocery-store (about No. 23), 
within a few doors of Fulton ferry. " It was the cus- 
tom," says the late Mayor Sjarague, one of the trustees, 
" as soon as the board assembled, to order decanters of 
] um, brandy, gin, and crackers and cheese. At the 
close of the year there was an animated discussion, 
-n hether we five trustees should eat a supper of oysters 
a1 the public expense. It was finally decided to be not 
01 ily impolitic, but illegal, and so we ate at our own ex- 
p inse, of one shilling each." Corporation proceedings 
were now first published in the Star; but a motion to 
a llow the editors to copy the minutes of the board for 
publication, was negatived. 

The corner-stone of the new Apprentices Library was 
laid July 4th, of this year, by Gen. Lafayette. 

On the 5th of December, a public meeting was held 
for the purpose of considering a bill proposed by a 
committee for the organization of a city government. 
It was rejected by the meeting, which was adjourned for 
twenty-one years. 

According to the census, the population of the village 
in 1825 was 8,800. The Brooklyn White Lead Com- 
pany, the oldest in the State, was established by the 
brothers Graham. 

1&26. In March the new market in James street was 

commenced. It was completed, and in successful oper- 
ation, about the last of November. Erastus Worthing- 
ton was appointed Postmaster in place of Thomas 

On the 3d of May the board of trustees assembled 
for the first time in the new and recently finished Ap- 
prentices Library building in Cranberry street. The 
erection of this edifice seems to have given a considerable 
impetus to the literary interests of the village, as we find 
that, in August, a library was being collected for col- 
ored people ; and in November following, a free reading 
and conversation-room was established in the basement 
of the library building. 

On the first of May an election took place, under the 
provisions of the amended village act, which gave two 
trustees to each of the five districts, instead of one, as 

The height known as Mount Prospect was this year 
greatly improved by Dr. Evans. Several cottages were 
erected, surrounded by handsome fences, side-walks, etc. ; 
fruit-trees were planted, and the land, by a systematic 
and liberal expenditure, was brought into a high state 
of cultivation. 

A fruitless movement was also made by Mr. Hez. B. 
Pierrepont and others, for the establishment of a park, 
or promenade, along the Heights, which then retained 
much of their original appearance. 

1827. April 1st, the daily publication of the Brook- 
lyn Evening Star was commenced ; but at the end of 
six months it, was discontinued for want of suflicient 
patronage. The Brooklyn Savings Bank was also 
chartered, principally by the eilorts of the friends and 
directors of the Apprentices Library, with a view to 
benefit adult mechanics. 

The first night hoat on the Fulton ferry commenced 
running September 28th of this year. 

1828. In March the proposition was made to light 
Pulton street ; the cost of each lamp being estimated at 
$4.23 per annum. 

April. An ox-cart, owned by the village, and used 
for collecting and removing dirt and garbage from the 
streets, was found so economical, as to cause a proposi- 
tion for the purchase of another. Two months later 
these ox-carts (the suggestion of the worthy president 
of the village, Mr. Sprague) were stated to have fairly 
paid their cost and the labor of gathering the manure. 

May. A theatre was erected, about this time, on Ful- 
ton street, between Nassau and Concord, but was subse- 
quently abandoned, and converted into dwelling-houses. 

1829. May. The Kings Goicnty Sabbath-school 
Society was formed and comprised twenty-three schools 
within the county. Its officers were Nehemiah Denton, 
of Brooklyn, president ; John Terhune, vice-president ; 
N. W. Sandford, 2d vice-president ; Abraham Vander- 
veer, treasurer ; Evan M. Johnson, secretary. Man- 
agers for Flntbush, Messrs. Rev. Meeker, Rouse, 
Strong, Butie, Crookshank and Carroll ; for Klatlands, 



John LeflEerts, Dr. Vanderveer, David Nefus, Johannis 
Remsen ; for Gravesend, B. C. Lake, John S. Garrison ; 
for New Lots, John Williamson, John Vanderveer ; 
for BrooUy7i, Eliakim Raymond, Adrian Hegeman, 
Richard M. White ; for Bushwick, Peter Wyokoff, 
James Halsey. This society was auxiliary to the 
Southern Sabbath-school Union of the State. 

At this time the village contained some 300 youth, 
200 of whom attended the public schools. 

June 4th, the steam frigate Fulton, which had since 
the war been used as a receiving ship, was destroyed at 
its moorings at the Navy-yard by the explosion of the 
magazine. By this accident thirty -three were killed and 
about thirty were wounded. 

In the same month a Temperance Society was organ- 
ized in Brooklyn, with A. Van Sinderin, president, and 
F. T. Peet, secretary. 

In October the corner-stone of the Collegiate Insti- 
tute for Young Ladies was laid. The building, which cost 
$30,000, stood on Hicks street. The institution, after a 
few years of evanescent prosperity, was closed because 
of a lack of patronage, and was afterward converted into 
a hotel and boarding-house, under the name of the 
" Mansion House." 

1830. The events of the year were unimportant. 
The County Supervisors purchased a poor-hov^e farm 
at Flatbush ; a Dispensary was established ; and a 
Brooklyn Colonization Society, and a Brooklyn City 
Tract Society. The Hamilton Library Association 
was founded. 

1831. An application was made for a charter of a 
railroad from Brooklyn to Jamaica. Samuel E. Clem- 
ents was appointed Postmaster, vice Erastus Worthing- 
ton, deceased ; and, on the resignation of Mr. C, in 
December, he was succeeded by Mr. Joseph Moser. 

Meetings were held in December by the inhabitants, 
and a committee reported in favor of uniting the town 
and village of Brooklyn under a city government. 

1832. February Ist. The Star of this date contains 
a letter from a Mr. G. B. White, of 1 00 Fulton street, 
to Mayor Sprague, on the subject of providing water- 
works for Brooklyn. He proposes the formation of a 
company, to be called the " Brooklyn Water Company," 
with a capital of 125,000 (in 1,000 shares of |25 each) ; 
for which sum Mr. White agrees to unite the requisite 
number of springs on the East River shore, and by tide- 
power to raise it to a sufficient height above the highest 
point on Clover hill, at the end of Cranberry street; and 
to construct a reservoir of the capacity of 1,000,000 

The Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad was incorpor- 
ated on the 25th of April; though not completed and 
opened till April 18th, 1836. 

June 20th. The dreaded cholera made its appear- 
ance in New York, and a-medical board was established 
for the village of Brooklyn. Up to July 25th, when it 
ceased, there had been ninety cases, of which thirty-five 

died. These cases occurred in Tillary, Jackson, Hicks, 
Willow, Fulton, Marshall, Gold, Front, Furman, Main, 
and High streets, and Red Hook. 

It is noteworthy, as illustrating the early progress of 
the temperance reform in Brooklyn, that there were in 
the village, in 1832, with a population of 12,302, 178 
licensed and unlicensed houses, where liquor was 
retailed. In 1833, a determined effort was made by 
the trustees to reduce the number of licenses ; and 
the movement, in spite of the opposition which it met, 
so far succeeded that, in 1835, with a population of 
nearly 30,000, there were only fifty taverns in the city. 

October. The Brooklyn Bank, the second in town, 
commenced operations, Samuel A. Willoughby, Presi- 

1833. January. The principal measures at this time 
before the public, were, the location of the County 
Court House, the establishment of the South ferry, and 
the widening of Fulton, near Front street. The locat- 
ing of the Court House in Brooklyn, long discussed and 
often attempted, had at length been rendered probable, 
owing to the fact that the old one at Flatbush had been 
destroyed by fire the December previous. In view of 
the rapid increase of property and population which had 
taken place in Brooklyn, it seemed most appropriate 
that the new edifice should be erected here. This town 
then had 2,266 electors; whereas, all the rest of the county 
had only '710 ; 554 jurors, and the other towns 270 ; and 
taxable property assessed at $7,829,684 while that of 
the rest of the county was only $1,600,594. The propo- 
siti on, however, to locate the court here, and to increase 
the representation of the village in the board of super- 
visors, met with strenuous opposition from the other 
towns of the county. An act was finally passed, in the 
month of April, authorizing its location in Brooklyn, and 
appropriating Messrs. L. Van Nostrand, Joseph Moser, 
and Peter Conover, as commissioners to fix upon the site. 

April. The plottings and plannings for a city in- 
corporation, which had so long interested the citizens of 
Brooklyn, culminated at length in a determined effort to 
secure the coveted boon from the legislature of the 
State. A bill for the incorporation of the City of 
Brooklyn, and the erection of the Town of Gowanus, 
in Kings county, was introduced and passed the Assembly 
(April 12); but, owing to the strenuous opposition made 
by the city of New York, was lost in the Senate (April 
27). The Brooklynites, however, received (May 15th) 
a sort of placebo for their disappointment, in the shape 
of an amended village charter, obtained through the 
efforts of Judge Greenwood, which embraced several 
sections of the proposed city charter. So desirous, how- 
ever, were a portion of the citizens, of being under a 
city government, that they proposed the annexation of 
Brooklyn to the city authority of New York. 

In the Autumn of this year land speculation in 
Brooklyn came to be, in some cases, almost a mania ; 
and lots were purchased and sold at what then appeared 



to many extravagant prices. Mount Prospect lots, two- 
and-a-haK miles from the ferry, were mostly above 
$100 per lot. The Parmentier garden (junction of the 
Jamaica and Platbush roads), purchased for $57,000, 
was sold inlots at auction, for between $60,000 and $70,- 
000 ; ten acres at Red Hook, owned by the heirs of 
Rynier Suydam, sold for $47,000 ; the R. V. Beekman 
farm, at Gowanus, comprising over 26 acres, was pur- 
chased at auction by Charles Hoyt, for $25,000. About 
the same time, also, the old John Spader farm was pur- 
chased by Pine and Van Antwerp, auctioneers in New 
York. They soon laid out the beautiful avenue now 
known as Clinton avenue, from the river to the Jamaica 
road, lengthwise through the farm. The land on either 
side was sold in sections of half an acre each, or lots of 
eighty by one hundred feet. The first settlers were 
Messrs. Baxter, Van Dyke, Halsey, Hunter and others ; 
St. Luke's (then Trinity) church was erected in 1835, 
and the avenue soon began to assume the beautiful 
appearance which now characterizes it. 

During the period which elapsed from 1830 to 1835, 
a settlement, then called Wallabout village, was spring- 
ing into existence along the shores of the Wallabout 
bay. At about 1840 the farms there were traversed by 
the Newtown turnpike, which entered into Brooklyn 
proper, through a toll-gate and over a bridge, built on 
the outlet of the mill-pond, which then covered the 
Park, lying west of the Navy-yard. An old road was 
also traveled from what was called Cripplebush, pass- 
ing the old stone house of Mr. J. J. Rappalye, and 
thence through Nostrand avenue and Bedford avenue 
to Jamaica turnpike. From about the year 1832, streets 
were laid out from time to time, not all at once; and, in 
1835, Myrtle avenue was graded and paved from the 
City Hall to Nostrand avenue, which afforded a new 
facility of entrance from the Wallabout into the older 

part of the city. Not long after, a section of Flushing 
avenue was paved ; extending from the Navy-yard Hos- 
pital-gate to Bedford avenue; and also Bedford avenue, 
Skillman street, Franklin and Kent avenues from Flush- 
ing to Myrtle avenue, and Classon avenue from Flushing 
to Willoughby avenue. None of these streets were cut 
through, except Bedford and Classon avenues, which 
had been ploughed up and leveled like a country-road. 

The rope-walk of Fricker and Cooper (burned in 
1845) was built in 1830, on the open space between 
Classon avenue and Graham street. About the same 
time a large, stone tenement-building, for the operatives 
in the rope-walks, was erected near. A few dwellings 
were soon scattered along Flushing avenue, and the 
other avenues north of Myrtle avenue; and, in 1836, the 
public school-house was built near the corner of Classon 
and Flushing avenues. 

To illustrate the rapid growth of this part of Brook- 
lyn, it is only necessary to say, that in 1842 there were 
three churches between Fort Greene (on the west) and 
Division avenue (on the east). On the same territory in 
1860 there were twenty-eight. 

That the thoughts and aspirations of Brooklynites 
were tending hopefully toward a future civic dignity 
is manifest from a proposition made to the Corporation, 
in March, to furnish the village with a supply of water 
from springs at the Wallabout. A committee thereon 
finally reported the plan as feasible, and that the mod- 
est sum of $100,000 would cover all expenses of reser- 
voir, steam-engine, and eleven miles of pipe. They 
further expressed their opinion that the village could be 
amply supplied with the purest water at an annual ex- 
pense of $10,000 for interest and cost. The financial 
aspect of the times, however, probably forbade any at- 
tempt at a realization of the project, as it seems to have 
been dropped from the public mind. 



