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974.702 M ' 






L 3 1833 01152 2932 




N. Y. 










VOL. I. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S67, 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District 
of New York. 




E»OBi7IM. Cot-Printer. 







1 %\m |aps 



In the year 1824, Gabriel Furman, a native of the town, pub- 
lished a little volume which he modestly entitled "Notes on the 
History of Brooklyn," and which, for that day, possessed great 
merit as a local history. After him, in the form of occasional con- 
tributions to magazines and newspapers, came the numerous pro- 
ductions of that worthy citizen, Gen. Jeremiah Johnson, himself a 
connecting link between Brooklyn's Past and Present. Benjamin 
Thompson, the historian of Long Island, in 1843, and the Kev. 
Nathaniel S. Prime, his successor in the same historic field, in 
1845, each gave interesting but necessarily brief resumes of Brook- 
lyn history ; while Thos. P. Teale's somewhat scanty " Chronicles" 
in Spooner's Directory for 1848, and J. T. Bailey's "Historical 
Sketch," in 1840, close the list of what may properly be called 
histories of this Town and City. The Town of Bushwick and the 
City of Williamsburgh have had their histories outlined in a similar 
manner, by Thompson, Prime and Johnson ; and by Mr. C. S. 
Schroeder, in the Long Island Family Circle, in 1852 ; the only 
work, however, which can pretend to the dignity of a volume, being 
the "History of Williamsburgh," published by Mr. Samuel Bey- 
nolds, in 1852, as an adjunct to the Williamsburgh Directory of 
that year. These were the pioneer historians of Brooklyn history, 
to whose efforts all honor is due. 

The present history had its inception, in the Fall of 1859, in a 
casual suggestion of my friend Mr. James S. Loring, of this city. 
From that time to the present, it has been prosecuted with persist- 
ency of purpose, although with frequent interruptions, and always 
amid circumstances least favorable to literary composition. My 
purpose has been to present to my fellow-citizens of Brooklyn a 
full and reliable history of the city of their residence, from its early 
humble beginnings to its present position as the third city of 

viii PREFACE. 

the American Union. Whatever was valuable in the works of my 
predecessors I have incorporated in these pages ; and, whatever of 
interest could be gleaned, from sources both old and new, I have 
spared neither time, thought nor labor to gather for the illustration 
aud adornment of my subject. Yet, looking over the pages of this 
now completed volume, I can see, as only an author can, its defi- 
ciencies, and regret that it comes so far short of my ideal of what 
such a history should be. 

There remains, then, but the pleasant duty of acknowledging my 
obligations to those friends who have aided me in my self-imposed 
task. To John G. Shea, LL.D., of New York City, for kindness of 
which his modesty would forbid mention, but without which this 
history might never have seen the light ; to Mr. J. Carson Bre- 
voort, of Brooklyn, for his numerous and delicately rendered ser- 
vices, in the way of encouragement, of valuable suggestion and con- 
tribution, by pen and pencil ; to Hon. Teunis G. Bergen, of Bay 
Bidge, L. I., whose aid — always so freely given — is indispensable to 
any one who undertakes to write Kings County history ; to Dr. E. 
B. O'Callaghan, the accomplished custodian of our State archives 
at Albany, for the inestimable favors he has conferred by the trans- 
lation of such original documents as I needed in my work, and to 
many others, whose names are elsewhere particularly mentioned, 
I return my sincere thanks. From all, indeed, to whom I have 
applied, either for materials or facilities of research, I have received 
the most uniform and flattering courtesy. 

The illustrations to this volume,* which have been selected with a 
view to preserve the fast-fading remembrance of the characteristic 
scenes and historic places of " Old Brooklyn," were all carefully 
drawn (during the summer of 1867), under my personal super- 
vision, from the originals (where such yet exist), or from well- 
authenticated sketches. Their fidelity cannot be questioned, and 
they reflect great credit upon the artist, Mr. Thomas Hogan, a 
resident of tliis city, whoso graceful pencil has gained new power 
from his deep interest in what has been to him, as to myself, " a 
labor of love." 

Bbookltw, X. V.. July 1st, 1867. 




1. Seal of the Consolidated City of Brooklyn Title-page. 

2. The Vechte-Cortelyou House, at Go-wands. Frontispiece. 

3. Map of Brf.uckelen Settlements in 1646 47 

4. Map of the Bennett and Bentyn Purchase, at Gowanus 53 

5. The Schermerhorn House, at Gowanus 52 

6. The De Hart, or Bergen House, at Gowanus 52 

7. Ratzer's Map of Brookland, 1766-67 63 

8. Autograph of Carel de Bevois 117 

9. Autograph and Seat, of Rev. Henry Selyns 150 

10. portrarr and autograph of rev. bernardus freeman 183 

11. Autograph of Rev. John Arondeus 184 

12. Autograph of Rev. Vlncentius Antonldes 185 

13. Portrait of Rev. Ulpianus Van Sinderen 187 

14. Portrait of Rev. Peter Lowe 192 

15. The Old Brooklyn Church and Duffleld House* 193 

16. View of Brookland in 1766-67 217 

17. Map of the Battle of Brooklyn 251 

* From a Sketch by Miss Elizabeth Sleight, in 1808. 



18. View of the Battle-Pass, Prospect Park 261 

19. Bedford Corners, in 177G 267 

20. Map of Bedford Corners, in 1776 267 

21. The Cornell-Pierrepont Mansion (Front View) 307 

22. The Cornell-Pierrepont Mansion (Rear View) 307 

23. Map of Brookland Ferry in 1766-67 311 

24. Brooklyn Fort 315 

85. IIkssian Camp-Hut (Sectional View) 320 

26. Hessian Camp-Hut (View on Lower Side) 321 

27. Map of TnE Wallabout, during the Revolution 333 

28. View of the " Old Jersey" Prison-Ship 3;J7 

29. Plan of Gun-Deck of the " Old Jersey" • 339 

30. Plan of the Upper Deck of the " Old Jersey" 339 

81. Tin: Tomb of TnE Martyrs in 1839 373 

32. The Present Appearance of the Tomb 376 

33. Brooklyn in 1798 379 

34. Map of Fortifications ln Brooklyn, during the "War of 1812" 401 



From the Discovery of Manhattan Island to the Incorporation op the 
Village of Bretjceelen, 1609-1646. 

Hudson's first visit to Manhattan — Early Dutch Voyages and Discoveries in the New- 
Netherlands — Formation of the " United New Netherland Company" — Creation 
of the " Dutch West India, Company" — New Netherland made a Province — First 
Emigration of Walloons — Prosperity of the Colony under Directors May, Verhulst, 
and Minuit — Adoption of the " Charter of Freedom and Exemptions" of 1G29 — 
Appointment of Wouter Van Twiller as Director — Dutch Settlements on the Con- 
necticut River — First purchase of Land in King's County— The Bennett and Ben- 
tyn purchase of Land at Gowanus, in 1G36 — Rapalie's purchase of Land at the 
Wallabout, in 1637 — Purchase, by the Dutch West India Company, in 1638, of 
Land now composing the Eastern District of Brooklyn— Other purchases of Land 
around Manhattan Island — New Netherland thrown open to Free Trade — New 
Purchases and Settlements on Long Island — Anthony Van Salee at New Utrecht — 
Settlements, of Be seller, at Gowanus — of Lubber tsen, at Red Hook — of Hans Hansen 
Bergen, at the Wallabout, etc., etc. — English Settlements on the east end of Long 
Island — Troubles with the Long Island Indians— The " New Charter of Freedoms 
and Exemptions" of 1640 — its beneficial results upon the progress of New Nether- 
land — Indian Troubles again — Appointment of the " Twelve Men" — Hostilities 
with the Indians — Establishment of the Ferry between Long Island and Manhattan 
— Settlements at Breuckelen, at Newtown, and in Westchester and New Rochelle — 
Massacre of Indians at Pavonia and Corlaer's Hook — Warlike Expedition against 
the Marechkawiecks at Brooklyn — Outbreak of Indian resentment — Kieft dis- 
mayed — Public tribulation — Embassy to the Indians at Rockaway — Peace estab- 
lished with the Long Island Indians — " The Eight Men" are convened — Arbitrary 
exercise of power by Director Kieft— Popular resistance to the same — Pusilla- 
nimity of Kieft — Threatening attitude of the Indians — The people appeal to the 
West India* Company — Reorganization of the Provincial Government of New 
Netherland— General peace established with the natives— Purchase from the In- 
dians of Land in New Utrecht, settlement of Flushing and Gravesend, and re- 
settlement of Newtown — Gradual progress of settlement of Brooklyn — Incorpora- 
tion of the Village of Breuckelen, 1646 — Appointment of Jan Teunissen as Con- 
stable , Page 9-47 



The Early Settlers and Patents of Breuckelen. 

The Bennett and Benign Purchase at Gowanus, in 1G3G — The old De Hart or Bergen 
Hon- ' Lambertsen OooVs Patent, in 1642— The old Vechte-Cortelyou 
House of 1699— The Bed Booh— Van Dyck's Mill— Boomptiea Hook— The Butter- 
milk Channel— Fred. Lvbb< rtst n's Pah nt of 1640— Beabring's Mill— Cole's Mills— 
Luqueer's Mills— AV//M /* Patent, of IMS— Mange's Patent, of 1642— Huddc's 
Patent, of 1645 — Mentalaer's Patent, '/1G42 — Dricksen's (the ferry-master's) Pa- 
tent, of 1645 — Lvbbertsen and Breser Patents — John Rapalje's Estate, confiscated 
and purchased by J. and C. Sands— The Fiscock-Haes Patent, of 1647— The Mid- 
dagh Family and Estate — The Navy Yard — Patent of Lodewyck, Corndissen, Peter 
Ccesar the Italian, and tin Montforts — BapaUe's Settlement at the Waal-boght — 
Catalina Trico, his wife— Hans Hansen Bergen's Patent— the story of Sarah 
(Bapalie) his wife — Jean Vignfi, the first born European in New Netherland — The 
Bogaert Family — Ami, nt Remsen deed — The Gerritt Wolphertsen, St off else n, and 
Bout Patints — Brouwer or Frecke's Mill — Denton's, or the Yellow Mill — The Van 
Bomtm, On,, diss, n , and Drickst n Patents Page 47-104 


The Civil History of Breuckelen, 164G-1GG4. 

Btuyvesant the new Director-General— Contest between the Director and People- 
Appointment, by the People, of " the Nine Men" — The Popular Convention of 
16o<J — Piracy on the Sound, and Robberies on Long Island — Measures of defence 
adopted by the Towns — Enlargement of tin Municipal Privileges of Breuckelen — 
She is honored by the appointment of a separate Constable — The first Church on 
west end of Long [aland erected at Flatlmsh — Installation of Rev. Theo. PolhemUB 
— Regulation of the Ferry between Long Island and Manhattan — A Tavern at 
"The Ferry" — The legal lees allowed to David Provoost, the Secretary of the 
three Dutch Towns — Market-day established at Breuckelen — Breuckelen and New 
Utrecht ordered to be placed in a state of defence — First Settlements at Bushwick 
— Settlements on the East River, within the limits of present Eastern District — 
The installation of Rev. EL Selyns as minister at Breuckelen — Carel de Beavois, 
the first schoolmaster of Breuckelen — Troubles with the English — Fears of Indian 
hostilities — Captain John Scott visits Breuckelen and other Dutch towns on Long 
Island, and proclaims the authority of the Duke of York— Stuyvesant convenes a 
Popular Assembly — Col. Richard Nicolls, with a British fleet, demands the sur- 
render of Fort Amsterdam — Obstinate refusal of Stuyvesant — Final reluctant sub- 
mission to the necessity of the case — Capitulation to the British forces. . . .105-126 


Ecclesiastical History of Breuckelen, 1628-1664. 

Care of the Dutch authorities to provide religious privileges for their colonies — 
Micliaeiius. Bogardus, and Megapolensis, the firsl ministers in New Netherland — 
The estahli bmenl of a Church at Flatbush— The history of the Minister's house — 


The Rev. Theo. Polhemus — Objections of the Breuckelen people, in 1656, to con- 
tributing to his salary — He is to preach alternately at Flatbush and Breuckelen — 
Dissatisfaction of the Breuckelen people with Mr. Polhemus' ministrations — They 
are forced to pay their share of his salary — Troubles of Mr. Polhemus — List of 
the " well-to-do" Citizens of Breuckelen, Gowanus, the Ferry, and the " Waal- 
bogt" — Troubles with the Quakers— their persecution by the Dutch Government — 
The Breuckelen malcontents are summarily dealt with by the Director — The 
arrival, in New Netherland, of Revs. Blom and Selyns — Selyns is settled at 
Breuckelen — Formation of the Breuckelen Church — The West India Co. give the 
village a church bell — Selyns' departure for his home in Holland — His life, char- 
acter, and career Page 127-151 


Civil History of Breuckelen, 1664-1674. 

The " Duke's Code" of Laws, 1665 — Long and Staten Islands incorporated as a Shire, 
and Ridings established — Confirmatory Patent granted to the Town of Breuckelen 
by Gov. Nicolls, 1667 — License for selling liquor — A tavern established at Bedford 
— Purchase of land at Bedford from the Indians, and enlargement of bounds, 1670 
— Recapture of New Netherland by the Dutch in 1673 — Reorganization of the 
municipal government of the Dutch Towns — Visit of Gov. Colve to the Dutch 
Towns — Military precautions for the defence of the Towns — Treaty of Peace be- 
tween England and Holland, in 1674 — Exchange of New Netherland for Surinam. 
— Reinstatement of English authority, and arrival of Gov. Andross. .Page 152-165 


Ecclesiastical History of Breuckelen, 1664-1803. 

Domine Polhemus resumes charge of the Breuckelen church— His death — The first 
church edifice in Breuckelen, 1666— The Rev. Casparus Van Zuren becomes Pastor 
of the Dutch Towns — Extract from the Church Records— Protest of the Dutch 
Churches against English interference with their ecclesiastical affairs— Rev. Ru- 
dolphus Van Varick's pastorate — Rev. Wilhelmus Lupardus — Rev. Bernardus 
Freeman is appointed by the Governor pastor of the Dutch churches on Long 
Island — Opposition of the people — They apply to the Classis of Amsterdam for a 
minister — Rev. Vincentius Antonides sent out to them — His installation — The 
controversy between the Freeman and Antonides parties — Interference of the 
Colonial Government— Final adjustment of the quarrel — Life of Freeman — The 
Ccetus and Conference question — The Rev. Johannes Arondeus — Notice of Rev. 
Mr. Antonides — The Rev. Ulpianus Van Sinderen — The Rev. Antonius Curtenius 
— his obituary notice — Rev. Mr. Rubel — his character — life — anecdotes of his 
preaching — The last of the European Dutch ministry in King's County — The Rev. 
Martinus Schoonmaker — his life and character — his peculiarities — an old-fashioned 
Dutch funeral — The Rev. Peter Lowe — his life aud character — The Old Brooklyn 
Church — The " Collegiate Domines" and their friends in Brooklyn — The Rev. 
Barent Johnson installed at Breuckelen— Sketch of his life Page 166-196 



Civil History of Brookland, 1675-1775. 

Brookland's growth in population and wealth — Is made a market town — A recom- 
mendation to neighborly action — Assessment of 1G76 — Arrival of Gov. Dongan — 
Reorganization of Provincial Government — The Dongan Patent of Breuckelen, 
-Names of Inhabitants of Brookland who took the Oath of Allegiance in 
1686— Thi Leister Rebellion— The "Storks" erected in Brooklyn— Long Island 
called •' Island of Nassau" — The Common Lands of Breuckelen— Biotous proceed- 
ings in King's County— Petition of Volkert Brier — Orders to Constables — Regula- 
tions as to Negroes — Extracts from the Town Records — Extracts from News- 
papers Page 197-330 


The Domestic History of the People, from ttte Settlement of the 
Country to the Revolutionary Period, 

Commenced with the arrival of the thirty families which came in 1623 — First tempo- 
rary dwellings — Rude furniture — Gradual improvement — Brick houses — Rents — 
Contract for building a new Ferry-house at Breuckelen in 1655 — The " Slaap- 
banck" — Glimpsemt a Dutch tavern of that day — The Labadist travellers' descrip- 
tion of De Hart's house at Gowauus, in 1679 — Gowapus oysters — pumpkins — fine 
living— Jacquee I Jortelyou's house, New Utrecht — Architectural peculiarities of the 
Dutch farm houses — Interior accommodations and decorations — Domestic habits — 
Carpets — Furniture — China ware — Books — Inventory of a bride's pr op er ly in 1691 
— Methods of travelling — Manners — Agriculture — Tobacco and Cotton raised in 
Kings County at an early period — Slavery— Last public sale of slaves in the 
county— Funeral customs of the Dutch — Peculiarities of ancient Dutch wills — 
Dutch nomenclature Page 221-241 


Brooklyn during the Revolution. 

Part I. The Battle of Brooklyn, August 17, 1776. — Brooklyn at the beginning of 
the war — Dawnings of the conflict — Town and county action in 1775 — Luke- 
warm action of Kings County — General Lee's arrival in New York — Fortification 
of that city and Lontr Island commenced — Officers of Brooklyn militia — Troops in 
Brooklyn— Captain Waldron's Light Horse— Fort Sterling erected on the Heights 
— Red Honk fortified — General Washington's arrival at New York — Arrival at 
Statin [aland of the British army and fleet — Concentration of American troops at 
Brooklyn— General Greene's illness — Is succeeded by General Sullivan — Disaffec- 
tion in Kings County— Description of the American interior lines of defence on 
Long bland — T e nding of the British, on 33d August — Curious incident— The Brit- 
ish take position at Flatbush — Skirmishing there between Americans and Bes- 
sians— Howe's Proclamation— Washington's Proclamation to his troops— Disorder 
in the American camp— Putnam appointed to the chief command— Description of 
the exterior lines of defence — The position of the two armies on the evening of 
August 36th — The British movement commences— The Bedford pass is turned— 


The left British wing advances along the coast road — Conflict between it and the 
American right — Incidents of the fight in Greenwood Cemetery — Blokje's Bergh — 
De Heister attacks the American centre — Sullivan defeated — Finds his forces 
hemmed in on all sides— Terrible struggle and rout of the Americans — Hessian 
atrocities — Hessian account of the battle — The closing battle at Gowanus — Heroic 
conduct of Sterling's men — General rout and flight of Americans — Agony of 
Washington on beholding the scene — Losses on both sides — The night after the 
battle — Dispirited condition of the American troops — A day of skirmishing — A 
friendly fog — A council of war — A retreat determined upon — The " Four Chim- 
nies"— The retreat — Anecdote of Washington — The Army is saved — The Ameri- 
cans leave New York island, which is occupied by the British — Observations on 
the conduct of the battle, and the conduct of General Putnam — The share of the 
Kings County troops in the battle — Colonel Cowenhoren Page 242-297 

Part II. The British Occupation of Brooklyn, August, 1776, to November, 1783. — 
Submission of the citizens of Brooklyn to British authority — American prisoners 
paroled and billeted in the county — Colonel Graydon's humorous account of society 
at Flatbush — Depredations of British Tories and Hessians on Long Island — " Red 
Rag" gentry — The " Protection" of the British military authorities — Official re- 
strictions and extortions — Discovery of Peat in King's County — The " Whale-boat 
men" — Description of Brooklyn during the occupation — The Heights — The Jorale- 
mon House — Livingston's Garden — British Naval Hospitals — Anecdote of Prince 
of Wales, afterwards King William the Fourth — Burial-places of British sailors 
on the Heights — The Cornell Family — The Seabring Family — The Pierrepont 
House — The Livingston Brewery — The " Half-Moon" Fort on the Heights — Mr. 
Lodewyck Bamper — The first Glass Factory in Brooklyn, 1754 — Dr. Barbarin — 
The " Old Stone House" — The British Wagon Department — Foraging on Long 
Island — The Ferry Tavern, or " old Corporation House," occupied by Loosely and 
Elms during the war as " The King's Head," the headquarters of British officers 
and " sports" during the Revolution — The Rapalje House — Illumination of " The 
King's Head" Tavern, on Rivington's return to America — Celebration of the 
Queen's Birth-day — British troops stationed in Brooklyn — Cricket matches at the- 
King's Head — " Brooklyn Fort," on the Heights, and incidents of its construction 
— Bull-baiting at Brooklyn Ferry — Loyalist Address to General Robertson — Races 
at Flatlands Plain — General Riedesel in command at Brooklyn — The winter of 
1780-81 — Hessian camps at Bedford — Residence there of Major John Andre — Fox- 
hunt and races at "Brooklyn Hall" — British fortifications in Brooklyn — A news- 
paper published at " Brooklyn Hall" — Treaty of peace — Departure of the British — 
Condition of Brooklyn — First Town-meeting since April, 177G— The loss of the 
Town Records — Incidents — A Rebel shot — Horse-racing — A military execution at 
Brooklyn — Military punishments — Patriotic loans of money to the American 
cause, in Brooklyn — War Scrip speculators Page 297-851 

Part III. The British Prison-Ships. — Great number of prisoners in the hands of 
the British — Prison accommodations inadequate to the demand — Cruelties prac- 
tised by Provost-marshal Cunningham — Old hulks fitted up for prison-ships, 
and moored in the North River and Wallabout — Description of the "Old Jer- 
sey" — Her interior accommodations — Regulations for conduct of prisoners — Foul 
and insufficient food — Poisonous water — Daily life of the wretched inmates — • 
Routine of work on board — " Torments of the night" — Want of air — Heat, 
dysentery, small-pox, etc. — Delirium — Conflict between the guard and the pris- 
oners—A horrible 4th of July — Cruelties committed by the guard — Revolting 
treatment of the dying and the dead — Hasty burial — Burying parties — Foul 


drinking-water— The hospital ships — Want of proper medical attention — Fre- 
neon's poetic satire on the Hessian surgeons — Anecdotes of the Jersey — Ver- 
min — The prisoners petition General Washington — The General remonstrates 
with the British authorities — It has some effect— The treatment of prisoners im- 
proved— -Farced enlistments — The heroic loyalty of the prisoners — The last of the 
" Old Jersey" — The number of deaths on the prison-sliips — Observations on the 
treatment of prisoners in the hulks — The neglected condition of the remains of the 
martyrs — Mr. John Jackson collects their bones — The Town of Brooklyn applies 
for permission to inter them — Mr. Jackson refuses, and offers them to Tammany 
Society — Congress is expected to make an appropriation — Tammany Society finally 
takes the matter in hand — A tomb is erected — The laying of the corner-stone — 
Inscription — Grand funeral pageant upon the occasion of interring the remains of 
the martyrs — Public apathy — The lot containing the tomb is sold for taxes — Mr. 
Benjamin Romaine becomes the purchaser — Repairs and ornaments the tonib — 
Guards it jealously — Is buried there himself— A visit to the tomb — Its sadly ne- 
glected condition at present Page 331-576 


From the Close of the Revolxttion to "the Wab of 1812." 

Organization of " Independent" religious denomination— Commencement of " Brooklyn 
Fire Department" — Brooklyn recognized as a Town under the State Government — 
Cage and Stocks — The " New Ferry" — Directory of Brooklyn in 1796 — A bell pur- 
chased for the Town — Theological School at Bedford — Brooklyn in 1798 — The 
Buckbee Family — The " Courier and New York and Long Island Advertiser" — 
The first written history of Brooklyn — Olympia — The Old Districts of Brooklyn — 
A Bridge across the East River — Manufactures — Literature — Education — Masonry 
— Speculation in Brooklyn — Sale of Wallabout lands to the United States for a 
Navy Yard — Vinegar Hill — Records of Brooklyn — New Cage — Firemen— Wal la- 
bout and Brooklyn Toll-Bridge Company — Advertisements — McKenzie's One- 
Tree Hill — Other hills — The old Tulip-tree — Explosion of Sands' Powder-mill — 
Brooklyn, Jamaica, and Flatbush Turnpike Company — Long Island " Star" estab- 
lished — Yellow Fever epidemic of 1809 — Schools — Petition for a Bank — Declara- 
tion of War — The Rain water Doctor — Curious Inscription on the tomb of one of 
his patients Page 377-395 


Brooklyn's Share in " the War of 1812." 

War excitement— Brooklyn Volunteer Companies — Fear of a British attack — Defences 
of New York — Proposed measures of defence — Popular enthusiasm — The boys 
turn out for labor — Work commenced upon the lines at Brooklyn — The incidents 
of the work, gay, humorous, and patriotic — The Bushwick people — The Irish in 
the trenches — "The Patriotic Diggers" — The colored people to the rescue — Fort 
Lawrence — " The < i rand Master expects every Mason to do his duty"— The people 
of Newark — The 64th regiment Kings County militia — Good conduct of the 
troops— News of peace — Illuminations and rejoicings Page 396-410 

APPENDICES-I. to XI Page 413- 



1609-1 64G. 


The discovery of Manhattan Island by Henry Hudson necessarily 
forms the initial point of this history. For, even if the " most beau- 
tiful lake" said to have been penetrated by 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 
and totally unproductive of results, either in respect to exploration 
or occupation. But when, on the evening of the 11th of September, 
1609, the " Half Moon" of Amsterdam 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 "Manna- 
hata," the green shores of " Scheyichbi," or New Jersey, and the 
forest-crowned "Ihpetonga," or "Heights" of the present city of 
Brooklyn. Then, all this region, now teeming with population 
and thrilling with the ceaseless pulse of civilized life, was wrapped 
in the lethargic slumber of primeval nature. The surrounding 
shores, where a forest of shipping pours its constantly accumulating 
treasures at the feet of the Empire City of the Western World, 
were fringed with magnificent forests gorgeous with autumnal 
hues. To the wondering mariners the land seemed " as pleasant 
with grass, and flowers, and goodly trees, as ever they had seen ;" 


and the Bavage inhabitants who thronged around in canoes 
curiously fashioned " from single hollowed trees," were comely 
in form and feature, and friendly in disposition. From its 
mouth to the head of tide-water, Hudson and his companions 
explored the noble river which stretched northward before them, 
spending a month of pleasant dalliance and adventure amid the 
varied and picturesque scenery of these virgin wilds, which they 
enthusiastically pronounced to be " as fine a land as the foot of man 
can tread upon." Though disappointed in finding that the Great 
River was not the long-sought and much-desired passage to the 
Eastern Seas, they were deeply impressed with the wonderful and 
apparently illimitable resources of the country which it traversed, 
and fully appreciated the value of their discovery to the commercial 
interests of their native land. The United Netherlands, whose flag 
they first displayed amid these solitudes, had just attained to the 
rank of an independent nation. Their energy and heroic persistence 
in waging a forty years' war with Spain had, at last, wrung from 
the Spanish monarch a twelve years' truce, which was in fact a 
recognition of their sovereignty and independence, and with which 
was conpled a tacit admission of their right to the free and undis- 
turbed navigation of the seas. The treaty, signed at Antwerp, on 
the 9th of April, 1G09, only three days after Hudson's departure on 
his voyage of discovery, virtually established to the States the 
nationality by which, according to the laws of nations, they were 
fully entitled to the fruits of his magnificent discoveries. These 
fruits comprised that vast portion of the North American continent 
included between the two extreme points at which he touched 
npon the coast; viz., Cape Cod on the north, and Cape May, at the 
month of the Delaware River, on the south. To this brave and 
enterprising people, suddenly relieved from the excitements of an 
arduous and protracted war, the discovery of so vast and rich a 
territory came most opportunely and gratefully. Their energies, 
hitherto absorbed in the defence of their rights, were now directed 
into the new field of commercial adventure thus suddenly opened to 
tin hi by the fortunate voyage of tho "Half Moon." Most alluring, 
among' the varied treasures offered by the New World to the 
expanding commerce of Holland, was the inexhaustible abundance 


of beaver-skins and other valuable furs, procurable at a trifling 
cost, but comnianding a most remunerative market among the 
northern nations of Europe. The spirit of private enterprise was 
stimulated to an extraordinary degree, and before the close of the 
next summer (1610) a vessel, laden with coarse but suitable goods 
for Indian traffic, was dispatched by some of the Amsterdam 
merchants to the Great Kiver of the North. The "Half Moon," 
also, and a portion of her crew, although under another leader, 
revisited Manhattan and the scenes of their former adventures, to 
the unmistakable delight of the savages, who welcomed them as 
old acquaintances. During the year following, 1611, Hendrick 
Christiaensen made two voyages to Manhattan, the latter in com- 
pany with Adriaen Block, bringing back with them to Holland two 
young savages, whose arrival in the civilized world fanned to a still 
brighter glow the already awakened mercantile curiosity and activity. 
In 1612 these two worthy mariners were again dispatched from 
Amsterdam to Manhattan, each in command of a separate vessel ; 
and were followed, in 1613, by others, among whom was Captain 
Cornells Jacobson May, afterwards honorably known in the annals 
of Transatlantic discovery. The mingled tide of discovery and 
commerce had now fairly set towards the shores of New Netherland, 
and its importance began to attract the attention of the States- 
General of the United Netherlands, which, on the 27th of March, 
1614, passed a general ordinance, conferring upon the discoverers 
of new lands the exclusive privilege of making six voyages thither — 
a measure which was followed by an increased activity among the 
mercantile communities of Amsterdam and Hoorn. 

Manhattan Island, by virtue of its admirable position, became the 
headquarters of the fur-trade. From thence trading- shallops and 
canoes penetrated into every neighboring creek, inlet or bay, and 
pushed their way even to the head of navigation on the rivers and 
larger streams. Gradually inland depots were established, where 
the adventurous trader, making himself comfortable among the 
homes and families of the natives, spent the winter months in pur- 
chasing and collecting furs and peltries, in readiness for shipment 
when the vessels from " the Fatherland" should arrive in the early 
spring. A few huts on the lower end of Manhattan Island 


(occupied by Block and his companions during the winter of 1G13- 
1614, while they were engaged in building a small yacht to replace 
their vessel which had been destroyed by fire), were the only visible 
signs oi occupation; while, as to cultivation of the land there was 
not even a commencement. Amid these untamed solitudes, secure 
in the good-will of the surrounding savages, and unmolested by 
European rivals, the plodding but honest Dutchmen pursued a 
lucrative traffic in peltries, sending home to Holland vessel after 
vessel richly freighted with furry treasures, which brought golden 
returns to the coffers of their owners. 

1 '> \ the spring of 1G14, however, attention seemed to be directed 
towards placing affairs in the new country on a more permanent 
basis. Factors were appointed to reside at certain designated 
points in the interior and manage the growing peltry-trade ; while, 
at Castle Island (now within the limits of the present city of 
Albany), was erected a small fortified warehouse, garrisoned with 
ten or twelve men and named " Fort Nassau." To that post 
resorted the Mohawks and Mohicans, and from thence went scout- 
ing parties, exploring the country in every direction, and always 
carefully maintaining the most amicable relations with the natives 
whom they met. Not less active, also, were the hardy Dutch 
sailors. Numerous minute explorations of the surrounding coasts 

inaugurated by the captains of the various vessels which 
came out from Holland. Adriaen Block, in his little yacht the 
!; i which lie had built at Manhattan during the preceding 

winter, explored the East River and the Sound, discovering the 
Housatonic, Thames, and Connecticut rivers, the latter of which he 
ascended to the head of navigation. Then crossing over to the 

d extremity of Long Island, the insular character of which he 
determined, lie gave his name to an island near Montauk Point, 
and following in Yerazzano's track, entered Narragansett Bay and 
coasted along northward as far as Boston harbor and Nahant 
Bay. Here meeting with his old comrade Christiaensen, he 
r< turned in the hitter's vessel to Holland, leaving his own little 
nai't in charge of Cornells Hendricksen, who explored the coast 
farther south. Cornells Jacobseo May, meanwhile, was sailing 
along the southern shore of Long [sland, passing southward to 


Delaware Bay, where Capes Cornells and May still preserve the 
memory of his visit. 

Upon the announcement of these discoveries at home, the enter- 
prising merchants of North Holland, under whose auspices they 
had been made, united themselves into a company, according to 
the provisions of the ordinance of March 11th, and were favored by 
the States-General with the grant of a special trading-licence or 
charter bearing date on the 11th of October, 1614. This docu- 
ment, in which the name " New Netherland" first appears officially 
in the world's annals, invested the " United New Netherland 
Company," as it was styled, w T ith the exclusive right of visiting and 
trading in " the newly discovered lands lying in America between 
New France and Virginia, the seacoast whereof extends from the 
fortieth to the forty-fifth degrees of latitude, for four voyages, 
within the period of three years from the first of January next 
ensuing, or sooner." This specific, limited, and temporary monopoly, 
with which the enterprise of these associated merchants was thus 
rewarded, conferred upon them no political powers — their objects 
being simply trade and discovery, and their servants armed traders 
in forcible possession of an unoccupied country. As might have 
been expected, no attempt was made, during the term of their 
charter, to effect any systematic colonization of the new country. 
While the peltry trade "increased famously, agriculture was 
neglected, and civilization could scarcely be said to have gained 
even a foothold in New Netherland. Upon the expiration of the 
charter, by its own limitation, January 1st, 1618, the company 
sought a renewal, which the government saw fit to refuse. It con- 
tinued, however, to grant every facility to private trading enter- 
prises to the North Eiver ; a new fort was erected there on Norman's 
Kill, in place of the former one, which had been seriously damaged 
by the spring freshets, and a treaty of peace and alliance was 
formally concluded with the famous Iroquois or " Five Nations." 

The time had arrived, however, when the necessity of a per- 
manent colonization of this distant colony became so apparent that 
its consideration could no longer be postponed. The States- 
General were meditating large and ambitious designs relative to 
their Western possessions, and they had already taken alarm at the 


which the English were beginning to assert to the same 
territories. The approaching termination of the Twelve Years' 
I'liicr, moreover, was prefaced by certain insulting propositions 
from Spain, which warned them to gird on their armor for a renewal 
of their long and bloody struggle with that power. As a means, 
therefore, of self-protection in the maintenance of their rights as an 
independent nation, and of aid in carrying on the threatened war 
with their ancient and powerful enemy, the States-General of the 
United Seven Provinces determined upon the creation of an armed 
mercantile association, on the plan of the celebrated East India 
Company, in which should be concentrated the entire strength of 
the numerous merchants now engaged in the American and West 
India trade. Thus originated the great Dutch West India Company, 
which, supplanting all private adventurers, proposed to itself the 
promotion of colonization, the suppression of piracy, the humbling 
of Spain, and the aggrandizement of the national wealth and inde- 
pendence. Its charter, which was passed under the great seal of 
the States-General, on the 3d of June, 1621, granted to it the ex- 
clusive right of trade to the coasts of Africa, between the tropic 
of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope ; to the West Indies ; and to 
the coasts of America, between Newfoundland and the Straits of 
Magellan. Within these limits, the company was invested with 
enormous powers. " In the name of the States-General, it might 
make contracts and alliances with the princes and natives of the 
countries comprehended within the limit of its charter ; build -forts 1 ; 
appoint and discharge governors, soldiers, and public officers ; 
administer justice and promote trade. It was bound ' to advance 
the peopling of those fruitful and unsettled parts, and do all that 
the service of those countries and the profit and increase of trade 
shall require.' It was obliged to communicate to tho States- 
General, from time to time, all the treaties and alliances it might 
make, and also detailed statements of its forts and settlements. 
All governors-in-cbief, and the instructions proposed to be given to 
tlirin, first to be approved of by the States-General, who 
would then issue formal commissions j and all superior officers were 
held to take oaths of allegiance to their High Mightinesses, and 
also to the company." The company consisted of five chambers 


or Boards located in different cities of the Seven United Provinces ; 
the principal one being that of Amsterdam, to which was confided 
the especial superintendence of the Province of New Netheeland. 
General executive powers for all purposes except of declaring war — 
which could not be done without the approbation of the States- 
General — were intrusted to a Board of nineteen delegates from 
the several chambers, and including one delegate who represented 
the States-General. A million of guilders and a defence " against 
every person, in free navigation and traffic," was promised to the 
company by the States-General, who were also, in case of war, to 
"give them for their assistance" sixteen ships of war of three 
hundred tons burden and four yachts of eighty tons, fully equipped. 
The company, however, were to man and support these vessels, 
besides providing an equal number of their own, the whole to be 
under command of an admiral appointed by the States- General. 

The organization of the company was delayed by various causes 
for a period of two years, when its articles of internal regulation, 
the charter having, in the interval, been somewhat modified, were 
formally approved by the States-General on the 21st of June, 1623. 

Meanwhile, the spirit of enterprise had not lain dormant. 
Amsterdam ships, under special licences, had been steadily pursuing 
their profitable voyages to New Netherland, and the peltry-trade 
had assumed larger proportions, not only on the North Biver, but 
on the Delaware, the Connecticut, along the shores of Long 
Island, and as far to the eastward as Narragansett and Buzzard's 
Bay, within twenty miles of the newly founded English settlement 
at New Plymouth. In Holland, the press began to teem with pub- 
lications describing in glowing terms the beauties, wonders, and 
advantages of America, and the public mind was constantly quick- 
ened by the news of fresh discoveries, and the flattering reports 
brought by adventurous mariners from those far-off lands. 

In England, also, public attention was at this time strongly 
directed towards the Western continent by the discoveries of Capt. 
John Smith, the plantations established in Virginia, and the charter 
recently granted for the settlement of New England. Maintaining, 
as they ever did, the right (by discovery, possession, and charters) 
to the entire American coast between the Spanish possessions in 


the soutli and those of France in the north, the English conld not 
fail to feel annoyed by the active preparations of their Dutch 
neighbors for the occupation of so large a portion of those ter- 
ritories. Their apprehension found expression in an official remon- 
strance to the States-General against the sailing thither of the Dutch 
vessels, but the protest was unheeded, and after a brief diplomatic 
correspondence, the matter was temporarily dropped. Warned, 
however, by the evident and growing jealousy of the English, the 
West India Company lost no time, even before their final organiza- 
tion, in securing, in the year 1622, their title to New Netherland by 
taking formal possession, and by making arrangements for the 
building of two new forts, one on the North Kiver, to be called 
"Fort Orange," and another called "Fort Nassau," on the South 
or Delaware River, near the present town of Gloucester, N. J. 
And, simultaneously with its final organization, in June, 1623, the 
company began to prosecute with energy the colonization of New 
Netherland, which was erected into a province, and invested with 
the armorial bearings of a count. 1 The particular management of 
its affairs was intrusted, as we have before remarked, to the 
Amsterdam Chamber, which sent out the ship " New Netherland" 2 
of two hundred and sixty tons burden, with a company of thirty 
families, mostly Walloons, 3 under the care of the veteran voyager 

1 The Provincial seal of New Netherland was a shield, hearing a heaver, proper, 
surmounted by a count's coronet, aud encircled by the legend " Sigillum Novi Belgii." 

2 Catelina Trico's statement (see Appendix No. 1) gives the name of this vessel, in 
which she was a passenger, as the " Unity" (Eendragt). As, however, her deposition 
was made in 1088, at the age of eighty-three, concerning events which happened sixty- 
five years before, when she was a jrirl of eighteen years, we have preferred to follow 
Wassaneer's account, which was contemporaneous, and supported by Hoi. Doc. ii. ,370. 

""These Walloons, whose name was derived from their original ' Waalsche' or 
French extraction, had passed through the fire of persecution. They inhabited the 
Southern Belgic Provinces of Hainault, Namur, Luxemburg, Limburg, and part of 
the ami. ut Bishopric of Liege, and spoke the old French language. When the 
North rn provinces of the Netherlands formed their political union at Utrecht, in 1579, 
the Southern provinces, which were generally attached to the Romish Church, declined 
joining the Confederation. Many of their inhabitants, nevertheless, professed the 
principles of the Reformation. Against these Protestant Walloons the Spanish I lovern- 
ment exercised the most rigid measures <>f inquisitorial vengeance, and the subjects of 
an unrelenting persecution emigrated by thousands into Holland, where they knew 
that strangers of every rare and creed were sure of an asylum and a welcome. Carry- 
ing with them a knowledge of the arts, in which they were greal proficients, they 
were distinguished in their new home for their tasteful and persevering industry. To 


Captain Cornells Jacobsen May, of Hoorn, who was appointed the 
first director of the colony. Starting from the Texel early in March, 
and sailing by way of the Canary Islands and the Guinea coast, the 
" New Netherland" arrived at the North Kiver in the beginning of 
May. Eight men were landed at Manhattan Island to represent 
the company there, and several families, as well as sailors and 
single men, were dispatched to the settlements on the South Kiver, 
and to the Connecticut, while the ship proceeded up the North 
Kiver until she reached "Fort Orange" (the present site of Albany), 
where eighteen families were disembarked, and immediately com- 
menced farming operations. 

The year 1624, under May's judicious management, was a pros- 
perous one ; the industry of the pioneer colonists fulfilled the 
expectations of their patrons, the forts on the North and Delaware 
rivers were completed, and the peltry-trade was so well prosecuted 
that it returned to the company's treasury the handsome sum of 
twenty thousand guilders. Encouraged by these signs, the com- 
pany dispatched to Manhattan, in the spring of 1625, a vessel well 
laden with "necessaries," which unfortunately fell into the hands of 
one of the enemy's privateers. The loss, however, was promptly 
made good, at the risk of one of the directors of the company, by 
two ships carrying a fine stock of cattle, a full equipment of seeds 
and farming utensils, and forty-five emigrants, among whom were 
six entire families. The growing colony, thus increased, now 
numbered over one hundred souls, and under the Directorship of 
"William Verhulst, who had succeeded May, prospered greatly. In 
May, 1626, Peter Minuit arrived in New Netherland, and succeeded 
Verhulst as director-general of the province. His administration 
commenced with vigor and sagacity ; Manhattan Island was pur- 
chased from the natives for the sum of sixty guilders (equivalent to 

the Walloons, the Dutch were probably indebted for much of the repute which they 
gained as a nation in many branches of manufactures. Finding in Holland a free 
Bcope for their religious opinions, the Walloons soon introduced the public use of 
their church service, which, to this day, bears witness to the characteristic toleration 
and liberality of the Fatherland." — Brodhead, i. 146. These Walloons had previously 
applied to the English government for permission to emigrate to Virginia, but receiv- 
ing no encouragement in that quarter, turned their attention to New Netherland, and 
were gladly accepted by the West India Company, under the sanction of the Provincial 



about $24 of our money), and a large fort was erected at its lower 
end, and named " Fort Amsterdam ;" while other improvements were 
planned and commenced. 

At " Fort Orange," however, about this time, affairs took a most 
unfortunate turn. The commander at that post, forgetful of that 
neutrality which, hitherto, had been strictly observed by the Dutch 
in the affairs of the surrounding Indian tribes, joined a party of 
Mahieans on the war-path against the Mohawks, and, in the battle 
which ensued, was slain, together with three of his men. His folly 
had even a worse result, in the sense of insecurity which it threw 
over the settlement at Fort Orange, and, indeed, over the whole 
colony. And, though good feeling was finally restored with the 
Mohawks, yet the progress of colonization received a shock from 
which it did not soon recover. The Director, justly apprehensive 
of the danger to which the settlers at Fort Orange, Fort Nassau, 
and Verhulsten Island " were exposed, recalled them all to Man- 
hattan Island, in order that a concentration of householders 
might be made at that point where the natives "were becoming 
more and more accustomed to the presence of foreigners." Sixteen 
soldiers, only, were left at Fort Orange ; the traffic to the South 
River was limited to the voyages of one small yacht, and every 
precaution was adopted by the prudent Director, which could con- 
duce to the commercial interests of the company, as well as to the 
safety of its employees and colonists. 

The year 1627 was marked by the establishment of friendly re- 
lations with the English settlements in New England. A special 
embassy was sent out from Manhattan to New Plymouth, between 
which colonies soon sprang up a mutually advantageous trade ; the 
English freely exchanging their commodities for sewan or wampum, 
which they much needed in their dealings with the surrounding 
natives, and of which tho Dutch — in consequence of their prox- 
imity to Long -Island, the great aboriginal mint — held the almost 
exclusive monopoly. The annual crop of furs, also, amounting 
to four ship-loads, yielded 5G,000 guilders ; and, in the autumn of 
tho following year, two cargoes of ship-timber from Manhattan sold 
at Amsterdam for 61,000 guilders. Around the fort, which was 
now completed with four bastions and a facing of stone, the 


colonists had clustered, to the number of 270 souls, subsisting 
chiefly by the products of their own labor, any deficiencies being 
supplied from the company's stores. The impression conveyed to 
a casual observer of that day, was, that they subsisted " in a com- 
fortable manner" and " promised fairly both to the State and 
undertakers." Still, prosperous as the colony appeared, its indus- 
try was not self-supporting ; and, thus far, the company's seven 
years' experience had neither justified their own expectations, nor 
fulfilled the conditions imposed upon them by their charter, in regard 
to the permanent agricultural colonization of the province. " Not 
a particle of the soil was reclaimed, save what scantily supplied the 
wants of those attached to the three forts, which were erected 
within the limits of this rich and vast country ; and the only exports 
were the spontaneous products of the forest. Experience had 
demonstrated, in the interim, that no benefits had accrued to the 
company from this plantation, under the present system of manage- 
ment, except what the peltries produced ; the mode of life pursued 
by the people was very irregular, the expenses of the establishment 
exceedingly high, and the results not so flattering as anticipated." 
These were unpalatable facts to the directors of a great mer- 
cantile corporation, whose ships under Admiral Heyn, bravest of 
the brave, were sweeping the Spanish navy from the seas, capturing 
booty which added twelve niillions of guilders to their treasury, 
so that their dividends advanced, in one year, to fifty per cent. 
Flushed with the easy spoils of these glorious victories, it is not a 
matter of surprise that the annual returns from their far-off 
American colonies seemed paltry and unremunerative. They, 
therefore, began earnestly to consider plans for a systematic and 
extended colonization of the whole province — which, after a 
year of deliberation, resulted in the adoption of a " Charter of 
Freedoms and Exemptions," which was promptly approved and 
confirmed by the States General, on the 7th of June, 1629. In this 
charter, the company, with the purpose of encouraging independ- 
ent colonists, offered to such the absolute property of as much land 
as each could " properly improve ;" yet, fully aware that few or 
none of that class of persons possessed the requisite means, they 
sought to secure the co-operation of capitalists by the offer of 


peculiar privileges, carefully confined, however, to those who were 
members of the company. Any member who should plant a 
colony of fifty adults, in any part of New Netherland (except 
Manhattan Island, which the Company reserved to itself), should 
be acknowledged as the " patroon," or feudal chief of such colony or 
territory, with the high and low jurisdictions, the exclusive rights 
of fishing, hunting, and grinding, etc., within his own domain ; to 
which, also, he was to have a full title of inheritance, with right of 
disposing of it by will, at death. Freedom of trade and of the 
fisheries, subject to certain limits, restrictions, and duties, were 
also granted to the patroons. For the space of ten years the 
colonists under these patroonships were to be entirely free from 
taxation, but were bound to the service of the patroon in an almost 
absolute servitude. The company, on its part, reserved to itself 
the fur and peltry trade, and the right of manufactures ; promising, 
moreover, to the colonists protection and defence against all 
enemies ; the prompt completion of the defences of Manhattan 
Island, and furnishing the colony with a supply of black servants. 
The colonists were required "to satisfy the Indians for the land 
they shall settle upon ;" to make immediate provision for the 
support of a minister and schoolmaster ; and each colony was to 
make an annual return of its condition to the local authorities at 
Manhattan, for transmission to the company at home. In all its 
provisions, the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions carefully 
recognized the commercial monopoly and the political supremacy 
of the West India Company; and was, in fact, a transplanting to 
the New World of tho "feudal" system so prevalent in Europe. 
While it cared for the rights of the aboriginal owners, and promised 
labor, capital, religion, and education to the young colony, it 
" scattered tho seeds of servitude, slavery, and aristocracy." Its 
plan and spirit were selfish; its results most unfortunate. As 
might have been expected, cupidity induced some of the company's 
directors, even before the charter had been sanctioned, to reap the 
benefit of certain of its provisions, at the expense of their comrades, 
by appropriating to themselves somo of the choicest portions of the 
province. Availing themselves of the privileges which it accorded 
to directors, patroonships were purchased, through their agents in 


New Netherland, by Blonmiaert and Godyn on the South 
River ; b y Van Piensselaer on the North Kiver ; and by Pauw 
at Hoboken-Hacking and Payonia (now Jersey City), and 
Staten I&land. Thus, at the very outset, the selfishness which 
pervades all monopolies, by this sudden absorption of the 
most prominent positions in New Netherland, defeated and dis- 
couraged the inducements to independent emigrants which was 
the chief intent of the charter. So great, also, was the dissatisfac- 
tion and jealousy to which their actions gave rise, that the specu- 
lative patroons were finally obliged to share their original purchases 
with their fellow-directors in the company. Various partnerships 
were formed among them, and commercial operations commenced 
in New Netherland ; but it was apparent, from the first, that they 
were far more interested in the Indian trade than in the proper 
colonization of the colony. And, before long, their claims came so 
directly in conflict with the vested rights of the company, as to 
necessitate a revision of the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, 
and the adoption of new articles limiting and restraining the 
privileges of the patroons. These quarrels finally challenged the 
attention of the States-General, who instituted an investigation. 
Shortly thereafter, Minuit, who as director had officially ratified 
the purchases which had created so much feeling, was recalled, 
and embarked for Holland in the spring of 1632. During the 
following summer, the company, determined to maintain its superior 
monopoly, and to arrest the encroachments of the patroons, 
dispatched commissaries to each settlement to post up their 
proclamation, forbidding any person, whether patroon or vassal, 
to deal in sewan, peltries, or maize. In the spring of 1633, the 
province, which had been without a head for a year past, received 
from Holland a new director. This was Wouter Van Twiller, a 
former clerk in the company's warehouse at Amsterdam, and a 
relative by marriage of Patroon Van Eensselaer. Singularly inex- 
perienced, incompetent, narrow-minded, and deficient in knowledge 
of men, this ex-clerk came to the command of the province at a 
time when it was shaken with internal jealousies and threatened 
with aggressions from English neighbors. With him came 
one hundred and four soldiers, and Everardus Bogardus, the 


new clergyman of Manhattan. Scarcely Lad lie assumed the 
duties of office, to new director became involved in broils 

with English sea-captains and with the patroons, in which he 
displayed but little wisdom, self-respect, or courage. Yet he had, in 
some respects, a keen perception of what was needed for the pros- 
pi 1 it v of the company, and was ambitious to promote its interests. 
On the 8th of June, 1G33, he purchased from the Indians a large 
tract of land, on the Fresh or Connecticut Paver, originally dis- 
covered by Block, in 1G14, since which time it had been periodically 
and almost exclusively visited by the Dutch traders, whose pur- 
chases formed no slight portion of the annual harvest of furs and 
other commodities. On this spot, the site of the present beautiful 
city of Hartford, a trading-post was erected, fortified with two 
cannon, and named " The House of Good Hope." This soon 
brought them in conflict with the English colonists of New 
Plymouth, who established a fort at Windsor, a little above, and 
resisted a force of Dutch soldiery sent to disperse them. Mean- 
while, at New Amsterdam, the fort was properly repaired, a guard- 
house, barracks, church, parsonage, director's house, and other 
improvements were in course of construction, and houses were also 
commenced at Fort Orange, at Pavonia, and Fort Nassau. The 
Indians were very troublesome this year, especially the Pequods on 

the Connecticut, and the Baritans of New Jersey, with the latter of 
whom a peace was fortunately concluded in lfi:;j. 

All this while, in "the Fatherland," there was great wrangling 
between the company and the patroons, and finally the questions in 
dispute being brought before the States-General were by them 
referred to a committee, before whom, in June, 1634, the patroons 
presented certain claims, together with a statement of their grounds 
of complaint against the company. After a patient hearing of the 
case, the States-General postponed their decision, and finally, in 
February, L635, the Board of Nineteen effected a compromise of 
the matter by purchasing from the patroons their colonies on the 
South River, in that region the English, during the following 
summer, made an aggressive attempt to oust the Dutch, but were 
foiled; in the broad and beautiful valley of the Connecticut, how- 
. ■luring this ami the succeeding year (16! encroached, 


step by step, upon the Dutch, until the latter were dispossessed of 
nearly all that territory, to which, by prior discovery, exploration, 
and occupation, they were so fairly entitled. 

Amid the irregularities and dissensions which prevailed during 
Yan Twiller's administration, neither he nor his subordinate officials 
neglected the advantages which they enjoyed for advancing their 
private interests. In June, 1636, one of these officials, Jacob Van 
Corlaer, purchased from the Indians a flat of land called " Castateeuw, 
on Sewan-hackey, or Long Island, between the Bay of the North 
River and the East River," ivJiich is the earliest recorded grant, to an 
individual, in the present County of Kings. On the same day, 
Andries Hudde and Wolfert Gerritsen purchased the flats next 
west to Yan Corlaer' s ; and shortly after, the tempting level 
lands to the eastward of these were secured by the director 
himself. 1 On these purchases, amounting to some 15,000 acres, 
and which apparently were made without the knowledge or con- 
sent of the Amsterdam Chamber, the fortunate owners im- 
mediately commenced agricultural improvements — from which, 
in time, sprang the nourishing village of "New Amersfoort" now. 

In the course of the same year (1636), "William Adriaense Bennet 
and Jacques Bentyn purchased from the Indians a tract of 930 
acres of land at " Gowanus," 2 upon which, at some time prior to the 
Indian war of 1642-45, a dwelling-house was erected — affording 
presumptive evidence, at least, that absolute occupation and agri- 
cultural improvement followed close upon its purchase. 3 The 
occupation 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 

1 These " flats" were miniature prairies, devoid of trees, and having a dark-colored 
surface soil ; and having undergone a certain rude culture by the Indians, were ready, 
without much previous toil, for the plough. On this account they were most sought 
for, and first purchased by the original settlers, who being natives of the low and level 
lands of Holland and Belgium, were inexperienced in the clearing of forests. 

9 The name of Gowanus is a purely Indian one, which philologists have been unable 
to explain. It was applied to all the land fronting on Gowanus Bay, and traversed by 
the creek of the same name. 

3 See description of the Bennet and Bentyn patent, in chapter on " Early Settlers and 


Utrecht line — may be considered as the first step in the settlement 
<>!' the City of Brooklyn. The second step, according to the best 
documentary evidence, was taken about a year later, by John 
(George) Jansen de Ratalie, one of the Walloon emigrants of 1623, 
who first settled at Fort Orange (Albany), and in 1G26 removed to 
Amsterdam, on Manhattan Inland. On the lGth of June, 1637, 
Bapalie purchased from its native proprietors a piece of land called 
" Hennegackonk," lying on Long Island "in the bend of Mareck- 
kawieck," now better known as Wallabout Bay. This purchase, 
comprising about three hundred and thirty-five 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 Bapalie — was not occupied by him as a 
residence until about 1654. 3 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." 4 Thus, at two isolated points — offering to the 

1 " B< nnegackoncfc" (sometimes spelt with an i or a u in the first syllable) is a small 
creek or stream of water emptying into the Wallabout Bay. 

9 The Indian name of the territory of Brooklyn was Meryckawiek, or "the sandy 
place ;" from me, t lie article in the Algonquin dialect, recktoa, Band, and kA", locality. 
The name was probably applied, at first, to the bottom-land, or beach ; and what is 
now Wallabout Bay, was formerly called " The boght of Mareckawick." OCallaghan 
supposes thai the Indians who inhabited that part of the present city of Brooklyn 
derived their tribal name from the bay; but we are inclined to the opinion that the 
appellation was by no means so limited, for the present name of Kockaway, in another 
pari of the county, seems to have the same derivation. 

biographical notice of Rapalie in chapter on " Early Settlers and Patents." 
4 The earliest date at which the word •• Waal-bogt" (or "Wahle-Boght/'now corrupted 
[about) appears upon the colonial records, is in 1666, by which time a consider- 
able number of Walloons and oiler foreign emigrants had become located there. 

In regard to the nationality of these Bottlers, Bergen (Hist. Bergen "Family, 18, 10/ 

Hist. Mag., vi, L62) says: "The Montfoorts and Suybertsen may have been Walloons; 

the name of I !ornelissen indicates thai be was a Netherlander ; Picel "r Piquet was from 

Rouen, in France, which is located many miles from the frontiers; * * Peter Caesar 

(Alburl me indicates, was an Italian: Hans Hansen Bergen was a Norwegian ; 

and bap; lie could not have been a Walloon by liirth, if. as asserted and claimed, lie was 

of Rochelle, in France, a Beap »r1 on the Bay of Biscay, Beveral hundred miles 

Belgium. All Huguenots in those days may. however, have been 

.1 title of Wa dgranta of this class 

thai vicinity, may account tor the name; i' | mary in 

i iisb churches in their midst, erected by E'rench 

name of ' W • or Walloon Churches." 


settlers similar agricultural advantages and inducements 1 — were 
formed the nuclei of the present City of Beooklyn. 2 

Coincident with Eapalie's purchase at the " Waal-Bogt," the 
director secured for his own use the island "Pagganck," lying a 
little south of Fort Amsterdam, and which, from its abundance of 
excellent nut-trees was called by the Dutch "Nooten," or Nutten 
Island. From that time to the present it has been familiarly known 
as " the Governor's Island." One Jonas Bronck, also, became the 
owner of a large and valuable tract on the " mainland," in what is 
now Westchester County ; and the West India Company secured 
the Indian title to the island of " Quotenis" in Narragansett Bay, 
and of another near the Thames River — both advantageously located 
for trading purposes. From Michael Pauw they purchased his 
rights to Pavonia (Jersey City) and Staten Island, thus ridding 
themselves of an enterprising patroon, whose proximity was as 
galling to their pride, as his success would have been injurious to 

1 Both around the " Bogt," and at Gowanus, were lowlands, overflowed by the sea 
at every tide, and covered with salt-meadow grass, coarse and hard to be cut with a 
common scythe, but which the cattle preferred to fresh hay or grass. 

2 The statement, so often reiterated by our local writers, and even by the historians 
of our State, that some of the Walloon emigrants of 1623 settled first at Staten Island 
(O'Callaghan, i. 101), and afterwards, as early as 1624-'5, at the " Waal-bogt," 
(Brodhead, i. 153, 154), is entirely unsupported by documentary or other reliable evi- 
dence. It seems to have originated in faulty traditions, and in a misapprehension of 
an ancient record relating to the daughter of Rapalie, the first settler in the "Bogt." 
(See chapter on " Early Settlers and Patents.") 

Equally unreliable is the statement (Brodhead, i. 170) that the settlement was in- 
creased in 1626 by Walloon settlers, who had been recalled from Fort Orange and the 
South River, in consequence of Indian disturbances. It will be evident, on reflection, 
that, in the then unsettled state of the province, no permanent settlement would have 
been allowed at such a distance from the fort on Manhattan Island ; and, during the 
succeeding ten years (until 1636), concentration was the necessary policy of the infant 
colony. Even for more than thirty years afterwards the government exercised the 
greatest caution in permitting the establishment of new villages where they would be 
exposed to hostile attack. Nor is it a reasonable supposition that agricultural settle- 
ments were made here so many years prior to the purchase of the land from the 
Indians, arid the granting of it by patents. If, indeed, there was any use of land on 
Long Island made by the Walloons before the date of the first known settlement in 
1636, it must have been temporary in its nature, and confined entirely to the most 
accessible and easily improved portions along the shore. If such was the case, the 
settlers probably cultivated their little patches by day, returning across the river at 
nightfall, to their families and the security of Fort Amsterdam. But this is mere con- 
jecture, and there is no evidence of the permanent residence of any white family 
within the limits of our city, prior to 163G. 


their interests. Their fur-trade, meanwhile, despite tlie loss of their 
traffic on the Connecticut, was steadily and largely increasing, and 
a new and profitable commerce had sprung up with New England 
and the West Indies. The constant reiteration of complaints and 
serious charges against Van T wilier, however, made to the West India 
Company, finally determined them to remove him from office. Ac- 
cordingly, early in the spring of 1638, he was superseded by William 
Kieft, who, though "a more discreet and sober man" than his pre- 
decessor, was of an active, "inquisitive," and grasping disposition ; 
and by n<> means so prudent a magistrate as the circumstances of 
the province demanded. He set bravely to work to correct the 
many abuses, both social and civil, which had grown up under Van 
Twiller's administration ; but the people were of too mixed a char- 
acter, and had been too long allowed the license of doing as they 
pleased, to yield readily to his proclamations, or even to the more 
forcible measures of restraint which he inaugurated. That he was 
not unmindful of the company's material interests, was evidenced 
by the judicious purchases of territory which he made in the 
neighborhood of Manhattan. On the 1st of August, 1638, he secured 
for the West India Company a tract of land adjoining Rapalie's 
plantation on Long Island, extending from " Rennegackonck" 
(ante, page 2-i, note) to what is now known as Newtown Creek, 
and from the East Paver to " the swamps of Mespaetches." 
The price paid to the native " chiefs of Keskaechquerem" for this 
extensive area, which comprised the ichole of the former town of 
Bushwick, now forming (he- Eastern District of the city of BrooTdyn, 
was eight fathoms of duffels cloth, eight fathoms of wampum, twelve 
kettles, eighl ad/es, eight axes, and some knives, corals, and awls. 1 

At"Paulus Book" (Jersey City), at "Corker's Hook" (opposite 
Brooklyn i on Manhattan Island, and at other places in the vicinity 
of New Amsterdam, permanent improvements were commenced by 
various persons, and around the fertile region of the "Waal-bogt" 
began to cluster the "plantations" of active husbandmen. 

Meanwhile, the prestige whirli the Dutch had heretofore main- 
tained on the Mouth River, received a severe shock. A Swedish 

1 The deed (the earliest recorded t<> (he West India Company) for this important 
purchase, will !>•• found, in full, us Appendix No. .'. 


West India Company was formed, which sent out an expedition to 
establish a new colony in those parts, and its chief command was 
intrusted to no less a person than Peter Minuit, the former Director 
of New Netherland. In May, 1638, Minuit, undeterred by the 
protests and threats of Director Kieft, established near the site of 
the present city of Wilmington, Del., a trading-house and fort, which 
he loyally named, after the young queen of Sweden, "Fort Christina." 
Availing himself of the experience which he had previously gained 
at Manhattan, he quickly " drew all the skins towards him by his 
liberal gifts," so that, by midsummer, the vessels which brought him 
out, returned to Sweden well laden with furs. 

At home, in " the Fatherland," the affairs of the province of New 
Netherland were again undergoing a searching investigation by the 
States-General, who finally directed the Amsterdam Chamber of the 
West India Company to take such immediate measures as should 
most effectually regenerate the social, political, and commercial 
state of the colony under their charge. Thus enjoined, the Amster- 
dam Chamber, by proclamation, in September, 1638, threw open 
New Netherland to free trade by all inhabitants of the United 
Provinces and of friendly nations, " in the company's ships," and 
subject to an import duty of fifteen per cent, and to an export duty 
of ten per cent. The director and council of New Netherland were 
directed to furnish every emigrant, " according to his condition and 
means, with as much land as he and his family can properly cul- 
tivate," a quit-rent of a tenth being reserved to the company, thus 
assuring legal estates of inheritance to the grantees. Each colonist 
or trader, availing himself of this proclamation, was required to 
sign a pledge of obedience to the officers of the company, acting in 
subordination to the States-General, and promising, in all questions 
and differences which might arise, to abide by the decision of the 
established colonial courts. Free passage, and other inducements, 
were also offered to respectable farmers who wished to emigrate to 
the new country. 

The adoption of this liberal policy by the West India Company 
marked a new era in the history of the province, and gave a rapid 
impulse to its prosperity. Plans of colonization were formed by 
capitalists, and many persons of ample means came out from 


Holland — as well as many from Virginia and Now England. These 

all set about choosing favorable locations for husbandry or traffic; 
houses were bni] were sent on trading-ventures in various 

directions ; New Amsterdam echoed with the sound of the axe and 
the- hammer, and industry and enterprise, no longer shackled by the 
restrictions of a monopoly, gave to the country an appearance of 
thriftiness and progress. Thirty "bouweries" or plantations, " as 
well stocked with cattle as any in Europe," were soon under cul- 
tivation, and the numerous applications for land promised at least 
'• a hundred more." 

The increasing demand for homesteads near Fort Amsterdam 
induced the director and council to secure, by purchase from the 
native proprietors, as much as possible of the valuable land on the 
western end of Long Island. Accordingly, in January, 1639, Kieft 
effected the purchase of all the lands from Rockaway eastward to 
" Sicktew-hackey," or Fire Island Bay; thence northward to Martin 
Gerritsens, or Cow Bay, and westward along the East Paver, to the 
" Ylaack's Kill ;" thus securing to the company, in connection with 
his purchase of the previous year, the Indian title to nearly all the 
land comprised within the present County of Queens. And a few 
months later, the company became possessed of another large tract 
in what is now Westchester County. Portions of the lands thus 
obtained were ero long deeded by the company to enterprising 
settlers. In August of this year, Antony Jansen van Vaas from 
Sal. e, obtained a grant of two hundred acres on the west end of 
Long Island, partly in the present towns of New Utrecht and 
Gravesend, of which towns ho was the pioneer settler. 1 On the 
28th of November following, one Thomas BSSOHEB received a patent 
for "a tobacco plantation/' on the beach of Long Island "hard by 
Saphorakan," which is supposed to have been at Gowanns, and 
adjoining to that of William Adriaense Bennet. 1 The next settler, 
in this vicinity, was FbedeBIOX LUBBEBTQBN, who, on tho 27th of 

1 Recorded in Book <;. <;.. <>t' Land Patents, i>. 61. The house which he en cted and 
occupied on the premises, it is Bupposed, was located on the New [Jtrechl Bide <>f tho 
boundary line between Baid towns, and its remains were disturbed, some years ago, in 
for the foundations of a new building. 

on <>f the Bennet and Bentyn Patent in the chapter uu " Early 
i Patents." 


May, 164.0, 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 Eiver ; comprising, with the exception of Eed Hook, the 
largest portion of what is now known as South Brooklyn. 
There is abundant evidence, also, that the territory (subsequently 
forming the town of Bushwick, and now the Eastern District of the 
city of Brooklyn), purchased from the Indians, by the West India 
Company in 1638, had been more or less cultivated — probably, 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 Abeaham Byceen for a large plantation ; and in 
September, 1641, to Lambert Huybeetsen (Moll), for land on the 
East Biver previously occupied by one Cornelis Jacobsen Sille. In 
the same neighborhood Hans Hansen Beegen was already occupy- 
ing a large tract adjoining that of his father-in-law Joris Bapalie, 
and lying partly on the " Waal-bogt" and partly within the limits 
of Bushwick; while along the "bend of the Marechawick," 1 lay 
the farms and " tobacco plantations" of Jan and Pletee Monteooet, 
Pietee CiESAE the Italian, and others. 2 

The West India Company, at this time, owned by purchase nearly 
all that portion of the western end of Long Island now embraced 
within the present city of Brooklyn, and the towns of Flatlands, 
Flatbush, and Newtown. To this was added, May 10th, 1640, 
the hereditary rights " of the great chief Penhawitz," the head of 
the Canarsee tribe, who claimed the territory forming the present 
county of Kings, and a part of the town of Jamaica. Thus the per- 
fected title of all the island west of Cow Bay and comprising the 
present counties of Kings and Queens became vested in the company 
by purchase. At the eastern end of the island, during this year, 
Lyon Gardiner, of Saybrook, had made the first permanent English 
settlement within the limits of the present State of New York, on 
the island which still bears his name, near Montauk Point ; and in 
the following spring, emigrants from Lynn, Mass., made an attempt, 
under Lord Stirling's patent, to effect a settlement at Sellout's Bay, 
within the limits of the present Queens County. Dislodged from 

1 The Wallabout Bay. 2 See chapter on " Early Settlers and Patents." 


there, however, by the Dutch soldiery whom Kieft dispatched 
thither, they subsequently settled the town of Southampton, in the 
: county of Suffolk ; and shortly after Bouthold was occupied 
by a company from the New Haven Colony. Both of these English 
colonics were allowed to pursue their way unmolested by the Dutch 
government at Fori Amsterdam. 

While thus adding to the company's domains, Kieft also gave to 
the administrative affairs of the province the attention which they 
had so long needed ; instituted various charges in subordinate 
officers ; vigorously enforced discipline among the company's 
soldiers and workmen at Manhattan, and strictly forbade the selling 
of firearms to the Indians. This latter practice, indeed, was one of 
the growing evils which were now beginning seriously to disturb 
the friendly relations which had, heretofore, existed between 
the Dutch and their savage neighbors. Contrary to all existing 
orders, as well as to every dictate of prudence, a brisk traffic 
in guns and ammunition had sprung up between the Rensselaer- 
wyck colonists and "free-traders," and the Mohawks, until the 
latter could number some four hundred warriors thus armed, 
and, of course, became more insolent and oppressive to all the 
other tribes. To the River Indians, who, in consequence of the 
strict police regulations maintained in and around Manhattan, 
were unable to obtain these much-coveted weapons, this seeming 
partiality shown to their dreaded foes by the Dutch, was a just 
source of annoyance and jealousy. Then, again, the colonists, in 
their eagerness to pursue the fur-trade, frequently neglected their 
farms, and their cattle shaving loose often inflicted serious damage 
upon the unfenced cornfields of the savages, who, finding their 
complaints disregarded, resorted to retaliatory measures! and thus 
hard feelings were engendered on both sides. In their dealings 
with the Indians, also, too many of the traders indulged in an 
familiarity*' with them, which naturally bred in the 

minds of the latter a contempt for men who, despite their apparent 

i*i- 1 * ndliiiess, did not always treat them with perfect fairness. Many 

of the Dutch, moreover, employed some of these savaj 

domestic servants, and the Indians had thus become fully informed 
of the numerical strength, habits, and circumstances of the colonists. 


It will easily be seen, then, that bnt little provocation was needed 
to bring matters to an open rupture ; nor was the occasion long 
wanting. Director Kieft, under the plea that the company's expenses 
were unusually heavy, demanded a contribution or tax of maize, 
furs, and sewan from the neighboring Indians. This act of mean- 
ness filled the measure of the red man's wrath to overflowing ; and 
so sudden and imminent appeared the danger, that Kieft ordered 
the people to arm themselves and to be prepared against any 
sudden assault. Some depredations on the settlement at Staten 
Island occurred at this juncture, which were unjustly imputed to 
the Karitan Indians, and furnished an excuse for sending an ex- 
pedition against them, w r hich killed a few of them, destroyed their 
crops, and sowed the seeds of a long and bloody war. 

By this time, under the authority of the States-General, the long- 
existing differences between the patroons and the company had 
resulted in the formation of a new "Charter of Freedoms and 
Exemptions, for all patroons, masters, and private persons," which, 
on the 19th of July, 1640, was officially approved and promulgated. 
The main features of this important document, which materially 
amended the obnoxious charter of 1629, are thus ably presented by 
our latest State historian. 1 " All good inhabitants of the Nether- 
lands" were now allowed to select lands and form colonies, which, 
however, were to be reduced in size. Instead of four Dutch miles, 
they were limited to one mile along the shore of a bay or navigable 
river, and two miles into the country. A free right of way by land 
and water was reserved to all ; and, in case of dispute, the director- 
general of New Netheiiand was to decide. The feudal privileges of 
erecting towns and appointing their officers ; the high, middle, and 
lower jurisdiction ; and the exclusive right of hunting, fishing, fowl- 
ing, and grinding corn, were continued to the patroons as an estate 
of inheritance, with descent to females as well as males. On every 
such change of ownership, the company was to receive a pair of 
iron gauntlets and twenty guilders, within one year. Besides the 
patroons, another class of proprietors was now established. Who- 
ever should convey to New Netherland five grown persons besides 

1 Brodhead, i. 311-313. 


himself, was to be recognized as a ' master or colonist ;' and conld 
occupy two hundred acres of land, with the privilege of hunting and 
fishing. If settlements of such colonists should increase in 
numbers, towns and villages might be formed, to which municipal 
governments were promised. The magistrates in such towns were 
to be appointed by the director and council, ' from a triple nomina- 
tion of the best qualified in the said towns and villages.' From 
these courts, and from the courts of the patroons, an appeal might 
lie to the director and council at Manhattan. The company guar- 
anteed protection, in case of war, to all the colonists, but each adult 
male emigrant was bound to provide himself, before he left Holland, 
with a proper musket, or a hanger and side-arms. The commercial 
privileges, which the first charter had restricted to the patroons, 
were now extended to all 'free colonists,' and to all the stock- 
holders in the company. Nevertheless, the company adhered to a 
system of onerous imposts, for its own benefit, and required a duty 
of ten per cent, on all goods shipped to New Netherlands and of five 
per cent, on all return cargoes, excepting peltries, which were to 
pay ten per cent, to the director at Manhattan beforo they could be 
exported. All shipments from New Netherland were to be landed 
at the company's warehouses in Holland. The prohibition of 
manufactures within the province was, however, abolished. The 
company renewed its pledge to send over 'as many blacks as 
possible,' and disclaiming any interference with the 'high, middle, 
and lower jurisdiction' of the patroons, reserved to itself supreme 
and sovereign authority over New Netherland, promising to appoint 
ami support competent officers 'for the protection of the good, and 
the punishment of the wicked.' The provincial director ami council 
w< re i" decide all questions concerning the rights of the company, 
and all complaints, whether by foreigners or inhabitants of the 
province ; t<> act as an Orphan's and Surrogate's Court; to judge in 
criminal and religious affairs, and generally to administer law and 
justice. No other religion save thai then taught and exercised by 
authority, in the Reformed Church in the United Provinces, was to 
be publicly sanctioned in New Netherland, where the company 
bound itself to maintain proper preachers, schoolmasters, and com- 
forters of the sick." 


The prosperity of New Netherland was greatly quickened by this 
charter. New colonies were successfully founded on the North 
River, in the Valley of the Hackensack and on Staten Island ; the 
municipal affairs of New Amsterdam were better regulated, and the 
currency of the province was reformed. This consisted, at the time, 
almost exclusively of sewan or wampum, of which that manufactured 
on Long Island and at Manhattan was esteemed the most valuable. 
Of this "good, splendid" variety, four beads were deemed equivalent 
to one stiver ; but, by degrees, a large quantity of inferior wampum, 
loose and unstrung, had got into circulation, which had so far 
depreciated in the market, as to call for legislative interference. 
The council, therefore, ordered that thenceforth the loose kind 
should pass at the rate of six for a stiver ; and the only reason that 
it was not wholly prohibited, was " because there was no other coin 
in circulation, and the laborers, boors, and other common people 
having no other money, would be great losers." Two annual fairs, 
one for cattle and another for swine, were also established at Man- 
hattan, in September, 1641. 

At this juncture, a sudden attack made by the Earitans upon the 
settlement at Staten Island, together with certain hostile demon- 
strations on the part of the Weckquaesgeeks, gave indication that 
the smouldering fires of savage resentment were about to burst forth 
in flames of war and destruction. The director, appalled at the 
imminence of the danger, was yet unwilling to take the responsibility 
of the initiative step of retaliation, from fear of the people, who 
already reproached him with folly in provoking the war, as well as 
with personal cowardice. He, therefore, convened all the masters 
and heads of families at Manhattan, on the 23d of August, and sub- 
mitted to them the question of declaring war against the savages. 
The assembly promptly chose " Twelve Select Men," all Hollanders, 
to consider upon his propositions. 1 Their counsel was for pre- 
serving peace with the Indians as long as possible ; or, at least, until 
the Dutch settlements throughout the country should be more 
numerous and better able to maintain and defend themselves. Dis- 

1 Among these " Twelve Men" were Jacques Bentyn, the Gowanus settler ; Frederick 
Lubhertsen, a large landholder though not a resident, in the same vicinity; and 
George Rapalie, of the Wallabout. 



appointed in their verdict, the director endeavored, in various ways, 
to secure their unconditional consent to his plan of an aggressive 
war ; but the Twelve Men remained unshaken in their opinion, and 
succeeded in averting actual hostilities until the beginning of the 
following year. Early in January, 1641, Kieft again convened the 
Twelve Men, and, finally, wrung from them a consent, " conditional, 
specific, and limited," to the sending out of an expedition against 
the Weckquaesgeeks. But, while the representatives of the people 
unwillingly conceded this much to the director's wishes, they seized 
the opportunity to demand certain reforms in the colonial govern- 
ment : viz., that the council should be reorganized and its numbers 
increased to five; that, in order "to save the land from oppression," 
four persons, elected by the commonalty, should assist at the 
council, two of which four should be annually elected by the people ; 
that judicial proceedings should be held only before a full board ; 
that the right of free trade should be granted to all colonists, on 
payment of the company's imposts ; that the militia should be re- 
organized and properly equipped ; and that, to prevent the currency 
of the colony from being exported, its nominal value should be 
increased. Jealous of his own, rights, which he saw to be limited 
by these popular demands, Kieft was aware that some concessions 
must be made, in order to secure their acquiescence in the war 
which he was so anxious to commence. He, therefore, partially 
granted some of the least important points demanded ; and, with a 
significant hint that he thought they had somewhat exceeded the 
powers for which they had been especially convened, he dissolved 
the Twelve Men, thanking them for their advice, and forbidding, in 
future, any calling of assemblies of the people, without the express 
order of the director. Early in March following, the expedition 
against the Weckquaesgeeks set forth, and though it was partially 
futile, it had the effect of inducing the savages to sue for a peace, 
which, however, proved to be but a temporary respite. 

At Manhattan, which was now becoming, more than ever, a stop- 
ping-place for transient visitors from New England and Virginia, the 
director built, in 1642, a " fine hotel," and also a church, both of 
stone ; and, in consequence of the ' large number of Englishmen 
who were now flocking to New Netherland — rendering necessary 


the services of an interpreter — one George Baxter was appointed 
" English Secretary" with a handsome salary. 

A public ferry was, by this time, permanently established between 
Manhattan and Long Island. The landing-place on • the New 
Amsterdam side was at the present Peck Slip, where was a ferry- 
house, kept by Coenelis Diecksen (Hooglant) the ferryman. The 
landing-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 Coenelissen Van Schouw (Mentelaeb), Jan Manje, 
Andeies Hudde, Jacob Wolpheetsen (Van Couwenhoven), and others ; 
while Red Hook had become the property of ex-Governor Van 
Twumb. 1136721 

Religious persecution was, at this time, driving from New England, 
many pure-minded and gifted men, who found in New Netherland 
the toleration denied them by their own country and brethren. 
Thus, courteously treated and favored with liberal patents of land 
from the Dutch Government, the Rev. John Doughty, with his fol- 
lowers, settled at Maspeth (now Newtown) on Long Island ; Throg- 
morton settled at Throg's Neck, "Westchester County; and the 
celebrated Anne Hutchinson and her family, driven from New 
Haven, found refuge at New Rochelle. 

On the South River, by the combined efforts of the Dutch and 
Swedes, who, in this, made common cause, the English were effectu- 
ally cleared out ; but, on the Connecticut, the Dutchman was sorely 
pressed to hold his own against the colonists of Massachusetts. 

The year 1643 was to New Netherland, as to New England, 
"a year of blood." Indian uprisings and "rumors of wars" 
were on every side. Anxiety and terror hung like a cloud over 
Fort Amsterdam and the neighboring settlements. An Indian 
murder at Hackensack was followed by a descent of the dreaded 
Mohawks upon the River tribes, which sent the latter rushing for 
refuge to the vicinity of the white settlements at Vriesendael, 
Pavonia, and even Manhattan Island, where at " Corlaer's Bouwery" 
a few Rockaway Indians from Long Island, with their chief Nainde 
Nummerus, had already established their wigwams. Had the 


counsels of wisdom prevailed, these River Indians— now panting 
fugitives, and grateful for the shelter afforded them by the proximity 
of the whit settlements — might easily have been gained 

bo a lasting friendship. It was, however, the old story of 
the dove flying to the eagle's nest for protection. At a supper at 
which Kieft was present, a petition was handed to him by two or 
three of the Twelve Men of the previous year, urging him to avenge 
the wrongs of the Dutch by an immediate attack upon these unsus- 

i ] . fugee Indians. Delighted with the prospect of, at last, 
accomplishing his darling wish, he gladly accepted the advice of 
uoring the fact that they had been dissolved, and 
that he had pronounced their functions limited. In vain, Dominie 
i ins counselled peace and humanity; La Montagne begged 

him to wait for the arrival of the next ship from home before pro- 
ceeding to extremities; and De Vries contended that no warlike 
step could be taken without the full consent of the people, and pro- 
\< sted that the petition upon which he was acting, was not the 

-sion of the Board of Twelve. The dogged director would not 
yield : two expeditions were Becr< My sent forth, on the night of the 
25th of February, 1643, against Pavonia and Corlaer's Hook ; and, at 
midnight, these poor Indians, sleeping Bale, as they thought, from 
attack by their mortal foes, the Mohawks, were remorselessly 
butchered, to the number of eighty at the former place and forty at 
the 1 .• 1 1 1 « r. The Btory of thai night is one of the saddest and foulest, 

ise the meanest, upon the pages of New Netherlands history. 
of this discreditable exploit naturally provoked 
emulation, and some of the settlers residing within the limits of 
the present eity of Brooklyn Bought permission from the director 
to attack the Biarechkawiecks, who still retained some of their 
planting-grounds in that neighborhood. 1 Kieft, however, yielding 
to the counsels of Dominie Bogardus and others, refused his assent 
on the ground that the Marechkawiecks had always been very 
friendly to the Dutch, and, moreover, were "hard to conquer," and 

'Brodheada a and some of his neighbors at New Axnersfoort" 

■ in tiii- outrage. The petition, however (we Appendix No. 8), is signed 
■ Least) un re, at this timt . rerid* ntt oft* rritory included 
wU Mn the tubeequeni i B thwich 


that it was not wise to add to the number of their declared foes. 
If, however, the Indians showed any signs of hostility, each 
colonist might adopt such measures of defence as he saw fit. The 
proviso was an unfortunate one ; for, to those who seek a quarrel 
opportunity is never long wanting ; and, ere long, some movements 
of the Marechkawiecks were conveniently construed into signs of 
hostility. Straightway, a secret expedition plundered two wagon- 
loads of corn from the Indians, three of whom were killed in the 
attempt to rescue their property. Up to this time, the Long 
Island Indians had been the constant friends of the Dutch, but this 
crowning act of injustice filled them with bitterest contempt and 
hatred. They immediately made common cause with the Kiver 
Indians, who, by this time, had discovered that the midnight 
massacres at Pavonia and " Corlaer's" were the work of the Dutch ; 
and war was declared against the faithless whites. From the shores 
of the Raritan to the valley of the Hackensack, the tomahawk was 
dug up and the war-paint was put on. Eleven tribes rose, as one 
man, and throughout the length and breadth of New Netherland, 
Death, Fire, and Captivity threatened unspeakable horrors to 
farmer and soldier, to women and children, to old and young, to 
rich and poor alike. From every outlying settlement the terrified 
colonists fled to Fort Amsterdam, and crazed by their despair and 
reproaches, the director hurriedly adopted such measures as he 
could for the common safety. He found himself obliged to take all 
the males into the company's service, as paid soldiers, for two 
months. He, also, sent a friendly message to the Long Island 
Indians, to which the indignant savages would not listen. Standing 
afar off, they derided his messenger, calling out, "Are ye our 
friends ? Ye are merely corn-thieves." Amid the general distress, 
cooped up in the fort together with trembling fugitives, the victims 
of his own rashness, and compelled daily to hear the reproaches 
which his conscience told him were merited, the valiant director 
scarce knew which way to turn ; and so, he proclaimed a day 
of general fasting and prayer. But, while the people humbled 
themselves before the Almighty, they held the director strictly 
responsible ; and, alarmed for his own safety, he endeavored to 
foist the odium of the situation upon the freemen, whose advice he 


claimed to have followed. The indignant burghers, however, re- 
minded him that he had dissolved the Board of Twelve and for- 
bidden all assemblies of freemen. 

"Meanwhile," says the historian, 1 "the Long Island Indians had 
begun to relent. Spring was at hand, and they desired to plant 
their com. Three delegates from the wigwams of Penhawitz, their 
' great chief,' approached Fort Amsterdam, bearing a white flag. 
'Who will go to meet them?' demanded Kieft. None were willing 
but De Vries and Jacob Olfertsen. ' Our chief has sent us,' said 
the savages, ' to know why you have killed his people, who have 
never laid a straw in your way, nor done you aught but good? 
Come and speak to our chief upon the sea-coast.' Setting out 
with the Indian messengers, De Vries and Olfertsen, in the evening, 
came to ' Rechqua-aike,' or Rockaway, where they found nearly 
three hundred savages, and about thirty wigwams. The chief, 
1 who had but one eye,' invited them to pass the night in his cabin, 
and regaled them with oysters and fish. At break of day, the 
envoys from Manhattan were conducted into the woods about four 
hundred yards off, where they found sixteen chiefs of Long Island 
waiting for their coming. Placing the two Europeans in the centre, 
the chiefs seated themselves around in a ring, and their 'best 
Bpeaker' arose, holding in his hand a bundle of small sticks. 
'When you first came to our coasts,' slowly began the orator, 
' you sometimes had no food ; we gave you our beans and corn, and 
relieved you with our oysters and fish; and now, for recompense, 
you murder our people ;' and ho laid down a little stick. ' In the 
beginning of your voyages, you left your people here with their 
: we traded with them while your ships were away, and 
cherished them as the apple of our eye; we gave them our 
daughters for companions, who have borne children, and many 
Indiana have Bprang from theSwannekens; and now you villainously 
i icre your own blood.' Tho chief laid down another stick; 
many more remained in his hand; but De Vries, cutting short the 
reproachful catalogue, invited tho chiefs to accompany him to Fort 
Amsterdam, where the director 'would give them presents to make 

1 Brodhead, i. 358, 339 


a peace.' The chiefs, assenting, ended their orations, and present- 
ing De Vries and his colleague each with ten fathoms of wampum, 
the party set out for their canoes, to shorten the return of the Dutch 
envoys. While waiting for the tide to rise, an armed Indian, who 
had been dispatched by a sachem twenty miles off, came running to 
warn the chiefs against going to Manhattan. ' Are you all crazy, 
to go to the fort,' said he, ' where that scoundrel lives, who has so 
often murdered your friends?' But De Yries assured them that 
'they would find it otherwise, and come home again with large 
presents.' One of the chiefs replied at once : ' Upon your words 
we will go ; for the Indians have never heard lies from you, as they 
have from other Swannekens.' Embarking in a large canoe, the 
Dutch envoys, accompanied by eighteen Indian delegates, set out 
from Kockaway, and reached Fort Amsterdam about three o'clock 
in the afternoon." A treaty was presently made with these Long 
Island savages, and, through their aid and influence, with the River 
tribes. But confidence was not fully restored ; and in September 
following, hostilities again broke out, and the atrocities committed 
by the savages on the North Eiver struck consternation to the 
hearts of the Dutch at Fort Amsterdam. Kieft again summoned 
the people to council, and they elected Eight Men to represent 
them in the deliberations concerning " the critical condition of the 
country." They advised that peace should be maintained with the 
Long Island Indians, and that they should be encouraged to become 
allies in war ; but, that war should be actively prosecuted against 
the Biver Indians ; and that a large force of militia should be forth- 
with enlisted and equipped. Before these preparations could be 
effected, however, the Indians fell upon the Westchester settlements, 
Maspeth, and Gravesend, all of which, except the latter, were laid 
waste. Long Island, in the language of an eye-witness, was " almost 
destitute of inhabitants and stock;" while from the Highlands of 
Neversink to the valley of Tappan, the Indian rule became more 
supreme. Even Manhattan Island was daily threatened ; and seven 
allied tribes, " well supplied with musket, powder, and ball," hovered 
menacingly around the insufficient fort at New Amsterdam, where 
trembling families were closely huddled together, and the cattle 
were beginning to starve for lack of forage. " Fear coming more 


over the land/ 1 the Eight Men n convoked, but the director 

adopted only one of their Bend ^esiions: viz., thai armed 

ince should be sought from their English neighbors. The 

Savon Colony, however, to whom application was made, 

declined, alleging anion- other reasons that they were not satisfied 

"thai the Dutch war with the Indians was just;" but they often d 
supplies of provisions to the harassed New Netherlanders. Again, 
October 24th, the Eight Men met, and, for the first time, resolved to 
speak directly to their superiors in Holland. They sent a letter to 
the College of Nineteen, which, in simple and pathetic yet manly 
words, rehearsed the terrible situation of the province. In addition 
to this, on the 3d of November they addressed a remonstrance to 
the States-General, begging for immediate assistance, provisions, 
etc. While awaiting an answer from the Fatherland, the winter of 
i I'; II was improved in disciplining the numbers congregated at 
Manhattan, and in various foraging and military expeditions against 
ine Indians on Staten Island, and at Stamford and Westchester. 
Early in 1G44, trouble arose between the settlers of Heemstede, a 
recent English colony in the present Queens County, on Long 
Island, and the Canarsee tribe in that neighborhood, whoso chief, 
the one-eyed Penhawitz, was suspected of treachery. Expeditions 
dispatched from Fort Amsterdam against the Canarsees and against 
the Indians near Maspeth, both resulted in the complete discom- 
fiture of the savages, with but slight loss to the whites. This 
was followed, February, 1644, by another attack upon the Con- 
necticut Indians near Greenwich, in which the Dutch were again 
completely victorious. Planting season being again at hand, some 
of the hostile tribes began to sue for peace, which was concluded 
with the Long Island Indians, who had been pretty thoroughly 
intimidated by the affairs at Heemstede and Maspeth. The River 

till.. -, however, remained implacable, and the settlers were kept in 
a oonstanl state of alarm and incertitude, which totally prevented 
the progress of the settlements. Again, on the 18th of June, 1044, 
the director felt obliged to convene the Eight Men, whose advice he 
Bought concerning the, imposition of a tax upon wines, fo , r, brandy, 

and beaver-Skin. To their better judgment, this measure seemed 

to be, in the impoverished state of the province, unwise, oppressive, 


and an overstepping of his legitimate power. Displeased with their 
advice, Kieft angrily reminded them that his will was yet supreme, 
and a few days after he issued, without their knowledge, a proclama- 
tion stating that for the purpose of carrying on the war, and " by 
advice of the Eight Men chosen by the commonalty," he had 
decided to impose the tax. This roused the ire of the Eight Men, 
whose sanction had been thus unwarrantably assumed, and the 
brewers refusing to pay the excise, their beer was confiscated and 
given to the soldiery. From that moment the spirit of resistance to 
arbitrary power became an element of the politics of New Nether- 
land, and party spirit divided the community. The Eight Men 
became the representatives of the democracy, while the parasites of 
power espoused the cause of the director. And, although the Eight 
counselled active operations against the savages, and the available 
force at his command was strengthened by the opportune arrival of 
one hundred and thirty soldiers from Curacoa, Kieft contented 
himself during the summer with a "masterly inactivity." The 
Indians finding themselves unmolested, grew more insolent than 
ever ; so that, even at the ■ distance of a thousand paces from Fort 
Amsterdam, no one dared " move a foot to fetch a stick of firewood 
without a strong escort." So deplorable was now the condition of 
public affairs, that the Eight representatives, on 28th of October, 
addressed a second memorial to the West India Company, stating 
their grievances, demanding the recall of Kieft, and the introduction 
into New Netherland of the municipal system of the Fatherland. 
This letter reached the College of Nineteen at an opportune moment, 
when, in obedience to a mandate of the States-General, they were in 
session to deliberate about the affairs of the colony. It was felt 
that the voice of the people could no longer be disregarded, and 
Kieft's recall was therefore determined upon. The College, likewise, 
referred all the papers in their archives relating to New Netherland 
to the newly organized " Chamber of Accounts," with instructions 
to report fully upon the condition of the province, and upon such 
measures as should be necessary for its advancement. Their report, 
communicated to the States-General a few days after, and which is 
one of the most important documents relating to New Netherland, 
fully reviewed the history of that province from its first settlement ; 


strongly condemned Kief t's policy ; revealed the fact that the 
colony, instead of being a source of profit, had really cost the W< st 
India Company more than 550,000 guilders over and above all 
returns, and gave their decision that, inasmuch as the charter of 
" Freedoms and Exemptions" had promised protection and defence 
to the colonists, and as improvements in the management were not 
beyond hope, " the company could not decently or consistently 
abandon it." Acting upon the facts and suggestions presented in 
this report, the College of Nineteen, early in July, 1645, prepared a 
code of general instructions for the regulation of the "supreme 
council of New Netherland ;" the expenses of the whole civil and 
military departments of the province being limited to 20,000 
guilders per annum. Its government was vested in a " Supreme 
Council," composed of a Director, a Vice-director, and a Fiscal ; 
and to this council was committed the decision of all cases involving 
matters of police, justice, dignity, and the rights of the company. 
In criminal cases, " two capable persons" were to be " adjoined from 
the commonalty of that district where the crime or act was per- 
petrated." A definite boundary was to be speedily established 
between the Dutch and English, and the rights of the Indians were 
to be strictly respected, and every endeavor made to secure their 
confidence. The colonists were to be encouraged to settle in towns, 
villages, and hamlets, "as the English are in the habit of doing;" 
Manhattan Island, hitherto monopolized by the company, was to bo 
opened to immediate planting and settlements, and as many negroes 
were to be introduced as the patroons, colonists, and other farmers 
were " willing to purchase at a fair price." The fort was to bo 
repaired and permanently garrisoned; while the colonists were 
required to supply themselves with arms, and to form a local 
militia, although without pay, which might be depended upon in 
case of war. The right of representation to the council at Man- 
hattan was confirmed to the colonists "for mutual good understand- 
ing, and tho common advancement and welfare of the inhabitants." 
Amsterdam weights and measures were made the standards in New 
Netherland ; the Indian trade was reserved exclusively to the 
patroons, colonists, and free fanners; and the selling of firearms to 
rictly prohibited. The customs wero to be rigidly 


enforced ; and the expenses of the province, which had previously 
been borne exclusively by the Amsterdam Chamber, were now 
assumed by all the chambers of the company in common. 

With the spring of 1645 came, at last, a welcome termination to 
the Indian war, and on the 30th of August, a general treaty of 
peace was ratified with all the tribes at Fort Amsterdam. But "the 
sting of war" remained. At Manhattan and its vicinity, scarcely 
one hundred men, besides traders, could be found. The church, 
commenced in 1642, was still unfinished. The money contributed for 
the erection of a common school-house had " all found its way out;" 
and even the poor-fund of the deaconry had been sequestered and 
applied to the purposes of the war. Beyond Manhattan, almost 
every settlement on the west side of the North Biver, south of the 
Highlands, was destroyed. The western end of Long Island was 
almost depopulated, and Westchester was desolated. The posts 
on the South Biver and the Bensselaerwyck Colony alone had 
escaped the horrors of war. 

In the work of regeneration and reconstruction which was now to 
be commenced, Kieft's attention was first directed to securing the 
Indian title to lands in the vicinity of Manhattan, which had not 
yet become the property of the company. On the 10th of Sep- 
tember, 1645, a tract of land on Long Island, on the bay of the 
North Biver, between Coney Island and Gowanus, and forming the 
present town of New Utrecht, was purchased from its native 
proprietors for the West India Company, thus completing their title 
to most of the land within the present counties of Kings and Queens. 
During the next month, a tract of sixteen thousand acres to the 
westward of Maspeth, was patented by the director to English 
emigrants who established there the town of Ylissingen, now known 
as Flushing. And Maspeth itself was soon repeopled by its former 
occupants, who had been driven from their homes by the desolation 
of war. Two months later (December, 1645), Lady Moody and her 
associates, who had so bravely maintained their position during 
these long and harassing years, received from Director Kieft a 
patent for their settlement on Long Island, adjoining Coney Island, 
now forming the town of " Gravesend." 

Meanwhile, disagreements which arose among the several 


Chambers of the West India Company concerning certain details of 
the iif\\ government of the province, delayed the recall of Kieft 
from the position which lie filled so discreditably to himself and so 
disastrously to the public interests. His situation at this time was 
far from agreeable ; the commonalty, informed of his intended recall, 
did not hesitate to express their satisfaction, and the director, 
irritated by their ill-concealed joy and reproaches, vented his spleen 
by fining and banishing those who were most outspoken. This was 
denounced as tyranny, and thereupon arose wranglings between 
himself and the people. Yet, amid these dissensions, which em- 
bittered the remainder of Kieft's term of office, progress was 
steadily made in the settlement and colonization of the country. 
On the east side of the North Paver, above Manhattan Island, in 
the summer of 1646, Adriaen Vander Donck established a patroon- 
ship, which is now represented by the town of Yonkers ; and shortly 
after, Antonissen van Slyck, of Breuckelen, received from Kieft a 
patent for "the land of Kaatskill," on the North River, where he 
established a colony. 

As will be seen from the preceding pages, the occupation of land 
within the limits of the present city of Brooklyn, commencing with 
the Bennet and Bentyn purchase of 1636, had steadily progressed, 
until now (1646) nearly the whole water-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 Grotvanus"* 
Wacdrbogt"* and" The Ferry." 3 About a mile to the south- 
east of this latter locality, and lying behveen the " Waal-bogt" 
plantations and those at Gowanus, was a tract, spoken of in the 
early pat< nts , IS " Mereckawieek, on the Kil (or Creek) of Gowanus," 
and which was, undoubtedly, the residence of the tribe of that 
name. II. re were the "maize lands" or planting grounds, which, in 
1643 i - 36 and 37) were so unjustly despoiled by the 

covetous whites; and of which, during the war which ensued, the 

• * Bee page 84, note ; also Appendix No 1. 
' Iden t i c al With the present Ernlton Terry, at foot of Fulton street, Brooklyn, p. 35. 


Indians were dispossessed. 1 As soon as, and even before, hostilities 
ceased, the choicest portions of this tract were taken up by the 
white settlers under patents from the Dutch West India Company. 
Thus, in July, 1645, Jan Evertse Bolt, followed in 1646 by Hutck 
Aertsen (van Eossum), 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 Hal], was 
called Brelckelen, after the ancient village of the same name in 
Holland, some eighteen miles from Amsterdam. 2 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" 3 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 General Incorporated West India 
Company. To all those who shall see these presents or hear them 
read, Greeting : 

" Whereas, Jan Eversen Bout and Huyck Aertsen from Eossum, 
were on the 21st May last unanimously chosen by those interested 

1 See the discussion of the Lubbertse patent in chapter on " Early Settlers and 

2 For a most interesting account of a visit to the original Breuckelen, made by the 
Hon. Henry C. Murpby, of Brooklyn, while Minister to the Hague, the reader is 
referred to Appendix No. 4. 

3 N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., ii., 332, and note. 


of Breuckelen, situate on Long Island, as Schepens, to decide all 
qui Btkxns which may arise, as they shall deem proper, according to 
the Exemptions of New Netherland granted to particular Colonies, 
which election is subscribed 1 >y them, with express stipulation that 
if any one refuse to suhinit in the premises aforesaid to the above- 
mentioned Jan Evertscn 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 hereby authorize the said Jan Eversen and Huyck Aertsen 
to be schepens of Breuckelen ; and in case Jan Eversen and Huyck 
u 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 Eversen and Huyck Aertsen as their schepens, and 
if any one shall be found to exhibit contumaciousness towards 
them, he shall forfeit his share as above stated. Thus done in 
Council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland." 1 

This organization of the Town of Breuckelen was further per- 
fected, 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, 
espi oially criminal assaults, impounding of cattle, and other 
incidents which frequently attend agriculture ; and in order to pre- 
m nt all disorders, it would be necessary to appoint a schout there, 
for which office they propose the person of Jan Teunissen. There- 
fore 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 lines, and to perform all things that a trusty schout 
is bound to perform. Whereupon ho hath taken his oath at tho 
hands <>f us and the Fiscal, on whom he shall especially depend, as 
in Holland substitutes are bound to be dependent on the Upper 

1 Col. MSS., iv., 869, Jane 10, 1016. 



Schout, Sellouts on the Bailiff or Marshal. We command 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." 1 


Thus, more than two centuries ago, the Town of Breuckelen was 
founded upon nearly the same locality which has since become the 
political centre of the City of Brooklyn. 

1 New York Col. MSS, iv., 276 ; O'Callaghan, i., 383 ; Brodhead, i., 421, 422. 
Teunissen appears to have been acting as schout previous to the date of his com- 
mission, as among Col. MSS. (ii., 152) are two contracts made by him with different 
parties for furnishing them with building materials, and dated November 22, 1646, in 
which he is called " Schout of Breuckelen." 




Unlike the English towns at the eastern end of Long Island — 
which were generally settled by congregations or companies of indi- 
viduals, bringing with them established religious and civil organiza- 
tions—the Dutch settlements in the neighborhood of New Amster- 
dam 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 already been secured by the West India Company, or 
were purchased directly from the Indian proprietors themselves. 
In either case, their occupation was duly sanctioned by a patent or 
" ground-brief" from the Company, and confirmatory patents were 
also granted after tho 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 inaubcdion may be 
said to have terminated by the incorporation of the village of 

* Notk. — In tin" preparation "f this chapter we have received great assistance from 
Hon. Ti.ini- Gr. I'.i.ik.i ,\. -.1' New Utrecht. His well known interest in :ill that 

■ and antiquities of Sing's County, together with an extensive 
fond of local Information, acquired in the long practice of his profession as a surveyor, 
abun Lantly qualify him for the Important services which he has so kindly rendered us 
in this portion <>f mir work. 

To the late -i m. Gbumman, City Surveyor, Messrs. Silas Ludlax, Eehby E 
I'ii i:ni POUT, BASKET .Johnson. Nicholas \Yy< koi k. IUmkl Hichahds, and others, 
v..- are also Indebted for facilities for examining mans, family MSS., etc., fur which we 

•a. ate. 


In the year 1636, Jacques Bentyn and William Adriaense Bennett 
purchased from the Indians a tract of land in Brooklyn, extending 
from the vicinity of Twenty-eighth street, along Gowanus Cove and 
the bay, to the New Utrecht line, 1 as appears by the following Dutch 
record, being a certified copy, by Michael Hainelle, clerk, from the 
old records of the town of Brooklyn : 

" On this 4th day of April (English style), 16 77, appeared before me 
Michil Hainelle, acknowledged as duly installed Clerk and Secretary, cer- 
tain persons, to wit : Zeino JTamingh, otherwise known in his walks (or 
travels) as Kaus Hansen, and Keurom, both Indians ; who, in presence of 
the undersigned witnesses, deposed and declared, that the limits or widest 
bounds of the land of Mr. Paulus Vanderbeeck, in the rear, has been or is a 
certain tree or stump on the Long Hill, 2 on the one side, and on the other 
the end of the Indian foot-path, and that it extends to the creek of the third 
meadows ; 3 which land and ground, they further depose and declare, previous 
to the present time, was sold by a certain Indian, known as Chief or 
Sachem Ka, to Jacques Bentyn and William Ariensen (Bennett), the 
latter formerly the husband of Marie Thomas, now the wife of Mr. Paulus 
Vanderbeeck ; which account they both maintain to be the truth, and 
truly set forth in this deposition. 

" In witness of the truth is the original of this with the said Indians' 
own hands subscribed, to wit : By Zeuw Kamingh or Kaus Hansen, with 
this mark, ^^, and by Keurom with this mark, ^J , in the presence of 
Lambert Dorlant, who by request signed his name hereto as a witness. 
Took place at Brookland on the day and date above written. 

" Compared with the original and attested to be correct. 

" Michil Hainelle, Clerk." 

1 Ante, pages 23 and 24. 

2 The " Long Hill" referred to is the eminence now called " Ocean Hill," in Green- 
wood Cemetery, on the rear of the farm late of Cornelius W. Bennett and that late of 
Abraham Schermerhorn, and on the boundary between Brooklyn and Flatbush. 

3 The " third meadow" is the low ground, formerly meadow, between the land now 
of Henry A. Kent and that of Winant and Bennett ; said meadow being located on the 
boundary between Brooklyn and New Utrecht. 


In the course of a few years after this joint purchase, Bennett 
seems to have become the owner of the whole, or nearly the whole, 
of the entire tract, 1 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 wars of 1643, in Governor Kieft's administration. 2 
Bennett died about the same time, and probably during his chil- 
dren's minority, and his widow afterwards married Mr. Paulus Van- 

1 Dec. 26, 1G39, as per deed recorded in office of Secretary of State at Albany, from 
Jaques Bentin, he sets forth : " I undersigned, Jaques Bentin, acknowledge that I 
have sold to William Adriansen a certain lot of land joining the land of William 
Adriansen, for 360 guilders ;" by which he may have intended to convey his whole 
interest in the Indian purchase. May 25th, 1668, a confirmatory patent was granted 
to Thomas Fransen for " a certain parcel of land and nieadow-ground upon Long 
Island, lying and being near unto or by Gowanes ; the said parcel of land 
lying between the first and second meadow-ground or valley ; being bounded to the 
north by the first, and to the south by the second valley, as by Paulus Vander 
Beeck it was staked out in the presence of the 6aid Thomas Fransen and other 
witnesses ; being also of the 6ame breadth eastward as far as into the original ground- 
brief is set forth, the parcel of meadow being divided into four parts. Two of them — 
viz., No. 2 and No. 4 — are transferred to the said Thomas Fransen, which makes 
the just moiety or half of the said meadow, together with a 6mall parcel of 
woodland lying beyond that part of the aforesaid second valley where ' No. 4' is," as 
conveyed by Adriaen Willemsen (Bennett) to Paulus Vander Beeck, and, Sept. 5, 1666, 
conveyed by the said Paulus Vander Beeck and his wife, Maria Thomas, to the said 
Fransen, the quantity of land being certified by the surveyor and endorsed on the first 

• In an affidavit, made on the 15th of February, 1663, before Walenyn Vander Veer, 
notary, etc., by Mary Thomas (sometimes called Badye, and widow of William Ariaenso 
Bennett, her second husband ; of Jacob Varden, her first husband ; and mar wife of Mr. 
Paulus Vander Beeck). it is set forth that " her houses, in the Indian wars, past about 
nineteen years, were burned and destroyed." 

About nineteen years previous to 1663 carries back to 1643, in which the Indian 
wars, during Kieft's administration, took place. 

This statement is further strengthened by a deed, dated January 2, 1696-7, from the 
Patentees and Freeholders of Brooklyn, to Adriaen Bennett, a son of the aforesaid 
William Ariaense Bennett (to secure his rights for what appears to be the same land 
covered by the patent to Mary Thomas, except that the quantity is two hundred acres), 
wherein it is set forth " that the said William Ariaense Bennett had formerly lawfully 
purchased a certain tract of land of the native proprietors, the Indians, in the year 
1686, at Qowanus aforesaid, according to the boundaries and limits herein after speci- 
fied ; and thai by the Indian wars, and also by fire, great part of the writings, patents, 
and deeds of Haul William Ariaense Bennett's aforesaid land is lost and destroyed, 
together with the records ; and also that said Adriaen Bennett, the lawful heir to Baid 
William Ariaense Bennett, deceased, thereby is in danger to lose his right of inher- 
itance," etc. 


der Beeck, " surgeon and farmer." Mr. Vander Beeck, who was 
one of the patentees mentioned in the charter of 1667, granted by 
Governor Nicholls to the town of Brooklyn, and a prominent and 
influential citizen, died in the year 1680 ; and the Gowanus estate 
is next found in the possession of Adrian Bennett, a son of the 
original proprietor. During his occupancy, some dispute seems to 
have arisen between him and one Simon Arison (de Hart), who had 
become possessed of a portion of the original purchase. 1 In conse- 
quence of this controversy, and in compliance with the mandate of 
the Governor and Council, a new survey was ordered, as appears 
from the following report :" 

" Pursuant to his Excellency's warrant, bearing date the 9th January, 
1695-6 : 

" I have surveyed for Adriaen Bennett a certain parcel of land at the 
Gowanos, on the Island of Nassau, beginning at a certain small lane 3 near 
the house of said Adriaen Bennett, 4 and from thence it runs alongst the 
said lane and markt trees to a certain chesnut standing on the top of the 
hill, 5 marked with three notches, and thence to a black oak standing on 
the south side of the 6aid hill, marked with three notches. The course 
from the said black oak to the first station is south 44° and 30' easterly, 
distance 80 chains ; and thence it runs irregularly by markt trees, said to 
be markt by the Indians when purchased by Willem Arianse Bennett, to 
a white oak 6 standing by the Indian foot-path, markt with three notches, 
the course 20° northerly, distance 122 chains; and thence it runs by the 
southwest side of Brookland Patent to the bay of the North River, and so 

1 Said portion being that owned by Thomas Fransen, as described in note 1, on pre- 
vious page. 
8 Land papers, liber ii. 228, office Secretary of State, Albany. 

3 Probably the farm-lane between the farm late of Cornelius W. Bennett and that of 
Abraham Schermerhorn ; said lane being near the present Twenty-first street, in the 
Eighth Ward. 

4 Supposed to be the present Schermerhorn house, or, at all events, the older portion 
of it ; said house having since been modernized. (See next page.) 

6 Ocean Hill, in Greenwood Cemetery. (See note 2, p. 49.) 

• The " white oak standing by the Indian foot-path, markt with three notches," 
referred to above, was a large tree with a decayed centre, which stood until some forty 
or fifty years ago, when it was finally prostrated by the wind. Within the remains of 
its stump, some twenty years since, Mr. Teunis G. Bergen, supervisor of New Utrecht, 
and Martenus Bergen, supervisor of the Eighth Ward, placed a stone monument, 
which forms the most southerly angle of the city of Brooklyn. At present all vestiges 
of the old tree have disappeared. 


by the said bay to the place where [it] began; containing 930 acres. 
The bounds and limits of the land above expreat, the said Adriaen Ben- 
nett, when a day is appointed by hifl Bxcellenoy and council for the hearing 
of his evidence, doth promise to make them appear to be the bounds and 

limits of the land purchased] by hifl lather, Willem Ariaense Bennett, of the 
Indians, in the year 1036. 

" Aug. Graham, Sur. Genl. 
"May 21st, 1096." 

This survey was accompanied by a map, of which we give a 
reduced copy from the original now on file in the Surveyor-General's 
office at Albany. 

The most easterly house on this map is undoubtedly the present 
mansion-house on the Schermerhorn farm, on Third avenue, near 
Twenty-eighth street. In course of time it has been remodelled and 
modernized, but the stone walls of the original house still form a 
part of the present building. Its site, as we have previously 
remarked, is identical, or nearly so, with that of the house built by 
Bennett and destroyed in 1643. 

The house near the first meadow is the present old stone 
house, known as the De Hart or Bergen house, located on the 
shore of Gowanus Cove, west of the Third avenue, near Thirty- 
Beventh and Thirty-eighth streets. The main portion is of 
stone, but tho wiug is of wood, and is probably a more recent 
erection, and has undoubtedly been several times materially altered 
and repaired. About fifty years ago Simon Bergen, its then owner, 
proposed to demolish the old building on account of its great 
decay, but, by the persuasion of his next neighbor, Garret Bergen 
(father of the Hon. Teunis G. Bergen), was induced to repair it and 
place a new roof upon it, and it has so remained to the present day. 
Both of these houses, therefore, an older than the Cortdyou or Vechie 
house, on Fifth avenue, which was erected in 1099, and hitherto has 
always b( en considered the most ancient building in Brooklyn. 

The " Pond" is that since known as the " Bhmcn-water" (lake or 
marsh), located near tho intersection of Fifth avenue and Thirty- 
ninth street. 

The " Swamp" or Oripplebosh, on the land of Bennett, is identical 
with that which formerly existed between the Third and Fifth 

COFY OF A SURVEY ma 21 1696, by Augustus 

General, of the BENTON and BENNETT 
PUF the Indians. Conta 930 Acres. 

T, '^y 


a mm 



avenues, in the vicinity of Twenty-eighth street, and is now mostly 
filled up. 

The " first meadow" is located on Gowanus Cove, about Thirty- 
fift 1 /,, Thirty-sixth, and Thirty-seventh streets. 

The " second meadow" was near the bay, in the vicinity of Forty- 
fifth and Forty-sixth streets and First and Second avenues. 

The lands marked on the map as those " of Agias Van Dyck" 
were located mainly southwest of Forty-seventh street. They com- 
prise the farms since of Henry A. Kent, 1 of Cornelius Bergen, of 
Theodoras Bergen, of Leffert Bergen, of Peter (afterwards Martenus) 
Bergen, and of the Yan Pelts. 

The Cornelius Bergen farm, between Fifty-seventh and Fifty-ninth 
streets, was sold, in 1760, by Hendrick Van Dyck, 2 to John Bergen, 
who conveyed it to his son Teunis, the father of Cornelius. It is 
now owned by "William C. Langley and Thomas Hunt. 

The Theodorus and Leffert Bergen farms, between Fifty-second 
and Fifty-sixth streets, together formed a tract which was originally 
sold by Claes Van Dyck, April 6, 1724, to Joseph Hegeman, 3 who, 
on May 10th, 1734, sold it to Cornelius Sandford. 4 On the 28th of 
August, 1744, these premises were again sold by Theodoras Van 
"Wyck of New York and Helen his wife, the sole daughter of the 
above-named Sandford, " late of Brooklyn," 5 to Hans Bergen, and 
was the first purchased by the Bergens of the numerous farms they 
afterwards settled at the Gowanus, Yellow Hook, and Bay Bidge. 
The estate descended to Bergen's son, Michael, who divided it be- 
tween his sons Theodorus and Leffert. Leffert's portion is now 
owned by Thomas Hunt and M. McGrath. 

The Peter Bergen and Van Pelt farms, between Forty-sixth and 
Fifty-second streets, were once owned by the Van Pelt family, and 
were divided between two brothers. The southern portion was 

1 The land of H. A. Kent is part of a farm since owned by Winant Bennet, and lying 
partly in Brooklyn and partly in New Utrecht. 

2 This property became his by conveyance, dated Oct. 6, 1708. — King's Co Convey., 
lib. iii. 196. 

3 Convey., King's County, lib. v. 6. Original consideration, £824. 

4 " " lib. v. 79. " " £500. 
6 Sandford's widow, Gertrude, married Joris Remsen. 


conveyed by "Wouter Van Pelt to Peter Bergen, who divided it 
between his sons Martenus and Peter. 

" The land in difference between Simon Arison 1 (de Hart) and 
Ariaen Willemse Bennet," continued in possession of the former, 
who, on the 2d of November, 1696, obtained from Governor Fletcher 
a confirmatory patent covering " the land in difference" and the plot 
noted on the map as " sold to Simon Arison," which lands, a few 
years ago, comprised the farms of Simon Bergen and that of John S. 
Bergen, and are distinguished on Butts' map as lands of J. Morris } 
John S. Bergen, John F. Delaplaine and others. 2 They descended 
first to Simon, junior, a son of the first Simon ; then to his son 
Simon, who, dying without issue, devised them to his sister Geertje, 
who married Simon Bergen. Simon Bergen resided on the prem- 
ises prior to and in the beginning of the American Kevolution, 
when he was accidentally shot, in 1777, " by a musket he was 
buying of a sailor, and died from loss of blood." The accident is 
said to have happened close to and in front of the old De Hart or 
Bergen house, described on page 52. After the death of Simon Ber- 
gen, the plantation was divided between his sons Simon, junior, and 
John S. ; the former taking the portion (between Thirty-seventh 
and Fortieth streets) on which the old house is located, in which he 
resided for some years, until he finally built a more commodious 
one on the adjoining heights, after which the old one was used by 
tenants. After the death of Simon, junior, his daughter Leah, the 
wife of Jacob Morris, inherited the portion of the farm on which 
the old house is located, in which she resided until within a few 
years ago, when, in consequence of the increased value of the prop- 
erty, caused by the rapid strides made by the city, she was induced 
to dispose of it. 

The lands designated on Graham's map as " in possession of 

1 Simon Aektsen (de Hakt) emigrated to America in 1664, and settled at Gowanos, 
where he bought, probably within a short time after his arrival, a portion of the 
Bennet and Bentyn farm. On the death of his first wife, Geertie (Gertrude) Cornelis- 
sen, he married (June, 1691) Annatie, the widow of William Huycken of Gowanus. Ac- 
cording to tradition, he was the builder of the De Hart or Bergen house, described on 
page 52, of which we find mention made as early as 1679 (see Coll. L. I. Hist. Soc, i., 122), 
which descended, with the plantation, to his eldest son, Simon. 

3 See note 1 on page 50, and note 1 on page 51. 


"Willem Ariaense Bennet" were patented, September 9, 1644, by 
Governor Kieft, to Mary Thomas (sometimes called Mary Badye), 
widow of Willem Ariaense Bennet, deceased, 1 and is the land 
between Twenty-eighth and Forty-first streets, designated as that of 
Abraham Schermerhorn, Garret G. and John G. Bergen, the heirs 
of Henry Pope, and that portion of Greenwood Cemetery which is 
taken from the rear of the Schermerhorn and Bergen farms. 


On the 5th of April, 1642, a patent was granted by Kieft to one 
Coenelis Lambertsen (Cool)' for lands described as 

" Lying on Long Island, called Gouwanes, extending in length from 
the wagon-road between the aforesaid land and Jan Pietersen's land, 
lying alongside the river, till to a certain swamp (Krepplebosch), next to 
the land of William Adriaense (Bennet), which land was formerly occu- 
pied by Jans Van Rotterdam and Thomas Beets (Bescher), with the ex- 
press condition that the roads as they now run over the above-described 
land shall remain as they now are. In addition to the above-described 
land, unto him, Cornelis Lambertsen, is granted a portion of a hay-marsh 
(valley) lying by the hay-marsh of Anthony Van Salee, containing six 
morgen." 3 

Cool's patent, extending from the northerly line of Bonnet's land 
nearly to the head of Gowanus Cove, comprised, as near as can be 
ascertained, the farms designated on Butt's map of Brooklyn 
as of Peter Wyckoff, John Wyckoff, Henry Story, and Winant 

1 Before Bhe married Bennet, she was the widow of Jacob Vardon (or Fardon) ; and 
after Bennet's death, she married again, Mr. Paulus Vander Beeck. Alb. Rec., xxi. 
41 ; date, 1663. See also, concerning the Bennet property, deeds of Simon Aerson to 
Dirck Hattum, March 7, 1677. Lob. iv. 122 ; also, various old deeds in possession of 
C. W. Bennett. 

8 Patents G. G. 46, Secretary of State's office. 

3 The Dutch morgen was equal to about two English acres. The Dutch rod was 
equal to 13 Dutch feet ; or 12 feet 3 T 8 ff 2 o inches, or 18^ links, English measure. A 
Dutch foot was equal to lliV/o inches, English measure. The Dutch mile is equal to 
2to 2 tt English miles. 


A deed from Thoinas Besclier, above mentioned, to Cornells Lam- 
bertsen (Cool), of May 17th, 1639, prior to the date of the patent 
recorded in the office of the Secretary of State at Albany, for these 
premises, is the earliest conveyance from one settler to another 
which has been found for lands in Brooklyn. In this deed Bescher 
conveys his right in 

" A plantation before occupied by John Van Rotterdam, and after- 
wards by him, Thomas Bescher, situate on Long Island, by Gouwanes, in 
a course towards the south by a certain creek or underwood on which 
borders the plantation of Willem Adriaensen (Bennet) Cooper ; and to 
the north, Claes Cornelise Smit's ; reaching the woods in longitude : for 
all which Cornells Lambertsen (Cool) shall pay to said Thomas Bescher 
300 Carolus guilders, at 20 stuyvers the guilder." 1 

From this deed we may infer that one of the first agricultural set- 
tlements in Brooklyn was made upon these lands. 

Of Claes Corneliese Smit's, afterwards Jan Pietersen's (Staats) 2 
patent, above referred to, no copy has been discovered ; and, in the 
absence of any measurements, we are only enabled to locate it as 
commencing about at the head of and on the southerly side of Gow- 
anus Cove, extending some distance along the Mill Creek, or the 
meadows bordering thereon ; including, it is believed, the land 
between Braxton and Ninth streets, designated on Butt's map as 
farms of heirs of Rachel Berry, J. Dimon, R. Berry, H. L. Clark, 
and A. Yan Brunt. 

"We subjoin a few notes concerning the more modern occupation 
of the lands between First and Twenty-eighth streets. 

From First to Fifth street, marked on our map as land of Edwin 
C. Litchfield, was originally the Yeckte farm. On this farm is still 
standing, on the west side of Fifth avenue, near Fourth street, and 
on the east side of the old Gowanus road, the ancient building com- 
monly known as " the Cortelyou house." It is constructed mainly 
of stone, the gable-ends, above the eaves, being of brick ; the date 
of its erection, 1699, being indicated by iron figures secured to the 

1 See page 28. 2 King's Co. Convey., lib. iv. 9. 


outside of the gable fronting the old road. As near as can be ascer- 
tained, Claes (or Nicholas) Adriaentse Van Vechten, an emigrant 
from Norch, in the province of Drenthe, Holland, owned the planta- 
tion on which the house is located, and probably erected the building. 
Previous to, and about the period of, the American Revolution, the 
property was owned by Nicholas Vechte, grandson of old Claes, the 
emigrant ; and in 1790, Nicholas R. Cowenhoven, one of his heirs, 
sold the house and a portion of the farm, for the sum of £2,500, to 
Jacques Cortelyou, 1 who resided on the premises until 1804, when, 
unfortunately, having become insane, he committed suicide by 
hanging himself from the limb of a pear-tree in the orchard adjoin- 
ing the house. He was a descendant, in the sixth generation, from 
Jacques Cortelyou, the surveyor, and first of the name, who emi- 
grated to this country about 1652, and settled at New Utrecht. 2 After 
his death, the property was divided by his sons Adrian and Jacques, 
the latter taking the portion on which the old house was located, 
in which he resided until the enhanced value of the property, caused 
by the rapid spread of the city, induced him to dispose of some to 
parties who have divided it into city lots. 

In this connection we may as well refute the popular tradition 
which states this house to have been the headquarters of Generals 
"Washington and Putnam, prior to or during the battle of Long 
Island. The fact is, that Washington's headquarters were in New 
York ; and although he went over to Brooklyn after the commence- 
ment of the unfortunate battle of Long Island, on the 27th of 
August, 1776, there is no evidence or probability that he went out- 
side of the American lines, which extended from the Wallabout to 
the Gowanus Mill Creek. Putnam also had his headquarters within 
the lines, near to the ferry. There was undoubtedly some fighting 
in the vicinity of this house, as one writer says, " the British had 
several field-pieces stationed by a brick house, and were pouring 
canister and grape on the Americans crossing the creek." This 
building, therefore, must be the one referred to, as there was no 
other, answering to the description, in the vicinity. 

1 King's County Conveyances, liber vi., p. 434. 

2 See Coll. L. I. Hist. Soc, i. 127, 128. 


The lands between Fifth and Seventh streets, designated as those 
of Theodore Polhenms, formerly belonged to his father. 

The farm between Seventh and Ninth streets formerly belonged 
to Rem Adriance, whose daughter married for her first husband 
Cornelius Van Brunt, the father of Adriance Yan Brunt. 

The farm commencing on Gowanus Creek, and being between 
Ninth and Twelfth streets, also belonged, about 1810, to Cornelius 
"Van Brunt, and is described in our map as divided between his son 
Adriance and Henry L. Clarke. 

The Berry farm, on Mill Creek, extending from Twelfth to half- 
way between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets, was sold, previous 
to the Kevolution, by Cornelius Van Duyn to "Walter Berry, and 
subsequently conveyed by Richard Berry to A. W. Benson. 

From the southerly line of the above farm to the present Middle - 
street, was a farm which, about the year 1751, was conveyed by 
Christophel Scarse and Peter Van Pelt to John Bergen. He con- 
veyed it to his brother, Dirick Bergen, who devised it to his three 
daughters, one of whom married Joseph Smith, another, Walter 
Berry, and the third, Ebenezer Carson. It is known on Butts' 
map as lands of J. Dimon, heirs of R. Berry, and Peter Wyckoff. 

The land between Middle and Twentieth streets was originally one 
farm, owned by Cornelius Van Duyne, 1 and conveyed to Peter 
"Wyckoff during the Revolutionary war. It is now owned by John 

The lands between Twentieth and Twenty-fifth streets originally 
formed one farm, owned by Jacob Fardon, and by him sold, in 
1720, to one Anthony Hulsaart, of New Utrecht. 3 By him it was 
conveyed to Joseph Woodward and Wynant Bennet, and Wood- 
ward's portion is now known as land of Henry Story. 

" Blokje's Berg" (pronounced, by the Dutch inhabitants, " Blucke's 
Barracks"), was the ancient name of a small hill on Gowanus Cove, 
near the intersection of the present Third avenue and Twenty- 
third street, the old Gowanus road passing over it. North of the 

1 This land appears to have been sold to William Huycken, in 1679, by Mr. Paulua 
Vanderbeeck, whose son, Conradus, in Dec, 1699, gave a confirmatory deed of the same 
to Cornelius Gerritse Van Duyne, who had married Huycken's eldest daughter. King's 
Co. Convey., lib. ii. 210. 

5 King's Co. Conyey., lib. vi. 316. 


hill was a ditch which drained the morass and swamp on the east 
into the cove, and this ditch was crossed bj the road by means of a 
small wooden bridge. It is mainly memorable as the place where 
the British column, advancing by the Gowanus road, on the morn- 
ing of August 27, 1776, received its first check, from an American 
picket-guard, on which occasion several lives were lost, being the 
first blood shed in that battle. Near it, on the northeast corner of 
Twenty-third street and Third Avenue, was the old Weynant Bennet 
house, which yet stands, retaining its ancient appearance, and yet 
bearing upon its venerable walls the marks of shot and ball received 
on that disastrous day. 

The farms of Cornelius Bennet and Joseph Dean, between Twenty- 
fifth and Twenty-eighth streets, were originally one farm. 1 

Along the bay, between Twenty-fourth and Twenty-eighth streets, 
was the hamlet of Gowanus. It was originally laid out in village 
lots, and the old stone " Bennet house," which stood in the middle 
of Third avenue, near Twenty-seventh street, and was taken down 
when the avenue was opened, was probably a remnant of the origi- 
nal settlement. 



The "Roode Hoek," or Ked Hook, 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 Brook- 
lyn. Its original form and topographical appearance, however, 
has been faithfully preserved and delineated in Ratzer's map ; and 
it may be described, in general terms, as extending from Luqueer's 
Mill Creek (about Hicks and Huntingdon streets), following the in- 
dentations of the shore around the cape and headland, to about 
the western boundary of the Atlantic Docks, on the East Biver ; 
or, in general terms, as having comprised all the land west of 
the present Sullivan-street. Its history commences with the year 

1 Deeds of Bennett family. 


1638, when Director Van Twiller petitioned for its use, which was 
granted to him on condition that he should relinquish it when- 
ever the Company wanted it. 1 Van Twiller had previously be- 
come possessed of " Nutten" or Governor's Island, several islands 
in the East Kiver, 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 purchases 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. 4 

The title of Red Hook being thus vested in the Government, was 
conveyed and granted to the town of Breuckelen, in 1657, by Gov- 
ernor Stuyvesant, and was subsequently confirmed by Governors 
Nicolls and Dongan. 3 It was sold, on the 10th of August, 1695, by 
the patentees and freeholders of the town, to Colonel Stephanus 
Van Cortlandt. In their deed, which recites the original grant by 
Stuyvesant, etc., the property is described as 

" A neck of land called Red Hook," estimated as containing fifty acres, 
more or less, of upland, then in possession of Peter Winants, 4 " together 
with all the land and meadow thereunto belonging, to the westward of 
Fred. Lubbertsen's patent, bounded between the Salt Water River and 
said patent." 

To this was added, by deed from Peter "Winants, " son and heir of 
Winants Peterson," in November following, twenty-four acres, 
" bounded east by the land heretofore belonging to one Frederic 

1 He afterwards (June 22, 1643) took out a patent for the same. Patents, G. G. 66, 
Sec'y State's office. 

2 Brodhead, i. 265, 267, 276, 536. 

3 Furrnan, 11. 

4 Sept. 30, 1678, Wynant Pieters had received a patent for " a piece of upland at the 
Red Hook, or point over against Nutten Island, within the jurisdiction or limits of 
Brookland on Long Island, beginning from a creek next Frederick Lubberts' land lying 
west from the high hook or point, and so on to the river ; thence going along the river 
to the bay of the Gouwanes, south-southeast, and running again from the said bay 
easterly to Frederick Lubbertse's land. It contains about 24 acres of land.'' In N. Y. 
Col. MSS., xsviii. 165, 166, date Dec. 13, 1679, mention is made of a charge against 
Wynant Pieters, of having, by means of false information, obtained a patent from 
the Governor for lied Hook. 


Lubbertsen ; north, by York River ; west, by Hudson's River ; and 
south, by Gowanus Bay." These purchases were subsequently 
confirmed to Colonel Van Cortlandt, by a grant from King Wil- 
liam ILL, dated June 2, 1697. 1 

Van Cortlandt died Nov. 25, 1700, and on May 23d, 1712, his heirs 
executed a deed to Matthias Van Dyke, of property described as 

" A certain messuage, mill, mill-dam, mill-house, and tract or neck of 
land or meadow, unto low-water mark, as far as a place called Koytes (or 
Kotier's) Kill (Graver's Kill), 2 lying and being upon the Island Nassau, 
formerly Long Island, commonly called and known by the name of the 
Red Hook, containing in quantity fifty acres, more or less ; bounded on 
the east by the east side of a creek that runs by the westernmost bounds 
of Frederic Lubbertsen's land ; and on the south, by the Gouwanus Bay ; 
and on the west, by Hudson's River ; and on the north, by the East 
River, at low-water mark ; including the aforesaid creek, which maketh 
the east bounds of said lands and meadow." 

The mill mentioned in this deed was undoubtedly erected during 
the occupancy of Van Cortlandt and prior to 1689, at which time it 
is referred to in an agreement between Corssen and Seabring. The 
mill-pond, which was formed by damming off the creeks and natu- 
ral ponds in the adjoining marsh, contained in 1834 over forty-seven 
acres of drowned marsh, but it is long since filled up and obliterated 
by the march of modern improvements. The mill was located on 
the corner of the present Dikeman and Van Brunt streets, and the 
dwelling-house appertaining thereto stood about the corner of Par- 
tition and Van Brunt streets. 3 By a deed, dated Feb. 1, 1736, 
Matt. Van Dyke conveyed these mill premises to his son John, who 
is mentioned as one of his father's executors in 1749. He devised 
his estate to his two sons, Nicholas and Matthias, who, in 1784 ? 
divided it between them. On Ratzer's map, in 1766, these build- 
ings are designated as of A. Van Dyke, probably Matthias, who 
with his son, is mentioned as residing on Red Hook, with their 

1 Also recorded, Pat., lib. vii. 132, etc., Secretary of State's office. 

2 So called from its being a convenient place to ''grave" (from the Dutch graaven) 
or cleanse and recaulk the bottoms of boats and vessels. It was located at the " Red 
mills," or Cornell's mills, near junction of presejat Harrison and Columbia streets. 

3 Map of property belonging to heirs of Matth. Van Dyke, by R. Graves, junior, city 
surveyor, 1834. 


respective families, during the Kevolutionary war, and were described 
as " good staunch, whigs and very clever folks." 1 At the time of the 
battle of Long Island a fort was erected here, named Defiance, and 
mounting four 18-pounders, en barbette. 

The Nicholas Van Dyke mill, which was erected after the date of 
Eatzer's map, on the same pond, was located on the ground now 
bounded by the present Van Brunt and Eichards, Van Dyck and 
Partition streets ; the dwelling-house being on the northeast corner 
of Van Dyck and Van Brunt streets. This mill was called the 
" Ginger Mill," by which name it is yet distinctly remembered by 
some of our oldest citizens. 

Boomjpties HoeJc, or " tree-point," sometimes corrupted to Bombay 
Hook, 3 was the name applied to the southerly projection of Ked 
Hook, and which, in common with all the natural features of this 
vicinity, has shared the oblivion consequent upon recent city im- . 
provements. " The Hook" originally extended from about the junc- 
tion of the present Otsego and Cuba streets (where its memory is 
still preserved by " Bomptje's Hook Wharf") around to " Meuwee 
Point, 8 as it was called, at about the junction of the present Henry, 
Bay, and Grinnell streets. 

Tradition asserts that Ked Hook and Governor's Island were 
once connected, and that people and cattle waded across Buttermilk 
Channel. 4 The legend probably originated in statements made by 
witnesses in a trial which took place in 1741, between Israel Hors- 
field, plaintiff, and Hans Bergen, at 'ondant, as to the boundaries of 
their respective farms. 6 The theory, sustained 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 Kiver to- 
wards Buttermilk Channel, is hardly tenable. Old traditions, how- 

1 Onderdonk, Rev., Incidents Kings County, 117. In 1744 a battery of eight guna 
had been erected on this point. See Valentine's Manual of Common Council. 

8 Benson's Memoir, p. 16. 

8 Deed of Matthias Van Dyke to Nich. Van Dyke, Feb. 7, 1742, King's County Conv., 
lib. v. 120. " Meuwee" (from the Dutch meeuw, and German mewe) signifies " a gull ;" 
and the Point probably derived its name from its being a common resort of sea-fowl. 

4 Furman's Notes mentions it as " an established fact," and is followed by subse- 
quent historians of Long Island. Buttermilk Channel is so called, undoubtedly, from 
the abundant white foam on the water, in a part of the channel where the tide of the 
East River, passing through the channel, meets that of the North River. 

1 See Appendix, No. 5. 

I. VAN D&*< 



4. FREDE p 


5. THE 


»/• /-/ 

7. HOUS 

/,> gJ r i 

S.THEf >• 

lO.Theo) 1 
II. Th&\ 

12. THE Kg 
was T.* g§. 


respective families, during the Kevolutionary war, and were described 
as " good staunch whigs and very clever folks." 1 At the time of the 
battle of Long Island a fort was erected here, named Defiance, and 
mounting four 18-pounders, en barbette. 

The Nicholas Van Dyke mill, which was erected after the date of 
Batzer's map, on the same pond, was located on the ground now 
bounded by the present Van Brunt and Eichards, Van Dyck and 
Partition streets ; the dwelling-house being on the northeast corner 
of Van Dyck and Van Brunt streets. This mill was called the 
" Ginger Mill," by which name it is yet distinctly remembered by 
some of our oldest citizens. 

Boompties Hoek, or " tree-point," sometimes corrupted to Bombay 
Hook, 3 was the name applied to the southerly projection of Eed 
Hook, and which, in common with all the natural features of this 
vicinity, has shared the oblivion consequent upon recent city im- . 
provements. " The Hook" originally extended from about the junc- 
tion of the present Otsego and Cuba streets (where its memory is 
still preserved by " Bomptje's Hook Wharf") around to " Meuwee 
Point,' as it was called, at about the junction of the present Henry, 
Bay, and Grinnell streets. 

Tradition asserts that Eed Hook and Governor's Island were 
once connected, and that people and cattle waded across Buttermilk 
Channel.* The legend probably originated in statements made by 
witnesses in a trial which took place in 1741, between Israel Hors- 
field, plaintiff, and Hans Bergen, at 'ondant, as to the boundaries of 
their respective farms. 6 The theory, sustained 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 Eiver to- 
wards Buttermilk Channel, is hardly tenable. Old traditions, how- 

1 Onderdonk, Rev., Incidents Kings County, 117. In 1744 a battery of eight guns 
had been erected on this point. See Valentine's Manual of Common Council. 

2 Benson's Memoir, p. 16. 

3 Deed of Matthias Van Dyke to Nich. Van Dyke, Feb. 7, 1742, King's County Conv., 
lib. v. 120. " Meuwee" (from the Dutch meeuw, and German mewe) signifies " a gull ;" 
and the Point probably derived its name from its being a common resort of sea-fowl. 

4 Furman's Notes mentions it as " an established fact," and is followed by subse- 
quent historians of Long Island. Buttermilk Channel is so called, undoubtedly, from 
the abundant white foam on the water, in a part of the channel where the tide of the 
East River, passing through the channel, meets that of the North River. 

' See Appendix, No. 5. 






plan" ^\ 1*C" 

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ever, on being compared with documentary evidence, are found to 
be very unreliable ; for Batzer's map of 1766, which is a remark- 
ably careful and accurate survey by an accomplished engineer of 
the British army, gives three fathoms as the least depth of that chan- 
nel ! And no docks, certainly, until about the period of the trial, 
were built east of Wall street, which could have had the least effect 
in affecting the currents of the river in the manner supposed. It is 
well known, also, to residents on the bay of New York, that the loss 
by abrasion on its shores is caused mainly by the waves during 
storms and high tides, and very little, if any, by the ordinary 


We come, next, to the consideration of Frederic Lubbertsen's 1 
patent, dated May 27, 1640. His farm comprised the whole neck of 
land between the East Biver and Gowanus Creek, northeast of the 
meadows which formerly separated Bed Hook from Brooklyn. 
This neck, formerly known as the "neck of Brookland" or "Lub- 
bertsen's neck," has now lost its original appearance by the filling 
in of the Atlantic Docks, the grading of streets, and the various 

1 Lubbertse, an early emigrant to this country, seems to have been a sailor, as he 
held the position of chief boatswain to Governor Kieft in 1638, and was then a resi- 
dent of New Amsterdam. In 1641 he was one of the Twelve Men chosen by the com- 
monalty, and in 1643 purchased a house in Smit's Valley, which, in 1653, he sold to 
Albert Cornelissen, and removed to Breuckelen, which town he represented in the 
general convention held at New Amsterdam in December of that year. In 1653, '54, 
'55, '64, and 1673 he was a magistrate of Breuckelen ; on the 17th April, 1657, was 
created a " small burgher" of New Amsterdam ; and in February, 1660, was assessed in 
that city for repairs made to the " Heere Qraght" (canal), on the north side of which 
he owned a lot. In February, 1662, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of 
burgomaster in the city, and in July, 1663, represented Breuckelen in the convention 
called to secure the co-operation of the Dutch towns in a system of armed defence. 
He died in 1680. In 1657 he married a second wife, Tryntie Hendricks, widow of 
Cornelis Petersen (Vroom), who, at the time of this marriage, had by her first husband 
three sons— Cornelis Corssen (Vroom), aged twelve ; Peter, aged six ; and Hendrick, 
aged three years. Lubbertse, also, had by his first wife, Styntie Hendricks (possibly a 
sister of his second wife) three daughters — Elsje, who married Jacob Hansen Bergen ; 
Rtbecca, who married Jacob Leendertse van der Grift ; and Aeltje, who married Cornelis 
Seubring. Of the Corsens, Cornelis married in Breuckelen, and removed to Staten 
Island, where he became the ancestor of the Corsen family there. Hendrick married 
also in Breuckelen, and settled on the Raritan, where his descendants are numerous by 
the name of Vroom, one of whom is Governor Vroom of New Jersey. Peter Corsen 
remained in Breuckelen, where he married. 


improvements of the modern city ; and Lubbertsen'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 
Court. 1 This tract is described in the patent as land 

" lying on Long Island, at Merechkawickingh, 2 near to Werpos, 3 ex- 
tending in breadth, from the kil and marsh coming from Gouwanus north- 
west by north, and from the beach on the East River with a course south- 
east by east 1700 paces of 3 feet to a pace; and in the length, from the 
end of said, kil northeast by east and southwest by west 4 to the Eed 
Hook." 5 This was accompanied with the " express condition that when- 
ever the Indians shall be willing to part with the maize-land lying next to 
the aforesaid land, then Frederick Lubbertsen shall have the privilege of en- 
tering upon (i.e., occupying) the same, in the breadth of the aforesaid parcel 
of land, and extending from that, without his being hindered by any one." 

This Indian " maize-land" or cornfield was situated along the east 
side of Court street, somewhere between Atlantic and Baltic streets, 
and was probably in possession of the Indians two years later, in 
1642, when it is called " Sassian's maize-land," and mentioned as 
one of the boundaries of Manje's patent. Three years after this, 
in 1645, it is mentioned in both Hudde's and Ruyter's patents as 
" Frederick Lubbertsen's maize-land." It is quite possible that the 

1 Lubbertse's patent appears to bave covered (witb tbe exception of Red Hook) a 
large portion of wbat is now familiarly known as Soutb Brooklyn, comprising a large 
tract of upland, togetber witb tbe adjoining salt meadows and marsb, wbicb formerly 
separated Red Hook from tbe mainland ; extending 5,100 feet along tbe East River, in ad 
dition to tbe water-front on Gowanus Cove and tbe Mill Creek, and including a portion of 
tbe surrounding salt meadows. Tbese lands, afterwards owned by tbe Seabrings, and 
subsequently by tbe Cornells, are designated in Butt's map as lands of Luquer, Bergen, 
Coles, Conover, Hoyt, Cornell, Kelsey and Blake, Jolinson, Heeney, and otbers. 

2 Or " Merecbawieck," wbicb name, although originally applied to the Waal-bogbt, was 
also used to designate the country between that bay and tbe bead of the Gowanus Kil. 

3 Or Warpoes, from tcarbase or warpoos, a Dutch word signifying a hare. Tbe name 
was applied to a place near tbe bead of Gowanus Kil (see testimony of Peter Stryker, 
in case of Horsfield vs. Heirs of Hans Bergen, in Appendix, No. 5), and probably 
derived its significancy from the fact that tbe place abounded with these animals. 
There was a place on Manhattan Island bearing the same name. See Benson's 
Memoir, p. 7 ; Schoolcraft, in N. Y. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, 1844, p. 93 ; E. B. O'Calla- 
ghan, Hist. Mag., iii. 85. 

4 W. S. W. by W. 

6 Patents, Book G G. 53. 


natives became dispossessed of the property during the troubles 
consequent upon the Indian war of 1643. 

But, although thus early in possession, Lubbertsen did not take 
up his residence upon the land until some thirteen years after, in 
1653. He received from Governor Nicolls a confirmatory patent 
of the above lands, dated March 28, 1667, 1 and devised them by 
will, Nov. 22, 1679, 2 to " his own two daughters, Aeltie, the wife 
of Cornelis Seubring, and Elsie, the wife of Jacob Hansen Bergen, 
each one a plantation as then in fence ; and to his wife's two sons, 
Peter and Hendrick Corsen (Vroom), by her former husband, other 

On the 17th of April, 1726, agreeable to an award of commis- 
sioners appointed to divide the property, Lubbertse's two daugh- 
ters, Aeltje (then the widow of Cornelis) Seabringh, and Jacob Han- 
sen Bergen and his wife Elsie, executed releases to one another. 

Bergen's property, consisting of over two hundred acres, was 
given to their eldest son, Hans Jacobse Bergen, in 1732, 4 who sub- 
sequently resided upon his grandfather Lubbertse's patent, in 
South Brooklyn, his land extending to the head of Freeke's Mill- 
pond. He died before 1749, and by his will, made in 1743, a por- 
tion, if not the whole of his farm, became the property of his only 
son, Jacob Bergen, who occupied the old Lubbertse dwelling-house, 
near the junction of the present Hoyt and Warren streets. That 
portion (one hundred and thirty acres) of land, located in the vicin- 
ity of Court street and Gowanus Creek, and designated on Butt's 
map as land of Jacob Bergen and Jordan Coles, was conveyed by 
him to John Kapalie, in 1750, for .£700 ; 8 " and it is probable," says 
Mr. T. G. Bergen, " that he sold during his lifetime, although the 
deeds have not been seen, other portions of his patrimonial estate, 
and that he purchased a portion of Gerret Wolphertse Van Couven- 

1 Liber iv., Patents, p. 30, office Sec. State. 

2 Liber i., Conveyances, 130, Kings County. 

3 Testimony of Abraham Lott in case of Horsfield vs. Heirs of Hans Bergen. 

4 Kings County Conveyances, lib. v. 160. 

6 Kings County Conveyances, lib. v. p. 164. Rapelje, in 1794, conveyed the main 
portion of this purchase to Robert Stoddard, having previously sold a portion to Jor- 
dan Coles. One hundred and ten acres of this was sold by Stoddard, in 1799, to Jacob 
Bergen, for $8,750. 


hoven's patent (since of George Bergen, and afterwards of Hors- 
field), and a portion of Jan Evertse Bout's patent (since of Debe- 
voise, and afterwards of Horsfield), said purchased lands lying 
between the northerly portion of his patrimonial estate and those 
of Van Bossum's patent (once of Michael Hanse Bergen, and late 
of Powers). This probability is founded on the fact, that the Van 
Brunts, the descendants of his daughter Sarah, owned said portions 
of Van Couvenhoven's and Bout's patents, and that they resided in 
the ancient dwelling-house located on the Bout patent, which the 
spirit of improvement, caused by the spread of the city, some twenty 
years ago, swept out of existence." 1 

That portion of the original Lubbertse estate devised to his two 
step-sons by his first wife, Peter and Hendrick Corssen (Vroom), 
finally passed into the hands of the former. In August, 1689, we 
find two indentures or agreements, of similar import, executed 
between one " John Marsh, of New Jersey," and Corssen, and Cor- 
nells Subring, the husband of his step-sister Aeltje, concerning the 
erection of " a water-mill for grinding of corn," located " at the 
southwest side of the Graver's Kill, within the meadows belonging 
severally to Corssen and Sebring," over against New York. Marsh 
was allowed to make a dam in the said kill, near the house of Peter 
Wynants, and was to pay, for the privilege of building the said 
mill, " 700 feet of good canoe wood, one half inch thick, to both 
Sebring and Corssen, and to grind for them corn for their own family 
use, free of charge, so long as the mill remained there." This was 
the mill designated on Eatzer's map, and subsequently known as 
Cornelius Sebring's Mill, and still later as Cornell's or the " Pied 
Mill," situated south of present Harrison street, between Columbia 
street and Tiffany Place, and about opposite to Sedgwick street. 3 
It probab]y passed into Sebring's hands prior to March, 1698, at 
which time Corssen conveyed to Sebring, land, 

41 in the neck of Brookland, commonly called by the name of Frederick 
Lubbertsen's neck, and formerly in the occupation of the said Lubbertsen ; 
bounded east by the land of Jacob Hansen (Bergen) ; west, by the Red 

1 For various conveyances, mortgages, etc., of portions of this land, see Kings 
County Conveyances, lib. i. pp. 157, 180, 271. 

2 Map of property in Sixth Ward, belonging to Kelsey, Blake, and other heirs of 
John Cornell, deceased 1838. 


Hook and Koll's Kyer Kill, so called (Graver's Kill) ; and north, by the 
lands of said Cornelius Sebring," 1 

amounting to one hundred acres, with the meadows thereto apper- 
taining. A bond, executed on 20th of same month, 2 binds Subering 
to maintain Peter Corssen, furnishing him with suitable board, 
clothing, etc., from which it may be inferred that Corssen's wife 
was at this time dead, and that he had no surviving children. 

Along the shore, between the mouth of the Gowanus Creek and 
the place designated on Eatzer's map as I. Seabring's mill, and at 
about the junction of present Court and Sigourney streets, were a 
few sand-hills, known to the ancient Dutch as the Roode Hoogtjs, 
or " Eed Heights." 

This Seabring mill was built prior to 1766, the mill-pond 
being formed by enclosing, with a lengthy dam, a small cove 
and creek near the head of Gowanus Bay. The mill itself was 
located on the northeast corner of the present Hicks and Hunting- 
ton streets, the Seabring house being on the north line of the latter 
street, between Hicks and Columbia streets. These mills became 
known, later, as the "Luquer Mills." One of the old mill-buildings, 
between Hicks and Columbia, Nelson and Luqueer streets, is still 
used as a white-lead factory, and the old clam extended from about 
the corner of Bush and Hicks to near the corner of Grinnell and 
Clinton streets. 3 On the Lubbertse patent, also, on the north 
side of the present Ninth street, between Smith street and Gowanus 
Canal, was the mill and mill-pond, built originally by John Eapelje, 
after 1766, and better known as " Cole's Mill." The mill-pond was 
an artificial work, being excavated out of the marsh, on the side of 
Gowanus Kil, by negro labor. Jordan Cole's house was situated on 
Ninth street, between Gowanus Canal and Smith street, and to the 
east of the latter. 

On Eatzer's map may be seen, southerly from the Graver's Kill, 
a canal, running from the East Eiver to Gowanus Cove, and sep- 
arating Eed Hook from the mainland. This canal originated in the 
necessity which presented itself to the residents of the Gowanus 
district, of avoiding the difficult and dangerous navigation around 

1 Kings County Conveyances, liber ii. 162. 2 lb., 164. 

1 See n&p of property of Nicholas Luquer, sold at auction, Feb., 1833. The mill- 
pond is there estimated as covering 20 acres, 1 rod, 10 poles. 


Red Hook, by row-boats. In May, 1664, Adam Brouwer, who had 
a mill on the Gowanus Creek, at the place more lately known as 
Denton's Mill-pond, petitioned the Governor and Council, in the 
name and behalf of the inhabitants of Gowanus, thus :' 
" To the Right Hon ble Director-General and Council of New Netherland : 
" Respectfully sheweth Adam Brouwer, in the name of the inhabitants 
of Gowanes and other persons at the Manhattans, that there is situate a 
kil at the end of Frederick Lubbertsen's land, and between (that and) the 
Red Hook, which might be made fit to pass through it to the Gouwanes 
and the Mill, without going west of the Red Hook, where the water is 
ordinarily shallow, inasmuch as the said kill, which now is blocked up by 
sand at the end, might be made, without much trouble of digging, fit and 
navigable for the passage of boats laden with a hundred skepels of grain, 
full of wood and other articles ; and whereas your petitioner knows that 
neither he nor others, in whose name and his application is made to your 
Honors, can attempt or undertake to dredge or render navigable the 
aforesaid kill, without the special approbation and consent of your Hon- 
ors, therefore the Petitioner turns to your Honors, respectfully praying, 
in the names as aforesaid, that your Honors would be pleased to consent 
and allow that the kill aforesaid, at the cost as above mentioned, may be 
dredged and rendered navigable, which would greatly serve to the accom- 
modation of the inhabitants here and at Gouwanes, and to all appearanee, 
in time of storm, prevent accidents. Awaiting hereupon your Honors' 
favorable apostile, which granting, I remain, your Honors' humble servant, 

" Mark of ^PQ Brouwer. 

Jan Pieteesen. 
Gerrit Gerritse. 

The mark of vC Jannbeus 


Mark t/=» of Jan Leffersen. 

Willem Beedenbent. 

Mark A. Willem Willemsen. 

Jacob Teunissen Key. Mark ^ of Leeiter Jannsen. 

Hendrick Willemsen. 

Jan Gerritsen of Bredenhiesen* 


Hendrick Jans van Feurde. 

Hanck de Foreest. Mark f f ^ Thomas Wartonn (or 

Johannes Louwer. T^ Newtoun ?)» 

8 N. Y. Col. MSS., x. Part iii. 225, May 29, 1664. 


Frederic Lubbertsen, to whom the said marsh belonged, was 
also examined, and said he had no objection. So they were allowed 
to deepen the kil at their own expense ; with reservation, however, 
of Fred. Lubbertsen's right in the property. The petition was 
granted, and the settlers were thus relieved of the necessity of 
going around the Hook. In August, 1751, Isaac Sebring, in con- 
sideration of X117, conveyed to Nicholas Vechte, Jurry Brouwer, 
and others, all Gowanus residents, the fee of a strip of meadow, 
" beginning at the east side of a little island where John Van 
Dyke's long mill-dam is bounded upon, running from thence north- 
erly into the river," and twelve feet and a half wide. He was also to 
make a ditch along this strip at least six feet deep, and to allow the 
grantees the use of a " foot-path, two foot and a half wide, to dragg 
or hall up their canoes or 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. 


We come next to the farm of Claes Jansen van Naebden, called 
in his neighbor Manje's patent, Claes Janse Ruyter. He received, 
September 30, 1645, from Governor Kieft, a patent of 

" land, lying about south by east, a little easterly, over against the Fort, 
on Long Island, and bounded on the southwest and southeast sides by 
Frederick Lubbertsen, and on the northeast side by Jan Manje ; it ex- 
tends along the said Jan Manje's land from the beach, southeast one half 
point easterly, one hundred and eighty rods, then southeast fifty rods, south 
round the hill southwest by west and west southwest eighty rods ; again 
through the woods next to the said Frederick's northwest by north one 
hundred and eighty rods, yet fifty rods more northwest by west, further 
along the beach seventy-four rods, amounting in all to twenty-one mor- 
gens, two hundred rods." ' 

1 Kings County Conveyances, liber ii. 245, 246. 


This tract was conveyed by Olaes Janse, March 11, 1660, to Machiel 
Tuddens, and by him transported, April 3, 1666, to Michael Hayneste 
(probably Hainelle), frora whose heirs it was subsequently purchased 
by Dirck Janse Woertman. 


Next to Ruyter's patent, on the East River, lay that of Jan 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 
southeast a little easterly, over against the fort in New Amsterdam, in 
Breuckelen, stretching about southeast one hundred and ninety rods inward 
the woods towards Sassian's maize-land, along the limits of the said maize- 
land fifty rods, and then again to the water-side two hundred and twenty 
rods, north northwest well, so northerly, and along the strand or water- 
side seventy rods. Which aforesaid land is lying upon Long Island, 
between Andries Hudde and Claes Janse Ruyter." 1 

This tract was sold, January 29, 1652, by Pieter Linde, who had 
married the widow of Jan Manje, to one Barent Janse. 4 On the 
23d of August, 1674, Jan Barentse and Aucke Janse, together with 
Simon Hansen, as guardian of the minor children of Barent Janse, 
and his wife Styntje Pieterse, both deceased, " all living within the 
town of Midwout or Flackbush," appeared before Nicasius de Sille, 
the Secretary of the Dutch towns, and declared that they had trans- 
ported the above land (" house, barn, orchard, upland, and bush- 
land,") to Dirck Janse "Woertman. 3 


Andeies Hudde, a member of Director Van Twiller's Council, in 
1633, and an enterprising and prominent citizen of Nieuw Amster- 
dam, was the patentee of the lands adjoining Jan Manje's. Follow- 
ing the example of the Director, Mr. Hudde dabbled largely in real 

1 Kings Co. Conv., liber i. 246, and deed of Woertman to Remsen, lib. iii. 76. 

2 Kings County Conveyances, liber i. 24* 

3 Ibid., 247 


estate, a pursuit for which his occupation as " town surveyor" af- 
forded him ample facilities. In 1636 he was concerned with Wolfert 
Gerritsen in the purchase of several flats on Long Island, since oc- 
cupied by the town of Flatlands and Flatbush. And in 1638 he 
became the owner of a fine plantation on Manhattan Island, near 
Corlaer's Hook. This property in Brooklyn was obtained by him, 
by patent, from Governor Kieft, September 12, 1645. It is therein 
described as being 

" upon Long Island, over against the fort (at New Amsterdam), lying to 
the southwest of Jan Manje, and to the south or behind to the maize-land 
of Frederick Lubbertsen, and to the easterly side against Claes Cornelissen 
Mentelaer, stretching in front at the water or river side from the land of 
said Mentelaer to the land of said Manje, southwest by south 72 rod, next 
the land of the said Manje to the aforesaid maize-land, south southeast 
and betwixt south by east 245 rods, along the maize-land east by west 40 
rods, and further through the wodttstothe land of the aforesaid Mentelaer, 
north by east well so northerly 145 rods, all along the land of the afore- 
said Mentelaer to the first beginning due northwest 156 rods, amounting 
together to 37 morgen, 247 rods." 1 

Hudde never occupied this land himself, being, for several years 
thereafter, actively engaged as commissary at Fort Nassau, on the 
South Eiver, where, in 1616, he purchased for the "West India Com- 
pany the site of the present flourishing city of Philadelphia. 2 

On September 10, 1650, however, Pieter Cornelissen, by virtue of 
a power of attorney from Hudde, dated July 27, 1650, conveyed the 
above patent to Lodewyck Jongh, for the sum of four hundred 
guilders, which conveyance was approved by the Governor and 
Council by an order dated January 2, 165 1. 3 On the 19th of July, 
1676, Harmatie Janse, the widow of Lodewyck Jongh, conveyed eight 
morgen and five hundred and thirty-six rods of the land mentioned 
in the above patent, to Jeronimus Bapalie ; and February 12, 1679 
(English style), she conveyed another portion, comprising twelve 
morgen, to Dirck Janse Woertman. 4 

On May 3d, 1685, Woertman, by order of Harmatie Janse, con- 

1 Conveyances, liber i. 249. 2 Brodhead's Hist. N. T. i. 

1 Conveyances, liber i. 250. * Convey., lib. i. 250. 


veyed to the heirs of Joris Dirckse, " a small stroke of land lying at 
the east side of the highway (now Fulton street), being all they can 
pretend (to claim) by the aforesaid patent." 1 

The three patents of Eudde, Manje, and Ruyter, described in the 
preceding pages, comprehended, as will be seen, the whole territory 
afterwards occupied by the Kemsen and Philip Livingston estates, 
Kalph Patchen, Cornelius Heeney, Parmenus Johnson, and others, 
The entire tract lying northeast of Lubbertse's patent, and having 
a river front (of two thousand six hundred and forty-six feet) 
extending from about Atlantic to Clarke streets, and from Court 
street to the East Kiver, being at present one of the most thickly 
settled portions of our flourishing city, was purchased, as we have 
already seen, by Dirck Janse Woertman, 8 and was by him sold 
to his son-in-law, Joris Kemsen, on the 10th of October, 1706, for 
the sum of <£612 10s. current money of New York. 3 This deed, after 
reciting at length the several patents to Manje, Hudde, and Kuyter, 
together with the chains of conveyances vesting the same in "Woert- 
man, specifies that all these parcels, " now lie near the ferry, bound 
round to the Salt Eiver, the lands of Garret van Couvenhoven and 
Garret Middagh, the highway leading from Brookland to the ferry, 
the land of the heirs of Jurian Briaz, and the lands of George 
Hansen (Bergen), 4 and Jacob Hansen (Bergen), 5 and Cornelius 
Sebring." 6 Joris Kemsen, who was the second son of Hem Jansen 
Yanderbeeck, the ancestor of the Kemsen family in this country, 
built a mansion near the brow of the Heights, which then presented 
the appearance of a rough and bold promontory of rocky cliffs, rising 

1 Conveyances, Kings Co., liber i. 251. 

2 There is still extant (Kings Co. Conveyances, liber i. 165) a marriage settlement 
between this Dirck Janse Woertman, " last man of Marrietie Theunis," and Annetie 
Aukes, " last wife of Wynant Pieterse," and a list of the goods and chattels she brought 
her husband. 