1834. January. The Brooklyn people, undaunted by 
previous defeats, and confident in their own resources, 
and the justice of their claims, again renewed their ap- 
plication to the legislature for a city charter. The city 
of New York, with the spirit of " the dog in the man- 
ger," still threw the whole weight of her wealth and in- 
fluence against the movement ; objecting that the limits 
of the city of New York ought to embrace the whole of 
the counties of Kings and Richmond ; that all commer- 
cial cities are natural rivals and competitors, and that 
contentions, inconvenience, and other calamities, grow 
out of such rivalries ; that the period was not far dis- 
tant when a population of 2,000,000 would be comprised 
within the three counties of New York, Kings and 

Richmond ; that the limits of the city of New York 
already extended to low-water mark on all the shores of 
Brooklyn, east of Red Hook ; that an act of legislature, 
passed in 1821, relative to the village of Brooklyn, was 
virtually an encroachment on the rights of New York, 
inasmuch as it provided for the election of a harbor- 
master, whose duty in Brooklyn would be within the 
city-limits of New York ; and further, that the sheriff 
and civil ofiicers of Brooklyn were allowed to execute 
processes on board of vessels attached to the wharves 
of Brooklyn, etc., etc. 

The real key, however, to the opposition made by 
New York, was undoubtedly to be found in the fears 
of her real-estate speculators, and her municipal author- 



ities. The former, wlio held large quantities of land in 
the upper portion of the city, foresaw that the incorpor- 
ation of Brooklyn, as a city, would give a new impetus 
to her growth and population ; and that Brooklyn lots 
would soon become formidable rivals to their own in the 
market. The latter saw, in the energy of their youth- 
ful neighbor, a power which, when grown to maturer 
strength, might wrest from New York her long-con- 
tested and profitable water and ferry-rights. So capital, 
speculation and monopoly joined hands in a most for- 
midable league against the aspirations and endeavors of 
Brooklyn. Despite their exertions, however, Brooklyn 
triumphed; and, by an act passed on the 8th of April, 
was fully invested with the name and privileges of a 

The first election under the new charter was held 
on the fifth of May, and in several of the wards a union 
ticket was elected. The following gentlemen composed 
the FiEST Board of Aldermen : First Ward, Gabriel 
Furman, Conklin Brush ; Second Ward, George D. Cun- 
ningham, John M. Hicks ; Third Ward, James Wal- 
ters, Joseph Moser ; Fourth Ward, Jonathan Trotter, 
Adrian Hegeman ; Fifth Ward, William M. Udall, 
Benjamin R. Prince ; Sixth Ward, Samuel Smith, Wil- 
liam Powers ; Seventh Ward, Clarence D. Sackett, Ste- 
phen Haynes ; Eighth Ward, Theodorus Polhemus, John 
S. Bergen ; Ninth Ward, Robert Wilson, Moses Smith. 

This board, on the 20th of the same month, elected 
Q-eorge Hall as the first mayor of the city of Brooklyn. 

Georgk Hall was born in New York, September 21, 1795. 
In 1796 his father purchased the Valley Grove farm, near 
Flatbush, where he lived for a short time, and then removed 
to Brooklyn. George was educated at Erasmus Hall, Flat- 
bush; and, after he left school, took up his father's trade of a 
painter and glazier. In early life he was noted for his con- 
vivial habits, yet he displayed that frankness, energy, per- 
severing industry and active spirit of benevolence, which 
soon rendered him the chosen and trusted counsellor of all 
his associates, the friend of the poor, and the warm and ef- 
fective advocate of every measure calculated to benefit his 
fellow-men. In his business, which he commenced on his 
own account, in 1820, his talent, integrity and straightfor- 
wardness won for him a mercantile credit, which brought 
him success. Mr. Hall was chosen, in 1826 and 1833, trustee 
of the Third ward of the then village of Brooklyn. lu Oct- 
ober, 1833, he was elected president of the village, in a closely 
contested election brought about by his strenuous endeavors 
to exclude hogs from the streets, and to shut up the shops 
of unUcensed retailers of rum. As the first mayor of the 
city, he most honestly administered its affairs. In 1844 he 
was defeated as the temperance candidate for the mayoralty; 
and again in 1845, as the "Whig nominee for the same office. 
On both of these occasions the vote polled showed, at least, 
that he was personally regarded by the people of Brooklyn 
as most worthy of the office. In 1854 Mr. Hall was elected 
to the mayoralty by the Know-nothing party, though an en- 
deavor was made to defeat him by asserting that he was 
born in Ireland. But Mr. HaU proved that, though his pa- 
rents were Irish, he was born in this country. He thus be- 
came the first mayor of the incorporated cities of Brooklyn 
and Williamsburg. During his term of office the cholera 
raged with considerable virulence in the city. There seemed 

to be no one with sufficient courage to face the epidemic un- 
til Mr. Hall literally took it in hand. He went right into it; 
superintended the removal of victims, cleaned out houses, 
took responsibility after responsibility, and his efforts met 
with deserved success. The epidemic seized him also ; but 
apparently by his determination not to succumb to the dis- 
ease, he fought it off. A report was circulated that he was 
dead, which report brought him to the front of the City HaU, 
that people might see he was not dead. His fellow citizens 
so much admired his courageous efforts that they presented 
him, as a testimonial, the house No. 37 Livingston street, in 
which he died. The testimonial avowedly took this shape, 
for the reason that his friends knew that he would not keep 
money in his possession while there was distress to be re- 
lieved. In 1861 he ran for the office of registrar as a Re- 
publican candidate, and, though he received a very compli- 
mentary vote, was defeated, and never after took any part in 
politics. There was scarcely a Brooklyn institution of public 
benefit in which Mr. Hall was not interested, either as one of 
its founders or as having helped its progress. He was, for a 
number of years, president of the Association for Improving 
the Condition of the Poor ; and for some time president of 
the Fireman's Trust Insurance Company, a position that se- 
cured him a modest competency without overtasking his 
strength. He died on the 16th of April, 1868, and his funeral, 
on the following Sabbath, was such a scene as Brooklyn has 
seldom, if ever, witnessed. The flags upon the City Hall 
were displayed at half-mast, and, long before the hour of the 
services, the dwelling was crowded to excess; and a crowd of 
three or four thousand collected in the street, in front of the 
house, and were addressed by Eev. Henry Ward Beeoher, in 
one of his characteristic and eloquent addresses. As the ad- 
vocate of the temperance cause, it is almost superfluous to 
speak of George Hall. He was the first man in his city in 
the field for temperance; the first to sign in Brooklyn the 
Old Temperance Pledge, and the first to sign the Washington- 
ian Pledge. Even in his last sickness, when his medical attend- 
ants prescribed brandy for him, it was with the utmost diffi- 
culty he could be got to try it; and when the taste of that was 
in his mouth, which he had fought against all his fife, he spat 
it out again, and died as he had Hved. G jorge HaU possessed 
strong physical health, sound practical sense, and true moral 
energy. He never shrank from the performance of any 
known duty. He was a faithful counsellor, a wise man, a 
disinterested, unambitious and truly patriotic citizen; a man 
who took straight paths of action and was fearlessly in ear- 
nest. But while he was a stern magistrate, there was never 
a softer heart beat in woman's bosom than his. When the 
presence of want was made known to him, he would swing 
a basket on his arm and take food from his own larder to 
feed the suffering poor. Large numbers of poor widows and 
families were accustomed to apply to him for assistance. Yet 
his name was very seldom seen on any published or printed 
subscription list. 

Under the provisions of the charter with which the 
new city of Brooklyn commenced its existence the 
municipality was divided into nine wards, the first five 
of which corresponded to and were identical with the 
five districts of the former village, and retained the 
same limits and numbers as said districts. The 
legislative power was vested in a mayor and a board 
of aldermen. This board, constituting and denomi- 
nated the Common Council, was composed of two 
aldermen, elected annually from each ward, and a pro- 
vision was made whereby no member of the Common 



Council could hold office as mayor and alderman at the 
same time. The Mayor was to see that the ordinances 
of the Common Council were complied with, and offend- 
ers against the same prosecuted ; and he was to be as- 
sisted in his duties by an inspector or inspectors, who 
should report all such breaches of law to him, or to the 
attorney of the board, as the Common Council might 
direct. He was to have no vote in the Common Council, 
although he possessed a qualified veto power. The 
Common Council were to have the management and con- 
trol of the finances, and of all property, real and per- 
sonal, belonging to said corporation, and within the 
said city; they could make, establish, publish, alter, 
modify, amend and repeal all ordinances, rules, regula- 
tions and by-laws, usual a.nd necessary for the regulation, 
protection, etc., etc., of the various city interests, in- 
cluding the powers of a board of health, of police and 
of excise. 

In July it was resolved, at a public city meeting, of 
which the mayor was chairman, that $50,000 should be 
raised to purchase ground for a City Hall at the junction 
of Fulton and Joralemon streets. 

The South ferry was proposed, about this time, but 
was met with the usual. opposition fromlSTew York city. 
This, and the condition of the Brooklyn ferries general- 
ly, kept up an agitation; and public meetings and news- 
paper articles seem to have been then, as now, a fa- 
vorite, though ineffectual, method of warfare. 

September. Permission to occupy Atlantic street 
was granted by the corporation to the Jamaica Railroad 
Company; and this, we may add, proved an unfortunate 
bone of contention, until the change of terminus in 

1835. In January, the project of purchasing the low 
grounds at the Wallabout for a city park received a fav- 
orable report from a committee of the corporation. 

During this year speculation in real-estate reached 
its culminating point. Eight acres of the Jacob Bergen 
farm were sold at $1,000 per acre, and the real-estate of 
Samuel Jackson, deceased, brought $570,000. 

Jonathan Trotter was elected mayor in May, by the 
board of aldermen. 

Hon: Jonathan Teotter, born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
England, in 1797, emigrated to this country in 1818, and be- 
gan business in Roosevelt street, New York city, as a morocco 
dresser. Subsequently his business was in Ferry street. In 
1826 he built an extensive factory for the dressing of leather, 
in Stanton street, near Gold, now the 5th Ward, Brooklyn ; 
and, a few years after, in 1829, became a resident here ; was 
very successful, and became a very prominent citizen of the 
village of Brooklyn. His residence was in Bridge street, be- 
tween Tillary and €hapel. In 1834, under the new city char- 
ter, then a village trustee, was elected alderman of the 4th 
Ward. In May, 1835, Mr. Trotter was chosen mayor, and 
re-elected in 1836, and held the office until May, 1837. While 
mayor he laid the corner-stone of the City Hall, as originally 
planned, on the 28th of April, 1836. During his term, also. 
Myrtle avenue was opened, and extensive anangements were 
made for opening up the outlying portions of the city. In 

1837 Mr. Trotter was among those unfortunates who were 
caught with outspread sails, when the great financial storm 
burst upon the country, and went down from wealth to a 
very moderate competence. He returned to New York, in 
1840, and re-established himself there, but never again was 
enabled to assume a prominent position in either politics or 
business. His death, April 5th, 1865, closed a long life of 
earnest work, in which was permanently developed a good, 
courteous, practical manhood. Mr. Trotter was the first presi- 
dent of the Atlantic Bank of Brooklyn, and, at one time, vice- 
president of the Leather Manufacturers' Bank of New York. 

The small-pox again visited the city, and the poor 
were gratuitously vaccinated. 

In September, Fulton street, from Front street to 
Water street, was widened by the demolition of the 
buildings on the east side. > 

The population of the city was found to be 24,310, 
a gain of 9,015 in fifteen years. 

The close of this year found a City Hall in process 
of erection, the Lyceum building nearly completed, the 
Jamaica railroad finished, and several boats almost 
ready for use on the new South ferry. 

1836. A permanent water-line for the city was 
reported, in January, by General J. G. Swift, and was 
afterward adopted by the city authorities ; but all records 
and documents concerning this line suddenly disap- 
peared from the ofBce of the Common Council; and, in 
their anxiety to extend lots into the water, people made 
encroachments beyond that line. 

The Apprentices Library (subsequently known as 
the City Buildings) was this year purchased by the city. 
Its site was afterward occupied by the City Armory. 

The corner-stone of the new City Hall was laid on 
the 20th of April. The sanguine spirit of speculation 
and extravagance, which prevailed at that time, led to 
the planning of this building on a magnificent scale. 

Unfortunately for the pride of Brooklyn, yet perhaps 
a blessing in disguise, the walls of this ambitious struct- 
ure were suddenly arrested, when they had scarcely risen 
above their foundations, by the lack of means conse- 
quent upon the severe commercial revulsions of 1836-7. 
And when, after ten years of jDatient waiting, they began 
to rise towards completion, it was on a reduced scale of 
architectural grandeur, and consequently at a much 
diminished rate of expense. 

The corner-stone of the City Jail, in Raymond street, 
near Fort Greene, was laid, and the Brooklyn Lyceum 
was completed and occupied, and during the following 
year was furnished with a reading-room, library, and 

Jonathan Trotter was re-elected mayor, in May of 
this year, by the board of aldermen. 