3 Conveyances, Kings County, liber iii. p. 76. 

4 He bought of Marritje Gerritse, widow of Nicholas Janse, baker, the land patented 
by Governor Kieft, in 1647, to Gerrit Wolphertsen (Van Couwenhoven).— Kings Co. 
Conveyances, liber ii. 181. 

5 Jacob Hans Bergen held the lands which his wife Elsie had inherited from her 
father, Frederick Lubbertsen. 

6 Sebring bought of Peter Corson, in 1698, one hundred acres " in the neck of Brook- 
land, commonly called Frederick Lubbertsen's Neck," etc.— Kings Co. Conveyances, 
liber ii. 162. 


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 
hospital purposes by the Briftsh during their occupation of the town 
in 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. He lived there several 
years, and then sold it to ex-Mayor Jonathan Trotter. From him 
it passed to Mr. Win. 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 Furman near Joralemon street. 

Philip Livingston, Esq., became the owner of an extensive portion 
of the old Remsen estate, prior to 1764, and in August of that year 
received from the city of New York (in whom it had been vested by 
the Montgomery charter of 1736), a perpetual grant (subject to an 
annual rent of thirty shillings currency, $3.75), of all the land front- 
ing his property, along the whole breadth of his lot, between high 
and low water mark. The Livingston mansion-house stood on the 
east side of the present Hicks street, about four hundred feet south 
of Joralemon street, and, during the Revolutionary "War, in conse- 
quence 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, the 
trustees appointed by Legislative Act of February 25, 1784, to sell his 
estate, disposed of that portion known as " the distillery property," 
to Daniel McCormick, in July, 1785, and on the 29th of April, 1803, 
they conveyed to Teunis Joralemon the property south of the dis- 
tillery, and the Livingston mansion thenceforward became known as 
the Joralemon House. It was taken down at the opening of Hicks 


On the 14th of November, 1642, Claes Coknelissen (Mentelaer) 
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, as the same lies thereto next, extending 
from Iludde's land along the river, 102 rods; into the woods southeast by 
south, 75 rods ; and south southeast, 75 rods ; south by west, 30 rods ; and 
along the land of the said Hudde, northwest, 173 rods to the beach, 
amounting to 1G morgen and 175 rods." 

This property, having a water-front of 1,276 feet six inches, prob- 
ably extended from the north line of Hudde's patent to the ferry at 
the foot of the present Fulton street. 

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. This is evidenced, not only by a number of deeds 
of lots " at Brooklyn Ferry," purchased and sold by Hans Bergen, 1 
but by an interesting map, entitled, " A Draft of Israel Horsfield's 
Land at the Old Ferry, in the township of Brooklyn, in King's 
county, near the New York ferry on Nassau Island," drawn, on a 
scale of forty feet to the inch, by Englebert Lott, May 13, 1763. 
The copy, attested by Horsfield, September, 1767, which we have 
seen in the possession of Silas Ludlam, City Surveyor, is particularly 

1 March 23, 1716, Hans Bergen bought from the freeholders of Brooklyn, a lot, 
" bounded northeast by highway from Brooklyn to the ferry ; southeast by hiqhway 
between the lot and ground of Thomas Palmeter ; southwest by highway lying be- 
tween tbe ground of said Hans and said lot of land to the river ; northwest by the 
river. (Kings Co. Convey., liber iv. 303, 119.) This purchase apparently covered the 
whole westerly front of Fulton street, from the alley known as Elizabeth street to the 
East River. 

May 2, 1717, Hans Bergen bought Thomas Palmeter's dwelling-house and lands, at 
Brooklyn ferry, late of John and Sarah Coa ; east, west, and north by roads, and south 
by land of Garret Middagh, two acres. (Kings Co. Convey., liber iv. lf>4.) This covers 
the lands fronting on Fulton street, from Elizabeth street to the Middagh property, 
southeast of Hicks street. 

January, 1728, Hans Bergen conveyed to Israel Horsfield land at the ferry ; southwest 
by Bergen's land ; east southeast by land of Gabriel Cox ; northeast by highway ; north- 
west by highway, and partly by land of Horsfield and Middagh, beginning at a street 
or highway at east corner, now of Gabriel Cox, then by said street towards East River; 
north 00, west 226 feet, to another strut leading to the East River side; then by said 
street, south GO, west 120 feet, to lot of I. Horsfield ; then by the lot," etc., etc. 


valuable, inasmuch as the original, formerly deposited in the Town 
Clerk's office, is now lost. A map of the Fulton street widening, 
and also the Village Map of 1816, by Jeremiah Lott, now in the 
Street Commissioner's office, need to be carefully studied, as throw- 
ing light upon the existence of this settlement at the ferry, which it 
is probable was mostly located on the grounds subsequently owned 
by John Middagh and Cary Ludlow, on the southwest side of Fulton 

North of the Ferry, as near as can be ascertained, came, either a 
patent for a small parcel belonging to Cornells Dircksen (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. 1 William Thomassen we suppose to be 
the same individual as William Jansen, who is known to have suc- 
ceeded Cornells Dircksen as ferryman about this time. Dircksen, 
after retiring from the charge of the ferry, obtained from Governor 
Kieft, December 12, 1645, 

"a piece of land, both maize and woodland, lying on Long Island, behind 
the land by him heretofore taken up ; it lies betwixt the land of Herry 
Breser and another parcel ; it extends along the said Herry's marsh till to 
the aforesaid parcel, and further into and through the wood and maize 
land to the buildings and improvements of Claes Cornelissen Mentelaer, 
west by north and west northwest between both, 172 rods; its breadth 
behind in the woods to the said Herry, northeast by east, 59 rods ; further 
on to the maize-land, east a little south, 45 rods ; further through the maize- 
land to the marsh, southeast by east, 109 rods; amounting in all to 12 
morgen and 157 rods." 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., ii. 44. 


The patent for the land of Dircksen, above described, as " hereto- 
fore taken up," has not been found, but is probably covered by the 
land sold to Willeni Thomassen, and by that described in the follow- 
ing conveyances. 

January 4, 1652, Cornells Dircksen, ferryman, sold to Cornells de 

" a lot of land on Long Island, near the ferry, next the lot of Breser's, 
granted to him by the Director-General, by deed of April 28, 1643, and 
now as measured in behalf of Claes Van Elfland, November 7, 1651 ; 
broad towards the north, 39 rods ; then along the shore towards the woods 
till a marked tree to the east side, 63 rods ; and to the west, 76 rods ; 
this measured lot lays in a triangle amounting to 2 morgen." 1 

December 3d, 1652, Cornells Dircksen (Hooglandt), of the ferry 
on Long Island, conveyed to Cornells de Potter, 

" certain buildings and a piece of land, containing 2 morgens and 67^ 
rods, extending along the wagon-road, whereof the perpendicular is 65 
rods, and the base 39 rods," 

by virtue of the ground-brief given to the grantor by the Director- 
General and Council, April 28, 1643. 9 

August 28, 1654, a patent was granted to Egbert Van Borsum, 
then acting as ferryman, for 

" a lot on Long Island, situate at the ferry, beginning at an oak-tree near 
the fence of Mr. Cornells Potter, is broad 40 feet Rynland ; from thence 
to the strand, broad 40 feet Rynland ; further back to the oak-tree, broad 
40 feet Rynland.'' 3 

March 12, 1666, a patent was granted to Egbert Van Borsum to 
confirm to him a piece of ground, with a house thereon, at the ferry 
in Brooklyn, on Long Island, 

" beginning at a certain oak-tree near the limits of the land heretofore be- 
longing to Cornelis de Potter, containing in breadth 40 feet ; so to run 
down to the water-side as much ; then to go along the strand, in breadth 
40 feet ; and from thence to strike up again to the oak-tree, as aforesaid." 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., iii. 99. 9 PatentB, HH,8. 8 Patents, H H, Part ii. 19. 


Also a grant to the said Egbert of " 20 foot of ground more, adjoining to 
the former, both above and below, along the strand." 


The land referred to in the preceding patent as that of Herry 
Breser was originally granted to Jacob "Wolphertsen (von Couwen- 
hoven), by Governor Kieft, July 3, 1643. It was 

" a piece of land lying on Long Island, on the East River, bounded north 
by west by Cornelis Dircksen (Hooglandt), ferryman's land ; stretching 
from said ferryman's land, east by south, along the river, 56 rods; and 
along ditto into the woods, south by east, 132 rods ; in breadth in rear in 
the woods, 40 rods; and on the east side, north by west till to the river, 
120 rods; amounting to 10 morgen and 48 rods." 

The same land, having a water-front of 686 feet, was confirmed to 
Herry (Henry) Breser, by Governor Kieft, September 4, 1645, and 
described as 

" land lying at the East River, between (the river and) the land of Cor- 
nelis Dircksen (Hooglandt), ferryman ; south by east from the strand 
(beach), 132 rods; thence 45 rods east a little southerly till to the maize- 
land; further on through the maize-land till to the marsh, 109 rods; 
through the marsh, northeast by north, 20 rods; further again to the 
woods, next to the land of Jan Ditten, west northwest till to the woods, 
and through the%oods, next to the land of Frederick Lubbertsen, to the 
East River, north by west 120 rods; along the strand to the place of be- 
ginning, 56 rods; amounting in all to 16 morgens 468 rods." 1 

This property was conveyed by Breser, on the 29th of August, 
1651, to Cornelis de Potter, for the sum of 1,125 guilders. 3 

The patents of Lubbertsen and Breser comprised the balance of 
the Comfort and Joshua Sands' property, as described on our map, 

1 Patents, G G, 112. In N. Y. Col. MSS., vi. 37, is a document, dated 1655, in which 
Harry Breser, who retired " from here during the (Indian) troubles, contrary to the Pla- 
card," solicits permission to return, and is allowed to " reside and trade here, and to 
bring his mercantile concerns in order, and dispose of his real property, but not to 
recover permanent residence." 

9 N. Y. Col. MSS., iii. 92. 


up to line, probably, of Fulton street ; and preYioua to the Revolu- 
tionary War were owned by John Rapalje, a great-great-grandson of 
the first settler. Mr. Rapalje was a person of considerable import- 
ance, 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 respect of his fellow-citizens. Upon the 
breaking out of the Revolution, the family adhered to the British 
cause, in consequence of which 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 Brook- 
lyn, 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 procure a reversion of his at- 
tainder, and the restoration of his confiscated estates in America, 
having failed, his losses were reimbursed to him by the British gov- 
ernment, 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." 1 

His lands and other property, in various parts of Brooklyn, hav- 
ing been confiscated to the people of the State, were sold by the 
Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. 2 That portion under consider- 
ation, lying between Gold and Fulton streets, was purchased, on the 
13th of July, 1784, by Comfort and Joshua Sands^or the sum of 
£12,430, paid in State scrip. 3 Some ten or twelve years after the 

1 See genealogy Reinsert family, in Riker's Hist. Newtown, oS3 ; Holgate's American 
Genealogies, 20. 

2 Liber G, Conveyances, p. 345, Kings Co. 

3 Described as " all that certain farm or parcel of land and the several dwelling- 
houses, buildings, barns, stables, and other improvements thereon erected, and being 
late the property of John Rapalje, Esq., situate, lying, and being in the township of 
Brooklyn, Kings County, and State of New York ; bounded, southerly, partly by the 
highway leading from Brooklyn ferry and partly by thfi lots of Jacob Sharpe and 
others; easterly, by the land of Matthew Gleaves (the Tillary parcel on our map), and 
the lands now or late belonging to the estate of Barent Johnson, deceased ; northerly, 
by the land of Bern Remsen ; and westerly, by the River ; containing ICO acres," 
etc. — Lib. vi., Conveyances Kings Co., p. Mo. 

The land at this time was unfenced, the title deeds were in Rapalje's possession, and 
unrecorded, and the boundaries of his lands were given by the Commissioners from 
common report. 


war, Bapalje'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 docu- 
ments of the estate, and, it is said, the town records of Brooklyn, 
which Bapalje carried to England. A number of depositions were 
made and collected in Brooklyn, relative 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 all the valuable records 
and papers which they had brought with them. 1 

No further attempt has ever been made to disturb the title, and 
the land was afterwards laid out in streets and lots by the Messrs. 
Sands. 3 


Adjoining Fiscock's patent, on the East Kiver, was that of Fred- 
erick Lubbertsen, granted by Governor Kieft, September 4, 1645, 
having a water-front of nine hundred and fifty-five feet six inches, 
and described as extending to "Herry Breser's, formerly Jacob 
"Wblphertsen (Van Couvenhoven's) land :" 

"northwest by west, 120 rods; its breadth behind, in the woods, east 
by north, 59 rods ; back again to the strand (beach), north and north by 
west, 134 rods ; along the strand, west by south one-half point southerly, 
78 rods : amounting in all to 15 rnorgens and 52 rods." 3 

1 MSS. of Jeremiah Johnson, who says that these facts were concealed, and unknown 
until subsequent researches had been made in the public Government offices of Eng- 
land, for the true Records of Brooklyn. 

2 See " A Plan of Comfort and Joshua Sands' Place, by C. Th. Goerck, 1788," in pos- 
session of Silas Ludlam, City Surveyor. The streets were somewhat differently named 
from the present names. The present Washington street was named State; the 
present Adams street was named Congress; the present Pearl was Elizabeth; the pres- 
ent Jay, Hester. In present Water street, a little west of present Jay (then Hester), 
stood Sands' Powder-house Dock. On the foot of Dock street was the " Storehouse 
Dock." See, also, Cooper's map of Comfort Sands' property, 1806. 

» Patents, G G, 114. 




The " land lying at the west corner of Marechkawieck, on the 
East Eiver," was first granted to Edward 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 south- 
east by east to the marsh, 80 rods ; and along the valley (meadow), north- 
east, 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." 1 

This tract, having a water-front of eight hundred and twenty 
feet and nine inches, was located at the west cape or point of "Wal- 
labout Bay, and embraced a part of the present United States 
Navy-yard, and a portion of the Comfort and Joshua Sands estate. 
The point formed by the junction of the Waale-boght with the 
East Eiver was subsequently called " Martyn's Hook," probably 
from one Jan Martyn, who is mentioned as a proprietor in that 
vicinity about the year 1660. a At a more modern day the name 
became corrupted to that of " Martyr's Hook." 3 A portion of this 

1 Patents, Q G, 206. 

s Oct. 19, 1660, a patent was granted to Jan Martyn, for " a lot on Long Island, at the 
Ferry on the east side of the East River, on the west side of the land of the aforesaid 

Jan Martyn, on the north side of Joris . The north side is 15 rods 7 feet ; the east 

side, 18 rods 4 feet ; the west side, 12 rods 3 feet ; the south side, 18 rods 7 feet. 

July 8, 1667, Peter Meet received a confirmatory patent for two parcels, one being 
the above-mentioned, and the other a parcel granted, Dec. 12th, 1653, to Adriaen 
Hubertsen, being a lot and house-garden, " lying by the Ferry aforesaid, on the west 
side of the lot of Francis Poisgot, on the east side of Samuel Minge, being in breadth, 
on the north side, 6 rod, and on the south side the like," which piece, transferred by 
the said Adriaen to the said Jan Mai-tin, was, together with the former, transferred by 
the latter to Jan Jacob de Vries, who afterwards conveyed the same parcels to Peter 

3 Also " Martense's Point," a corruption of Martyn ; subsequently, from its successive 
owners, " Remsen's Point" and " Jackson's Point." 


property was sold by Haes, on 4th of January, 1652, to Cornells de 
Potter, who on the same day became the owner of lands in the 
same vicinity, previously owned by Cornells Dircksen (Hooglandt), 
the ferryman (ante, pp. 75, 76). 1 The property afterwards came into 
possession of Aert Aertsen (Middagh), the ancestor of the Middagh 
family, who, in 1710, erected a mill on this Hook, where a natural 
pond in the marsh, requiring a short dam, afforded the necessary 
facilities. He sold, Feb. 9, 1713, an undivided half of the premises to 
Hans Jorisse Bergen, who, on the 28th January, 1722-3, conveyed to 
Cornelius Evertse the same, described as " one-half of the meadow, 
sand, creek, grist-mill, dam, beach of the old dwelling-house, 
bolting-mill and bolting-house (the new dwelling-house only ex- 
cepted), situated in Brooklyn, at a place called Marty s Hook, as 
in fence, and as bought by the said Hans Jorisse Bergen of Aert 
Aertsen (Middagh)." 2 This above-mentioned mill, built by Middagh, 
is undoubtedly identical with that marked on Katzer's plan as 
Bemsen's Mill ; and the same property in the Wallabout (now occu- 
pied by the United States Navy-yard), together with the land as far 
as the line of Gold street, was afterwards known as the Kemsen 
estate. As such it belonged to Kem A. Kemsen, who died in 1785, 

1 N. T. Col. MSS., iii. 100. 

2 Conveyances, liber iv. 309, 33G, Kings County Reg. office. Aert Authorize (or Teuni- 
sen) Middag, the ancestor of the Middag family of Brooklyn, married Breckje (or Re- 
becca), second daughter of Hans Hansen Bergen and Sarah Rapalje ; and on the 24th of 
October, 1654, together with his wife's step-father, Teunis Gysbert (Bogaert), received a 
patent for " a piece of land lying on Long Island, named Cripplebush," adjoining the 
land of Joris Rapalje, and containing 100 acres. This is supposed to be the land since 
owned byFolkert Rapalje, in the Wallabout, and the patent is not recorded. Middagh 
was an early resident of the Waal-boght, wbere his children were born. They were 
(1), Jan, baptized Dec. 24, 1662, who signed his name Jan Aersen, and married Adri- 
aentje, daughter of Cornelis de Potter (mentioned on pp. 76, 77), and owned some 
200 acres on the East River, west of Fulton street, since known as the Comfort and 
Joshua Sands property ; (2), Garret, who married, in 1691, Cornelia Janse Cowenhoven, 
and had a farm of thirty acres, near the ferry, on the west side of the present Fulton, 
near Henry street ; (3), Dirck, who married, and, as well as his brother, had children. 

The farm of Garret Middagh, above-mentioned, may be described as bounded, on our 
present maps, by Fulton street, a line midway between and parallel to Henry and 
Hicks streets, and a line about midway between Pierrepont and Clarke streets. It 
descended to his son Aert, and in 1827, when the property had become valuable, on 
account of the expansion of the village, a lawsuit occurred in the family as to the pro- 
visions of his will. The family name is now extinct, being only commemorated by a 
street on the Heights. A portion of the old Middagh mansion is, however, standing 
on Fulton street, just below Henry street. 


leaving a widow and four children, two of whom were by a former 
wife. The late General Jeremiah Johnson married Remsen's 
daughter by his first wife, who died within a year, leaving a child, 
who also died in infancy. Johnson, having thus become a tenant 
by coutesy for life, subsequently conveyed his interest to his 
brother-in-law, Cornelius Eemsen. He failed, after two years, and 
the estate being sold under judgment, was purchased, for the sum 
of $17,000, by John Jackson, Esq., who afterwards bought the 
rights of the widow and remaining children, and became the owner 
of the whole property. Forty acres of this tract was purchased 
from Mr. Jackson by Francis Childs, a middle-man, who, on the 
23d of February, 1801, conveyed it to the "United States Govern- 
ment, which has ever since occupied it as a navy-yard. 


Next to the Haes patent came that granted to Hans Lodewyck, 
November 3d, 1645, 

" containing 14 morgen and 494 rods, lying next to the land of Michael 
Picet, extending exactly such as the surveyor has laid it out." 1 

It is possible, however, that other lands may have been patented 
between those of Haes and Lodewyck, and that the latter had no 
river or meadow front. 


Michael Picet, a Frenchman, and referred to as owner of the 
farm adjoining Lodewyck's, did not remain in possession long, as, 
on February 19, 1616, it was granted to Willem Coenelissen. 2 It 
contained twenty-five morgen " in the bend of Marechkawick, with 
the marsh (salt meadow) of the breadth of the aforesaid land," and 
was probably of the same general dimensions as the adjoining 
farms. Cornelissen transported the property, January 22, 1654, to 
Paulus Leendersen Vander Grift, "for the use and behoof of" one 
Charles Gabrey, and it was subsequently confirmed, 1668, to the said 

1 Patents, G G, 127. 2 Ibid., 135. 


Vander Grift. Gabrey afterwards fled from the country, and the 
estate being confiscated, was again granted by the Governor, July 
12, 1673, to Michael Heynall, Dirck Jansen, and Jeronimus Ea- 
palie. 1 


Peter C^sar Italten, elsewhere called Caesar Alberti, 8 received 
from Governor Kieft, June 17, 1643, a grant of land 

" for a tobacco plantation, lying in the bend of Marechkawieck, next to 
Peter Montfoort's on the east side, and Michael Picet on the west ; ex- 
tending along the marsh 57 rods, and along the land of Peter Montfoort, 
in a southerly direction, towards and into the woods, in the length, 270 
rods : amounting to 24 morgens and 250 rods." 

On May 1, 1647, he received an addition to the westerly side of 
his farm, two hundred and twenty rods in length and twenty-eight 
and a half rods in breadth, provided it could be done without preju- 
dice to his neighbors. 3 On the 17th of May, 1647, " Jacques Cor- 
telyou, as vendue-master and as attorney of the heirs and children 
of Peter Ceser Italian," and the " Deacons" of the City of New 
York, conveyed to John Damon the above patent, in which the 
premises are described as 

" stretching along the middow 57 rods, and along the land of Pieter 
Montfoort, southward, into the woods, in the length, 270 rods ; and after 
in the bosch (woods), broad, 57 rods; and then again to the middow, 
alongst Michile fransman (Frenchman, i. e., Michael Picet) to the middow, 
270 rod : amounting to 24 morgen 450 rod." 

The heirs and children also executed a conveyance, confirming 
that of Cortelyou. 

May 10th, 1695, the above property, with the exception of six 
acres previously sold to Garret Middagh, was conveyed by John 
Damon, and Fitie his wife, of the Wallabout, to "William Huddle- 

1 Gen. Entries, iv. 287 ; Kings County Conveyances, lib. i. 89. 

2 Pieter Csesar Alberti was the ancestor of the Alburtus family. (See Annals of New- 

3 Patents, G G, 65. 


stone, of the city of New York, who also received, August 8th, 
1695, from the attorney of John and William Alburtis, children of 
Peter Ceser, a confirmatory conveyance, in which the premises are 
estimated at one .hundred- acres. On the 2d of May, 1696, William 
Huddlestone, and Sarah his wife, conveyed the above patent to 
John Damon. 

These two farms, of Peter Caesar 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. 


Peter Montfoort received, May 29th, 1641, from Governor Kieft, 
a patent for 

"land on Long Island, extending from Jan Montfoort's land to Pieter 
the Italian's, in breadth 300 paces, (extending) with the same breadth 
straight into the woods." 1 On the 19th August, 1643, it was confirmed 
by a patent wherein it is more particularly described as " a piece of land 
for a tobacco plantation, lying on Long Island, in the bend of Marechka- 
wieck, bounded by Jan Montfoort on the east, and Pieter Italien on the 
west, extending along the marsh into the woods, 70 rods ; and 220 rods 
along the land of Jan Montfoort, to the woods, 70 rods ; again to the 
marsh, in a northerly course, 227 rods, along the land of Peter the Italian : 
amounting to 25 morgens and 8 rods." 2 

On May 1, 1647, he received a grant of an addition to the west- 
erly side of the above land, two hundred and twenty rods square, 
"provided it did not interfere with other grants." Pieter Mont- 
foort's land had a river or meadow front of about nine hundred 
feet, and is now comprised between Hamilton avenue and a line a 
little beyond the line of Clermont avenue. 3 


Jan Montfoort (probably a brother of Peter Montfoort) received, 
at the same time, May 29, 1641, a grant from Governor Kieft of a 

1 Patents, G G, 39. 

5 Patents, G G, 63 ; Valentine's Manual, 1851, p. 473. 

8 Designated on map as farms of John and Jeremiah Spader. 



piece of land on Long Island, adjoining the farm of Kapalie on the 
east, and that of Peter Montfoort on the west, " in the breadth 350 
paces, and so straight into the woods." In a second patent, dated 
December 1, 1643, the land is described as lying 

" on the bend of the Marechkawieck, betwixt the land of Jorse (George) 
Rapalie on the east side, .... and the land of- Peter Montfoort on 
the west side ; extending along the marsh 88 rods ; and along the land of 
the said Jorse Rapalie, in a southerly direction, into the woods, 210 rods; 
and behind, in the woods, in the breadth, 88 rods ; the breadth (i. e., 
length) to (i. e., from) the marsh to the marsh, 210 rods: making and 
amounting in all to 28 morgen." 1 

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, and described on 
our map as farms late of John and Jacob Ryerson. These were 
Sons of Martin, who originally owned the whole tract, and who was 
a descendant of Marten Ryerse, 2 an emigrant from Amsterdam, and 
first husband of Annetie, daughter of Joris Janse de Rapalie. 


Jokis (George) Jansen de Rapalie, who is supposed to have been 
a proscribed Huguenot, from Rochelle in France, came to this 
country in 1623, in the ship Unity, with Catalina Trico, his wife, 
and settled first at Fort Orange, near Albany, from whence he 
removed, in 1626, to New Amsterdam. Here, in the occupancy of 
a homestead on the north side of the present Pearl street, and 
adjoining the south side of the fort, he resided for more than 

1 Patents, G G, 40. 

2 Marten Ryerse was a brother of Adriaen Ryerse, of Flatbush. The patronymic, 
Ryerse, "was retained by Marten's descendants, who are now quite numerous, and 
known as Eyersons. Adriaen had two sons, Elbert and Marten Adriaense. The first 
settled in Flushing, and his posterity bear the name Adriance ; while Marten re- 
mained in Flatbush, and his descendants form the Hartence family. See Riker, Hist. 
Newtown, 2G9, 386. 


twenty-two years, and until after the birth of his youngest child, in 
1650. During a portion of these years he was an innkeeper or 
tapster, and his name frequently occurs as such upon the books of 
the Burgomaster's Court until 1654. That he possessed the confi- 
dence of his fellow-citizens is evidenced by the fact, that in August, 
1641, he was one of the Twelve Men representing Manhattan, 
Breuckelen, and Pavonia, chosen for the purpose of deliberating 
upon measures necessary to be adopted to punish the Indians for 
the murders which they had committed. About 1654, 1 he probably 
removed his permanent residence to his farm at the " Waal-boght ;" 
for in 1655, '56, '57, and 1660, he was one of the magistrates of 
Breuckelen, with which town his whole subsequent life was identi- 

The Waal-boght farm consisted of a tract of land which he had 
purchased on the 16th of June, 1637, from its Indian proprietors, 
Kakapeteyno and Peiuiclwas, and called " Kinnegackonck," situated 
on Long Island, south of the Island of Manhattan, and 

"extending from a certain kill (creek) till into the woods, south and east- 
ward, to a certain swamp (Kreuplebush), to a place where the water runs 
over the stones." 2 This was confirmed to him by a patent from Governor 
Kieft, dated June 17, 1643, wherein it is more fully described as "a piece 
of land, called Itennagaconck, formerly purchased by him from the In- 
dians, as will appear by reference to the transport, lying on Long Island, 
in the bend of Marechkawieck (*. e., the Wallabout Bay), east of the land 
of Jan Montfoort, extending along the said land, in a southerly direction, 
towards and into the woods, 242 rods ; by the kill and marsh, easterly, 
up, 390 rods ; at the Sweet marsh, 202 rods on a southerly direction, 
into the woods; and behind, into the woods, 384 rods, in a westerly 
direction ; and certain outpoints next to the marsh : amounting in all to 
the contents of 167 morgens and 406 rods" (about 335 acres). 3 

On this tract, which may be described in general terms as com- 
prising the lands now occupied by the United States Marine Hos- 
pital, and those embraced between Nostrand and Grand avenues, in 

1 Riker's Newtown, p. 267. The sale of his house and lot in the city, on the 22d 
June, 1654, probably fixes the date of his removal to the Wallabout. 
3 Patents, G G, 20. 3 Ibid., 64. 


the present city of Brooklyn, 1 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. 
The property then passed into the hands of his eldest son, Jeroni- 
mus, a prominent citizen, being a justice of the peace, as well as a 
deacon of the Breuckelen church. After his death, it was occupied 
by his son Jeronimus, who, in 1755, sold it to his son-in-law, Martin 
Schenck. At the death of the latter, it was devised to his two sons, 
Martin, junior, and Lambert, together with their sister, the wife of 
Francis Skillman." Lambert died unmarried, and his portion fell to 
his brother Martin, and his sister, Mrs. Skillman. Martin sold to 
the United States Government the present Marine Hospital grounds, 
and Mrs. Skillman sold to Samuel Jackson the Johnson farm. 

The parcel designated on the map as the land of Garret Nostrand 
was conveyed by Joris Rapelje to Jeronimus Remsen, in 1714 ; 3 and 
by him, in 1719, to John Van Nostrand ; and by him, in 1729, to 
Daniel Rapelje. He devised it, in 1765, to Garret Nostrand, with 
legacies to his sister, which, in 1770, were satisfied, and he remained 
in possession until his death, in 1789. 4 It then came into possession 
of his son John, who died intestate, in 1795, leaving no issue. 

The facts stated (on pages 23, 21) concerning the Bennett and 
Bentyn purchase and settlement at Gowanus in 1636, completely 
disprove the claims which Tradition (aided by the misapprehension 
of our earlier historians) has set up in behalf of Rapalie as being 
the first actual white settler of Brooklyn. Of the similar and con- 
nected traditionary error, which has so long given to his eldest 
daughter, Sarah, the honor of having been the first white child 
born in Brooklyn, we shall speak in another place. 6 His widow, 
Catalyntie, died, Sept. 11, 1689, aged eighty -four." 

1 Designated on map as lands of Gen. Johnson, J. F. and E. P. Delaplaine, Jackson, 
Skillman, and Teunis Cowenlioven ; together with woodland in the Hills (t. e., where 
the Penitentiary is), and some meadow-land where the City Park now is. 

2 Father of John Skillman. 

3 King's County Conveyances, lib. D. 82, 83, 84. 

4 Will in King's County Surrogate's office, lib. ii. 46. 

6 See discussion of her husband, Hans Hansen Bergen's patent. 

6 The two Labadist travellers, who visited the colony in 1679, have, fortunately for 
us, preserved in their journal an account of a visit which they paid to Catalina, the 



On the 30th of March, 1647, Hans Hansen Beegen, or " Hans the 
Boore," 1 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 bj Governor Kieft, in 1638, from 
the Indian proprietors. 2 It is described as lying 

" on the kil of Joris Rapalje," from whose house "it extends north by 
east till to Lambert Huybertsen's (Moll) plantation ; further on (to) the 
kil of Jan de Sweede, 3 according to the old marks, till to the kil of Mes- 
paechtes (Newtown Creek), to and along the Cripplebush; further to the 
division line of Dirck Volkertsen's land, which he purchased from Wilcox, 
and the division of Herry Satley."'' 

This tract of land extended from the Creek of Bunnegaconck 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 

■widow of Joris Janse de Rapalie, then in her seventy-fourth year: " Mr. De la Grange with 
his wife came to ask us to accompany them in their boat to the Wale-bocht. a place 
situated on Long Island, almost an hour's distance below the city, directly opposite 

Corlaer's Hook. He had an old aunt and other friends living there We 

reached the bay in about two hours. This is a bay tolerably wide, where the water 
rises and falls much ; and is at low water very shallow, and much of it dry. The 
aunt of De la Grange is an old Walloon from Valenciennes, seventy-four years' old. 
She is worldly-minded, living with her whole heart, as well as body, among her progeny, 
which now number 145, and will soon reach 150. Nevertheless she lived alone by 
herself, a little apart from the others, having her little garden, and other conven- 
iences, with which she helped herself." (L. I. Hist. Soc. Coll., i. 341, 342.) 

Thus peacefully and pleasantly passed the later years of this " mother of New York," 
who, with her mission fulfilled, still active, and with habits of industry begotten by her 
pioneer life, now reposed contented amid the love and respectful attentions of her kin- 
dred and her descendants. 

1 Riker's Newtown, 16. 

2 See page 26, and Appendix 2. 

3 For lands of " Jan the Sweede," see chapter on " Early Settlers and Patents of 
Bushwick." " The Sweede's Kill," now Bushwick Creek, probably then came up as 
far as the bounds of the old Village of Williamsburgh. 

4 Patents, G G, 205. 


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, comprising lands designated on Butt's map as belonging 
to General Jeremiah Johnson, James Scholes, Abraham Remsen, 
Abraham Boerum, Abraham Meserole, McKibbin, and Nichols, 
Powers, Schenck, Mills, and others, including the settlement known 
as " Bushwick Cross Boads," : and the meadows adjoining Newtown. 
Hans Hansen Bergen, the common ancestor of the Bergen family 
of Long Island and New Jersey, was a native of Bergen, in Norway, 
from whence he emigrated to Holland. From thence, in 1633, he 
came, probably with Van Twiller, the second Director-General, to 
Nieuw Netherland. For several years he was a resident of Nieuw 
Amsterdam, where he owned a lot on the present Pearl street, 
abutting on the fort, and adjoining that of Joris Jansen de Bapalje, 
his future father-in-law. In 1638 he appears to have been engaged 
in a tobacco plantation, either on Andries Hudde's or the West 
India Company's land ; and in 1639 he married Sarah, the daughter 
of Joris Janse de Rapalje, born, according to the family record, on 
the 9th of June, 1625, and who was reputed to be the first white 
child born in the colony of Nieuw Netherland. 2 From the tenor of a 

1 Riker also says, in his Hist, of Newtown, 18 : " The farm of Hans Hansen has been 
already noticed as lying near Cripplebush. It comprised 400 acres, or nearly two- 
thirds of a square mile ; and from a careful examination of the patent and those adjoin- 
ing, I think it must have covered a part, and perhaps the whole, of the present settle- 
ment at the Bushwick Cross-roads." 

2 The recently discovered journal of the Lahadists, who visited this country in the 
year 1679 (translated by Hon. Henry C. Murphy, and forming the first volume of the 
Collections of the Long Island Historical Society), brings forward a statement which, if 
true, limits the historic honor hitherto enjoyed by Sarah Rapalie to that of simply 
being the first white female born in the colony. These travellers (pp. 114 and 115 
of the volume above mentioned) speak of conversing with the first male born of Euro- 
peans in New Netherland, named Jean Vigne. " His parents were from Valenciennes, 
and he was now about sixty-five years of age. He was a brewer, and a neighbor of our 
old people." To this Mr. Murphy adds the following note : " This is an interesting 
statement, which may not only be compared with that hitherto received, attributing to 
Sarah de Rapalje, who was born on the 9th of June, 1625, the honor of having been 
the first-born Christian child in New Netherland, but is to be considered in other 
respects. According to the data given by our travellers, who, writing in 1679, make 
Jean Vigne sixty-five years old at that time, he must have been born in the year 1614, 
eleven years before Sarah de Rapalje, and at the very earliest period compatible with 
the sojourn of any Hollanders upon our territory. Jean Vigne belonged to the class of 


lawsuit, in 1643, relative to the sale of a shallop, it may be inferred 
that he was at that time engaged in the trade of a shipwright. In 

great burghers in New Amsterdam, and was one of the schepens of the city in the 
years 1655, '56, '61, and '63 (O'Callaghan's Register of New Netherland, '61-3, 174). 
He was twice married (New York Manual, 1862). Valentine says (Hist, of New York, 
73) that he died in 1691, without issue. In this statement in regard to his being the 
first person of European parentage born in New Netherland, there are some notable 
points. The first trading voyages to Hudson's River were made by the Dutch in 1613- 
14, and the first wintering or habitation there was in 1614-15. There must have 
been, therefore, one European woman, at least, in the country at that early period. 
Whether Jean Vigne's parents returned to Holland or remained here, during the 
obscure period between the time of his birth and the occupation of the country by the 
West India Company, it is impossible to determine. Either may have been the case. 
If the statement, however, be correct — and there is nothing inconsistent in it with 
the history of the colony, as far as known — Jean Vigne was not only the first born of 
European parents in New Netherland, but, as far as known, in the whole United 
States north of Virginia. We deem it of sufficient importance to give here the state- 
ment of our travellers in regard to him in the original language : Wijhadden ind it 
geseltschap gesproken den eerst geboren mans-persoon van Europianen in Nieu Ned- 
erlant, genoemt Jean Vigne. Sijne ouders waren van Valencijn, en Jiij was nu on- 
trent 65jaer out, synde ook een brouwer en ouerman van onse oude luij." 

In regard to the erroneous tradition which has given to Breuckelen the honor of 
being the birth-place of Sarah Rapalie, we quote the words of one of her descendants, 
the author of the History of the Bergen Family, who says : " The early historians of 
this State and locality, led astray by a petition presented by her, April 4th, 1656 
(when she resided at the Walle-boght), to the Governor and Council, for some meadows, 
in which she states that she is the ' first born Christian child in New Netherlands,' 
assert that she was born at the Walle-boght. Judge Benson, in his writings, even 
ventures to describe the house where this took place. He says : ' On the point of 
land formed by the cove in Brooklyn, known as the Walle-boght, lying on its westerly 
side (it should have been easterly), was built the first house on Long Island, and inhab- 
ited by Joris Jansen de Rapalie, one of the first white settlers on the island, and in 
which was born Sarah Rapalie, the first white child of European parentage born in 
the State.' In this, if there is any truth in the depositions of Catalyn or Catalyntie 
Trico (daughter of Jeronomis Trico of Paris), Sarah's mother (see appendix to this His- 
tory), they are clearly mistaken. According to these depositions, she and her husband, 
Joris Janse de Rapalie, came to this country in 1623 ; settled at Fort Orange, now 
Albany ; lived there three years ; came, in 1626, to New Amsterdam, ' where she lived 
afterwards for many years ; and then came to Long Island, where she now (1688) lives.' 
' Sarah, therefore, was undoubtedly born at Albany, instead of the Walle-boght, and was 
probably married before she removed to Long Island, there being no reason to suppose 
that she resided there when a single woman without her husband." Indeed, if the 
family record of her birth be correct, she was married between the age of fourteen and 
fifteen, improving somewhat, in this respect, on the example of her mother, who mar- 
ried before she was twenty years old. 

She early became a church member in New York, and united with the Dutch Church 
at Breuckelen, by certificate, in 1661. She died about 1685, aged about sixty. 

While, therefore, Albany claims the honor of being her birthplace, and New Amster- 
dam of having seen her childhood, Brooklyn surely received most profit from her ; for 
jure, in the Wallabout, she was twice married, and gave birth to fourteen children, 


March, 1647, he became the patentee of the above land on Long 
Island, on which he seems to have resided until his death, which 
took place in the latter portion of 1653 or the beginning of 1654. 
He must, however, have been in possession of this plantation prior 
to the date of his patent, either by extinguishing the Indian title or 
otherwise ; for, in Abraham Kycken's patent, dated August 8, 1640, 
his land is located on Long Island, opposite Einnegackonck, bounded 
by Gysbert Eycken, Hans Hansen, etc. ; in Cornells Jacobsen Selle's 
deed to Lambert Huybertsen Mol, of 29th of July, 1641, his planta- 
tion is described as lying next that of Hans Hansen, on Long Island j 1 
and in the patent of Mespat, or Newtown, given to Kev. Mr. Doughty 
and his associates, in March, 1642, mention is again made of the 
meadows belonging to Hans Hansen. 2 His widow, in April, 1656, 3 
petitioned the Governor and Council for the grant of a piece of 
meadow-land adjoining the 200 4 morgen previously granted her at 
the " Waale-bocht," 6 stating that her neighbors disturb her in the use 
of them, by mowing thereon, although they have meadows of their 
own ; that she is a widow and burdened with seven children, and 
asks an exemption from taxes. The meadows were granted, al- 
though the exemption was refused. " Sarah, in stating in this 
memorial that she was a widow, neglected to state that she was 
again married, and the wife of Theunis Gysbert Bogaert, which 
must have been the case, judging from the baptismal records of 
New Amsterdam, wherein the birth of their first-born, Aartje, is 
entered as baptized December 19, 1655. She probably resided, at 

from whom are descended the Polhemus, the Bergens, the Bogarts, and many other of 
the most notable families of Kings County. Few women have been more highly hon- 
ored in the Dumber and the character of their descendants than Sarah de Rapelje. 

The first correction of this historical error is due to Mr. James Riker, the author of 
History of Newtown, L. I., who, in a paper read before the New York Historical 
Society, in May, 1857, thoroughly investigated and exploded the time-honored tradition 
which had disfigured the pages of all previous historians. Prime (Hist. L. I., 358-61) 
especially has collected a great mass of tradition, which is more interesting than reli- 

1 N. Y. Col. MSB., vol. i. 251. 

2 Riker's Newtown, pp. 18, 83. 
'N. Y. Col. MSS., vol. vi. p. 353. 

4 In the original Dutch record, 200 morgen, erroneously translated 20 by Vander- 
6 The earliest recorded use of the name " Waale-bocht." (See note 4, p. 24.) 


this time, on the farm in the "Waaleboght, patented to her late hus- 
band, Hans Hansen Bergen, and her petition probably alludes to 
those lands. No evidence exists on the Colonial records as to any 
grant to her, either from the government or the Indians, of 200 
morgen, except her statement in the petition. "From this petition," 
says the family historian, " has probably arisen, with the aid of a 
little stretch of the imaginatien, the story of the Indians having 
presented her with a farm, in consideration of her having been the 
first-born white child in the colony." 

When, upon the conquest of the colony of New Netherland, by 
the English, in 1664, the inhabitants were obliged to take out new 
patents for their farms, Bogaeet, Sarah's second husband, embraced 
the opportunity, as it would seem, to take out the new patent for 
Hans Hansen's 200 morgen in his own name, instead of that of 
Hans' children, who were rightfully entitled thereto. At least no 
record has ever been found of their possession of any portion of 
their father's estate, nor any evidence of any compensation made to 
them therefor by their step-father. It is possible, however, although 
not very probable, that compensation may have been made, and that 
the written evidence has disappeared in the lapse of time. If 
Bogaert defrauded the orphans, it can only be said that it was not 
an isolated case, the records showing that others, similarly situated 
at that time, took out the new and confirmatory patents in their own 
name. By virtue, therefore, of this confirmatory patent, which was 
dated April 5th, 1667, the whole property, excepting that tract known 
and designated on the map as the General Johnson Homestead 
Farm, remained in the possession of Bogart, and was divided among 
his heirs. 

The above-mentioned "Homestead Farm" was probably pur- 
chased froni Bogart by Rem Jansen Yanderbeeck, the ancestor of 
all the Remsens in this country, 1 who, in 1642, had married Jannetie, 
a daughter of Joris Janse de Rapalie. 2 He resided at Albany for 

1 Riker (Hist. Newtown, 386) says his trade was that of a " smith," and he came from 
Jeveren in Westphalia. A valuable and interesting genealogy of the family may be 
found in Riker's work. The name of Vanderbeeck seems to have been dropped in the 
second generation. 

2 It is of this lady that the curious tradition remains, that she was taken, when a 
child, across from Governor's Island to Long Island, in a tub. (See Appendix, 5.) 


some years, and the period of his removal to the Waaleboght is un- 
certain. As a citizen and a magistrate he was highly esteemed in 
Brooklyn, where he died in 1681, leaving a widow, who survived him 
for many years, and fifteen children, all of whom, according to tra- 
dition, were present at his funeral, and all of whom were married. 1 
In 1694, the widow and her children conveyed the property to two 
of their number, Isaac and Jeremias Remsen/ and in 1704 Isaac 

1 Hiker, 386 ; Prime. 359. 

2 We have been favored by Teunis G. Bergen, Esq., with, the following translation of 
this deed, the original of which is in the possession of Jeromus B. Johnson of Flat- 
hush. Some portions of the document have become illegible through the ravages of 
time, etc. : 

" m In the third, King Our Lord, one 

thousand six hundred and ninety-four, tenth day of April ; declared .... of the 
deceased Rem Jansen, of the Walle-boght, in the aforesaid county .... through 
his children, to wit, Joris Remsen, Rem Remsen, Jacob Remsen, Jeronimus Remsen, 
Daniel Remsen, Abraham Remsen, Jan (Dorlant), Aris Vanderbilt, Joseph Hegeman, 
Gerrit Hansen, Elbert (Adriaensen), Marten Adriaense, each for himself and his heirs, 
to Isaac Remsen and Jeremias Remsen, and their heirs and assigns, have set over, 
granted, and conveyed a certain parcel of land, situated in the Walle-bocht, in the 
aforesaid county, on the southerly side of the land of Teunis Gysbertse ; also bounded 
and encompassed by the kil in the Walebocht, as set forth in the patent for the same ; 
also with the length, breadth, course, and number of morgens made known in said 
patent, with all the right and privileges in any way appertaining to said parcel 
of land ; also, as included with and appertaining to said land, three parcels of 
meadow : the 1st, held in common with Jacob Hegeman, situated in the limits 
of Midwout (Flatbush), over the second kil, and known as Number 10 ; the 2d, 
a block lot, situated on the third kil, and lying between Tomas Lambertsen and Jan 
Vanderbilt ; the 3rd, situated over the third kil, in the long neck in the limits of 
Jamaike, and held in common with Jerominus Rapalie. For the above-described land 
and meadow, with their appurtenances, declared the above-named parties to convey to 
the said Isaac Remsen and Jeremias Remsen, to be fully satisfied and paid for the 
'< same, to the first and last cent, therefore deliver (give) over said land and meadow, 
J with the appurtenances and privileges, for themselves and their heirs, to the aforesaid 
. Jeremiah and Isaac, clear and unencumbered, to be kept, with all their rights, by 
them, the said Jeremias and Isaac, and their heirs and assigns 

the mark of 

Jannetie Jorisse, Abeam Remsen. 

by herself. JAN DORLANT. 

Joris Remsen. Aris Vanderbilt. 

Rem Remsen. Joseph Hegeman. 

Jekob Remsen. Gerret Hansen. 

Jerominus Remsen. Elbert Adriaensen. 

Daniel Remsen. Martin Adriaensen. 

" Signed in the presence of . . . ys 
Hegeman, Johannes Van Eckelen, 
and also delivered." 


sold out his share to his brother Jeremias, who thus became the sole 
owner of the paternal farm. 1 It was inherited, after his death, in 
July, 1757, by his son Jeremias, who, dying without issue, in 1777, 
left it to his relative, Barent Johnson. 2 This worthy citizen and 
patriot, deceased in 1782, and his executors in 1793, conveyed the 
estate to his son, the late General Jeremiah Johnson, by whom it 
was first laid out in streets and city lots, and by whose eldest son, 
Barnet Johnson, the old homestead and a portion of the original 
farm is now held. 3 

The history of the remaining portion of the Hans Hansen Bergen 
patent is briefly as follows : 

The parcels since known as the Boerum and Abraham A. Remsen 
estates were originally comprised in a farm owned by one Teunis 
Bogert, who, by will, dated June 22, 1767,* devised it to his sons 
Adrian and Cornelius. Partition deeds were executed between 
them, April 25, 1769, whereby Adrian took possession of the north- 
erly half, now known as the Boerum farm, and Cornelius of the 
remaining or southerly portion, being the greater portion of the 
Abraham A, Remsen estate. 6 

Adrian sold his farm, April 13, 1775, to Jacob Bloom, who devised 
it by will, dated March 5, 1797, as a life-estate to his son Barent. 8 
His heirs, in March, 1816, conveyed it to Abraham A. Bemsen, 7 
who, in November of the same year, sold it to Abraham Boerum, 8 
who remained in possession until his death, in 1848, and from 
whom it derived its name of the " Boerum farm." 

Cornelius Bogert sold his portion of the paternal estate, March 8, 

The southerly portion of the land described, in the above deed, as lands of Teunis Gys- 
berts Bogart, is that since known as land of James Scholes. 

i & 3 g ee « Deduction of Title to so much of ' the Homestead Farm,' so called, of the 
late Jeremiah Johnson, deceased, as is embraced within the limits of the City of 
Brooklyn, and as was in his possession at the time of his death. Dated Brooklyn, 
May, 1853. Prepared by William M. Ingraham, Brooklyn." Folio, pp. 20. 

2 Will dated 1776 ; proved 1782. N. Y. Wills, liber xxxv. 

4 Liber xxvi. 210, N. Y. Co. Wills. 

8 See map on file in Kings County Clerk's office, endorsed " Map showing the Farm 
of Teunis Bogart. deceased," as divided between his sons Adrian and Cornelius, and to 
be filed in Kings County Clerk's office with the old deeds not recorded. 

6 Kings Co. Wills, liber i. 227. 

1 Kings County Conveyances, liber xi. 461. 

8 Ibid., 458. 


1774, to Abraham Bemsen, who, in April, 1793, conveyed it to his 
son William, and he, in May following, transferred it to his brothers, 
Jeremiah and Abraham Bemsen, junior. Adjoining the southerly 
side of this farm, and including the late Scholes tract, was a farm of 
76 acres, owned and possessed, prior to 1729, by one Gysbert 
Bogert, and by him sold, in December of that year, to his son Gys- 
bert Bogert, junior. By him it was conveyed, June 29, 1741, to 
Jeremiah Bemsen, the then owner of the present Johnson farm. 
Mr. Bemsen, on the 28th of January, 1742, conveyed it to his son 
Abraham, and he, on April 10th, 1795, conveyed it to his sons, Jer- 
emiah and Abraham. 1 

The title to the farm of Cornelius Bogert, and to that of Gysbert 
Bogert, having thus become fully vested in the brothers Bemsen, 
partition deeds were executed between them on the 14fch of Septem- 
ber, 1795, by which Abraham became possessed of the northerly 
portion, since known as the Abraham A. Bemsen estate ; and Jere- 
miah of the southerly portion, sold after his death, in 1831, by 
his executors, to James Scholes, and since known as the Scholes 
estate. 2 

Having thus completed our survey of the early patents along the 
water-front of Breuckelen, from the bounds of New Utrecht to those 
of Bushwick, we now enter upon the consideration of what may be 


located between the Waale-boght and the head of Gowanus Creek, 
in the rear of those already discussed. These lands are all especially 
described as "lying at Marechkawieck, on the Gowanus Kill;" 
proving, beyond a doubt, that the name of " Marechkawieck," 
although applied primarily to the shores of the Waale-boght, was 
also used to designate the whole of the country between the two 
localities. The existence in this neighborhood, as we have seen, of 
" Sassian's " and other tracts of maize-land, as well as the fact that 
various Indian skeletons and relics have, from time to time, been 
exhumed in the same vicinity, incline us to the belief that this was 

1 Conveyances, lib. xxi. 213, Kings County Clerk's office. 5 Ibid., 209. 


the locality occupied by the " Marechkawiecks," whom we know to 
have been the original proprietors of the soil. 1 They were undoubt- 
edly dispossessed during the war of 1643, and on the very patents 
which we are about to examine, the village proper of " Beeuckelen," 
as distinguished from the hamlets at the " Waale-boght," " Gow- 
anus," and " The Ferry," was afterwards established. 


March 11, 1647, Geeeit Wolpheetsen (van Couwenhoven) 2 received 
a patent for 

" a certain piece of land, at the (Ma) Rechavvieck, both the maize and 
woodland, on the marsh of the Gouwanus kil, between the land of Jacob 
Stoffelsen and Frederick Lubbertsen, extending from the aforesaid marsh 
till into the woods next the land of said Frederick, till to the land of 
Andries Hudde, northeast by north, a little northerly, 148 rods; behind 
through the woods, till to the land of the aforesaid Jacob Stoffelsen, 
southeast by east 80 rods next to the land of Jacob Stoffelsen aforesaid, 
till to the aforesaid marsh, southwest a little westerly 165 rods, along the 
marsh to the place of beginning 60 rods, with an oblique outpoint : amount- 
ing in all to 19 morgens, 341 rods." s 

This plot evidently fronted on the main road leading from Flat- 
bush, through the village of Breuckelen, which was located at this 

1 A large Indian burying-ground was located northeast of Freeke's Mill Pond, and 
the surrounding meadows, and in grading streets some remains have been disturbed 
on the Bout and Van Rossum patents, hereafter described. 

The following fragment (from N. Y. Col. MSS., iv. 158), probably relates to this 
locality: "January 27, 1643. Deposition of Geertjen Mannincks, wife of Claes Mente- 
laer, said, that Roelant (Robert) Hackwaert, told at her house in the Bay, that there 
were seven hills of corn about a pistol-shot from the road, which he would confirm by 
his oath. 

" Roelant Hackwaert declared that he saw the savages at Marechkawieck cover the 

2 In N. Y. Col. MSS., i. 234, 235, is a receipt of Wolphertsen, who is there mentioned 
as a " resident of Keskachquerem, on Long Island," for four cows hired by him of the 
deacons of New Amsterdam. From this, he would appear to have had at that time a 
farm at " Keskachquerem," which was, probably, the name of the original territory of 
Bushwick, purchased by Kieft in 1639. See ante, p. 26, and Appendix 2. 

3 Patents, G G, 172. 


point, to " the Ferry," and is included in lands marked as G. Mar- 
tense's on Butts' map. Wolphertsen sold this property to Nicholas 
Janse, baker, of New York, whose widow, Maritje Garritse, sold the 
same, Sept. 13th, 1698, to George Hansen (Bergen), of Broockland, 
for the sum of XI 76 lis. The lands were described as bounded 
" southeast by land of Jurian Andriese, northwest by land of Jacob 
Hansen (Bergen) and land of Derick Wortman, southwest by Gowanus 
Kil, and northwest by the King's highway, as formerly in possession 
of Gerrit "Wolphertsen." Also, " the just and equal part of all that 
hook or neck of land in said township, containing 55 Dutch rods 
broad and 250 Dutch rods long ; bounded south by land of Jacob 
Brower, north by land of Machiel Hansen (Bergen), west by Gow- 
anus Kil, or Mill Creek, and east by the common woods." ' 

Martense and Gerritsen possess, through their wives, these lands 
of Bergen ; but it is probable that Bergen, or his heirs, subsequent 
purchasers, added other lands to the estate, besides Wolfertsen 
Yan Couvenhoven's patent. 


Jacob Stoffelsen, the West India Company's overseer of negroes, 
and engaged under Yan Twiller, in 1635, in the construction of Fort 
Amsterdam, had a farm next to Wolphertsen's, but of which no 
patent is found on record. Its position, however, is clearly defined 
by the adjoining patent of Wolphertsen, which is described as lying 
between it and that of Lubbertsen ; and its size is specified in Bout's 
patent as being of the same dimensions, viz, 28 morgens and 270 rods. 
Like the others, it commenced on the meadows at the head of Gow- 
anus Creek, and ran northeasterly to the " King's Highway," i. e., 
the old Flatbush and Breuckelen Ferry Road. On the maps of the 
present city, it may be described as extending along Fulton avenue, 
from Bond street, or thereabout, to a line between and parallel to 
Smith and Hoyt streets. 

Stoffelsen seems not to have been a resident of Breuckelen after 
1656, in which year he hired the Company's farm at Aharsimus, 

1 Kings Co. Convey., ii. 181. 



which was renewed to him in 1661 and 1662. In 1663 he, with 
other farmers in that vicinity, was fined for working on Sunday ; and 
in 1664, his wife petitioned for, and was granted, 8 or 10 acres addi- 
tional behind the company's farm, on which latter she had received, 
in 1658, permission to build a house. 1 


Jan Evertsen Bout, a somewhat prominent man in the colony,* 
was the patentee of the lands adjoining Van Couwenhoven's on the 
west. This property was described in the deed granted to him by 
Gov. Kieft, July 6, 1645, as 

" land at Marechkawieck, on the Kil of the Gowanus, as well the maize- 
land as the woodland, bounded by the most easterly end of (the land of) 
Huyck Aertsen (von Rossum), and by the most westerly end of (the land 
of) Gen-it Wolphertson (von Couwenhoven), it extends next the said land 
(i. e. of Wolphertsen) ; along till out of the woods, northeast a little 
northerly 165 rods, its breadth in the woods southeast to the land of 
Huyck Aertsen, 69 rods, next to the land of said Huyck Aertsen along to 
the maize-land 55 rods, southwest and southwest by west, further on till 
to the valley (marsh) southwest, a little southerly, 137 rods further on to the 
place of beginning, along the marsh, with certain outpoints, laid out in a 
parallelogram. Amount in all, both the places, as well (i. e. likewise) of 
Jan Evertsen (Bout) and Jacob Stoffelsen, 28 morgen 270 rods. 3 

February 14th, 1667, Bout received a confirmatory patent of the 
above premises, which covered the neck of land on which a few 
years ago were located Freecke's and Denton's flour-mills, and also 
a considerable tract east of Freecke's mill-pond, extending to the 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., viii. 313, 1044 ; ix. 572 ; x. 40 ; Part ii. 294, Part iii. 21. 

2 In 1643 he had a bouwery at Pavonia ; in September of same year was selected by 
the Eight Men to fill the vacancy in their Board, caused by the expulsion of Van Dam ; 
in 1646, became one of the founders of Breuckelen ; in 1647, was a farmer there and 
chosen a member of the Nine Men, who formed Stuyvesant's Council ; in 1649, was 
one of the signers of a memorial to the Home Government, requesting certain reforms 
in the management of the Colony, and also of the Remonstrance which accompanied it, 
and of which documents he and two others were chosen to be the bearers to the Fa- 
therland ; was successful in his mission, and returned to Nieuw Netherlands in 1650. 
(See Col. Doc. N. Y, i. 367, 379.) 

« Patents, G G, 108. 


main road in the then village of Brooklyn. Bout gave the neck to 
the children of Adam Brower, the common ancestor of the Browers 
of this vicinity. 
April 1st, 1668, a patent was granted to Jan Evertsen Bout for 

" a certain Hook or corner of land within the jurisdiction 

of the town of Breucklyn, beginning from the fence of 

Gerrit Croesus' land, where the marke stands, and soe goes across to the 
highway, being in breadth 110 rod, as also 3 or 4 rods along the said high- 
way, and reaches in length 250 rods in the woods." 

In 1674 this land, being the same as that known on Butt's map 
as belonging to G. Martense, was in possession of Andries Janse 
Jurianse, who had married Annetje Para, Bout's widow. He died 
before 1695, and she married Jan Janse Staats, and on the 17th 
March of that year she- conveyed to Jurian Andriese (probably the 
son of her second husband) for the sum of £150, certain premises 
in Broockland, described as 

" on the north side of the King's highway, on the east side of Michiell 
Hansen (Bergen), on the west side of Joras Hansen (Bergen) and Lambert 
Andriese, with all the meadow there annext and thereunto belonging, and 
that soe great and small as it always was possessed by her above said de- 
ceased husbands." 

February 19th, 1707-8, Jurian Andriese conveyed to Carell De- 
bevois, for £400, premises in Broockland, 

" containing 27 morgens, or 54 acres, be it more or less, and bounded 
southeasterly by the land of Machiell Hansen (Bergen), westerly by the 
land of Joris Hansen (Bergen), and in the rear southwesterly by a certain 
creeke running through the meadows coming from Gowanos mill soe 
called, including all the meadows in the rear of the said land, and adjoin- 
ing thereto between the said creek and the said land." 

These deeds covered that portion of Bout's patent not included 
within "the Neck," and possibly may have included some addi- 
tional land of Jurianse, the second husband of Annetie Para. 

Upon Bout's patent was located Freeke's Mill, or the " old Gow- 
anus Mill," probably the oldest in the town of Breukelen. As early 


as in 1661, it was occupied conjointly by Isaac De Forest and Adam 
Brower, the latter purchasing the interest of the former. 1 They 
•were, undoubtedly, tenants of Bout, who, in 1667 (King's Co. Con- 
vey., p. 179), gave " the corn and meadows and place whereon the 
mill is grounded," to the children of Adam Brower. And, according 
to a deed, dated April 30, 1707, of Sybrant Brower to Abram and 
Nicholas Brower (King's Co. Convey., liber iii. p. 201) it appears 
that their ancestor, Adam Brower, had received from the heirs of 
Bout and Teunis Nuyse a conveyance of the neck of land upon which 
the mill was located. This mill-pond was formed by damming off 
the head of Gowanus Kil, and the old mill was located just north of 
Union, west of Nevin, and between that street and Bond. 2 

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 off a 
branch of the Gowanus Kil, 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 down 
about 1852, was in Carroll, midway between Nevins street and Third 

There is some uncertainty regarding the precise limits of these 
three patents of Bout, Stoffelsen, and Van Couvenhoven, which to- 
gether evidently cover that portion of our city included between 
Fulton avenue, Smith and Nevins streets, and described on our map 
as lands of Marten se and Gerritsen. 3 


On the 22d of February, 1646, Htjyck Aertsen (van Rossum) 
received from Gov. Kieft, 

" a piece of land lying at the Marechkawieck, on the marsh of the Gowanus 
Kil, the maize-land as well as the woodland, bounded on the southeast by 
the land of Jan Evertse (Bout), along the marsh east 68 rods, southeast 30 

1 See Dr. O'Callaghan's note in Hist. Mag. for Aug., 1862. 

2 See map of land, mill and mill-pond of John C. Freeke, by J. Lott, 1833. 
1 See ante, pp. 96, 97, Wolpliertsen's patent. 


rods further up the maize-land till to the woods, northeast by east 85 rods, 
northeast by north 60 rods, the breadth in the woods till to the land of 
said Jan Evertsen (Bout) northwest eighty-seven rods, again to the maize 
land next the land of the aforesaid Jan Evertsen (Bout) southwest and 
southwest by west 55 rods, through the maize-land to the place of begin- 
ning, southwest a little southerly, 137 rods: amounting in all to 19 mor- 
gens and 105 rods." 

To this was subsequently added another parcel, making in all 29 
morgens. 1 This tract may be described as lying between Fulton 
avenue, Fourth avenue, Nevins and Douglass streets, designated on 
the map as belonging to Mary Powers and to Nicholas Casthalez. 2 
It was confirmed by Gov. Nicholls, June 21, 1667, to Albert Cornelis- 
sen (Wantenaer), 3 who had married Trientje, the widow of Huyck 
Aertsen van Kossum, deceased. March 7, 1680-1, Cornelissen con- 
veyed, by endorsement on the back of the patent from Gov. Kieft, 
and the confirmatory one from Gov. Nicholls, the above premises to 
Michael Hansen (Bergen) ; also, by a separate conveyance, the 
adjoining meadows, which he had bought of Theunis Nyssen on the 
16th of May, 1656, and which had been confirmed to him by a patent 
from Gov. Nicholls, dated June 26, 1668/ The original patent to 

1 Patents, G G, 136. 

2 It, however, covered rather more than these two pieces. 

3 Or " the glove-maker." Albert Cornelissen, in June, 1643, let himself as a wheel- 
wright to Conyn Oerritsen, for one year (N. Y. Col. MSS., ii. 61). On June 5, 1665, he 
was tried for killing Barent Jansen, of Brooklyn, by striking him in the side with a knife, 
of which wound he died the same day. As the deed was done in self-defence, the jury 
returned a verdict of manslaughter, and he was sentenced to be burned in the hand 
before the rising of the court, to forfeit all his goods and chattels, and to remain in 
prison for a year and a day. He was, however, pardoned on the same day by Gov. 
Nicholls. (Alb. Rec. Patents, vol. i. 165.) 

4 These meadows of Teunis Niessen are referred to in Holl. Doc, i. 338, in the 
Answer of the W. I. Co. to the Remonstrance of the New Netherlands, 1650. Jan 
Evertsen Bout and J. Van Cowenhoven complained, in that remonstrance, that " after 
the transfer had been executed of the patents to the proprietor, Kieft had added thereto 
a little clause which was manifestly contradictory ; inasmuch as the patents included 
the land and valley, and the clause takes the valley (or meadows) back to the Com- 
pany," &c. The reply (p. 340) says : " We are informed, and therefore say, that the 
petitioners will not prove the late Director, William Kieft, hath called in more than 
one patent ; and he subjoined with his own hand, that he reserved the valley, not for 
the Company, but for the town of Breuckelen, in general. The reason for the revocation 
was because Jan Evertsen Bout, one of the petitioners, who occupies part of the valley, 
together with others beside him, who undertook to found or improve the town of 


Van Rossum specified the amount of land as being 29 morgens ; the 
confirmatory patent of Nicholls, with substantially the same bounda- 
ries, estimated it at 90 morgens. Bergen took possession of 90 
morgens, whereupon the freeholders of Breuckelen, about 1722, 
brought a suit against him in Chancery, claiming that he had a right 
to only 29 acres, and that the balance belonged to the town. During 
the progress of this suit Bergen, for the sum of .£800, conveyed 
the property in question to his son, Hans Bergen, 1 who compro- 
mised with the freeholders of Breuckelen for the sum of £40, and 
thus ended the suit. 2 He, by his will, dated January 18, 1731, and 
proved January 13, 1732, 3 devised to his oldest son, Michael, 
the farm on which he then resided, being 180 acres (90 mor- 
gen), which he (Hans Bergen) had purchased from his father. 
On the 12th April, 1748, Rachel, widow of Hans Bergen, released to 
her son, Michael Bergen, her right of dower in the farm in Brook- 
land, which was devised to him by his father, said farm being 
bounded in the release as follows : " Southerly by land of Jacobus 
Debevois ; northerly by land of Carell Debevois and Israel Horsfield ; 
easterly by the King's Highway, leading from Flatbush to New 
York ferry ; and westerly by the meadows ; containing 120 acres : 

Brooklyn, at their own expense, represented to the Director how prejudicial it would 
be to the town that one man, named Teunis Nyssen, should have too exclusive posses- 
sion of so large a valley (meadow), directly contrary to the (provisions of the) Freedoms. 
The Director signed the report of Hudde (Surveyor-General) without then specifying 
the morgens. And after information had been received from said Jan Evertsen Bout 
(one of the petitioners) and others, the Director allowed Teunis Nyssen, agreeably to 
the Freedoms, as much of said valley as he should have need of, in proportion to his 

January 26, 1668, a patent was granted to Albert C. Wantenaer to confirm to him a 
lot of ground in the town of Breuckelen, on Lorig Island, said lot "being on the west side 
of the town next to J. E. Bout, abutting on the highway, which lot being, on the 22d 
day of April, 1654, surveyed and measured in the presence of the then Schout and 
Schepens, was found to contain on the southeast side 26 rods, to the north the like, 
and northeast by north 5 rod 9 feet," as owned by said Albert, also " a certain parcell 
of valley or meadow ground, lying behind the said Albert's plough-land, stretching 
from the Great Kil to the entrance into the woodland," as sold by Teunis Nysse, May 
26, 1656, to said Albert." These patents and conveyances are now in possession of Hon. 
T. G. Bergen. 

1 Conveyance dated August 21, 1723. Kings Co. Convey., liber v. 19. 

s Conveyance (signed by 61 freeholders) dated January 7, 1723-4. Kings Co. Convey., 
liber E, 29. 

3 Liber ii. 311, Wills— Surrogate's office, city of New York. 


also her right of dower in the meadows and woodland." 1 This 
Michael Bergen devised the farm, by will, to his grandson, Michael 
Bergen Grant, who subsequently conveyed it to George Powers. 


On the east side of the King's Highway (now Fulton avenue), we 
find that the somewhat triangular section of land, which we may 
describe, in general terms, as at present included between Fulton 
street and avenue, Baymond street, and a liDe drawn a little south of 
and parallel to Tillary street, was taken up by Joris Dircksen, PiETER 


To Joris Dircksen was granted, March 23, 1646, 

"a certain piece of land, woodland as well as maize-land, lying at Marech- 
kawieck, bounded on the northwest by the land of Pieter Cornelissen, and 
extends next the said Peter Cornelissen till into the woods west, southwest 
and southwest by west, 187 rods; into and through the woods east south- 
east and southeast by east, between both 115 rods; further toward the 
valley (marsh) into and through the wood and maize-land, northeast 66 
rods till to the maize-land and further, 80 rods ; northeast by north till to 
the valley (marsh) to the place of beginning, 35 rods : amounting in all to 
18 morgens, 501 rods." 9 

To this was afterwards added by purchase, in 1685, a small piece 
of land on the east side of the road, belonging originally to the 
patent of Andries Hudde, 3 on the opposite side of the highway. 

February 28th, 1687-8, the heirs of Susanna Dubbles, deceased 
wife of Joris Dircksen, conveyed to Hendrick Sleght, "land at the 
northwest of the land of Peter Comelise," as granted by ground 
brief of Gov. Kieft to Joris Dircksen, March 23, 1646. 

Sleght's heirs, on May 1st, 1705, conveyed the same to Carell 
Debevois, it being described as 

1 See old deed in possession of T. Ot. Bergen, Esq. 
5 Patents, G G, 138. 

3 Deed dated September 13, 1668. Liber ii., 181, Kings Co. Convey. Consideration, 
£176 11*. 


"bounded east by a certain creek, northerly by the land of Adryan 
Hoogland, westerly by the country roade that leads to the Ferry, and 
southerly by the land of Jacob Vande water, with a small piece of meadow 
adjoining thereto, and all as it is now in fence, and formerly in the tenure 
and occupation of Hendrick Sleght, deceased, containing 18 morgens and 
510 rods, English measure." 

The parcel possessed by Cornelis Dircksen, the ferryman, has 
been already described on pages 75 and 76. 

That of Pieter Cornelissen, carpenter, was a piece of land 

"lying at Marechkawiech, both the maize-land and the woodland, 
bounded north by Cornelis Dircksen, ferryman ; on the southeast by Joris 
(or George) Dircksen : it extends next the said ferryman's (land) from the 
marsh through the maize-land (and) the woods, to the division line of 
Claes Cornelissen, west by north and west northwest, between both, 172 
rods; behind in the woods next the buildings and improvements of An- 
dries Hudde, south by west, 138 rods; further east southeast and south- 
east by east, between both 31 rods ; and along the said Joris's land, through 
the wood and maize land till to the marsh east, northeast and northeast by 
east, 178 rods; along the marsh 25 rods, to the place of beginning: 
amounting in all to 27 morgens, 119 rods." 

The date of this patent was February 8, 1646. 1 

1 Patents, G G, 133. 




The history of Breuckelen, during the period intervening between 
its incorporation in 1646 and the conquest of Nieuw Netherland by 
the English, in 1664, presents but few points of interest or impor- 
tance. It is mentioned in 1649 as one of " two villages of little 
moment ; m and its course, as illustrated by the scanty records 
which remain to us, 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. 

Stuyvesant, the new Director-General, on his arrival in 1647, 
found Nieuw Netherland in an exceedingly " low condition." Ex- 
cepting the Long Island settlements, the colony contained scarcely 
fifty " bouweries" under cultivation, and less than three hundred 
men capable of bearing arms. The commonalty were disorderly 
and discontented ; the public revenue seriously impaired by ineffi- 
cient or dishonest officials ; trade ruined by smuggling ; and the 
general safety weakened by bickerings and disputes with colonial 
patroons, concerning rights of jurisdiction. The savages, also, 
brooding over their past defeats, evidently waited only for an oppor- 
tunity to avenge their losses ; and jealous neighbors were secretly 
plotting against the Dutch rule in America. Stuyvesant, however, 
entered upon the task of reform with an energy peculiarly charac- 
teristic, and in less than three months, disorder was restrained, the 
revenues protected, and trade revived. The Indians were concil- 
iated, and a tolerably good understanding established with the New 
England Colonies. The powers of government — executive, legis- 
lative, and judicial — which he assumed, were quite extensive, and 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., i. 285. * 


often arbitrary. Directly or indirectly, lie appointed and commis- 
sioned all public officers, framed all laws, and decided all important 
controversies. He also heard all appeals from subordinate magis- 
trates, who were required to send such cases as were pending before 
them to the Council, for their decision. He directed churches to 
be built, installed ministers, and even ordered them when and where 
to preach. Assuming the sole control of the public lands, he ex- 
tinguished the Indian title thereto, and allowed no purchase to be 
made from the natives without his sanction ; and granted at pleas- 
ure, to individuals and companies, parcels of land, subject to such 
conditions as he saw fit to impose. In the management of these 
complicated affairs the Director developed a certain imperiousness 
of manner and impatience of restraint, due, perhaps, as much to 
his previous military life as to his personal character ; and it is not 
strange that he sometimes exercised his prerogative in a capricious 
and arbitrary manner, and with little regard to the wishes of his 
people. During the whole of his predecessor's unquiet rule a con- 
stant struggle had been going on between the personal prerogative 
of the Executive and the inherent sentiment of popular freedom 
which prevailed among the commonalty, leading the latter con- 
stantly to seek for themselves the franchises and freedoms of the 
Fatherland, to which, as loyal subjects, they deemed themselves 
entitled in New Netherland. The contest was reopened soon after 
Stuyvesant's installation, and the firmness of both Director and 
people, in the maintenance of what each jealously considered their 
rights, gave indication of serious disturbance to the public weal. 
In 1647, however, the doughty Governor found himself in a predica- 
ment from which only the good people could relieve him. Trouble 
was brewing among the Indians, w r hose promised annual presents 
were considerably in arrears, and there existed an imperative neces- 
sity for certain repairs upon Fort Amsterdam. But the provincial 
treasury was bankrupt ; and Stuyvesant, well knowing that the 
people would never submit to be taxed without their consent, found 
it convenient to yield his much-valued prerogative to the sentiment 
of the community, and, by advice of his Council, demanded a pop- 
ular representation in the affairs of government. An election was 
therefore held, at which the inhabitants of Amsterdam, Breuckelen, 


Amersfoort, and Pavonia chose eighteen of "the most notable, 
reasonable, honest, and respectable" among them, from whom, 
according to the custom of the Fatherland, the Director and Council 
selected Nine Men as an advisory Council ; and although their 
powers and duties were jealously limited and guarded by the Direc- 
tor's Proclamation, yet the appointment of the Nine Men was a con- 
siderable gain to the cause of popular rights. Distinctly considered 
as " good and faithful interlocutors and trustees of the common- 
alty," they were to confer with the Director and Council, " as their 
tribunes, on all means to promote the welfare" of the public, " as 
well as that of the country," and after due consultation upon the 
propositions of the Director and Council, might then " bring for- 
ward their advice." The Director might at any time attend their 
meetings and act as president. Three of their number, in rotation, 
were to have seats at the Council once a week, on regular court 
day, to act as arbitrators in civil cases ; and their awards were 
binding, although, on payment of a special fee, appeal was per- 
mitted to the Council. Six of their number were to vacate their 
seats annually, whose successors were to be chosen by the Council, 
the Director, and " the Nine assembled ;" by which means, in the 
first election only, the choice proceeded directly from the people. 
In this first popular assembly Breuckelen was represented by Jan 
Evertsen Bout, a farmer by occupation, and one of the original 
founders of the town. 

The various measures of improvement in civil, municipal, military, 
religious, and educational matters, which the Director submitted to 
the Nine Men, were approved, and they promptly undertook to tax 
themselves for all, except for the expenses of finishing the fort, 
which they claimed the Company, by the charter of 1629, had 
bound themselves to do, and the Governor was obliged to waive 
that point. 

The subsequent history of Stuyvesant's government is a record of 
quarrels with colonial patroons, with the English in New England, 
the Swedes on the South Eiver, and last — not least — with his own 
people. In fact, the government was by no means well adapted to 
the people or adequate to protect them. The laws were very im- 
perfect, and the Director and Council either incompetent or indis- 


posed to remedy the serious defects which existed in the adminis- 
tration of civil and criminal justice. And, finally, so far did the 
Governor's assumption of authority exceed the patience of the com- 
monalty, and so general was the feeling of public insecurity and 
discontent, that the people resolved, with great unanimity, to make 
a formal presentation of their grievances to the Governor, and 
demand redress. 

Accordingly, on the 26th of November, 1653, " the most impor- 
tant popular convention that had ever assembled in New Nether- 
land" met at New Amsterdam. It adjourned, however, to the 10th 
of December following, at which time delegates appeared from the 
city, Breuckelen, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, Newtown, Flush- 
ing, and Hempstead. Breuckelen was on this occasion represented 
by Messrs. Frederick Lubbertsen, Paulus Van der Beech, and William 
Beekman, all men of position and ability. The Convention, after 
mutual consultation and discussion, adopted a remonstrance which 
our space will not allow of quoting in full, but which we may char- 
acterize as ably drawn and firmly but courteously expressed, and as 
manifesting an intelligent appreciation of their own rights, as well 
as a thorough acquaintance with the legitimate objects of civil gov- 
ernment. It substantially demanded necessary reforms, and laws 
" resembling, as near as possible, those of the Netherlands." Stuy- 
vesant winced under the truth which this earnest popular protest 
contained, and sought to weaken its effect by declaring that Breuck- 
elen, Midwout, and Amersfoort had " no right of jurisdiction," and 
therefore no right to send delegates to a popular convention, and 
that the Convention itself was an unorganized body who had no 
right to address the Director, or " anybody else." Nothing daunted, 
the deputies, on the 13th of December, appealing to the law of 
Nature, which permits all men to assemble for the protection of 
their liberties and property, presented a second remonstrance, 
and declared, that if the Governor and Council would not grant 
them redress and protection, they would appeal to their superiors, 
the States-General and the West India Company. Irritated by 
their pertinacity and overmatched in argument, Stuyvesant fell back 
on his prerogative, and in an arrogant message — which declared 
that " We derive our authority from God and the Company, not 


from a few ignorant subjects, and we alone can call the inhabitants 
together" — he ordered the Convention to "disperse, and not to 
assemble again upon such business." Breuckelen, Amersfoort, and 
Midwout were also ordered to prohibit their delegates from attend- 
ing, for the present, any meeting at New Amsterdam. The pop- 
ular voice found partial expression, however, in letters addressed 
to the West India Company by the authorities of New Amsterdam 
and Gravesend, which were forwarded to Holland by an agent who 
was authorized to use every legitimate means to secure the reforms 
which the people demanded. Meanwhile, the exigencies of the 
times gave to the disaffected community an excellent opportunity 
of demonstrating that their discontent with the existing govern- 
ment of the colony did not arise from any lack of loyalty to the 
home government in the Fatherland. 