1837. In May General Jeremiah Johnson was elected 
mayor by the board of aldermen. 

Jeremiah Johnson, aptly styled "Brooklyn's first and 
foremost citizen,'' was a descendant, in the fourth generation, 
of Jan Barentsen Van Briest, who came, in 1657, from Zut- 
phen in Guelderland, and settled at Gravesend. His father, 
Barnet Johnson, born in 1740, was distinguished as an active 



patriot during the Revolutionary straggle. He was encamped, 
in command of a portion of the Kings county militia, at Har- 
lem, in 1776, and in the following year was captured by the 
British, and only obtained his parole (from Gen. Howe) 
through the kind interposition of a masonic brother. In or- 
der to help on the cause to which he was devoted he shrank 
not from personal and pecuniary risks, but suggested loans 
from friends in his county to the American government; and 
himself set the example by loaning, first £700, and afterward 
sums amounting to $5,000, all the security for which was a 
simple private receipt, given, too, in times of exceeding peril 
and discouragement— a noble and memorable deed. Jere- 
miah, his son, was born January 33, 1766 ; was, at the time of 
the breaking out of the war, in his eleventh year, and old 
enough to understand the full meaning of passing events. 
That these stirring scenes made an indelible impression upon 
his mind and character is evident from the fact that his 
reminiscences, descriptions, maps, etc., have since formed 
the largest and certainly the most valuable portion of the 
Revolutionary lore of Kings county handed dovm to our 
day, and has been largely drawn upon by every local and 
general historian of Long Island. His father dying before 
the peace, young Johnson was thrown the more upon him- 
self ; and, though the times were very unfavorable to regu- 
lar education, he improved his opportunities as he was able ; 
attended night schools ; taught himself, and gradually disci- 
plined and developed the elements of a manly, self-made and 
self-reliant character. Then, as a good, quiet citizen, he 
lived upon his farm in faithful industry ; married (1) Abigail, 
daughter of Rem. Remsen, in 1787, who died in 1788 ; (2), 
Sarah, daughter of Teunis Rapalye, in 1791, who died in 1825. 
He had ten children (two sons, Barnet and Jeromus; and two 
daughters, Sarah Anne, married to Nicholas Wyckoff, and 
Susanna, married to Lambert Wyckoff), all of whom well 
sustain the paternal reputation of benevolence and useful- 
ness, patronizing every worthy cause. The old homestead 
was taken down and the fine substantial mansion, now occu- 
pied by the family, was erected near the same spot, in 1801. 
In 1796 he became a trustee of the town of Brooklyn, an 
office which he held for twenty years. Naturally of a social 
turn, of benevolent impulses, and public-spirited withal, and 
from his very character, position and associations, he be- 
came early connected with public afifairs. From 1800 until 
about 1840 he was a supervisor of the town, during a large 
portion of which time he was chairman of the board. In 
1808, and in 1809, he represented Kings county in the State 
Assembly. He took an active part, also, in military matters. 
During the war with Great Britain, from 1312 to 1815, he was 
at first only a junior captain ; but, when one was solicited to 
go out in command on the frontier, others declining, he vol- 
unteered for a dangerous duty, and so took precedence by 
consent, and early became colonel. Meanwhile he was very 
active in military affairs, and held himself ready at call. 
He was then honored with a brigadier-genei-al's'commission, 
and was in the command (of the 22d Brigade of Infantry, 
numbering 1,750 men) at Fort Greene, in Brooklyn, for three 
months. Whilst there he was conspicuous for his soldier-like 
ability ; proved himself an excellent disciplinarian ; and was 
a great favorite with officers and privates. He was fortunate 
as well, for, in that three months' time, no one of his soldiers 
died. After the peace he was promoted to be a major-gen- 
eral, an office which he held during his life, though not in 
actual command of a division. When (in 1816) Brooklyn 
became a village his residence was left outside of the village 
bounds, and, of course, he could not (except by his own in- 
fluence in a private capacity, which he ever largely exer- 
cised) participate in its public affairs ; but, in 1835, the City 

Charter was obtained, and the bounds included the 8th and 
9th wards, which brought his home again within the lines. 
In 1837 he was elected mayor of the city of Brooklyn, and 
re-elected in 1838 and 1839. As a public officer he was faith- 
ful, prompt and indefatigable, while his punctuality was 
proverbial. In 1840, and again in 1841, he was elected again a 
member of the State Legislature. At one time, also, he was 
judge of the Common Pleas. In 1848 he was chosen the first 
president of the St. Nicholas Society of Nassau Island, an 
office which he held until his death. In 1849 he was unani- 
mously elected an honorary member of the American Insti- 
tute (having been a member since 1836), and at the time of 
his death was chairman of its board of agriculture. As 
chairman of this committee he was quite active in urging to 
its final passage the act for the encouragement of agriculture 
in the State of New York. Besides all these there was hardly 
an occasional or incidental duty in the business of agricul- 
ture, of education, of improvements, of reference, of man- 
agement, to which he was not summoned, by reason of his 
business capacity and experience, as well as the reputation 
and high confidence he maintained amidst the community. 
He made no pretensions to literature, and seldom wrote any- 
thing for the public eye ; he nevertheless wielded an efficient 
pen, when his feelings were aroused, or his sense of justice, 
and propriety were violated by official malpractices, or the 
wrong-doing of others. He was fond of putting down mem- 
oranda and scraps of history, and interesting facts which his 
observation and experience had gathered ; though in an in- 
cidental way, rather as materials for a more labored attempt. 
Well acquainted with the language of Holland, he was fond 
of making translations from its writers ; as, for example, his 
excellent translation of Von der DonKs History of New 
Netherland. Indeed, there has not been an author meditat- 
ing a work upon Long Island, or publishing one, who has 
not conferred with General Jeremiah Johnson, or who has 
not borrowed and used his communications and his notes, 
and made grateful mention of him and his assistance. He 
was a modest, consistent, obedient, habitual, conforming 
Christian. He belonged to the old Dutch Reformed congre- 
gation, in Brooklyn. In that congregation for fifty years he 
was a communicant ; and a standing member of the consist- 
ory, in and out, alternating, according to the parish method, 
continually ; and the clerk of its consistory for forty years, 
until his resignation in 1848. Gen. Johnson was remarkably 
active, prompt, decided ; never idle ; of indefatigable indus- 
try ; kindly to all, warm-hearted and affectionate ; generous 
in all his instincts, sympathizing with the young. He was 
of a social, genial mood ; was fond of his pipe, even to the 
last, and handled it from his seventeenth year to within a 
quarter of an hour of his death. He was fond of his gun, of 
walking, and of manly exercise ; from youth up an early 
riser, and early to bed. His free, easy, unreserved manners, 
made him ever a welcome and delightful guest. He could 
give information upon the gravest and most important 
themes ; he could sympathize with the most common. If 
there was an ancient tree, or stump, connected with some 
memorial of the past, he knew of it, and he was the one to 
mark it by a monumental stone. His perception was quick 
and clear, and his tact admirable ; and well nigh to the last, 
his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated, and his 
voice continued full and strong. His death, which occurred 
on the 20th of October, 1852, was in harmony with his life 
— calm, trustful and serene — and caused a wide-spread 
and profound sensation of sorrow throughout the city of 

May. The three banks of the city, in accordance 
with the advice of a public meeting of citizens, sua- 



pended specie payment. It was a season of great 
pressure in the money-market, and small bills or shin- 
plasters, issued by corporations and individuals, were 
extensively circulated. 

1838. General Johnson was re-elected Mayor of 
Brooklyn. The year proved a very dull one for the 
city, in which business was prostrate, because of the 
financial crash of the previous year. 

Greenwood Cemetery was this year incorporated as a 
joint-stock company, and in April, 1839, was incorpor- 
ated as an association of lot-owners. 

1839. Cyrus P. Smith, Esq., was chosen mayor by the 
. aldermen. 

Cykxis Porter Smith, born at Hanover, N. H., April 5th, 
1800, spent his boyhood on his father's farm. Later, by 
teaching district-schools every winter, from his eighteenth 
year, he paid his way through college, graduating from 
Dartmouth in 1824, with honor. He then commenced the 
study of law with chief -justice Williams, in Hartford, Conn., 
and was admitted to practice in 1827. Locating in Brooklyn, 
he connected himself with Dr. Cox's (Presbyterian) church, 
of which he was chorister from that date until 1859. In 1828 
he began to come into notice as an active Whig, in the Jack- 
son presidential campaign; from 1838 to '35 was clerk of the 
village board of trustees; corporation counsel of the new city 
1835 to 1839, enjoying, meanwhile, a fine legal practice. 
Chosen (the fourth) Mayor of Brooklyn by the Board of Al- 
dermen in 1839; he was re-elected by the people in 1840, and 
held office until 1842. In 1836 and '37 he was supervisor, and 
city alderman in 1848. He was deeply interested in public 
education, the whole system of Brooklyn's public schools 
being put into operation during his thirty years' connection 
with the Board of Education, twenty-one of which he was 
its president. In 1856 and '57 he represented the city in the 
State Senate, holding the chairmanship of the committees 
on commerce and navigation. At an early date he became 
one of the associates of the Union Ferry Co., of which, 
from 1855 to the time of his death, he was managing di- 
rector, superintending its vast interests with rare skill and 
fideUty. In January, 1869, he became acting president of 
the Brooklyn City R. R. Co. ; nor must it be forgotten that, 
in 1839, during his first year of Mayoralty, in connection with 
Gen. Robert Nichols, he founded the City Hospital. He is 
further mentioned in Chapter on Bench and Bar. 

This year was memorable for the completion of 
the labors of the commission, which had been appointed 
in 1836, for laying out the city. These commissioners 
were Samuel Cheever, Isaiah Tiffany, and Alonzo G. 
Hammond. Fulton and South ferries were this year 

1840. April 14th. The first election of the mayor 
by the people, in conformity with an act of the legis- 
lature, resulted in the choice of Cyrus P. Smith, Esq. 

The city of Brooklyn, at this time, covered a district 
of twelve miles square, having a population of 30,000; 
thirty-five miles of regulated, paved and lighted streets; 
two markets; a large police; an efiicient fire-department, 
a good government; twenty-three churches; three banks, 
whose united capital was 11,000,000; one savings-bank; 
two lyceums (one for apprentices, the other at the Navy- 
y^rd);good schools; libraries, etc. 

The Atlantic Dock Company was this year incorpor- 
ated, with a capital of $1,000,000. 

1841. Mr. Smith was re-elected mayor. In this year 
the Brooklyn Eagle was established. 

1842. Henry C. Murphy was chosen mayor. His 
biography will be found in our chapter on The Bench 
and Bar. The grounds occupied by Greenwood Ceme • 
tery were purchased, and several churches were estab- 

1843. At the charter election, Joseph Sprague 
(democrat) was chosen mayor. 

Joseph Sprague, bom in Leicester, Mass., 1783, was the 
son of a wealthy farmer; at the age of twenty-one he became 
clerk in a wholesale store at Boston. Two years after he 
commenced, on loaned money, as a country merchant, but 
the unsettled condition of business, arising from the Euro- 
pean war, rendered the effort unsuccessful. He sold out, 
paid his debts, and occupied his temporary leisure in enlarg- 
ing his education at Leicester Academy. Next he tried farm- 
ing, on a small farm given him by his father; but soon real- 
izing that this was not his forte, sold out, and invested the 
proceeds in wire cards for carding wool and cotton, with 
which, in 1809, he came to New York. There he immedi- 
ately engaged as school-teacher, quickly disposing also of 
his little stock of cards. Two years later (1811) he married 
into the De Bevoise family, of Bedford, and for several years 
thereafter resided partly in Bedford and partly at New York. 
The war of 18 1 2 increased the demand for domestic manufact- 
ures, and woolen cards rose to an unprecedented price. His 
father and brothers established a card-factory at Leicester, 
and he managed their sales in New York city, with varying 
profit, for some years. In 1819 he purchased a home in 
Brooklyn (now 115 Fulton street); in 1822 he was one of the 
founders of the First Presbyterian Church; in 1823 his per- 
sonal efforts at Albany secured a charter for the Long Island 
Bank, and the Brooklyn Fire Insurance Co. In 1825 he was 
chosen a village trustee, and, in 1827, its president, being re- 
elected annually until 1832, when, worn down with his ard- 
uous duties during the cholera season, he was superseded by 
George Hall. In 1826, with Col. Alden J. Spooner, he secured 
Fort Greene for the village. In 1833 he was the means of 
procuring a city charter for Brooklyn; and became, 1834, first 
president of the Long Island Insurance Co., holding the office 
for ten years. During this time speculation and politics ran 
high, and he had to contend persistently against the making 
of loans on property, then rated far above its normal value, 
for which action he was often soundly berated. But the fi- 
nancial crash of '37 proved his sagacity, inasmuch as, through 
his foresight and caution, the capital of the company 
(1200,000) was saved entire. In 1834 the Brooklyn Bank went 
into operation, but received a severe blow in the dishonesty 
of its first teller. It was, however, upheld by the exertions 
of several individuals, among whom Mr. Sprague was con- 
spicuous. In 1843 he was elected Mayor of the city of Brook- 
lyn, and again in 1844, over George Hall (temperance candi- 
date), and Hon. William Rockwell (whig). During his first 
term the whig members of the common council refused to 
attend the meetings of the board, whereupon Mayor Sprague 
had them arrested upon the charge of misdemeanor in the 
neglect of public business, and compelled their obedience. 
In 1848 he was one of the foremost advocates for the opening 
of Washington Park on Fort Greene. He was repeatedly, 
and as late as 1851, a member of the board of supervisors, al- 
ways commanding a large amount of influence. He was one 
the most zealous and efficient members of the board of con- 



solidation which perfected the plan of union between Brook- 
lyn, WiUiamsburgh and Bushwick, and, also, chairman of 
of the police committee in that body. He was, at the time 
of his death, a director of the Mechanics Bank, a member of 
Hohenlinden Lodge of F. and A. Masons, and for many 
years Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of the State. Ren- 
dered independent by the industry of his earlier years, 
crowned with the esteem of his feUow-citizens, and occupied 
in the duties of the many offices of trust and honor which 
they conferred upon him, he passed pleasantly and gently 
down the vale of years. In politics he never allowed his 
consciehce to become subservient to the claims of party. In 
his public duties he was rigidly honest, evincing a firm de- 
termination to have every department of the municipal gov- 
ernment carried out with efficiency and economy ; and, 
while these duties fully occupied his days, his own work, in 
his factory, was performed at night. As a Christian he was 
a most sincere believer in the truth and mercy of God, and 
a humble and conscientious follower of his word. Life closed 
to him on the morning of the 12th of December, 1854, in the 
seventy-second year of his age. The universal expression of 
sorrow, which was heard on every hand, testified to the re- 
spect which was felt for his public services, and his eminent 
personal character. 