The rapid increase of piracy on the Sound, and robberies on 
Long Island, led the magistracy, early in February, 1654, to recom- 
mend to the Director and Council that a force of forty men should 
be raised from the several towns, for the common defence. 1 This 
number was levied as follows : From the Manhattan, 8 ; from 
" Breuckelen, the Ferry, and the Walloon quarter," 4 ; Hempstead, 
4 ; Bensselaerswyck, 4 ; Beverwyck, 4 ; Staten Island, 2 ; Middle- 
burgh and Mespath Kill, 3 ; Gravesend, 3 ; Flushing, 3 ; Amers- 
foort, 2 ; Midwout, 2 ; Paulus Hook, 1. Letters were also ad- 
dressed to the towns of Breuckelen, Amersfoort, and Midwout, 
requesting them " to lend their aid, at this critical juncture, to fur- 
ther whatever may advance the public defence." In response to 
this communication, the magistrates of the three towns, together 
with the court-martial, assembled at Breuckelen on the 7th of 
April, 1654, and adopted the most energetic measures for the gen- 
eral welfare. Every male was required to do guard-duty in his 
turn, "each acting schepen, at his discretion, trusting on his active 
and cheerful aid in times of peril." In case of invasion, " every 
inhabitant, of whatever station and condition," was to " unite in a 
general resistance," or pay a heavy fine. Every third man was 

1 New Amsterdam Rec, i. 378 ; Col. Rec, v. 213, 214. This document was signed by 
Frederick Lubbertsen, William Bredenbent, and Albert Cornelissen, of Breuckelen, 
and five others. 


detailed as a minute-man, and was bound to obey any warning, 
" at a moment's notice." Any person who might discover an enemy 
at night was required to fire his gun three times, to warn his next 
neighbor, who was to do the same ; and any firing of guns at night, 
except as signals, was prohibited, under strong penalties. Several 
military officers were also chosen. 1 

Subsequent alarms, of invasion by the English, occasioned similar 
calls upon the Dutch towns of Long Island, which were all responded 
to with the same alacrity. Of the divers troubles which, now sur- 
rounded Stuyvesant's government it is needless for us to speak. 
Suffice it to say, that the English colonies were full of disaffection 
and plottings, while the Dutch were somewhat alienated by the 
Director's former arbitrary dealings ; and, on every hand, disorgani- 
zation threatened the colony. At this critical juncture came wel- 
come news of peace between England and Holland ; and shortly 
after, Stuyvesant, having learned wisdom from his past experience, 
and wishing to counterbalance the political preponderance of the 
English towns, determined to reward the loyalty of Breuckelen, 
Amersfoort, and Midwout, by enlarging their municipal privileges. 
Two schepens were added to the two which Breuckelen already pos- 
sessed ; and David Provoost, the former commissary of Fort Hope, 
was appointed her first separate schout or constable. Similar addi- 
tions were made to the magistracy of Amersfoort and Midwout ; 
and a superior " district court" was also organized, of delegates 
from each town-court, together with the schout. To this court, 
which existed in this form till 1661, was intrusted authority to reg- 
ulate roads, build churches, establish schools, and enact local laws. 
It was also, to a limited extent, a court of record. 2 By the creation 
of this court, these towns became entitled, under the Dutch law, to 
the rights of jurisdiction and representation, which had been so abso- 
lutely denied them by the Director-General in 1653, " for under the 
feudal law it was the fief, whether manor or town, that was entitled 
to be represented, and not the people ; and no delegation could exist 
without a local court from which it could emanate." 

Previously to this time, also, the Dutch inhabitants of Long Island 

1 Col. Rec, v. 240, 242. « New Amsterdam Rec, i. 376-427. 


had been without church or minister of their own, and were obliged 
either to attend public worship in New Amsterdam, or to avail them- 
selves of the occasional ministrations, at private houses in the vil- 
lages, of some of the metropolitan dominies. To remedy this want 
of a settled ministry now became the endeavor of the Director and 
Council ; and soon (December, 1654) a small church-edifice was 
erected by the joint effort of the three towns, at Midwout (Flatbush), 
and the Eeverend Johannes Theodoras Polhemus, formerly sta- 
tioned at Itamarca, Brazil, was duly installed as the first Dutch 
pastor on Long Island. In this first Reformed Dutch Church on 
the island, services were held every Sabbath morning, and in the 
afternoon at Breuckelen and Amersfoort alternately. This arrange- 
ment continued until 1660, when Dominie Selyns was settled as the 
pastor of the people at Breuckelen. 

In July of this year, the ferry between Manhattan and Long Isl- 
and was regulated by an ordinance of the Council, which also estab- 
lished the rates of toll, etc. A tavern had been established at " The 
Ferry" some time before this. 1 The subject of the ferry, however, 
is of so much importance as to demand a full chapter to itself, 
which the reader will find in another portion of this volume. 

April 8th, 1655, the magistrates of Breuckelen petitioned the 
Council that they might be permitted, inasmuch " as the present 
schepens have served their time, to send in a nomination of a 
double number to the High Council," from which a selection might 
be made to supply the places of those schepens whose time had so 
expired. The Council, in reply, requested the magistrates to inform 
them, " as far as it is in their power, of the character, manners, and 
expertness of the most respectable individuals of their village, and 
places in its vicinity under their jurisdiction ;" and the schepens 
having done so, the Council appointed Messrs. Frederick Lubbertsen, 
Albert Comelissen, and Jacob Dircksen, and Joris Bapelje in the place 
of Peter Cornelissen. 2 

On the 5th of May ensuing, David Provoost, " schout or tem- 
porary secretary" to the three Dutch towns, petitioned for a salary 

1 Mentioned in N. Y. Col. Doc, i. 425, under date of Nov. 29, 1650, as being (with 
exception of that at Flushing) the only one outside of Manhattan Island. 
s N. Y. Col. MSS, vi. 27, 29. 


equal to that enjoyed by Secretary Kip of New Amsterdam. It was 
granted to him in the form of fees, of which the following schedule 
may be interesting to legal gentlemen of the present day. For 
copying every judicial act passed by the schepens, or for each apos- 
tille, 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 ; but he was not 
to charge any thing for petitions or remonstrances, prepared for and 
by order of the schepens, and directed to the Governor and Coun- 
cil. 1 Provoost died in January, 1656, and was succeeded by Peter 
Tonneman, 2 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 3 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 March, 1656, the schepens of Breuckelen, in view of the fact 
that there were several building-lots remaining within their village, 
upon which no buildings had been erected, contrary, as they sup- 
posed, to the wish and order of the Director-General and Council, 
requested that advertisements might be posted up in the village, 
requiring all village lot owners to build thereon within a certain 
specified time, under penalty. This measure, which they consid- 
ered would promote the prosperity of Breuckelen and the increase of 
its population, met the approval of the Council, who fixed the time at 
two months, with an extension of six under certain circumstances. 4 

In September following, the magistrates of the three Dutch towns 
requested the Director-General to make a peace with the Indians in 
their neighborhood, before his contemplated departure on a visit to 
Fort Orange, as they were apprehensive of an attack. 6 

April 11, 1657, in response to a petition of the magistrates of 
Breuckelen, Thursday of each week was declared a market-day in 
the village of Breuckelen. 8 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., vi. 37, 38. 4 N. Y. Col. MSS., vi. 344, 345. 

1 Ibid., 245. B Ibid, viii. 215. 

3 Or £33 6s. 8d. (Alb. Rec, x. 248.) ° Ibid, 523. 


November 28, 1658, the burgomasters and schepens of Nieuw Am- 
sterdam, in a petition for an annual fair (for lean cattle, to be held 
during the month of May, and for fat cattle, from the 20th to the 
last of November), desire that no stranger in attendance shall be 
liable to arrest or summons ; also, that the ferryman shall ferry 
over all cattle going to the fair, at 25 stivers per head (instead of 20 
stivers), with an accompanying reservation that he shall ferry back, 
free, all cattle not sold at the fair. The petition was agreed to. 1 

In February, 1660, the villages of Breuckelen and New Utrecht 
were ordered to be immediately put into a state of defence, with 
palisades, etc., and the Hon. Nicasius de Sille was directed to sur- 
vey and attend thereto. 2 

During the same month, several Frenchmen settled, by Stuy- 
vesant's permission, at a place "between Mespath Kil and Nor- 
man's Kil," and laid the foundation of a village since known as 
Boswick, or Bushwick, now included in the Eastern District of the 
city of Brooklyn. 

On the 1st of March, 1660, Aert Anthonissen Middagh, Teunis 
Gybertsen Bogart, Jean Le Clerc, Gerrit Heyndrick Backer. Philip 
Barchstoel, Christina Cappoens, Jacob Kip, and Joris Bapalje, 
all residents of the Waal-boght neighborhood, petitioned the Direc- 
tor 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 Amster- 
dam." 3 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 our city, and which was 
known in the ancient time as the " Keike," or " Lookout." Jacob 
Kip, the owner 4 of the land adjoining the Hans Hansen (Bergen) 
patent (described pages 88 to 97), had been secretary of Nieuw 
Amsterdam, and was an influential and enterprising man in the 
colony. It was, probably, owing to his desire to improve the 
value of his real estate, by securing the establishment of a village 
thereon, that this petition was made ; and his influence with the 
authorities was such, that permission was granted to erect the 

1 N. Y. Col. MBS., viii. 1047. 2 Ibid., ix. 78. 3 Ibid., ix. 522. 

4 Tbere is, however, no evidence that lie ever resided on the property. 


block-house, and the settlers in the vicinity were directed to remove 

In May following, the Governor and Council appointed Jacques 
Cortelyou, surveyor, Albert Cornelissen (Wantenaer), and Jan 
Evertse Bout, as commissioners to examine the situation and qual- 
ity of the land in the neighborhood of the village of Breuckelen, 
and to report (with a map) how much of it remained undisposed of, 
how it was cultivated, and how many plantations might be advan- 
tageously laid out upon it. 1 

This year (1660) is also noticeable as the year in which the first 
church was organized in Breuckelen, by the installation of the Rev- 
erend Henricus Selyns, of which memorable event a full account 
will be found in another chapter. The town at that time had a 
population of thirty-one families, or 134 souls, who, being unpro- 
vided with a church, assembled, at first, in a barn for public worship. 

On the 10th of February, 1661, the residents in the vicinity of the 
Waal-boght were notified that they must comply with the previous 
orders of the Council against isolated dwellings, and that they must 
remove to the village erected during the previous year on Kip's 
land {ante, p. 113), for greater security, before the 15th of the next 
month. 2 

To this they demurred, and requested permission to construct a 
block-house for their defence, on the point of Joris Rapelje's land — 
i. e., on the easterly side of the Waal-boght. 3 They were ordered to 
"appear on the next Council-day, together with Jacob Kip and 
Christina Cappoens, to be heard pro and con." On the 3d of 
March, therefore, the same petitioners — viz., Joris Eapaille, Teunis 
Gysbert Bogaert, Rem Jansen Smith, Evert Dircx van As, Jan Joris 
Eapaille, Jean Le Clercq, Wynant Pieters, " all residents or land- 
holders in or about the Waale-boght" — set forth in a petition that 
" some time ago (i. e., in March, 1660), on the petition of Jacob 
Kip and others," it had been decreed that " a village and block- 
house should be laid out on the height at the end of said Kip's land," 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., ix. 197. 

2 N. Y. Col. MSS., is. 523. The reference of this order to Brooklyn, in the printed 
Calendar of Documents, is evidently incorrect. 

3 N. Y. Col. MSS., ix. 530, date Feb. 24, 1661. 


and that they had been ordered to remove thither. To this they 
objected, " inasmuch as the place is wholly unfit for the purpose, 
partly because the woodland thereabout, being stony, is not suitable 
for arable land," and "little or no crops can be, apparently, expected 
from it, as it cannot be ploughed, in consequence of the large num- 
ber of rocks and hollows thereabouts ; wherefore, it is impossible, 
even by the hardest labor, to obtain a scanty living there. More- 
over, in consequence of the uncommon height of the land there, it is 
impossible to find good and sufficient water to make a well. Jan de 
Kaeper's (Jan, the sailor's) well is an example of this : it adjoins 
his house in the valley (meadow), and people must descend into it 
by means of ladders, and then scoop the water in a little bowl, 
which (i. e. the well), nevertheless, does not suffice (to supply) two 
families who are dwelling there at present." The streams in the 
neighborhood are mostly dried up in summer, and during the win- 
ter season the roads are often very "hard and pointed by the 
frost, or deep and muddy in heavy rains, or well-nigh impassable 
from snow," so that, when people wish to water their cattle, 
they are obliged to fetch the water in barrels from Theunis Gys- 
bertse (Bogaert's) well, which is a most fatiguing and injurious 
business for farmers, both in summer and winter ;" a drudgery, in 
fact, which the petitioners state they " daily see performed by their 
neighbors with a weeping eye." For these reasons the petitioners 
requested permission " to build a block-house on Joris Rapaille's 
point (hoeck)," which they considered a much preferable place for 
the purpose," being " by nature more defensible and stronger," the 
water there being " by far the richest fountain in the entire coun- 
try, and the spot being conveniently "near their bouweries and 
plantations." They admitted the possibility of being separated 
from each other by occasional high floods ; but they expected to 
lay a bridge over the KiT — two or three planks broad — and to 
grant to each one who was willing to settle there convenient lots for 
houses and gardens, of which they would transfer to them their 
whole right and title, " so that, under God's blessing, it might soon 
increase to a convenient village." Their arguments prevailed with 

1 " Runnegackonck," the creek which formed the easterly boundary of Rapalie's farm, 
and emptied into the Wallabout Bay. 


the Director and Council, and the petition of Jacob Kip and Chris- 
tina Cappoens was rejected. 1 

In June, 1661, the people of Breuckelen presented a petition to 
the Council, through their schepens, asking that, 

" "Whereas, it pleased your Honors to allow them, for purposes of pasturage 
for their cattle (which now, God be praised, are increased to a considerable 
number), the use of certain portions of the ' valley' (or meadow), situated 
near the corner of Fred. Lubbertsen's (land), at the Red Hook ; also, a 
small valley (meadow) in the Walle-bocht, located in the woods between 
the mountain and the underwood (Kreupelbosch) ; besides a portion of 
the valley (meadow) beyond the 3d kil, towards the seaside, extending 
easterly towards the 4th kil, and westerly from the sea towards the 

the aforesaid tracts may be granted to them in perpetuity. This 
petition was granted as soon as the land could be surveyed. 2 

The tithes of Breuckelen, Gowanus, and the Waal-bocht, for 
this year, were sold by the Director-General and Council to Messrs. 
Paulus "Van der Beeck and Warnaer Wessels, and the people were 
forbidden to remove any thing from their farms until the tithes had 
been collected by these purchasers. 

The year 1661 will also be ever memorable in the history of 
Breuckelen as having furnished to the good people their first school- 
master. On the 4th of July, 1661, the following petition was pre- 

" To the Right Hon ble Director-General and Council of New Netherland : 
The Schout and Schepens of the Court of Breuckelen respectfully repre- 
sent that they found it necessary that a Court Messenger was required for 
the Schepens' Chamber, to be occasionally employed in the Village of 
Breuckelen and all around where he may be needed, as well to serve sum- 
mons, as also to conduct the service of the Church, and to sing on Sun- 
days; to take charge of the School, dig graves, etc., ring the Bell, and 
perform whatever else may be required : Therefore, the Petitioners, with 
your Honors' approbation, have thought proper to accept for so highly 
necessary an office a suitable person who is now come before them, one 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., ix. 547. 3 Ibid., 647, 648. 


Carel van Beauvois, to whom they have hereby appropriated a sum of 
fl. 150, besides a free dwelling; and whereas the Petitioners are appre- 
hensive that the aforesaid C. v. Beauvois would not and cannot do the 
work for the 6um aforesaid, and the Petitioners are not able to promise 
him any more, therefore the Petitioners, with all humble and proper rev- 
erence, request your Honors to be pleased to lend them a helping hand, 
in order thus to receive the needful assistance. Herewith, awaiting your 
Honors' kind and favorable answer, and commending ourselves, Honorable, 
wise, prudent, and most discreet Gentlemen, to your favor, we pray for 
your Honors God's protection, together with a happy and prosperous ad- 
ministration unto Salvation. Your Honors' servants and subjects, The 
Schout and Schepens of the Village aforesaid. By order of the same, 

" (Signed) Adriaen Hegeman, Secretary." 

In answer to this petition, the Director and Council were gra- 
ciously pleased to say that they would " pay fifty guilders, in wam- 
pum, annually, for the support of the precentor (voorsanger) and 
schoolmaster in the village of Breuckelen." 1 



Carel de Beauvois, who was thus commissioned to fulfil the mul- 
tifarious duties of court-messenger, bell-ringer, grave-digger, chor- 
ister, reader, and schoolmaster of Breuckelen, is described by Kiker 
as " a highly respectable and well-educated French Protestant, who 
came from Leyden, in Holland. He was of a family whose name 
and origin were probably derived from the ancient city of Beauvais, 
on the river Therm, to the northwest of Paris ; but there is reason 
to believe that he himself was a native of Leyden. He arrived at 

i N. Y. Col. MSS., ix. 678. 


Amsterdam, in the ship Otter, February 17, 1659, accompanied by 
his wife, Sophia Yan Lodensteyn, and three children born to them 
in Leyden, and now aged eight, six, and three years respectively. 
His literary merits and acquaintance with the Dutch language soon 
acquired for him the situation of a teacher ;" but in 1661, as we 
have seen, his duties were enlarged by his appointment to the office of 
chorister and reader. He afterwards served as public secretary or 
town clerk, which office he held till 1669. His descendants have 
ever been numbered among the most respectable citizens of Brook- 
lyn, Bush wick, and Newtown. 1 

The arrival of Governor Winthrop at New Amsterdam, en route, to 
England in July, 1661, afforded an opportunity to the inhabitants of 
Breuckelen to honor their distinguished guest, and their own Gov- 
ernor, who escorted him, with a salute, for which purpose ten pounds 
of powder were issued to them from the public stores. 2 

In this year, also (1661), Boswyck, which now numbered twenty- 
three families, received its official recognition as a town by the 
creation of a subaltern court and magistrates ; but, having no Schout 
of its own, was, together with New Utrecht, annexed to the juris- 
diction of Hegeman, the Schout of Breuckelen, Amersfoort, and Mid- 
wout, — the district being afterwards known as the "Five Dutch 

In Sept., 1661, the inhabitants of Harlem, Bergen, Breuckelen, 
and the Dutch villages on Long Island, were notified to have their 
lands surveyed, and to take out patents therefor. 3 

In June, 1662, in consequence of a petition from Breuckelen, Mid- 
dleburg, Mespath, and other villages, Mr. Jacques Cortelyou is 
directed by the Council to survey and apportion to each of those 
towns, shares in the meadow between the 3d and 4th kils. Breuck- 
elen was to have 100 morgens, and Middleburgh and Mespath 80 
morgens each. 4 The meadows here referred to were probably those 
lying on the south side of the island, within the limits of the town of 
Jamaica, and known as " Seller's Neck." 

The year 1663 dawned over New Netherland, pregnant with im- 

1 See Riker's Hist, of Newtown, pp. 407, 410, for genealogy of the Do Bevoise 

2 N. Y. Col. MSS., ii. 460. 3 Ibid., is. 788. 4 Ibid., x. 149. 


pending trouble to the Dutch. An earthquake, bringing terror to 
their hearts, was followed by a great freshet which devastated their 
harvests. The dreaded small-pox raged through their villages, and 
decimated the neighboring Indian tribes. Then ensued the horrors 
of savage warfare, and men's hearts failed them before the terrors 
of the red-man's tomahawk and firebrand. When at last compar- 
ative peace had been restored, Stuyvesant turned his attention 
towards making some definite settlement with the colony of Con- 
necticut concerning their respective jurisdictions. The Connecticut 
authorities, however, claimed that several of the English towns of 
Long Island were under their rule, and even ventured to hint that 
they would reduce the adjoining Dutch villages also. After long 
and fruitless negotiations, the Dutch agents returned " with fleas in 
their ears" to New Amsterdam. Finding themselves powerless to 
resist their English and savage neighbors, the towns of Haerlem, 
Breuckelen, Midwout, Amersfoort, New Utrecht, Boswyck, Bergen, 
and the City, assembled in convention, by Stuyvesant's order, Nov. 
1st, and adopted a remonstrance to the Amsterdam Chamber, 
wherein they attributed their troubles to the supineness of the 
authorities in Holland. The action of the Convention was at once 
prompt and loyal to the interests of the country and the Fatherland. 
But, even while they deliberated, a revolution was in progress on 
Long Island. Certain self-constituted officials visited the English 
towns, changed the names thereof, proclaimed the king, and threat- 
ened the Dutch settlements. 

Let us turn aside, however, from the current of public events, in 
order to notice a few local items, marking more particularly the 
progress of the town of Breuckelen. 

On the first of March in this year (1663), the following petition 
was presented 
" To the Right Hon ble Director-General and Council of New Netherland : 

" Shew with due reverence and respect, the undersigned, neighbors and 
inhabitants of the village of Breuckelen, your Honors' obedient servants, 
that there lies convenient to us a certain place near Breuckelen fit to be 
erected into a new village, for our advantage, being a woodland (as we) 
believe (is) known to your Honors, in which place there is sufficient accom- 
modation where twenty or thirty persons can have a suitable place and 


lot; and as the valleys thereby furnish no nearer place (than) those adjoin- 
ing between the 3d and 4th kills, 1 to supply the cattle with fodder, and is 
also the nearest spot, therefore we, the Petitioners, are under the necessity 
of turning to your Honors, humbly praying and soliciting that the aforesaid 
requested place may be granted to them, each his lot, as the valleys in the 
hay season be far from here, and they seek the nearest, in order to bring 
in the grass dry and in good condition (with God's blessing), for the 
preservation of the cattle, and all that is annexed thereto, that appertains 
to the farmers. Awaiting, therefore, a favorable answer, if your Honors 
the Director-General and Council, in your wise discretion, shall vouchsafe 
to grant the same, we remain your Honors' obedient servants. 

Albert Cornelissen, 


Jan Jacobsen, Jan Damen, 

Joost Verstraalen, Jan Peters, from Deventer, 

Casper Pieters, Jan Martyn, 

Henrtcus Tettnis, Theunis Cornelis, 

Symon Clasen, Tjerck Jansen, 
Heyndryck Jansen Been, Tonis Snysken, (?)^ 

Tiercs Dierckss, Peter Peters, 

Harmen Heyndricks, Pieter Lambert, 

Jan Hibon, Symen Joosten, 


cornelys van borsem, plere wouterse, 

Lodewy(ck) Jongs, Cornelys Janse Spuyler, 


The magistrates of Midwout, also, petitioned for a similar favor of 
erecting a village on the same parcel of land. It was, therefore, de- 
termined by the authorities that the land should be surveyed by the 
Surveyor, in order that an opinion might be formed as to the num- 
ber of plantations which might advantageously be laid out on it. 

On the 26th of May, Thomas Lambertsen, Evert Dircksen van 
As, Teunis Dircksen, Teunis Jansen, John Damen, Hendrick Jan- 
sen Been, George Probatskin, Peter Petersen, Teunis Cornelissen, 
Joost Fransen, Dirck Jans Hooglandt, Paulus Dircksen, Wynant 

1 Ante, pp. 116, 118. * N. Y. Col. MSS., Part ii. x. 37. 


Petersen, Dirck Paulusen and Hendrick Claesen, citizens of Breuck- 
elen, petitioned the Council for leave to establish a " concentration," 
in the following terms : 

" Whereas, we lately obtained from your Honors a certain piece of land, 
situated back of the Waale-boght, or at Marcus' plantation ; and whereas, 
we, the petitioners, have our fencing stuff ready, and some of us have 
already sowed and planted, and others contemplate beginning their plan- 
tations, and inasmuch as (otherwise) we should be at a considerable distance 
from our property, we have agreed unanimously to solicit as a favor, that 
we may be permitted to make a concentration there, in order to protect 
our property." ' 

The petition was granted. 

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 will- 
ingness to aid in protecting their neighbors on Long Island, but it 
was deemed that the town tvas not strong enough to furnish so many 
men ; and a letter was despatched to the Director and Council to 
that effect ; also refusing, from prudential motives, to cross the river 
to the defence of New Amsterdam. Letters expressing a similar 
resolution were also sent by the neighboring towns of Arnersfoort, 
Gravesend, Midwout, and New Utrecht. 8 

In February, 1664, on petition of the magistrates of Breuckelen 
and the three adjoining Dutch towns, an ordinance was passed by 
the Council, providing for the registry of deeds, mortgages, and all 
legal writings relating to real estate in those towns, to be made, 
according to the practice of the Fatherland, before the Secretary and 
two of the magistrates of the town in which said property is situated, 
— no deed to be signed unless the original patent was exhibited. 3 

During the same month the people of Breuckelen were forbidden, 
under penalty of 100 guilders, 4 to remove their crops from the fields 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., x. Part ii., 117. 2 Ibid., x., Part ii. 191, 193, 195. 

3 Ibid., x., Part iii., 53, 55, 56. 


until the tithes had been collected by Sheriff Hegeman. The same 
thing had occurred before ; and in the following year, " some of the 
country people" of Breuckelen, having neglected to pay their tithes, 
were ordered to pay them within twenty-four hours, on penalty of 
execution. These tithes, probably, were not raised for church pur- 
poses exclusively, but for government. According to the laws of 
that day, lands were usually exempt from taxation for ten years, 
after which time they were taxed one-tenth of their produce. 

But, to return to our narrative of the public events which were 
agitating the colony of New Netherland. Early in January, 1664, 
Captain John Scott, an adventurer of unsettled life and principles, 
acting under the quasi authority of the Duke of York, visited the 
discontented English villages on Long Island, stimulated them to 
the formation of a distinct and independent government, of which 
he was declared the temporary President, and proclaimed Charles 
the Second as their king. Having made this fair beginning, he set 
out with about 150 followers, horse and foot, to subjugate the neigh- 
boring Dutch towns. Coming first to Breuckelen, he raised the 
English flag and addressed the citizens, afliraring that the soil they 
occupied belonged to the King of England, and absolving them from 
their allegiance to the Dutch Government. But his appeal fell dead 
upon the ears of the listening crowd, and the only answer made was 
a courteous invitation from Secretary Van Buyven, to visit and con- 
fer with the Director-General. This Scott declined, saying : " Let 
Stuyvesant come here with a hundred men ; I shall wait for him 
and run a sword through his body." Turning next to a lad near by, 
the son of Burgomaster Krygier, he commanded him to doff his hat 
to the royal standard. Upon the boy's refusal to do so, he struck 
him, whereupon one of the Dutch bystanders remarked that he 
ought to strike men, not boys. This speech provoked the ire of 
Scott's followers, four of whom fell upon the man, who was finally 
obliged to flee, after making a brief resistance with an axe. The 
English thereupon left, threatening to burn the town if he was not 
delivered up. 1 Passing next to Midwout, Scott repeated the scenes 
of Brooklyn ; but the stolid Dutchmen, alike unmoved by his seduc- 

1 N. Y. Col. Doc., ii. 394, 899, 482, 483, 404. 


tions and his threats, merely asked to see his commission, which he 
promised to produce on his return, in April. The next day the 
farce was repeated at Amersfoort and New Utrecht, where those 
who refused to salute the English flag were set upon and mal- 
treated, to the engendering of much confusion and mutual enmity. 

Learning of these transactions, Stuyvesant sent a commission to 
Long Island, to seek some settlement of these troubles. A meeting- 
occurred (January 14) between the two parties at Jamaica, where a 
basis of agreement was agreed upon — although Scott had informed 
the Dutchmen that the King of England had granted Long Island 
to his brother, the Duke of York, who was determined, if it was not 
peaceably surrendered, to possess himself of it, and also of the whole 
province of Nieuw Netherland. Collisions and disturbances, how- 
ever, continuing between the English and Dutch, induced the Direc- 
tor, in February, to call a meeting of delegates from the Dutch 
settlements on the island, for the purpose of making a proper rep- 
resentation to the States-General and W. I. Company, of their trials 
and dangers. This Convention, wherein Breuckelen was represented 
by Messrs. "Willem Bredenbent, Albert Cornelis Wantenaer, and Joris 
Gysberts Bogert, voted a remonstrance and detailed statement of 
affairs, which was forwarded to the Fatherland. 

In the succeeding month, the provisional arrangement agreed 
upon by the Dutch authorities and Captain Scott at Jamaica, in the 
preceding January, were formally ratified by commissioners from 
either side. It was the best the Dutch could do, in the unfortunate 
circumstances under which they were placed ; but it was a virtual 
concession of their own weakness and inability to cope with their 
English neighbors. The valley of the Connecticut Biver, the fer- 
tile lands of Westchester, and now, last of all, the five English towns 
of Long Island, had slipped from their nerveless grasp. In this 
critical state of affairs, the principle of popular representation was, 
for the first time, fully recognized in the province. 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 Netherland. This Convention, in 
which Breuckelen was represented by Willem Bredenbent and 
Albert Cornelis Wantenaer, assembled at the " Stadt Huys " (or City 


Hall), in New Amsterdam, on the 10th of April, 1664. Within the 
first clays of its session, however, advices were received from the 
Fatherland, announcing that the provincial despatches of Novem- 
ber preceding had been duly received, and that certain prompt and 
important measures had been inaugurated towards a settlement of 
the difficulties pending between the English and Dutch. An addi- 
tional military force was also sent out, and the Governor was directed 
to prosecute the war with the Esopus Indians to a complete and suc- 
cessful issue, and also to reduce to obedience the revolted English 
towns. Thinking this latter to be an undertaking easier commanded 
than accomplished, the Dutch authorities turned their chief atten- 
tion to their relations with the savages, with whom, on the 16th of 
May, a satisfactory peace was concluded. 

Unfortunately, however, their English enemies could not be so 
easily placated. In spite of all that Stuyvesant could do to effect a 
just and amicable arrangement of existing difficulties, it soon became 
evident that the English were predetermined, at all hazards, and by 
any means or pretest, to wrest the province of Nieuw Netherland 
from its lawful owners. Lulled to security — in spite of forewarnings 
— by advices from the Chamber at Amsterdam, stating that no ap- 
prehension need be entertained of any public danger or enemy from 
England, the honest burghers of the city of Nieuw Amsterdam sud- 
denly found their city blockaded, and their communication with 
Long Island and the Jersey shore cut off, by a strong British fleet, 
anchored at the Narrows, in Nyack Bay, between New Utrecht 
and Coney Island. Simultaneously with his arrival, Col. Richard 
Nicolls, commander of the fleet, took possession of Staten Island, 
captured a couple of yachts, forbade the surrounding farmers to 
furnish any supplies to the garrison of Fort Amsterdam, and scat- 
tered broadcast his proclamations promising amnesty to those who 
should acknowledge, and the rigors of war to those who should deny 
the authority of the English king. The next morning, August 30th, 
Stuyvesant's indignant inquiry as to what all this meant, was 
peremptorily answered by a formal summons to surrender the city 
and the province to the English crown. The position of the Direc- 
tor-General was now trying in the extreme : for himself he had no 
care, and would willingly have risked his life in resisting the foe ; 


but such a course would have been pure madness. Help from 
abroad, or even from the neighboring Long Island towns, was 
utterly out of the question ; the city was unprotected by proper 
defences, the fort quite untenable, and though the Burgomasters 
showed spirit, the people were hopeless and disposed to yield. For 
two days, the brave old man assented neither to the reiterated sum- 
mons of Nicolls, nor to the murmurings or entreaties of the citizens. 
Finally, wishing to bring matters to an end, the English fleet moved 
up towards the city, two of the vessels lying broadside towards the 
fort, while others disembarked troops on the Long Island shore, just 
below Breuckelen, where, at " the Ferry," the New England and 
Long Island volunteers had already encamped. Even then, the lion- 
hearted Director could only answer the crowd of men, women, and 
children who surrounded him and implored him to submit, " I would 
much rather be carried out dead." The next day, September 5th, 
he reluctantly yielded to a remonstrance, signed by all the prominent 
men of the city, and on the 6th articles of capitulation were signed. 
On the 8th, occurred the final act in this political tragedy — briefly 
described as follows, in a letter from Secretary Van Ruyven to the 
town of Boswyck : 1 

"Anno, September 8, 1664, N. S. 
" It has happened that the Nieuw Netherlands is given up to the Eng- 
lish, and that Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of the West India Company, has 
marched out of the Fort, with his men, to Beur's Paeet (Beaver Lane) to 
the Holland shipping, which lay there at the time ; and that Governor 
Richard Nicolls, in the name of the King of England, ordered a corporal's 
guard to take possession of the Fort. Afterwards the Governor, with two 
companies of men, 2 marched into the Fort, accompanied by the Burgomas- 
ters of the city, who inducted the Governor and gave him a welcome 
reception. Gov. Nicolls has altered the name of the city of Nieuw Am- 
sterdam, and named the same New York, and the Fort, " Fort James." 

" From your friend, 

Coenelis Van Ruyven." 

1 Similar letters were undoubtedly addressed by tbe Secretary to the magistrates of 
Brooklyn and tbe other Dutch towns. 

2 The New England and Long Island volunteers were kept at the ferry, on the 
Brooklyn side, " as the citizens dreaded most being plundered by them." 


Thus, in the words of our latest State historian, 8 " The flag of 
England was at length triumphantly displayed, where for half a 
century that of Holland had rightfully waved, and from Virginia 
to Canada, the King of Great Britain was acknowledged as sov- 
ereign. Viewed in all its aspects, the event which gave to the 
whole of that country a unity in allegiance, and to which a mis- 
governed people complacently submitted, was as inevitable as it was 
momentous. But, whatever may have been its ultimate conse- 
quences, this treacherous and violent seizure of the territory 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 selfish perfidy which royal ingratitude con- 
ceived and executed, there have been few more characteristic, and 
none more base." 

» Brodliead, i. 745. 





It lias often been claimed as a peculiar distinction of the Puritan 
settlers of New England, that their prominent aim, and chief care, 
in settling those desert regions, was the establishment of religious 
and educational privileges. Yet, although the settlement of New 
Netherlands was undoubtedly undertaken rather as a commercial 
speculation, than as an experimental solution of ecclesiastical and 
civil principles and government, we find that the Dutch were equally 
anxious and careful to extend and to preserve to their infant settle- 
ments the blessings of education and religion. It is true that, in 
the earlier years of roving and unsystematized traffic which followed 
the discovery of Manhattan Island, there seems to have been no 
higher principle involved than that of gain. But as soon as a per- 
manent agricultural and commercial occupation of the country was 
undertaken by the West India Company, the higher moral and spir- 
itual wants and necessities of its settlers were fully recognized. 
Emigrants who went forth under their auspices, or thee of the States 
General of Holland, were accompanied by a schoolmaster, being a 
pious church-member, who was to instruct the children and officiate 
at religious meetings by leading in the devotions and reading a ser- 
mon, until a regular pastor was established over them. Ziekentroos- 
ters, or " comforters of the sick," being persons adapted by their 
spiritual gifts and graces to edify and comfort the people, were also 
frequently commissioned as aids to the ministers. Two of these 
" comforters " accompanied Gov. Minuit in the year 1626, and by 
them the religious services of the colonists were conducted until 
early in 1628, when the learned and zealous Jonas Michaelius 1 came 
out from Amsterdam, under the auspices of the North Synod of Hol- 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., ii. 759-70 ; Brodliead's N. Y., i. 183. 


land, and " first established the form of a church," at Manhattan. 
He was succeeded, in 1633, by the Rev. Everardus Bogardus, and 
the congregation, who had hitherto worshipped in the upper loft of 
a horse-mill, now erected a small, plain church, together with a 
dwelling and stable for the Dominie's use. 1 This first church in 
Manhattan gave place, in 1642, to a new stone edifice within the fort 
(now the Battery), and which was much better suited to the size and 
dignity of the colony than the " mean barn " in which they had 
hitherto worshipped. 

Dominie Bogardus was followed, in 1647, by the Eev. Johannes 
Megapolensis, a man eminent for his piety and talents, who served 
this church and congregation with fidelity until his death, in 1669. 

For many years succeeding the first settlement of the country, the 
settlers on the western end of Long Island were dependent upon 
the city for all their civil and religious privileges. This state of 
things, with all its inconveniences, lasted until 1654, when the first 
church on Long Island was established at Midwout, now Flatbush ; 
and the Governor designated Dominie Megapolensis, of New Am- 
sterdam, with John Snedicor and John Stryker, commissioners to 
superintend the erection of a church edifice. In February, 1655, in 
compliance with a request from the people of Midwout, an order 
was issued requiring the inhabitants of Breuckelen and Amersfoort 
(Flatlands) to assist "in cutting and hauling wood" for the said 
church. 2 The Breuckelen people, however, while they expressed 
their perfect willingness to aid in the erection of the church itself, 
objected to work on the " minister's house," which it was proposed 
to add thereto, averring that the Midwout folks were able to do it 
themselves. 3 They were finally obliged to conform to the Gover- 
nor's order, and the church, which was built in the form of a cross, 28 
by 60 or 65 feet, and 12 to 14 feet between the beams, the rear to be 
used as a minister's dwelling, was the first house of worship erected 
in King's County. Its construction, as we shall see, occupied several 
years, 'although it was probably sufficiently advanced within the year 
to allow of its being used for worship. 

1 Rev. Thomas De Witt's Hist. Dis. in North Ref. Dutch Ch. of city of New York, 
8 N. Y. Col. MSS., vi. 15, Feb. 9, 1655. 3 Ibid., p. 23. 


On the 6th of August, 1655, by order of Governor Stuyvesant, the 
inhabitants of the country were convened for the purpose of ascer- 
taining whether they approved of the Eev. Johannes Theodoras 
Polhemus, their " provisional minister," and what salary they were 
willing to pay him. 1 The Sheriff reported that they approved of 
Mr. Polhemus, and would pay him a salary of 1,040 guilders per 
year, 2 to be raised by a yearly tax. 

Mr. Polhemus, a descendant of an ancient and highly respectable 
family in the Netherlands, had come to New Amsterdam during the 
preceding year from Itamarca, in Brazil, where he had been laboring 
as a missionary. He was immediately settled in Flatbush, where he 
subsequently received a patent for a part of the premises recently 
owned by the late Jeremiah Lott, Esq. He was an eminently pious 
and faithful preacher of the Gospel, and although, as we shall see in 
the following pages, his hearers in the town of Breuckelen were not 
altogether satisfied with him, it is evident that their opposition pro- 
ceeded from no lack of personal respect, nor from any doubts of his 
Christian character. 

In February, 1656, the magistracy of Midwout and Amersfoort 
asked permission to request a voluntary contribution from the peo- 
ple of the three Dutch towns, towards the proper maintenance of 
the Gospel. 3 To this the Breuckelen people respectfully objected, 
saying, " as the Rev. John Polhemus only acts as a minister of the 
Gospel in the village of Midwout, therefore the inhabitants of the 
village of Breuckelen and adjacent districts are disinclined to sub- 
scribe or promise any thing for the maintenance of a Gospel minister 
who is of no use to them." They therefore solicited " with rever- 
ence" that the Kev. Mr. Polhemus might be allowed to preach alter- 
nately in Breuckelen and Midwout, in which case they were " very 
willing to contribute cheerfully to his support, agreeable to their 
abilities." Otherwise they begged to be excused from contributing 
to his maintenance. 4 To this the Director and Council replied that 
they had " no objection that the Rev. Polhemus, when the weather 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., vi. 71. 2 Equal to about $416. 

3 Col. MSS., vi. 278, Feb. 8, 1656. 

4 Col. MSS., vi. 299, Feb., 1656. This remonstrance of Breuckelen was signed by 
Joris Dircksen, Albert Cornelissen and Joris Rappelje. 



permits, shall preach alternately at both places." On the 15th of 
March following, the Sheriff and Commissioners of Midwout ap- 
peared before the Council, to whom they represented that they had 
accepted, and were satisfied with, the decree of the Council, but that 
it had met with serious objections from the people of Gravesend and 
Amersfoort, who had subscribed with the understanding 

"that on Sundays, in the forenoon, they might hear the sermon at Mid- 
wout, both places being nearly at the same distance from one another as 
Breuckelen, at which place, if alternately, as the apostille said, preaching 
was to be held, it would be inconvenient for the inhabitants, by reason of 
the great distance of the places, to come there to church in the morning 
and return at noon home to their families, inasmuch as Breuckelen is quite 
two hours' walking from Amersfoort and Gravesend ; whereas the village 
of Midwout is not half so far and the road much better. So they consider 
it a hardship to choose either to hear the Gospel but once a day, or to be 
compelled to travel four hours, in going and returning, all for one single 
sermon, which would be to some very troublesome and to some utterly 

All of which " being maturely considered by the Director-General 
and the Council," it was fully arranged that the Sunday sermon 
should be delivered in the morning at Midwout, as being at a nearly 
equal distance from the other three towns ; but that the usual after- 
noon discourse should be changed to an evening service, to be held 
alternately in Breuckelen and Amersfoort, 1 and thus the matter was 
amicably settled. During the same month, also, the three towns 
were permitted, on application, to levy a tax for the purpose of pay- 
ing the minister's tax. 

In accordance with a resolution of the Council, November 29th, 
1656, in regard to the apportionment of the Kev. Mr. Polhemus' 
salary among the three towns, it had been agreed that Midwout 
should give annually 400, and Brooklyn and Amersfoort 300 guilders 
each for that purpose. The good people of Breuckelen, however, 
had become quite dissatisfied with the style of Mr. Polhemus' cleri- 
cal services, and the assessment of the tax occasioned much grum- 
bling, which finally culminated in a plain-spoken protest to the 

1 Col. MSS, vi. 331, March 15, 1G56. 


Director and Council. This document, dated January 1. 1657, rep- 
resents that : 

" The Magistrates of Breuckelen find themselves obliged to communi- 
cate to your Honors that to them it seems impossible that they should be 
able to collect annually 300 guilders from such a poor congregation, as 
there are many among them who suffered immense losses during the 
late wars, and principally at the invasion of the savages, by which they 
have been disabled, so that many, who would otherwise be very willing, 
have not the power to contribute their share. We must be further per- 
mitted to say that we never gave a call to the aforesaid Reverend Pol- 
hemus, and never accepted him as our minister ; but he intruded himself 
upon us against our will, and voluntarily preached in the open street, under 
the blue sky; when, to avoid offence, the house of Joris Dircksen was 
temporarily offered him here in Breuckelen. It is the general opinion 
and saying of the citizens and inhabitants of Breuckelen generally, with 
those living in their neighborhood, that they could not resolve, even when 
it was in their power to collect the "money, to contribute any thing for such 
a poor and meagre service as that with which they thus far have been 
regaled. Every fortnight, on Sundays, he comes here only in the after- 
noon for a quarter of an hour, when he only gives us a prayer in lieu of a 
sermon, by which we can receive very little instruction ; while often, while 
one supposes the prayer or sermon (whichever name might be preferred 
for it) is beginning, then it is actually at an end, by which he contributes 
very little to the edification of his congregation. This we experienced on 
the Sunday preceding Christmas, on the 24th of December last, when we, 
expecting a sermon, heard nothing but a prayer, and that so short that it 
was finished before we expected it. Now, it is true it was nearly evening 
before Polhemus arrived, so that he had not much time to spare, and was 
compelled to march off and finish so much sooner, to reach his home. This 
is all the satisfaction — little enough, indeed — which we had during Christ- 
mas ; wherefore it is our opinion that we shall enjoy as much and more 
edification by appointing one among ourselves, who may read to us on 
Sundays a sermon from the ' Apostille Book,' as we ever have until now, 
from any of the prayers or sermons of the Reverend Polhemus. We do 
not, however, intend to offend the Reverend Polhemus, or assert any thing 
to bring him into bad repute. We mean only to say, that his greatly 
advanced age occasions all this, and that his talents do not accompany 
him as steadily as in the days of yore ; yea, we discover it clearly, that it 


is not the want of good-will in Polhemus ; but as we never did give him a 
call, we cannot resolve to contribute to his maintenance. The possibility 
of so doing being wholly out of the question, as explained to your Honors; 
and although the Magistrates of Breuckelen resolved to contribute some- 
thing towards the salary of the aforesaid Polhemus, it would be on their 
own account, as the congregation can never resolve to join them. Many 
there are among them who cannot, and who rather need that others should 
come to their aid. To this (the consideration of the fact) should be added 
that many farms are unoccupied and waste : as the farms of Mr. Poulis ; a 
farm lying near the shore, of Fred'k Lubbertsen ; on another farm lives a 
poor person, who also has nothing, and cannot afford to give any thing ; 
while (there is) Lodewyck, who lives on one of the farms for the poor, and 
whose land also lies waste, as also that of Peter Cornelissen and Elbert 
Elbertsen. So also the land of Black Hans, Grabie's (Gaby's) land, Peter 
Mallemacque, Peter Minuit, Jan Manty (Manje?) and many others; from 
all which your Honors may easily calculate what may here be given or 
expected. And suppose that every one of us was taxed, even then no 
person can be induced to contribute any thing for such a poor service as 
thus far has been obtruded on us. However, permit us to say in conclu- 
sion, and be it said in reverence, that as those of Midwout have engaged 
said Polhemus alone, without our knowledge, and without any previous 
communication (with us), we have no objection whatever. Nay, we are 
rather satisfied that the people of Midwout shall enjoy exclusively the 
whole service of the aforesaid Rev. Polhemus. And in case the aforesaid 
Polhemus should again desire to say his prayers here, in lieu of giving a 
sermon, as he did before, although we are unwilling to put ourselves under 
any obligation, still we are disposed to make him, from time to time, as 
opportunity shall offer, some allowance, as proof of our good- will, inasmuch 
as there are several among us who think and act favorably of the Reverend 
Polhemus, although they make no use of his services. With this conclu- 
sion, we commend your Honors to God's merciful protection, with the 
cordial wish of a Happy New Year, besides a prosperous and blessed 
administration, to Salvation ; recommending ourselves to your Honors' 
favor, while we shall ever remain 1 Your obedient servants, 

Albert Cornelissen, Jacob Dircks, 

Willem Bredenbent, Peter Tonneman, Sec'y. 

Done in Breuckelen, January 1, 1651" 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., viii. 406. 


But Gov. Stuyvesant was obdurate, and Sheriff Tonneman was 
instructed " to remind those of Breuckelen, once more, to fulfil their 
engagement, and to execute their promise relative to the salary of 
Mr. Polhemus." ' The good minister, meantime, seems to have 
been put to much inconvenience, if not absolute suffering, by these 
quarrels among his parishioners ; for on the 14th of December, 1656, 
he wrote to the Director that his house (at Flatbusk) was not yet 
enclosed, and that, in consequence, himself, wife, and children were 
obliged to sleep in the cold upon the floor. 2 Forced to an unwilling 
compliance with this order, the people of Breuckelen contented them- 
selves with reasserting, through their magistrates, that the arrange- 
ment of 300 guilders for Mr. Polhemus's salary was made without 
their consent — that they really were unable to pay it— but, unwil- 
ling to resist the Governor and Council, they would endeavor to 
raise the amount in some way. They took the opportunity, how- 
ever, of notifying their Honors, that after the expiration of Mr. Pol- 
hemus's first year (on April 7, 1657), they should hold themselves 
excused from any further payment to him, so long as he should 
remain there, unless affairs at home, " in the Fatherland," should 
improve (" which God grant ") — in which event, possibly, they might 
be willing to make and keep another contract with him. 3 

The order of the magistrates of Breuckelen, imposing an as- 
sessment upon the town to pay this ministerial tax, is especially 
interesting, on account of its being accompanied by a list of those 
inhabitants of the town designated as being " in easy circumstances 
and well off:" 

" Whereas, the village of Breuckelen is taxed by the Director-General aud 
Council, but finally with our general consent and agreement, with the sum 
and charge of 300 fl. provisionally for this year, as a supplement of the 
promised salary and yeai'ly allowance of the Rev. minister De. J. Theo- 
dorus Polhemus, therefore have we, of the Court of Brooklyn, to raise 
said sum of 300 fl. aforesaid in the easiest manner, assessed and taxed each 
person, inhabitant of Breuckelen and its dependencies, as hereunder is 
more fully set forth and to be seen ; all, according to our conscience and our 
opinion, in easy circumstances and well off: wherefore, Simon Jooster, our 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., viii. 410. 2 Ibid., viii. 296. 3 Alb. Rec, iv. 


court messenger, is hereby ordered and commanded, on sight and receipt 
hereof, to repair to the under-mentioned and named persons, and to notify 
each of their assessment and tax ; and that each for himself in particular 
shall be bound, within eight days from now, to bring in and to deliver into 
the hands of Mr. A. Cornelissen, in Breuckelen, the half of his assessment 
either in wampum or country produce, such as corn, wheat, peas, maize, 
etc., that then all shall be credited and correctly entered on each one's 
account and assessment at the current price : the remaining half must be 
promptly paid next May of the present year, Anno 1657, in order to be 
able at that time to satisfy and give contentment to the said Polhemus. 
Thus done and enacted at the court held in Breuckelen, with previous 
approbation of the Director and Supreme Council in New Netkerland, on 
Wednesday, the 7 February, A . 1657. 

Persons and inhabitants of Breucikelen, and unto the Ferry : 

Albert Cornelissen hath promised for this year .fi. 12 

Joris Dircksen, in like manner 12 

Jan Eversen's. farmer, named Bartel Clasen, taxed at. I 10 

Theunis Jansen, on Frederick Lubbertsen's land, taxed at 10 

Baerent Jansen 6 

Jan Daeme(n) 6 

Johannes Nevius, at the Ferry, is taxed at 15 

Cornells Dircksen, late ferryman 10 

Adryaen Huybertsen 6 

Claes de Mentelaer 6 

Gerrit the Wheelwright 8 

Outie, house carpenter 6 

Jan Martyn 6 

Egbert van Borstelen (or Van Borsum) 10 

Louis ; lives at present at the Poor's Bowery (or Poor Farm, at New- 
town), but intends to return 10 

Michael Tater 10 

Pieter Cornelissen 6 

Elbert Elbertsen, in the Bay 10 

The Smith 6 

Black Hans's land 6 

Total ./.1U 


The persons taxed at the Walebocht are the following : 

Joris Raphallie hath of his own free will promised to give and con- 
tribute ./. 10 

Hendrick de Copsteerdt's (the cupper's) land is taxed at 4 

Peter Moelett (say Abrani the Turk) 6 

Jan de Clerck 6 

Peter Jansen, resides on Lagebergh's land 8 

Peter Montfoor(t) 10 

Jan Martyn 8 

Gabriel's land (Mr. Paulus Leendersen must answer for this) 10 

Peter Meinst 8 

Aert Theunissen (Middag) 8 

Jan the chimney-sweeper 4 

Nicholas, the Frenchman 6 

Total .fl. 88 

The taxed inhabitants at the Gouwanes are these following and under- 
named persons : 

William Bredenbent hath voluntarily promised to contribute .fl. 12 

Jan Petersen is taxed at 8 

Barent Bal, in a like sum 8 

Theunis Niesen 12 

Adam Brouwer 6 

Johannus Marcus 4 

Mr. Paulus (Van der Beeck) 10 

Total fl,m 

By order of the Schepens of the Court of Breuckelen, with the previous 
approbation of the Director-General and Supreme Council in New Nether- 
land aforesaid. 

(Signed) Peter Tonneman, Secretary." 1 

The troubles occasioned by this odious minister' s-tax were, how- 
ever, by no means at an end. In April, Mr. Polhemus petitioned the 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., viii. 463, 464, 466. 


Governor and Council that they would pay for him a debt of 100 
guilders, alleging as an excuse that he had been obliged to contract 
it, inasmuch as he had only received some fl. 200 out of his fl. 1,000 
salary, and had a large family to support. 1 The Council kindly 
allowed him the sum of 60 guilders. In the course of the next 
month, the court messenger reported " that several of the Breucke- 
len people were still unwilling to pay their share of the tax." 9 This 
was followed by several complaints from the minister, in which he 
represents that his house had not been finished according to con- 
tract, that he had served as pastor in the three villages from 
October, 1654, to April 7, 1657, without salary, and as he came to 
this country "naked," he has been obliged from time to time to get 
his supplies from the Company's stores, until his bill amounted to 
942 guilders, which he wanted made up. By order of the Council, 
the sum was granted and his account was balanced. 3 Meanwhile, in 
the midst of this disaffection among the inhabitants of Breuckelen 
in regard to their minister, a new element of discord had arisen 
within the jurisdiction of the Dutch Government. The Quakers, 
banished incontinently from all the self-rigliteous colonies of New- 
England (except, be it always remembered, from Ehode Island), ven- 
tured to find in New Netherlands the home and the liberty of con- 
science which was elsewhere denied them. Unfortunately they only 
stepped from the " frying-pan into the fire." Heavy fines, scourg- 
ings, solitary imprisonments and banishments were the only welcome 
that met them ; and when the people of Flushing nobly protested 
against such intolerance as totally at variance with the law of Chris- 
tian love and the rights of their charter, they brought down upon 
themselves a whirlwind of indignation and summary punishment 
from Governor Stuyvesant and his clerical advisers. In spite, how- 
ever, of these severe measures against Flushing, the infection rapidly 
spread through Long Island. Jamaica, Gravesend, and Hempstead 
soon developed the germs of Quakerism, which no civil persecution 
has ever crushed out even to this day. Symptoms of disaffection 
also appeared at Brooklyn — or, rather, perhaps, as is usual in a dis- 
affected community, the new principle of non-conformity was used 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., viii. 515, 516. » Ibid., viii. 563. 3 Ibid., viii. 705. 


by many as an excuse for their non-compliance in the matter of pay- 
ing the minister's tax. Sheriff Tonneman complained to the Coun- 
cil of abuse received, while collecting the tax, from Lodewyck Jong, 
Jan Martyn, Nicholas the Frenchman, Abraham Jansen, the mulatto, 
and Gerrit the wheelwright. They were summoned before the 
Council, where the excuses they pleaded — of one that he was a 
Catholic, and the other that he did not understand Dutch — were 
pronounced "frivolous," and they were each condemned to pay a 
fine of twelve guilders ($4.80). 1 The principal malcontent, Jan Mar- 
tyn, "of Harfleur" (ante, p. 80), who attempted to hire the public 
bellman to go around and defame Councillor Tonneman, was obliged 
to beg pardon, on bended knees, of the Lord and of the court, and 
was fined twenty-five guilders ($10) and costs. 2 

The inflexible Governor finally brought matters to a focus with 
the refractory Breuckelen people, by issuing an order, on the 6th 
of July, 1658, forbidding the inhabitants of the three towns to 
remove their grain from their fields, until their tithes were taken or 
commuted — which commutations were ordered to be paid within 
three days. This order was complied with ; for when the Governor 
"put his foot down" in this manner, as was his wont, the peoplo 
found it was useless to " kick against the pricks." 

Previous to this time (1660), the only ministers of the Eeformed 
Church in New Netherland were Megapolensis and Drisius, in the 
city of New Amsterdam, Schaats at Beverwyck, Polhemus at Mid- 
wout, and Welius at New Amstel. In the fall of 1658, however, a 
letter was sent to the Classis of Amsterdam of the Fatherland, by 
Messrs. Megapolensis and Drisius, giving an interesting account of 
the state of religion in the colony, and earnestly entreating that 
" good Dutch clergymen " might speedily be sent over. 3 These let- 
ters awakened the attention of the Classis to the spiritual necessities 
of New Netherland, and earnest representations on the subject were 
addressed to the College of the XIX. And, although it was difficult 
to prevail upon any settled clergyman to leave his charge in Hol- 
land and brave the trials of a newly settled country, yet one Her- 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., viii. 563, 789, 804, 818. 2 N. Y. Col. MSS., viii. 825. 

3 Brodliead, i. 643. 


nianus Blom, a candidate for the ministry, was induced to come out 
to New Amsterdam. Arriving here about the last of April, he shortly 
after received a call from the prosperous village of Esopus (now 
Kingston) ; and having accepted it, returned to Holland to pass his 
examination before the Classis, and receive ordination. Meanwhile 
the people of Breuckelen, in view of the badness of the roads to 
Flatbush, and the inability of the Rev. Mr. Polhemus, on account of 
his age and infirmity, to bestow any considerable portion of his 
labor upon them, had petitioned the Governor and Council for 
permission to have a minister resident in their towm The 
application was favorably regarded, 1 and when (March 1) Blom left 
Holland on his return to New Netherland, he was accompanied by 
the Eev. Henricus Selyns, under appointment to preach at Breuck- 
elen. 8 

Mr. Selyns was the son of Jan Selyns and Agneta Kock, of Am- 
sterdam, where he was born in the year 1636. Having been regu- 
larly educated for the ministry, he became, in due time, a proponent 
or candidate for full orders. " Tracing his ancestry, both on the 
father's and mother's side, clearly back, through a regular line of 
elders, deacons, and deaconesses, to the first institution of the 
Dutch Beformed Church as an independent establishment, and con- 
nected by blood and marriage with distinguished ministers of that 
church, he could not fail to imbibe its tenets and principles, and 
enter with confidence and honorable ambition upon the studies 
which were to fit him for its services." 3 Such were the antecedents 
of the man who, having accepted the call from Breuckelen, made 
through the Dutch West India Company to the Classis at Amster- 

1 Nicasius de Sille, the Fiscal, and Martin Kreiger, one of the Burgomasters, were 
appointed as a committee of inquiry by the Governor, upon whose favorable report the 
required permission was granted. 

2 The call of the Breuckelen church to Dominie Selyns was by him accepted, and 
approved by the Classis of Amsterdam, February 16, 1660 (-61). — Brooklyn Church 

3 His paternal grandfather, Hendrick Selyns, was a deacon of the Amsterdam church 
in 1598 ; his father, an elder from 1639 to 1663 ; his maternal great-grandfather, Hen- 
drick Kock, a deacon from 1584 to 1595 ; his grandfather, Hans Verlocken, in 1587-90 ; 
while his grandmother, Agneta Selyns, was a deaconess for several years in the same 
church. Triglandius, Lantsman, and J. Nieuwenhuysen, celebrated ministers of the 
Netherland church, were also his cousins. 


dam, was, on the 16th February, 1660, peremptorily examined by 
that body, and admitted to the ministry with full powers, — engaging, 
however, to serve the Breuckelen church for the term of four 

Messrs. Bloin and Selyns arrived at New Amsterdam, bearing let- 
ters to the colonial churches from the Classis at Amsterdam, in 
which the former were earnestly exhorted " not to depart from the 
usual formulary of baptism." Governor Stuyvesant, by whom alone 
all public functionaries, ecclesiastical as well as civil, could be 
accredited, was then absent at Esopus, negotiating a peace with the 
Indians ; and when that had been concluded, he paid a visit to Fort 
Orange. To both of these places the two young clergymen followed 
him, to deliver their letters, 1 so that it was not until the 7th of Sep- 
tember, 1660, that Mr. Selyns was formally installed into the church 
at Breuckelen. " This ceremony," says his biographer, " measured 
by the usual standard of great events, was, indeed, insignificant ; 
but viewed- as the first installation of a minister in what is now a 
large and flourishing city, the third in size in the United States, and 
as populous as the famous city of Amsterdam herself at the present 
day, it was one which deserved, as it received, the attention of the 
authorities in an appropriate and becoming manner. It was, never- 
theless, to that colony, an interesting event, and it was accompanied 
by proceedings calculated to give dignity and authority to the min- 
ister. The Governor deputed two of his principal officers to present 
the minister to the congregation — Nicasius de Sille, a member of the 
Council, a man of no mean attainments, and well versed in the law, 
and Martin Krigier, burgomaster of New Amsterdam, who, on sev- 
eral important occasions, was the envoy of the Governor to the ad- 
joining English colonies. After the presentation, Dominie Selyns 
preached his inaugural sermon, and then read the call of the Classis 
and their certificate of examination, with a testimonial from the 
ministers of Amsterdam, declaring that during the time he had 
dwelt among them, he had not only diligently used the holy ordi- 
nances of God for the promotion of his own salvation, but had also 
often edified their church by his acceptable preaching ; and, more- 

1 N. T. Col. MSS., xiii. 81, 84, 131, 132 ; xiv. 58. 


over, had, by his life and conversation, demeaned himself as a godly 
and pious man — a character which he never forfeited." 1 

On the 7th, a letter was forwarded, " by a respectable person," 
to the Kev. Mr. Polhemus, informing him of Mr. Selyns' installation 
in the church at Breuckelen, and thanking him in courteous terms 
for his labors and attention to the congregation. This attention 
was appropriately acknowledged by the venerable pastor, who, on 
the 12th, sent to the new incumbent a list of church-members resid- 
ing within this vicinity, numbering in all twenty-seven persons, 

1 On this occasion the Rev. Henry Selyns addressed the church as follows : 

" I have appeared before you and the Consistory, according to the usages and ordi- 
nances of our Church, and now surrender to you my letter of call of the Honorable 
Classis of Amsterdam, together with the approbation of the Honorable the Directors of 
the Chamber of Amsterdam, also my classical and church attestations, which, with 
my call, appertain to your church." (Brooklyn Church Records.) 

The above-mentioned " Letter of Call" is as follows : 

" Whereas, it is indispensably required that the honor of God and the salvation of 
men be promoted to the best of our abilities, and that for this end religious meetings 
should be instituted and encouraged by the pure preaching of God's ward, the lawful 
administration of the sacraments, the public invocation of the name of God, and what- 
soever else belongs to a dutiful worship ; and whereas, the situation of Breuckelen, in 
New Netherland, requires that a duly qualified person, as a lawfully ordained minister, 
should be sent there, who can there execute the ministerial functions in every particu- 
lar in conformity with the Church government and the word of God, and in unison 
with the laudable usages of the Reformed Churches in this country, and who is able to 
maintain and defend these : Therefore it is that we, ministers of the word of God, and 
elders of the Church of Christ, belonging to the Classis of Amsterdam, after the invo- 
cation of the name of God, and in His fear, and with the approbation of the Noble 
Directors of the West India Company, and after a careful examination in the principal 
doctrines of the Reformed Cliristian Church, and after we had received satisfactory 
evidence of a pious life, and talents requisite for the gospel ministry, and after he had 
signed the Netherlandish Confession, the Christian Catechism, and the Canons of the 
National Synod, have, with the laying on of hands, ordained the reverend, pious, pru- 
dent, and learned minister, Henricus Selyns, to preach, both on land and water, and in 
all the neighborhood, but principally in that place (Breuckelen), the holy and only 
saving doctrine of the word of God in its purity ; to administer the sacraments, as insti- 
tuted by Christ, with propriety ; publicly to lead the prayers of the congregation, to 
keep them (with the aid of his Consistory) in good order and discipline, all in confor- 
mity with the word of God, and the Canons of the Netherlandish Church, and the 
Christian Catechism : requesting all our brethren to acknowledge him as a lawful 
brother and ordained minister of the gospel of Christ ; to honor him for the sake of his 
ministry ; and to assist him, whenever it is in their power ; so that he may labor un- 
molested (i. e., by worldly cares, etc.i, and cheerfully, in glorifying God's name, and in 
the conversion and salvation of souls. 

" May the Almighty God, who has called this minister to the service of His Church, 
enrich him more and more with all talents, and with the blessings of the Holy Ghost ; 
so that his labors may be crowned with abundant success, to the glory of His name 


inclusive of one elder and two deacons. 1 The population of the vil- 
lage at this time was 134 persons, in thirty-one families ; and the 
bounds of the new Dominie's charge included " The Ferry," " The 
Waal-boght," and " The Gujanes." Measures were taken for the 
speedy erection of a church, and in the mean time the congregation 
worshipped in a barn. As the people were not able of themselves 
to pay his entire salary, they petitioned the Council for assistance ; a 

and the salvation of men, and reward and adorn him, at the appearance of the Great 
Shepherd of sheep, with the unfading crown of immortal glory. 

" Done in a Classical meeting in Amsterdam, on the 16th of February, 1660. 
" In the name, and by order of all, 

" Petrus Proelius, Eccles. Amstelodaniensis, 
et Classis p. t. Deputatus. 
"Laurens Van Noordt, 
Eccles. in Diemen. et pro t. 
ad caus. sat. Indicas Deput. 

" Samtjell Coop, a groen Eccles. Amsteloda- 
mensis et p. t. Deputatus." 
" The aforesaid Act of the Classis of Amsterdam was approved by the Directors of 
the West India Company, Department of Amst., on the 26th March, 1660. 

(Signed) " David Van Baerle. 

"Edward Man." 
The above translation of this document is from N. Y. Col. MSS., xiii. 69. Another 
version, by the late General Jeremiah Johnson, taken, probably, from the original 
Dutch records of the First Reformed Dutch Church of Brooklyn, is printed in the 
Magazine of the Reformed Dutch Church, vol. iii., for 1828-29, pp. 52, 54. This, al- 
though a more elegant translation, does not, in our opinion, present so faithful a 
transcript of the original as the one above printed. 

1 The list of church members at this period, together with other extracts from the 
Brooklyn Church Records, will be found in Appendix No. 6. 

2 Alb. Rec, xxiv. 383. Aug. 30, 1660, there appeared before the Council, " Joris Dirck 
and Joris Rapelje, magistrates of the village of Breuckelen, on Long Island, and repre- 
sented that they, in conformity with the order of the Directc-General, had convened 
all the inhabitants of the aforesaid village, and conversed with them, and inquired how 
much they would be able to contribute to the salary of the Rev. Mr. Selyns ; and that, 
after all their endeavors, they could not succeed in obtaining more than 300 guilders 
annually (payable in corn, at the value of beavers) ; and that in addition they were will- 
ing to provide the Rev. Mr. Selyns with a comfortable dwelling. On being reminded 
that Dominie Selyns had been promised the annual salary of 100 fl., and had come 
liither in that expectation, and that the said sum ought to be collected, — in lieu of 
which the village tithes would be taken and contributed by the Company, — and that 
they ought to strive to make up the deficiency, they declared that it was totally impos- 
sible for the people of the village to raise the required amount, as the burden fell 
chiefly on a few individuals, the rest being poor people who had nothing but what was 
earned by their daily labor. To this it was replied (by the Council) that they (of 
Breuckelen) should have duly considered all these things before they requested or 
called a minister. In answer, they (the inhabitants of Breuckelen) said they had 


and Stuyvesant agreed personally to contribute two hundred and 
fifty guilders, provided Mr. Selyns would preach a sermon, on Sun- 
day afternoons, at his " bouwery" on Manhattan Island. 1 In this 
arrangement the Dominie acquiesced, and thereafter preached at 
the " Director's bouwery," which was a " sort of stopping-place and 
pleasure-ground of the Manhattans." Here his audiences consisted 
mostly of people from the city, and besides Stuyvesant's own house- 
hold, about forty negroes who lived in that neighborhood, in what 
was known as the " negro quarter." After Selyns' installation at 

hopes that their village would now daily increase, and that consequently they would 
he enabled in future to contribute more ; and they earnestly requested that Dominie 
Selyns might come among them at the earnest opportunity." 

1 Extract from a letter of Dominie Selyns to the Classis at Amsterdam, dated " Am- 
sterdam on the Manhattans, 4 October, 1660" (Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii. 108) : " When we 
arrived in N. Netherland, we repaired forthwith to the Manhattans ; but the negotia- 
tions for peace at the Esopus, where we were, and the public interests, necessarily 
retarded our progress thus long. We preached, meanwhile, here, and at the Esopus 
and Fort Orange ; during our stay were provided with board and lodging. (See Alb. 
Rec, xxiv. 387.) Esopus needs more people, but Breuckelen more wealth ; wherefore 
I officiate, Sunday afternoons, at the General's bouwerye, at the Noble General's 
private expense. Through the worshipful Messrs. Nicasius de Sille, Fiscal, and Martin 
Cregiers, Burgomaster, the induction (or call) in Breuckelen occurred with the Hon'ble 
General's open commission. Whereupon I was suitably received by the Magistrate and 
Consistory, and D e Polhemus was forthwith discharged. We do not preach in any 
church, but in a barn (Korenschuur), and shall, God willing, erect a church in the 
winter, by the co-operation of the people. The congregation is passable. The attend- 
ance is augmente'd from Middlewout, New Amersfoort, and frequently Gravesende bat 
most from the Manhattans. To Breuckelen appertains, also, the Ferry, the Wale- 
bocht, and Gujanus. The Breuckelen Ferry is about 2,000 paces, but the River of the 
Manhattans is 4,000 feet from the Breuckelen Ferry. I found at Breuckelen one 
elder, two deacons, twenty-four members, thirty-one householders (Huysgesins), and 
134 persons. The Consistory will remain provisionally as it is. More material will be 
obtained through time and a better knowledge of the community. There can be no 
catechizing before the winter ; but this shall be introduced either on week-days, or 
when there is no preaching at the Bowery. Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, and Sep- 
tember will be most suitable for the Lord's Supper, as Thanksgiving is observed on 

these festivals There is preaching in the morning at Breuckelen, but 

towards the conclusion of the Catechismal exercises of New Amsterdam, at the Bou- 
wery, which is a continuation and the place of recreation of the Manhattans, where 
people also come from the city to evening service. In addition to the household, there 
are over forty negroes, whose location is the negro quarter. There is no Consistory 
here (i. e., at the Bouwery), but the deacons of New Amsterdam provisionally receive 
the alms-offerings ; and there are to be neither elders nor deacons there. Besides me, 
there are in New Netherland : D. D. Johannes Megapolensis and Samuel Drisius, in 
New Amsterdam ; D. Gideon Schaets, at Fort Orange ; D. Joannes Polhemus, at 
Middlewout ; and N. Amersfoort and Hermans Blom, at the Esopus." 


Breuckelen, Dominie Polhenius confined his services to Midwout 
and Amersfoort. 

Under the able ministrations of the new pastor, the church in 
Breuckelen increased, until, in 1661, it numbered fifty-two communi- 
cants, many of whom were admitted on certificates from New Am- 
sterdam and from churches in the Fatherland. The same year the 
village of Breuckelen received from the West India Company, on 
the request of Rev. Mr. Selyns, a bell for their church, which 
" might also be used, in time of danger, to call the county people 
thereabouts together." Esopus also received a similar present. 1 

It would seem, from the following petition, that the Rev. Mr. 
Selyns had not, as late as 1662, become an actual resident of the 
town over which he exercised a pastoral charge. 

"May 25th, 1662. 

" To the Noble, Great, and Respected, the Director-General and Coun- 
cil in Nieuw Netherlands : 

" The undersigned, Schepens of the village of Breuckelen, represent, 
with all due respect, that they, the said petitioners, have been engaged, 
for some time past, in collecting, among their community, that which they 
had promised to contribute as their share towards the Rev. Mr. Selyns' 
salary ; and they find that the community would be more willing and 
ready to bring in their respective quotas, if the aforesaid Rev. Mr. Selyns 
would come to reside within their village, inasmuch as they have already 
been at the expense of building a house for him. They therefore request 
your Honors to consent to and permit it, towards which end, expecting 
your Honors' favorable decision, etc. 

" The delegated Schepens of the village of Breuckelen, 

" William Gerritse Van Cofwenhoven. 


" Jan Joris Rapalje." 

The petitioners were referred to Mr. Selyns, whose decision is not 
recorded, and unknown to us. 2 

September 21st, 1662, the Council " ordered that the inhabitants 
of Breuckelen pay 300 guilders to the Rev. Henry Selyns, who has 

1 Letter of Directors to Stuyvesant, dated December 24, 1660. (N. Y. Col MSS., 
xiii. 143.) 

2 N. Y. Col. MSS., x. 137. 


preached in said town since August 30, 1660, instead of the Rev. 
J. Polhemus," and that the book-keeper credit that amount to 
Selyns. 1 On the 12th of the same month the people of Flat- 
lands had been permitted to build a church ; making, with that 
of Bushwick, the fourth Dutch church within the county. Dur- 
ing this year, also, complaint was made to the Consistory of the 
exposure of the graveyard to hogs and other animals ; in conse- 
quence of which, the Consistory contracted for a clapboard fence, 
five feet high, to enclose the entire ground, for the sum of seventy 
guilders. 2 

The unfortunate burning of the town of Esopus, and the massacre 
of its inhabitants, by the Indians, June 7, 1663, was the occasion of 
the following proclamation from Governor Stuyvesant to the church 
at Breuckelen : 

" As a sorrowful accident and wilful massacre has been committed by 
the Esopus Indians, who have with deliberate design, under the insidious 
cover of friendship, determined to destroy Esopus, which they effected on 
the 7th instant, killing and wounding a number of the inhabitants, and 
taking many prisoners, burning the town and desolating the place • 
Whereupon the congregation is directed and desired, by his Excellency 
the Governor-General, to observe and keep the ensuing Wednesday as a 
day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer to the Almighty, hoping that He 
may avert further calamities from the New Netherlands, and extend His 
fatherly protection and care to the country. And it is further ordered, 
that the first Wednesday in every month be observed in like manner. By 
order of the Director-General and Council, etc. Dated at Fort Orange, 
June 26, 1663." 3 

Early in the year 1664, Dominie Selyns addressed a petition to 
the Director and Council, complaining that, in consequence of the 
great depreciation which had taken place in seawant and beaver- 
skins, he found his salary much reduced and insufficient to meet 

1 N. Y. Col. MSB., x. 216. 2 Brooklyn Church Records. 

3 The cloud of war speedily passed over, however ; for Wednesday, the 4th of July, 
1663, was observed as a day of thanksgiving on account of a treaty of peace which had 
"been made with these same Esopus Indians, and the release of the prisoners who had 
been taken by them ; and likewise for the defeat of the English, who had been thwarted 
in an attempt to take possession of Long Island, by the opportune arrival of the Dutch 


his wants. His application for redress was discussed at consider- 
able length by the Council, who finally decided that any money 
paid to the Dominie on account of the 600 gl. allowed to him in the 
Fatherland, should be paid in beavers, at a rate not higher than 6 
gl., and any commodities in sea want in proportion. The 600 gl. 
promised him here in New Netherland, was to be paid with beavers, 
in cash, at the value of 8 gl. per beaver, agreeably to the contract of 
August 30th, 1660. 1 

This year, also, the church of Breuckelen was called upon to part 
with its beloved pastor, Selyns. His time having expired, he yielded 
to the urgent solicitations of his aged father in Holland ; and having 
duly obtained permission from the Lords Directors of the "West 
India Company, 2 was most tenderly and respectfully dismissed from 
his church on the 17th of July, 1664, and sailed for home on the 
23d, in the ship Beaver, the same vessel which had conveyed him 
to America. 

After his departure, Charles Debevoise, the schoolmaster of the 
town and church sexton, was authorized to read prayers and a ser- 
mon from some approved author, each Sabbath, in the church, for 
the improvement of the congregation, until another minister could 
be found. 

Selyn's pastoral duties at Breuckelen were always discharged 
" with zeal and fidelity. The records of the church at Breuckelen for 
this period, are still preserved in his own handwriting, and bear ample 
evidence of his devotion to his calling — chronicling, with rare sim- 
plicity, the occurrences in the government of the church and the 
occasions of discipline of his flock. Once we find him in collision 
with the magistrates of the town, in regard to an attempted jurisdic- 
tion on their part over an act of ecclesiastical censure exercised by 
him towards one of the church-members. In a respectful letter, he 
refused to appear before them or acknowledge their right to take 
cognizance of the sentence pronounced by him and his consistory. 
He maintained that the civil courts could not try offences arising 
purely out of the ecclesiastical relation ; and that the complainant 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., x. 33, 35, 100, 131. 

2 The petition of Dominie Selyns for permission to return home may be found (dated 
July 17, 1664) in N. Y. Col. MSS., x. 270. 



having submitted himself to the canons of the church, by becoming 
one of its members, was thereby precluded from taking the matter 
before the courts. In this, as in some other trying occasions of his 
life, when he was brought in conflict with others upon questions of 
authority and power, he sustained the rights and privileges of his 
official position with equal firmness, dignity, and force of reasoning. 
His pen and logic were never to be despised by his opponents. In 
his controversy with the magistrates of Breuckelen, his arguments 
prevailed." During his ministry in Breuckelen, he married at New 
Amsterdam, on the 9th of July, 1662, his first wife, Machtelt, 
daughter of Hermann Specht, of the city of Utrecht, " a young 
lady, if we may trust his own description of her, of rare personal 
beauty and worth," whose portrait he has transmitted to us in a 
birth-day ode, which is said to be " one of the prettiest pictures that 
conjugal affection has ever drawn." 

After his return to Holland, Selyns remained unsettled for two 
years ; and in 1666, took charge of the congregation of Waverveen, 
near Utrecht, a rural village of no fame. In 1675, he became a 
chaplain in the army of the States ; but with the exception of this 
temporary office, he seems to have passed sixteen years of his life 
in the obscurity of Waverveen, usefully and even contentedly 
employed ; for, in 1670, upon the death of Megapolensis, of New 
York, he declined a call from that church to become associated with 
Bev. Mr. Drisius in its charge. The Bev. William Nieuwenhuysen 
took the place thus declined, and subsequently, upon the death of 
both Nieuwenhuysen and Drisius, the call was so urgently renewed 
to Selyns that he accepted, and again left his native land to spend, 
as it proved, the remainder of his life in America. He arrived at 
New York in the summer of 1682, and was received " by the whole 
congregation with great affection and joy." Selyns now occupied a 
position among the churches of the colony which was commensu- 
rate with his talents. His congregation possessed not only the 
advantage of being a metropolitan one, but it was the largest in 
numbers, and the most powerful in the social and political standing 
of its members. The times, also, were critical in respect to the eccle- 
siastical affairs of the Dutch ; for, during his absence in Holland, 
the political and ecclesiastical relations of the province had entirely 


changed. British rule, while it allowed the Dutch to enjoy liberty 
of conscience in divine worship and church discipline, gave no legal 
sanction to the special authority of the Classis of Amsterdam over 
the churches of the Eeformed Dutch faith. Still, the ecclesiastical 
authority of the Classis continued to be exercised and acknowledged 
among the Dutch themselves, as before the conquest. Ministers 
still received their appointment and ordination from that body, and 
rendered an account of their stewardship thereto. In the corre- 
spondence which was thus maintained between the colonial ministers 
and their Classis, the letters of Selyns hold no inferior position, 
not only for the historic light which they throw upon the public and 
religious affairs of the day, but for the catholic spirit which they 
exhibit towards other denominations and ministers. " In his confi- 
dential intercourse with his superiors, he might be expected to have 
exhibited some sectarian spirit in regard to their progress or merits ; 
yet we find nothing of the kind in them, but, on the contrary, 
expressions of satisfaction at their success ; and where he does con- 
demn, it is easy to be seen that he does so on no narrow or selfish 
grounds. A character so liberal and amiable could not help endear- 
ing him to those around him, and inviting their confidence. We 
find him, accordingly, not only beloved by his own congregation, 
but on terms of friendship with the heads of the government and his 
colleagues in the other churches in New York, and in correspondence 
with distinguished men in the neighboring colonies. He was prob- 
ably known to the ministers at Boston, at the time of his first resi- 
dence in New Netherland, as we find among his poems one in Latin, 
upon some verses addressed by the Bev. John Wilson, the first 
minister of Boston, to Governor Stuyvesant. But his correspondence 
with them after his return to New York was frequent." 

Troublous days, however, came to Dominie Selyns with the revo- 
lutionary outbreak which placed Jacob Leisler at the head of the 
government. It was natural that Selyns, as well as the other min- 
isters, should look upon Leisler as a usurper, and that they should 
throw all the weight of their influence against him and his party. 
But they committed the error of continuing their opposition to him 
after his power had been fully established ; thus themselves becom- 
ing traitors to his government, whom he felt justified in putting 


down at any cost. Dellhis was obliged to escape to Boston ; Varick, 
the minister of the four Dutch towns of Kings county, was impris- 
oned, tried, and convicted of treason, and sentenced to be deposed 
from his ministerial functions ; Tesschenmaker was massacred at 
Schenectady, in February, 1690 ; and Yan der Bosch, of Kingston, 
had been deposed previously ; so that Selyns was, for a consider- 
able time, the only Dutch clergyman on duty in the province. He 
" had committed no overt act rendering himself amenable to the law ; 
but he was in such close communication and sympathy with the 
leaders of the opposition, that he was constantly watched. He was 
suspected of concealing Bayard, and his house was searched by 
public officers, for the purpose of discovering him. His service in 
church, of which Leisler was a member, was interrupted by Leisler 
himself, who there threatened openly to silence him. His letters 
to Holland and elsewhere were stopped in transit, and opened by 
order of the government. His feelings of hostility to Leisler were 
aggravated, no doubt, in a large degree by these circumstances, and 
were carried by him to the grave itself. He was one of those who 
approved and recommended the carrying into execution the sen- 
tence of that popular leader, when Sloughter wisely hesitated, and 
desired to wait until he could obtain the views of the home govern- 
ment on the propriety of the act. While Leisler was lying in prison, 
the helpless subject of a political prosecution, and the proper object 
of consolation from the ministers of religion, Selyns preached a 
sermon against him, from the verse of the Psalmist : ' I had fainted, 
unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land 
of the living.' This proceeding on his part was, in the mildest view 
of the case, most injudicious and unwise. His opposition had 
already estranged from him the Leislerian portion of his congrega- 
tion. He affected to call them men of inconsiderable influence. 
They, nevertheless, refused to contribute to his salary; and the 
refusal continued, under this fresh provocation, for several years. 
He appealed to the Classis to interfere, and even sought, through 
that body, the mandate of King William, supposing that, as a Dutch- 
man, he could be induced by the ecclesiastical authorities at Amster- 
dam to compel the payment of his arrears. He intimated that he 
would, in consequence of withholding the salary, be forced to give up 


his ministry here and return to Holland. The Classis, in a proper 
spirit, advised him to pacify and win back the alienated hearts of 
his flock, and to suffer and forget all in love ; and also addressed a 
letter in the same spirit to the consistory and congregation. The 
difficulty was thus finally arranged," although the divisions which 
arose at the Leislerian era laid the foundation of the political con- 
troversies which troubled the colony for more than a generation 

The great object of Selyns' labors, during the later years of his 
life, was the establishment of the liberties of his church by the pro- 
curing of a royal charter confirming its rights and privileges. This 
was at length accomplished, May 11th, 1696, by a charter under the 
royal seal, for the Reformed Protestant Dutch church in the city of 
New York, which is still in full force, and was virtually the charter 
of the Low Dutch Church in America. 1 Selyns had now attained his 
sixtieth year. " He had labored faithfully, zealously, and success- 
fully. Amidst all his trials, no one had ventured to breathe a sylla- 
ble against the purity of his life and conversation, or his fidelity to 
the spiritual interests of his congregation, which had increased from 
450 to 650 members during his ministry among them." In 1699, 
he received an assistant, in the person of Rev. Gualterus du Bois, of 
Amsterdam ; and shortly after, in July, 1701, he died at New York, 
in his sixty-fifth year. "In his domestic relations he appears to 
have been fortunate. Of his first wife we have already spoken. 
Upon her death, in 1686, he married the widow of Cornelius Steen- 
wyck, Margaretta de Riemer, whom he himself describes as ' rich in 
temporal goods, but richer in spiritual.' This lady survived him 
several years. He had one child, a daughter, by his first wife, born 
while he was at Breuckelen ; but from all omission of her name in 
his will, we infer she died while he was in Holland." 

" His character, as we are able to view it through the long vista 
of time, and with an imperfect exhibition of its traits, presents him 
in a favorable light. He was a faithful and devoted minister, honest, 
sincere, and capable. He was learned in his profession, pious, and 

1 Liber vii. 25, Sec'y State's office. This charter antedates that of Trinity church, 
which was granted May 6, 1697. 



pure in his life. He was free from that narrow feeling which 
begets prejudice from mere difference of opinion. But he was fond 
of the exercise of power. He was persevering, and pursued his 
object with determination, and sought it sometimes for the sake of 

a o 3 

2 05 H 

B w £ 

success, when, perhaps, a wise regard for the feelings of others 
would have led him to abandon it. He may be justly regarded as 
one of the founders of the Dutch Church in America, who did more 


to determine its position in the country than any other man ; and 
in this circumscribed field, in which the great business of his life 
•was concerned, his fame must mainly rest." 

Although he corresponded extensively with men of genius and of 
learning, he never appeared as an author in print ; 1 and his only 
literary remains are contained in a little volume of poems, of which a 
pleasant selection, translated by our fellow-citizen, Hon. Henry C. 
Murphy, has been published in one of the elegant volumes of the 
"Bradford Club." 2 We have drawn freely, in our sketch of the first 
pastor of Breuckelen, upon the elegant and careful memoir which 
Mr. Murphy has there given. 

1 Except as the author of a Latin poem eulogistic of the Rev. Cotton Mather's " Mag- 
nalia Americana," and which may be found, together with a translation, in the Hart- 
ford edition of that work (i. 23). 

2 Anthology of New Netherland ; or, Translations from the Early Dutch Poets ol 
New York, with Memoirs of the Authors. By Henry C. Murphy. New York, 1865 




Among the first subjects that demanded the attention of the new 
authorities of the Province of New York was the formation of a uni- 
form code of laws for the several plantations upon Long Island, 
now for the first time united under one and the same administra- 
tion. In those communities formerly known as the ' : English towns" 
the English common law very generally prevailed, while the civil 
code of the Dutch towns had been modelled on that of the Father- 
laud. Fully alive to the difficulties which were incident to such a 
diversity of jurisprudence, the Governor convened an assemblage of 
delegates from the several towns, to deliberate upon and provide for 
the emergency. The Convention accordingly met at Hempstead on 
the 28th of February, 1665 (Breuckelen being represented by Fred- 
erick Lubbertsen and Jan Evertsen Bout), and then and there pro- 
mulgated a body of laws and ordinances for the future government of 
the province. Of this code, called by way of distinction the " Duke's 
Laws," copies were furnished to the deputies of each town, and duly 
filed in the clerks' offices of the several counties, where, or in some 
of them, they remain to the present day. These laws, with occa- 
sional additions and alterations, continued in force until the first 
Provincial Assembly, convened by Governor Dongan in 1683. De- 
signed to operate in a newly settled country, and among a popula- 
tion composed of different nationalities, holding various and con- 
flicting opinions concerning law and government, it was hardly to be 
expected that they would be satisfactory to all ; yet they were, on 
the whole, as just and reasonable as those enjoyed by any of the 
neighboring colonies. 

The delegates composing this Provincial Assembly were so favor- 
ably impressed with the Governor, and with his representation of 
the liberal intentions of the Duke of York towards his new subjects, 


that they prepared and presented an address to his royal highness, 
abounding with expressions of loyalty and esteem. The people 
whom they represented, however, were far from being perfectly sat- 
isfied with some of the laws which had been adopted, and deemed 
the address of their deputies as too servile in its tone. So open and 
severe was the censure cast upon their action, that Government felt 
called upon to interfere ; and, at a court of assize held in Fort 
James, October, 1666, it was decreed, " that whoever thereafter 
should in any way detract or speak against the deputies signing the 
address to his royal highness, at the next general meeting at Hemp- 
stead, should be presented to the next court of sessions, and, if the 
justices see cause, they should then be bound over to the assizes, to 
answer for the slander, upon plaint or information." 

At this Convention of 1665, Long Island and Staten Island were 
duly erected into a shire, called, in honor of the Duke of York, 
Toekshiee, which was further subdivided into separate districts, de- 
nominated Hidings ; — the towns now included in Suffolk County con- 
stituting the East Riding ; Kings County, Newtown, and Staten 
Island, the West Biding ; and the remainder of Queens County, the 
North Biding. 

Nicolls retained the government of the province until 1668, and 
was then succeeded by Governor Francis Lovelace. 

During their terms of office, Long Island, as well as the rest of 
the province, enjoyed a high degree of tranquillity and prosperity, 
and the records of that day contain little or nothing of interest con- 
cerning the town of Breuckelen. 

In September, 1665, Governor Nicolls commanded the Constable 
and Overseers of Breuckelen to make proper provision for the 
horses of such persons as might come to Breuckelen and the Ferry 
to attend the assizes. 1 

In 1666, the town was directed to pay over the grain, collected 
for its rate, to Captain Delavall, in the city. 2 

February 7, 1666, the town of Jamaica having purchased 3 from 
Indians a tract of land called Seller's Neck, lying southwest of 
Jamaica, had allowed the town of Breuckelen to have one-third of 

1 Council Minutes, ii. 14. s Ibid., 110. 8 See Annals of Newtown, p. 63.. 


it, which the latter town had been somewhat dilatory in paying for. 
On the above-named day they were reminded of their delinquency 
by a special order from the Governor, which had its desired effect, 
as, on the 1st of March ensuing, they paid the sum of £12, being 
their third of the purchase. 1 

February 19, 1667, in a rate levied by the Governor on the 
towns of the West Riding, "for a Sessions House, which long since 
ought to have been provided," they were rated in the following pro- 
portion — 







Gravesend .... 




Breuckelen .... 




Newtown .... 

... 26 








... 5 



New Utrecht. . 

... 7 



Aniersfoort . . . 




Staten Island. . 

... 6 






which was to be paid to Alderman Oloff Stevens, " in good corn." 8 

October 18, 1^17, Richard Nicolls, Governor of New York, granted 
to the inhabitants of Breuckelen the following full and ample patent, 
confirming them in their rights and privileges : 

l. s. "Richabd Nicolls, Esq., Governor- General wider his Royal 
Highness James Duke of YorJee and Albany, etc., of all his Territory s in 
America, To all to whom these presents shall come, sendeth Greeting — 
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 manuring and planting a considerable part of the lands belong- 
ing thereunto, and settled a competent number of families thereupon. 
Now, for a confirmation unto the said freeholders and inhabitants in their 

1 Council Minutes, ii. 129. See also Furrnan's Notes, 13 (note). At the annual town 
meeting, April, 1823, a committee was appointed to " discover and obtain possession of 
all common lands and meadows belonging to the town, which are lying at a place 
called Seller's Neck, in the town of Jamaica, in Queen's County." (Brooklyn Town 
Records, 1st Book, loose page.) We are uninformed as to what was the result of their 
investigation. Furman states his opinion that this Seller's Neck was apportioned 
among the freeholders, from the fact that, on May 10, 1695, John Damen, one of the 
patentees of the town, sold to William Huddlestone all his interest in the said 
meadow. s Council Minutes, ii. 198. 


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, rat- 
ify, confirm, and grant, unto Jan Everts, Jan Damen, Albert Cornelissen, 
Paulus Veerbeeck, Michael Eneyl (Hainelle), Thomas Lamberts, Teunis 
Guysbert, Bogart and Joris Jacobson, as patentees, for and on the behalf 
of themselves 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 Veerbeck, 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 1 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, 8 including within the said bounds and limitts all the 
lotts and plantations lying and being at the Gowanis, Bedford, Walla- 
boucht, 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 thereupon, from henceforth are to bee, 
appertaine, and belong to the said town of Breucklen, Together with all 
havens, harbours, creeks, quarryes, woodland, meadow-ground, reed-land 
or valley of all sorts, pastures, marshes, runs, rivers, lakes, hunting, fishing, 
hawking, and fowling, and all other profitts, 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, 3 — as also one-third part of a certain neck of meadow- 
ground or valley called Sellers neck, lying and being within the limits of 

1 According to the New York doctrine, this boundary of the town can only be correct 
when the tide is flood ; for, when the water is low, the town is bounded by property 
belonging to the Corporation of the city of New York, and not by the river. — Furman's 
Notes, p. 12. 

2 See ante, page 113. 

3 This town enjoyed this privilege in common with the other towns on Long Island, 
and their cattle which ran at large were marked with the letter "N." — Furman's 
Notes, p. 13. 


the town of Jamaica, purchased by the said town of Jamaica from the In- 
dians, and sold by them unto the inhabitants of Breucklen aforesaid, as it 
has been lately laid out and divided by their mutual consent and my order, 
whereunto and from which they are likewise to have free egress and re- 
gress, as their occasions may require. To have and to hold all and singu- 
lar the said tract and parcell of land, meadow-ground or valley, common- 
age, hei-editaments and premises, with their and every of their appurte- 
nances, 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 associates, their heirs, successors, 
and assigns forever. Moreover, 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, render- 
ing 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 
Manhattat, 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 Eng- 
land, Scotland, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc., 
Annoque Domini, 1667. 


" Recorded, by order of the Governor, the day and year above written. 

" Matthias Nicolls, Sec'ry." 

There was, unquestionably, a General Patent or Charter of this 
town under the Dutch government, which is now lost. The Nicolls 
Charter, above given, is evidently confirmatory of some such former 
part ; and the same is also referred to by conveyances between 

Adam Brouwer, of Breuckelen, miller, being complained of by the 
inhabitants, constables, and overseers of the town, that he would 
not at all times grind corn for some of them, " on frivolous pre- 
tences," and being apparently forgetful of former court action on a 
similar charge, was warned by Governor Lovelace (November 12, 


1668), tliat as long as he should keep the mill, he must " grind for 
all persons, without distinction or exception, according to custom, 
the first come to be first served," under penalty. 1 

January 4, 1668, one Eobert Hollis was granted the exclusive 
privilege of selling strong drink in Breuckelen. 2 

During this year, also, the little village-hamlet of Bedford 3 was 

1 Brouwer, although, a respectable citizen, in good circumstances, seems to have been 
rather fractious and troublesome at times, if we may judge from this and other items 
recorded concerning him. In February, 1667 (-8), he had been ordered under arrest 
for seditious speeches ; and in September, 1669, he was fined 500 guilders for an assault 
on Gerrit Coosen. (Council Minutes, ii. 282, 195, 537.) 

2 July 18, 1669, Robert Hollis received a patent for a piece of land in Breuckelen, 
" lying and being to the south of Jan Martyn's, and the north of Jan Damen's, con- 
taining in breadth (an east line being run on each side) 40 rod, and in length 200 rod, 
in bigness about 26 acres or 13 morgen," sold in 1647, by Jan Misroel, to the said 
Hollis. (Council Minutes, ii. 320.) 

3 The settlement of the locality, which retains, even at the present day, its ancient 
name of Bedford, seems to have commenced in 1662 ; for on the 18th of March, in that 
year, Jan Joris Rapalje, Teunis Gysbert (Bogaert), Cornells Jacobsen, Hendrick Sweers, 
Michael Hans (Bergen), and Jan Hans (Bergen), made a humble request to the Direc- 
tor and General for " the grant of a parcel of free (unoccupied) woodland, situated in 
the rear of Joris Rapalje, next to the old Bay road." The request was granted to the 
suppliants, provided that they placed their dwellings " within one or the other concen- 
tration, which shall suit them best, but not to make a new hamlet." (N. Y. Col. MSS., 
x. Part i. 88. By this grant the parties are supposed to have obtained 20 morgen (or 
40 acres) of land apiece at Bedford. (See also ibid., xxii. 145, 146 ; xxiv. 60.) 

Feb. 18, 1666, a patent was granted to Thomas Lamberts, to confirm to him a cer- 
tain parcel of land lying in the Walleboght, within the limits of a certain village 
known by the name of New Bedford, on Long Island, " being on the south side of the 
land belonging to Jan Lourensen, and on the north side of that which belongs to 
Michael Hansen (Bergen) ; containing in breadth, 24 rods ; and in length, upon an east 
line, 500 rods : which in all, by estimation, amounts to about 40 acres of ground," as 
granted by Governor Stuyvesant, May 15, 1664, to said Lamberts. 

Feb. 18, 1666, a patent was granted to Thomas Lamberts, confirming to Mm a parcel 
of land, "being on the south side of the land belonging to Jan Laurensen, and on the 
west side of the cart-way, containing, by estimation, 3 acres or thereabouts." Also " a 
certain plot of ground, lying on the south part of New Bedford aforesaid, being on the 
north side of the above-mentioned land, and on the west side of the cart- way, having a 
house and barn standing thereon ; containing, in length, 24 rod ; and in breadth, on the 
east and west sides, 16 rod," as occupied by said Lamberts. 

May 14, 1700, Thomas Lambertse, of Bedford, conveyed to Leffert Peterse (the 
ancestor of the Lefferts family), of Flatbush, the premises covered by the last-mentioned 
patent of Feb. 18, 1666. (Lib. ii. 213, Kings County Conveyances.) 

Dec. 3, 1667, a patent was granted to Charles Heynant, described as an inhabitant of 
Bedford, within the jurisdiction of the town of Breucklyn, in the West Riding of York- 
shire, upon Long Island, having a lot of ground in the place aforesaid, but having not 
a sufficient quantity of woodland belonging thereto, granting to him " an addition of 
about 3 morgen, or 6 acres, of land adjoining liis said lot." 


honored by the establishment of an inn or ordinary " for man and 
beast :" 

" License granted to Thomas Lamberts, of Bedford, to sell beer, wine, 
and other liquors. 

" Whereas, Thomas Lamberts, of Bedford, within the jurisdiction of 
Breuckelen, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, upon Long Island, is will- 
ing to undertake the keeping of an Ordinary, for the accommodation of 
strangers, travellers, and other persons passing that way, with diet and 
lodging and horse meals, I do hereby give him license to sell beer, wine, 
or any other strong liquors for their relief. And for his further encour- 
agement therein, do think fit to order that no person living in the said 
village of Bedford have privilege so to do but himself. This License is to 
continue for one year after the date hereof, and no longer. Given under 
my hand, at Fort James, in New York, this 17th day of December, 1668. 

"Fkancis Lovelace." 

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 the following permission to purchase from the 
native proprietors a large tract of land in and about the hamlet then 
and since known as Bedford : 

" L. S. Whereas, the inhabitants of Breucklyn, in the west Riding of 
Yorkshire, upon Long Island, who were seated there in a township by the 
authority then in being, and having bin at considerable charges in clearing, 
fifencing, and manuring their land, as well as building ffor their conveniency, 
have requested my ly cense, for their further security, to make purchase of 
the said land of some Indians who lay claim and interest therein ; these 
are to certify all whom it may concerne, that I have and doe hereby give 
the said inhabitants lycense to purchase their land according to their 
request, the said Indians concerned appearing before me as in the law is 
required, and making their acknowledgments to be fully satisfyed and paid 

The Bedford settlement, of which these notes serve to show the beginnings, was lo- 
cated at the intersection of the old highway to Jamaica with the " Clove Road" to 
Flatbush, on the south ; and with the " Cripplebush Road" to Newtown, on the north ; 
and extending about a quarter of a mile each way from that point. 


for the same. Given under my hand and seal at ffort James, in New 
Yorke, this ffirst day of May, in the 22nd yeare of his Majestyies reigne, 
Annoque Dom. 1670. 

" Ffrancis Lovelace." 

The purchase was accordingly made, and the following is a copy 
of a deed from the Indians for the same : 

" To all people to whom this present writing shall come, Peter, Elmohae, 
Job, Makaquiquos, and Shamese, late of Staten Island, send Greeting ; 
Whereas they, the said Peter, Elmohar, Job, Makaquiquos, and 
Shamese, afore-mentioned, doe lay claime to the land now in the tenure 
and occupation of some of the inhabitants of Breucklyn, as well as other 
lands there adjascent, as the true Indian owners and proprietors thereof, 
Know Yee, that for and in consideration of a certaine sum of wampum and 
diverse other goods, the which in the Schedule annext are exprest, unto 
the said Sachems in hand payed by Monsieur Machiell Hainelle, Thomas 
Lambertse, John Lewis, and Peter Darmantier, on the behalf of themselves 
and the inhabitants of Breucklyn, the receipt whereof they doe hereby 
acknowledge, and themselves to be fully satisfyed and payed therefor ; have 
given, granted, bargained, and sold, and by these presents doe fully, freely, 
and absolutely give, grant, bargain and sell unto the said Monsieur Machiell 
Hainelle, Thomas Lambertse, John Lewis, and Peter Darmantier, ffor and 
on behalf of themselves and the inhabitants aforesaid, their heyrs and suc- 
cessors ; all that parcell of land and tract of land in and about Bedford, 
within the jurisdiction of Breucklyn, beginning ffrom Hendrick Van Aarn- 
hem's land by a' swamp of water, and stretching to the hills, then going 
along the hills to the port or entrance thereof, 1 and soe to the Rockaway 
ffoot-path, as their purchase is more particularly set fforth ; To have and to 
hold all the said parcell and tract of land and premises within the limits 
before described unto the said Monsieur Machiell Hainelle, Thomas Lam- 
bertse, John Lewis, and Peter Darmantier, ffor and on behalf of the inhab- 
itants aforesaid, their heyres and successors, to the proper use and behoof 
of the said inhabitants, their heyres and successors forever ; in witness 
whereof the partyes to these presents have hereunto sett their hands and 

1 This port " or entrance," as it is called, is situate in the valley on the Flatbush 
Turnpike, near the "Brush," or "Valley Tavern," and a short distance beyond the 
three-mile post from Breuckelen ferry. A freestone monument was placed here, to 
designate the patent line between Breuckelen and Flatbush. 


seales, this 14th day of May, in the 22nd yeare of his Majestyes reigne, 
Annoque Dom. 1670. 

" Sealed and Delivered in the presence of Mathias Nicolls, R. Lough, 
Samuel § Davies, John Garland, 
his marke. 

" The mark of P Peter, [l. s.] 

" The mark of o Elmohar, [l. s.] 

" The mark of n Job, [l. s.] 

" The mark of ? Maquiquos, [l. s.] 

" The mark of 1 Shamese, [l. s.] 

" This deed was acknowledged by the within written Sachems before 
the Governor in the presence of us, the day and year within written. 

" Mathias Nicolls, Secretary. 
" The mark of § Samuel Davies. 
" Recorded by order of the Governor. 

" Mathias p Nicolls, Secretary. 

" The Inventory or Schedule He/erred to in the Deed. 

" The payment agreed upon ffor the purchase of the land in and about 
Bedford, within the jurisdiction of Breucklyn, conveyed this day by the 
Indian Sachems, proprietors, is, viz : 

" 100 Guilders Seawant, 
" Half a tun of strong beer, 
" 2 half tuns of good beer, 

" 3 guns, long barrells, with each a pound of powder, and lead propor- 
tionable— 2 bars to a gun — 4 match coates." 

August 10th, 1671. Adriaen Hegenian, Schout, and Albert Cor- 
nelissen Wantenaer, and others, Schepens of Breuckelen during the 
Dutch government, had levied a rate on the town, by consent of the 
Governor, for the purpose of building a " minister's house," but had 
not collected the whole amount. The government being now 
changed, they were held somewhat liable for the amount, and 
ordered by the court to pay for the work done on the house. Gov- 
ernor Lovelace ordered that they should be acquitted from the said 
obligation, and the business should be undertaken by the present 
Overseers of Breuckelen, who were to levy sums in arrears upon 


persons and estates, if found ; if not sufficient, however, they were 
directed to make a new rate upon the town. 1 

This year, also, Breuckelen, with five other towns in the West 
Biding, petitioned the Court of Sessions " for liberty to transport 
wheat." Their petition was referred to the Governor. 

In the year 1673, however, by an event as sudden as it was unex- 
pected, the whole of New Netherland passed again under the control 
of the States-General. Early in that year, news was received that 
England and Holland were again involved in war. Orders were also 
forwarded to Gov. Lovelace to put the province in a proper state of 
defence ; but so lacking was he in the means necessary to fortify the 
city of New York, that a Dutch fleet, under Captains Binckes 
and Evertsen, returning from a predatory excursion against the 
French and English West India trade, entered the harbor on the 
30th of July, and captured the place without firing a gun. Captain 
Anthony Colve was appointed Governor of the province by the naval 
commanders, and immediately began to reinstate the Dutch govern- 
ment. The city was denominated Neio Orange and the fort William 
Heudrick, in honor of the Staadt Holder. On the 14th of August, 1673, 
the new Governor issued a proclamation requiring each of the Long- 
Island towns to send two deputies to the city, with full powers to ten- 
der their submission to the States-General and the Prince of Orange. 
The five Dutch towns, rejoiced to find themselves once more under 
their old masters, submitted with alacrity; but the other towns 
showed an inclination to evade the order and to seek the protection 
of their former ally, the English Colony of Connecticut ; and even- 
tually, in spite of Gov. Colve's efforts to the contrary, Southampton, 
Easthampton, and Southold succeeded in joining themselves to the 
jurisdiction of that colony. In Breuckelen and the adjoining ham- 
lets, fifty-two out of eighty-one men took the oath of allegiance, and 
the remainder were ordered to comply. 2 

In October following, a code of " Provisional Instructions" was 
received from the new governor, for the guidance of the magistrates 
in the future government of their towns, although in some minor 

1 General Entries, iv. 12. 

2 N. Y. Col. MSB., xxiii. 14, 40, 51 ; N. Y. Col. Doc, ii. 573, 580, 586, 589, 



affairs the people were allowed to adhere to the laws formerly in 
force. In fact, the transient rule of the Dutch afforded opportunity 
for but few legislative changes. 1 

1 Provisional Instructions for the Sheriff and Magistrates of the Villages of Midwout, 
Amersfoort, Breuckelen, New Utrecht, and Gravesend, and for the Magistrates of 
Boswyck (N. Y. Col. MSS., xxiii. 93) : 

Art. 1. The Sheriff and Magistrates, each in his quality, shall see to the maintenance 
of the Reformed Christian Religion, in conformity with the (canons of) the Synod of 
Dordrecht ; and shall not permit that any thing contrary to it shall be attempted~by any 
other sects. 

Art. 2. The Sheriff shall, as often as possible, be present at and preside in all the 
meetings. However, if he acts for himself as a party, or defends the rights of the 
Lord's patrons, or steps forward in tbe cause of justice, he shall, in such cases, rise 
from his seat and leave the bench, and shall then have no advisory, much less a con- 
clusive, vote, while in his stead the oldest Schepen shall preside. 

Art. 3. All cases relating to the police, to the security and peace of the inhabitants, 
and to justice between man and man, shall be definitely determined by the magistrates 
of each of the aforesaid villages, to the amount of 60 guilders, or less, in beavers. If the 
sum is larger than that, the aggrieved party may appeal to a council (consisting of) the 
Sheriff and a Commissioner of the Counsellors (magistrates) of the village, subject to 
his (the Sheriff's) jurisdiction (for which purpose one person shall be annually chosen 
in each village), who shall meet at some convenient place selected by them, and who 
shall have the power to pronounce a definitive sentence to the amount of 240 guilders, 
in beavers, and under. But in all cases exceeding that sum, each party shall be 
entitled to the right of appeal to the Governor and Council. 

Art. 4. In case of a disparity of votes, the minority shall submit to the majority ; but 
they who have a dissentient opinion, are permitted to have it recorded on the protocol, 
but they shall not divulge it outside of the meeting, under penalty of an arbitrary 

Art. 5. If at any such meeting, cases occur in which any of the magistrates are con- 
cerned as parties, the magistrate in such case shall be obliged to leave his seat and 
absent himself, as was before said of the Sheriff in the 2d article. 

Art. 6. All the inhabitants of the aforesaid villages may be summoned before the 
Sheriff and Schepens, or before the Committee of Counsellors, who shall hold their 
meetings as often as may be required. 

Art. 7. All criminal derelictions shall be referred to the Governor-General and the 
Council ; provided that the Sheriff is under obligation to apprehend the cr i minals, to 
arrest and secure them, and conduct them in safety to the Chief Magistrate, with cor- 
rect information of the committed crime, at the expense of the delinquent or of the 

Art. 8. Smaller derelictions, such as quarrels, injuries, scoldings, threatenings, blows, 
and similar trespasses, are left to the jurisdiction of the magistrates of each village. 

Art. 9. The Sheriff and Schepens are authorized to issue orders relative to the wel- 
fare and peace of the inhabitants, such as the laying out and making of roads, the 
surveying of lots and garden-spots, and whatever has any relation to agriculture ; also 
with respect to keeping the Sabbath, building of churches, school-houses, and similar 
public works ; also about fighting, throwing stones, and similar petty crimes — pro- 
vided that such orders are opposed, but, as far as possible, consonant with the laws of 
our Fatherland and the statutes of this province ; and therefore all such orders of any 


On the 15th of December, his Excellency, Gov. Colve, accompanied 
by some of his officers and prominent citizens, repaired to the vil- 
lage of Midwout, where, by his order, all the magistrates and field- 
officers of the Dutch towns on Long Island had assembled. He 
then and there informed them that he had learned that the New 
England troops were even then on their way to assail the province ; 
and, although he did not fully credit the report, yet he deemed it 
necessary to remind them of their allegiance and duty, as well as to 
recommend them, with all possible speed, to thrash out and trans- 
port all their grain to New York. He also commanded them not to 
be remiss in proceeding immediately, with the people of their vil- 
lages, to the city whenever he should summon them ; advising mean- 
while they should maintain a strict guard, and that, from time to time, 
they should send out one or two mounted patrols towards the neigh- 
boring English villages, to keep a lookout. All of which was unani- 
mously promised by the authorities, who also thanked the Governor 

importance, before being published, shall be submitted to the Chief Magistrate for his 

Art. 10. The aforesaid Sheriff and Schepens shall see that all placards and ordi- 
nances which are ordained and published by the Chief Magistrate are well observed 
and executed, and shall not allow that they shall be disobeyed by any one ; that trans- 
gressors shall be prosecuted, and that all and every law, as may from time to time be 
issued by the Governor-General, shall be promptly enforced. 

Art. 11. The Sheriff and Schepens shall acknowledge for their sovereign their High 
and Mighty Lords the States-General of the United Netherlands, and His Serene High- 
ness the Lord Prince of Orange, and shall defend and maintain their high jurisdiction, 
rights, and domains in this country. 

Art. 12. The election of all inferior officers and assistants, for the service of the afore- 
said Schout and Schepens (the office of secretary only excepted), shall be made and 
confirmed by the Schepens themselves. 

Art. 13. The Sheriff, either personally or through his assistants, shall execute all the 
judgments of the Schepens, discharging no individual except with full consent of the 
Court. He shall furthermore take due care to keep his jurisdiction free from every 
sort of villany in trading, brothels, and similar impurities. 

Art. 14. The Sheriff shall receive half of all the civil fines during his term of service, 
besides one-third of what falls to the share of the respective villages in criminal cases 
but he shall not accept, either directly or indirectly, any presents, which are by law 

Art. 15. Previous to the annual election, the Sheriff and Schepens shall make, in 
nomination for Schepens, of a double number of the best qualified, honest, intelligent, 
and wealthiest inhabitants (but only those belonging to, or well affected toward, the 
Reformed Christian Religion), and shall present it the Governor, who shall then make 
a selection, and, if he deem it best, confirm some of the old Schepens. 

Done at Fort William Hendricks, October 1, 1673. 


for his prudent precautions, and promised to abide by bis orders. 
And, agreeably to the petition of some of the " country people," that 
they might be permitted, for their better safety, to remove their fami- 
lies and property into the city, and that some accommodation might 
be apportioned to them for a season, the Hon. Cornelius Steenwyck, 
of the Council, Cornelis Yan Euyven, and Johannes "Van Brugh, Bur- 
gomaster, were appointed to look up the proper houses and accom- 
modation, and to make the necessary provision at the ferry for the 
safe and speedy passage of goods, etc., over the river. 

The inhabitants of Breuckelen, Boswyck, and the other Dutch 
towns were not slow in complying with these propositions of the 
Governor, and so active and general was the emigration to the city, 
as to threaten £h.e total depopulation of the west end of Long Island. 
In this emergency, Gov. Colve, on the 26th of December, issued an 
order, wherein he states that he " deemed it necessary that, for the 
present, in each of those villages, a few males should remain, to pre- 
vent further losses, until we have received further information of the 
arrival or the designs of the enemy. And in order that this may be 
most safely effected for the public welfare and in good order, there- 
fore the respective captains, lieutenants, and ensigns of the afore- 
said villages are hereby commanded to appear with their companies, 
all armed, on Friday, the 29th of this month, in the forenoon, within 
this city of New Orange and before the fortress William Hendricks, 
leaving six men in each village. This being done, then immediately 
one-third portion of each company shall be discharged to depart 
to their several villages, there to remain until relieved by another 
corporalship, which shall be done (until further orders) every third 
day. Also, the officers are hereby authorized to give such orders 
about thrashing grain and foddering the cattle, as each one shall 
deem advisable within his own jurisdiction ; above all, taking especial 
care that a vigilant watch is maintained and patrol kept up both day 
and night, so that they may not be surprised by the enemy or sepa- 
rated from us." J 

But another change in the political condition of the country was 
at hand, and the second epoch of Dutch power was terminated, in 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., xxiii. 185. 


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 Anclros, 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 highness ; all legal 
judicial proceedings during the Dutch government were pronounced 
valid, and the inhabitants secured in their lawful estates and prop- 
erty. A special order, also, of November 4th, reinstated in office, for 
a period of sis months, the officials of the several towns who were 
serving when the Dutch came in power. The fort again became 
Fort James, and New Orange resumed its former name of New 




After Domine Selyns' return to Holland, in 1664, the church at 
Breuckelen came again under the pastoral charge of Domine Pol- 
hemus, the minister of the associated churches of the four Dutch 
towns of the county. The labors of this venerable and faithful ser- 
vant of God ceased only with his life ; and his death, on the 9th of 
June, 1676, is commemorated on the records of the church at 
Breuckelen in the following respectful and affectionate terms : 

" It has pleased the Almighty God to remove from this world of care 
and trouble our worthy and beloved pastor, Johannes Polhemus, to the 
abode of peace and happiness in His heavenly kingdom ; by which our 
ohurch is deprived of his pious instructions, godly example, and evangelical 
ministrations, particularly in the administration of the holy sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper." 

During his ministry, in the year 1666, the first church edifice in 
Breuckelen was erected in the middle of the highway, now Fulton 
avenue, near Lawrence street. Tradition says that it was built on 
the walls of a stone fort, constructed in the early days of the settle- 
ment for protection against the savages. This first church remained 
in existence just a century, being pulled down in the year 1766. 

By the death of Domine Polhemus, the churches of Kings County 
were deprived of the regular preaching of the Gospel, and the 
Breuckelen church invited the Bev. Mr. Nieuwenhausen, of New 
Amsterdam, to supply their pulpit, which he did until the year 
1677. In that year the collegiate churches of the county extended 
a call to the Bev. Casparus Van Zuren, from Holland, who was 
installed on the 6th of September at Flatbush, and of whom little is 
known, except that he was an industrious and systematic man. 1 

1 As evidenced by the very copious minutes which he has left upon the Flatbush 
Church Records, of the services which he performed, lists of baptisms, marriages, elec- 
tions of officers, etc. See Strong's Hist, of Flatbnsli, p. 80. 


When the pulpit of the church in New York was vacant, he 
preached there every Wednesday by invitation, without failure on 
account of weather ; for which he received compensation and a vote 
of thanks from the New York Consistory. He also preached (1680-2) 
for the Dutch church at Bergen. In 1685 he returned to Holland, 
where he resumed his former charge over the church at Gonderac. 1 

The records of the church at Flatbush during Van Zuren's pas- 
torate present the following minutes, which may not be uninteresting 
to our readers : 

"Respecting another difficulty, touching the preaching at Flatbush 
beyond the usual turn. It was asked, inasmuch as this (i. e., a similar 
case) had occurred at a previous meeting, on the 15th November, 1679, 
whether, when the town which has the turn shall neglect to fetch the 
minister, or be hindered by foul weather, such ought to pass for a turn for 
Flatbush — which appeared improper, because in such case the minister 
would then (only) sit still. After some debate between Flatbush and the 
other towns, the minister observed that the service on the Lord's day 
might not be neglected; for it could not injure the other towns that Flat- 
bush had an extra turn, for the other towns thereafter again took their 
course (». e., their respective turns). That the minister not being fetched 
by anybody, evidently belonged no more to the one than to the other, and 
in such a case he stood free on his own feet to give the extra turn to 
whom he pleased ; that Flatbush received profit, but the other towns no 
injury, (and) that this was unjust no one could pretend ; and that Flat- 
bush was not obligated to the other towns, but to the minister whom they 
remunerated, which was evident, inasmuch as they had purchased a piece 
of land 16 rods long and 12 broad, adjoining the parsonage ; and this ought 
to be duly considered, although no person ought to be a judge in his own 

1 The two self-righteous Labadist travellers, whose journal forms the first volume 
of the Collections of the L. I. Hist. Society, have left us a brief glimpse of Van Zuren : 
" While we were sitting there, Do. Van Suren 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 all 
of them. As Jan Theunissen had said to us in the house, that if the Domine only had 
a chance ever to talk to us, Oh, how he would talk to us ! that we avoided him, and 
therefore could not be very good people ; now, as we were there, we sat near him and 
the boors and those with whom he was conversing. He spoke to us, but not a word ot 
that fell from him. Indeed, he sat prating and gossiping with the boors, who talked 
foully and otherwise, not only without giving them a single word of reproof, but even 
without speaking a word about God, or spiritual matters. It was all about horses, and 
cattle, and swine, and grain, and then he went away." 


case ; therefore the minister advised that this difference be referred and 
submitted to the Honorable the Consistory of New York." 1 

On the 14th of October, 1680, the following was agreed to, being 
article 7 of a new agreement with the minister, viz. : 

" Those of Flatbush shall provide that the minister's field be enlarged 
two morgen, in order that the minister may keep a horse and suitably 
attend to the service of the Church, and also make all necessary repairs to 
the fences, dwelling, kitchens, well, and appurtenances, with earnest desire 
and integrity of heart." 

The interference of the British authorities, who then held the 
Dutch colonies in subjection, with the concerns of the Eeformed 
Dutch churches, produced much uneasiness and a considerable 
show of opposition among the inhabitants of the four towns. And 
in 1680 the Church Council, assembled in synod at Flatbush, form- 
ally resolved that the charge and management of church lands and 
property belonged to the Church Council, and was secured to them by 
the Charter of Freedoms ; and furthermore, that the English officials 
were, by their oaths of office, bound to protect and not to abridge 
the rights of the church. 2 They also chose church masters, to take 
charge of the church property ; and these officers were reappointed 
for several successive years. 

In a MS. of the Eev. Peter Lowe, quoted by some writers, " a 

1 Translation of the second resolution of the session of the four towns, held at Flat- 
bush the 1st of February, 1680. 

2 Translation. " In Synedrio Midwoudano. The following was done on the 1st of 
February, 1679 (-80) : 

" Whereas the Church Consistory judged that the charge of the goods and lands of 
the Low Dutch Church ought to be intrusted to the Hon. the Church Council, because 
it accords with the freedoms granted to us in this land, 

"Therefore, the said Consistory provide (as it may not accord with their service in 
the church) that the right of choosing Church-Masters should be given to them, in 
connection with the Hon. Constables and Overseers, not because they judged that the 
English officers had any power over the church, or church property, as that would be 
contrary to the Dutch freedom, but simply to cause the aforesaid officers faithfully to 
maintain and protect the church and church property, which is not contrary to their 
oath or trust, etc. 

" Whereupon, collectively with the Hon. Magistrate and Church Council, Joseph 
Hegeman, Adriaen Reijersz, Dirck Jansz Vander Vliet, were appointed as Church 
Masters in the place of the retiring officers." 

This action was continued in 1680, 1681, 1683. 


Mr. Clark" is mentioned as the immediate successor of Domine Van 
Zuren. But of him nothing is known, and if such a person existed, 
it is quite probable that he was merely a temporary supply. At all 
events, in the carefully prepared "History of the Reformed Dutch 
Church in North America," by the Rev. Dr. DeWitt, which we may 
safely assume to be the highest authority on these points, we find 
the name of the Rev. Rudolphus "Van Varick as minister of Kings 
County from 1685 to 1694. During the Leislerian troubles, in 1689, 
Mr. Yarick, as well as the other Dutch ministers, stood out against 
the authority of Leisler, and was treated with much harshness, being 
dragged from his home, cast into the jail, deposed from his minis- 
terial functions, and fined heavily. These severities, which were 
heaped upon him for alleged treasonable utterances against Leisler, 
undoubtedly hastened his death. 1 His congregation, also, were 
divided, and many of them refused to pay his salary according to 
the terms upon which they called him from Holland, — especially, as 
he says, in a petition to the Governor, Sept. 11th, 1691, for the six 
months of his imprisonment. The Court ordered the arrears of 
salary due him by his congregation to be collected, by distress, if 
necessary? Mr. Varick was naturalized on the 29th of July, 1686, 
and his posterity are to be found on the island. 3 

He was succeeded by the Rev. "Wtlhelmus Lupardus, whose min- 
istry was terminated by death in 1701 or 2. 

Being thus again deprived of a regular ministry, the people of the 
four towns empowered the elders of the churches within said towns 
to procure a minister, " either out of the province or out of Hol- 
land," and the elders, after much deliberation, determined upon the 
Rev. Beknakdus Freeman, of Schenectady, and applied to the Gov- 

1 This is Secretary Clarkson's statement (Doc. Hist. N. Y., ii. 431, 432), but another 
party, not so favorably inclined, says that Varick was, at first, in favor of the revolu- 
tion of Leisler, and influenced Kings County to act unanimously in its favor ; but that, 
afterwards, he was won over to a contrary opinion, and created a diversion in the 
popular mind. The same authority says that he was suspected by the people of con- 
spiring to seize the fort in New York, was arrested, and released, after a time, upon his 
submission to Leisler ; that he favored the execution of the latter, " made intolerable 
sermons" against him, and cherished animosity even to his dying day. 

2 Council Minutes, vi. 55. 

3 May 19, 1690, in an address to William and Mary, he styles himself " Pastor 
Ecclesiae Belgicse in Insula Longa." 


ernor, Lord Cornbury, for permission to call him. Their action, 
however, well-meant as it undoubtedly was, gave rise to a contention 
which was destined to distract and agitate the inhabitants of Kings 
County for many succeeding years. The people, always jealous 
of the English power, to which they were unwilling subjects, and 
particularly sensitive to any interference of that power with their 
ecclesiastical affairs, were highly indignant because the elders had 
seen fit to ask the Governor's permission to call Mr. Freeman. In 
Flatbush, the disaffected even went so far as to convene a town 
meeting, whereat the regular elders of that church were deposed 
from office and new ones elected in their stead, who were instructed 
forthwith to send for Mr. Freeman ; while at Breuckelen certain 
busybodies went around endeavoring to gain signatures to a peti- 
tion or call to the said Freeman, and also for the choosing of three 
new elders from that town, as had been done at Flatbush. 1 Their 
discontent was undoubtedly encouraged by some inconsiderate acts 
of Domine Freeman, and his evident desire to come among them — 
although in direct opposition to the expressed desire of his own 
church at Schenectady. 2 

The legal examination of the contending parties before the Coun- 
cil, resulted in the following order from Governor Cornbury : 

" I having duly Considered the Within petition, and having been well 
Informed that Mr. Bar. ffreeman has misbehaved himself by promoting 
and Encouraging the unhappy divisions among the people of this province, 
do not think it Consistent with her Majestie's Service that the s d ffreeman 
should be admitted to be called, as is prayed by the s d petition, And the 
petitioners are hereby required not to call or receive the s d ffreeman. But 
they are hereby left at Liberty to send for such Minister as they shall 
think fitt, from holland or any other place, as hath been customary." 3 

The opposition which Mr. Freeman met with from the Governor, 
the people of his charge at Schenectady, and the disaffected minority 
in Flatbush and Breuckelen, although it retarded, did not defeat his 
settlement in Kings County. Late in the year 1705, he received the 
following commission as minister there : 

1 Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii. 189, 140, 141, 142. 3 Ibid., iii. 143, 144. 

3 The above order is on a scrap of paper Avithout date. Dr. Strong (Hist. Flatbush) 
states that it was made on 23d Oct., 1702. 


"By his Excellency Edward Viscount Cornbury Cap' Gen" & Gov r in 
Cheife of y e Provinces of New York, New Jersey, & of all The Terri- 
tories and Tracts of Land Depending Thereon in America & Vice 
Admirale of y e same, &c. 
" To M r Bernardus Freeman Greeting — 

" You are hereby Licenced, Tollerated, and allowed to be Minist' of the 
Dutch Congregation at New Uytrecht, Flackbush, Bruyckland, and Bus- 
wick, in Kings County, upon The Island of Nassaw, in the s J Province of 
New York, and to have & Exercise the free Liberty and use of yo r Reli- 
gion, according to y e Laws in such case made and Provided for, & During 
So Long Time as to me shall Seem meet, & all P'sons are hereby Required 
to Take Notice hereof accordingly. Given under my hand & seal at Fort 
Anne, in New York, This 26 th day of Decem r , in the fourth year of her 
Ma" es Reigne Annoq: D ra 1705. "Cornbury. 1 

" By his Excell na command. • 

" William Anderson, D y Sec y ." 

In compliance with this order, Mr. Freeman's installation cere- 
monies took place at New Utrecht ; 2 but his troubles were not yet 
ended. While his adherents had been foisting him into the pastor- 
ate, his opponents had made formal application to the Classis at 
Amsterdam for a minister, and in response to their request the Rev. 
Vincentius Antonedes arrived from the Fatherland on the first of 
January, 1705-6, 3 and was duly installed at Flatbush, assuming the 
charge of the four churches, to which, in 1702, had been added the 
newly formed church of Jamaica. 

The controversy between the two parties rapidly increased in 
bitterness and extent. Freeman's adherents, conscious of the pro- 
tection of the Governor and Council, formally demanded that the 
church books, lands, and stock should be delivered into their keep- 
ing ; to which the " original" church party very naturally demurred. 
On petition of Domine Freeman' s party, the Governor then issued 
a warrant to the authorities of the Flatbush and Breuckelen 
churches, to deliver up said property and books to Mr. Freeman. 4 

1 N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 145. 2 Ibid., iii. 147. 

3 Prime says, "in Nov., 1705," which does not agree well with the date of the above 

4 N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 146, 147. 


To this the elders of the churches of Breuckelen, Flatbush, and 
Flatlands replied by a counter petition, in which they recite the 
circumstances attending Doniine Antonides' settlement; assert 
that Mr. Freeman was " only called minister for the town of New 
Utrecht," and " has entered upon two of the said churches without 
any lawful call, and has continually obstructed their minister," etc., 
and conclude by requesting that a council may be called, composed 
of some of her Majesty's Council and the Deputies of the Dutch 
churches of the province, by whom the matter may be fully exam- 
ined and decided. 1 The council was granted, to which were forthwith 
presented various and divers petitions from both of the contending 
parties, as well as the following documents, which we copy ver- 
batim : 


" Offered by Cornelius Seabring, Ingelbert Lot, and Cornelius Van Brunt, 

in behalf of themselves and others, Members of y e Dutch Churches of 

Flatbush, Brookland, and New Utrecht, in Kings County, on the Island 

of Nassau (who have hitherto adhered to the Interest of Domine Ber- 

nardus Freeman, their Minister) pursuant to a due authority to them 

the s d Seabring, Lot, & Van Brunt, for that purpose given; for the 

more perfect and effectuall accommodation of the Difference between 

y e said Members, and others, Members of y e s d Churches, who have 

hitherto adhered to the Interest of Domine Vincentius Antonides, in 

the articles following : 

" 1. First, that all differences and Animosities between the s d Members 

which have hitherto hapend, be on either side no further talked of, but 

entirely buryed in Oblivion. 

" 2 Jly . That Domine Bernardus Freeman, from the time the agreem' 
intended shall take effect, may in all things relating to the three Dutch 
Churches of Flatbush, Brookland, and New Utrecht, or any other Neigh- 
boring Churches, be admitted and put into equal State and Condition 
w lh Domine Vincentius Antonides (to wit) in Service, in Sallary, in House 
& Land, and all other Proffits. 

" 3. That in order to put an End to y e Dispute concerning the present 
Consistory of Flatbush & Brookland, those persons w ch M r . Freeman now 

1 N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 148, date January 27, 1708-9. 


Deems to be a Consistory, & those persons w ch M r . Antonides now Deems 
to be a Consistory, Do severally Elect two Elders and Deacons of each 
part, in the presence & w th the concurance of one or both Ministers, if they 
both please to attend, and that those Eight Elders & Deacons so to be 
elected, shall from thence forth be and remain Elders and Deacons for the 
s d two Churches of fflat Bush & Brookland for the first ensuing year & 
that at the end of y e s d year to comence from the s d election, half of them 
shall be removed & four others chosen in their stead, and at the end of 
two years after s J first election, the other half shall be removed, & other 
four shall be .chosen in their stead, & so successively evei'y year according 
to y e usuall custom, the said Elections to be made by the votes of both the 
s d Ministers and the Consistory for the time being : and that whenever the 
s d Ministers shall meet upon any such or other Publick Service, the one 
shall preside one time and y e other the next time, & so alternately. 

" 4. That to the time of y e Election of y e s d New Consistory, so to be 
made by both parties as aforesaid, each party shall, of their own parts 
respectively bear pay and discharge the Sallary, Perquisites, and other 
things due to y e respective Ministers, viz', Those who have hitherto sided 
with M r Freeman shall clear all arrears to him : & those who have hitherto 
sided with M r Antonides, all arrears to him. 

"New York March 5 th 1708. * "Cornelis Seberingh, 

" Endorsed, ' Proposals on the part of " Engelbardt Lotte, 

M r Freeman's friends. 1708.' " Cornelis Van Brunt." 


" Exhibited by the Elders & Deacons of the Dutch Reformed Protestant 
Church of the Towns of Brookland, fflatbush, and fflatlands, on the 
Island of Nassau, for the Reconciling the differences w ch have of late 
been amongst the Dutch Churches on the said Island. 
" 1 st That all parties do consent that M r Antonides, according to the 
rules of the said Church, is the duely called Minister of Brookland, flat- 
bush and flatlands, and that the Elders & Deacons w ch were lately chosen 
by M r Antonides with the assistance and consent of those Elders & 
Deacons w ch he formed there at his arrivall are yet still the true Elders & 
Deacons, and that what ever has been acted to the contrary by M r Free- 
man & others was always null & void & is so still ; That therefore the 
collections gathered in the Churches of Brookland & flatbush by the 
friends of M r Freerman be delivered to the Consistory of M r Antonides to 
be disposed of according to the rules of the Church. 


" 2 dly That all parties do consent that the Call made for M r Freerman by 
those of New Utrecht does limit him to the Congregation of that Town 

" 3 d ' 7 That all parties do consent, that no such lycence, or the other orders 
w ch the Lord Cornbury has granted to M r Freeman whereby the Effects 
of the s d Churches at his pleasure were to be delivered up to M r Freeman, 
never were nor yet are of any force or validity in the Dutch Churches 
of this Province, but Tended to the ruin of the liberty of the said Churches 
in this Country ; That they do allso reject this Position, That all the Eccle- 
siasticall Jurisdiccon of the Dutch Churches in this Province is wholly in 
the Power of the Gov r according to his will & pleasure, That yet never- 
theless all parties do firmly own that the Dutch Churches in this Province 
are accountable to the Gov 1 for their peaceable & good behaviour in their 
Doctrin, Disciplin, and Church Government ; that is to say, as farr as it 
does consist with the Rules & Constitucons of their own nationall Church 
always enjoyed at New York, As well as they have the right and Privi- 
ledge to be protected by the Civill Gov' in the free exercise of their 
Religion according to their own Constitution. 

" 4' h ' y That all parties consent to subscribe the Church Orders of the 
Classis of Amsterdam, & those practiced on the Island of Nassauw not 
being contradictory thereto, & that in case any matter in difference cannot 
be decided amongst themselves the same be referred to the other Dutch 
Churches of this Province & if not by them decided the same to be sub- 
mitted to the Classis of Amsterdam, whose decision is to be binding. 

<i gthiy That all parties reject the expression made by Mr. Freerman at a 
certain time, viz 1 that when the Church Orders were for his advantadge he 
observed them, but if they were against him he went round about the 
same, & could tread them under his feet. 

u gthiy That then M r Freeman shall be in a condicon to be called to those 
congregacons on the s d Island where he is not yet called according to the 
rules of the Church, and shall be called accordingly, Provided M r Freer- 
man's friends do first find out sufficient means thereto and a dwelling 
house and do perswade the Congregacons aforesaid to desire the Consis- 
tory to call him in an Ecclesiasticall manner. 

(i fjihiy To the end that there may be a perfect peace in all the Dutch 
Churches on the said Island all parties, together with the freinds of M r 
Freerman at Jamaica are to consent that the Elders & Deacons that were 
there when M r Du Bois preached there the last time are yet the true 
Elders and Deacons & that then both Ministers may be called there. 


" 8 lhIy That all parties consent that these articles being intcrcnangeably 
signed be read to the respective Congregations from the Pulpit & authentiq 
copies thereof sent to the other Dutch Churches in this Province to be 
by them kept & that notice hereof be given to the Classis of Amsterdam 
with the request of both parties for their approbacon. 

" Lastly. If M r Freerman & his friends should not be pleased to consent 
to the above articles that then Cap" Joannes De Peyster be desired to pro- 
duce the resolucon of the Classis of Amsterdam, whereby Peace is said to 
be recommended according to the order of the said Classis, as M r Freer- 
man intimates in his letter without date to M r Antonides that Capt. De 
Peyster aforesaid had shewn the same to him, together with the means to 
attain such a Peace. 

"New-York 4 th March 17o£. 

" By order of the said Elders and Deacons, 

"Abrah: Goitverneur, 
"Joseph Hegeman, 
"Geronemus Remsen, 
" Endorsed, " Pieter Melijus. • 

" ' Proposals on the part of M r Antonides's friends. 1708.' " ' 

After a full and patient hearing of all the testimony in the cas<>, 
the Council sent in majority and minority reports to the Governor. 
The former, signed by Messrs. Eip Van Dam, A. D. Philipse, J. V. 
Courtlandt, and Leendert Hugyen De Kley, finds " that Mr. Anton- 
ides is duly and regularly called minister of the said towns of 
Brookland, Flatbush, and Flatlands, according to the discipline, 
practice, aud constitution of the Dutch churches of the towns afore- 
said, and that Mr. Freeman is duly called minister of New Utrecht, 
on the said island, and we believe is likewise minister of Bushwick, 
though it has not been proved before us." 2 The minority report, 
by Messrs. D. Provoost, A. D. Peyster, and Jo. D. Peyster, finds 
that " Mr. Freeman is justly and legally called and entitled to the 
ministry of the churches of Breukland, Flatbush, New Utrecht, and 
Boswyck." s The majority report, however, in favor of Mr. Anton- 

1 N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 151-154. * Ibid #> m 159 

3 N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 160, 161, date Oct. 6, 1709 : "and that the said Mr. Antonides 
is not Legally called thereto, for the Reasons Following — 

" First, that the Persons whoe pretend to haue Called Mr Antonides were not at 
that time the Elders & Deacons of the said Churches according to ye Rules & Meth- 


ides, was accepted by the Governor and Council, 1 and Governor 
Lovelace thereupon promulgated an order to the effect that " His 
Honor having considered the said report and the matters therein 
contained, does think fit to order and direct, and does hereby order 
and direct, that from this time forward Mr. Freeman and Mr. Anton- 
ides shall preach at all the said churches in Kings County alter- 
nately, and divide all the profits equally, share and share alike ; and 
to avoid all further disputes between the said ministers, Mr. Free- 
man shall preach next Sunday at Flatbush, and the Sunday follow- 
ing Mr. Antonides shall preach at Flatbush, and so on in the other 
churches, turn by turn ; if either of them refuses to comply with this 
order, to be dismissed." 2 

The doughty Doraine Antonides, however, was not so easily 
satisfied, and firmly but courteously refused to obey the order, saying 
that " to the end that he may not be wanting in his duty to God, 
his said Churches, nor give any Just cause to incur his honour's 
displeasure, he humbly beggs leave to Eepresent that he cannot 
comply with the said Order unless he breaks thro' the Ptules & 

ods prescribed by the Sinod of Dort for the Governmt: of the Dutch Reformed Churches, 
they having Continued as Such Some three years, Some four years, whereas by the 
Constitution of the said Sinod they could haue continued but two years 

" Secondly, that the call on which Mr Antonides came over is Expressed to bee 
made by a Generall towne meeting (which appears to haue been the usuall way in 
Such Cases) and that apears utterly false by the Examinations, for that the pretended 
authority for making that call apears not to be given in a publiq meeting, but to be 
obtained Privatly & Clandestinely by Procuring Subscriptions in Going from house to 
house & there using false Insinuations concerning Mr Freeman. 

" Thirdly, that the said pretended call mentions the having obtained the Govrs 
License, & aprobation for making the said call, whereas it appears by the oath of the 
Lord Cornbury Govr & thire own confession that the Lord Cornbury, did not give any 
License to make that call, 

" Fourthly, that on the contrary it apears that Mr Freeman was called by a gen 
erall Towne Meeting Publiqly assembled (as has alwaies been Customary) for which 
the Express License & aprobation of the Lord Cornbury then Governour had bein first 

" Fifthly, that the having a License from the Govt was Esteemed necessary even 
by Mr Antonides himselfe & those that sided with him, Since both he & they fre- 
quently aplyed to obtain Such a License ; as appears by Seaverall letters to the Late 
Lady Cornbury, & Mrs Peartree, under the hand of the said Antonides & of the Said 
pretended Elders for the truth of which wee the Subscribers refer our Selves to the 
Examinations & the Respective papers produced at the taking thereof." 

1 Council Minutes, N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 162, date Oct. 20, 1709. 

2 N. Y. Doc Hist., iii. 165. 


Discipline of the Dutch Reformed Protestant Churches, the Consti- 
tucon whereof not admitting any minister to assume a right to any 
Church but where he is Regularly called to, which the said order 
seems to Direct." ' 

The only reply which the intractable domine received, was notice 
that the Governor " had already determined the matter, and would 
hear nothing further." 2 Still, he and his friends continued to worry 
the Governor with petition after petition, and finally (April 18, 1710), 
in the interval between Gov. Lovelace's term and the arrival of the 
new Governor, Robert Hunter, the question was again brought up 
in the Council, of which the Hon. Gerardus Beekman was president 
pro tern. It was then and there determined that the majority report 
rendered to the Council in 1709, in favor of Mr. Antonides, should 
be confirmed. Mr. Antonides had at length triumphed ; but a few 
days thereafter Mr. Freeman surreptitiously obtained an order from 
Mr. Beekman, the President of the Board, authorizing him to preach 
"alternately with Mr. Antonides, in Flatbush and Brookland 
churches." This outside movement on the part of Mr. Beekman 
gave great umbrage to the adherents of Mr. Antonides, who earn- 
estly protested against it, and requested that the order thus illegally 
granted might be recalled/ The Council also felt insulted by the 
unwarrantable act of their President, and on his refusing, at their 
next sitting, to recall his order to Domine Freeman, " they declared 
they would not meet in council till it was done ; telling the Presi- 
dent, if he could do what he had done as aforesaid without them, he 
might do all other acts of government without them, and that then 
they saw no business they had to convene in council. And there- 
upon the Council broke up." 4 

1 N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 166. 2 Ibid., iii. 167. 3 Ibid., iii. 172— date June 12, 1710. 
4 Council Minutes, x. ; N. Y. Doc. Hist., iii. 173. The following document relative to 
the above is taken from Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii. 174, 175 : 

"h. ffilkin to secretary (clarke) explanatory of the quarrel between him and 
lt. gov. beekman. 

" Sm — I am in expectation of a complaint coming to his Excellency by Coll. Beeckman 
against me, and that his Excellency may be rightly informed of the matter, my hum- 
ble request to you is, that if such a thing happen, be pleased to give his Excellency 
an account thereof, which is as follows : A ffriday night last, the Justices of the County 
and I came from his Excellency's ; Coll. Beeckman happened to come over in the fferry 
boat along with us, and as we came over the fferry, Coll. Beeckman and we went into 
the fferry house to drink a glass of wine, and being soe in company, there happened a 



The difficulty being laid before Governor Hunter, as soon as pos- 
sible after his arrival, occasioned the following kindly and prudent 
communication from him to the Justices of Kings County : 

"New York 15 th Sept r 1710. 
" Gentlemen 

" The Controversy between Mr ffreeman and Mr. Antonides concerning 
the Churches in your County looking now with a fairer aspect towards a 
Reconciliation than hitherto they have ; to the end that nothing may be 
done to impede so good a work, I desire you to permit M r ffreeman and 
M r Antonides to preach to-morrow in the Respective Churches wherein in 
Course it is their Turn to preach and that no molestation be given to 
either of them therein, having good hopes that before the next Sunday 
everything will be so disposed that this unhappy dispute will be accommo- 
dated to the Satisfaction of both those Gentlemen, and to the generall 
approbation of all their Congregations, whereby their present devisions 
may be healed, and the disagreing partys united into one mind. And that 
no misinterpretations may be made hereof on either hand, I desire you to 
let each party and their respective Congregations know that I am so farr 
from determining any one point in dispute, that the Right of either of 
them is as entirely reserved to them as it was before and that after to-mor- 
row no further use be made hereof. 

dispute between Coll. Beeckman and myself, about his particular order that he lately 
made to Mr ffreeman, when he was President of the Councill, without the consent of 
the Councill : Coll. Beeckman stood to affirm there, before most of the Justices of Kings 
County, that said order that he made then to' Mr. ffreeman as President only, was still 
in force, and that Mr ffreeman should preach at Broockland next Sunday according to 
that order : whereupon I said it was not in fforce, but void and of noe effect, and he had 
not in this County any more power now than I had, being equall in commission with 
him in the general commission of the peace and one of the quorum as well as he ; 
upon which he gave me affronting words, giving me the lie and calling me pittifull 
fellow, dog, rogue, rascall, &c, which caused me, being overcome with passion, to tell 
him that I had a good mind to knock him off his horse, we being both at that time 
getting upon our horses to goe home, but that I would not goe, I would fight him at 
any time with a sword. I could wish that these last words had been kept in, and I 
am troubled that I was soe overcome with passion and inflamed with wine. The 
works of these Dutch ministers is the occasion of all our quarrels. And this is the 
truth of the matter, there were no blows offered, nor noe more done. Mr ffreeman has 
preached at Broockland yesterday accordingly, and the Church doore was broke open, 
by whom is not yet knowne. Soe I beg your pardon ffor this trouble, crave your favour 
in this matter, and shall always remaine, 

" Sir, your ffaithful and humble servant, 
" (June, 1710.) " H. Filkin." 


" I desire you to tell Mr Antonides and Mr ffreeman that I would speak 
with them here on Monday next. 

" I am sincerely, Gentlemen, 

" Your very humble Serv r 

" Ro. Hunter." l 

The " good hopes" of the worthy Governor were not destined to 
be realized — dissension still prevailed, and on the 27th of November 
his Excellency desired the members of the Council to favor him with 
their opinions as to what should be done in the case. The members 
of the Council, with but one dissenting voice, advised that " the order 
made in Council in this matter on the 18th of April last, be con- 
firmed, whereby Mr. Antonides was to be protected in the free 
exercise of his ministerial functions in the towns of Flatbush, Flat- 
lands, and Brookland," etc. On the 30th of April, 1711, in conse- 
quence of a complaint that Domine Freeman had " lately preached 
in the churches of Kings County to which Mr. Antonides is called, 
and that many violent proceedings are taken, to the great disturb- 
ance of the public peace of the said churches and county ;" and, 
furthermore, that the town of Flatbush had lately elected Church- 
Masters, " after a new and unprecedented manner," etc., a Council 
order was issued, ordering " that Mr. Freeman does not presume to 
preach in any of the churches to which Mr. Antonides is called, and 
that none of the said Church-Masters so newly elected presume to 
intermeddle in the affairs of the said church, or in any lands, houses, 
or other effects, thereto belonging." a 

The next item recorded, is an application of Antonides and his 
Consistory for a charter, as follows : 

" To his Excellency Robert Hunter Esq' Capt" Gen" & Gov r in Chief in 
in and over her Ma lies Province of New York &c &c &c. 

" The humble Peticon of Vincentius Antonides Minister of the Reformed 
Protestant Dutch Churches of Flatbush Brookland & flatlands in Kings 
County on the Island of Nassau in the Province of New York Joannes 
Cornel Rynier Aarsen, & Henry Filkin Elders of the said Church at 
Flatbush Benjamin Hegeman Cornells Cornel & Jan Bennet Deacons 
thereof — Michiel Hansen Jan Dorlant & Cornelis Van Duyn Elders of 

1 Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii. 175. s Ibid., iii. 177. 


the said Church at Brookland Nicolas Van Dyk Isaak Remse & Jan 
Rapalie Deacons thereof, Jan alberts ter heunen Lucas Stevense H 
Gerrit Stoothof Elders of the said Church in Flatlands, Harman Hoog- 
lant Alexander Simson & Jan Auierman Deacons of the same. 

" Most Humbly Sheweth, 

" That for many years last past at the charge of sundry of the Inhabitants 
of the said Towns & of other Pious persons there hath been erected in 
each of the said Towns a Church for the Publicq worship of Almighty God 
and other Divine Service to be celebrated therein after the manner of the 
Dutch nationall Churches of the Provinces of the United Netherlands 
acording to their Profession and Discipline Established by the nationall 
Synod of Dort held in the year 1618 & 1619 which said three Churches 
since the settlement have always Joyned together in the calling & paying 
of one Minister for them all. 

" And whereas the said Minister Elders & Deacons respectively for the 
use of their said churches by virtue of sundry mean conveyances in the 
Law are possessed of sundry parcells of Lauds & Tenements respectively 
for every particular Church aforesaid That is to say for the Church of 
Flatbush two Lotts of land situate lying and being in the said Town on 
the north side of Col. Gerardus Beekman Jacob Hendrickse & Roelof van 
Kerck on the south of the lane that leads to Gouwanes conteining one 
hundred & eighteen acres as allso two Lotts of meadow the (whole) being 
in the bounds of the said Town over the fresh creek broad V Rodd laid out 
by N° 19 and the other over the Second Creek broad 12 Rod N° 15 both 
stretching from the woods to the Sea Allso oneother Lot of Land in the 
said Town to the north of Peter Stryker and to the South of the highway 
that Leads to the New Lotts Containing fourty eight acres Allso one other 
Lot to the South of Peter Stryker & matty Luyster and to the North of 
the Lane that leads to the New Lotts conteining fourty eight acres Allso 
two Lotts of meadow the one over the fresh creek broad 7 Rodd N° 20 
and the other over the Second creek broad 13 Rodd N° 11 Allso one Lot 
of Land lying amongst the new Lotts of the said Towns to the west side of 
Rem Remsen to the East of Elsie Snediker conteining thirty four acres as 
Allso the Church and ministers Dwelling howse in the said Town together 
with the orchard gardens and yard adjoyning conteining ten acres, Allso 
one howse & Lot of ground in the said Town called the School howse con- 
teining Eight acres, together with the Lands and meadows in right thereof 
laid out for the use of the said Church out of the comons of the said Town. 


" And for the Church of Brookland one Lot of Land in the said Town 
in breadth Eight Rodd Long thirteen Rodd & a half bounden on the 
South West by the highway on the north west by Jacobus Beavois and on 
the south east by Charles Beavois Allso one church yard elleaven Rodd 
square bounded on the north east by the highway on the south east by a 
Small Lane to the South West by Joris Hanssen & to the north west by 
Albertie Barents and the Church in the said Town Standing in the middle 
of the highway. 

" And for the Church of Flatland, One Lot of Land at a place called 
Amesfoorts Neck containing Twenty Acres laid out by N° 10 And Allso 
the Church in s d Town & one howse called the School howse with the 
Land adjoyning Containing two acres or thereabouts therefore for the 
advanceing of Piety & Religion and that the said Lands may be the better 
administered and the Revenue thereof duly applyed for the Maintenance of 
the minister or ministers for the time being & other Pious Charitable 
uses — 

" They do most humbly Pray that the said Minister Elders & Deacons 
& their Successors may be by her Majesties Grant or Charter under the 
Seal of this Province Made One body Politick and Corporate in the same, 
and in like manner and as near as may be to the Charter heretofore granted 
to the Minister Elders & Deacons of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church 
of the City of New York, save only that the severall Lands & Tenemens 
aforesaid now in their Possession be therein reserved to the use of Each 
respective Church aforesaid paying to her Matie her heirs and successors 
the Proporcon of the Quitrents they now pay in each respective Town 

" And yo r Petion" as in Duty bound shall ever Pray &g 
" Lutcas Steuens, " V. Antonides, 

" Gerrit Stoothop, " Reynier Aertsek, 

" Claes Van Dyck, " Johannes Cornell, 

" Hermanus Hooglandt, " Hen: ffilkin, 

" Jan Amearman, " Alexander Simpson (mark), 


" John Dorland (mark), " Cornelis Cornel, 

" Cornelis Van Duyn, " Dit is het j-n cigen gestelt 

" IsAACRi Remsen, handt merk van 

" Jan Rap ale, " Jan Bennit. 

" Kings County the 1 Aug st 1711, 

" Read in Council 8 Aug 1711. & referred." 



Contrary to the order of April 18th, 1710, and the subsequent 
confirmatory orders, Mr. Freeman once more intruded his ministra- 
tions upon the congregation at Flatbush, in September, 1713 j 1 but 
this is the last recorded belligerent act of the controversy which 
had now agitated the churches of Kings County for upwards of 
thirteen years, and vexed the souls of four royal governors and 
their councils. Near the close of the year 1714 the long contest 
was happily terminated by a convention of delegates from the sev- 
eral congregations, who mutually agreed to lay aside their ancient 
differences, and acknowledge Messrs. Freeman and Antonides as 
their ministers. 2 Breuckelen, Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, New 
Utrecht, and even Jamaica, were all included within the charge, 
and both the domines resided at Flatbush, in the pleasant and har : 
monious discharge of their duties. They were esteemed as men of 
respectable talents and acquirements. 

During their ministry the Reformed Dutch Churches of New 
Netherlands were sadly agitated by the question concerning the or- 
ganization of a Coetus, or assembly of ministers and elders, in this 
country, subordinate to the Classis of Amsterdam. 3 

1 Strong's Hist. Flatbush, p. 46. 

2 This Convention agreed upon the proportion of salary to be raised by the different 
churches for the support of the ministers, and the times and places of preaching and of 
communion. It was arranged that one minister should preach on one Sabbath in Bush- 
wick, and the other in New Utrecht ; the next Sabbath, one in Brooklyn, and the other 
in Flatlands ; on the third Sabbath, one in Flatbush, the other in Jamaica ; and so on, 
in regular rotation. As to communions, Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Flatbush were to 
commune together ; Flatlands, Gravesend, and New Utrecht, together ; and the congre- 
gations of Queens County should form another communion. 

3 The movement towards the formation of a Coetus was initiated in 1737, by a conven- 
tion of ministers at New York, at which Doinine Freeman attended on behalf of the 
Dutch churches of Long Island. A plan was formed, and having been generally 
adopted by the churches, was ratified by a second convention, held in April, 1738, at 
which Freeman again appeared as delegate. The approval of the Classis of Amster- 
dam did not, however, reach this country until 1746, being brought over by Rev. Mr. 
Van Sinderen • and the first meeting of the new Coetus was held in September, 1747, at 
the city of New York, being the first judicial organization, higher than a Consistory, 
established in the American Dutch Church. The Coetus plan, however, met with oppo- 
sition from several churches and ministers, and gave rise to differences which seriously 
agitated the Reformed Dutch denomination for many years thereafter. The contest 
related principally to the question of the right of ordination, and the exercise of church 
authority: the " Coetus party" claiming that, in view of the increase of churches in this 
country, and the inconvenience of importing all their ministers from Holland, it would 
be better to have a regular organization into classes and synods, similar in all rpe^wta 



Feeeman was born at Gilhius, Holland ; received a call to Sche- 
nectady, to which charge he was ordained by the Classis of Linge, 
March 16, 1700. He first 
officiated at Schenectady, 
July 28th of that year, 
learned the Mohawk lan- 
guage, and made many 
Indian converts. On the 
25th of August, 1705, he 
married Magretia Van 
Schaick of New York, 
who died January 18th, 
1738, leaving him a hand- 
some fortune. In 1721 
he published a volume of 
sermons in Dutch, en- 
titled " The Balances of 
God's Grace," which was 
printed in Amsterdam 
and another entitled " De 

Spiegel der Selfkennis" (or Mirror of Self-knowledge), being a col- 
lection, in the Dutch language, of ancient moral and philosophical 
maxims, which was subsequently translated by General Jeremiah 
Johnson, and which is described as displaying a great amount of 
learning and research. In 1735 he purchased seven acres of land at 
Flatbush, and built a house, which is still standing, although altered ; 
and died in the year 1741. His only child, Anna Margaretta, mar- 


^J -jysycrr***>*\ 

to those of the mother country ; and the " Conferentie party," as they were called, that 
all ministers should be ordained by, or under the authority of, the Classis at Amster- 
dam. This unhappy controversy continued until 1772; and so alienated and embit- 
tered were the opposing parties, that many would not worship together with, or even 
speak to, those of the other party. " Sometimes" (says Strong, Hist. Flatbush) " they 
woidd not turn out when they met on the road. On one occasion, it is said that two of 
these redoubtable opponents, belonging to Flatbush, meeting in their wagons, and 
both refusing to give the road, they each deliberately took out their pipes and began 
to smoke ! How long they continued at this very pacific employment is not stated, 
nor is it said whether the difficulty between them was lost sight of by the cloud of 
smoke obscuring their vision, or whether their pipes were ever turned into the calumet 
of peace." 


ried lier cousin, David Clarkson, a son of the Secretary of the 
Province, and left numerous descendants. 

Freeman's successor, in 1742, was the Kev. Johannes Abon- 
DEUS, from Rotterdam, who seems to have possessed a contu- 
macious spirit, and t© have led an irregular life. He quarrelled 
with his new colleague, Van Sinderen, very soon after the lat- 
ter's arrival; and, in May, 1747, he went off secretly, as was 
alleged, to the Raritan, where he was installed as minister ; 
returning, however, July 31, 1718, to Kings County, where he 
resumed his functions, especially at Brookland and New Utrecht. 
His outraged parishioners brought charges against him (Septem- 
ber 27, 1748) before 

the Ccetus. These he Sy^ 
refused to notice ; ^%t^-^^, *. 
whereupon he was de- 
clared to be an unlaw- 


ful minister of Kings 

County, but replied that he should continue to perform service 
there. On appeal to the Classis of Amsterdam (January 12, 1751), 
the action of the Ccetus was confirmed, and the latter, on 16th April, 

1752, passed sentence upon Arondeus — (1), that his Consistory was 
unlawful ; (2), that he should not administer the word of sacra- 
ments ; and (3), that the church property should be restored to Van 
Sinderen. Their action was, however, totally disregarded by Aron- 
deus. Proposals of peace for Long Island were offered (December 
5, 1752) by the Classis of Amsterdam. On the 20th of September, 

1753, the Ccetus confirmed anew their former sentence, averring, in 
reply to his appeals, that (1), he misbehaved to his servant-maid; 
(2), that he was a drunkard ; and (3), that he kept alive the flames 
of discord. The last time he baptized a child, in Queen's County, 
was at Jamaica, in April, 1754. He probably remained on the isl- 
and, leading the same dissolute life, for some time ; for, in October, 
1772, the Synod cautioned the people against " one Johannes Aron- 
deus, who claims to be a minister of the Church, but has no ecclesi- 
astical attestation." 

Mr. Antonides died in 1744. In a New York paper of that date 
we find his death thus noticed : " On the 18th of July, 1744, died at 


his house at Flatbush, the Eev. Mr. Vincentius Antontdes, in the 
74th year of his age. He was a. gentleman of extensive learning ; 
of an easy, condescending behavior and conversation, and of a reg- 
ular, exemplary piety, endeavoring to practise, himself, what he 
preached to others ; was kind, benevolent, and charitable to all, 
according to his abilities ; meek, humble, patriotic, and resigned 
under all afflictions, losses, calamities, and misfortunes which be- 
fell him in his own person and family, which were not a few ; and 
after a lingering disease, full of hopes of a blessed immortality, 
departed this life, to the great and 

irreparable loss of his relations - r ~" > \ - 

and friends, and to the great grief (J Jnfa?k?~UAj &t^p£f 
of his congregation and Mends." *£&^/ $xZ^Cf-^C 
He was succeeded by the Eev. Ul- ' ^ / 

PIANUS VAN SlKDEEEN, 1 a native of fac-simile of autograph of eev. vtncen- 


Holland, in the year 1746. He 

began to preach at Flatbush, April 19, 1747. In October of the 
following year he married (his first wife) Cornelia Schenck, who 
was subsequently killed by being thrown out of a wagon. 