A bill was prepared and presented to the legislature 
during this year, by the Common Council of New York, 
for taxing the property of citizens of Brooklyn doing 
business in that city. Against the passage of this 
law the Common Council of Brooklyn remonstrated. 
A line of omnibuses was established, in September of 
this year, between Fulton Ferry and East Brooklyn. 

From a report made to the Common Council (in Jan- 
uary, 1844), it appears that the whole number of build- 
ings erected and in process of erection during the year 
1843, was 570. These buildings were chiefly of brick, 
and stores were in seventy-five of them. Fourteen were 
in the places of buildings destroyed by fire, and four 
were church edifices. 

1844. Joseph Sprague was re-elected mayor, over 
two opposing candidates. 

April 4tli was rendered memorable by a riot 
between the native Americans and the Irish in the 
neighborhood of Dean and Court and Wyckoff streets. 
The disturbance was finally quelled, but two compa- 
nies of uniformed militia were kept under arms during 
the night, and the public feeling continued in an ex- 
cited state for some time thereafter. 

On the twenty-fourth of May the corner-stone of the 
Long Island Railroad tunnel was laid, and the tunnel 
was opened for travel on the third of the following 

1845. The ferry question, and the establishment of 
a permanent city hospital, were, at this time, the 
leading topics of interest and public discussion among 
the citizens of Brooklyn : resulting in the passage of an 
act (May 14), vesting the power of granting ferry-leases 
in an independent board of commissioners; and the incor- 
pol-ation (May 8th) of the Brooklyn City Hospital. 

• April 8. The charter-election resulted in the choice 
of Thos. G. Talmadge (democrat) for mayor. 

Thomas Goin Talmadge, bom in Somerset, N. J., in 1801, 
came, in 1819, to New York city, where he became a clerk in 
the mercantile establishment of Mr. Abraham Van Nest, and 
from 1833 to 1836 was engaged in the wholesale grocery busi- 
ness. In 1823 he married a sister of Hon. Jacob W. Miller, 
United States Senator from New York, who died in 1884; and, 
in 1835, he married a daughter of Cornelius Van Brunt, of 
Brooklyn. In 1836 he was a foremost supporter of Van Bu- 
ren, and was elected a representative from New York city, 
in the State legislature. From 1888 to 1839 he was a member 
of the New York Common Council, and at one time, presi- 
dent of the board of aldermen of that city. In 1840 he be- 
came a citizen of Brooklyn, and, at once took a prominent 
position in public life, from 1843 to 1848 representing the 8th 
ward, and from 1844 to 1845 the 6th ward, in the board of 
aldermen of that city. From 1845 to 1846 he was (democratic) 
Mayor of Brooklyn, and, in 1846, was appointed judge of the 
county court by Gov. Wright. In 1848 (his second wife hav- 
ing died in 184a) he married the youngest daughter of Judge 
Teunis Joralemon, of Brooklyn. In 1845 he was appointed 
by Gov. Bouck, and without his previous knowledge, as Loan 
Commissioner of the United States Deposit Fund, for Kings 
county, and, in 1858, became the president of the Broadway 
Eail Road Co. of Brooklyn. He was, also, a member of the 
Chamber of Commerce. During his mayoralty the new City 
Hall was erected, and the 8th ward (Gowanus), to which he 
removed after his third marriage, was much indebted to his 
enterprise in developing its progress and growth — the Third 
avenue being the first one opened, about 1840, along the bay, 
and the second one being the Fifth avenue, both of which 
passed through the Van Brunt and Talmadge farms. Build- 
ings soon commenced in that vicinity, and its subsequent 
growth was rapid. He was a politician of the old school, 
latterly a National Democrat and chairman of the Demo- 
cratic National General Committee. Upright and sincere in 
his dealings, dignified and courteous in bearing, he held the 
esteem of all who knew him. He died May 4th, 1863. 

A line of omnibuses was established, in July, be- 
sween Fulton and South ferries, by George Van Brunt. 

1846 and 1847. Francis Stryker (whig) was elected 
mayor of the city, April 14, 1846. 

Francis Burdett Stryker, son of Burdett Stryker, was 
born in Brooklyn, December 11th, 1811, and was educated, 
partly at the primary department of Erasmus Hall, at Flat- 
bush, and partly by other teachers in his native village. At 
the age of fourteen, shortly after his father's death, he be- 
came an apprentice to Jeremiah Wells, carpenter, doing busi- 
ness in Poplar, between Henry and Hicks streets, who was, 
also, at that time, the chief-engineer of the village fire-de- 
partment. Having served his time, he continued at his trade 
as a journeyman until 1838, when he was elected one of the 
three tax-collectors of the city. In April, 1839, he commenced 
working at his trade for his brother Burdett, until, in 1840, 
he was chosen sheriff (on the whig ticket), serving for three 
years; returning then to his trade in his brother's employ. 
While thus working as journeyman, at twelve shillings per 
day, in the spring of 1846, he received the whig nomination 
for mayor, to which office he was elected over the then in- 
cumbent (T. G. Talmadge), and re-elected the next year, 1847, 
(against Thos. J. Gerald), and the year following, 1848, 
(against Wm. Jenkins). During the first term of his mayor- 
alty the only noticeable event was the purchase and erection 
of Washington Park (Fort Greene) as a public park. In Jan- 
uary, 1847, the ship-fever broke out in Hudson avenue, near 
Tillary street, having been imported by a ship-load of Irish 
emigrants, and continued to rage in that and other locahties. 



in the 1st, 2d, 5th and 6th wards, during 1847 and 1848. 
Though the mayor and the board of aldermen, at this time, 
constituted the board of health, Mr. Stryker did not call them 
together officially to act upon the matter, not deeming it best 
to arouse any alarm in the public mind, or to raise any ques- 
tions as to the legal pi-opriety of making appropriations for 
the sick. Calling into practice the lessons of active practical 
benevolence, which he had learned from his father in the 
earlier epidemics which visited the village, he took upon him- 
self the burden of personal visitation, superintendence and 
relief of the sick and dying. Unsupported by the medical 
faculty, who, indeed, dissuaded him from exposing himself 
to contagion, Mr. Stryker, during the long continuance of 
this epidemic, unremittingly visited the sick, watched with 
them, cared for them, defrayed all expenses from his own 
pocket, so that no costs accrued to the city; and, aided only 
by voluntary exertions of William Hewitt (then one of the 
street inspectors), and Staats Dawson (mayor's marshal), 
carried on in his own person aU the functions of a health 
board. In the cholera season of 1849, during the term of his 
successor, Mayor Copeland, Mr. Stryker devoted himself 
largely to the relief of the sick, and in the fall of that year 
was elected county-clerk (on the whig ticket), which office 
he held for a three-year term. In 1860 he received from the 
commissioners the position of superintendent of sewers. 

These years were not rendered memorable by any 
unusual events. The steady growth of the city con- 
tinued, churches, societies and industries were estab- 
lished, and tbe march of improvement kept its regular 

1848. In March gas was for the first time intro- 
duced into Brooklyn. 

July 4th was rendered memorable in the annals of 
Brooklyn, by the munificence of its venerable and 
worthy citizen, Augustus Graham. The Brooklyn City 
Hospital, sorely crippled by lack of means, and strug- 
gling wearily against the apathy of the public, was 
unexpectedly placed upon a permanent foundation by 
a donation, from Mr. Graham, of bonds and mortgages 
amounting to $25,000 ; and the Brooklyn Institute was 
endowed with the ownership of the elegant granite 
building, in Washington street, which had been origi- 
nally erected for the Brooklyn Lyceum. 

August '8. The Cypress Sills Cemetery was incor- 
porated under the general cemetery act. 

The principal event of the year was the disastrous 
conflagration of the 9th of September, which is still 
remembered, and spoken of as the great fire of Brook- 
lyn. Three church edifices (the First Universalist, 
Baptist, and the Sands street Methodist-Episcopal); 
two newspaper ofli-ces (the Star and Freeman) ; and 
the post-oifioe building, were burned in this great con- 
flagration, which was finally only stopped by blowing 
up several buildings (by marines from the U. S. Navy- 
yard), and which devastated a thickly-settled part of 
the city, of several acres in extent, and destroyed 
property to the amount of $1,500,000. The accom- 
panying map shows the area over which this conflagra- 
tion swept. 

Serious as was the calamity which thus befell this 

young and growing city, it afforded but another op- 
portunity of developing that peculiar elasticity of the 

Map of BtTBiTED District, 1848. 

American mind and character, which not only leads to 
the inception of great undertakings, but enables it to 
surmount all obstacles and every disaster. Scarcely 
had the ruins ceased to smoke before the burned district 
became the scene of the busiest activity. New buildings 
were erected. Fulton street was widened by setting 
back the building-line, on the west side, from Henry to 
Middagh streets ; and, on the east side, from Sands to 
Concord streets; and in every direction were seen the 
well-directed labors of citizens to retrieve their losses. 

In November of this year the idea of a union between 
the two cities of Williamshurgh and JBrooklyn appears 
to have been, for the first time, broached. A meeting 
of the citizens of the former place was held, at which 
the subject was discussed ; but, aside from some news- 
paper sparring, it seems to have been unproductive of 

The benefits accruing to that portion of the city, 
known as South Brooklyn, from the erection of the 
Atlantic docks, began to make themselves apparent, in 
the rapid progress, and increase of population, in that 
vicinity. In March, 1848, Mr. Daniel Richards, the 
originator of that magnificent enterprise, petitioned the 
common council for permission to open thirty-five 
streets in its immediate vicinity. During this year and 
the next, a plan was also devised by Mr. Richards and 
others, and received the legislative approbation, for the 
construction of a large navigable canal, from Gowanus 
bay to Douglass street, through the centre of the mead- 
ows, into which the sewers from the elevated ground 
on either side should empty. It was to be five feet 
deep below low- water mark, four feet above high-water 
mark, 100 feet in width, and 5,400 feet (or about a 
mile) in length, draining some 1,700 acres of land in 
the southern part of the city. 

The great object to be attained by this improve- 
ment wg,s the removal of the marsh-miasma which 
hung about Prospect hill, and other portions of the city, 
making them liable to intermittent fevers and other 
diseases, and thus shutting them out from improve- 



ment ; also to lay the lands open to use, and to render 
that portion of the city valuable for commercial and 
mechanical purposes. The estimated expense of this 
canal was $78,600, and at its termination it was proposed 
to construct a large basin for vessels, costing $8,000 
additional. Other basins, along the course of the canal, 
were to be erected by private enterprise, furnishing 
large and ample depots for timber, coal, lime, cement, 
brick, etc. 

These liberal provisions and plans so stimulated the 
growth of Brooklyn that, during 1848 and '49, it was 
estimated that no less than 2,100 buildings had been 
erected, 700 of which were in the Sixth ward, or South 

1849. April. Edward Copeland was elected mayor. 

Edward Copeland commenced business in Brooklyn, as 
a retail grocer, on the corner of Front and Main streets. He 
was a graduate of Columbia College, and first introduced to 
public notice by his efforts and speeches in aid of the Greek 
and Polish revolutions, in the years 1828 and 1830. He be- 
came a member of the village board of trustees in 1832, and 
established so fair a reputation as to induce his fellow-citi- 
zens to tender to him the presidency of the village, in 1833 ; 
and a nomination to Congress, in 1834, which, however, he 
declined. In 1844, he was elected city-clerk, without solici- 
tation on his part, and by the special request of the whig 
and native American members of the common council. To 
this oi£ce he was re-elected in 1847 and 1848. In the mayoralty 
to which he was called in 1849 he carried the same urbanity, 
dignity, decision and careful attention to the details of official 
business. As a scholar, especially in polite litera.ture, few in 
our city surpassed him in varied acquirements. Through his 
oifloial papers, and in his frequent contributions to literature 
and science, he fully sustained this reputation ; while he was 
a most pleasing speaker, polished and winning in manner, of 
an eminently social disposition, liberal, accessible at all 
times and by all persons ; and in habits, refined and unosten- 
tatious. As chairman of the Whig General Committee he 
was largely instrumental in contributing to the success of 
1837, '38, '39 and '40 ; and, as a judge of the Municipal Court, 
from 1839 to 1840, aided by such men as Judges Eames and 
Rushmore, he gave to that tribunal a degree of force and 
dignity which made it everywhere respected. He was, for 
many years, a member of the Board of Education, aiding 
powerfully by his efllorts and influence to give character and 
efficiency to the system of public instruction, and to establish 
the reputation of the board. He died June 18, 1859. 

The corner-stone of the United States Dry Dock was 
laid on the 4th of July in this year. The Cemetery of 
the Evergreens was also organized and incorporated. 

The idea of connecting Brooklyn with New York by 
means of a bridge was not only broached, but seriously 
discussed, in public, and in the New York papers. The 
Tribune thus expressed itself, " The bridge is the great 
event of the day. New York and Brooklyn must be 
united, and there is no other means of doing it. The 
thing will certainly be achieved one of these days, and 
the sooner the better." Among other plans was one 
of a floating-bridge, with draw, etc. 

The principal event of this year was the visitation of 
that dreadful scourge of the humanrace, the epidemic 

cholera. It appeared in Brooklyn on the 26th of May 
1849, from which time it prevailed here until the 22d 
of September. During this period there were 642 
deaths, being in a ratio to the population (100,000) of 
one in every 155 persons. In New York, during the 
same period, with a population of 425,000, there were 
4,957 deaths, being a ratio of 1 to every 86 persons. 

This epidemic commenced in Court street, and was 
not confined to any particular part of the city, although 
nearly four-fifths were in different, well-defined locah- 
ties, in the neighborhood of Hoyt, Bond, Butler, Doug- 
lass streets ; Blake's buildings. State street ; Furman 
and Columbia ; Squire's buildings in Hicks, near Paci- 
fic street ; Hall's alley, Furman street ; Clark's build- 
ings, Kelsey's alley, Hamilton avenue and Columbia 
street. These localities were in the neighborhood of 
low ground and stagnant water, or where the filth was 
abundant, and were too crowded, being occupied by a 
population at least one-half or one-third larger than 
was consistent with either comfort or health. 

Of the victims of this epidemic, a large portion were 
intemperate; and, among those who were temperate, the 
attack could, in almost every instance, be traced to some 
error or excess in diet. 

1850. In July another disastrous fire occurred, sec- 
ond in destructiveness only to the great fire of 1848, 
It consumed several large storehouses on Furman 
street, and destroyed property valued at not less than 
$400,000. The most prominent feature of the fire was 
the terrific explosion of a large quantity of saltpetre, 
which was stored in one of the warehouses, and which 
occasioned the utmost consternation, blowing one fire- 
engine, and those who were working it, entirely off the 
dock, into the water. Luckily, however, no lives were 

In April Mr. Samuel Smith was chosen mayor, to 
serve from May 1st until the close of the year, in ac- 
cordance with an amendment to the city charter, which 
made the term of this and the other municipal officers 
commence with the civil year. 

Samuel Smith was born at Huntington, L. I., in 1788. 
His boyhood was spent upon his father's farm ; and his edu- 
cation was obtained at the Huntington Academy. In 1803 he 
began to learn the cooper's trade, and in 1806 removed to the 
village of Brooklyn. In 1809 he abandoned his trade ; and, 
with Mr. Richard Bouton, hired the John Jackson place, and 
went to farming. A year later they left this location and 
hired "the Post farm " (which took in a portion of the pres- 
ent Fort Greene). In 1811 Mr. Smith married Eliza, daugh- 
ter of Judge Tunis Joralemon, and the next year purchased 
the easterly portion of the Tunis G. Johnson farm, on the 
southerly side of the Old Road (now Fulton avenue). For 
this property, comprising nearly fourteen acres, he paid 
$6,000 ; in 1815 added to it, by purchase, the southerly por- 
tion of the original Johnson farm, about six acres, at $500 
per acre ; and, in 1818, bought the remainder (bounded by 
Red Hook lane, Schermerhorn street and a line one hundred 
feet east of Smith street), eight acres, for the sum of $10,000. 
Here he pursued the farming and milk business until about 
1835, when he turned his attention exclusively to the im- 



provement and sale of his real-estate, the value of which was 
then fast increasing — with the rapid development of the vil- 
lage. He managed his property with an ability and success 
which made him very wealthy. He was commissioner of 
highways and fence-viewer of the old town of Brooklyn 
from 1821 to '35, and also in 1837, '33, '34 ; assessor from 1837 
to 1830 inclusive ; justice of the peaceinl831, and for several 
years thereafter ; supervisor for several years, and for two 
years chairman of the board ; and was appointed (by the old 
council of appointments) a county judge, going out of ser- 
vice on the adoption of the new State constitution. He was 
also one of the three County Superintendents of the Poor ; 
and, in connection with his associates, David Johnson, of 
Flatbush, and Michael Schoonmaker, he selected and pur- 
chased the present county-farm at Flatbush, and erected 
thereon buildings suitable, at that day, for the accommoda- 
tion of the poor. Descended, as he was, from an old-fashioned 
democratic family, Mr. Smith has always been found in the 
ranks of that party. When the city of Brooklyn was char- 
tered, in 1884, his farm was brought within the limits of the 
Sixth ward (now cut up into the Sixth, Tenth and Twelfth 
wards), which he represented in the board of aldermen from 
1884 to 1888, from 1843 to 1844, and 1845 to 1846, a portion of the 
time as president of the board. In 1850 he was unanimously 
elected mayor by a democratic naajority of three to four 
hundred votes, over Mr. J. T. S. Stranahan ; also overcom- 
ing the two thousand majority by which his predecessor, Mr. 
Copeland, had distanced his competitor in the previous char- 
tered election. As mayor, Mr. Smith always possessed the 
confidence of the public as one who would deal with public 
affairs justly and faithfully as with his own. He was 
selected as a vigorous economist, endeavored to do his duty 
to the best of his ability, and always commanded the respect 
and confidence of the better classes. At the time of the war 
of 1818, Mr. Smith was a member of the mihtia-company 
known as the Washington Fusileers, and served a while in 
camp on Fort Greene. After the war he was commissioned 
ensign in the 44th (Col. Joseph Dean's) Regiment, and subse- 
quently was promoted to a captaincy in the same. He wor- 
shipped with the congregation occupying the old Dutch 
church, and, in 1830, he became a member of that com- 
munion. Mr. Smith was, for a considerable portion of his 
life, identified with the inception and interests of the princi- 
pal moneyed institutions of Brooklyn, having been a director 
of the Brooklyn Bank ; a director, and, for two years, presi- 
dent of the Atlantic Bank ; an original incorporator of the 
Nassau Insurance Company, and a director in the Mechanics 
Insurance and Home Life Insurance Companies. Mr. Smith 
died May 19, 1873. 

1851. With this year began the mayoralty of 
Conklin Brush, who served during two years. 

CoNKLlN Brush commenced business in the city of New 
York, at the close of the war of 1813, and, with no 
resources but a good character, and remarkable business 
tact and energy, he very rapidly acquired the reputation 
of a safe and successful merchant. From 1816 to 1840, 
embracing all the periods of great commercial disaster, 
he was at the head of nine successful mercantile firms, no 
one of which ever failed, and all of which were highly pros- 
perous. Mr. Brush came to Brooklyn m 1837. His services 
were eagerly sought by the Brooklyn people of that day, and 
he served in the board of trustees in 1830 ; and in the com- 
mon council from 1834 to 1835, serving as president of the 
board. When he retired from the presidency, he received a 
unanimous vote of thanks for the manner in which he had 
filled the office. Mr. Brush took an active part in every lead- 

ing public measure which has advanced the growth and pros- 
perity of Brooklyn. When he moved to Brooklyn theie 
was not a public lamp in the village. In 183'2 he took meas- 
ures to place them in Hicks and Willow streets, and since 
then they have been gradually extended so as to light all the 
populous quarters of the city. In 1834 he was chairman of a 
citizens' committee, which secured for Brooklyn, against the 
opposition of New York, the establishment of the South (or 
Atlantic) ferry. He also led the movemtnt to widen Fulton 
street, telcw its junction with Main street, against a most 
violent opposition. Mr. Brush was appointed, by a public 
meeting of citizens, on a committee to select and secure a 
site for a City Hall. They obtained the site on which the 
City Hall now stands, and proposed the erection of a hall 
substantially like the present building, to cost about $1C0,- 
000. Unfortunately, other counsels prevailed, and a building 
to cost from a half to three-quarters of a million was planned 
and commenced under a democratic majority in the common 
council — an egregious blunder which finally resulted in a 
ten years' delay in the erection of this much-needed public 
edifice ; and, what was worse, in the formation of nearly 
one-half of the debt which subsequently burdened the city of 
Brooklyn. To Mr. Brush, also, in connection with Mr. 
Daniel Richards, Brooklyn is indebted for the projection and 
inception of the great Atlantic docks, which was incorpor- 
ated in 1840, and of which company he was a director, dur- 
ing some six years. In 1848 he erected a grain-elevator and 
several stores connected therewith. In the fall of 1850 Mr. 
Brush was elected by the whig party as mayor over John 
Rice (democratic), and George Hall (independent). He 
served as mayor during 1851 and 1853. The city never had a 
mayor better versed in all the details of thorough practical 
service. His perfect familiarity with financial affairs secured 
for him the confidence and support of the large property in- 
terest, which sensitively requires all due knowledge and cau- 
tion on the part of public servants. After the expiration of his 
term of office he accepted the presidency of the Mechanics' 
Bank of Brooklyn. By no means least, among the many im- 
portant services which he rendered to the city, was his con- 
nection, from the first, with the great movement for procur- 
ing a supply of water ; his valuable efforts having been pro- 
perly recognized in his selection, by the mayor, as one of the 
board of construction, of the water commissioners. He died 
July 4, 1870. 

That part of the city known as South JBrooMyn began 
to make rapid strides in the development of commercial 
resources, industries, and density of population, which 
have since distinguished it. Sand-hills were levelled, 
marshes were filled, streets were laid out, graded and 
paved. Dwellings were erected, docks, piers and ware- 
houses were established, and a great impetus was given 
to the prosperity and growth of the region. 

There were in Brooklyn, at this time, many distiller- 
ies, rectifying estahlishments, etc., the annual products 
of which added very considerably to the material 
wealth and commercial prosperity of the city. 

The combined statistics of this branch of Brooklyn 
industry showed that 6 distilleries, 3 rectifying estab- 
lishments, and a brewery, employing altogether 179 
persons, and consuming grain and fuel to the value of 
$993,300 annually, produced during the same period 
5,459,300 gallons of whisky, valued at $1,364,825, be- 
sides $40,000 worth of slops and swill. 2,964,000 gal- 



Ions of whisky were rectified and manufactured into 
domestic liquors, pure spirits, etc. 

At the same time there was also more white-lead 
manufactured in Brooklyn than in any other city or 
town in America (and probably as much as was made 
in all parts of the United States), consuming nearly one- 
third the product of all the then-existing lead-mines of 
the country. The Brooklyn White Lead Works, loca- 
ted in Front street, between Washington and Adams, 
was the oldest in the city and State, and one of the old- 
est in the country, having been established in 1822, and 
incorporated in 1825, with a capital of $53,000, by J. 
B. & Augustus Graham, and other enterprising capital- 
ists. It occupied an entire block of 230 by 200 feet, 
employing 90 men ; and producing annually 2,500 tons 
of white-lead, red-lead, litharge, etc., valued at 

The whole united product of the white-lead works 
of Brooklyn, at this time, was from 6,000 to 12,000 tons 
annually, and their united capital was over one million 
of dollars. 

The above statistics illustrate the rapidly-increasing 
value and importance of the city at that period of its 

July 1st. Not to be forgotton, also, in the annals of 
Brooklyn, was the laying of the corner-stone of the Old 
Ladies' Home, a charity which owed its inception, and 
its subsequent perfect development, to the Christian 
philanthropy and liberality of the late John B. Gra- 
ham, Esq. 

During this and the following year many churches, 
benevolent associations, and business corporations, were 
established. In January, 1852, the Brooklyn Athence- 
um and Beading-room was incorporated ; aijd, during 
the same year, an elegant and commodious edifice was 
erected on the corner of Atlantic and Clinton streets, 
for its occupancy. 