Upon the deposition from the ministerial office of the Kev. Mr. 
Afondeus, his place was filled by the Rev. Antontus Curtenius, 2 
from Hackensack, N. J., where he had preached since 1730, and was 
installed as Van Sinderin's colleague, May 2, 1755. He died in Oc- 
tober, 1756, at the age of fifty-eight years. In a newspaper of 
the day we find the following notice of this gentleman : " On Tues- 
day, the 19th ultimo, the Reverend Mr. Anthony Curtentus de- 
parted this transitory life, at Flat-Bush, Long Island, in the 59th 
Tear of his Age, after an Illness of about four Weeks, being Pastor 
of the five Dutch Reformed Churches in Kings County, on Long 
Island. He was a Gentleman regularly educated, and remarkable 
for his indefatigable Diligence in the Ministration of his Function. 
His Actions in all the Affairs of Life have ever been accompanied 
with the strictest Rules of Justice ; so that none could with more 

1 His great-grandson, Adriaen Van Sinderen, a prominent and highly respected 
citizen of Brooklyn, was the founder and first president of the Long Island Bible So- 

2 So named from Curten, a town of Holland. 


Propriety claim the Title of a Preacher and a sincere Christian, 
which not only his Morals manifested, but his Glorious Kesolutions 
to launch into endless Eternity, saying with St. Paul, Death ! 
where is thy Sting ? Grave ! wJiere is thy Victory ? His Kemains 
were decently interred on Thursday following, in the Church of the 
above-named place. His Death is universally lamented by his Be- 
lations, and all those that knew him, particularly his Congregation, 
who are highly sensible of the Loss of so inestimable a Shepard, 
whose every Action displayed the Christian." 1 

His place was supplied by the Eev. Johannes Caspaeus Eubel, a na- 
tive of Hesse Cassel, in Germany, who had been settled at Pied Hook, 
Dutchess County, froru 1755 to August, 1757, when he was called to 
be colleague pastor with Domme Van Sinderen, over the churches of 
Kings County. He was educated in Germany, and came to this coun- 
try (1751), with others of the German Beformed Church, under the 
auspices of the Classis of Amsterdam, from which body he received 
an annual salary of £15, while settled over the German Church at 
Philadelphia. Even then he was so insubordinate to his superiors, 
that the German Coetus styled him "the rebellious Bubel," and voted, 
April 9, 1755, that he ought to withdraw from his charge. He, at 
first, desired to avail himself of the six months' notice ; but finally 
gave his farewell discourse, April, 1755, left Pennsylvania, and set- 
tled at Bhinebeck. He was naturalized on the 23d of December, 
1765 ; and in June, 1769, styled himself " Ecclesiastes in Kings 
County and in the Manor of Cortland ;" and in August, 1770, " Min- 
ister of Clarkstown" — probably on the strength of his having occa- 
sionally filled a pulpit there. 

"Both of these gentlemen continued in the work of the ministry 
until after the close of the Revolutionary war. In politics they dif- 
fered extremely, Mr. Van Sinderen being a firm Whig, while Mr. 
Bubel was as decided a loyalist. 2 In Colonel Graydon's Memoirs 
we find the following brief but spirited picture of the two pastors : 
" The principal person in a Low Dutch village appears to be the 

1 His funeral eulogy was printed, in Dutch, at New York, by H. Goelet ; price, three 

2 On a fast-day appointed by the Provincial Congress, it is said that he took occasion 
to preach, at Flatbush, from the test, " Honor the king ;" and, among other things, 
remarked that " people could do as well without a head as without a king." (Strong's 


Domine or minister, and Flatbush, at this time, revered her domine, 
Eubel, a rotund, jolly-looking man, a follower of Luther, and a 
Tory. 1 .... At Flatlands there was also a domine, Van 
Zinder(en), a disciple of Calvin, and a "Whig. He was, in person 
and principle, a perfect contrast to Mr. Eubel, being a lean and 
shrivelled little man, with a triangular sharp-pointed hat, and silver 
locks which ' streamed like a meteor flowing to the troubled air,' 
as he whisked along with great ve- 
locity in his chaise through Flatbush. 
He was distinguished by a species of 
pulpit eloquence which might be truly 
said to ' bring matters home to men's 
business and bosoms.' Mr. Bache as- 
sured me that, in once descanting on 
the wily arts of the devil, he likened 
him to my landlord, ' sneaking and 
skulking about to get a shot at a 
flock of snipes,' in shooting of which, 
it seems, Jacob was eminently skil- P0KTEA1T 0F KEV - ulpianus van sm- 


ful." 2 

In the minutes of the Particular Synod at New York, May 14, 
1784, we find a complaint from the Consistory of Flatbush and the 
other churches of Kings County, concerning the unchristian conduct 
of both of their ministers, Van Sinderen and Eubel, and requesting 
to be released from them ; one (Van Sinderen) being useless from 
advanced age, and the other (Eubel) being of notoriously bad hab- 

Hist. Flatbush, 93.) When the famous privateer boatsman, Captain Marriner, made a 
descent on Flatbush and captured several noted British officers, Domine Rubel gave 
the alarm by ringing the church bell. (See Onderdonk, Kings County, section 845, p. 

1 See Strong's Flatbush for particulars. 

2 See Strong's Flatbush, which relates that he was " too much in the habit of intro- 
ducing the occurrences of the week previous in his sermons on the Sabbath, and often 
would allude to very trifling circumstances. On one occasion, a good elder, who had 
borne with the Domine in this particular till his patience was exhausted, very injudi- 
ciously, under the excitement of his feelings, rose in his seat during divine service, and 
interrupted Mr. Van Sinderen by saying that they had called Mm to preach the gospel, 
and not to detail to them such matters. The Domine, indignant at being stopped in 
his discourse, leaned over the pulpit and replied : ' You, Philip Nagle, if you can preach 
the gospel better than I can, come up here and try I' " 


its. Several witnesses testified to the unchristian and intemperate 
language used by Kubel, both in and out of the pulpit, in regard to 
Americans who opposed the King of Great Britain, calling them 
" Satan's soldiers," and saying " that they were accursed, and many 
were already in hell, and those who were not dead would go there, 
and that he could prove it by the Bible," etc. Also, that he quar- 
relled frequently with his wife, towards whom he not unfrequently 
used personal violence ; that he drank freely, and led a bad life, 
keeping much company with the Hessian officers quartered in the 
town of Flatbush, who were great swearers and drunkards. All the 
witnesses, however, agreed that they had nothing against Van Sin- 
deren except his age, and that the breach between him and Kubel 
had gone so far that the old domine could not control his temper 
whenever he met the latter. The matter was referred to the Gen- 
eral Synod, before whom Rubel was cited to appear, but replied 
only by an angry letter. He was, therefore, deposed in May, 1784. 
In May, 1788, he appeared before the Synod, desiring to be rein- . 
stated, but evincing no spirit of contrition. He continued to reside 
at Flatbush, devoting his time to the preparation of quack medi- 
cines, and in his advertisements styles himself "Minister of the 
Gospel and Chymicus." 1 In 1788 he published a pamphlet, in 
Dutch and English, showing, as he pretended, how he had been 
defrauded of his living by a wicked man in New York. He had a 
daughter, who was seduced by a Hessian officer during the war ; 
and the old man's unhappy life ended in 1797, his solitary tomb- 
stone still existing in the Flatbush churchyard. 2 

Mr. Van Sinderen, at the request of the Consistory, resigned 
his pastoral charge in June, 178-4, although he received a stated 
salary until his death, at Flatlands, on 23d of July, 1796, in his 

1 " March 28, 1778. It has pleased Almighty God to give me the wisdom to find out 
the Golden Mother Tincture, and such a Universal Pill as will cure most diseases. I 
have studied European physicians in four different languages. I don't take much 
money, as I want no more than a small living, whereto God will give his blessing. — 
Johannes Casparus Rubel, Minister of the Gospel and Chymicus." 

3 " Tot gedachtenis van Joh's Gasp's Rubel. V. D. M. — Gehoren den 6de March, 0. 8., 
1719. — Overleden den \§de Mail, 1797." (Translation) : To the memory of John Cas- 
par Rubel, minister of God's wori. Born, March 6th, 1719, O. S. Died, May 19th, 


89th year. He was a learned but eccentric man, and for this 
reason, perhaps, was sometimes considered " deficient in sound judg- 
ment." 1 

With Messrs. "Van Sinderen and Eubel, the European Dutch min- 
istry in Kings County ceased. 2 

In 1785, the Rev. Martinus Schoonmaker, who was then offici- 
ating at Harlem and Gravesend, accepted a call to take charge of the 
collegiate churches of the county, to which the church at Gravesend 
was then added ; and, on the 28th of October, 1787, the Rev. Peter 
Lowe was ordained at New Utrecht as his colleague. The former 
officiated in the Dutch language until his death, in 1824 ; and the 
latter, in the English tongue. In their regular rotation through 
the county, four churches would be closed, and two open, for divine 
worship on the Sabbath. Such, however, is the peculiar position of 
the county, and the easy communication between the several towns, 
that, with the exception of Bushwick and Gravesend, each of the 
others could quite conveniently follow the ministers, who conse- 
quently preached to full and crowded houses. 

The Rev. Martinus Schoonmaker, second son of Joachim and 
Lydia Schoonmaker, was born at Rochester, Ulster County, N. T., 
March 1, 1737 ; commenced his classical studies with Domine 
Goetchius, of Schraalenburgh, N. J., 1753 ; and his theological, 
with the Rev. Mr. Marenus, of Aquackanock, in 1759. On the 27th 
of June, 1761, he married Mary (daughter of Stephen and Ann) 
Basset, of that place ; and was licensed to preach in 1763, first 
accepting a call from the congregations of Harlem and Gravesend. 
In 1781, he accepted a call from the particular churches of Graves- 
end, Success, and Wolver Hollow, which charge he retained until 

1 The following is the inscription on his gravestone at Flatbush : " Hier leyt Tiet Lie- 
chaem van den Wel-Erwaede Seer TJlpianus Van Sinderen, in zyn leeven Predicant in 
Kings County. Overleeden den 23 July, 1796, oud Zynde 88 Jaeren 7 Maanden 
en 12 daegen." (Translation): Here lies the body of the very worthy Mr. Ulpi- 
anus Van Sinderen, in his lifetime preacher in Kings County, Died, July 23, 1796, 
aged 88 years 7 months and 12 days. 

i During the pastorship of Rubel and Van Sinderen, " the seats in churches were all 
numbered in the pews or ranges. Men and women sat separately, and it rarely hap- 
pened that two persons of the same family sat together. In several churches women 
Bat in their own chairs, in the ranges of chairs. Every church had a free pew for 
justices and judges." 


1784, when lie was elected to the pastorate of the six collegiate 
churches of Kings County, at a salary of <£150 per annum. He 
fixed his residence at Flatbush, where he spent the remainder of his 
life in the faithful discharge of his labors as a minister of God. 
" His labors in the minister, " says his successor, " for sixty-one 
years, were arduous, yet was he never known to faint in his 
Master's cause ; and few men have gone to the grave with a char- 
acter more unblemished, or one more universally respected and 

Mr. Schoonmaker left six sons and five daughters, nine of whom 
arrived to mature age, and seven of them survived their father. 
He had, at the time of his death, fifty-nine grandchildren and 
twenty-one great-grandchildren. His wife died in 1819, aged eighty 

For the following very interesting sketch of Doniine Schoon- 
maker, and some of the customs and manners of the people 
during his pastorate, we are indebted to an article in the Chris- 
tian Intelligencer of October 23, 1858, by the Eev. Peter Yan 

" Domine Schoonmaker resided at Flatbush, central and con- 
venient for his other churches. He was a man of reserved and 
retiring habits ; more so, perhaps, from the circumstance that it was 
exceedingly difficult for him to hold even a common conversation 
without mangling most horribly the English language. Fluent and 
ready in the language in which he was educated, he displayed, by 
his manner and gestures, all the dignity and sincerity applicable to 
his position and functions. Courteous and polite, he was a relic of 
the old school, and universally respected. Indeed, it may be ques- 
tioned whether the venerable old minister had a solitary enemy. 
An anecdote has been related, and many years ago was in common 
circulation, which some may consider a slander upon his abilities 
and acquirements. I would rather regard it as an innocent and 
harmless witticism of some wag, and probably one of his best 
friends. Having celebrated a marriage, at the close of the cere- 
mony, for the benefit of the spectators, he attempted to terminate it 
in English with the sentence, ' I pronounce you man and wife, and 
one flesh ; whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. 


His English failed him ; yet conscious of perfect rectitude, and the 
propriety of a shorter translation, with much solemnity and em- 
phasis, and an ajDpropriate congee, he exclaimed, 1 1 pronounce, you 
two to be one beef /' 

" It was in 1819 that I last heard, or recollect to have seen, the ven- 
erable old domine. 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 sea- 
soned and smoothest boards, and beautifully grained. Other customs 
and ceremonies then existed, now almost forgotten. As I entered 
the room, I observed the coffin elevated on a table in one corner. 
The Domine, abstracted and grave, was seated at the upper end ; 
and around, in solemn silence, the venerable and hoary-headed 
friends of the deceased. All was still and serious. A simple recog- 
nition, 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 
Domine smoked his pipe, and a few followed his example. The 
custom has become obsolete, and it is well that it has. When the 
whiffs of smoke had ceased to curl around the head of the Domine, 
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 Domine, 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 all 
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 confu- 
sion, no noise nor indecent haste, attended that funeral." 

Domine Schoonmaker died on the 20th of May, 1824, aged 
eighty-seven years, and with him ceased the regular public and offi- 


cial use of the Dutch language in all the pulpits of the Dutch Re- 
formed churches. 1 

The Rev. Peter Lowe was born April 30th, 1764, at Esopus (now 
Kingston), N. Y., where he received his academic education. He pur- 
sued his theological studies with Rev. Dr. Livingston, of New York ; 
and, soon after his licensure, received several calls, finally giving 
the preference to that from the six churches of Kings County. In 
this relation he faithfully discharged the functions of the holy min- 
istry for twenty-one years ; until, the collegiate connection between 
the six churches being dissolved, by mutual consent, for the sake of 
a more frequent supply of the word and ordinances, he accepted the 
call from Flatbush and Flatlands, where he 
continued to labor more than nine years, with 
increasing usefulness, until his death, from 
cancer, in June, 1818, and in the fifty-fifth 
year of his age. He was frank, generous 
and affectionate in disposition ; cheerful in 
his religion, modest and peaceful in temper, 
agreeable in conversation ; sound and solid 
in his ministerial advice and public preaching. 
He was industrious, systematic, and active in 
habit, and had learned the art of book- 
binding, which he turned to good account 
in collecting and binding up all the church 
records which he could find. He built two 
dwellings, in succession, at Flatbush, and 
ornamented the grounds with shrubbery, 
trees, and flowers, of which he was extremely fond. His garden was 
his favorite place of meditation, from which he was wont to go to 
his lecture. 

The old Brooklyn church was a large, square edifice, with solid 
and very thick walls, plastered and whitewashed on every side up 

1 " In 1792, it was resolved that divine service, which had heretofore been maintained 
in the Dutch language, should be thereafter performed in English, in the afternoon, 
whenever Mr. Lowe should preach at Brooklyn, Flatbush, and New Utrecht. But Mr. 
Schoonmaker continued to preach in Dutch to the time of his death, having never 
attempted to preach in English but once (in 1788)." — Prime, 328. 



to the eaves ; the roof, as usual, ascending to a peak in the centre, 
capped with an open belfry, in which hung a small, sharp-toned bell, 
brought from Holland shortly after its erection. 1 Its interior was 
plain, dark, and very gloomy ; so that, in summer, one could not 
see to read in it after four o'clock in the afternoon, by reason of its 
small windows. These were six or eight feet above the floor, and 
filled with stained-glass lights from Holland, representing vines 
loaded with flowers. 2 This church, the second which had occupied 
the same site, was built in 1766, in the middle of the road leading 
from the Ferry into the country, which road is now known as Fulton 
avenue, and immediately opposite to a burying-ground yet remain- 
ing on the west side of that avenue and between Bridge and 
Lawrence streets. 3 It was unprotected by fence or enclosure. The 
road was spacious, and a carriage and wagon-track passed around 
each end, forming an oblong circle, remitting at either end. 4 

The old town, it will be remembei"«d, comprised, at this time, sev- 
eral divisions or settlements, each possessing local names which yet 
cling to them, in spite of the streets, squares, and avenues of the new 
city of Brooklyn — Goivanus, Red Hook, Bedford, Cripplebush, WaUa- 
bout — and for all these the old church occupied a very central 

" The Collegiate Domines," says Mr. Van Pelt, " had many pious 
people and firm friends in Brooklyn. Almost every house was as 
open to them as their own homes, and one in particular, opposite 
the church, was especially designated ' The Domine's House.' This 
was convenient for rest between services on the Sabbath ; for receiv- 
ing applications for baptism, membership, etc ; for meeting the 
Consistory, Church-Masters, and others; and for attending gen- 
erally to official duties." 

The collegiate connection between the Dutch churches of the 
county, so far as related to the service in English, was gradually 
given up after the commencement of the present century. The Kev. 
John B. Johnson was called to Brooklyn in 1802 ; Dr. Bassett to 

1 This bell was afterwards (1840) in the belfry of the district school-house in Middagh 
street, Third Ward of Brooklyn. See, also, page 143. 

2 Furman's MSS. 3 Ante, p. 166. 

4 " And a miserable road it was, filled with mud-holes and large rocks." — Furman's 




Busliwick, in 1811; and Mr. BeattIe, in 1809, to New Utrecht: 
while Domine Schoonrnaker remained at Flatbush, continuing the 
Dutch service alternately among the six towns ; but on the day that 
he preached at Bushwick, Dr. Bassett supplied Gravesend, which 
place, as to amount of service, remained precisely the same. 

The new pastor of the Brooklyn church, John Baeent Johnson, 
was a native of this town, where he was born, March 3, 1769, his 
father, Barent Johnson, being a prosperous farmer, of Dutch 
descent, and his mother, Maria, the daughter of Captain John 
Guest, of New Brunswick, who commanded a vessel which sailed 
between New York and Antigua. Having lost both parents before 
h^ ninth year, he was brought up by a cousin, who was also his 
father's executor. In his seventeenth year, while at school in Flat- 
bush, he became acquainted with the Bev. Dr. John H. Livingston, 
who was spending the summer there. Discovering in him more 
than ordinary talents, the Dod;or encouraged him to undertake a 
course of liberal studies, offering him, at the same time, a residence 
in his own family and the superintendence of his education. The 
offer, thus kindly made, was gratefully accepted by young Johnson, 
who was shortly prepared to enter college. In 1788 he matriculated 
at Columbia College, and in the same year became a communicant 
in the Keformed Dutch Church. After his graduation he pursued a 
course of theological studies with his old friend, Dr. Livingston ; was 
licensed by the Classis of New York, April 21, 1795 ; and preached 
his first sermon on the succeeding Sabbath, in that city, for the Kev. 
Dr. Kuypers. On the 5th of June, 1796, Mr. Johnson was ordained to 
the work of the ministry, and settled as colleague pastor with Mr. 
Bassett (who preached the ordination sermon) over the Beformed 
Protestant Dutch Church of Albany. In 1802 he was called to the 
Beformed Dutch Church of Schenectady, and also to that in Brook- 
lyn. Deciding in favor of the latter, he preached his farewell ser- 
mon to the Albany church on the 26th of September, 1802, and on 
the 24th of the ensuing October was duly installed over his new 
charge at Brooklyn. 1 " Among other marked features of this sermon 

' On this occasion the Rev. Dr. Linn presided, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Schoonmaker. 
In the afternoon Mr. Johnson preached from 2d Timothy, iv. 2. 


— which was a very able, earnest, and eloquent discourse — is a fine 
tribute to the Heidelberg Catechism, and a plea for its faithful and 
regular exposition in our churches." His health, somewhat im- 
paired before his removal from Albany, now began to fail rapidly ; 
and the loss of his wife, in March, 1803, undoubtedly contributed to 
hasten his own death. He died at the house of his brother-in-law, 
Peter Eosevelt, Esq., in Newtown, August 29th, 1803, leaving three 
children, two of whom still survive in the ministry of the Episcopal 
Church — one at Jamaica, L. I., and another as a professor in the 
Episcopal Theological Seminary in New York. 

From a sketch of Mr. Johnson, from the pen of Hon. Teunis Van 
Vechten, for Kev. Dr. Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit, we 
learn that he was a man of unusually prepossessing personal 
appearance, and easy and graceful manners. " His countenance 
had an expression of great benignity, united with high intelligence. 
His manners were bland and courteous, and predisposed every one 
who saw him to be his friend ; and his countenance and manners 
were % a faithful index to his disposition. He was acknowledged, 
on all hands, to possess an uncommonly amiable and generous 
spirit. He had the reputation of an excellent pastor. He mingled 
freely, and to great acceptance, with all classes of people. He was 
particularly attentive to the young, and had the faculty of making 
himself exceedingly pleasant to them. This I know from personal 

" As a preacherrhe was undoubtedly one of the most popular in 
the Dutch Church at that day. Of his manner in the pulpit I retain 
a very distinct recollection. His voice was a melodious one, and 
though not of remarkable compass, yet loud enough to be heard 
with ease in a large church. His gesture was natural and effective, 
and sometimes he reached what I should think a high pitch of pul- 
pit oratory." 

At the death of General "Washington, the Legislature of the State, 
then in session, requested of the Consistory the use of this church 
(the Albany church) for the celebration of appropriate funeral 
services, and invited Mr. Johnson to deliver the eulogy on that 
occasion. The service was accordingly held, February 22d, 1800, 
and, as might be supposed, was one of universal interest and solem- 


nity. The church was hung with black, and crowded by a mourn- 
ing people. The oration by Mr. Johnson was a masterly effort, 
and produced a great sensation. It was published by vote of both 
Houses ; Hon. Stephen Van Kensselaer being then president of the 
Senate, and Hon. Dirck Ten Broeck, speaker of the House. Mr. 
Van Vechten says of it : " The exordium was spoken of at the time 
as a rare specimen of eloquence, and the whole performance was of 
a very high order. I speak with confidence concerning this, as it 
was published, and I have had an opportunity of reading it since I 
have been more competent to judge of its merits than I was when 
it was delivered." Mr. Van Vechten closes his sketch of Mr. John- 
son in these words : " He left an excellent name behind him, and 
the few who still remember him cherish gratefully the recollections 
of both his gifts and his graces." 1 

1 See Rev. Dr. E. P. Rogers' Hist. Discourse on the Reformed Protestant Dutch 
Church of Albany, 1858. 




The only excitement which occurred in Breuckelen, during the 
year 1675, was a painful apprehension, shared by its inhabitants in 
common with those of neighboring towns, that they might become 
involved in the Indian outbreak known as "King Philip's War," 
which it was feared would extend to the Long Island tribes. Proper 
measures being taken, however, by the provincial government, and 
in the several towns, fear was somewhat allayed, and the speedy 
defeat which overtook that notorious chieftain, restored tranquillity 
to the public mind. 

Breuckelen had, at this time, attained the leading position among 
the Kings County towns, in respect of population and wealth, as 
evidenced by the " Assessment Rolls of the 5 Dutch towns up to 
August 19, 1675," which afford the following total valuation at a rate 
of one stiver on the pound : * 

Towns. No. of Persons Equal to 

Assessed. £ s. Ouil. Stiv. £ s. d. 

Boswyck 36 3,174 10 158 148 13 4 6 

Breuckelen 60 5,204 00 260 4 21 13 8 

Middlewout 54 5,079 10 253 19-8 21 3 4 

Amersfoort 35 4,008 10 200 8-8 16 14 

New Utrecht 29 2,852 10 142 12-8 11 17 8 

Total 20,319 10 1,015 19 84 13 2 

Also, when, in the course of the same year, it became necessary 
to build a new dock at New York, the Governor and Council 
required the Kings and Queens County towns to furnish timber for 
the undertaking, and Breuckelen's tribute was the largest, 1 that of 
Flatbush being the next in amount. 2 

1 N. Y. Col. MSS., xxiv. 136 ; and N. Y. Doc. Hist., iv. 141-161. 

2 Council Minutes, iii. 171. 


Breuckelyn's importance was further increased by its appointment 
as a market town. The record concerning this is as follows : 

" Upon a proposall of having a ffayre or markett in or neare this Citty 
(New York) ; It is ordered, that after this season, there shall yearely be 
kept a ffayre and markett at Breucklyn, near the fferry, for all graine, 
cattle, or other produce of the country ; to bee held the first Monday, 
Tuesday and Wednesday in November, and in the Citty of New Yorke 
the thursday, ffriday, and Saturday following." ' 

A pleasant glimpse of the neighborly feeling existing between the 
people of the neighboring towns, and of the comparative simplicity 
of the times, is afforded by the following : 

" A recommendation on the behalfe of Capt. Jacques Corteleau, and the 
inhabitants of New Utrecht, to the Constables and Overseers of 
Bruyckline — 
" Whereas, Capt. Jacques Corteleau, having (through misfortune by ffire) 
sustained great losses ; and being intended speedily to build him another 
House, towards the effecting of which divers good and Charitable People 
(his Neighbors round about) have already contributed their Assistance, 
That the same may be the Sooner accomplished, for his more comfortable 
accomodation, I do hereby recommend to you, that you encourage the 
People of yo r Towne, to assist him with one Daye's worke, towards per- 
fecting the said Building, this or the next weeke, as he shall direct; and 
that you likewise assist his Neighbo", in the Neighboring Towne of New 
Utrecht, in their present distresse if requested thereunto by them, in the 
which you will do a good and Charitable worke : Given under my hand 
in New Yorke, the 1st day of May, 1675. " E. Andros. 3 

" To the Constables & Overseers of Breucklyn." 

An assessment on the town of Breuckelen, made up to September, 
1676, was levied on 57 persons, who represented 70 polls, 1,232 acres 
of land, 85 horses, 292 cows, 35 hogs, 38 oxen, and 25 sheep. 3 

1 Ext. from orders made at Court of Gen'l Assizes, beginning 6th and ending 13th 
Oct., 1675 (Valentine's Manual, 1845, p. 311). By another clause in this order, all 
persons and goods going to or coming from this fair, were exempted from arrest for 
debt. This order was to remain in force for three years from the 24th of March 

5 Warrants, Orders, and Passes, iii. 90. 3 See Appendix No. 7. 


In May, 1682, Governor Andros, whose arbitrary character and 
government had rendered him unpopular in the province, left the 
country, and was succeeded, on the 25th of August, 1683, by Col. 
Thomas Dongan. The province of New York had for many years 
suffered from many grievances, due to the unlimited authority which 
was vested in its chief magistrate ; and as early as 1681, the popular 
feeling on the subject found expression in a petition for redress to 
the Duke of York. His Koyal Highness prudently assented, and 
Gov. Dongan brought with him special instructions to institute a 
General Assembly, similar to that of the New England colonies. 
This first Colonial Legislature, composed of the Governor, Council, 
and seventeen members, chosen by the people, held its first session 
from October 17th to Nov. 3d, 1683. It straightway adopted a 
" charter of liberties," providing that the supreme authority, under 
the duke, should be vested in the Governor, Council, and a legisla- 
ture elected by the people, according to the laws of England, which 
should convene, at least, triennially. It furthermore established 
the right of trial by jury of twelve, and interdicted the molestation 
or prosecution of any person for any difference of opinion or action 
concerning religious affairs, so long as they professed a faith in God 
by Jesus Christ, and did not actually disturb the peace. Other 
important changes in the organization of the province were also 
made. The ridings were abolished and rearranged into counties ; 
Breuckelen, Boswyck, Amersfoort, Flatbush, New Utrecht, and 
Gravesend being comprised in the new County of Kings, while 
Newtown was transferred to Queens County. In each of the 
twelve counties into which the province was divided, the Court of 
Sessions was to meet twice a year, and the Court of Oyer and Ter- 
miner annually. In each town, a Commissioners' Court was estab- 
lished, which was to be held on the first Wednesday in every month, 
for the hearing of small causes, and actions for debt and trespass, 
not exceeding 40s. Another change in the form of town government 
was the establishment of assessors and supervisors, the latter having 
supervision of public affairs and town expenses. 

In pursuance of royal instructions, and with the view of definitely 
fixing the amount of quit-rent, to be paid to the government by each 
of the towns, in acknowledgment for their lands, Gov. Dongan, on 


the 31st of March, 1684, issued an order to all the towns to bring in 
their patents and Indian deeds, for examination preparatory to the 
granting of new charters. 1 Breuckelen, together with Boswyck, 
complied with this order on the 16th of April following, 2 and desired 
some arrangement to be made concerning quit-rent. Owing, how- 
ever, to the difficulties attendant upon the settlement of a dispute 
which had previously arisen between the towns of Newtown, Bos- 
wyck, and Breuckelen, concerning their bounds, 3 no immediate 
action could be taken in reference to the new patents and quit-rents 
of the three places. And it was not until May 3, 1686, that Breuck- 
elen received from Gov. Dongan the following Patent : 

" l. s. Thomas Doxgan, Lieutenant Governor and Vice Admiral of New 
York, and its dependencies under his Majesty James the Second, by the grace 
of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the 
Faith, dbc. — Supreme lord and proprietor of the Colony and province of 
New York and its dependencies in America, &c. To all to whom this 
shall come sendeth greeting, whereas the Honorable Richard Nicolls, Esq., 
formerly Governor of this province, did by his certain writing or patent 
under his hand and seal, bearing date the 18th day of October, Annoque 
Domini, one thousand six hundred and sixty seven, ratifie, confirm and 
grant unto Jan Everts, Jan Damen, Albert Cornelissen, Paulus Verbeeck, 
Michael Enyle (Hainelle), Thomas Lamberts, Teunis Gysberts Bogart, and 
Joris Jacobsen, as patentees for and on behalf of themselves and their asso- 
ciates, the freeholders and inhabitants of the town of Breucklen, their heirs, 
successors and assigns forever, a certain tract of land, together with the 
several parcels of land which then were or thereafter should be purchased 
or procured for and on behalf of the said town, whether from the native 
Indian proprietors, or others within the bounds and limitts therein sett 
forth and expressed, that is to say, the said town is bounded westward on 
the further side of the land of Mr. Paulus Verbeeck, from whence stretch- 
ing 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 River, and extend to the 
farm on the other side of the hills heretofore belonging to Hans Hansen, 

1 Council Minutes, v. 63. * Ibid., v. 71. 

3 N. Y. Col. MSS., xxxiii. 68, 233, xxxiv. 15, xxxv. 146, 152. For account of this dis- 
pute, see Riker's excellent history of Newtown. 


over against Keak or Look-out, including within the said bounds and lini- 
itts 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 plantations thereupon, from henceforth are to be, 
appertain and belong to the said town of Breucklyn, Together with all 
harbor, havens, creeks, quarries, 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 heredi- 
taments 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 neighbors, 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 Gov- 
ernor. To have and to hold unto them the said patentees and their asso- 
ciates, their heirs, successors and assigns forever, as by the said patent 
reference being thereunto had, doth fully and at large appear. And further, 
in and by the said patent, the said Governor Richard ISTicolls, Esq., did 
erect the said tract of land into a township by the name of Breucklen afore- 
said, by that name and style to be distinguished and known in all bargains, 
sales, deeds, records and writings whatsoever ; and whereas the present 
inhabitants and freeholders of the town of Breucklen aforesaid, have made 
their application to me for a confirmation of the aforesaid tract of land and 
premises in their quiet and peaceable possession and enjoyment of the afore- 
said land and premises. Now Know Ye, That I, the said Thomas Dongan, 
by virtue of the commission and authority derived unto me, and power in 
me residing, have granted, ratified and confirmed, and by these presents 
do grant, ratifie and confirm, unto Teunis Gysberts (Bogart), Thomas 
Lamberts, Peter Jansen, Jacobus Vander Water, Jan Dame(n), Joris Ja- 
cobs, Jeronimus Rapalle, Daniel Rapalle, Jan Jansen, Adrian Bennet, and 
Michael Hanse (Bergen), for and on the behalf of themselves and the rest 
of the present freeholders and inhabitants of the said town of Breucklen, 
their heirs and assigns forever, all and singular the afore-recited tract and 
parcels of land set forth, limited and bounded as aforesaid ; together with 
all and singular, the houses, messuages, tenements, fencings, buildings, 
gardens, orchards, trees, woods, underwoods, pastures, feedings, common 


of pasture, meadows, marshes, lakes, ponds, creeks, harbors, rivers, rivu- 
lets, brooks, streams, highways and easements whatsoever, belonging or in 
any wise appertaining to any of the afore-recited tract or parcells of land 
and divisions, allotments, settlements made and appropriated before the 
day and date hereof. To Have and To Hold, all and singular, the said tract 
or parcels of land and premises, with their, and every of their appurtenances 
unto the said Tunis Gysberts (Bogart), Thomas Lamberts, Peter Jansen, 
Jacobus Vander Water, Joris Jacobs, Jeronimus Rappalle, Daniel Rap- 
palle, Jan Jansen, Adrian Bennet and Michael Hanse (Bergen), for and 
on behalf of themselves and the present freeholders and inhabitants of tho 
town of Breucklen, their and every of their heirs and assigns forever, 
as tenants in common without any let, hindrance, molestation, right o> 
survivorship or otherwise, to be holden in free and common socage accord- 
ing to the tenure of East Greenwich, in the County of Kent, in his Maj- 
esty's kingdom of England. 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 testimony whereof, I have 
caused these presents to be entered and recorded in the Secretary's office, 
and the seal of the Province to be hereunto affixed this thirteenth day ol 
May, Anno. Domini, one thousand six hundred and eighty six, and in the 

second year of his Majesty's reign. 

"Thomas Dongan." 

On the 13th of the ensuing October, Messrs. Jacobus Vande 
Water, Jeronimus Eapallie, and Teunis Gysbertse Bogart, deputies 
from the town of Breucklen, appeared before the Governor, and 
formally agreed, on behalf of the town, to the annual payment of the 
quit-rent above mentioned. 1 

1 This quit-rent has heen regularly paid to the 25th day of March, 1775, as will 
appear from the following copies of the collector's receipts, viz. : 

" June 8, 1713. Paid to Benjamin Van de Water, Treasurer, the sum of £96 7s. Id., 
for upwards of 16 years' quit-rent. 

" Received of Charles De Bevoice, collector for Brooklyn, twenty bushels of wheat, 
in full for one year's quit of the said township, due the 25th of March last, New York, 
6th of April, 1775. John Mooke, D. R. Gen." 

After the independence of the State of New York, the payment of quit-rent was 
revived, and on the 9th day of Nov., 1786, the arrears of quit-rent were paid up, and all 
future quit-rents were commuted for, as will appear from the following copy of the 
Treasurer's receipt, viz. : 



The oath of allegiance was this year taken by the following inhab- 
itants of Breucklyn : 

Thomas Lambertse, 36 years 1 
Jooris Hanssen, native 
Hendrick Vechten, 27 years 
Claes Arense Vechten, 27 years 
Jan Aertsen (Middag), 26 years 
Hendrick Claasen, 33 years 
Jacob Hanssen Bergen, native 
Jooris Martens, native 
Hendrick Thyssen, 21 years 
Mauritius Couverts, native 
Willem Huijcken, 24 years 
Theunis Gysbertse Bogaert, 35 years 
Willem Bennitt, native 
Hendrick Lambertse, native 
Jan Fredricks, 35 years 
Jan Couverts, native 
Luijcas Couverts, 24 years 
Frans Abramse, native 
Gerrit Aerts Middag, 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, 28 years 

Theunis Tobiassen, native 
Pieter Corsen, native 
Theunis Janse Couverts, 36 years 
Aert Simonssen, native 
Adam Brouwer, Junior, native 
Alexander Shaers, native 
Willem Pos, native 
Jan gerrise Dorland, 35 years 
Johannis Casperse, 35 years 
Claes Barentse Blom, native 
Pieter Brouwer, native 
Abram Brouwer, native 
Jan Bennit, native 
Barent Sleght, native 
Jacobus Vande Water, 29 years 
Benjamin Vande Water, native 
Pieter Weijnants, native 
Joost Franssen, 33 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, 26 years 
Pieter Van Nesten, 40 years 
Jan Theunisen, native 

" Received Nov. 9th, 1786, from Messrs. Fernandas Suydam and Charles C. Doughty, 
two of the Trustees of the township of Brookland, public securities, which, with the 
interest allowed thereon, amount to one hundred and five pounds ten shillings, in full 
for the arrears of quit-rent, and commutation for the future quit-rent, that would have 
arisen on the patent granted to the town of Brookland, the 13th day of May, 1686. 

" Gekaud Bakckeb, Treas'r." 

1 In this, as in the case of all those who emigrated to this country from Europe, the 
number of years of their residence here is appended to their name. 


Harmen Joorissen, native Dirck Janse Woertman, 40 years 

Jacob Willemse Bennit, native Daniel D'Rapale, native 

Jacob Brouwer, native Gijsbert Booragaert, native 

Bourgon Broulaet, 12 years Volkert Vanderbraats, native 

Jan Daraen, 37 years Jan Buijs, 39 years 

Cornelis Subrink (Sebring), native Gerrit Dorlant, native 

Hendrick Sleght, 35 years Adriaen Bennet, native 

Abrara Remsen, native Thomas Verdon, native 

Machiel Hanssen, native Pieter Janse Staats, native 1 

1687. The Clerk's office of Kings County was kept in this town, 
by the Deputy Register, Jacob Vandewater, who saw also a Notary 
Public here at the same period. The Register, Samuel Bayard, Esq., 
resided in the city of New York. 

The popular hopes which had been excited by the appointment 
of the Colonial Assembly, proved delusive, for after its third annual 
session, it was prohibited by the Duke of York, who, under the title 
of James II., had succeeded to the throne of England, and had 
begun to disclose his true character, and his intention to establish 
an arbitrary and Catholic government over the Protestant province 
of New York. The gloomy apprehensions of the people, however, 
were suddenly relieved, in 1689, by the news of his abdication, and 
the succession of their Protestant majesties, William and Mary, to 
the throne ; and the citizens of New York, suspicious of the hireling 
officials of the late king, suddenly deposed them, and intrusted the 
government of the colony to Capt. Jacob Leisler, who held it in the 
name of the new sovereigns. Beginning, however, with the best 
intentions, Leisler was* finally swept into the assumption of extreme 
power, whereby he incurred enmity which finally brought him to 
the scaffold on an unmerited charge of high treason. The adminis- 
tration of his successor, Gov. Henry Sloughter, which commenced 
in March, 1691, was distinguished by the reconstruction of the pro- 
vincial government, upon a basis which remained intact and unin- 
terrupted to the close of the American Revolution. Among other 

1 " The Roll off those who have Taken the oath off Allegiance in the Kings County 
in the Province off New Yorke the 26th 27 ; 28 ; 29 and 30th day off September In the 
Third Yeare off his Mayt 8h Raigne Annoque Domine 1687."— MSS. in Sec'y of State's 
office. See Doc. Hist. N. Y., i. p. 659. 


changes, courts of common pleas and general pleas were organized 
in every county ; the form of municipal or town government was 
revised, and assumed more nearly its present form ; the commis- 
sioners' court was replaced by the assumption of its duties by the 
justices ; the number of supervisors in each town was reduced to 
one ; and three surveyors of highways were added to the town 

May 6th, 1691, an act was passed by the General Assembly, con- 
firming to all the towns of the colony their respective grants and 
patents, by which law both of the patents of Brooklyn were con- 

Governor Sloughter died suddenly in July, 1691, and was suc- 
ceeded by Col. Benjamin Fletcher, who arrived August 30, 1692, 
and whose avaricious and arbitrary character very soon rendered 
him quite unpopular with the people. 

At a Court of Sessions, held, at Flatbush, November 8, 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 of 
every towne to see the order of the Court performed, as they will answer 
the contrary at their perill." 

The retailing of liquors within the county was also forbidden, 
excepting under a license from the Justices of the County. 1 

April 10th, 1693, the name of Long Island was changed to the 
" Island of Nassau," which alteration was neither popular nor gen- 
erally adopted, and gradually became obsolete by disuse, although 
the act, it is believed, was never explicitly repealed. 

The town of Breuckelen having acquired a large amount of com- 
mon land, by the purchase from the Indians in 1670, the inhabitants 
thought best to adopt some measures for its proper division, together 
with their other common lands. Accordingly, 

"at a Town meeting held the 25th day of February, 1692-3, att Breuck- 

1 Ct. Sess. Rec, Old Road Book. 


lyn, 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 Cripplebush, over the 
hills to the path of New lotts shall belong to the inhabitants and free- 
holders of the Gowanis, beginning from Jacob Brewer and soe to the utter- 
most bounds of the limits of New-Utrecht. 

" 2. And all the lands and woods that lyes betwixt the abovesaid path 
and the highway from the ferry toward Flattbush, shall belong to the free- 
holders and 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 Lubbert- 
sen's Neck, a?ite, pp. 63, 66) the ferry and the Wallabout." 

This proceeding of the town was duly approved of by the Court 
of Sessions, held at Flatbush, on the 10th of May, 1693. 1 

There was, during this year, considerable commotion and disturb- 
ance among the Dutch towns of the county (more especially, however, 
in Bushwick), arising from some political causes not now fully under- 
stood. 2 At a meeting of the Kings Co. Justices, Oct. 11, 1693, 
"John Bibout, off Broockland, in the county afforesayde, weeaver, 
being committed bye the said justices to the common jail off Kings 
County ffor divers scandalous and abusive wordes spoken bye the 
sayde John against theire majesties justices of the peace for the 
county aforesaid, to the contempt of their majesties authority and 
breache off the peace ; the sayd John havinge now humbly submitted 
liimselfe and craves pardon and mercy off the sayd justices ffor his 
missdemeanor, is discharged, payinge the officers ffees, and being on 
his good behavour till next cort of sessions, in November next ensuing 
the dayte thereoff." 3 During the same month, one Hendrick Claes 
Yechte, of this town, was also imprisoned by order of the justices, 
on a charge " of raising of dissension, strife and mutiny, among their 

1 See Appendix 8. 

2 These difficulties, so far as we can learn, seem to have been caused by the very 
arbitrary measures resorted to by the county justices, in order to support their author- 
ity. Tbe arrest and confinement of individuals on the charge (often frivolous) of hav- 
ing uttered words against them and subversive of the government, were matters of 
frequent occurrence, tending to betray the people into the commission of excesses ai 
outbreaks of exasperation and defiance. 8 Old Road Book, p. 19. 


majesties subjects." Subsequently, upon his confession of error, lie 
was released, on payment of a smart fine. 1 

The following year, 1694, was also characterized by a continuance 
of the same troubles between the people and their rulers, as we have 
mentioned in the previous year ; and Volkert Brier, Constable of 
Brookland, was fined £5 and costs of court, amounting to £1, " for 
tearing and burning an execution directed to him as constable," by 
Justice Hegeman. He afterwards petitioned the Governor for a 
remission of his fine, in words as follows : 

" To His Excellency, — The humble peticon of Volkert Brier, inhabitant 
of the towne of Broockland, on the Island of Nassau. 
" May it please your Excellency your peticoner being fined five pounds 
last Court of Sessions, in Kings County for tearing an execucon directed 
to him as Constable, Your peticoner being ignorant of the crime, and 
not thinking it was of force when he was out of his office, or that he should 
have made returne of it as the lawe directs, he being an illiterate man could 
not read said execucon nor understand any thing of lawe : humbly prays 
y r Excellency yt you would be pleased to remit said fine of five pounds, 
y r peticoner being a poor man and not capacitated to pay said fine without 
great damage to himself and family. And for y r Excellency y r peticoner 
will ever pray, &c." 2 

"At a Court of Sessions ffor Kings County, November 12, 1695. Or- 
dered that the Constable of every towne within Kings County shall every 
Sunday or Sabbath daye tayke lawe ffor the apprehendinge off all Sabbath 
breakers, and that they or their deputyes goe with their staves each Sab- 
bath daye in and about theire respective towns during their time of servi- 
tude as Constable, and searche all ale-houses, taverns and other suspected 
places ffor all prophaners and breakers off the Sabbath day, & then to 
apprehend and bring them before any one of his Majesties Justices of the 
County aforesaid, too bee punished accordinge to lawe. 

" Ordered that ffor every neglect or default, the constable shall pay a 
ffine of six shillings. 

' " Ordered that Mad James bee kept by Kings County in general, and 
that the deacons off each towne within the sayde county doe fforthwith 
meete together and consider about their proporcons ffor maintenance of 
sayd James." 

1 Ct. Sessions Rec, Old Road Book, p. 14. 8 Ibid., pp. 25, 26. 


All the king's highways in the county were likewise to be con- 
tinued and confirmed, as they had been for twenty years past, and 
were to be laid out four rods wide, at least. 1 

Another emeute of the disaffected people of Kings County oc- 
curred 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 Reyerse, Aert Aertsen, Theunis Bujs, 
Garret Cowenhoven, Gabriel Sprong, Urian Andriese, John Wil- 
lemse Bennett, Jacob Bennett and John Meserole, jr. — most of 
whom will be recognized as inhabitants of Breuckelen and Boswyck 
— "met, armed, at the courthouse of Kings, where they 'destroyed 
and defaced the king's arms which were hanging up there." 3 

November 11, 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 forbid- 
den to " run about on the Sabbath," or t© 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 assembly, upon penalty aforesaid of fine and 
imprisonment." 3 

" At a towne meeting held this twentieth day of Aprill, 1697, at Bedford, 
within the jurisdiction of Broockland, in Kings County, upon the Island of 
Nassau, Resolved by all the ffreeholders of the towne of Broockland afore- 
said, that all their common land not yet laid out and divided, belonging 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. And for the laying out of the said lands there 
are chosen and appointed by the ffreeholders abovesaid, Capt. Henry Ffilkin, 
Jacobus Vanderwater, Daniel Rapalle, Joris Hansen, John Dorlant and Cor- 
nelius Vanduyne. It is further ordered that noe men within this township 
abovesaid, shall have priviledge to sell his part of the undivided lands of 
Broockland not yet laid out, to any person living without the township 

1 Rec. Ct. Sess., Old Road Book. 

2 Ct. Sess. Rec, Old Road Book, 38 — contains the original depositions of Justices 
Hegeman, Filkin, and Stillwell. 

3 Ct. Sess. Rec, Old Road Book. 


abovesaid. It is likewise ordered, consented to, and agreed by the towne 
meeting aforesaid, That Capt. Henry Ffilkin shall have a full share with 
any or all the ffreeholders aforesaid, in all the common land or woods in the 
whole patent of the towne of Breuckland aforesaid, besides a half share for 
his home lott ; To have and to hold to him, his heirs and assigns forever. 
It is likewise ordered, that noe person whatsoever within the common woods 
of the jurisdiction of Broockland aforesaid, shall cutt or fall any oake or 
chesnut saplings for firewood during the space of four years from the date 
hereof upon any of the said common lands or woods within the jurisdicon 
of Broockland patent, upon the penalty of six shillings in money for every 
waggon load of saplings abovesaid soe cutt, besides the forfeiture of the 
wood or timber soe cutt as abovesaid, the one-half thereof to the informer, 
and the other half for the use of the poor of the towne of Broocklaud afore- 

" By order of the towne meeting aforesaid. 

" and Justice Henry Ffilkin. 

" Jacobus Vandewater, Towne Clerk." ' 

The following record is curious, as illustrative of the ancient 
practice of tradesmen cutting down timber in the public woods, and 
of the regulations adopted respecting the same : 

" Att a meeting held this 29th day off Aprill (1699), in Breucklyn, Pres- 
ent, Benjamin Vande Water, Joris Hanssen (Bergen), Jan Gerritse Dor- 
lant, being choisen townsmen in the presence and with the advice off the 
Justices of this towne. Considering the greate inconvenience, lose and in- 
terest that the inhabitants off this towne have by reason that the trades- 
men here living in this towne doe ffall and cutt the best trees and sully the 
best of our woods, and sell the worke thereoff made, the most part to 
others living withoute the towne, and that the shoemakers and others doe 
cutt and fall all the best treese ffor the barke, and the wood lyes and rott, 
and that some persons doe cutt and ffall trees for timber and ffensing stuff, 
and leave the trees in the woods soe cutt until they are spoilt, and that 
people off other towns come and cutt and ffall trees for timber, ffensing 
stuff, and ffire woods, and transport the same away out off our townes, 
bounds and limitts, and that without leave or consent off the towne, soe 
that in the time off ffew yeares there shall bee no woods leaved ffor the in- 
habitants ffor timber or ffensing stuff, to the ruine off the said towne. It 

1 Funnan's Notes, p. 116. 


is thereffore ordered, That ffrom the date hereoff no tradesman shall make 
any worke ffor to sell to others without thee towne, ffrom wood soe cutt as 
afforesaid as only ffrom old wood. 

" That no shoemaker or others shall cutt or ffall any trees ffor to barke in 
the common woods uppon the penaltie off ffive pounds ffor every tree soe 

" That no men shall leave any timber, ffensing stuffe, or other wood in 
the woods longer as six weeks affter itt is cutt, uppon the penaltie, that itt 
shall be ffree ffor others to take and carry the same away as theire owne 
wood. And that iff any one off other townes shall be ffounden within our 
townes limitts to cutt or carry away any sorts off woods ffor timber, 
ffensing stuff or ffire wood, that itt shall bee ffree ffor any one off this 
towne to take it away and to take out writ to arrest, or to apprehend 
such offender or offenders presently, and that the Justices off this towne 
shall answer the action as iff itt were done by theire owneselves." ' 

These proceedings were also recorded, by order of the Court of 

Further action was had in the matter of the common lands, 
during the year 1701, as appears by the following record ; 

"Towne Meeting held this 5th day off May, 1*701, by order off Justices 
Cornelis Sebringh and Machiell Hanssen (Bergen). We the major part 
off the ffreeholders off Breucklyn doe hereby nominate, constitute, and 
appoint Capt. Jooris Hanssen (Bergen), Jacob Hanssen (Bergen), and 
Cornelis Van Duyn, to bee trustees of our Common and undivided lands, 
and to deffend and maintaine the rights and privileges off our General 
pattent, as well within as without." 

Again, at a 

" Towne meeting held this second day off February, 1701-2, by order off 
Justice Cornelis Sebringh. Purposed iff the order off Bedford, made the 
12th day off April, 1697, 8 shall bee confirmed concerning the lying out of 
the common or undivided lands, or that the said land shall bee lyed out 
according to the last tax, concerning the deffending off our limitts. 

1 As we understand this clause, the Justices of Brooklyn were to have cognizance 
of the offence, as much as if the offenders resided within the town. 

2 See ante, p. 208. 


" Resolved by the ffreeholders aforesaid, that the chosen townsmen shall 
ley out the commens according as by the said order off Bedford was con- 
cluded, with the ffirst opportunitie, and that all the lotts joyning to the 
common woods shall be surveyed according to their grants." 

These lands were accordingly surveyed, during the same month, 
by Messrs. Pieter Corteljeau and S. Clowes, surveyors, and were by 
them divided into three divisions. The first, or west division, con- 
sisting of 62 lots, containing about 5 acres each, comprised near 310 
acres. The second, or middle division, consisted of 62 lots, of about 
10 acres each, amounting to 620 acres ; and the third, or east divi- 
sion, also of 62 lots, of about 10 acres each, also comprised about 
620 acres. The total number of acres was about 1550. 1 

The common lands having been thus equitably divided among the 
freeholders, and a portion annexed to each house in town, 2 the fol- 
lowing resolution was adopted for the better protection of those 
inhabitants to whom portions had been allotted in their enjoyment 
of the same : 

" Att a Towne meeting held att Brookland, in Kings County, this 14th 
day of March, 1701-2. Present Machiel Hanssen (Bergen), Cornelia 
Sebringh, and Hendrick Vechten, Esquires, Justices. — Resolved, by the 
major part of the freeholders of the saide towne of Brookland, that every 
man that has now a right, lott, or lotts laid out in the quondam Common 
and undivided lands of Brookland aforesaid, shall forever free liberty have 
for egress or regress to his said lotts for fetching off wood or otherwise, 
over all or any of the said lott or lotts of the said freeholders in the lands 
aforesaid. And further, that if any of the said freeholders shall at any 
time or times hereafter, come by any loss or trouble, cost or charges by 
lawe or otherwise, of, for or concerning the title of any of their said lott or 
lotts, by any person or persons, either within the township of Brookland 
afforesaid or without, that it shall be defended and made goode (if lost), 
att all the proper costs and charges of all the freeholders of said towne 

1 Furman's Notes, 45. 

2 This appears evident from the fact that a deed, dated April 17, 1705, after convey- 
ing a house and lot of land in this town, conveys " alsoe all the rights and priviledges 
in the common woodlands of the towne of Broockland aforesaid, to said house belong- 
ing as per record of said towne may appear." 


Owing to the complete absence of the town and county records, 
from the year 1700 to the close of the American Bevolution, we are 
unable to glean much material for a history of Breucklyn during 
that period. The slender data on which we are obliged to base our 
chronicle of the progress of the place, are mostly derived from pro- 
vincial records, stray deeds and documents, newspapers, letters, etc. 
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, which has not yet 
(1867) ended. This latter topic, however, will be more fully dis- 
cussed in another portion of this work. 

April 21, 1701, a piece of land, about 200 feet square, lying within 
the limits of the subsequent village of Brooklyn, was sold for £75, 
" current money of the Province of New York." 2 

August 30, 1701, John Bybon sold to Cornelius Vanderhove, for 
,£37 10s., the one equal half part of a brew-house, situate at Bedford, 
in the town of Brookland, fronting the highway leading from Bed- 
ford to Cripplebush ; together with one equal half part of all the 
brewing-vessels, etc. 3 

In the year 1703, •" Brookland's improveable lands and meadows, 
within fence," were surveyed, and found to amount to 5,177 acres. 4 
The greatest landowner, at that time, was 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 Yandewater, commis- 
sioners, appointed by act of the General Assembly of the Colony of 
New York, for the laying out, regulating, clearing, and preserving 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 ffrom low water 
niarke at the ferry in the township of Broockland, in Kings County, and 

1 See Appendix No. 7. 8 Furman's Notes, 91. 

2 Furman's Notes, 91. 4 N. Y. Col. MSB., lxxii. 31. 


ffrom thence to run flour 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 certaine lane to the southward corner of John Van Cou- 
wenhoven'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 lane, run- 
ning 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 soe 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 ffense to the eastward, to the northeast corner of Eldert Lucas's land, 
lying within the New lotts of Fflattbush aforesaid, being flour rod wide 
all along, to be and continue forever." 

In 1706, all the real and personal estates of the town of Brooklyn 
were assessed £3,122 12s., the tax on the same being £41 3s. 7^d., 
and the whole county tax, ,£201 16s. ljd. There were at this 
time 64 freeholders in the town. In 1707, the real and per- 
sonal estates were assessed at £3,091, lis., on which the govern- 
ment tax was .£116 7s. 3d., payable in two instalments, and the 
county tax was £448 3s. 7d. 

1717. November 21, a bill was brought into the Assembly to erect 
Kings and Queens Counties into one by the name of St. George's 
County ; also, to elect six members from said county to the Assembly. 

1721. Private encroachments on the old road or " king's highway" 
(now Fulton street and avenue), leading from the ferry to the old 
Dutch church, or Brooklyn parish, and which had been laid out 
seventeen years before, in 1704, gave rise to much contention in the 
town. At the April term of the General Sessions of the Peace for 
Kings County, indictments were found for encroaching thereon, 
against John Bapalje, Hans Bergen, James Harding, and others. 
These indictments seem to have been predicated as well on the appli- 
cation of Bapalie and Bergen, as upon complaints from other citi- 
zens. 1 Some of the parties thus indicted, and who considered them- 

1 " Fflatbush, April 19, 1721. John Rapalje and Hans Bergen, of the fferry, desires of 
the grand jury that the Commissioners now being should be presented for not doing 


selves aggrieved, together with others who feared being placed in 
the same position, applied to the Colonial Legislature, and obtained, 
July 27, 1721, the passage of a law 1 to " continue the common road 
or king's highway, from the ferry, towards the town of Breuckland, 
on the Island of Nassau, in the Province of New York," with the 
following preamble : 

" Whereas, several of the inhabitants on the ferry, on the Island of 
Nassau, by their petition preferred to the General Assembly, by setting 
forth, that they have been molested by prosecutions, occasioned by the 
contrivance and instigations of ill and dissaftected persons to the neigh- 
bourhood, who would encroach upon the buildings and fences that have 
been made many years, alledging the road was not wide enough, to the 
great damage of several of the old inhabitants, on the said ferry ; the said 
road as it now is, has been so for at least these sixty years past, without 
any complaint, either of the inhabitants or travellers." 

The law then proceeds 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 
belonging to James Harding. Providing, however, against a pos- 
sible "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 the 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 Brook- 
lyn. Its appearance may be understood by a glance at Guy's pic- 
ture of Brooklyn, which represents it at its passage at Front street, 

their duty in laying out the King's highway according to ye law, being the King's 
highway is too narrow from the ferry to one Nicalus Cowenhoven, living at Brooklyn ; 
and if all our neighbours will make ye road according to law, then ye said John Rap- 
alje and Hans Bergen is willing to do the same as aforesaid, being they are not willing 
to suffer more than their neighbours. As witness our hands the day and year first 
above written. Jan Rapelje. 

Hans Bergen." 
1 N. Y. Col. Hoc, v. 621. 



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 Fulton street, about where Sands street now enters, and 
there commenced the four-foot road. On Ratzer's map, prepared 
in 1766-7, this road is laid down, with the buildings thereon, show- 
ing conclusively that it was then the same as Fulton street before 
the widening in 1839. 

For the few remaining incidents of interest in the history of the 
town, previous to the Revolutionary period, we are indebted mainly 
to the New York newspapers of the day. 

1732, March 27. The New York Gazette contains an advertisement 
by Edward Willett, offering to sell, on reasonable terms, a very good 
negro woman, aged twenty-seven, with two fine children. She is 
described as understanding all sorts of business in city or coun- 
try, and speaks very good English and Dutch. 

1732, July 17. Edward Willett advertises for sale the large, well- 
furnished house where Mr. James Harding lately lived, near the 
ferry, at Brooklyn, finely situated for a gentleman and a country- 
seat, or a public house. With it was also a " large barn, well cov- 
ered with cedar ;' a large, handsome garden ; and ten acres of good 
land, in a fine young orchard." 

Brooklyn's relative population in 1738, as compared with the 
other Kings County towns, is exhibited in the following table : 


3 > 

"3 a" 
g S 

<D > 
X O 


3 a 





J* o 









N. Utrecht 




























Total of Whites, 1,784. Total of Blacks, 564. 

Peter Strycker, Jun r Sheriff. 2 

Dwellings and barns were, at this period, very generally covered with straw thatch. 
N. Y. Col. MSS., lxxii. 31. 


March 20, 1745-6. The General Assembly of the Province met at 
the house of the Widow Sickle, in this town, in consequence of the 
prevalence of the small-pox in the city of New York, and continued 
sitting at Brooklyn, by several adjournments, until the 8th day of 

1752. The Colonial Legislature, during the prevalence of the 
small-pox in New York, held their session 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 X3,602 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 1776. 

1757, January 24. Jacob Brewster, at Brooklyn ferry, offers for 
sale a pole-chair, or curricle, with excellent good harness and extra- 
ordinary horses. 

1757, March 14. Garrett Eapelje, of New York, offers for sale a 
new house on the Jamaica Koad, about a mile from Brooklyn ferry, 
with forty acres of land, west side of John Conover's, and adjoining 
the place now in possession of Capt. Pikeman. Some of the land 
has a prospect of the Narrows, New York, and Turtle Bay. 

1758, This year the sum of <£122 18s. 7d. was assessed 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 passed 
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. 

1761, Nov. 5. "On Tuesday morning, a grist-mill of one Mr. 
Eemsen, on Long Island, a few miles from this city, accidentally 
took fire and was entirely consumed, with a large quantity of grain." 



— N. T. Post Boy. This mill was probably the one at the Walla- 
bout Bay. 1 

1764, April 16. James Degraw, Brooklyn, offers for sale his farm 
opposite the church, and joining Mr. Harvey's, a mile from the ferry. 
It is convenient for the New York market, having ten acres of land 
and forty fruit-trees. 

1764, Oct. 11. Aris Kemsen offers twenty shillings reward for 
the apprehension of a runaway negro named Harry. " He had on 
a Scotch bonnet, short, wide trowsers, and half- worn shoes, with 
steel buckles. He is apt to get drunk, and stutters. He speaks 
good English, French, Spanish, and a little of other languages." 

1765, Feb. 28. " James Leadbetter and Thomas Horsfield have 
opened their brewery in Brooklyn, where may be had English ale, 
table, ship, and spruce beer." — N. Y. Gazette. 


1767, Jan. 8. " Last week, on Wednesday, a very valuable negro 
fellow of Mr. Samuel Waldron, who keeps the Brooklyn ferry, in 
pushing off the boat from the ferry stairs with an oar, lost his pur- 
chase and fell out of the bow of the boat, and by a sudden rise of 
the sea, his head was crushed between the boat and dock, so that 
he died in a few minutes after he was taken up." 

1767, February. " Joyce's great wound Balsam is a corrector of 
coughs and colds, and cures ulcers and fistulas ; and has many other 
virtues too tedious to mention. Sold at Edward Joyce's shop, near 

Ante, p. 81. 

2 From Rutger's map, of that date. 


Brooklyn ferry." The same remedy, under the name of the " great 
American balsam," is again advertised in January, 1769, by Edward 
Joyce, Surgeon, as for sale by him, and also at Capt. Koffler's at 
Brooklyn ferry. 

1767. Israel Horsfield, sen., Brooklyn ferry, advertises to sell at 
outcry to the highest bidder, Sept. 8th, at the brew-house, " two 
negro men, one of which has lived with a ship-carpenter, and is a 
good caulker, and has lately lived with a brewer and malster, and is 
very handy." On the 2d of November following, Mr. Horsfield offers 
for sale his brew-house, malt-house, drying kiln, dwelling, and store- 
house, built of brick, one and a half feet thick, after an English plan ; 
a horse-mill, for grinding malt and pumping water, a copper kettle 
holding thirty-six barrels, two lead cisterns, which will steep seventy 
bushels of barley each. 

1767, Nov. 16. Francis Koffler 1 offers a reward for a runaway 
indentured Irish servant, John Miller, "which kept the bar and 
made punch at his house," at Brooklyn ferry, and who is particu- 
larly described as wearing " deer-skin breeches, speckled yarn stock- 
ings, double-soled shoes with brass buckles, and a beaver hat." 

1768. A New York paper chronicles the fact that, " in the hard 
gale of wind and snow-shower we had here on Saturday night 
(March 19th), a servant man and valuable slave of Mr. Pikeman, of 
Long Island, were drowned in a periauger, going across the river 
with manure for their master's farm." 

1768. " To be run for, April 5th, at Mr. James Noblett's, Brook- 
lyn, a neat saddle, with hog-skin seat, valued at £5, the best two 
out of three single mile heats ; free for any horse not more than 
quarter blood, carrying ten stone. Entrance fee 5s., cash." 

1768. "Liberal Reward. On July 8th. the house of Widow Rap- 
elye, Brooklyn ferry, was broken open and robbed of one gold ring, 
marked M. D., heart in hand ; seven silver spoons, marked J. R. D. ; 
one pair gold sleeve-buttons ; two Johannesses ; one doubloon ; two 

1 This gentleman's obituary is found in the N. Y. Journal of Aug. 29, 1771 : " Last 
Friday, departed this life, after a lingering sickness, at Brooklyn, in an advanced age, 
Captain Francis Koffler, an honest, upright man, greatly lamented. In the last war he 
had command of several privateers out of this port, and acquired great honor by the 
bravery and resolution with which he acted in the several engagements he was in." 


New York =£5 bills ; one of 40s. ; and about <£40 in Jersey bills and 
dollars." Speedy justice overtook the thief, "Garret Middagh's 
negro fellow, Csesar," who was tried on the 1st of September fol- 
lowing, convicted, and executed on the 15th of the same month, at 
Flatbush, the county town. 

1770, Feb. 25. The New York Mercury states that Thomas Hors- 
field's malt-kilns, at Brooklyn ferry, were burned. Loss, X500. 

1770, March 22. " On Monday last was celebrated the Anniver- 
sary of the repeal of the Stamp Act, by a number of gentlemen, who 
dined at Mr. Waldron's, Brooklyn ferry, and spent the day in great 
cheerfulness and good order, and drank the usual toasts." — N. Y. 

1771, Aug. 7. Ares Kemsen, at the Wallebocht, offers 20s. reward 
for a runaway " negro man, Newport, Guinea-born, and branded on 
the breast with three letters. He speaks good English, and is a 
great talker." 

1773, March 4. Sunday, Feb. 24th, was "the coldest day for more 
than half a century. The harbor was so full of ice last Thursday, 
that many people walked over to Brooklyn and back again. By the 
fall of a little rain at night, scarcely any ice was to be seen next 
morning." — N. Y. Journal. 

1774, Feb. 21. " A Ferry is now established from the Coenties 
Market, New York, to the landing place of P. Livingston, 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." — 
N. Y. Mercury. 

The " landing place of P. Livingston, Esq., and Henry Remsen" 
was near the foot of the present Joralemon street. 1 This ferry was 
called " St. George's Ferry," but did not exist long, being discon- 
tinued in 1776, and the ferry-house, together with Livingston's dis- 
tillery, was burned after the war. 

1774, March 31 . " Many persons have been misled by an opinion 
that the church proposed to be erected by lottery, at Brooklyn, is to 
be under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Bernard Page. It will be a 
truly orthodox church, strictly conformable to the doctrine and dis- 

1 Ante, pp. 72, 73. 


cipline of the constitutional Church of England as by law estab- 
lished, and under the patronage of the Rev. Rector and Vestry of 
Trinity church." — Bivington's Gazette. 

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 adver- 
tised that " there will be a bull baited on Tower Hill, at three o'clock 
in the afternoon, every Thursday during the season." 

" Tower Hill" was a slight eminence on the Heights, on the site 
of the old " Colonnade Row," on Columbia, between Middagh and 
Cranberry streets. 




The unsettled and wandering life led by the earliest Dutch 
traders in the New Netherlands, had a natural tendency to assimilate 
their habits and customs to those of the untutored savages with 
whom they associated. Freed from the restraints of civilization, 
they cohabited with the native girls, and every change of temporary 
location which occurred in the course of their traffic, afforded them 
the opportunity of selecting new companions, while former ties were 
carelessly sundered. The children, in these cases, remaining with 
their mothers, were left to be brought up amid the influences of 
savage life. Under such circumstances, fostered alike by the reck- 
lessness of the white, and the loose morality of the Indian, it can 
scarcely be a matter of surprise that the life of the former presented 
little or no trace of the domestic civilization which should have been 
a distinguishing mark between him and his red neighbor. 

The domestic history of the country, however, commenced with 
the arrival of the thirty families brought over in the good ship 
" New Netherland," in the year 1623. Rapidly, under the repeated 
blows of the stalwart woodsman's axe, the forests bowed their lofty 
heads, and the sun, for the first time in many centuries, peeped in 
here and there upon the little "clearings" where the settler had 
commenced to raise his first scanty crop of maize or vegetables. 
Fences, too, divided men's possessions from their neighbors', or 
restrained the cattle (imported from Europe) from extensive wander- 
ings into the neighboring woods after food, as had been their wont 
during the first busy days which had succeeded the disembarkation. 
Houses, or at least temporary shelter, were also furnished — and the 
foot of civilization was, at length, firmly planted on these hitherto 
silent shores. 


The first dwellings of these pioneer families were mostly con- 
structed, as we learn, in the Indian fashion, of saplings and bark ; 
with here and there a wooden chimney, or glazed window, — improve- 
ments suggested by the experience of civilization. Others again, 
consulting comfort rather than show, constructed cellars, sided with 
bark and covered with thatched reeds, which, although deficient in 
light, were snug and warm. In a few years, however, the establish- 
ment of a saw-mill on Manhattan Island, supplied timber for more 
substantial abodes ; and the improving circumstances of the set- 
tlers were gradually evidenced by the appearance of a better class 
of dwellings, one story in height, with two rooms on a floor, and a 
garret overhead. These humble cottages were roofed with straw 
thatch, and had fireplaces constructed of stone, to the height of 
about sis feet, having an oven of the same material at the side of 
the fireplace, and extending beyond the rear of the house. But, in 
the absence of bricks, the chinmeys above the stone-work were made 
of boards, plastered inside with mortar. Each dwelling was sur- 
rounded by strong palisades, as a protection against the savages. 

The furniture within these humble edifices was of the simplest 
sort, and such merely as was necessary to the every-day purposes 
of life. The great chest, with its precious stores of household 
goods, was the most imposing article of furniture. Tables were 
of domestic manufacture ; stools, rough-hewn from forest wood, 
answered the uses of chairs ; while rude shelves assumed the office 
of a cupboard. The " slaap-banck," or sleeping-bench, usurped the 
offices of a bedstead, but upon it the ample feather-bed lay in state, 
and made up in comfort what was wanting in display. 

Such was the general character of the dwellings of New Nether- 
land, for some thirty years succeeding its settlement, during which 
time many of its industrious citizens had accumulated considerable 
wealth, their children had grown up, and the community had grad- 
ually developed the shades of social distinction, consequent upon 
the advancing prosperity of its members. As early as the year 
1656, several of the merchants of New Amsterdam had erected 
stone dwelling-houses, and there had been a corresponding advance 
in the style of living, among all classes. In the interior decorations 
of their abodes this was plainly seen ; great high-post bedsteads, 


with their dimity curtains, adorned the parlors of the wealthy ; and 
cupboards of nut-wood, imported from the " Fatherland," were not 
unfrequently seen, while silver-plate was, in a few rare instances, dis- 
played. Schools, also, had been established, and the youth of both 
sexes, now growing up to maturity, swayed no inconsiderable social 
influence, as was evidenced by the improved standard of taste 
which gradually became apparent in the domestic arrangements of 
private dwellings, both externally and internally. In the city, or 
rather the village of New Amsterdam, as it then was, public atten- 
tion was directed towards certain needed municipal reforms — and 
the magistrates decreed the abolition of wooden chimneys, as well 
as " little houses," hay-barracks, and hog-pens, all of which had 
hitherto been paraded along the line of streets, and gradually the 
town became characterized by a much greater cleanliness arid pro- 
priety of appearance. Other and larger houses were now erected, 
and after the establishment of a brick-yard at New Amsterdam, by 
DeGraff and Hogeboom, in the year 1660, brick houses became the 
fashion with all who could afford the additional expense. 1 

Still, the best edifices of that day would be deemed extremely 
cheap, as compared with those of a more recent period, — rarely 
exceeding $800, while those of an ordinary character were rated at 
from $200 to $500 of our present currency. Eents ranged from $25 
to $100 ; and as barter was then, by reason of the want of a well- 
established system of currency, commonly provided for in all agree- 
ments, payments were frequently made partly in trade and partly in 
beaver-skins, which, in wholes or halves, then passed as a current 
medium of exchange, as regularly as bank-bills of the present day. 

Thus far, we have described the buildings erected on Manhattan 
Island, and it is probable that those edifices which succeeded the 

1 It was in those days thought that the baking of brick of greater thickness than 
two inches, could not be effectual, and thus we find the brick of olden times to be 
relatively a third smaller than those of later days. They wasted none, and those 
which, from greater exposure to the heat, were burnt black, were built into the fronts 
of houses in ornamental figures of diamonds, crosses, or squares, or perhaps the 
whole front chequered, as suited the taste of the owners. This custom is believed to 
have been peculiar (in the American settlements) to the Dutch of New Netherland, and 
their descendants, as travellers, at a period much later than the one now spoken of, 
remark upon the appearance of this city, in that particular, as being unlike that of any 
other place they had visited in the colonies. Valentine's Corp. Manual, N. Y., 18G1. 


first rude cabins of the settlers on the shores of the Waale-boght 
and at " the Ferry," partook of the same general characteristics. 
The farm-houses on Long Island, however, were more generally con- 
structed, in a rough but substantial manner, of stone— lighted by 
narrow windows, containing 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 char- 
acteristics of these country dwellings. 

An interesting glimpse at the construction of the ordinary country 
houses of the day, is afforded by the following translation of a con- 
tract for the erection of a ferry-house, or tavern, on the Long Island 
side, for Egbert Van Borsum, the ferry-master, in 1655 : 

" We, Carpenters Jan Cornelisen, Abram Jacobsen, and Jan Hendrick- 
sen, have contracted to construct a house over at the ferry of Egbert 
Van Borsum, ferry-man, thirty feet long and eighteen feet wide, with an 
outlet of four feet, to place in it seven girders, with three transome win- 
dows and one door in the front, the front to be planed and grooved, and 
the rear front to have boards overlapped in order to be tight, with door and 
windows therein ; and a floor and garret grooved and planed beneath (on 
the under side) ; to saw the roof thereon, and moreover to set a window- 
frame with a glass light in the front side ; to make a chimney mantel and 
to wainscot the fore-room below, and divide it in the centre across with a 
door in the partition ; to set a window-frame with two glass lights therein ; 
further to wainscot the east side the whole length of the house, and in the 
recess two bedsteads, one in the front room and one in the inside room, 
with a pantry at the end of the bedstead (betste) ; a winding staircase in the 
fore-room. Furthermore we, the carpenters, are bound to deliver all the 
square timber — to wit, beams, posts, and frame timber, with the pillar for 
the winding staircase, spars, and worm, and girders, and foundation tim- 
bers required for the work ; also the spikes and nails for the interior work ; 
also rails for the wainscot are to be delivered by us. 

" For which work Egbert Van Borsum is to pay five hundred and fifty 
guilders (two hundred and twenty dollars), one-third in beavers, one-third 
in good merchantable wampum, one-third in good silver coin, and free pas- 
sage over the ferry so long as the work continues, and small beer to be 
drunk during work. 

" We have subsequently contracted with said Egbert Van Borsum to 


build a cellar-kitchen under said house, and to furnish the wood for it — 
to wit, beams and frame timber. There must be made two door-frames 
and two circular frames with windows therein, with a stairway to enter it, 
and to line the stairs in the cellar round about with boards, with a chim- 
ney mantel in the kitchen, and to groove and plane the ceiling. Egbert 
must excavate the cellar at his own expense. The carpenters must fur- 
nish the nails. For this work one hundred guilders (forty dollars) are 
promised, together with one whole good otter skin. Moreover, Egbert 
must deliver all the flat wood-work required for the house — to wit, boards 
and wainscotting. 

" Dated 26th April, 1655, at New Amsterdam. 

(Signed) "Jan Cornelisen Cleyn. 

" « X,' The Mark of Egbert Van Borsum .» 

" The word ' betste,' equivalent to the present ' bedstead,' which 
occurs in this contract," says the source from which we extract the 
foregoing document, " requires some explanation, as its modern sig- 
nification is very different from that which it had in those days. 
The ' betste' was then a part of the house, being constructed like a 
cupboard in a partition, with doors closing upon it when unoccupied, 
so that the sleeping apartment of an inn could accommodate several 
travellers with sleeping accommodations, and yet, in the daytime, 
the room would answer for a public room, and afford a neat and 
unencumbered appearance. In houses of more humble pretensions, 
the ' slaap-banck,' or ' bunk' of modern parlance, was the place of 
sleeping for travellers. 

" To illustrate in a manner which, we doubt not, will give a fair 
idea of the customs of the Dutch taverns of New Netherlands, such 
as Van Borsum's, we give the following extract from the journal of 
one of our citizens, 1 who, as a matter of curiosity, visited a part of 
the Netherlands, where customs have not changed for centuries. 

" It was the business of the good vrow, or her maid, to show up 
the traveller, and open the doors in the smooth partition of the 
box which was to receive his weary limbs for the night, and which 
otherwise he might not be able to discover, and after he crept into 
it, to come back again and blow out the candle, and in the morning 

1 Hon. Henry C. Murphy, of Brooklyn. 



to draw the curtains of the window at the hour he fixed to rise. 
There was generally one room in which all the guests were received, 
and where there was a pleasant reunion in the evening, and all the 
visitors ate, drank, and smoked. It had in one corner a closet, which, 
when opened (and, honestly, it was not unfrequently opened), dis- 
closed sundry decanters, glasses, and black bottles ; and, on one 
side of the room, a rack in which were suspended, by their bowls, a 
score or two of very long pipes, each one inscribed with the name of 
a neighbor, its owner. This was the room of Mynheer, the landlord, 
who found all his occupation here in attending to the pleasure of his 
guests. He had no care beyond this : his vrow was the head of the 
house ; she attended to all the wants of the guests, and gave them 
the information which they might desire. She was always on the 
spot, as when, with a c icel te rusten,' like a good mother, she bade 
you good-night, and when, with a ' hoo-p-reis,' like an old Mend, she 
bade you goocl-by." 

A very interesting description of the manner in which the old 
farmers of Breuckelen lived, is given by the Labadist travellers, 
who visited this country in the year 1679. Among others, they 
visited Simon de Hart, whose old house is yet standing near 
the Gowanus Cove, at the foot of the present Thirty-eighth 

" 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 fire, half-way up the chimney, of clear oak and hickory, of 
which they made not the least scruple of burning profusely. We 
let it penetrate us thoroughly. There had been already thrown 
upon it, to be roasted, a pail full of Goivanes 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 a 
foot long, and they grow sometimes ten, twelve, and sixteen to- 
gether, 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 hme. They 
pickle the oysters in small casks, and send them to Barbadoes and 
the other islands. We had for supper a roasted haunch of venison, 


which he had bought of the Indians for three guilders and a half of 
seewant, that is, fifteen 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 wiltl goose, but that was rather dry. Every thing we had was the 
natural production of the country. We saw here, lying in a heap, a 
whole hill of watermelons, which were as large as pumpkins, 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." Early the next 
morning, they relate that their host and his wife went off to the 
city, probably in their own boat, with their marketing. 1 

On another occasion they visited Jacques Cortelyou, in New 
Utrecht, who had just built an excellent stone house, the best dwell- 
ing in the place. " After supper," they say, " we went to sleep in 
the barn upon some straw spread with sheepskins, in the midst of 
the continuous grunting of hogs, squealing 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 participants, and all with an open 
barn-door, through which a fresh north wind was blowing. Though 
we could not sleep, we could not complain, inasmuch as we had the 
same qiiarters and kind of bed that their own son usually had, who 
now, on our arrival, crept in the straw behind us." 2 

To return to the domestic architecture of the Dutch on Long 
Island, we may observe that most of their dwellings were of wood, 
some few being of brick, and here and there was to be found a sub- 
stantial 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 

1 Coll L. I. Hist. Soc., i. 122, 123. 2 Ibid., i. 178. 


were imceiled, showing overhead the broad, heavy oak beams, upon 
which the upper, or garret floor was laid. The fireplaces were usually 
very large, generally extending, without jambs, to a width sufficient 
to accommodate the whole family with seats near the fire. The 
chimneys were capacious, and in them the meat was hung for roast- 
ing, or to be " cured" by smoking. The jambs, when the fireplace 
had any, were usually set around with glazed earthenware tiles, im- 
ported from Holland, representing scenes and Scriptural subjects, 
which formed 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. Some of these tiles were of a sort of porcelain or 
china, with bright-colored pictures of birds and flowers ; but these 
were only found in the houses of the better classes, and were 
comparatively rare, — those in ordinary use being of a blue delft 

Frequently the barns were quite closely connected to the dwelling- 

Previous to the English conquest of the Netherlands, the domestic 
habits and customs of the Dutch were simple and somewhat demo- 
cratic in their character. The Fatherland was a republic, and the 
accident of family descent, that element which prevailed so greatly 
in the formation of English society, could not be recognized, or its 
distinctions claimed by her colonists in the New World ; for it was 
within the recollection of the older citizens that 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 consequently of increased influence, 
yet it might justly be said of the Dutch community, that its social 
circles were open to all 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 
— and which, in the natural course of events, could not last long. 
The advent, however, of the English, many of whom possessed high 
social connections at home, with all their corresponding habits, 
etc., infused a change into the social life of the colony, and neces- 


sarily developed an aristocratic state of society previously un- 

In the " best room" of every house, whether of the wealthy or 
humbler class, the bedstead 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 curtains and valance were of as expen- 
sive 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 dur- 
ing meal-time, when, upon " extra occasions," the table was set in 
the parlor. But even these were unknown among the inhabitants of 
Breuckelen and the neighboring towns. The uniform practice, after 
scrubbing the floor well on certain days, was to place upon the damp 
boards the fine white beach-sand (of which every family kept a sup- 
ply on hand, renewing it by trips to the seashore twice a year), 
arranged in small heaps, which the members of the family were care- 
ful not to disturb by treading upon ; and, on the following day, when 
it had become dry, it was swept, by the light and skilful touch of 
the housewife's broom, into waves or other more fanciful figures. 
Rag carpets did not make their appearance in Kings County until 
about the beginning of the present century. 