1853. Edward C. Lambert was chosen mayor for 
this and the succeeding year. In his communication 
to the common council, on the 3d of January, he pre- 
sented a summary of the progress of the city during 
the year 1852. "Well may we rejoice," he says, " in 
the increase of population, numbering at the present 
time some 120,000, and ranking us as the seventh city 
in our union: in the increase of taxable property, 
amounting to nearly twelve millions of dollars during 
the past year; and in the many improvements which 
have taken place in various parts of the city, evidenc- 
ing a solid and permanent growth." Fifteen schools 
were mentioned as under the control of the board of 
education, giving instruction to 18,307 scholars, while 
two evening-schools had been opened, which were at- 
tended by 809 scholars. Twenty-two miles of street 
mains had been laid down by the Brooklyn Gas Com- 
pany, being nearly half of the whole number put down 
smce the formation of the company ; and 1,202 gas- 
lamps had been erected. The number of buildings 

erected during the year 1852 was 2,500. The move- 
ment, first agitated in 1835, for the securing of a full 
and permanent water-supply for Brooklyn, was this 
year advanced by the investigations of Mr. Wm. J. 
Mc Alpine, an engineer appointed, in 1851, to make the 
necessary examinations; and his report and plans were 
recommended by the mayor in his annual report. 

Edwaed Augustus Lambert was born in the city of New 
York, June 10th, 1813. His father, master of a merchant- 
ship in the service of one of the old South street shipping- 
houses, was lost at sea with his vessel ; and his son, from the 
age of twelve years, was obliged to depend upon his own 
efforts. As clerk, he served in an importing-house until 1832 
entering then into the stationery -business. In 1849 he was 
chosen on the democratic (free-soil) ticket, as alderman from 
the Sixth ward of Brooklyn ; and, on the division of that 
ward, in 1850, was elected alderman of the (new) Tenth ward 
(formed from the Sixth), and was honored by the presidency 
of the board. In November, 1853, he was elected, on the 
democratic ticket, mayor of the city of Brooklyn, for the 
years 1853 and '54. During the term of his mayoralty the 
affairs of the city were administered with strict economy, 
and the laws enforced with an impartiality and strictness 
which secured the universal approbation of his fellow-citi- 
zens ; while his personal devotion to all the duties of his sta- 
tion, whether at or outside of the oflSce, was conspicuous. 

During his term of ofiBce, charters were granted to, and 
contracts made with, the horse-railroads which now form so 
important an element of Brooklyn interests ; the introduc- 
tion of a permanent supply of water was assured to the city, 
by the purchase of ponds, etc. ; the Truant Children's Home 
was established and the Sunday-law rigorously enforced to 
the great satisfaction of all good citizens. In the spring of 1854 
Mayor Lambert's health failed, under the pressure of his 
official labors, and the common council granted his request 
for a leave of absence. He accordingly spent about six weeks 
ia Europe, and returning home, June the 1st, found the city 
of Brooklyn in a state of excitement. Riots had broken out 
between the Irish and parties affiliated with the Know- 
Nothing party, and prompt and energetic measures were 
required to suppress them. These measures were at once 
adopted by Mayor Lambert, whose characteristic firmness, 
decision and impartiality rendered him exactly the man for 
the emergency ; and he was admirably seconded by the civil, 
police and military force which he immediately summoned 
to his aid. The power of the law, the rights of free speech 
and the proprieties of the Sabbath were promptly and fully 

During the war of the rebeUion Mr. Lambert was among 
the first to promote volunteering, etc., and called the first 
great war-meeting, on Fort Greene, in April, 1861. He was 
also the recording-secretary and an active member of the 
committee appointed by the citizens of Brooklyn, in June, 
1863, to provide for the reception, care and relief of wounded 
and sick soldiers forwarded from the field by government ; 
and, when the great Sanitary Fair was organized uil864, was 
chairman of the committee on benefits, entertainments and 
exhibitions, in which capacity, as well as by his labors as a 
member of the War Fund committee, he rendered most excel- 
lent service. 

Mr. Lambert has been, for many years, prominently identi- 
fied with the Presbyterian denomination, as delegate to its 
synods and treasurer of the Presbyterian committee of Home 
Missions ; and was one of the most active and influential orig- 
inal members of the Lafayette avenue Presbyterian church 



(Rev. Dr. Cuyler's). He was at one time the president of the 
Craftsman's Life Insurance Company, of New York city; and 
is now engaged in the wholesale stationery business. 

December lYth, 1853. The JBrooklyn City Railroad 
Company was incorporated under the general law of 
the State of New York, and set immediately to work 
to lay the rails on the several routes designated by 
their contract with the city authorities. 

On the 20th of the same month, the Colonnade-row, 
on the Heights, was destroyed by fire. It consisted of 
eight four-story brick buildings, having on their fronts 
large wooden columns and balustrades; and, being con- 
spicuous from the river, were much noticed and ad- 
mired, especially by strangers. 

During the year, the common council, acting under 
authority of the act passed June 19th, 1851, purchased 
several streams and ponds of water on the island, at an 
expense of some $44,000; and which sources, it was es- 
timated, would furnish a sufficient quantity of water to 
meet the wants of the city for a period of years, while 
the quality of the water, for purity, was unsurpassed. 
In June an act was passed, by the legislature, entitled 
"An Act for the supply of the city of Brooklyn with 
water;" which act required, that, before the adoption 
of any plan, the same should be submitted to the elec- 
tors for their approval. A special election was, there- 
fore, held in the month of July, which resulted in the 
rejection, by a majority of 3,700, of the plan proposed 
by the common council. A strong opposition was found 
to be arrayed against the plan, while many citizens, too 
confident of the success of the undertaking, did not in- 
terest themselves in its favor. As, however, the act 
empowered the common council to submit other plans 
and estimates, until an approval was obtained, this de- 
feat was but a temporary delay to the progress of the 
important and beneficent work of procuring a supply 
of wholesome water for Brooklyn. 

1854. In May, persons connected with the Bridge 
Street Primitive Methodist church inaugurated public 
religious exercises in the open air. These meetings 
were disturbed by New York roughs, who came over 
for that purpose; and, on Sunday, the 4th of June, a se- 
rious riot occurred at the Main street ferry, as a party 
of these roughs were about to embark on their return. 

Sticks, stones and other missiles were hurled by the 
crowd collected near the ferry, at the New Yorkers, 
who, in return, fired on the crowd, wounding several 
and killing one. Some damage was done to the ferry- 
house and boat, but the mob was finally dispersed by 
the police and military, and order was restored. No 
subsequent disturbance occurred. The right of free 
speech was vindicated, and street-preaching and ill-feel- 
ing gradually subsided. 

June. On the 13th the cholera made its appearance 
in Plymouth and Pacific streets. It numbered 656 per- 
sons among its victims, before the close of the season. 

July. On the 3d of this month the cars of the 
Brooklyn City Railroad Company made their first trips 
over the Myrtle avenue, Flushing avenue and Fhdton 
^street, and Fkdton avenue routes; their first paying 
trips being made on the following day, the 4th. On 
the Yth of August cars began to run over the Green- 
wood route. 

September 11th. Memorable in the educational his- 
tory of Brooklyn, as marking the commencement of 
the Packer Collegiate Institute for Girls, which super- 
seded the former Brooklyn Female Academy. 

As a counterpart to the Packer Institute, another 
educational establishment, for boys, called the Brook- 
lyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, was incorpo- 
rated during this same year. 

In November was incorporated the Union Ferry 
Company of Brooklyn, with a capital of $800,000. 
This new corporation superseded the former Union 
Perry Company, which had existed since 1851. There 
were previously two associated companies: the New 
York and Union Ferry Company, from 1839 to 1844, 
and the Brooklyn Union Ferry Company, from 1844 to 

On the 17th of April, of this year, the Legislature of 
the State, three-fifths being present, had passed an 
"Act to consolidate the cities of Brooklyn and Wil- 
lianisburgh, and the town of Bushwick, into a munici- 
pal government, and to incorporate the same^'' the said 
act to take effect on the 1st of January, 1856. With 
the last day of 1854, therefore, ended the history of 
the First City of Brooklyn. 




Bt Rev. 


GEOGRAPHY, Topography, Soil, etc.— The 
town of Gravesend, by age and position, is 
wortliy a prominent place in the History of 
Kings County. 

Containing within its boundaries, probably the most 
popular seaside resort in the country — viz.: Coney 
Island — it has assumed of late an importance entirely 
unknown to the first two hundred and thirty years of 
its existence. 

It is triangular in form, its base resting upon the 
Atlantic Ocean on the south, its apex adjoining Flatbush 
on the north, and is bounded east by the town of 
Flatlands, and west by New Utrecht. 

Its nearness to two of the largest commercial cen- 
tres in America promises, in the near future, a growth 
vastly more rapid than during any period of its past 
history ; while its healthful climate, and present rapid- 
transit accommodations, will doiibtless render it an 
attractive place of residence for the business men of 
New York and Brooklyn. 

It occupies the most southerly portion of Kings 
county, and is some seven miles from Fulton ferry ; 
while its northern boundary is only about two miles 
from the southern city limits of Brooklyn. 

Its surface is mostly level, yet with a suiEcient slope 
towards the sea to make possible a complete system of 

The soil, though somewhat light and sandy, is yet 
very productive ; and, with careful tillage and gener- 
ous fertilizing, will, under favorable circumstances, 
produce two fair crops. 

The climate is remarkably healthful and agreeable. 
The inhabitants are rarely, if ever, exposed to any 
dangerous epidemic, and notable longevity is the rule 
rather than the exception. 

The atmosphere is so modified by the influence of the 
sea that the temperature is usually cooler in summer 
and warmer in winter, by several degrees, than we find 
it further inland. The weather must be extremely 
cold for the mercury to fall below zero ; while, in 

summer, the cooling, delightful sea-breeze, which 
invariably springs up in the afternoon, generally makes 
the hottest days tolerable, and even comfortable. 

Settlement. — It was, probably, upon the soil of 
Gravesend that the foot of white men first trod in this 
State. (See chapter on Coney Island). The first per- 
manent settlement of the town dates back to the year 
1643; although there may have been individuals who' 
occupied land within the town-boundaries a few years 
earlier, as we shall have occasion to notice hereafter. 

While all the other towns in Kings county were 
settled by the Dutch, who came over from Holland 
under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company, 
Gravesend was first settled by a colony of English, 
under the leadership of Lady Deborah Moody, a woman 
of considerable wealth and education, who afterwards 
took a prominent part in the administration of pubUc 

The free enjoyment of opinion in religious matters, 
the mild laws, the " freedom and exemptions " offered 
to settlers, the richness of the soil, and the salubrity of 
the climate, all rendered the Nieuw Netherlands an at- 
tractive place of settlement to those who, having left 
Old England for the purpose of obtaining religious 
freedom, had found, to their surprise and grief, in New 
England, the same intolerance from which they had 
thought to escape. The persecuted in England had, in 
turn, become the persecutors here, as soon as circum- 
stances afforded the opportunity. As has been well 
said by J. W. Geeaed, Esq., in a discourse on " The 
Lady Deborah Moody," before the New YorJc Histori- 
cal Society, M.&J, 1880, "the practice and the princi- 
ples of the Puritan fathers became far from harmoni- 
ous. The rigid lines of their ecclesiastial faith were 
drawn as strictly and maintained almost as ruthlessly 
as in the fatherland ; and the governing authority ex- 
acted conformity in spiritual matters as the condition 
of civil freedom. Those who had been branded as 
heretics stigmatized others as heretics, for differences 
in theological abstractions, and even for non-conformity 



to church-routine. * * * Inquisition was 
made into men's private judgments as well as into their 
declarations and practice. * * * Tolera- 
tion was preached against as a sin in rulers which would 
bring down the judgment of heaven upon the land. 
* * * Non-conformists were scourged 

and fined for their ideas, no matter how mildly ex- 
pressed; and even if they met together privately, to par- 
take of communion, they were disenfranchised and im- 
prisoned. * * * Any sympathy expressed 
for the sufferings of the victims, or criticisms made on 
the severe action of the magistrates, was visited with 
fines and scourgings. Any question of the authority of 
any part of the Biblical history was visited with scourg- 
ing ; and a second offence with death. Many of the 
English colonists removed to the Dutch colony for 
freedom of conscience and liberty of worship." 

Among those thus compelled to seek a new home was 
the Lady Deborah Moody, widow of Sir Henry Moody, 
of Garsden, in Wiltshire, and one of the baronets 
created by King James, in 1622. She was the daughter 
of Walter Dunch, a member of Parliament in Queen 
Elizabeth's time; as, also, was her uncle, at a later pe- 
riod. Both in and out of Parliament her father's fam- 
ily had been open and avowed champions of popular 
liberty and constitutional rights. Sir Henry Moody 
died about 1632. It is related in Lewis' History of 
Lynn, Mass., that in 1635, about five years before leav- 
ing England, Lady Moody had made herself obnoxious 
to the law by violating a penal statute which forbade 
any person residing beyond a specified time from their 
own home. This produced from the Court of the Star 
Chamber an order that " Dame Deborah Moody and 
others should return to their hereditaments in forty days, 
in the good example necessary to the poorer classes;" 
her offence being that she had simply gone from her 
country residence to live for a short time in London. 
It is not strange that she chafed under the unlawful 
restraints of such a civil and ecclesiastical despotism, 
and that she longed for a home in a land and among a 
people where the most sacred rights of humanity 
were properly respected. In 1640 she emigrated to 
Massachusetts, and April 6th united with the Church at 
Salem. May 13, 1840, the General Court granted her 
500 acres of land for a plantation ; and, in 1641, she 
purchased the farm of Dep-Gov. John Humfrey, called 
Swampscott, near Lynn, for which she paid £1100. She 
soon found, however, that her hopes of religious peace 
and freedom were delusive ; for, having imbibed the be- 
lief taught by Roger Williams, that infant baptism was 
not an ordinance of divine origin, and that it should be 
restricted to adults, she was duly " admonished." Being 
still unconvinced of the erroneous nature of her views, 
she was excommunicated. In 1642 she was "pre- 
sented " by the Quarterly Court for holding these views. 
Harrassed, annoyed, "admonished," excommunicated, 
"presented," in 1643 she, with her son Sir Henry, John 

Tilton and wife, and a few close friends, bade farewell 
to Massachusetts, and sought, among the strangers of 
Nieuw Amsterdam, speaking a language as foreign to 
her as were their manners and customs, an asylum 
where she might enjoy peace and happiness, without 
sacrificing her conscientious convictions. An extract 
from Gov. Winthrop's Journal indicates the high re- 
gard in which she was still held among her New Eng- 
land neighbors, although " disfellowshipped " by her 
own church. " The Ladye Moodye, a wise, an anciently 
religious woman, being taken with the error of denying 
baptism to infants, was dealt with by many of the eld- 
ers and others, and admonished by the Church of Salem 
(whereof she was a member) ; but persisting still, and 
to avoid further trouble, etc., she removed to the Dutch, 
against the advice of her friends." Here she found, to 
her surprise and joy, a number of her own countrymen, 
who had sought, near the fort, an asylum from savage 
hostilities. On the eastern shore of Manhattan Island, 
about opposite the lower end of Blackwell's Island, and 
at the place known as "Deutil Bay," had sprung up 
quite a settlement of English residents. Among the 
earliest of these was Nicholas Stillwell, or " Nicholas, 
the Tobacco Planter," as he is often called in the old 
records. His experience of England's and New Eng- 
land's intolerance had been similar to that of Lady 
Moody ; and he had secured here a plantation, on which 
he had erected a stone house, which became the nucleus 
of an infant settlement, known as " the English settle- 
ment at Hopton." But the policy of the Dutch Direc- 
tor-General, Kieft, toward the Indians, had precipi- 
tated a general war ; and the English settlers at Hopton 
had fled for safety under the walls of the fort at Nieuw 
Amsterdam. Here they were found by Lady Meody 
and her associates, and the two parties naturally fusing 
together, were invited by the Director-General to select 
from the unappropriated lands of the W. I. Co., a loca- 
tion for a new settlement. The present town of Grave- 
send was the site selected for their new home, by a com- 
mittee of their number appointed for the purpose, and 
a patent was issued by the Director-General and Coun- 
cil in the summer of 1643. Of this patent but little is 
known, as the original cannot be found ; but it is so re- 
ferred to in subsequent documents as to leave no doubt 
of there having been such a patent. 

Thus began the settlement of the town, under the 
leadership of a woman of education and refinement, 
whose force of character, combined with her up- 
rightness of life, made her a power for good with those 
among whom she moved. Both by nature and grace 
she was fitted to be a pioneer in such an enterprise. 
For sixteen years she went in and out among the people, 
prominent in their councils, and often intrusted with 
important public responsibilities, which prove the re- 
spect and confidence of her associates. She seems, also, 
to have enjoyed the friendship of Gov. Stuyvesant, 
who several times sought her advice in matters of 



great public importance. Even the nomination of the 
three town-magistrates was, on one or two occasions, 
intrusted by the Director-General to her good judg- 
ment. He also availed himself of her kind offices, on 
another occasion, in quelling an incipient rebellion, 
raised by some of her English associates against the 
Dutch authority. 

She owned a large tract of land in Gravesend, as we 
shall hereafter see; and we find, by the old town-rec- 
ord, that in November, 1648, she rented all her " broken 
up " land, for three years, to one Thos. Cornewill, re- 
serving, however, one piece for her own use. She also 
furnished him with 4 cows and 4 oxen, receiving as 
rent, per year, 10 skipples of wheat for the land, and 
60 gilders for the use of the animals. 

Much doubt has existed as to the time and place of 
Lady Moody's death. 

Some have thought it possible that she went from 
Gravesend to Virginia, with her son Sir Henry, and 
ended her days there. Others, that she went to Mon- 
mouth Co., N. J., with a colony from Gravesend, who 
obtained a patent for a large tract of land in the above 
county in 1665. 

Among the old records of the town we have found 
some data which seem clearly to determine the fact of 
her death and burial in Gravesend. The record of the 
probate of the will of one Edward Brown, November 
4, 1658, states that Lady Moody, with two other per- 
sons named, was " granted power by the Court to ad- 
minister upon the estate of the said Edward Brown." 
She must, therefore, have been living at the above 
date, and in Gravesend. It is also recorded that Sir 
Henry Moody, some seven months later, May 11, 1659, 
conveyed a piece of land to John Johnson, which is de- 
scribed as being " the gift of inheritance from his de- 
ceased mother, Deborah Moody, patentee." 

Facsimile of signature of Sir Henry Moody, Junior. 

This fixes, beyond question, the time of her death 
within seven months, viz., between Nov. 4, 1658, and 
May 11, 1659. The strong probability is, therefore, 
that she died at Gravesend, about the beginning of the 
year 1659, and was buried in one of the nameless graves 
of the old burial-place, which now, after more than two 
and a quarter centuries, retain no vestige of inscriptions 
to indicate whose dust slumbers beneath the sod. 

Name. — With regard to the name, Gravesend, given 
to the town, Thompson, in his History of Long Island, 
states that it was so called, by the early English set- 
tlers, from the town of that name in England, from 
which they sailed on their departure for America. 

This theory is plausible only upon the supposition 
that Lady Moody and her associates actually made 
Gravesend their point 'of departure for New England. 
Whether this be true or not, since Gravesend was an 
important commercial town on the river Thames, in the 
County of Kent, it would not be strange if the early 
English settlers should be desirous of transmitting the 
name to the new settlement which they were about to 
found on this side of the ocean. This seems all the 
more probable, since they evidently intended to make 
the modern Gravesend, from its favorable position, a 
commercial town of no little importance. There is, 
however, no corroborative evidence of this origin of the 
name. Another supposition, which we believe to be 
the true one, is that Gov. Kieft, when granting them 
permission to settle here, or later, when he issued the 
patent for the land, called the town Gravesend, from 
the old Dutch town, Gravensande (the Count's beach), 
on the river Maas, in Holland, which may have been 
dear to the Governor as being the place of his nativity, 
or from early associations. 

Pioneer Settlers. — Before the proper settlement 
of Gravesend by Lady Moody and her associates, there 
were two persons who took up farms within what 
afterwards became the town-boundaries, and for which 
they held individual patents. 

The first patent, or ground-brief, was issued by Gov. 
Kieft, May 27, 1643, giving possession (retrospectively 
from August 1st, 1639) to one Antonie Jansen Yan 
Salee, 100 morgen (200 acres) of land, one part to he 
called the Old Bowery, and the other the 12 morgen. 


Facsimile of Anthony Jansen's mark. 

According to an old map, now on file in the town- 
clerk's office at Gravesend, the " Old Bowery " part of 
this farm was situated at the western part of the 
town, now covered wholly, or for the most part, 
by the village of Unionville ; while the "12 mor- 
gen " (by which name the land is known to this day) 
lay a little distance from it in a south-easterly direction. 
Between these parcels of land lay a large strip of marsh 
or meadow-ground, worthy of special mention in con- 
nection with a certain " Neck " of land (or rather at 
that time of sand-hills) running south from the "Old 
Bowery," because of the legal efforts afterwards made 
for the possession of both. 

This neck and meadow became a bone of contention 
for years afterwards between the inhabitants of Graves- 
end, on the one hand, who claimed it as belonging to 
their original patent ; and, on the other, Francis De 
Bruyn (afterwards called Brown), the successor of An- 



tonie Jansen Van Salee (Anthony Johnson), -who also 
claimed it as included in the 100 morgen granted to the 

Finally, June, 1669, by request of both parties to the 
suit, the matter was referred, by the Court of General 
Sessions, to Governor Lovelace, for decision. John 
Glanning and Jacques Corteleau, the two referees 
appointed by the governor, reported that Mr. Brown 
" hath no meadow in his patent, but is short of his 
100 morgen of land which he purchased, and we 
do verily believe it doth not, in right, belong to 
Gravesend." They recommended, therefore, that one- 
third thereof be allowed to Brown," to make up his 
100 morgen of land, and lying before his door, within 
a stone's throw, he paying for the ditching which is yet 
to be done; that one-third go to Gravesend " for the 
ditching they have done," and the remaining one-third 
was left to his Excellency's disposal. In accordance 
with this report of the referees. Gov. Lovelace issued 
his " Edict," as it was called, a certified copy of which 
is before us, and is as follows : 

" The Grovernrs Judgement & Determination 
concerning ye land in question, between 
ye Inhabitants of Gravesend and Francis 
" Whereas there hath been a Controversary or Matter in 
Difference between ye Inhabitants of ye town of Gravesend 
& Francis Brown, alius de Bruyn, concerning a parcell of 
Meadow ground adjoining to Twelve Morgen of upland in ye 
pattent of ye said Francis Brown, speoifyed, as also about a 
certaine Neck of land endorsed upon ye old ground brief of 
ye said Brown, but claymed [by] ye [said] Gravesend as granted 
to them longe before, & being wthin ye lymitts of their pattent. 
Upon Examination and due consideration had of ye prem- 
ises, 1 do adjudge that if Francis Brown have his complemt 
of Twelve Morgen of upland, he hath no right or clayme to 
ye meadow, yett in regard a third parte or proportion thereof 
is already layd to him, he is to have and quietly enjoy ye 
land, and ye remainder or othr two third partes are to con- 
tinue and be to ye Inhabitants of Gravesend. And as to ye 
Neck of land Endorsed upon ye old pattent of the said Fran- 
cis Brown, & also claymed by ye said Inhabitants of Graves- 
end as aforesaid, I doe think fitt, since it hath hitherto or 
most usually been enjoyed in Common between ye Town & 
ye said Farm that it continue so still, and this shall be ye 
conclusion and final determination of ye said controversy or 
Matter in Difference unless both or either of ye partys think- 
ing themselves agrieved do sue for redress therein at ye next 
Cort of Assizes, where ye law is open for them, but after that 
tyme it shall be a barre to any further pretences. 

Given undr my hand and seale at Fort James in New York, 
this 23d day of August, in ye 31 yeare of his Magties Raigne, 
Anno Dom. 1669. g^^ S^ancis Lovelace." 

This, however, did not prove to be the " conclusion 
and final determination" of the matter; for, 120 years 
later, Albert Voorhees claimed an exclusive right to 
this ground, by virtue of purchase from Brown. He 
also attempted to enforce his claim by preventing 
Gravesend people from erecting their fish-huts, drying 
their nets, etc., on the beach along the property. This 
brought him in direct conflict with his fellow-citizens; 

who claimed, by virtue of their patent, the right to 
"fish, hawk and gun along and upon" the property. 
To determine their several rights, Mr. V. brought an 
action for trespass against sundry townsmen, which 
was tried the 18th of September, 1789, in the Supreme 
Court, at Flatbush. Aaron Burr was the town's attor- 
ney, and the case was tried before a jury of seven 
Queen's county men. The town was willing to con- 
cede to Mr. V. a patentee's right, viz., 1 39 part of the 
commonage, but not the exclusive right which he 
claimed. The trial resulted in a verdict for the town; 
the judgment being affirmed by the October term of 
the court, with costs. Col. Burr's summing-up, as 
shown by his minutes, was clear and forcible; his 
charges (as per receipts, now extant) were £20, besides 
£15 "for advice lately given and as a general retainer." 
Mr. Crosby, hotel-keeper at Flatbush, also receipted for 
£30 " for entertaining the people of Gravesend;" and 
"also the account of Col. Burr;" and " 40 shillings" 
from Mr. Roger Strong (a lawyer who assisted in the 
case in behalf of the town), " for wine, punch, &c." 
How will this compare with some recent civic law- 
suits ? 

Thus the matter rested for about 50 years longer, 
when, in 1843, another law-suit was tried upon the 
question of title. David Davis, then in possession of 
the property, began an ejectment suit against Thomas 
Hicks and Coart Van Sicklen, as representing the town. 

At a special town meeting held January 13th, 1843, 
a committee was appointed to defend the suit, and 
$350 voted for legal expenses. This trial, like the 
other two, was a complete vindication of the right of 
the town to use the ground for fishing-purposes. 