Chairs, straight and high-backed, and ungainly to modern eyes, 
were mostly of wood, sometimes covered with leather and studded 
with brass nails, but more frequently seated simply with matted 
rushes. Tables, for other than kitchen use, were unknown to the 
earlier Dutch, and for many years to their successors. In the prin- 
cipal room, which held the fine bed, and was, also, tea and dining 
room on special occasions, was generally a round tea-table, with 
a leaf which could be turned up 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 windoiv-curtains were of the simplest and cheap- 
est description, 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 families, 
being first introduced in this country about 1720. Earthenware, dur- 
ing the Dutch dynasty, and for some twenty years thereafter, was not 
used in the ordinary table service, wooden and pewter being then 
universally in use by all classes. The few articles of china, kept by 
some for display upon the cupboard, were rarely used on the table ; 
and, though earthenware came into partial use about 1680, peivter 
was still the most common up to the period of the Revolution. 
Among the wealthy, blue and white china and porcelain, curiously 
ornamented with Chinese 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 quantities alternately with 
a bite from the lump of loaf-sugar which was laid beside each guest's 
plate. Silverware, in the form of tankards, beakers, porringers, 
spoons, snuffers, 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. The former, many 
of which still exist among the old families, were quaint specimens of 
early Dutch printing, with thick covers, and massive brass, and some- 
times silver, corner-pieces and clasps. The Psalm-Books were also 
adorned with silver edgings and clasps, and when hung by chains of 
the same material to the girdle of matrons and maidens fair, were 
undoubtedly valued by their owners quite as much for the dis- 
play which they made as for their intrinsic value. It is an inter- 
esting fact, that the merchants who kept school-books, psalm- 
books, etc., as a part of their stock, about the middle of the last 
century, were provided with about an equal number of books in 
the Dutch and English 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 lan- 
guage of the Fatherland. Sjrinning-wlieels 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, which was then cheaper than cotton ; and it was 
the ambition of every Dutch maiden to take to her husband's house 
a full and complete stock of such domestic articles. 1 

As to the means of travelling, the lumber-wagon, and in winter the 
sleigh, running upon split saplings, and drawn, at a uniform dog- 
trot pace, by pot-bellied nags, seem to have been the only convey- 
ance possessed by the Dutchmen who did not wish to ride horse- 
back or to walk. During the early part of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, the two-wheeled one-horse chaise came gradually into use, 
and was the fashionable vehicle up to the time of the Eevolution. 
In riding horseback, the lady did not, as now, ride alone ; but was 
mounted upon a pillow or padded cushion, fixed behind the saddle 
of the gentleman 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 eighteenth 

The manners of the people were simple, unaffected, and economi- 
cal. 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 spin- 
ning-wheels with them when they went abroad to spend an after- 
noon with a neighbor's wife. 

In regard to the agriculture of the country during its earlier years, 
we can learn but little. It was probably as good as that of the 
"Fatherland" at that day, all due allowance being made for the 
novel and peculiar circumstances which surround the settler in a 

1 Furman's Notes (p. 100) preserves the inventory of the estate which a bride in 
Brooklyn brought to her husband, in the year 1691. The husband, by various records, 
appears to have been a man of considerable wealth, notwithstanding which, the fol- 
lowing inventory was thought by both of them of sufficient importance to merit being 
recorded, viz. : 

" A half-worn bed, pillow, 2 cushions of ticking with feathers, one rug, 4 sheets, 4 
cushion-covers, 2 iron pots, 3 pewter dishes, 1 pewter basin, 1 iron roaster, 1 schuyrn 
spoon, 2 cowes about 5 yeares old, 1 case or cupboard, 1 table." 


new and unimproved country, amid the vicissitudes of an untried 
climate, and the constant danger of molestation and violence from 
savage foes. 

We may mention, however, in this connection, that at the period 
of the Revolutionary War, the farmers of Kings County were in the 
habit of raising their own tobacco, and that during the century pre- 
vious the cultivation of that weed was extensively carried on as an 
article of exportation, — some of the best tobacco exported 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 
Ee volution, had been in the habit of raising cotton, — although prob- 
ably to a very limited extent, and solely for the domestic uses of 
their own households. Furman says, in 1836, 1 "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 grandfather's farm in Kings 
County, L. L, in the year 1775, 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 also a feature of the domestic history of ante-revolu- 
tionary times. It had existed from an early period, and formed a 
considerable branch of the shipping interests of the Dutch. The 
mercantile value of a prime slave was from $120 to $150, both under 
the Dutch and English dynasties. And when, from time to time, by 
natural increase and by importation, the number of slaves accumu- 
lated beyond the demand, the slave-trade decreased. 2 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. 3 

These slaves were, as a general thing, kindly treated and well 

1 MSS. Notes, iv. 381. 2 N. Y. Doc. Hist., i. 707. 

3 In N. Y. Doc. Hist, is a census of negroes in the province of New York, taken in 
1755, from which we learn that there were then in Brooklyn 133 slaves (53 of whom 
were females), owned by sixty-two persons, among whom John Bargay and Jacob 
Bruington were the largest holders, the former having seven and the latter Jive slavi 


cared for ; but, after all, the institution of slavery was one that com- 
mended 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, which seriously affected 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 Revo- 
lution, and under the beneficent influences of a more enlightened 
State legislation, slavery gradually disappeared. The last public 
sale of human beings in the town of Brooklyn, is believed to have 
been that of four slaves belonging to the widow Heltje Rappelje, of 
the Wallabout, in the year 1773. It occurred at the division of her 
estate, and was even at that time considered an odious departure 
from the time-honored and more humane practice, which then pre- 
vailed, of permitting slaves who wished to be sold, or who were 
offered for sale, to select their own masters. 1 

Some of the peculiar funeral customs of the Dutch will be found 
incidentally mentioned in another portion of this work. 3 In this 
connection we may be permitted to quote the following from Fur- 
man : 3 " 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 sufficient 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 several generations. I have seen gold 
thus saved from before the Revolution, and now in the hands of the 
grandson, himself a man of family, having sons grown up to man- 
hood, and which consisted of gold Johannes or Joes ($16 pieces), 
guineas, etc." 

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" 

1 Reminiscences of Jeremiah Johnson. This Heltje was the widow of Jeronimus 
Rapalje, who sold to Martin Schenck (son-in-law) his farm of 300 acres or more, in the 
Wallabout. She died in the Wallabout in 1773, aged 93 years, and her estate was sold 
and divided between her other heirs at law — Johannis Alstine, Thomas Thorne, Aris 

2 See sketch of Domine Schoonmaker, ante, p. 191. 3 MSS. Notes, vii. 240. 


of her deceased husband, and a widower as " the last man" of his 
deceased wife. 

A well-known investigator of ancient deeds, wills, etc., in Williams- 
burgh, 1 makes the remark "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 propriety 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, dated in 1726, and ex- 
pressed 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, Cornelius Catts and 
David Catts, all heef (half) of my whole effects, land and moveables, 
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 (qffietteri) 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, heeff 
and heeff." 

So also in the will of John Burroughs, of Newtown, July 7, 1678, 
he devises to his son John his then dwelling-house, barn, orchard, 
out-houses, and lands, etc. " But not to dispossess my beloved wife 
during the time of her widowhood. But if she marry, then her hus- 
band must provide for her, as I have done." So also the will of 
Thomas Skillman, of Newtown, in 1739. 

We cannot more appropriately conclude this brief sketch of Dutch 
domestic life, than by reproducing an article written by Hon. Heney 
C. Murphy, of Brooklyn, descriptive of Dutch nomenclature, etc. It 

1 J. M. Stearns, Esq., of Williamsburgh. 


originally formed one of a series of letters written for the columns 
of the Brooklyn Eagle, during Mr. Murphy's residence as U. S. Min- 
ister at the Hague ; and is so especially full of information concern- 
ing names and families familiar to Brooklyn and Kings County, that 
it cannot fail, we think, to interest our readers. 

" The great body of Netherlander who settled permanently 
in America, belonged, without exception, to the industrial classes. 
The most distinguished families amongst us, those whose ancestors 
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 Stuyvesant, was the son of a 
minister of Scherpenzed, in Friesland ; and the only patroon who 
settled upon his estates, Kiliaen Yan Eensselaer, was a merchant of 
Amsterdam. Although the Eepublic confirmed no titles, it pro- 
tected the old nobility 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. 

" Returning now to the consideration of names, in order to show 
what difficulties the peculiar systems adopted in this country (Hol- 
land), and continued by the settlers in our own home, throw 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 baptized Hendrick and the baptismal name of his father were 
Jan, the child would be called Hendrick Jansen. His son, if bap- 
tized Tunis, would be called Tunis Hendricksen ; the son of the 
latter might be "Willem, and would have the name of Willem Tunis- 
sen. And so we might have the succeeding generations called suc- 
cessively Garret Willemsen, Marten Garretsen, Adrian Martensen, 
and so on, through the whole of the calendar of Christian 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 common to the whole people, there were 
in every community different 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 8. Thus the name of William Barrentsen, who commanded in the 
first three Arctic voyages of exploration, in 1594, '5, and '6, 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 Adrian Byerse, who came from Amsterdam. The 
inconveniences of this practice, the confusion to which it gave rise, 
and the difficulty of tracing families, led ultimately to its abandon- 
ment both in Holland and in our own country. In doing so, the 
patronymic which the person originating the name bore, was adopted 
as the surname. 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 de- 
scent amongst us as Jansen (anglice, Johnson), Garretsen, Cornelisen, 
Williainsen or "Williamson, Hendricksen or Hendriekson, Clasen, 
Simonsen or Simonson, Tysen (son of Mathias), Aresend (son .of 
Arend), Hansen, Lambertsen or Lambertson, Paulisen, Bemsen, 1 
Byersen, Martense, Adriance, Butgers, 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, 
without 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 occupation or some other personal 
characteristic of the individual. Thus Laurens Jansen, the inventor 
of the art of printing, as the Dutch claim, had affixed to his name 
that of Coster — that is to say, sexton — an 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 Hendricksen Brouwer (brewer), and his grand- 

1 It is generally supposed that the name Rembrandt was shortened into Rem, and 
the son then became Remson or Remsen. 


son 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 families as Coster, 
Brouwer, Bleecker, Schoonmaker, Stryker, Schuyler, Cryger, Sned- 
iker, Hegeman, Hofman, Dykman, Bleekman, Wortman, and Tie- 
man. 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 obvi- 
ate 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 partic- 
ular, limited locality, and frequently of a particular farm or natural 
object. This custom is denoted in all the family names which have 
the prefix of Van, Vander, Ver (which is a contraction of Fonder), 
and Ten — meaning, respectively, of, of the, and at the. From towns 
in Holland we have the families of Van Cleef, Van Wyck, Van 
Schaack, 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 prov- 
ince of Friesland ; of Covert, of North Brabant ; of Westervelt, of 
Drenthe ; of Brevoort and Wessels, in Guelderland. The prefixes, 
Vander or Ver, and Ten, 1 were adopted where the name was derived 
from a particular spot, thus : Vanderveer (of the ferry) ; Vanderburg, 
of the hill ; Vanderbilt (of the bildt — i. e., certain elevations of 
ground in Guelderland and New Utrecht) ; Vanderbeck (of the 
brook) ; Vanderhoff (of the court) ; Verplanck (of the plank) ; Ver- 
hultz (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 Gerrissen Van Cowenhoven, came from Amersfoort, in the 

1 The prefixes vander and van dc ought to be written separately, and not with cap- 
ital letters, as, van Anden, and not Vananden ; van der Cbys, and not Vanderchys ; 
de Witt, and not Dewitt. The prefix von is German. 


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 then- transfer to America. Barculo is from Bor- 
culo, a town in Guelderland ; Yan Anden is from Anclel, in the 
province of Groningen ; 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 Yan Catt, of South 
Holland. The Catti were the original inhabitants of the country, 
and hence the name. There is one family which has defied all my 
etymological research. It is evidently Dutch, but has most likely 
undergone some change, and that is the name of Yan Brunt. There 
is no such name now existing in Holland. There are a few names 
derived from relative situation to a place : thus Yoorhees is simply 
before or in front of Hess, a town in Guelderland - and Onderdonk 
is below Bonk, which is in Brabant. There are a few names more 
arbitrary — such as Middagh (midday) ; Conrad (bold counsel) ; Hag- 
edorn (hawthorn) ; Bogaert (orchard) ; Blauvelt (blue-field) ; Eosevelt 
(rose-field) ; Stuyvesant (quicksand) ; Wyckoff (parish-court) ; Hoogh- 
land (highland) ; Dorland (arid land) ; Opdyke (on the cVvke) ; Has- 
brook (hare's marsh) — and afford a more ready means of identifica- 
tion of relationship. The names of Brinkerhoff and Schenck, the 
latter of which is very common here, may be either of Dutch or 
German origin. Martin Schenck was a somewhat celebrated gen- 
eral in the war of independence. Ditmars is derived from the Dan- 
ish, 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 disguised 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 into sonorous Koman. 
The names of all our early ministers were thus altered. Johannes 


or Jan Mecklenburg became Johannes Megapolensis ; Evert Wil- 
lemse Bogaert became Everardus Bogardus ; Jan Doris Polheem 
became Johannes Theodoras 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 Com- 
pany, 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 rale, 
that the names of Dutch families ending in ns have been thus latin- 

" There were many persons who emigrated from Holland who were 
of Gallic extraction. When the bloody Duke of Alva came into the 
Spanish Netherlands in 1567, clothed with despotic power over the 
provinces by the bigoted Philip II., more than 100,000 of the Protes- 
tants of the Gallic 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 pro- 
nounced, Waalsche provinces. The number of fugitives from re- 
ligious persecution was increased by the flight of the Protestants 
of France at the same time, and was further augmented, five years 
later, by the memorable massacre of St. Bartholomew. When the 
West India Company was incorporated, many of these persons and 
their descendants sought further homes in New Netherland. Such 
were the founders of the families of Bapelye, Cortelyou, Dubois, 
De Bevoise, Duryea, Crommelin, Conselyes, 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 fail to have been 
observed that they are of the simplest origin. They partake of the 
character of the people, which is eminently practical. 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 carried it to so great a degree as the Dutch. 
We have in our country, 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 Bed, 
which exist here. 

" Allied to the subject of family names is that of family arms. It 
was not until the present monarchical regime that they were regu- 
lated by government. Before the independence of the country, 
titles, it is true, were conferred by the dukes of Burgundy and of 
Hainault, by the Elector of Bavaria, by the House of Austria, and 
by the counts of Holland, all of whom had dominion in some 
or other of the provinces ; but family devices were not regulated. 
Of older date than these were the nobility of Friesland, which 
continues to this day, and whose members, discarding the modern 
names of count and baron, adhere to the ancient title of ' Jonklwr? 
and their arms constitute a considerable number. In the time of 
the Eepublic no titles were conferred, and the citizens were prohib- 
ited from receiving any such from foreign powers, unless by consent 
of the States-General. The old nobility were, during its existence, 
protected in their estates and titles, but lost political caste as a 
privileged class. The States-General, on several occasions, granted 
to various ambassadors of the Eepublic of Venice, with which they 
were assiduous to cultivate a friendly intercourse, the right to 
quarter the arms of the United Provinces upon their own. On one 
occasion they decreed to one of these distinguished persons tho 
right to quarter the lion, from the arms of the Republic, on his 
own ; and in another instance, half the Hon : but they gave no title 
or right of arms to Dutch citizens. The number of those, therefore, 
who were entitled to these family symbols in Holland, at the time of 
the settlement of the New Netherlands, was very few ; and there are 
not half a dozen bearing the name of any of those who settled in 
our country. Some of their names have since been ennobled under 
the monarchy. When Louis Bonaparte ascended the throne of 
Holland, he promulgated a decree establishing a nobility as a part 
of the State, and an heraldic college ; but the measure did not meet 
the approbation of Napoleon, and it was soon after abandoned. On 
the establishment of the present dynasty, after the downfall of 
Napoleon, this measure was renewed, and titles and houses and 
decorations have been scattered broadcast over the land ; although 


the constitution of 1848, one of the consequences of the French 
revolution in that year, abolished the political importance of the 
nobility, inaugurated by the new system. It would be absurd to 
connect these late creations with their relatives, if there be any 
such, in America. I might give the escutcheons of the few of the 
old noblesse whose names exist in our country ; but it would be of 
no account — two or three at the outside, and these of dubious rela- 
tionship — and certainly with no satisfactory result. In fact, in 
whatever light you regard the subject, the grand truth, to which I 
have already referred, stands boldly prominent, that our settlers 
belonged to no privileged class. They came from the towns, where an 
uncommon commercial activity had arisen, consequent upon the inde- 
pendence of the country. They came from the fields, where the lands 
were held by the proprietors in a kind of feudal tenure which exists 
even to this day in a large portion of the country. They went to 
America to make their fortunes in trade, or to secure a landed estate 
which would belong to them and their children. They went there 
carrying with them free and tolerant principles. In conversing on 
the subject of their emigration, not long since, with a distinguished 
scholar of this city (the Hague), he asked me if the descendants of the 
Dutch in America were not very conservative in their feelings. He 
judged from the national character. I answered that they were emi- 
nently so, but that they were republicans. He smiled, and asked me 
further if they were not Calvinists. I told him I believed that they 
adhered, more closely than the Church here, to the faith and practice 
of their fathers. And so it is, I believe, in political and religious 
matters : the Dutch of America retain the ancient principles of the 
Fatherland more strongly than the Dutch of Holland ; and in this 
they show that they have sprung, not from privileged, but from 
republican loins." 






August 27, 1776. 

Brooklyn, at the commencement of the Revolutionary War, was a 
pleasant but quiet agricultural town, numbering between three and 
four thousand inhabitants, who were mostly grouped within three or 
four hamlets or neighborhoods. Near "the Ferry" a few houses 
were clustered around the old ferry tavern, whose reputation for 
excellent dinners made it a favorite resort of British officers and the 
"young bucks" of New York ; but the whole number of dwellings in 
this portion of the town (now embraced within the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 
4th wards of the city), at that time, scarcely exceeded fifty. Along 
" the Heights," whose precipitous banks were crowned with goodly 
groves of cedar, were a few private residences, among which that of 
Philip Livingston, Esq., was most conspicuous for size and elegance ; 
while the whole of that now thickly-builded portion of the city, 
embraced between the East River, Joralemon and Fulton streets, 
was occupied only by thrifty fruit-orchards, extensive market- 
gardens, and choice pasture-land. From either side of the ferry, 
along the shores of the "Wallabout to Bushwick, and along the East 
River to Gowanus, were scattered the substantial farm-houses of 
old Dutch families. Nearly a mile and a half back from the ferry, 
and in the middle of the road to Jamaica, stood the ancient stone 
church, around which was gathered the village proper of Brooklyn. 

* We have preferred to call this the " Battle of Brooklyn," because that term 
more completely describes the locale of the battle, which was fought eutirely within the 
limits of the old town, now included in the present city of Brooklyn. 


Another mile and a quarter beyond, on the same road, a few farm- 
houses formed the neighborhood known then and now as Bedford. 

The people of Brooklyn, like those of the other towns in Kings 
County, were mostly Dutch, whose sympathies were but slightly 
enlisted in behalf of the Kevolutionary cause, and in whom the fear 
of pecuniary loss and personal inconvenience quite outweighed the 
more generous impulses of patriotism. Therefore it was, that while 
we find the inhabitants of Suffolk County, and other portions of the 
State, cordially responding to the first outbreak of rebellion in 
Massachusetts, — sympathizing, in 1774, with their fellow-citizens of 
New England in regard to the odious Boston Port Bill, etc., — the 
people of Kings County seem to have viewed the approaching storm 
with perfect indifference, and to have acted tardily in defence of 
their rights. 

Yet, in spite of this general apathy, Brooklyn could not avoid be- 
coming somewhat inoculated with the Revolutionary spirit which 
pervaded the land. In 1775 the names* of " Whig" and " Tory" 
began to be used, and political sentiment divided families and 
friends. The Whigs united in articles of association for common 
defence, and met weekly in small parties for purposes of military 
drill, under the supervision of officers, some of whom were veterans 
of the early French wars. Many long fowling-pieces were cut down 
and fitted with bayonets, and those who had two guns loaned to 
those who had none. Elijah Freeman Payne, the teacher of the 
Wallabout school, left his charge, and hastened to join the Amer- 
ican army at Boston, and the school remained closed until 1777. 1 
In every quarter of the political horizon gathering clouds betokened 
the approach of the storm of war. 2 

The first action of the county was in response to a call from a 

1 MSS. of General Jeremiah Johnson. 

2 The following officers of Brooklyn militia companies had, at this time (March, '76), 
signed the Declaration and taken their commissions, viz. : Half of Brooklyn. Barent 
Johnson, Captain; Barent Lefferts, 1st Lieut.; Jost Debevoice, 2d Lieut.; Martin 
Schenck, Ensign. — Half of Brooklyn. Fer'dSuydam, Captain ; Simon Bergen, 1st Lieut. ; 
Wm. Brower, 2d Lieut. ; Jacob Stellenwert, Ensign. 

The following were the superior or regimental officers of Kings County militia : 
Rutgert Van Brant, Col. ; Nich. Cowenhoven, Lieut.-Col. ; Johannes Titus, 1st 

Major ; John Vanderbilt, 2d Major ; Geo. Carpenter, Adj. ; Nich. Cowenhoven, Q. M. 

— Onderdonk, Kings County, p. 120. 


Committee of Correspondence to the several counties of the colony, 
requesting them to appoint delegates to a general Provincial Con- 
vention to be held in the city of New York, on the 20th of April, 
1775. At a meeting of the Committee chosen by the several towns of 
Kings County, at the County Hall in Flatbush, on the loth of April, 
all the towns were represented, except Flatlands, which "would 
not put a negative on the proceedings, but chose to remain neutral." 
The Brooklyn delegates, on this occasion, were Simon Boerum, 1 
Henry Williams, Jeremiah Bemsen, John Suydam, Johannes Ber- 
gen, Jacob Sharpe, and Bern Cowenhoven. Mr. Boerum was 
appointed chairman, when it was "resolved, unanimously, that 
Simon Boerum, Bichard Stillwell, Theodorus Polhemus, Denys 
Denice, and Jeremiah Vanderbilt, or a major part of them, be 
appointed Deputies to the Convention for choosing Delegates to 
the Continental Congress, to be held at Philadelphia in May." 2 

This Convention closed its session at New York, on the 22d of 
April ; but, on the next tlay, the news of the battle of Lexington 
reached the city, where it created such a profound sensation that, 
on the 28th, the New York Committee again sent circulars, together 
with forms of association, to each county, requesting them to choose 
Deputies to a Provincial Congress to be held on the 24th of May, 
in order "to deliberate on and direct such measures as may be 
expedient for our common safety :" 

" At a general Town Meeting, regularly warned, at Brooklyn, May 20, 
'75, the Magistrates and Freeholders met, and voted Jer. Remsen, Esq., 
into the chair, and Leffert Lefferts, Esq., Clerk. 

" Taking into our serious consideration the expediency and propriety of 
concurring with the freeholders and freemen of the City and County of 
N. Y., and the other Colonies, Townships, and Precincts, within this 
Province, for holding a Provincial Congress to advise, consult, watch 
over and defend, at this very alarming crisis, all our civil and religious 
rights, liberties and privileges, according to their collective prudence. 

1 Simon Boerum's name appears as a Delegate from Kings County, in the first 
Continental Congress. He died at New York, in 1775 ; and as the British held 
possession of Long Island until Nov. 25, 1783, no one appears in his place. — Funnan's 
Notes, viii., p. 228. 

s Onderdonk's Rev. Incidents Kings County, sec. 770. 


" After duly considering the unjust plunder and inhuman carnage com- 
mitted on the property and persons of our brethren in the Massachusetts, 
who, with the other N". England Colonies, are now deemed by the Mother 
Country to be in a state of actual rebellion, by which declaration England 
hath put it beyond her own power to treat with New England, or to pro- 
pose or receive any terms of reconciliation, until those Colonies shall 
submit as a conquered country. The first effort to effect which was 
by military and naval force ; the next attempt is, to bring a famine among 
them, by depriving them of both their natural and acquired right of fish- 
ing. Further, contemplating the very unhappy situation to which the 
powers at home, by oppressive measures, have driven all the other Prot- 
estant Provinces, we have all evils in their power to fear, as they have 
already declared all the Provinces aiders and abettors of rebellion : There- 

" 1st, Resolved, That Henry Williams and Jer. Remsen, Esqrs., be now 
elected Deputies for this Township, to meet, May 22, with other Deputies 
in Provincial Convention in N. Y., and there to consider, determine and 
do, all prudential and necessary business. 

" 2d, Resolved, That we, confiding in the wisdom and equity of said Con- 
vention, do agree to observe all warrantable acts, associations and orders, 
as said Congress shall direct. 

" Signed by order of the Town Meeting, 

" Leffekt Leffeets, Clerk." ' 

Delegates were similarly appointed by the other Kings County 
towns ; but their zeal was lukewarm, and their subsequent attend- 
ance so irregular, that in February, 1776, the Convention were 
obliged to request their more regular appearance. 2 It is probable 
that they but reflected the spirit of their constituency ; for, during 
the previous winter of 1775-6, many portions of the province, 
especially on Long Island, had given such evident signs of dis- 
satisfaction to the American cause as raised the brightest hopes 
of the loyalist leaders, and excited the apprehensions of the 

1 Onderdonk, sec. 771. 

2 It is to the credit of Brooklyn that the names of her delegates do not appear among 
those who are recorded as having complied with this pointed rebuke from the Conven- 
tion. It may be fairly presumed, therefore, that they had regularly attended to their 
duties. (See Onderdonk, Rev. Inc. Kings County, sections 772, 784.) 


Continental Congress, which took prompt measures to arrest its 
spread and break its power by disarming the Tories. 1 About 
the same time, the realities of war seemed to be brought nearer 
home to the vacillating patriots of Kings County. Washing- 
ton, then in command of the patriot army at Boston, which had 
recently been evacuated by the British, received intelligence of 
an intended secret expedition by the fleet and troops under Sir 
Henry Clinton. Rightly divining that the British Ministry had 
resolved to retrieve the loss of Boston, by removing the seat of war 
to New York, and thus cut off all intercourse between the New Eng- 
land and the Southern colonies, he at once comprehended the neces- 
sity of immediately thwarting the intended manoeuvre. Just at this 
juncture came an urgent request from the sagacious General Charles 
Lee, at that time in Connecticut, proposing to raise a volunteer 
force in that colony, and march them to the defence of New York 
city. The well-timed offer was accepted ; and within a fortnight, 
General Lee, who had been ably seconded by the exertions of the 
indefatigable Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, was en route for 
New York, at the head of twelve thousand men. His arrival there 
(February 3, 1776) was unexpected and sudden, and his first 
measures so energetic as to reassure the friends of liberty, and 
effectually to crush out the spirit of Toryism, which had needed but 
a breath to kindle it into a flame. On the same day on which Lee 
entered the city, the British general, Clinton, arrived at Sandy 
Hook, whence he sailed for North Carolina. 

Lee lost no time in initiating a system of garrison and forti- 
fication of the city and its approaches. On the 18th of Febru- 
ary, he posted 400 of the Pennsylvania troops in Brooklyn, from 
the Wallabout to the Gowanus — those who could not find lodgment 
being billeted on the inhabitants, who were allowed 7s. per week for 
boarding the officers, and Is. 4d. for privates. 2 In the midst of his 
labors, he was superseded (March 6) by Gen. Lord Stirling, and 
moving southward, was soon engaged in battle, in Charleston har- 
bor, with Gen. Clinton. 

Stirling vigorously prosecuted the defences planned .and begun by 

1 Sparks' Writings of Washington, iii. 398-400, 440, 469, 470; iv. 86. 

2 Onderdonk, Kings Co. sec. 775. 


Lee. The fortifications in progress of erection on Long Island were 
under the supervision of Col. "Ward, in command of 519 men, and 
the inhabitants of Kings County were "ordered by Congress to assist 
him, by " turning out for service at least one-half their male popula- 
tion (negroes included) every day, with spades, hoes, and pickaxes ;" 
and by furnishing brush for fascines, wood for pickets, and other 
necessary timber. Col. Ward was also ordered to detail two parties 
of thirty men each, with three days' provisions, for the especial pur- 
pose of interrupting the communication of persons on shore with 
the British ship of war Phoenix, by scuttling all boats on the beach 
below the Narrows, and by seizing pilots — especially one Frank 
Jones — who decoyed vessels into the hands of the enemy. Six of 
the Kings County horsemen were detailed as a corps of observation, 
on some high point at the west end of Long Island, to give informa- 
tion of the entrance of the enemy into Sandy Hook, or then- appear- 
ance on the coast. 1 Capt. Waldron's troop of light-horse, belonging 
to Brooklyn, 2 were employed as videttes along the southern coast of 
the county until April 10th, when they were relieved by Col. Hand's 
regiment of riflemen, who were stationed at New Utrecht. Upon 
Brooklyn Heights a battery of eight guns had been erected (as early 
as March 24), on land then belonging to Jacob Hicks and others. 
This work, open in the rear, was nearly opposite Fly Market, at 
Coenties slip, and was named Fort Stirling. 3 It was proposed to 
erect a citadel in its rear covering about five acres, and to be called 
The Congress, which, however, was not done. 
On the night of the 10th, a body of one thousand Continental 

1 Onderdonk, Kings Co., sec. 777, 778, 779. 

2 Capt. Waldron's company consisted of the following individuals : 

Adolph Waldron, Captain ; William Boerum, 1st Lieut. ; Thomas Everitt, 2d Lieut. ; 
Jacob Sebring, jr., Cornet ; Isaac Sebring, Q. M. Samuel Etherington, John Reade, 
Rob. Galbraithe, Rem A. Remsen, David Titus, Jos. Smith, Jacob Kemper, John Guest, 
Nich. Van Dam, Geo. Powers, William Everitt, John Hicks, Wm. Chardavoyne, Thos. 
Hazard. This Capt. Waldron was an innkeeper at Brooklyn ferry (ante, pp. 217, 219), 
and resided, during the war, at Preakness, N. J. — Onderdonk, Kings Co., sec. 773, 779. 

3 We are inclined to believe, from the best evidence we can obtain, that this was the 
same " half-moon fort" upon the edge of the Heights (on the line of present Columbia, 
between Orange and Clark streets,) which was subsequently garrisoned by Hessian 
troops, during the British occupation of the town. 

May 22d, this fort was garrisoned by Lt. Randell and twelve men, with four 32- 
pounders and two 18's. — Force, Am. Archives, v. 480. 


troops took possession of Governor's Island and constructed a re- 
doubt upon its west side, a little southeast of Castle William. 1 On 
the same night a regiment occupied Bed Hook, the extreme point 
of land north of Gowanus Bay, where they constructed a redoubt 
for one 3-pounder and four 18's. This redoubt, named Fort Defiance, 
was near the intersection of present Conover and Yan Dyke streets, 
south of the Atlantic Docks. 2 

On the 14th of April, Washington arrived at New York, and his 
presence gave a new impulse to the work of defence, which had been 
so admirably planned and prosecuted by Generals Lee and Stirling ; 
and, towards the latter part of May, he went to Philadelphia, leaving 
Gen. Putnam in command at New York, and Gen. Greene stationed 
at Brooklyn, in charge of the work of fortification there. On the 29th 
of June, Gen. Howe arrived from Halifax, and on the 8th of July, 
landed 9,000 troops upon Staten Island, where, within a few days, he 
was joined by his brother, Admiral Howe, with a large force of Eng- 
lish regulars and Hessians, and on the 11th by the fragments of the 
defeated armies of Clinton and Parker, making the whole British force 
at that place, on shore and water, about 30,000 men. On the 12th of 
July, the Bose and Phoenix, ships of war, passed the American bat- 
teries, and went up the Hudson to Haverstraw, with the twofold object 
of arming the Tories of Westchester and keeping open a communica- 

1 Gains. 

" Maj. Shaw, June 11, '76, writes to Ms family: "I am now stationed at Red Hook, 
about four miles from New York. It is on an island [the connection between Red 
Hook and the main land was so slight, and it was so nearly surrounded by water, as 
to make it seem an island — see Appendix, No. 5], situated in such a manner as to 
command the entrance of the harbor entirely, where we have a fort with four 18- 
pounders, to fire en barbette, that is, over the top of the works, which is vastly better 
than firing through embrasures, as we can now bring all our guns to bear on the 
same object at once. The fort is named Defiance. It is thought to be one of the 
most important posts we have. There are two families here — Mr. Van Dyke and his 
son — good, staunch Wliigs, and very clever folks, between whom and our people a very 
pleasant intercourse subsists. I rode out with the young man, about a week ago, to a 
place called Flushing, sixteen miles off, where, and in most of the country towns about, 
the Tories from the city have taken shelter. It is almost incredible how many of these 
vermin there are. Scarce a house we rode by, but Mr. Van Dyke would say, ' There 
lives a rascally Tory.' "— Quincy's Mem. of Samuel Shaw, p. 13. Capt. Foster was in 
command here on May 22, '76. — Force, v. 480. 

When the Rose and Phcenix ran past the American batteries, on the 12th of July, 
they did not compliment this Red Hook redoubt so much as to return her fire — being, 
as Shaw relates, two miles distant. — Onderdonk, sec. 187. 


tion with Carleton, who was coming southward by way of Lake Cham- 
plain. Meanwhile, the patriots were busily hurrying forward the 
completion of their defences, before the battle which was so unmis- 
takably approaching. Hulks of vessels were sunk in the channel 
between Governor's Island and the Battery, and chevaux-de-frise 
formed to oppose the passage of the British vessels up the East 
River. 1 A large force of troops was concentrated at Brooklyn, 
under Gen. Greene ; Sullivan, with his army, was called from the 
north, while from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and New 
England troops and militia gradually augmented the American 
army, by the first of August, to some 27,000 men ; of whom, 
however, nearly one-fourth were unfitted for active service by sick- 
ness. Bilious fever prostrated Gen. Greene about the middle of 
August, and Sullivan succeeded him at Brooklyn. Governor's Island 
and Paulus Hook (now Jersey City) were garrisoned, while Gen. 
George Clinton, at the head of some New York militia, guarded 
Westchester and King's Bridge from the approach of the British, 
and Gen. Parson's brigade performed the same service on the East 
Biver, at Kip's Bay. 

We have evidence, however, that disaffection was still rife in this 
county ; and that, while the patriot hosts were making this the scene 
of their most strenuous labors in the defence of a nation's existence, 
the actual inhabitants and inheritors of its soil were sadly lacking in 
spirit and unanimity of feeling. 2 We have previously seen that its 
representatives had been so irregular in their attendance upon the 

1 The channel between Long Island and Red Hook was left open, and the British 
vessels passed up there in the attack, Aug. 27, 1776. 

2 July 30, 1776. The Convention received a letter from the captains of the Kings 
County Militia, requesting to be excused from making a draft of every fourth man 
(according to Resolutions of Convention, July 19), and saying that they will turn out 
their whole militia or command to drive stock into the interior, and to guard the coast, 
etc. It was signed by Jno. Vanderbilt, Lambert Suydam, Barent Johnson, John Titus, 
Corn. Vanderveer, Rem Williamson, Bernardus Suydam, Adrian Van Brunt, Captains; 
but their request was not granted by the Convention. — Force's Am. Archives, vol. L, 
Fifth Series, p. 1460. 

" A Roll of the commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the 
Troop of Horse in King's County, which were upon duty to drive off the stock, com- 
menced August 14, 1776. Upon duty and came over from L. I. : Daniel Rappelye, 1st 
Lieut. ; Jacob Bloom, 2d Lieut. ; Peter Vandervoort, Ens. ; Hendrick Johnson, Sgt. ; 
John Blanco, Trumpeter ; Reyer Suydam, John Vanderveer, Privates. Upon duty, but 
remained upon L. L ; Lambert Suydam, Copt. ; Peter Wyckoff, Quartermaster ; Hen- 


sessions of the Convention, as to call forth the special animadver- 
sion of that body; and now, when every American heart should 
have been nerved to still greater fortitude, the county towns ap- 
peared still more " shaky" in their allegiance. On August 14th, Mr. 
Polhemus appeared in Convention and informed them that Kings 
County had held no election for deputies since May previous, but 
that the County Committees had met and requested him to attend 
as a member until another election. The Convention allowed him 
to represent the county, except in matters relating to the formation 
of Government. 1 Subsequently, an election held by Kings County, 
on 19th of August, was declared defective, inasmuch as the Deputies 
were not authorized to frame a new form of government. A new 
election was therefore ordered for the 24th of August, but was never 
held, 2 as Kings County was then the theatre of actual hostilities. The 
rumors of disaffection in the country were at this time so strong, that 
the Provincial Congress ordered a committee to repair thither, and 
if the reports proved to be well-founded, to disarm and secure the 
disaffected citizens, remove or destroy the crops, and even, if neces- 
sary, "lay the whole county waste."* The arrest and disarming of 
the Tories, in accordance with these instructions, was energetically 
prosecuted, and produced a salutary effect, which would probably 
have proved permanent, but for the disastrous result of the subse- 
quent battle of the 27th. 

Among the other approaches to the city, that by Long Island 
had been amply provided for by the skill and forethought of Gens. 
Greene and Sullivan. In addition to the battery at Eed Hook and 
Fort Sterling, previously mentioned, and which were the first works 
erected at Brooklyn, the following strong line of fortifications was 
constructed across the island from the Wallabout to the head of 
Gowanus Creek. 

drick Suydam, Clerk; John Nostrand, Jacob Suydam, Isaac Snediker, Isaac Boerum 
John Ryerson, Rutgert Vanbrunt, Chas. De Bevois, Benjamin Seaman, Roelof Terhune, 
Andrew Casper, Thos. Betty, Martin Kershaw, Peter Miller, Hendrick Wyckoff, Pri- 
vates. (Signed) " Daniel Rappelye, Lt." 
— Force's Am. Archives, vol. i., Fifth Series, 953. 

1 Ibid., i. 1506, date Aug. 17, 1776. 

2 Ibid., i. 1525, date Aug. 21, 1776. 

3 Ibid., i. 1497, date Aug. 19, 1776. Messrs. Duer and Hobart and Colonels Remsen 
and DeWitt were appointed said committee. 


rii 1 7 1 

ks & tO]j 


6 Lossing says, " between ismun street i 
of Hoyt street at Carroll." 


sessions of the Convention, as to call forth the special animadver- 
sion of that body; and now, when every American heart should 
have been nerved to still greater fortitude, the county towns ap- 
peared still more " shaky" in their allegiance. On August 14th, Mr. 
Polhemus appeared in Convention and informed them that Kings 
County had held no election for deputies since May previous, but 
that the County Committees had met and requested him to attend 
as a member until another election. The Convention, allowed him 
to represent the county, except in matters relating to the formation 
of Government. 1 Subsequently, an election held by Kings County, 
on 19th of August, was declared defective, inasmuch as the Deputies 
were not. authorized to frame a new form of government. A new 
election was therefore ordered for the 24th of August, but was never 
held, 2 as Kings County was then the theatre of actual hostilities. The 
rumors of disaffection in the country were at this time so strong, that 
the Provincial Congress ordered a committee to repair thither, and 
if the reports proved to be well-founded, to disarm and secure the 
disaffected citizens, remove or destroy the crops, and even, if neces- 
sary, "lay the ivhole county ivaste." 3 The arrest and disarming of 
the Tories, in accordance with these instructions, was energetically 
prosecuted, and produced a salutary effect, which would probably 
have proved permanent, but for the disastrous result of the subse- 
quent battle of the 27th. 

Among the Other approaches to the city, that by Long Island 
had been amply provided for by the skill and forethought of Gens. 
Greene and Sullivan. In addition to the battery at Eed Hook and 
Fort Sterling, previously mentioned, and which were the first works 
erected at Brooklyn, the following strong line of fortifications was 
constructed across the island from the Wallabout to the head of 
Gowanus Creek. 

drick Suydam, Clerk; John Nostrand, Jacob Suydani, Isaac Snediker, Isaac Boer urn 
John Ryerson, Rutgert Vanbrunt, Chas. De Bevois, Benjamin Seaman, Roelof Terhune, 
Andrew Casper, Thos. Betty, Martin Kershaw, Peter Miller, Hendrick Wyckoff, Pri- 
vates. (Signed) " Daniel Rappelye, Lt." 
— Force's Am. Archives, vol. i., Fifth Series, 953. 

1 Ibid., i. 1506, date Aug. 17, 1776. 

s Ibid., i. 1525, date Aug. 21, 1776. 

3 Ibid., i. 1497, date Aug. 19, 1776. Messrs. Duer and Hobart and Colonels Remsen 
and DeWitt were appointed said committee. 




^_„.. ss „ua wTu uuiwri ana COTOfieE Remsen 

arid DeWitt were appointed said committee. 



These fortifications were : 

1. A redoubt, mounting five guns, and called Fort Putnam, which 
was erected upon a heavily-wooded hill overlooking the Wallabout, 
now known as Fort Greene, or Washington Park. 1 When cleared of 
its trees, this was a fine position, commanding the East Eiver and 
the roads leading into Brooklyn from the country. 

2. A line of intrenchment extending northwesterly from Fort 
Putnam down the hill to a spring, then on the verge of the Walla- 
bout. 2 

3. A line of intrenchment, extending in a zigzag course south- 
westerly from Fort Putnam across the old Jamaica turnpike (now 
Fulton avenue), 3 and along the crest of the high land between and 
nearly parallel with Nevins and Bond streets to the head of Gowanus 
Creek (Freeck's mill-pond), at about the junction of present Bond 
and Warren streets. 4 

4. Upon the land then belonging to John Johnson, and about mid- 
way between Fort Putnam and the Jamaica Turnpike 5 (at junction 
of present DeKalb avenue and Hudson street), and adjoining the 
line of intrenchment, was another small redoubt. 

5. On " Bergen's Hill," between Smith and Court street, in the 
vicinity of First Place, was another redoubt, mounting four guns, 
which was probably the one named Fort Box. 6 It was subsequently 
strengthened and occupied by the British ; and as late as 1852, but- 

1 This hill, at the time of the Revolution, belonged to John Cowenhoven, sen., his 
eon, Rem Cowenhoven, and Casper Wooster, and was known, from its heavy timber, 
as " Cowenhoven's boschje," or woods. 

2 Lossing (Field Book of the Revolution, ii. 806) says that the site of this spring was 
marked (in 1852) by a pump in a tannery near the intersection of Flushing avenue 
and Portland street. 

3 The large sycamore-tree, just above " The Abbey" on the north side of Fulton, a 
little above its junction with De Kalb avenue (and which was cut down in the fall of 
1859 — Ed.), is believed to have marked the point where the line of intrenchment 
(which was also renewed in the war of 1812-14) crossed the Jamaica road. — Furman 
MSS., via. 251. No. 159 Fulton avenue now (1867) marks the site of the tree above 

4 Lossing says, "across the Flatbush road, near the junction of Flatbush avenue 
and Powers street, to Freek's Mill Pond, at the head of Gowanus Creek, near the 
junction of Second avenue and Carroll street ;"., but this would have carried the line of 
intrenchment along the low lands, which was not probable. 

6 Lossing says, " a little eastward of Fort Putnam, near the Jamaica road." 
6 Lossing says, " between Smith street and First avenue, not far from the termination 
of Hoyt street at Carroll." 


tons marked "42" (42d Highlanders) were found on its site. In 
1812, this fortification was restored and called " Fort Lawrence." 

6. On the land of Johannes Debevoise and Rutgert Van Brunt, 
half way between the Jamaica road and Brower's mill-pond, prob- 
ably between Atlantic and Pacific, Nevins and Bond streets, a re- 
doubt was erected, mounting five guns, and called Fort Greene. 

7. About at the junction of Clinton and Atlantic streets, on a very 
steep conical hill, called Ponkiesbergh, and otherwise known as " Cob- 
ble Hill," was a fort of three guns. Its trenches ascended spirally 
to the top, where a platform was laid for the cannon ; from which 
circumstance it derived the nickname of "Corkscrew Fort." It com- 
manded Fort Stirling, on the Heights, and on that account was made 
lower by the British during their subsequent occupation, for fear 
that it might fall into the hands of the Continentals, in which case 
Fort Stirling would have been untenable. 1 

1 The precise location of this fort cannot now be ascertained. Lossing {Field Book of 
Rev., ii. 806) and Dawson {Battles of America, i. 144) describe it as being " at the head of 
the tunnel of the Long Island R. Road, in the vicinity of Boerum and Atlantic streets," 
which is manifestly incorrect. Gen. J. G. Swift, under whose superintendence the lines 
were reconstructed, and Cobble Hill Fort rebuilt during the war of 1812, in a letter to 
the author, designates the spot as marked (1860) by a little willow-tree on the south 
side of Atlantic street, near Clinton. The Savings Bank, on the corner of these streets, 
is also pointed out as the site ; and Furman, MS. Notes (Oct., 1835), says that " about 
40 years ago, it was currently reported about Kings County, that the spot of ground 
about 100 feet northeasterly from the coiner of Atlantic and Court streets, then in the old 
Red Hook lane, and near the foot of a fortification then known as Cobble Mill Fort, and 
afterwards, in the war of 1812, as Fort Swift, was haunted by the spirit of a murdered 
man." As nearly as we can describe it, Cobble Hill rose from old Red Hook Lane, now 
swallowed up by Court street, on the block now bounded by that street, Atlantic, 
Pacific, and Clinton streets, and was nearer to the Court street end of the block. As 
before stated, this fort was strengthened in 1814, and called Fort Swift. Fort Put- 
nam was also strengthened and called Fort Greene. 

In describing the sites of these fortifications we differ, as will be seen, from Mr. Los- 
sing ; but we do so with the respect which is due him as having been the first to 
attempt their precise location. In addition to a better opportunity for extended exami- 
nation, and with that more intimate acquaintance with the topographical peculiarities of 
the region, which a local historian may be presumed to have, we have also enjoyed the 
advice and assistance of Mr. SrLAS Ltjdlam, the well-known City Surveyor, whose father, 
Stephen Ludlam, surveyed the old lines when they were comparatively plain, the field- 
notes of which survey are still in his son's possession. From Mr. Ludlam's extensive col- 
lection of farm maps, etc., as well as from his long acquaintance with, and recollection of, 
Brooklyn as it was before brick and mortar had completely changed its features, we 
have gleaned many facts of great use to us, both in this and other portions of our work. 

All Long Island and Brooklyn historians, previous to Mr. Lossing, have been con- 
tented with rehearsing the statements of Gen. Jeremiah Johnson, who has preserved 


As we have already seen, the whole British naval and military 
force which had been concentrated in the Bay of New York and on 
Staten Island before the 13th of July, gave, as yet, no indication of 
the course or manner of their intended attack. Their movements 
seemed alternately to indicate an immediate readiness, and then a 
certain indecision. At this time, also, dispatches were received from 
England, announcing an important change in the French ministry, 
and the prospect of a general continental war, in which England 
would be involved. The conjecture that the tenor of these dis- 
patches rendered the British commanders exceedingly cautious, and 
even anxious for a reconciliation, was further strengthened by the 
arrival, on the of 17th of August, of a flag of truce from the British 
fleet. It was borne by Lord Drummond, who had already twice vio- 
lated his parole given to the American general while engaged in 
similar diplomatic errands, and the conciliatory overtures which he 
presented were indignantly spurned by Washington, who availed 
himself of the opportunity to administer his lordship a severe rebuke 
for his former duplicity. 

Washington, meanwhile, lost no time in providing against every 

much relative to our Revolutionary period that history will not willingly let die, but 
whose description and maps of localities are too vague to be entirely satisfactory. The 
industrious Furman, who possessed the inborn antiquarian spirit of accuracy in details, 
has preserved, in manuscript, much interesting material relative to these points, which 
we have very freely drawn upon in the compilation of this history. 

That these defences were by no means despicable, is sufficiently evidenced by the fact 
that some of them were retained and strengthened by the British during their subse- 
quent occupation of the island. Major Holland, of the British engineers, testified 
that they were well and solidly made, and according to the rules of fortification, and 
that they coidd have been held by a sufficient force for a long time, but that they had 
not been entirely completed. We also have the following direct testimony of Lieut. 
Anbury, an experienced British officer, published in his Travels in North America (vol. 
ii. 540) : "At a small distance from the town (Brooklyn) are some considerable heights, 
commanding the city of New York. On these is erected a strong regular fort (now Fort 
Greene) with four bastions. To describe the works thrown up by the Americans on 
this Island, would be bestowing more attention on the subject than it deserves, as they 
actually cover the whole. They are not only on grounds and situations that are 
extremely advantageous and commanding, but works of great strength, that I am at a 
loss to account for their so hastily abandoning them, as they were certain by such a 
step to give up New York. I am induced to believe that Gen. Washington thought 
the Americans were so panic-struck after the engagement, as our troops pursued them 
close to their lines, that they would not stand an assault ; and if his lines were carried 
he was sensible there was no place of retreat, and that his army must inevitably have 
been destroyed." 


possible contingency of attack. Tories were transferred from New 
York to the care of Gov. Trumbull, of Connecticut, accompanied 
with paternal requests for their kind treatment. Measures were 
taken to quench the rising flame of loyalty in New Jersey ; suspected 
persons in Kings County, on Long Island,, were disarmed, and a 
committee, as we have already seen, was sent by Congress to enforce 
the suppression of toryism at every hazard. The public archives 
were carefully conveyed from New York to the care of Congress, at 
Philadelphia, the officers' wives in camp were removed from danger, 
and the most liberal and tender measures for the protection and 
relief of women and children in the menaced city were suggested by 
Washington and promptly carried out by Congress. At New Utrecht, 
Col. Hand, with his corps of Pennsylvania riflemen, was posted on 
the hill above the present site of Fort Hamilton, in order to serve 
as a check to, and to give information of, any landing in that quarter. 
The rejection of their overtures seems to have decided the British 
generals in their action. At dawn on the 22d of August, information 
was received at the American headquarters from Brig.-Gen. William 
Livingston, then in camp at Elizabeth, N. J., that Lord Howe had 
landed a large force at Gravesend Bay, on Long Island, and that 
20,000 men had gone to take possession of that island, while 15,000 
were to attack Bergen, Elizabethtown Point, and Amboy. These 
reports, although exaggerated, had a substratum of truth, as was 
evidenced, at sunrise, by the roar of cannon and dense columns of 
smoke arising from near the Narrows. 1 

1 The British fleet, after taking position to cover the landing of the troops, shelled 
the heights and woods on the Long Island shore, in order to drive out any force which 
anight be there concealed. IV was this preliminary bombardment which startled the 
expectajit American army, and which may possibly afford an explanation of the follow- 
ing curious circumstance as related by Judge Furman (MS. Memoranda, viii., p. 396) : 

" In the month of August, '76, on the second or third day before the landing of the 
British troops upon Long Island, an apparent cannonading was heard. So very dis- 
tinct was this cannonading, and so very regular was it and continuous, that all the inhab- 
itants of the island residing between the distance of two miles from the city of New York 
and about thirty-five miles down the island, were satisfied that the British had landed 
and attacked the American army. Those residing at the west end of the island imme- 
diately commenced moving their families and driving their cattle towards the interior ; 
and in such numbers, that my aunt Tyler, then a young girl, and living at her home in 
New Lots, nine miles from Brooklyn ferry, tells me she was awakened the next morn- 
ing by the lowing of cattle, and upon arising, she found the roads blocked up with cows, 
horses, sheep, &c, which had been driven up during the night to escape the plunder 


About nine o'clock a. m. four thousand light infantry, with forty 
pieces of cannon, crossed over from Staten Island in flat-boats, 
under the guns of the Rainbow and other men-of-war which lay 
anchored where Fort Lafayette now rises in the centre of the Nar- 
rows, and landed at Denise's ferry (now Fort Hamilton) in the town 
of New Utrecht.' An hour after the landing of this first division, 
a second, comprising English and Hessian troops, left the British 
ships and transports, and in regular rows of boats, under command 
of Commodore Hotham, passed over and landed in the bend of 
Gravesend Bay, at a place now known as Bath, in front of New 
Utrecht. The embarkation of the entire force, comprising 15,000 
men, under cover of the Phoenix, Rose, and Greyhound, was safely 
completed by noon. The main part of the invading army quickly 
extended itself over the plain bordering on Gravesend Bay ; and the 
country people, following the dictates of their fears or their con- 
sciences, either made haste to place themselves under British pro- 
tection, or abandoned their farms and sought refuge within the 
American lines. 

Col. Hand's riflemen, on the hill overlooking the scene, could, of 
course, offer no effectual resistance, and setting fire to the wheat 
and hay stacks, to prevent their falling into the enemy's hands, fell 
back towards Flatbush, where they took position behind a redoubt 
between that village and the Brooklyn lines. 

Howe established his quarters at New Utrecht, and dispatched 
Lord Cornwallis, with the reserves, Col. Donop's corps of Hessian 
yagers and grenadiers, with six field-pieces, to Flatbush, and with 
instructions not to attack the place if he should find it occupied by 
the enemy. Taking his position at Gravesend, Cornwallis pushed 
forward Donop's corps to Flatbush, which the latter reached towards 
evening, — the three hundred American riflemen, who had occupied it, 

of the British, as they supposed. In the morning, however, it was discovered that the 
British army had not stirred a foot from their encampment on Staten Island, and that 
not a single cannon had been fired ! (?) The next day after — as if, indeed, it had been 
intended by a good Providence as a warning to the people of what was fast approach- 
ing — the roads between the city of New York and Jamaica, nine miles distant, were 
covered with the British lighf horsemen, in their scarlet cloaks." 

1 On the farms of Isaac Cortelyou and Adrian Van Brunt, which lay west of the 
Bath House, i. e. between the Cortelyou road and the Bath road, anciently called De- 
Bruyn road. — Onderdonk, K. Co., sec. 801. 


retiring before him, " a few cannon-balls being sent after them," to 
accelerate their steps. Early on the following morning (23d), how- 
ever, these same riflemen attacked the right wing of the Hessian 
outposts, but retired on being confronted with a field-piece. On the 
afternoon of the same day, another attack was made upon the left of 
the Hessian line, which was driven back upon the main body, south 
of the village church, where the skirinish raged furiously for over an 
hour. Under the galling fire of the American sharp-shooters, the 
Hessians were compelled to seek shelter in some of the houses, cut- 
ting loop-holes in the walls, from whence they could fire upon their 
assailants. Finally, the Hessian guns were brought into position, 
before which the Americans fell back, but not until they had set 
fire to several dwelling-houses. 1 On the 25th, a stronger force of 
riflemen, with some cannon, opened with ball and grapeshot upon 
the village, from the edge of the neighboring woods, but their fire 
was soon silenced by the superior metal and service of the Hessian 
guns. These foreign troops, who had now been since the 22d con- 
tinually in the advance, and who were severely harassed by the 
unremitting activity of their lively foes — a species of fighting for 

1 (Gen. Sullivan's account) : " On Friday, 23d, a party of British took possession of 
Flatbush, which brought on a hot fire from our troops, who are advantageously posted 
in woods and on every eminence. An advanced party are encamped a little to the N. 
W. of Flatbush church, and have a battery somewhat west of Jer'h Vanderbilt's, 
whence they fire briskly on our people, who often approach and discharge rifles within 
200 yards of their works. One of our gunners threw a shell into Mr. Axtell's house, 
where a number of officers were at dinner, but we have not heard what damage it did. 

" Aug. 23. This afternoon the enemy formed and attempted to pass the wood by 
Bedford (Flatbush), and a smart fire between them and the riflemen ensued. A num- 
ber of musketry came up to the assistance of the riflemen, whose fire, with that of the 
field-pieces, caused a retreat of the enemy. Our men followed to the house of Judge 
Lefferts (where a number of them had taken lodgings), drove them out, and burned 
the contiguous buildings. We have driven them half a mile from their former station." 

Washington disapproved of this wasteful and scattering fire upon the enemy. 

Strong, in his Hist, of Flatbush, says the British encamped in a diagonal direction 
across that village, their tents extending from the little lane over the farms of Heudrick 
Vanderveer, of J. C. Bergen, of Jacobus Vandeventer, and so on, in a northeasterly 
line towards the road to New Lots. The main body were posted on the south of 
the church and west of the main street. They soon gained possession of the intrench- 
ment erected by the Americans in the north of the village. They also knocked out 
large port-holes in the stone house of Adrian Hegeman, now occupied by Mrs. Cynthia 
Lefferts. The house of Lefferts Martense, on the opposite side of the road, built of 
wood, was also fortified. It fronted south, and in the roof, on the north side, which 
extended nearly to the ground, they cut holes through which to discharge muskets. 


which their experience in the regular methods of European warfare 
had totally unfitted them — were allowed to rest from the 24th to the 
25th ; but were again alarmed at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 
26th, and returned to their position in the front ; against which, on 
the afternoon of the same day, the Americans made such an impos- 
ing demonstration, that Cornwallis, in pursuance of previous impera- 
tive orders from Howe, directed Donop, much to the latter's disgust, 
to fall back upon the main body at Flatlands. 

On the 25th of August, the same day on which General Putnam 
took command within the American lines, General Von Heister, 1 the 
veteran commander-in-chief of the British auxiliaries, with General 
Knyphausen, and two full brigades of Hessians, landed at New 
Utrecht, and advanced on the middle road towards Flatbush,- — Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Dalrymple being left in charge of the reserves on 
Staten Island. The invading army on Long Island, which now 
numbered " upwards of twenty thousand" rank and file, 2 was un- 
equalled for experience, discipline, and materiel of war, and was 
supported by a fleet in the Bay of New York, numbering over four 
hundred ships and transports, and by ten ships of the line, twenty 
frigates, together with bomb-ketches and other small vessels. Op- 
posed to this splendid army, the Americans had only some eight 
thousand men. 3 mostly volunteers or militia, without cavalry, with 
but slender stores of light-artillery, and unsupported by a single 

Meanwhile, on the 23d of August, Gen. Howe issued the follow- 
ing proclamation to the people of the island : 


By his Excellency, the Hon. WM. HOWE, General and Commander-in- 
Chief of all His Majesty's forces within the Colonies lying on the At- 
lantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia to West Florida, inclusive, dec, dbc. 

x Lossing (Field-Book of Bee, ii. 804) says : " Lieutenant-General De Heister was 
an old man, and warmly attached to his master, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel. The 
long voyage of fourteen weeks dispirited him, ' and,' says Sir George Collier, ' his 
patience and tobacco became exhausted.' A sniff of land-breeze revived him. ' He 
called for Hock, and swallowed large potations to the health of his friends.' " 

8 Lord Howe's Observations, in Narrative, p. 45. 

3 Bancroft, ix. 90, note; Almond's Debates, xiii. 9, 54, 314. 



"Whereas, it is represented that many of the loyal inhabitants of this 
Island have been compelled by the leaders in rebellion, to take up arms 
against His Majesty's Government, Notice is hereby given to all persons 
so forced into rebellion, that on delivering themselves up at said quarters 
of the Army, they will be received as faithful subjects, have permits peace- 
ably to return to their respective dwellings, and meet with full protection 
for their persons and property. All those who choose to take up arms for 
the restoration of order and good government within this Island, shall be 
disposed of in the best manner, and have every encouragement that can be 

Given under my hand at Head Quarters on Long Island, Aug. 23, 1776. 


By His Excellency's command, Rob't Mackensie, See. 

A few persons availed themselves of this offer ; but the majority, 
although by no means averse to British rule, were probably unwil- 
ling to declare themselves until they were certain which would prove 
the winning side. 

In the city of New York, during the night succeeding the landing, 
all was confusion and alarm. The camp and its various outposts 
were the scene of vigilant activity and preparation, for a rumor had 
spread that vessels had been detached from the British fleet, with 
the intention of circumnavigating Long Island, and by thus stealing 
a passage through the Sound and East River, to cut off all communi- 
cation with the Westchester main. Under the supposition, also, 
that the enemy would immediately march upon the American lines 
at Brooklyn, Washington bad that same evening sent over six regi- 
ments to re-enforce those defences ; and early next morning, in the 
momentary expectation of an attack, he addressed an earnest appeal 
to the troops at Brooklyn, reanimating their hopes and encouraging 
them to make a bold stand. 1 Cornwallis, meanwhile, was resting 

1 The following extract is from the General's Orderly-book, August 23d : " The 
enemy have now landed on Long Island, and the hoar is fast approaching in which 
the honor and success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding country, will depend. 
Remember, officers and soldiers, that you are freemen, fighting for the blessings of 
liberty ; that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not 
acquit yourselves like men. Remember how your courage and spirit have been 
despised and traduced by your cruel invaders ; though they have found, by dear expe- 
rience at Boston, Charlestown, and other places, what a few brave men, contending in 


almost idly at Flatbush, aj3parently kept in check by Hand's riflemen, 
but really in obedience to Howe's imperative orders. His caution 
may be counted among the several providences which seemed to watch 
over the American army, and saved it from what might otherwise 
have been total annihilation. For had he, at this juncture, made 
one vigorous push, he would, with the force at his command, almost 
certainly have made himself master of works scarcely in a state of 
completion, and an enemy poorly organized or prepared to receive 
him. Gen. Greene, under whose supervision the American defences 
had been constructed, and who had made himself thoroughly ac- 
quainted with the whole detail of the army, and with every impor- 
tant point and pass on the west end of Long Island, had been pros- 
trated by illness a few days previous. Sullivan, who succeeded him 
(on the 20th), was faithful and brave, but was personally unknown 
to the troops under his command, and had but little opportunity to 
acquaint himself fully with the field of operations. As a conse- 
quence, when Gen. "Washington visited the lines on Long Island on 
the 24th, he found things at " loose ends." Disorder was percepti- 
ble in every department — detachments skirmished with the enemy's 
vanguard, or picked off his sentries, without any orders and with 
little method — others were little better than marauding parties, who 
burned the houses of friend and foe alike, and robbed dwellings, 
barns, and hen-roosts with impunity. Annoyed and alarmed that 
such a state of things should exist in the face of an approaching 
army, Washington immediately resolved to place some one in com- 
mand better fitted, by local knowledge and personal influence, to 
regulate and harmonize the diverse elements of which the army 
was composed. Gen. Putnam, whose brave heart had been aching 

their own land, and in the best of causes, can do against hirelings and mercenaries. 
Be cool, but determined ; do not fire at a distance, but wait for orders from your offi- 
cers. It is the general's express orders, that if any man attempt to skulk, lie down, or 
retreat without orders, he be instantly shot down as an example. He hopes no such 
wiE be found in this army ; but, on the contrary, that every one for himself resolving 
to conquer or die, and trusting in the smiles of Heaven upon so just a cause, will behave 
with bravery and resolution. Those who are distinguished for their gallantry and 
good conduct may depend on being honorably noticed and suitably rewarded ; and if 
this army will but emulate and imitate their brave countrymen in other parts of 
America, he has no doubt they will, by a glorious victory, save their country and 
acquire to themselves immortal honor." 


for several days to have a hand in the approaching fight, was made 
quite happy by being appointed to the command on Long Island, 1 
and on the 25th he entered upon its duties, under minute and whole- 
some instructions from the commander-in-chief. Prominent among 
these were strict orders for the suppression of the prevailing loose- 
ness and laxity of morale so evident among the troops. " Shameful 
it is," said Washington, "to find that those men who have come 
hither in defence of the rights of mankind, should turn invaders of 
them, by destroying the substance of their friends. . . . The 
distinction between a well-regulated army and a mob, is the good 
discipline and order of the former, and the licentious and disorderly 
behavior of the latter." Gen. Sullivan, with Brig. -Gen. Lord Stir- 
ling as his second, was assigned to the command of the troops out- 
side of the lines at Brooklyn. 

This series of works (described, ante, pp. 251, 252), which extended 
over a mile and a half in length, and mounted twenty large and 
small cannon, and which was defended by ditches and felled trees, 
with abatis of sharpened stakes, formed simply the interior or 
intrenched line of defence of the American army. Its exterior line 
of defence, at a distance of about two miles from the intrenchments, 
was that furnished by the natural topographical peculiarities of the 

In the rear of Brooklyn a series of hills, now known as the Mount 
Prospect range, extends northeasterly from the Narrows towards the 
Jamaica road at East New York, and, in broken elevations, con- 
tinues further on beyond that point. This range was, at that time, 
thickly covered with woods, pierced, at different points, with roads, 
all of which offered obvious routes for the British approach to 
Brooklyn. These were : 

1. Martense's Lane, extending along the southern border of the 
present Greenwood Cemetery, from the old Flatbush and New 
Utrecht road to the coast road, which ran along Gowanus Bay, on 
about the line of the present Third avenue. 

2. The Flatbush Pass and road, at the junction of the Brooklyn 

1 Letter of Adjt.-Oen. Reed to his itife, Aug. 24 : " Gen. Putnam was made happy by 
obtaining leave to go over. The old man was quite miserable at being kept here." 


and Flatbush turnpike with the Coney Island Plankroad, and now 
within the limits of Prospect Park. The defences of this pass were, 
first, a sort of crescent-shaped intrenchment, just within the Tillage 
of Flatbush, and lying diagonally across the main street, a little 
south of Judge Martense's house, with a ditch of considerable depth 
on its northerly side ; ' and, secondly, a small redoubt, mounting a 
few small pieces of artillery, at the " Valley Grove," to guard the 
passage through the " Port Eoad," 2 and by the direct route to Brook- 
lyn. Near this redoubt stood an immense white-oak tree, men- 
tioned in Governor Dongan's Patent as one of the boundary marks 
between Brooklyn and Flatbush. 3 This, in obedience to the stern 
exigencies of war, was felled across the road, where, in consequence 
of the then dense woods on the south and the swamp on the north, 
it formed a very considerable obstacle to an enemy's advance. 

3. The Bedford Pass, at the intersection of the old " Clove Boad" 
with the Flatbush and Brooklyn boundary-line, half a mile south of 
the hamlet of Bedford. 

4. And three miles east of Bedford, on the old Jamaica turnpike, 
and just at the present entrance to the "Cemetery of the Ever- 
greens," was a road through the hills, known as the Jamaica Pass. 

The natural line of defence afforded by this range of heavily 
wooded hills could not, of course, with the small force at the dis- 
posal of the American generals, be properly occupied by any con- 
tinuous line of troops. All that could be done, under the circum- 
stances, was to post strong picket-guards (for they could scarcely be 
called more than that) at its most defensible points ; nor was it 
expected by Washington that the attenuated line of troops (scarcely 
twenty-five hundred in all) which held the ridge for a distance of 
over five miles, would do more than a picket-guard's duty, in dis- 
covering the approach of the British and harassing them on then- 
march. The extreme right of the American line, which was coni- 

1 Strong's Hist. Flatbusli. 

2 The " Port Road" was a lane diverging from the Flatbush turnpike, near the pres- 
ent city line, and extending to the East River, across Freecke's rnill-dain. It followed 
the general line of the present First street, and remains of it are still to be seen near 
Fifth avenue. (Ante, 159, note.) 

3 This tree was in the present Prospect Park, nearly in the centre of the Flatbush road, 
and about opposite the west end of the old toll-gate house. It is hoped that its position 
will be carefully indicated, in some permanent manner, by the Park Commissioners. 


manded by Gen. Lord Stirling, was at the Red Lion Tavern, where 
Martense's Lane enters the shore road. Along this lane, which 
cuts eastwardly through the Greenwood Hills, were stationed one 
hundred and twenty of Colonels Atlee's and Kichline's Pennsylvania 
musketeers and riflemen, who sheltered themselves behind stone walls 
and among the trees, rocks, and hollows of that locality, as then- 
fancy or experience dictated. The left of this line rested, or was 
supposed to rest, upon the right of General Sullivan's command, 
consisting of Henshaw's Massachusetts and Johnston's New Jersey 
regiments, which formed the centre of the American line, at the 
junction of the Port Road with the Flatbush road, near the intersec- 
tion of the present Flatbush avenue with the city line. Here were 
the defences mentioned on page 261, and here it was supposed, from 
the previous demonstrations made by the Hessians, would be the 
main point of attack. At this point the range of hills formed an 
obtuse angle, forming two sides of an immense amphitheatre, look- 
ing down upon a broad and beautiful plain, upon which rested, in 
slumberous quiet, the villages of Flatbush, Flatlands, New Utrecht, 
and Gravesend ; while in the further distance were to be seen the 
town of Jamaica and the blue waters of ocean. Sullivan's arrange- 
ment of his troops corresponded with the configuration of the sum- 
mit of the hills upon which he had taken position ; the regiment on 
his right stretching along the brow of the hill on either side of the 
Flatbush road, three or four hundred feet south of its junction with 
the Port Road (note, p. 261), and facing obliquely to them were the 
two regiments on the left, extending nearly a mile to the east of the 
Flatbush road, while Colonel Miles' First Pennsylvania regiment, 
with some Connecticut levies, continued the line still another mile 
further eastward, occupying the Bedford Pass (page 261) and the 
woods beyond towards the Jamaica Pass. 1 It will be seen, there- 

1 An American officer of distinction in the battle writes the following to the Con- 
necticut Courant (No. 673), as a corrective to some high encomiums which he had seen 
on Colonel Miles : 

" The enemy were some days encamped at Flatbush, about 3 J miles S. and E. of our 
lines. Within half a mile of the enemy is a ridge of hills, covered with woods, running 
from the narrows about N. E. toward Jamaica about 6 miles. Through this woods are 
three passes, which we kept strongly guarded, 800 men at each, to prevent the enemy 
penetrating the woods. The night before August 27, on the west road were posted 
Col. Hand's regiment, a detachment from Penn. and N. Y. ; next east were posted Col. 


fore, that while Sullivan's right rested, but imperfectly, upon Stir- 
ling's left, his own left wing was entirely unsupported, or, as the 
military phrase is, "hung in air." Yet, both the officers who 
planned and the men who held these positions, seemed entirely 
unconscious of the appalling danger which menaced them if the 
enemy should turn their flank. As we have before remarked, it is 
hardly probable, from the extremely limited force which could be 
employed to occupy so widely extended a line, as well as from the 
comparatively slight nature of the fortifications thrown up at differ- 
ent points, that Washington intended that the Mount Prospect 
ridge should be held otherwise than as a picket-line, from whence 
the men were to fall back upon the fortified works at Brooklyn, 
without risking any very serious engagement with the enemy. 

Beyond and to the eastward of this range of hills was a fiat coun- 
try, traversed by several roads, reconnoitred by mounted patrols 
under Colonel Wyllys of Connecticut. In addition to these, Gen- 
eral Woodhull, former president of the New York Convention, had 
charge of the local niilitia, who were occupied in removing the live- 
stock to Hempstead and destroying forage, in order to prevent its 
falling into the hands of the enemy. 

Thus, on the evening of the 26th of August, in the impenetrable 
shadow of the woods which crowned the summit and slopes of the 
Flatbush hills, these few regiments of raw, undisciplined troops 
awaited the coming of their foe, whose tents and camp-fires stretched 
along the plain beneath them, in an unbroken line, from Gravesend 
to Flatlands. 

The position of the British army was now as follows : the left 
wing, under Gen. Grant, rested on New York Bay ; the Hessians, 
under De Heister, formed the centre, opposite to Sullivan's position, 
at Flatbush Pass ; while the right wing, which was designed to bear 
the brunt of the coming battle, and was composed of the choice bat- 
talions under Gen. Clinton and Earls Cornwallis and Percy, stretched 

Johnson of Jersey and Lieut.-Col. Henshaw of Mass. ; next east were posted Col. 
Wyllys and Lieut.-Col. Wills of Conn. East of all these Col. Miles of Penn. was 
posted toward Jamaica, to watch the motion of the enemy and give intelligence. Col. 
Miles' guard on the east of the woods, by some fatality, what I don't know, suffered 
the enemy to march their main body to the east of the woods and advance near two 
miles in rear of our guards in the woods without discovery." 


along the eastern foot of the range of hills from New Utrecht to 
Flatlands, idly skirmishing and occupying the attention of the 

Gen. Howe, meanwhile, had been informed of the unguarded state 
of the road at Bedford, 1 " and that it would not be a difficult matter 
to turn the Americans' left flank, which would either oblige them to 
risk an engagement, or to retire under manifest disadvantage." In 
view of this fact, he adopted the following plan of attack, viz. : 

(1.) Gen. Grant, with two brigades, one Highland regiment, and two 
companies of New York Provincials, was to move forward upon the 
coast-road, towards Gowanus, while some of the ships-of-war were 
to menace New York, and to operate against the right of the Ameri- 
can fortified lines. 2 While the attention of the Americans was thus 
diverted by the threatened danger to the city and to their rear, 

(2.) The German troops, under Gen. De Heister, were to force 
the Flatbush Pass and the direct road to Brooklyn, by assault ; 

(3.) At evening gun-fire, the right wing, under Clinton, Cornwallis, 
and Percy, accompanied by Howe himself, was to move, in light 
marching order, from Flatlands, across the country to New Lotts, 

1 Stedman (i., p. 194) attributes the information to Generals Sir Henry Clinton and 
Sir William Erskine, whereas Onderdonk (Kings Co., sec. 802) says it was furnished by 
disaffected inhabitants. 

8 (Extract from Lord Howe's letter) : " Being informed next day (26th) by Gen. Howe 
of his intention to advance with the army that night to the enemy's lines, and of his 
wishes that some diversion might be attempted by the ships on this side, I gave direc- 
tion to Sir Peter Parker for proceeding higher up in the channel towards the town of 
New York next morning, with the Asia, Renown, Preston (Com. Hotham embarked in 
the Phoenix, having been left to carry on the service in Gravesend Bay), Roebuck, and 
Repulse, and to keep those ships in readiness for being employed as occasion might 
require; but the wind veering to the northward soon after the break of day, the 
ships could not be moved up to the distance proposed : therefore, when the troops 
under Gen. Grant, forming the left column of the army, were seen to be engaged with 
the enemy in the morning, the Roebuck, Capt. Hammond, leading the detached squad- 
ron, was the only ship that could fetch high enough to the northward to exchange a 
few random shots with the battery on Red Hook ; and the ebb making strongly down 
the river soon after, I ordered the signal to be shown for the squadron to anchor." 

From the Journal of a British Officer, we learn that " the Admiral directed Sir Geo. 
Collier to place the Rainbow, at dawn of day, in the Narrows, abreast of a large stone 
building called Denyse's (now Fort Hamilton), where he understood the rebels had 
cannon and a strong post, in which situation she would also be able to enfilade the 
road leading from New York, and prevent re-enforcements being sent to the rebel out- 
posts, as well as to their troops who were stationed to oppose the landing." 


in order to secure the passes between that place and Jamaica, and 
to turn, if possible, the American left. 

Accordingly, late on the afternoon of the 26th, De Heister and his 
Hessians took post at Flatbush, and relieved Lord Comwallis, who 
withdrew his division (leaving only the 42d Regiment) to Flatlands, 
about two miles southeast of Flatbush. At about 9 o'clock of the 
same evening the vanguard of the right of the army, consisting of a 
brigade of light infantry and the light dragoons, under command of 
Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, moved eastward on the road to New Lotts. 
He was followed by Lord Percy, with the artillery and grenadiers, 
and Lord Comwallis, with a reserve, the 71st Eegiment, and four- 
teen field-pieces, accompanied by the commander-in-chief, Lord 
Howe. The troops were withdrawn under cover of the darkness, 
and with great caution, from their respective encampments, in which 
the tents were left standing, the fires burning, and every appearance 
of actual occupation maintained. The intended route of march was 
known only to a few of the principal officers, and, guided by a resi- 
dent Tory, the army moved over the country, through fields and 
by-ways, so silently that their footfalls could scarcely be heard at 
ten rods' distance, 1 moving slowly, in order to give time for the light 
troops in the advance to secure and occupy all the points of the 
anticipated attack. Passing thus noiselessly along, irresistibly 
sweeping into its grasp every human being that it met who might 
give information to the enemy, the head of the column reached the 
vicinity of Schoonmaker's Bridge, which spans the head of a little 
creek near the village of New Lotts, and a short distance south- 
west of the present East New York. 2 Here was a point of defence of 
which the British commander expected the Americans would avail 
themselves, and he made his dispositions accordingly — throwing out 
skirmishers, and taking such other precautions as seemed necessary. 

1 They were seen by Captain Cornelius Vanderveer, who stated that although he 
was near the fence fronting his house, on the road, he could scarcely hear them. — 
Strong's Flatbush, p. 145. 