In this case Gabriel Furman was attorney for the 
town. The plaintiff, however, appealed the case, and 
the town, for some reason, failed to meet it, and judg- 
ment was obtained against them by default. The mat- 
ter was finally settled by the town paying to the plain- 
tiff a sum of money suflicient to pay his cost of litiga- 

For the present time, and indeed for the last fifteen 
or twenty years, the town seems to have given up, by 
tacit consent, all her right and interest in the land in 
question; and the successors of Francis de Bruyn and 
Albert Voorhees to-day hold quiet and undisputed pos- 
session. Indeed, the few who have used the ground 
for fishing purposes, for the last few years, have paid, 
without remonstrance, an annual ground-rent of from $5 
to $30. It is probable, therefore, that whatever rights 
the town formerly had in this property, are now gone 
past recovery. Some of the suits which have arisen 
out of this matter are still pending. 

The next patent, in order of time, was that granted 
by Gov. Kieft to Guysbert Op Dyck for Conyne (Coney) 
Island, and Conyne Hook, afterwards called Guysbert's 
Island. This patent bears date 1644, and was for 44 
morgen, or 88 acres. This land was also claimed after- 



wards by the town as included in the patent of Graves- 
end. Op Dyok came to this country in 1635 ; in 1642 
was Commissary of Provisions for the colony, and for 
some time had charge of the fort on the Connecticut 
river, where he made much trouble with the English. 
We mention him again, in connection with Coney 

Then came the patent of Robert Pennoyer, dated 
Nov. 29, 1645. (State Secretary's office, Butch Booh 
of Patents, page 144.) We learn from a certified trans- 
lation of this patent, found among the old papers of the 
town, that the farm was "situated between the land of 
Antony Jansen and Meladie [My Lady] Moody, amount- 
ing together to eighty-nine Morgen four hundred and 
forty rods," and the grant was made, " with this express 
condition and agreement, that he, Robert Pennoyer, 
shall acknowledge the noble Lords Directors to be his 
Lords and Patrons under the Sovereignty of their High 
Mightenesses, the States-General, and hereto be obedi- 
ent to their Director and Council, as it becomes good 
and faithful citizens." 

First Town Patent. — We now come to the 
first, patent of the town of Gravesend, granted by 
Gov. Kieft, and dated Dec. 19, 1645. It is remark- 
able for being, probably, the only one of its kind, where 
a woman heads the list of patentees named. It is 
another evidence, also, of the prominent position which 
Lady Moody held among the early settlers, and of the 
respect shown her by the Dutch authorities. It is wor- 
thy of note that liberty of conscience was also freely 
conceded to the first settlers of Gravesend ; they were 
granted by Gov. Kieft freedom of worship " without 
magisterial or ministerial interference." 

This first patent of 1645 was confirmed by Gov. Love- 
lace in the year 1670, with the evident design of more 
clearly defining the town-boundaries, which had long 
been a matter of dispute because of the vagueness with 
which they were expressed in the first general patent of 
Gov. Kieft. After describing the town-bounds, in gen- 
eral terms, very similar to those used in the previous 
patent, it adds : " And all the meadow-ground and up- 
land not specified in the former Pattent, concerning 
which there has been several disputes and differences 
between the Inhabitants of Gravesend and their neigh- 
bor, Francis Brown, the which in parte were settled 
both by my predecessor and myself, but since fully con- 
cluded and determined between them by Articles of 
Agreement, The which Articles I do hereby confirm 
and Allow." 

Thus was this trouble, which had so disturbed the 
peace of the town, quieted for the time, only to break 
out again with unabated fury, a century further on. 

Another confirmatory patent was issued, later still, 
by Gov. Dongan, in 1686, by which the town-lines were 
made definite and permanent; while, at the same time, 
they were somewhat extended beyond the limits des- 
cribed by the preceding patent. This patent also fixes 

the amount of quit-rent to be paid yearly by the town 
instead of the one-tenth of the product of the soil de- 
manded by Gov. Kieft, as follows: "paying therefor 
yearly and every year, on the five and twentyeth day of 
March, forever, in liew and stead of all services, dues 
and demands whatsoever, as a quit-rent to his Majesty's 
use, six bushels of good winter merchantable wheat 
unto such officer or officers as shall be appointed to re- 
ceive the same at the City of New York." 

These three original patents, written upon parchment 
in an excellent state of preservation, are still to be 
found in the town clerk's office at Gravesend ; and 
(with the other town records), unlike those of the sur- 
rounding towns, are in the English, instead of the 
Dutch, language. 

Thus furnished with the requisite authority, Lady 
Moody and her associates began in earnest the work be- 
fore them. In view of the natural advantages which the 
town possessed, they no doubt hoped to make it, at some 
future day, a large and important commercial center. 
From its situation at the mouth of " The Narrows," and 
with a good harbor of its own; with the ocean on the one 
side, and the then-flourishing village of New Amster- 
dam (New York) on the other, there did indeed seem 
to be good ground for such an expectation. But un- 
fortunately, as the event proved, Gravesend Bay, 
though affording secure anchorage for smaller craft, 
would not permit vessels of large tonnage to enter its 
quiet waters with perfect safety. And so the idea of 
building a " city by the sea," which in extent, wealth, 
and business enterprise, should at least rival New 
Amsterdam, was reluctantly abandoned. 

However, with this end in view, as the work begun 
would seem to indicate, they commenced the laying out 
of the village. Selecting a favorable site near the cen- 
ter of the town, they measured off a square containing 
about sixteen acres of ground, and opened a street 
around it. This large square they afterwards divided 
into squares of four acres each, by opening two streets 
at right angles through the center. The whole was 
then enclosed by a palisade-fence, as a protection, both 
against the sudden attacks of hostile Indians, and the 
depredations of wolves and other wild animals which 
were then common upon the island. Upon one of the 
oldest maps of the town, on file in the clerk's office, we 
find a perfect representation of the village-plan as orig- 
inally laid out. From this we learn that each of the 
four squares was divided into equal sections, laid off 
around the outside of each square and facing the outer 
street. These were numbered from one to ten, in each 
of the four squares. This gave forty sections iil all; 
and thus one section was allotted to each of the forty 
patentees. By this arrangement every family could 
reside within the village, and share alike its palisade- 
defence. In the center of each square was reserved a 
large public yard, where the cattle of the inhabitants 
were brought in from the commons, and herded for the 



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night, for their better protection. At a later period, 
if not at this early date, a small portion of each square 
was devoted to public uses; on one was the church, 
on another was the school-house, on another the town- 
hall, and on the fourth the burying-ground. The orig- 
inal plan of the town is preserved, in its main features, 
to this day, after almost two hundred and fifty years. 

The farms, or "planters' lots," as they were then 
called, were also 40 in number, and were laid out in 
triangular form, with the apex resting upon the village, 
and the boundary -lines diverging therefrom like the 
radii of a circle. This plan would thus enable each 
man to go from his house within the village-defences 
to his farm, with least trouble and exposure to himself, 
and without trespassing upon his neighbor. Several 
town-farms have retained to the present time this 
peculiarity of outline. 

From the fact that the village was divided into 40 
sections, and that 40 farms radiated therefrom, we have 
naturally inferred that there were 40 patentees. If 
this be so, one of them, very early in the history of 
the town, must have dropped out of the original 
number, either by death or removal ; or, as tradition 
has it, forfeiting by his profligate life all his right, 
title and interest, in the property allotted him. This 
would seem to be more than mere conjecture; for, in all 
subsequent divisions of lands lying beyond the home- 
farms, there were 39 sections in each division, and only 
39 names as including all the patentees. 

By reference to the old map above mentioned, we 
are able to locate precisely the land allotted to Lady 
Moody, which has been to some, of late, a matter of 
doubt and inquiry. In the original allotment of land 
to the patentees, a majority of them were granted 
what were called "plantation lots," as we have seen; 
but to Lady Moody a "Bowery," or farm. On the 
map this " Bowery " is located north-east of the town- 
square, embracing the land belonging to the late Judge 
Barent Johnson, and possibly a part of the present 
Prospect Park Fair Grounds. But her land must have 
extended west of the village also, probably by subse- 
quent purchase, although this is not indicated upon the 
map. We so judge, from the fact that Robert Pen- 
noyer's land, as we have already seen in considering 
his patent, is therein described as lying " between the 
land of Antony Jansen and Meladie Moody," which 
could not be true except upon the above supposition 
The late Tunis G. Bergex, in his Harly Settlers of 
Kings County, thinks it probable that her land in- 
cluded the farm of the late Ex-Mayor Smith, of 
Brooklyn, together with the farms of Jacobus Lake 
and CorneUus D. Stryker, all west of the village If 
this be true, her "Bowery" covered a large area of 
what IS now most valuable property. But whatever 
property these Gravesend settlers possessed whether 
much or little, they held with a clear title' from its 
original owners. 

Indian Purchases. — Gravesend, at the time of its 
settlement, was, like the rest of Kings county, the 
property of the Canarsie Indians ; and, from them, at 
different times, all the land within the present town- 
boundaries was fairly purchased. The earliest of these 
purchases is recorded m a deed (one of the few town- 
documents written in Dutch), on file in the Gravesend 
town-clerk's office, dated September 10, 1645, three 
months before the issue of Governor Kieft's patent. 
There are two other Indian deeds, dated in 1650 and 
1654, being both for land on the present Coney Island 
(see chapter on Coney Island). In 1684, in view of the 
frequent changes of government, and preparatory to a 
confirmatory charter which they proposed to obtain 
from Governor Dongan, the people of Gravesend forti- 
fied their Indian title by the following conveyance, the 
original of which is still among the Gravesend records: 

" Know all men whome these presents may anywayes 
concerne, that we, Crackewasco, Arrenopeah, Mamekto, 
Annenges, the right and true proprietors of a certain parcel 
of land commonly called by the Indians Mdkeopaca, begin- 
ning at the most eastward end of the beach called by the 
Indians Moeung, bounded on the westmost side by the land 
heretofore purchased from Chippahig, and on the eastward 
side by the creek commonly called the Strome Kill, and soe 
along from the head of said creek, through ihe middle of 
the meadow and valley, till they come to a white-oak tree 
standing by the Flatland wagon path and soe running to 
another white oak tree standing by Utrecht wagon path, 
and soe upon a direct line to the Flatbush fence, and upon 
the west side bounded by the field of Utrecht, Doe hereby 
acknowledge and declare, that, for and in consideration of 
one blanket, one gun, one kettle, to have sold, assigned and 
made over all our right, title, interest and claim, to the said 
parcel of land, from us, our heirs, executors, administrators 
and assigns forever unto the freeholders and inhabitants of 
Gravesend in Kings County, their heirs, executors, adminis- 
trates and assigns forever, for them the said inhabitants to 
have, hold, possess and enjoy the same as their own free 
land of inheritance or otherwise to dispose of as to tliem 
shall seem meet without any molestation from us or any 
other. "Witness our hands the 20th of the 5th month, called 

liis his his 

July, 1684. Cake N wasco, Areun y^ apoech, Arma/J nat, 

iiiark mark mark 

Ws Ms hto 

Mus V kheok, witnessed by us Pense u mend, Wope 7 sa, 

""'■''^ mark mark 

tis his 

Jack \ kahna, Slip C amore, Wer ;3 ransobUng, John 

mark mark 

Tilton, Senior, Samuel Spicer, Barent Juriansen, Joachim 
Guylerk. Recorded by me John Emans, Clercke. 

This fair and honorable dealing won for the settlers 
the respect and friendship of their Indian neighbors, 
with whom at first they maintained most pleasant and 
familiar relations. But familiarity bred contempt, and 
the savages finally began to demand, as their right, what 
had previously been granted as a matter of kindness or 
policy. Little resentments arose on both sides, and so 
it happened that private and personal wrongs were 
committed by both parties, paving the way for the open 
and bitter hostilities which soon followed. Undoubt- 
edly, the ill-advised policy of Director Kieft tended (as 



was openly charged against Mm. at tlie time), to precip- 
itate upon the colony the Indian war which broke out 
in 1643-44, and resulted in great distress and destruc- 
tion of life and property. 

Upon the Gravesend people, then in the first year of 
their settlement, and but illy prepared for such attacks, 
this new danger fell with great force. But they 
stoutly defended their village against several very sud- 
den and fierce attacks. During these perilous times, 
every settler was compelled, by town ordinance, to 
share in building and keeping in repair the palisades, 
which surrounded the town-square and formed its de- 
fence. Each man \fas also obliged to keep, constantly 
on hand, one gun, and^a certain quantity of powder 
and lead, in order to be prepared for any sudden emer- 
gency. During the year above mentioned, the Indian 
raids upon the town were unusually frequent and se- 
vere, and the inhabitants were kept in constant fear. 
The house of Lady Moody, according to Gov. Win- 
throp, seems to have been the principal point of at- 
tack; perhaps, because it was the largest and most 
conspicuous, and better fitted than the rest for a com- 
mon rallying-point. 

On one occasion her house was bravely defended by 
forty men (probably the whole number of able-bodied 
men in the settlement), some of whom had the reputa- 
tion of being expert Indian-fighters. At another time 
the i