2 The exact route taken by the British army on this eventful morning, is a matter 
of much dispute among those who have most carefully examined the subject. J. 
C. Brevoort doubts whether the enemy crossed Schoonmaker's Bridge, the approach 
to which is through deep sand. In which opinion he is sustained by Ward and 


To his surprise, the place was found to be entirely unoccupied, and 
the country open to the base of the Bushwick hills, where the Ja- 
maica road enters upon the plains. Crossing the fields from the 
New Lotts road, in a direct course, to this point, the army halted, 
at two o'clock of the morning of the 27th, at William Howard's Half- 
way House, which yet stands at the corner of the present Broad- 
way and the Jamaica and Brooklyn road. In front of them, on this 
road, was the Jamaica Pass {ante, 261), a winding defile, admirably 
calculated for defence, and where the British expected, as a matter of 
course, that their passage would be hotly contested. The perfect 
success of the flank movement which Howe was now performing, 
demanded that this pass should be turned without risking an engage- 
ment, or even attracting the attention of those who, as it was sup- 
posed, defended it. Here his Tory guides seem to have been at fault, 
and, at their recommendation, perhaps, he pressed into his service 
Williain Howard, the innkeeper, and his son, then a lad of four- 
teen years. 1 Father and son were compelled, at the point of the 

1 William Howard, se. 87, says the British army was guided by N. W. along a nar- 
row road across Schoonmaker's Bridge (where a small force might easily have brought 
the whole British army to a stand). Thence they turned off east of Daniel Rapalje's 
(threw open the fence) and crossed the fields to the south of Howard's Half-way House, 
where they halted in front of his house. About 2 o'clock in the morning, after the 
market wagons had passed, Howe (?), with a citizen's hat on and a camlet cloak over 
his uniform, entered Win. Howard's tavern, attended by Clinton and two aids, and 
asked for something to drink, conversed Avith him, and asked if he had joined the 
association. Howard said that he had. " That's all very well— stick to your integrity. 
But now you are my prisoner, and must lead me across these hills out of the way of the 
enemy, the nearest way to Gowanus." Howard accordingly conducted the army by a 
passage-way between his house and horseshed over the Jiills and woods east of hi? Jwus'e, 
till they came to the cleared land north of the woods. The horses drew the artillery up 
the hill in a slanting direction, and halted on the brow to breathe a little. The army 
then proceeded west and came out at Baker's tavern, by the Gowanus road. The Brit- 
ish took Adj. Jeronimus Hoogland, (Lieut. Troup), and Lieut. Dunscomb, American 
patrols, at the big white-oak (since struck by lightning), in the middle of the road, by 
the mile-post, a little east of Howard's. Isaac Boerum, a trooper of New Lotts, was 
also taken in Bushwick, and died of small-pox in prison." — Onderdonk, Kings Co., sec. 

Lossing says (Field Book of Rev., ii. 807) that in 1852 William Howard, a son of this 
old Whig tavern-keeper, was still living, se. 90, in the old tavern (Howard's Half-way 
House) still (18G7) standing, although considerably altered, at the corner of Broadway 
and Fulton avenue. The part nearest the corner is the building, the other part being a 
house of Joseph Howard. He well remembered the above scene described in his 
father's statement. 



That portion of the Map printed in black is from Ratzer's Survey of 1766-67, and shows 
the farm lines, roads, houses, etc., etc., as then existing. Over this have been printed, in 
red, the street lines of the present city. The large figures are designed to indicate the 
several farms ; and the small figures, the houses, etc. etc., at the period of the Revolution ; 
those shown in outline having been erected since 1776. 


1. P. Reid (?). 4. Jeremiah Meserole. 

2. Teunis Tiebout, 1776. 5. Johnson. 

3. Peter Stothoff. 6. Jacob Ryerson. 

7. Rem Remsen, afterwards Barent Lefferts. House pulled down about 1840. 

8. Barent Lefferts. 

9. Michael Yandervoort, 1776 : afterwards Jacobus De Bevoise. House pulled down 


10. Cornelius Vanderhoef, afterwards Leffert Lefferts. 

11. Jeronimus Remsen, afterwards Barent Lefferts and Rem Lefferts. House pulled 

down 1838. 

12. Lambert Suydam, afterwards Daniel Lott, now Chas. Betts. House pulled down 1856. 

13. Abraham Van Enden, afterwards Benjamin Hinchman. House pulled down 1819. 

14. Nicholas Blom, afterwards Charles Turnbull, Leffert Lefferts, Sr., 1791, and John Lef- 

ferts. House rebuilt about 1787. 

15. Peter Yande water. Hendriek Suydam, 1791 ; Leffert Lefferts, Jr., 1835. 

16. Andris Andriese, Leffert Lefferts, Sr., 1774; Leffert Lefferts, Jr. 

17. Benjamin and Jacobus Yandewater to Hendriek Fine, 1743; Fine to Jacobus Lefferts, 

1753 ; L. Lefferts, Sr. and Jr. 

18. H. Fine to Jacobus Lefferts, 1753. Partly from Executors of Andris Andriese. House 

built about 1750. 

19. Peter Yandewater, Robert De Bevoise. 

20. Isaac (?) Selover. 

21. Rem Cowenhoven, Teunis Tiebout, Nicholas Cowenhoven. 

22. Rem Vanderbeek and Lambert Andriese, afterwards Barent Lefferts. 

23. John Cowenhoven, Isaac Cortelyou, and others, being part of first division Brooklyn 



1. The Tiebout house, afterwards occupied by Nicholas Cowenhoven, subsequently by 

Robert Wilson. 

2. The Selover house. 

3. Rem Vanderbeek, afterwards Robert De Bevoise. 

4. Judge Leffert Leffert^ house, built in 1838, now the residence of J. Carson Brevoort, Esq. 

5. Judge Leffert Lefferts' old house, built about 1753. 

6. N. Blom's house, rebuilt, 1787, by Charles TurnbulL an officer of the British arm} 

afterwards occupied by John Leffert-. 

7. Abm. Van Enden's, then B. Binchman's, and more recently J. P. Brinckerhoffs. 

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. :i. 

11. Old house pulled down in 1841. 

r.'. Michael Vandervoort, afterwards Jacobus De Bevoise. 

l:;. Bedford village burial-ground— the Lefferts' family burying-ground in the rear. 

14. Old Remsen (?) family burying-ground. 

15. Two acres bought by Brooklyn and Jamaica Turnpike Co., for a gravel bank. 
Ki. Negro burying-ground. 


■ hv ' 'H •" . '•■ ' . ;' ' iii zr 


sword, to lead a detachment of the troops around the Pass, through 
a bridle-path, known as the " Bockaway Path," ' which traversed 
the present Evergreen Cemetery. Much to the surprise of the 
British generals, the pass which they had so carefully flanked was 
found to be entirely unguarded, 2 and the fact was immediately com- 
municated to the main body, then halted on the (East New York) 
plains. Clinton promptly pushed forward a battalion of light infan- 
try to secure the pass, and at daybreak he followed with his own com- 
mand along the Jamaica road, and so completely possessed himself of 
the heights, as virtually to decide the fortunes of the day. He was 
followed by Lord Percy with the main body, consisting of the Guards, 
the 2d, 3d, and 5th Brigades, with ten field-pieces, who halted in his 
rear at an hour before daylight. They in turn were followed by the 
49th Kegiment, with four medium 12-pounders and the baggage, 
under its own escort. Being now in position on the Bushwick hills, 
where they breakfasted, the troops resumed their march along the 
Jamaica turnpike to Bedford, which they reached about half-past 
eight o'clock, while the Americans were as yet unaware that they 
had left Flatlands. 3 Pressing forward now with renewed energy, 
the head of the column, by nine o'clock, had reached and occupied 
the junction of the Flatbush road and the Jamaica turnpike. The 
British line now extended from that point to Bedford, and at the 
distance of half a mile from the rear of the Americans, who were 
contesting the possession of the Flatbush hills with De Heister — all 
unconscious that the trap had sprung upon them, and that they were 
hemmed in on all sides. But so it was. Sullivan, indeed, seems to 
have been so completely duped by the feint which Grant was making 

1 The course of this " Rockaway footpath," which formed one of the boundaries of 
the original Indian purchase of Bedford {ante, 159), is accurately traced upon the Bat- 
tle Map which illustrates this chapter. 

2 The Hessian account says that " he learned in a distance of one mile and a half from 
it, by a reconnoitring party, as others say by a captured American picket," — most 
probably the latter. 

3 We have it, on excellent authority, that when the British column reached " Bed- 
ford Corners," the profound silence and secrecy which had previously characterized 
their movements, gave way to a feeling of exultant joy. They felt assured that the 
great object of their long and wary night-march was fully accomplished ; their bands 
struck up lively strains of martial music, and, with elastic step, the troops pressed 
eagerly forward towards Brooklyn. 


on Lis right in the direction of Gowanus, that he quite neglected to 
send out any fresh patrols towards Jamaica, although he had foretold 
that the real danger would come froni that quarter. l 

Fatal mistake ! The battle was lost before it had been begun. 

All these movements had not been unobserved by Washington, 
who, although receiving hourly reports from Putnam's camp, could 
not rest satisfied without a personal inspection of the state of affairs. 
All the previous day (26th) he had spent on Long Island, visiting 
the redoubts and guard-posts, reconnoitring the enemy, and thor- 
oughly acquainting himself with the relative position of the two 
armies. The movements which he had observed towards evening, 
on the centre and right of the British force, were ominous of an im- 
mediate conflict. He, too, shared the general apprehension that the 
city of New York wo.uld be attacked by the enemy's fleet ; and the 
Southern brigades of the troops on Long Island, although the 
choicest, best equipped and officered in the army, had as yet 
never engaged in battle. What wonder, then, that his mind, as he 
returned to New York that evening, was filled with anxious thoughts 
and apprehensions of the morrow? At no period in his previous 
career had the responsibilities of his position and the welfare of his 
beloved country weighed so heavily upon him as on the eve of what 
was to be the first pitched battle of the Revolution, and upon the 
event of which the destiny of America seemed to be staked. Yet 
his heart was buoyed up by a firm reliance on Him who doeth all 
things well — faith was triumphant o'er his fears, and after supping 
cheerfully with his military staff, he calmly remarked, as he with- 
drew at an early hour to his chamber, " The same Providence that 
rules to-day will rule to-morrow, gentlemen. Good-night." 

Let us now return to the operations of the left wing and centre of 
the British army. Almost simultaneously with the march of the 
right wing on the previous evening, the left, under Gen. Grant, had 
advanced towards Brooklyn, partly by the Coast Koad, 2 and partly by 

1 See his letter to Washington. 

1 This was not the present road along the verge of the high bank froni Yellow Hook 
to Gowanus; but a road which ran along the slopes further inland, nearly on the line 
of present Third avenue. (See the Battle Map illustrating this chapter.) 


way of Martense's Lane. 1 At midnight they reached the lower pass 
in the Lane, where they met a guard (probably a portion of Atlee's 
Pennsylvania regiment) commanded by Major Bird, 2 who retreated 
before them, and sent an alarm to Gen. Putnam, within the lines. 
About 3 o'clock on the morning of the 27th, Stirling, who was occu- 
pying the junction of the Gowanus and Port roads, was informed by 
Putnam in person of the enemy's advance, and requested to check 
them with the two regiments nearest at hand. These happened to 
be Hazlet's Delaware battalion and Smallwood's Maryland regi- 
ment, 3 which promptly turned out, and, with Lord Stirling at their 
head, were soon en route for the Narrows, closely followed by Gen- 
eral Parsons with Colonel Huntington's Connecticut regiment of 
two hundred and fifty men. "Within half a mile of the Ked 
Lion Tavern they came up with Col. Atlee's regiment, slowly re- 
tiring before the advancing British column, whose front was then 
just coming into sight through the gray dawn of morning, a little in 
advance of the present entrance to the Cemetery. 4 The American 
line of battle was promptly formed across the Coast Koad, reaching 
from the bay on the east to the crest of the hills which form the 

1 In Gen. Stirling's letter to "Washington, written from the enemy's fleet, where he 
was then a prisoner of war, he says " the enemy were advancing by the road from 
Flatbush to the Red Lion." 

2 Major Byrd, or Bird, was an officer in Atlee's regiment, and was taken prisoner. 

Also see the following extract from a letter written by an officer in Col. Atlee's bat- 
talion, dated Aug. 27 : " Yesterday about 120 of our men went as a guard to a place 
on Long Island called Red Lion ; about eleven at night the sentries descried two men 
coming up a water-melon patch, upon which our men fired on them. The enemy the* 
retreated, and about one o'clock advanced with 200 or 300 men, and endeavored to sur- 
round our guard, but they being watchful, gave them two or three fires, and retreated 
to alarm the remainder of the battalion, except one lieutenant and about fifteen men, 
who have not been heard of as yet. About four o'clock this morning, the alarm was 
given by beating to arms, when the remainder of our battalion, accompanied by the 
Delaware and Maryland battalions, went to the place our men retreated from. About 
a quarter of a mile this side we saw the enemy, when we got into the woods (our 
battalion being the advanced guard) amidst the incessant fire of their field-pieces, 
loaded with grape-shot, which continued till ten o'clock," etc. — Onderdonk, sec. 813. 

3 The commanders of these regiments were then absent in New York, in attendance 
upon a court-martial, and did not arrive on the ground until the battle had begun. 

4 Authentic neighborhood tradition locates the scene of this first skirmish in the 
vicinity of 38th and 39th streets, between 2d and 3d avenues. At this spot the old 
road ran along the edge of a swamp (now filled up, but then known as the swamp 
of Simon de Hart (ante, pp. 49-55 and map), and here several lives were lost. See, 
also, Cleveland, in " Greenwood Illustrated," p. 88. 


western boundary of Greenwood Cemetery. Placing Atlee's force 
in ambush as skirmishers, in an orchard 1 on the south side of the 
Coast or Gowanus road, near its intersection with the present 18th 
street, Stirling, at the head of Hazlet's and Smallwood's regiments, 
took his position on the slopes of the hills, between 18th and 20th 
streets, a little to the northwest of " Battle Hill," in Greenwood. 2 A 
company of riflemen were posted, partly on the edge of the woods 
and partly along a hedge near the foot of the hill, and some of the 
Maryland regiment took position at a wooded hill on a curve of the 
road at the foot of the present 23d street, then called " Blokje's 

1 This was Wynant Bennett's orchard, a few trees of which yet remain in the south- 
west part of Greenwood Cemetery. 

2 Traditions current among the old inhabitants of the Gowanus neighborhood, and 
worthy of credit, especially mark " Battle Hill" as a place of historic interest. Here it 
is said a small body of riflemen had been stationed, among the trees which then 
crowned that eminence ; and when the right wing of the British army (under Corn- 
wallis), unconscious of 4heir presence, had approached within range, these unerring 
marksmen commenced their fire, each ball bringing down an officer. Unfortunately 
for them, the hill was surrounded before they covdd escape, and they were all shot 
down. " Here, too, in all probability, they were afterward interred ; and thus enriched 
by the blood of patriots — thus mingling with their dust — we may safely suppose that 
this mount of burial received its first consecration." 

Furman, in his Notes on Brooklyn, written in 1824, when opportunities for learning 
authentic facts were good, relates the following : " In this battle, part of the British 
army marched down a lane or road (Port Road) leading from the Brush tavern (at Valley 
Grove) to Gowanus, pursuing the Americans. Several of the American riflemen, in 
order to be more secure, and, at the same time, more effectually to succeed in their de- 
signs, had posted themselves in the high trees^near the road. One of them, whose name 
is now partially forgotten, shot the English Major Grant: in this he passed unobserved. 
Again he loaded his deadly rifle and fired : another English officer fell. He was then 
marked, and a platoon ordered to advance and fire into the tree ; which order was 
immediately carried into execution, and the rifleman fell to the ground, dead. After 
the battle was over, the two British officers were buried in a field near where they 
fell, and their graves fenced in with some posts and rails, where their remains still 
rest. But, ' for an example to the rebels,' they refused to the American rifleman the 
rites of sepulchre ; and his remains were exposed on the ground till the flesh was rot- 
ted and torn off his bones by the fowls of the air. After a considerable length of time, 
in a heavy gale of wind, a large tree was uprooted ; in the cavity formed by which 
some friends to the Americans, notwithstanding the prohibition of the English, placed 
the brave soldier's bones to mingle in peace with their kindred earth." 

Mr. H. E. Pierrepont, of this city, informs us that along the line of trees and hedge at 
the funeral entrance of Greenwood Cemetery, the American riflemen, as tradition relates, 
made a desperate stand. And old Mr. Garret Bergen used to relate, as a boyish recol- 
lection, that so deadly and determined was their fire, which seemed mainly directed at 
the officers, that a British officer came rushing into his father's house, and dropping 
into a chair, exclaimed that " he'd be d — d if he was going to expose himself to that 
fire ; that the d — d rascals picked out all the officers." 


Barracks." 1 Then, as the patriots awaited the enemy's attack, Stir- 
ling addressed them in a brief and pithy speech, and reminding them 
that he had heard Gen. Grant, the commander of that advancing col- 
umn, boast in the British Parliament, only a few months before, that 
the Americans could not fight, and that, with 5,000 men, he would 
undertake to march from one end of the continent to the other, he 
exclaimed, as he pointed to the head of Gowanus Bay, " Grant may 
have his 5,000 men with him now — we are not so many — but I think 
we are enough to prevent his advancing further on his march than 
that mill-pond." 

Just then the British vanguard came within range of Atlee's men, 
who gave them two or three rounds with spirit, and fell back on 
Blokje's Barracks, which brought him on the left of Stirling, who 
was on the hills. At this moment Col. Kichline's rifle corps, Col. 
De Haas' battalion, and Capt. Carpenter, with two field-pieces, came 
up. Gen. Stirling immediately posted a portion of Kichline's rifle- 
men behind a hedge at the foot of the hills, and a portion in front of 
the wood, while a detachment of light troops were ordered to occupy 
the orchard just left by Atlee, and behind some hedges. It was now 
broad daylight, and a brisk skirmishing was maintained for two 
hours between the British and American light troops, until Carpen- 
ter managed, with some difficulty, to get his two cannon into posi- 
tion on the hill, and then his fire, combined with Kichline's rifles, 

1 Near the intersection of 3d avenue and 23d street, the old road passed over a 
small hill known as "Blokje's Berg," north of which was a ditch which drained a 
morass and swamp lying east of said hill, into Gowanus Cove. The road crossed the 
ditch on a small bridge. The British column is said to have advanced as far as this 
hill, when it was checked by the Americans who had taken a position on the north 
side of this ditch and morass, the easterly end of which abutted on the woods. Owing 
to the strong natural impediment which the morass and ditch afforded to the advance 
of the British, the American riflemen were enabled to make fearful havoc among the 
ranks of the foe, before they could be dislodged. Many of the British were killed and 
buried in pits along the borders of the morass. (See ante, pp. 58, 59.) 

In advancing from the Narrows, the British compelled many of the residents to 
accompany them in the capacity of guides. Peter Bennet, of Gowanus, stated that 
himself and one of his neighbors, acting in this capacity, under compulsion, in guiding 
a small detachment across the fields in the vicinity of the swamp at Blokje's Berg, 
stumbled upon a body of American riflemen, sheltered behind one of the hedges which 
formed a farm boundary, who shot down nearly the whole body of the enemy in their 
front, leaving himself and fellow guide standing almost alone. It is needless to say 
that the few survivors beat a hasty retreat.— Communicated by Hon. T. G. Bergen, of 
New Utrecht. 


proved too hot for the British, who finally relinquished the orchard, 
which was immediately reoccupied by Atlee's men. One of Grant's 
brigades was now formed upon the hills in two lines, some six hun- 
dred yards opposite to Stirling's right, the balance of his force facing 
Stirling's left, in a single line, across the Greenwood hills. 1 He also 
pushed forward a howitzer to within three hundred yards of the 
American right, and a battery of two guns opposite to their left. The 
battle, however, was rather spiritless, as Stirling's object was mainly 
to keep Grant in check for a time, while Grant's instructions were not 
to force an attack until warned by guns from the British right wing 
that Clinton had succeeded in gaining the rear of the American lines. 
Meantime, the sky was lowery, and a fresh breeze from the northeast 
hindered the advance of the British ships, with the exception of the 
inferior Roebuck, which, beating up against wind and tide, opened 
a fire upon the Red Hook battery, and received a brisk and effec- 
tive return. 

Leaving Grant and Stirling thus engaged, let us return to the centre 
of the American lines, on the Flatbush hills, where sunrise found Sul- 
livan's men yet awaiting, as they had awaited ever since the 23d, 
the attack of the British force in their front. De Heister, at day- 
break, opened a cannonade from his position at Flatbush upon the 
redoubt on the neighboring hill, where Hand's rifle-corps were 
posted, supported by the troops of Cols. Wyllys and Miles, on the 
Bedford road. Hearing this, Gen. Sullivan hastened forward with 

1 Mr. T. W. Field, the closest student of our Revolutionary battle-ground, and whose 
monograph on the subject will shortly be put to press, gives the following lucid state- 
ment, which will do much to clear up tbe confusion which has hitherto prevailed 
among lnstorians in regard to the position of the American line on the right : 

"Lord Stirling's line at this time formed two sides of a triangle, of which the 
hypothenuse was a line drawn from the Flatbush Road, near its junction with the 
Port Road, to the shore of the bay near the foot of Twenty-third street. The obtuse 
angle at the centre was yet unprotected by the two-gun battery which had been ordered 
up. From this point to the shore of Gowanus Bay was a distance of half a mile, along 
which the front was now warmly engaged. The right wing, resting on the bay, occu- 
pied the deep cut in the road at Blokje's Barracks. The security of this position from 
an assault in front, increased by a salt creek setting up into the land four or five hun- 
dred feet, made it one of no insignificant strength, so that, later in the day, the torrent 
of war sweeping around it left it unassailed. From the top of the hills the line bent 
northerly along the high ground to near the junction of Fifth avenue and Third street. 
This portion of the line was comprised of reserves — a portion of the Delaware Battalion 
and such supporting troops as Putnam could spare from the intrenchments. The left 


four hundred riflemen, on a reconnoissance along the slope of the 
hills in part of his lines, and to the eastward of his centre, being all 
this time utterly ignorant of the fact that Clinton had gained his rear. 
De Heister, however, did not advance, but continued to blaze away 
at the redoubt, in order to keep the attention of the Americans in 
that direction, until late in the forenoon, when signal-guns from the 
northward assured him that Clinton had gained the American rear. 
Then, ordering Count Donop to charge the redoubt, he followed with 
the remainder of his division. The redoubt was quickly carried, 
and the impetuous Hessian yagers eagerly pressed forward into 
the woods south of the Port Eoad, driving the American riflemen 
before them, and taking possession of the coverts and lurking- 
places from which they dislodged them ; so that, in a brief space 
of time, the latter found themselves more than matched by their 
German foes. The grenadiers followed the yagers into the woods, 
admirably preserving their lines, and slowly but surely pressing 
back the Americans at the point of the bayonet upon the main 
body, now fatally weakened by the withdrawal of four hundred men, 
which formed Sullivan's reconnoissance. That general, alarmed by 
Clinton's cannon, which revealed to him the fact that his flank had 
been turned, and fully alive to the danger of his position, was now 
in full retreat for the American lines. But, as his imperilled troops 
hurried down the rough and densely wooded slope of Mount Pros- 
pect, they were met on the open plain of Bedford by the British 
light infantry and dragoons, and hurled back again upon the Hes- 
sian bayonets, which bristled along the woods. Meanwhile, a heavy 
force from Clinton and Cornwallis' left, near Bedford, had cut the 
American lines at the " Clove Eoad," and Col. Miles' panic-stricken 
troops were flying for their lives. Parties of Americans, also, 
retreating from the onset of the Hessians towards the Bedford road, 

wing, it will thus be seen, occupied a long, irregular line, in which were breaks of fear- 
ful length, which the Hessians, later in the day, took fatal advantage of. In conse- 
quence of the peculiar formation of the line, the extreme left wing was much nearer 
the extreme right than the centre, and when called into action to re-enforce the front, 
actually exchanged positions. From this circumstance, the accounts of the Gowanus 
battle have been found so conflicting as to be almost incomprehensible, and its varying 
phases can only be thus explained. It was thus that a portion of the Delaware regi- 
ment met and repulsed the advanced squads of the Second British Grenadiers on the 
extreme left, near Tenth street and Fifth avenue." 



found themselves face to face with the dense columns of British 
troops, and turning back in dismay, became mingled hopelessly 
with the troops from the extreme left of Sullivan's line, who 
were hurrying forward to escape by the same road. The confused 
strife — for a battle it was not — which ensued is too terrible for the 
imagination to dwell upon. Broken up into small handfuls, the 
unfortunate Americans, fighting hopelessly but desperately, were 
tossed to and fro between British and Hessian bayonets. No mercy 
was shown j 1 the hireling mercenaries of Britain glutted themselves 

1 An officer in Gen. Frazer's Bat, 71st Reg't, writes : " The Hessians and our brave 
Highlanders gave no quarters ; and it was a fine sight to see with what alacrity they 
dispatched the rebels with their bayonets, after we had surrounded them so they could 
not resist. We took care to tell the Hessians that the rebels had resolved to give no 
quarter — to them in particular — which made them fight desperately, and put to death 
all that came into their hands." 

Another British officer of rank, and more humane and generous of heart, writes : 
"The Americans fought bravely, and (to do them justice) could not be broken till they 
were greatly outnumbered and taken in flank, front and rear. We were greatly 
shocked at the massacre made by the Hessians and Highlanders, after victory was 

Mas von Elking (Hist, of the German Auxiliary troops in the North American War 
of Independence, i. 33 et alios), in reference to this point, says : " Great excitement 
and rage on the part of the Hessians cannot be denied, but it was chiefly caused by 
some squads of the enemy (Americans), who, after being surrounded and having asked 
for quarter, fired again upon the unsuspecting Hessians, who had advanced towards 
them (to accept their surrender). The British surpassed the Hessians in that respect. 
Col. von Heeringen, in his letter to Col. von Lossberg, remarks, ' The English did not 
give much quarter, and continually incited our troops to do the same.' We have seen 
in his letter, as previously quoted, how treacherously Col. John acted towards the Hes- 
sian grenadier, and how the Pennsylvania regiment, after having been surrounded, 
gave another volley. The natural consequence of this was an increase of the fury of 
well-disciplined troops, unused to such a manner of fighting. That the Hessians did 
not massacre all their enemies, we have seen from the fact that the regiment Rail, 
encountering a squad of Americans, made them prisoners without any cruelty." Many 
Americans did not accept quarter from the Hessians. ' They were so much fright- 
ened,' writes Lieut. Ruffer in his diary, ' that they preferred being shot down to 
taking quarter, because their generals and officers had told them that they would be 

" The conquerors showed their contempt for the conquered by putting them to the 
guns, which they had to draw, over very bad roads, to the ships ; although this appears 
to have been more the result of necessity than of insolence, as there were no horses, 
and the English and German troops, already very exhausted, would otherwise have 
been obliged to do it themselves." " Howe treated the captive generals with great 
civility ; Stirling and Sullivan dined with him almost every clay." 

Max von Elking gives what may be considered the Hessian version of this engage- 
ment : " As soon as Gen. von Heister heard the reports of artillery on his right, and 


with blood. The unequal fight was maintained by the heroic band, 
with all the ferocity of despair, from nine o'clock until twelve, when 

knew, from its direction, that the flanking movement had succeeded, he formed 
quickly for the attack. In front were the grenadiers, in three divisions, and in front 
of them, as flankers, a company of yagers under Capt. Wredon. The brigade von 
Mirbach covered the left flank. The troops advanced bravely, with martial music 
sounding and colors flying, and ascended the hills in the best order, — the men drag- 
ging the cannons with the greatest caution through the dense forest. When, with but 
little loss by the enemy's (American) artillery, the troops had reached the crest of the 
hill, the line was formed with as much care as on the parade-ground. The Americans 
(rifle skirmishers) were quickly driven back by the advancing flankers — many were 
killed or captured — while the Hessian regiments followed with closed ranks and shoul- 
dered muskets. ' The enemy,' wrote Col. von Heeringen to Col. von Lossberg, ' had 
almost impenetrable thickets, lines, abatis, and redoubts before him. The riflemen 
were mostly pierced by the bayonets to the trees. These terrible men deserve more 
pity than fear, — they want nearly fifteen minutes for loading their pieces, and during 
that time they feel our balls and bayonets.' The yagers of the left wing, eager for the 
combat, rushed forward so rapidly that their captain could not restrain them. They 
penetrated the works of the American encampment, and saw it on their left, a redoubt 
to their right. The Americans, surprised by the sudden appearance of the Hessians, 
rallied into groups of fifty to sixty men ; but having no time to form, were shot down, 
dispersed, or captured. This happened in view of the garrison within the enemy's lines. 

" The Americans supposed that the Hessians would not give quarter. Every one of 
them tried to sell his life as dearly as possible, or to save it by flight, while the Hes- 
sians grew more exasperated and angry in consequence of this apparently obstinate 
and useless resistance. Therefore ensued a violent contest, here in larger or smaller 
crowds, there in wild and irregular rout. A part tried to escape into the woods, but 
a great many fell into swamps and perished miserably, or were captured. Only a 
small number succeeded in cutting their way through and reaching their lines. The 
Hessians fired only once, and then attacked with their bayonets." 

Lord Percy writes from the camp at Newtown, Sept. 4 : "It was the General's orders 
that the troops should receive the rebels' first fire, and then rush on them before they 
had recovered their arms, with our bayonets, which threw them into the utmost con- 

The Hessian account also mentions that "in this first battle in which the auxil- 
iaries were engaged in the New World, all the German field-officers and aids were 
on foot, as their own horses had not been brought over from the old country, and new 
ones had not yet been provided. Col. Donop's aid thus writes in his diary : ' Almost 
all the officers of the staff and the subaltern officers were on foot, their cloaks rolled up 
on their shoidders, and a large canteen, filled with rum and water, suspended from 
their sides. I had to do the same, although I aeted as an aid ; and whenever my 
brigade general, Col. von Donop, wished to send a dispatch, he alighted and gave me 
his old but good steed, which he had brought over from Hessia.' Another novelty was 
that many officers, while marching or fighting, had their rifles over their shoulders. 
Col. Donop himself carried one, and would have probably been lost without it. During 
the skirmishing a rifleman near by aimed at him, but he, anticipating him, shot him 
through the head. The officers of skirmishers also carried muskets and bayonets, and 
the privates were allowed to do what their discipline had previously forbidden, viz., 
to carry their sabres aoross their breasts, in order to unbutton, in the unaccustomed 
heat, their coats, made of a coarse, heavy cloth." 


the survivors surrendered, and the enemy was victorious. 1 The 
few who, nerved by their horrible situation, succeeded in cutting their 
way through the gleaming wall of bayonets and sabres which en- 
circled them, were pursued within musket-shot of the American 
lines by the grenadiers, who were with the utmost difficulty re- 
strained by their officers from storming Fort Putnam. 2 Other fugi- 
tives, less fortunate, were skulking along the hills and seeking, amid 
the swamps and thickets, a temporary respite from capture. Some 
in larger bodies, had succeeded in getting through the Hessian skir- 
mish line, which now occupied the strip of woods between the Port 
Eoad and salt meadows, and were pouring across the dam of 
Freeke's Mill. 3 But, upon this confused and panic-stricken crowd, 
the Hessians opened a destructive fire from some guns posted on 
the hills, near the Ninth avenue ; and to escape this new horror, 
many diverged to the south ; some being shot and others drowned 
while struggling through the mud and water of the creeks which 
abound in that vicinity. Gen. Sullivan was captured by three fusi- 
leers of the Kegiment von Knyphausen, concealed in a cornfield, 

1 The most sanguinary conflict occurred after the Americans had left the Flathush 
Pass, and attempted to retreat to the lines at Brooklyn. The place of severest contest, 
and where Sullivan and his men were made prisoners, was upon the slope between the 
Flatbush avenue and the Long Island railway (Atlantic street), between Bedford and 
Brooklyn, near " Baker's Tavern," at a little east of the junction of these avenues. — 
Lossing, Field-Book of Rev., ii. p. 810. " Between Washington avenue and Third 
street, the low ground in the neighborhood of Greene and Fourth avenues, and the 
heights overlooking Flatbush." — T. W. Field. 

2 Gen. Robertson says : " The battalion of grenadiers, led by Col. Stuart, and 33d regi- 
ment, ran across a field beyond the Flatbush road towards the principal redoubt (Fort 
Putnam, now Fort Greene). Gen. Vaughan asked if he should attack the lines (which 
were semicircular and the parapets lined with spears and lances), but he was ordered 
back." The London Chronicle says: "Col. Monckton and Gen. Vaughan led the 
grenadiers and light infantry. They saw the advantage, and told Howe the rebels 
were shut up between the British and the sea. Vaughan stormed with rage at being 
stopped, and sent word to Howe that he could force the lines with inconsiderable loss." 

It is further stated that the American cannon not being well pointed, a large num- 
ber of the shot overreached the British ; but some were killed and wounded by the fire 
of small-arms from the lines. It was stated by several of the militia that the bullets 
whistled over their heads as they stood in the ditch. Gen. Putnam rode along the 
lines, ordering them not to fire till they could see the whites of the enemy's eyes. A 
wounded British officer was brought into Boerum's bolt-house, which was used as a 
hospital, and where were several rows of beds occupied by the wounded. — See Onder- 
donk, Kings Co., sec. 805. 

3 Ante, pp. 99, 100. 


about three hundred feet from the position of Colonel von Heer- 

Before midday the terrible struggle was over. The Hessian rifle- 
men were rapidly extending their skirmish lines over and through 
the hills towards Gowanus, the British right wing was now massed 
in force upon the scene of its victory, and Earl Cornwallis was 
pushing, with a heavy column, down the Port Eoad, upon the left 
and rear of Stirling, whose long thin line had been anxiously 
awaiting, since early dawn, the impending onset of actual battle. 

While this was going on, a similar scene was enacting in the 
direction of Gowanus. It was at early dawn, as we have seen, that 
Washington and the inhabitants of the city were aroused by the 
rattle of musketry which announced the advance of Grant's division 
near Greenwood. In the city all was anxiety and trepidation, for 
the appearance and movements of the British fleet betokened the 
attack which had been so long anticipated. Washington was in the 
saddle by daybreak, and the drum-beat resounded from all the 
alarm-posts. But as the hours passed, and the vessels, with the 
exception of the Boebuck, remained quietly at anchor, Washing- 
ton, relieved of his anxiety as to the immediate danger of the city, 
hastened over to the lines at Brooklyn, where, from the eminence 
upon which Fort Putnam stood, he became the agonized witness of 
the rout and slaughter of Sullivan's command, to whom he could 
send no succor without unduly weakening the lines. As, with 
troubled spirit, he gazed upon the scene, he observed, emerging 
from the woods on his left, a heavy British column, which descended 
the hills in the direction of Stirling's division. It was Earl Corn- 
wallis, who had been detached, with the larger part of the right 
wing of the British army, to co-operate with General Grant in his 
movements on Gowanus Bay, by occupying the junction of the 
Port and Gowanus roads. Stirling, meanwhile, doubtless wonder- 
ing at Grant's forbearance, was totally unconscious of Cornwallis' 

1 Heeringen, in his report, thus speaks of his prize : # John Sullivan is a lawyer, and 
had previously been a servant ; but he is a man of genius, whom the rebels will badly 
miss. He was brought before me. I ordered him to be searched, and found upon his 
person the original orders of General Washington, from which it was evident that he 
had the best troops under his command, that every thing depended upon the maintain- 
ing possession of the woods, and that he had 8,000 men." 


movement upon his rear, until startled by the signal-guns with 
which the earl announced his approach to Grant. Then, as the 
truth burst upon him, he found that his retreat towards the lines at 
Brooklyn was intercepted, and that he was fairly trapped between 
two superior forces of the enemy. At the same time came tidings 
of the defeat of Sullivan upon his left. Grant, largely re-enforced, 1 
was now in full motion, and pressing fiercely on his front. Colonel 
Atlee and his corps were made prisoners, after a series of spirited 
and desperate skirmishes ; General Parsons' command, on the ex- 
treme left, had mostly been taken prisoners ; a and Stirling, finding 
that he was fast being surrounded, saw that his only chance of 
escape was to drive Cornwallis, who then was occupying the " Cortel- 
you house" as a redoubt, up the Port Boad towards Flatbush, and by 
getting between him and Port Box, on the opposite side of the creek, 
to escape, under cover of its guns, across Brower's mill-dam. 3 He 
knew that his attack upon the earl would, at all events, give time for 
escape to his countrymen, whom he saw struggling through the salt 
morasses and across the narrow causeway of Freeke's mill-pond. 

1 This re-enforcement consisted of 2,000 men, who landed in boats, in Bennet's Cove, 
between ten and eleven o'clock A. M. See Colonel Smallwood's letter, Onderdonk, pec. 
811, also sec. 810 and 813, and Bancroft, ix. 92, who says that Admiral Howe, " having 
learned that Grant's division, which halted at the edge of the woods, was in want of 
ammunition, went himself with a supply from his slup, sending his boat's crew with it 
on their backs up the hill, while further supplies followed from the storeships." 

During this re-enforcement Lieut. Wragg and twenty of the British marines, mis- 
taking Colonel Hazlet's Delaware regiment, who had just been ordered up from the 
left to the front (ante, p. 272, note), received several fires from them without returning 
them, and, on advancing towards them to correct their supposed error, were captured 
and marched to the rear under the charge of Lieut. Popham, whose amusing account 
of the affair will be found in Onderdonk, sec. 818. Original MSS. in library of L. I. 
Historical Society. See also Onderdonk, sec. 806, 819 ; also, post, p. 281 of this 

2 Parsons, it seems, had " left his men in quest of orders, was intercepted, concealed 
himself in a swamp, and came into camp the next morning by way of the East River." 
Bancroft, ix. 92 ; Penn. Journal, Sept. 11, 76. 

3 " The lines between Box Fort and the creek were not completed the day before. 
There was an opening adjoining the creek which it was thought the enemy were 
acquainted with ; for when th«y came to it, and found the entrance closed with a 
breastwork and other defences, they appeared confounded." — Account in Independent 
(Boston l Chronicle, September 19, '76. Also, see Life of Stephen Olney of Rhode 
Island, p. 175 : "All that seemed to prevent the enemy from taking our main fort 
was a scarecrow row of pahsades, from the fort to low- water in the cove, which Major 
Box had set up that morning." 


The generous thought was followed by heroic action. Quickly 
changing his front, and leaving the main body in conflict with Gen- 
eral Grant, Stirling placed himself at the head of Smallwood's regi- 
ment, and forming hurriedly (in the vicinity of the present Fifth ave- 
nue and Tenth street), the column moved along the Gowanus road, in 
face of a storm of fire from cannon, musketry, and rifles. Driving the 
enemy's advance back upon the stone house, from the windows of 
which the bullets rattled mercilessly into their ranks, they pushed 
unfalteringly forward, until checked by a fire of canister and grape 
from a couple of guns which the British hurriedly wheeled into posi- 
tion near the building. Even then they closed up their wasted ranks 
and endeavored to face the storm, and again were repulsed. Thrice 
again these brave young Marylanders charged upon the house, 
once driving the gunners from their pieces within its shadow ; but 
numbers overwhelmed them, and for twenty minutes the fight was 
terrible. Washington, Putnam, and the other general officers who 
witnessed it from the ramparts of Ponkiesbergh Fort, saw the over- 
whelming force with which their brave compatriots were contending, 
and held their breath in suspense and fear. As they saw the gal- 
lant Marylanders attempt to cut their way through the surrounding 
host, Washington wrung his hands, in the intensity of his emotion, 
and exclaimed, "Good God, what brave fellows I must this day 
lose !" Driven back into a neighboring cornfield, some were cap- 
tured, some were bayoneted, while a few escaped across the Gow- 
anus marsh. While Stirling was thus keeping Cornwallis in check, 
a large portion of those whom he had left fighting with Grant had 
found safety by wading or swimming across Gowanus Creek, which 
they did with difficulty, it is true ; but they finally reached the lines, 
carrying with them the tattered colors of Smallwood's regiment and 
over twenty prisoners. A few were lost, either in the creek or on its 
marshy margin. 1 Less fortunate than those whom his intrepidity 
had saved, Stirling found escape impossible. Deprived of nearly 

1 The statement — founded partially on General Howe's official dispatches, and partly 
on the local traditions of the neighborhood — that la/rge numbers were drowned in 
attempting to cross the marsh, is probably somewhat exaggerated. Colonel Hazlet, of 
the Delaware regiment, states that the retreat " was effected in good order, with the 
loss of one man drowned in passing." Colonel Smallwood, who covered the retreat, 
instances only seven, two of whom were Hessian prisoners. 


all his men — more than 250 of whom belonged to Smallwood's gal- 
lant Maryland regiment, the flower of the American army 1 — he fled 
over the hills, until unable to elude pursuit ; but disdaining to yield 
to a British subject, he sought out and surrendered himself to De 
Heister, and was immediately sent on board the British flagship 
Eagle, where he found Sullivan and others fellow-prisoners of war. 

Thus ended the battle at high noon. Ere evening drew its pall 
around the battle-field, fully one-half of the five thousand patriot 
army, which had that morning gone forth to battle for their country, 
were dead, wounded, or imprisoned. 

The victorious Britons, as we have already seen, were with diffi- 
culty restrained from carrying the rebel lines by storm ; and it is 
quite probable that, in the heat and flush of the moment, they 
would have succeeded. Yet the struggle would have been fearfully 
desperate, and the victory dearly bought. For behind those re- 
doubts were 3,000 determined troops, animated by the presence of 
Washington and Putnam, and rendered desperate by the rout and 
misfortunes of their brave compatriots under Sullivan and Stirling, 
to which they had just been witnesses. Ignorant of their real force, 
but knowing that desperation would nerve them with new strength, 
Howe, profiting by the wholesome experience which he had gained 
at Bunker Hill a short time before, wisely declined the attempt. 
His artillery was not up ; he yet lacked fascines for filling the 
ditches, axes for cutting the abatis, and scaling-ladders to mount 
the parapets. 2 Preferring, therefore, to save the further loss of 
blood, and to secure his already certain victory by regular ap- 
proaches, he withdrew his troops to a hollow way in front of the 

1 Composed chiefly of young men of the most prominent and influential families of 
Maryland. Two hundred and fifty-six of them were slain in the desperate struggle 
with Cornwallis' grenadiers, near the Cortelyou house. These nohle martyrs of the 
Maryland and Delaware regiments were huried on a small island of dry ground, scarcely 
an acre in extent, which formerly rose out of the marshy salt-meadow on the farm of 
Adrian Van Brunt. This spot, then, and for some time afterwards, covered with trees 
and undergrowth, was carefully preserved intact from axe or plough during Mr. Van 
Brunt's lifetime ; hut the remorseless surveyor's lines have passed over it, and its site 
is now far below the grade of surrounding streets. Third avenue intersects its west- 
erly end, and Seventh and Eighth streets indicate two of its sides. (T. W. Field, 
the late T. G. Talmadge, and others.) 

8 Testimony of Captain Montressor before a Parliamentary Committee in 1779. 


American lines, out of range of their musketry, and encamped for 
the night. 1 

The strength of the American force engaged in this memorable 
conflict was about 5,000, while that of the British was fully treble 
that number. The precise loss of the former, on this occasion, was 
never known, owing to the capture of Generals Sullivan and Stir- 
ling, and the consequent absence of reliable returns from their 
divisions. 2 It was estimated, in General Howe's official dispatches, 

1 " Reliable reports say that General Von Heister learned, from the troops who pur- 
sued the retreating Americans to their lines, that the left part of the camp of the 
enemy near the river was open for a distance of several hundred paces. Accordingly, 
when the wings had again united with the centre, he reported the fact to General 
Howe, and made a, proposition to profit by the confusion of the enemy and the valor of 
the troops, to attack the camp forthwith, at this weak point ; but Howe manifested a 
number of scruples, and so missed the golden opportunity of completing his victory." 
— Von Elkin's Account. 

2 The prisoners comprised three generals, Stirling, Sullivan, and Woodhull, three 
colonels, four lieutenant-colonels, three majors, eighteen captains, forty-three lieuten- 
ants, one aid, eleven ensigns, and 1,011 men. In addition to these were taken fif- 
teen cannon, one howitzer, some stands of colors, ammunition-wagons, pioneers' tools, 
etc. The Hessians alone took one stand of colors, five guns, and five hundred prisoners, 
among tbem General Sullivan and thirty-five officers. — Howe's Return of Prisoners ; 
Onderdonk, sec. 821 ; and Hessian account in Von Elkin's work, which furthermore 
Bays : " Amongst the prisoners are many, so-called, colonels, lieut.-colonels, and majors, 
and other officers, who have all previously been tailors, shoemakers, barbers, etc. Some of 
them have been badly beaten by our men, because the latter did not consider them real 
officers. I did not find among the captured officers a single one who had been in foreign 
service before. They are all rebels and settled citizens. My Lord Stirling is nothing 
but an ' ecJiajjpe de famille.' He resembles my Lord Granby as one egg the other. 
General Putnam is a butcher by profession. The rebels desert frequently. It is not 
uncommon to see colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors coming into our lines with 
a number of men. The captured colors, made of red damask, with the motto ' Liberty,' 
came with sixty men to the regiment Rail ; they carried their muskets upside down, 
their hats under their arms, fell upon their knees, and begged for quarter. Not a single 
regiment is regularly uniformed or armed ; every one has his private musket, just as 
the Hessian citizens march out on Whitsuntide, except Stirling's regiment, which had 
a blue and red uniform, was three battalions strong, and consisted mostly of Germans 
enlisted in Pennsylvania. They were tall, fine men, and had very fine English mus- 
kets, with bayonets." It was this regiment which was mistaken by the second bat- 
talion of grenadiers as Hessians. (See ante, pp. 273, 278.) " The rebels' artillery is 
poor, their cannons being mostly of iron, and mounted on naval gun-carriages." Ban- 
croft, Hist. U. S., ix. 95, says : " The total loss of the Americans, including officers, 
was, after careful inquiry, found to be less than a thousand, of whom three-fourths 
were prisoners. This is the account always given by Washington, alike in his official 
report and in his most private letters. Its accuracy is confirmed by the special returns 
from those regiments which were the chief sufferers. More than half of this loss fell 
upon Stirling's command ; more than a fourth on the Maryland regiment alone." In 


at 3,300 ; and the British loss, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, 
at 3G7. 1 

The night (27th) which followed the battle was one of great 
anxiety to Washington. His fatigued, wounded, and dispirited sol- 
diers were but poorly sheltered against the heavy storm which 
seemed to be gathering ; the enemy was encamped before the hues ; 
the morrow would probably bring a renewal of the conflict. But 
his energy again triumphed over his fears. The long hours 
of night — yet all too short for the work in hand — were occupied 
with efforts to strengthen his position ; troops were ordered 
over from New York, from Fort Washington, and Kingsbridge ; 
nothing was left undone that human effort and foresight could 

The morning sky of the 28th was lowering and heavy, with masses 
of vapor which hung like a funeral-pall over sea and land. At four 
o'clock, and in the midst of a thick-falling mist, Washington visited 
every part of the works, encouraging his suffering soldiers with 

the absence of authorities on which Mr. Bancroft bases his estimate, we must consider 
it as considerably underrated. The stress which he lays upon this being the " account 
always given by Washington," etc., is, in our opinion, of little importance. It was 
policy on the part of that general, in the peculiarly demoralized and critical condition 
of his army after its first pitched battle, to give the lowest reasonable estimate of losses 

Dawson (Battles of the U. S., 148), usually accurate, gives the American loss, in 
killed, wounded, and prisoners, as between 1,100 and 1,200 men, more than a thousand 
of whom were prisoners. A thousand prisoners would leave only 200 men to be killed 
and wounded out of the whole 1,200, whereas the Maryland battalion alone lost two 
hundred and fifty-six men, without taking into account the number killed in other 
parts of the field. 

In consequence of the large and rapid desertion which occurred after the battle ; the 
demoralization of the troops ; the absence, as far as we can learn, of any full and accu- 
rate reports from regimental and other officers ; the capture of the three general officers 
(Sullivan, Stirling, and Woodhull) who were best fitted, by education and personal 
knowledge, to furnish reliable reports, etc., we find it impossible to arrive at any very 
decisive conclusion as to the actual losses of the Americans. Our own examination of 
the matter inclines us to accept the British and Hessian estimate as being most nearly 
correct. As masters of the field they had the best opportunity of knowing the facts, nor 
can we see that they have been guilty of much exaggeration. 

1 Of the British, five officers and fifty-six subaltern officers and privates were killed, 
twelve officers and two hundred and forty-five subalterns and privates wounded, and 
one officer and twenty marines taken prisoners. The Hessian loss consisted of two 
privates killed, three officers (one of whom was Captain Donop) and twenty-three 
men wounded. 


words of Lope, and carefully inspecting the state of the defences. 
By the gradually increasing light of morning was revealed the 
encampment of over 15,000 troops of Britain. It is no wonder that 
" there was gloom everywhere — in the sky, on the land, on the 
water, arid over the spirits of the Bepublicans. They almost 
despaired, for the heavy rains had injured their arms and almost 
destroyed their ammunition ; but when, at five o'clock, Mifflin 
crossed the East Kiver with the choice regiments of Magaw and 
Shee, and Glover's battalion of Marblehead fishermen and sailors, 
in all more than a thousand strong, all fresh and cheerful, there was 
an outburst of joy, for they seemed like sunshine as they passed the 
lines of sufferers and took post on the extreme left, near the Walla- 
bout." Their arrival increased the American force to nine thousand. 
The British cannonade opened at ten o'clock upon the American 
lines, and was followed through the day by frequent skirmishes. 
The rain fell copiously, much to the discomfort of the Americans, 
who, in some parts of the trenches, stood up to their waists in 
water and mud. It served, however, to keep the British within their 
tents until near evening, when they broke ground within five hun- 
dred yards of the American lines, and commenced regular ap- 
proaches by trenches. This night, also, they threw up a redoubt 
east of Fort Putnam (now Fort Greene), on the land of George 
Powers, from which they opened a fire upon the fort. 1 During this 
day, also, occurred the capture of General Woodhull, by a party of 
provincial loyalists under Captain De Lancey, about two miles 
beyond Jamaica. From wounds, barbarously inflicted upon him 
after his surrender, he died a few days later. 

At midnight a dense fog arose, which remained motionless and 
impenetrable over the island during nearly the whole of the next 

1 " A strong column menaced this on the 29th. The Americans were here prepared 
to receive them, and orders were issued to reserve their fire till they could see the 
whites of their eyes. A few British officers reconnoitred the American lines, when one, 
coming too near, was shot by Wm. Van Cott of Bushwick, who then put up his gun, 
and said he had done his part. Several of the men were killed, after which the British 
fell back to their first position. An American rifleman leaped over the lines and took 
the officer's sword, watch, hat, and cash. This afternoon Captain Rutgers was killed : 
few Americans fell within the lines." — Reported by Lt. Thos. Skillman, of Capt. John 
Titus' company in '76. (General Johnson, in Williamsburgh Gazette, April 3, 1839.) 


day. In the afternoon of the 29th, General Mifflin, Adjutant-General 
Eeed, and Colonel Grayson reconnoitred at the outposts on the 
western extremity of the American lines, near the Eed Hook. 
"While there, a gentle shift of wind lifted the fog from Staten Island 
and revealed to them the British fleet in the Narrows, and boats 
passing to and from the admiral's ship and the other vessels. 
These signs of activity, together with a knowledge of the fact that a 
portion of the fleet had passed around the island and were anchored 
in Flushing Bay, betokened a movement upon the city, and the 
three officers lost no time in hastening back to camp. 1 The news 
which they brought was probably not unexpected to Washington ; 
for, unknown to his aids, he had already made provision, earlier in 
the day, for the concentration in the East River, at New York, of 
every kind of sail or row boats, which were to be ready by dark f 
but he immediately convened a council of war at five o'clock 
the same evening, 3 for the danger was indeed imminent. If the 
British should occupy the Hudson and the East River— as any 
moment, on a change of mind, they might do — they would, by 
securing the position of Kingsbridge, be able to cut off all communi- 
cation between Manhattan Island and the Westchester main ; thus 

1 Reed's Reed, i. 225 ; Col. Graydon's Memoirs, 166, Littel's ed. ; Bancroft, Hist. U. S., 
is.. 105-107, note, in which much unnecessary space is given to a denial that Gen. Reed 
could have been enabled to see the British fleet, by a " lifting of the fog," and to an 
accumulation of evidence that " that fog did not rise till the morning of the thirtieth." 
Now," any one who has lived on the west end of Long Island, will readily understand 
that it is no unusual thing in summer for wet and rainy, " drizzly" days, such as the 
28th and 29th had been, to be accompanied and followed by a misty vapor, or sea-fog, 
breaking away at times and again settling heavily down upon the horizon ; nor is it 
difficult to believe that a momentary lifting of such a fog permitted the three Ameri- 
can officers to catch a glimpse of the British fleet. This same heavy vapor, deepening 
with the approach of evening, easily settled down by midnight of the 29th into the 
fog which so favored the American retreat, and which, accumulating in density as the 
dawn of day approached, is naturally spoken of by witnesses as having risen on the 
" morning of the 30th." 

8 Force's American Archives, fifth series, i. 1211 ; Heath's Memoirs, 57 ; Memorial of 
Hugh Hughes (acting Quartermaster-General in New York), 32. 

3 The old Cornell house, afterwards known as the Pierrepont mansion, which for- 
merly stood on the line of the present Montague street, near the little iron foot-bridge 
which spans the carriage-way, was the headquarters of Washington during this im- 
portant contest. It was a spacious and costly house, having large chimneys, from which 
it was known as " the Four Chimnies," and upon its roof a telegraph was arranged, by 
which communication was held with New York city. It was here (and not at the old 


imprisoning that portion of the American army in New York, and 
separating it from that on Long Island. 

The deliberations of this council were brief, and their decision 
unanimous in favor of an evacuation of Long Island and a retreat to 
New York on that very night. 1 To effect the withdrawal of some 
nine thousand men, with their arms and munitions of war, and that, 
too, in face of an enemy at work in their trenches, so near that the 
sound of their pickaxes and spades could be distinctly heard, — to 
march them a considerable distance to the river, and to transport 
them across its strong, broad current, — necessitated the greatest 
skill and secrecy. Orders were immediately issued to Colonel 
Glover to collect and man with his regiment of hardy mariners all 
the boats of every kind which could be found, and to be in readiness 
by midnight for the embarkation, which was to be superintended 
by General McDougal. In order to have the army in proper 
marching condition, without divulging the plan of retreat, the 
officers were directed to hold their men in readiness for an 
attack upon the enemy's lines that night. The order excited 
general surprise, but by eight o'clock the army was ready for move- 
ment. That the enemy's suspicions might not be excited, General 
Mifflin was to remain within the lines, and within 250 yards of the 
British advanced works, with Colonel I^and's rifle-corps and the 
battered remnants of the Delaware and Maryland regiments, who, 
with barely a respite from the terrible battle of the 27th, had now 
cheerfully consented to cover the retreat of their fresher but less 
experienced companions in arms. 2 By nine o'clock the ebb-tide, 

Dutch church in Fulton street, as has been erroneously stated by Lossing and Onder- 
donk, which was merely the alarm-post of the American army) that the council of 
war was held which determined upon the retreat, and from which the orders for that 
movement were promulgated. This is on the authority of Colonel Fish, the father of 
Governor Hamilton Fish, and one of Washington's military family, who, in 1824, during 
Lafayette's visit to Brooklyn, called the attention of the distinguished visitor to the fact, 
and designated the very positions in the room occupied by the members of that council. 

1 Proceedings of a Council of War held at Headquarters at Brooklyn, August 29th, 
1776. (Onderdonk, sec. 161 ; Force's American Archives, fifth series, i. 1246.) This 
council was composed of His Excellency General Washington ; Major-Generals Putnam 
and Spencer ; Brigadier-Generals Mifflin, McDougal, Parsons, Scott, Wadsworth, and 

2 Colonel Smallwood's letter, and Colonel Hazlet's letter to Thomas Rodney. Onder- 
donk, sec. 809. 


with heavy rain and an adverse wind, rendered the sail-boats of 
little use ; but, by eleven, the northeast wind, which had prevailed 
for three clays, died away, the surface of the water became smooth, 
and with a southwest breeze favoring, both the sail and row boats 
were able to cross the river full laden. 

By ten o'clock the troops began to move from the lines ; and as 
each regiment left its position, the remaining troops moved to the 
right and left and filled up the vacancies. 1 Washington, taking his 
position at the ferry stairs, at the foot of Fulton street, Brooklyn, 
superintended the embarkation ; and the whole movement was con- 
ducted with such order and quiet, that it failed to attract the notice 
of the British sentinels. The intense darkness of the night, and the 
thick fog which had settled down over every thing, favored the 
patriot hosts. At a little past midnight they were suddenly startled 
by the deep roar of a cannon — whether from the British or Amer- 
ican lines no one could tell. 2 " The effect," says one who heard it, 
" was at once alarming and sublime ;" but the deepest silence 

1 In Onderdonk's Rev. Reminiscences of Kings County, sec. 820, will be found an 
interesting account of the battle by James S. Martin of Connecticut. He thus speaks 
of the retreat : " We were strictly enjoined not to speak, or even cough, while on the 
march. All orders were given from officer to officer, and communicated to the men in 
whispers. What such secrecy could mean we could not divine. We marched off in 
the same way we had come on tire island, forming various conjectures among ourselves 
as to our destination." A correspondent in the Independent (Boston) Chronicle, Sept. 19, 
'76, says of the retreat : " We went over with boats about 7 o'clock. The brigades were 
ordered to be in readiness with bag and baggage to march, but knew not where or for 
what ; the 2d did not know where the 1st had gone, nor the 3d the 2d. The last marched 
off at the firing of the 3 o'clock (British) gun on Friday morning. The night was remark- 
ably still, the water smooth as glass, so that all our boats went over safe, though many 
were but about 3 inches out of water. At sunrise a great fog came up. We left half a 
dozen large guns. 3 or 4 men were missing who came off in a batteau. On Friday or 
Saturday the British vessels came up to the desired place." — Onderdonk's Rev. Rem. 
Kings County, sec. 821. 

Statement of Samuel Mills of Jamaica, L. I., a private in Colonel Lasher's First New 
York regiment : " When it was known that the Americans were retreating, the grena- 
diers (of which there were 120 in the regiment) were stationed at regular distances in- 
side the American lines, each one having 6 hand-grenades besides their other arms. In 
the afternoon and evening, previous to crossing over to New York, the soldiers were 
continually marching and countermarching ; one regiment would march up and two 
down ; one up and two down : so that the troops were kept in ignorance of what the 
final move would be, but generally supposed that an attack of the British would take 
place the next day." 

' Graydon's Memoirs, 147. 


ensued, and the retreat went bravely on. As the night wore away 
the tide was turning and a northeast wind began to rise, yet a large 
proportion of the troops had not been transported over the river. 
Fearful of delay, Washington sent his aide-de-camp, Colonel 
Alexander Scammel, to hasten the troops who were on the march. 
Scammel, by mistake, communicated the order to General Mifflin, 
who, although somewhat surprised, obeyed, and evacuated the 
lines with his whole force. Their arrival at the ferry, where several 
regiments were already waiting to embark, created much alarm and 
confusion. 1 Sharp words passed between Washington and Mifflin 
in the annoyance of the moment. " It's a dreadful mistake," said 
Washington, when he found out that it was Scammel's blunder, 
" and unless the troops can regain their posts before their absence 
is discovered by the enemy, the most disastrous consequences are 
to be apprehended." With heroic cheerfulness Mifflin's troops 
immediately returned to the lines, and remained there for several 
hours, until a second order, when they " joyfully bid those trenches 
a long adieu." 2 Washington, who, since the morning of the 27th, 
had scarcely left the lines on Long Island, and for forty-eight hours 
preceding that had hardly been off his horse or closed his eyes, 
embarked with the last company. 

1 It is related, on the authority of Col. Fish, one of Washington's aids, Judge Daggett of 
New Haven, and others, that the crowd and confusion among the troops who were, at 
this juncture, huddled on the beach, was extreme, and bordered on a panic ; and that 
Washington, annoyed and alarmed at its probable consequences, sprang to the side of 
a boat into which the men were crowding, and, holding aloft a large stone with both 
hands, ordered them, with an impassioned oath, to leave the boat instanter, or he 
would "sink it to hell." It is needless to say that the towering figure and wrathful 
eye of their revered general restored the scared troops to their senses, and the embar- 
kation proceeded with more order than before. 

2 Colonel Hand's Account of the Retreat : " In the evening of the 29th of August, 
1776, with several other commanding officers of corps, I received orders to attend 
Major-General Mifflin. When assembled, General Mifflin informed us that, in conse- 
quence of the determination of a board of general officers, the evacuation of Long Isl- 
and, where we then were, was to be attempted that night ; that the commander-in- 
chief had honored him with the command of the covering-party, and that our corps 
were to be employed in that service. He then assigned us our several stations which 
we were to occupy as soon as it was dark, and pointed out Brooklyn church as an alarm- 
post, to which the whole were to repair and unitedly oppose the enemy, in case they 
discovered our movement and made an attack in consequence. My regiment was 
posted in a redoubt on the left, and in the lines on the right of the great road below 
Brooklyn church. Captain Henry Miller commanded in the redoubt, Part of a regi- 


Meanwhile, a Mrs. John Rapalje, living near the ferry at Brooklyn, 
and whose husband had been sent into the interior of New Jersey on 
suspicion of Toryism, shrewdly surmised, from the accumulation of 
boats on the beach and other movements which came within her 

ment of the Flying Camp of the State of New York were, in the beginning of the night, 
posted by me. They showed so much uneasiness at their station, that I petitioned 
General Mifflin to suffer them to march off, lest they might communicate the panic 
with which they were seized to my people. The general granted my request, and 
they marched off accordingly. After that nothing remarkable happened at my post 
till about two o'clock in the morning, when Alexander Scammell, since Adjutant- 
General, who that day acted as A. D. C. to the commander-in-chief, came from the left, 
inquiring for General Mifflin, who happened to be with me at the time. Scammell 
told him that the boats were waiting, and the commander-in-chief anxious for the 
arrival of the troops at the ferry. General Mifflin said he thought he must be mis- 
taken ; that he did not imagine the general could mean the troops he immediately 
commanded. Scammell replied he was not mistaken ; adding that he came from the 
extreme left, and had ordered all the troops he had met to march ; that in consequence 
they were then in motion, and that he would go on to give the same orders. General 
Mifflin then ordered me to call in my advanced pickets and sentinels, to collect and 
form my regiment, and to march as soon as possible, and quitted me. Having marcbed 
into the great road leading to the church, I fell in with the troops returning from the 
left of the line. Having arrived at the left of the church, I halted to take up my camp 
equipage, which, in the course of the night, I had carried there by a small party. 
General Mifflin came up at the instant, and asked the reason of the halt. I told him, 
and he seemed very much displeased, and exclaimed : ' Damn your pots and kettles, 
I wish the devil had them ; march on !' I obeyed, but had not gone far before I per- 
ceived the front had halted, and hastening to inquire the cause, I met the commander- 
in-chief, who perceived me, and said, ' Is not that Colonel Hand V I replied in the 
affirmative. His Excellency said he was surprised at me in particular ; that he did 
not suppose I would have abandoned my post. I answered that I had not abandoned 
it ; that I had marched by order of my immediate commanding officer. He said it was 
impossible. I told him I hoped, if I could satisfy him I had the orders of General 
Mifflin, he would not think me particularly to blame. He said he undoubtedly would 
not. General Mifflin then coming up, and asking what the matter was, his Excellency 
said, ' Good God ! General Mifflin, I am afraid you have ruined us by so unseasonably 
withdrawing the troops from the lines.' General Mifflin replied, with some warmth, 
' I did it by your order.' His Excellency declared it could not be. Gen. Mifflin swore, 
' By God, I did,' and asked : ' Did Scammel act as an A. D. C. for the day, or did he 
not f His Excellency acknowledged he did. ' Then,' said Mifflin, ' I had orders 
through him.' The general replied it was a dreadful mistake, and informed him that 
matters were in much confusion at the ferry, and unless we could resume our posts 
before the enemy discovered we had left them, in all probability the most disagreeable 
consequences would follow. We immediately returned, and had the good fortune to 
recover our former stations and keep them for some hours longer, without the enemy 
perceiving what was going forward." 

Colonel Tallmadge : " As the dawn approached, those of us who remained in the 
trenches became very anxious for our safety, at which time there were several regi. 
meats still on duty, and a dense fog began to rise and seemed to settle over both 
encampments. So dense was the atmosphere that a man could not be discerned six 


observation, that a retreat had been decided upon by the Ameri- 
cans. With vengeful readiness, therefore, she secretly sent her 
slave, on the evening previous, to inform the British commander 
of the facts. The negro, however, first came upon a Hessian 
guard, who, not understanding his language, and believing him 
to be a spy, detained him until morning, when he was handed 
over to a British officer who was making his round of inspection at 
daylight. Howe was astonished at the negro's story. A company, 
under Captain Montressor, was detached to reconnoitre the Ameri- 
can works, which they found deserted. 1 Detachments hurried off 
in hot pursuit ; but they only reached the ferry in time to see the 
heavily-laden rear boats of the retreating army disappear in the 
impenetrable fog which yet hung over the river. 2 Nobly had the 

yards off. When the sun rose we had orders to leave the lines, but before we reached 
the ferry the regiment was ordered back again. Colonel Chester faced about and re- 
turned to the lines, where the regiment tarried till the sun had risen ; but the fog 
remained as dense as ever. Finally a second order came, and we joyfully bade those 
trenches a long adieu. When we reached Brooklyn ferry the boats had not yet 
returned from their last trip, but they soon appeared. I think I saw General Wash- 
ington on the ferry-stairs when I stepped into one of the last boats. I left my horse at 
the ferry, tied to a post. The troops having all safely reached New York, and the fog 
continuing thick as ever, I got leave to return, with a crew of volunteers, for my 
favorite horse. I had got off with him some distance into the river before the enemy 
appeared in Brooklyn. As soon as they reached the ferry we were saluted merrily 
from their musketry, and finally by their field-pieces. When the enemy had taken 
possession of the heights opposite the city of New York they commenced firing from 
the artillery, and the fleet pretty soon were in motion to take possession of those 

1 A British account of the battle, in the Parliamentary Register, vol. xiii., says : " They 
were reconnoitring before daybreak, and at four o'clock discovered the lines were 
evacuated. The pickets marched twenty-five minutes after. General Robertson heard 
of the retreat at seven o'clock, and his brigade was ordered to march at eight ; but, 
while marching to the ferry, he was ordered towards Hell-Gate to meet Lee, reported to 
be landing there with an army. We were on the rear of the enemy ; some were 
killed or taken prisoners in Brooklyn. We saw three or four boats afloat — some boats 
not off. The debris of their rearguard embarked about eight or nine o'clock." 

The Hessian account (Mas von Elking) says that the British " were astonished, on 
the following morning (30th), to see the lines deserted, which were immediately 
occupied by the Hessian regiments von Donop and von Lossberg. Col. von Heeringen, 
who had, in the night between the 29th and 80th, occupied a hill near the Hudson, 
had first discovered the desertion of the American lines, and sent Lieut. Zoll to report it 
to Howe. The English headquarters was so much vexed by the escape of the Anier- 
cans, that it deeply regretted having prevented the troops from storming the -heights 
on the 27th." 

2 Washington's letter to Congress, Aug. 31, 1776. The guns of Fort Stirling were 


"fishermen-soldiers of Marbleliead and Salem" labored at their 
muffled oars during the long hours of that perilous night ; naught, 
save a few heavy cannon, was left behind ; none, save a few lagging 
marauders, were captured ; and when the fog at last rolled away, 
the American army was joyously moving towards the upper portions 
of Manhattan Island. " That retreat, in all its circumstances, was 
truly wonderful. Surely that fog was the shield of God's providence 
over those men engaged in a holy cause. If ' the stars in their 
courses fought against Sisera,' in the time of Deborah, these mists 
were the wings of the cherubim of Mercy and Hope over the Amer- 
icans on that occasion." ' 

The British, following close upon the heels of the retreating 
Americans, took possession of their deserted intrenchments, which 
were garrisoned with English and Hessian troops, while the remain- 
der of the army was quartered at Bushwick, Newtown, Hell-Gate, 
and Flushing. Howe established his headquarters at Newtown, 
whence he dated his official dispatches announcing the results of the 
battle ; and, for the period of seven years, two months, and ten days 
from this time, Long Island and New York city were held in pos- 
session by the British. 

The defeat of the American army, and its subsequent retreat from 
Long Island, produced results most disastrous to the patriot cause. 
" Our situation is truly distressing," wrote Washington, two days 
after the battle. "The check our detachment sustained on the 
twenty-seventh ultimo has dispirited too great a proportion of our 
troops, and filled their minds with apprehension and despair. The 
militia, instead of calling forth their utmost efforts to a brave and 
manly opposition in order to repair our losses, are dismayed, in- 
tractable, and impatient to return. Great numbers of them have 

unspiked and turned on the "boats of the retreating Americans. Three persons, who 
left the island last, in a batteau, fell into the enemy's hands. — N. E. Chronicle. 

1 Lossing's Life of Washington, p. 282, who also says that in a letter written by the 
Rev. John Woodhull, of Leacock, Pa., to his wife, dated Sept. 2d, 1776, he mentions that, 
for almost a week previous to the battle on the 27th, the wind " had been contrary" 
for the British fleet, and prevented their coming up the bay. This prevalence of a 
northerly wind at New York, for so long a time, in August, is unprecedented. In the 
same letter he says, after speaking of the retreat : " A great fog favored us, the only 
fog that has been here for a long time." 


gone off; in some instances almost by -whole regiments, by half 
ones, and bj companies, at a time. ... I am obliged to confess 
my want of confidence in the generality of the troops. . . . Till 
of late, I had no doubt in my own mind of defending this place 
(New York city) ; nor should I have yet, if the men would do their 
duty ; but this despair of." And two days later he wrote again in 
the same desponding strain : " Our affairs have not undergone a 
change for the better, nor assumed a more agreeable aspect than 
before. The militia, under various pretences, are daily diminishing ; 
and in a little time, I am persuaded, their numbers will be very 

These gloomy forebodings, which so deeply shadowed the gen- 
erally buoyant and hopeful heart of the commander-in-chief, were 
by no means groundless. His own army, demoralized by defeat, 
were gradually slipping away to their homes, carrying with them, 
wherever they went, the panic with which they had been infected. 
The enemy, flushed with their late victory, had occupied and 
garrisoned the American works at Brooklyn ; and within a 
week after the battle their whole force, except four thousand 
troops left on Staten Island, were in full occupation of Long 
Island. Their heavy vessels had anchored near Governor's Isl- 
and, within easy gunshot of the city j 1 while a forty-gun ship 2 had 
passed the American battery at Stuyvesant Point, and was anchored 
in Turtle Bay, on the East Eiver, ready to act in conjunction with 

1 Upon their approach, the small garrisons at Governor's Island and at Red Hook 
removed to the city. One man, at Governor's Island, lost an arm, by a ball from a 
British ship, while embarking. 

2 The Rose, which had taken this position the night after the battle. General John- 
son, who incorrectly states the date as the 15th of September, says that she " passed up 
Buttermilk Channel, and anchored opposite Bushwick Creek, near the shore. On the 
16th (?) the Americans brought two 32-pounders to Burnt Mill Point (Stuyvesant's Point, 
where the Novelty Ironworks now stand), and towards night commenced firing upon 
the Rose. They fired eighteen shots, and hulled the frigate with seventeen balls, and 
would have sunk her if daylight had not shut in. The first shot struck her railing at 
the gangway, and killed a cow taken from Jacob Polhemus, who was on board and 
saw his cow shot. The frigate removed at night, and anchored between Blackwell's 
and Long Island, where her hull was protected by the land." 

Lossing says that Major Crane of the artillery, acting under orders from Washing 
ton, posted two guns upon the high bank at Forty-sixth street, New York, with which 
he annoyed the frigate, as above described. 


several other British ships already in the Sound. Their movements 
were such as to induce the belief that they intended shortly to make 
an attack upon the city, which "Washington foresaw could not be 
successfully defended in the present dispirited condition of his 
troops, scantily supplied as they were with provisions, clothes, and 
ammunition. The counsels and opinions which agitated the Ameri- 
can camp, at this critical juncture of affairs, were diverse. Suffice 
it to say that the untoward circumstances which surrounded them, 
as well as the increased activity of the enemy, combined to urge 
them to a prompt retreat from the city. Of this retreat, which 
forms so interesting a link in the history of our Revolution, we shall 
not speak at length. Suffice it to say that on the 13th of Septem- 
ber the main body of the army moved towards Mount Washington 
and Kingsbridge, leaving a rearguard of four thousand men, under 
General Putnam, in the city. On the 16th "Washington established 
his headquarters at the Morris mansion on Harlem Heights. 

On the 15th occurred the occupation of New York island by the 
British, which is thus described by Gen. Jeremiah Johnson, an eye- 
witness : " In the evening of the 14th, 1 the Phoenix and Dutchess of 
Gordon frigates passed New York, with a large number of batteaux : 
the frigates anchored opposite Kip's Bay, a where the Rose joined them. 
The batteaux were placed near the (Long Island) shore, at the house 
of Peter Kolyer. 3 Early on the morning of the 15th, a division of 
the British army marched from Brooklyn, through Bushwick, to the 
shore at Mr. Kolyer's, where they embarked on board of the bat- 
teaux at high-water. About 7 o'clock the ships opened a heavy 
fire of round and grape shot upon the shore, to scour off the enemy. 
The firing continued an hour and a half : when the leading boats 
passed the ships, the firing ceased. The boats passed to the shore, 
and all the troops landed in safety. We may be incorrect as to 
dates, but the facts are as stated. I saw the scene. It was a 
fine morning, and the spectacle was sublime. Thomas Skillman, 
of Bushwick, and John Vandervoort, and Jacob Bloom, of Brook- 
lyn, with their families, were at Kip's Bay, in the house of Mr. 

1 We correct Gen. Johnson's dates. 2 Foot of 34th street, New York. 

3 On site now occupied by residence of Mr. Samuel Sneeden, Greenpoint. 


Ki}:>, when the cannonading of the three British frigates, which 
lay opposite the house, commenced. The cannon-balls were driven 
through the house. This induced them to take to the cellar for 
safety, where they were out of danger. After the landing the men 
were sent to prison in New York, and the next day their families 
returned to Long Island. When the troops landed, a line was formed 
across the island to the North Biver, to inclose the Americans in 
New York. ' In vain is the net of the fowler spread in the sight 
of any bird :' the American rear-guard had escaped." 

From a careful consideration of the facts connected with the 
" Battle of Brooklyn," it is evident, 

1. That (as we have already remarked, ante, 263), the American 
exterior line of defence was too much extended to admit of its being 
held against the enemy, except as a mere skirmish-line. 

2. That the troops occupying this line should have been re- 
enforced (which, perhaps, was impracticable and unadvisable, under 
the circumstances), or else seasonably recalled to the interior forti- 
fied lines, which their presence would have considerably strength- 

3. That, in the absence of any orders of recall, and without re- 
enforcements, these raw and inexperienced troops, supposing that 
they were placed there to fight, and knowing nothing of the art of 
war except to fight right on, committed the serious mistake of mak- 
ing a too prolonged stand against the overwhelming odds which 
confronted them. 

4. That the criminal oversight of the commanding general, or the 
defection of certain detached troops, or both, which left the Jamaica 
Pass and road unguarded, and the approach of the British unob- 
served and unheralded, enabled the latter to flank, surround, and 
defeat the Americans by detail, with the greatest ease. The " bat- 
tle," so called, was, in fact, simply a series of unconnected skirmishes 
— of heroic, but unavailing, efforts on the part of these untrained 
yeomen to maintain isolated positions which had been hopelessly 
lost before the fighting began. To the military incapacity of Gen. 
Putnam, who, although brave and well-meaning, possessed neither 


the subordination to obey the orders with whose execution he was 
intrusted, the skill to carry out the proposed plans of defence, or the 
ordinary common sense which he might reasonably have been ex- 
pected to display in the face of an approaching enemy, we may 
justly attribute the deplorable- results of this battle. In this con- 
nection we cannot forbear quoting the well-considered and forcible 
remarks of Henry B. Dawson, Esq., our ablest military historical 
writer, who says 1 in regard to this very point : 

" It is unquestionably the duty of the commander of a district to 
provide, not only the means of securing intelligence of every move- 
ment of his enemy, but for the protection of his position ; and, espe- 
cially when any peculiar pass, or hill, or bridge between him and 
the enemy would secure advantages to that enemy which would be 
dangerous to him, it is the unquestionable duty of the commander 
to occupy such position in force ; or, in case he neglects it, the dis- 
grace is Ms, and the responsibility for any evil effects arising from 
such neglect of duty devolves upon him. In fact, the commander is 
a sentinel whom the commander-in-chief or the government has 
placed to guard the interests of the people, and, like any other senti- 
nel, he cannot sleep on his post without committing one of the high- 
est crimes known to the military law. 

" With these axioms before us, let us examine, as far as the evi- 
dence goes, who commanded, and who slept on his post. It is said 
that General Greene commanded on Long Island, that the defences 
were thrown up under his direction, and that he was taken sick with 
a fever and left the island. 2 It is said that General Sullivan then 
assumed the command; 3 that, notwithstanding the enemy was still 
on Staten Island, he employed mounted patrols, at an expense of 
fifty dollars per night, to mount guard on roads which he saw the 
enemy might use in approaching New York ; 4 and that, on the 23d 
of August, — the day after the enemy's army landed on Long Island, — 
he was superseded by General Putnam. 6 It is said, and has never 
been contradicted, that General Washington gave General Putnam 
positive instructions to guard the passes through the hills leading to 

1 Battles of the United States, 148-150. 3 General Orders, Aug. 20. 

2 Gen. Greene to Gen. Washington, Aug. 15. 4 His letter to Congress, Oct. 25, 1777. 

5 Sparks' Washington, p. 180. 


Brooklyn ; ' it is said, also without contradiction, that General Sulli- 
van, his predecessor and second in command, enforced the same 
measures on his attention; 2 it is known that, although the enemy, 
in full force, was encamped within four or five miles, opposite two of 
those very passes, General Putnam never reconnoitred that enemy's 
position — in fact, that he never left Brooklyn ; 3 and it is equally well 
known that, although the enemy was then encamped at Flatbush, the 
mounted patrols which General Sullivan had established, 4 as well as 
the guards at some of the passes established by General Greene, 
were withdrawn, 6 leaving the country clear for the enemy's secret 
movements, and the passes conveniently unguarded for his especial 
accommodation. It is also a well-established fact, that no general 
officer was outside the lines at Brooklyn, on the night of the 26th, 
until the advance of General Grant was made known to General 
Putnam, at three o'clock, when Generals Sullivan and Lord Stirling 
were dispatched to Flatbush and the Bay Koad, to oppose the move- 
ments in those quarters. 8 

" From these facts, it appears conclusively that General Putnam 
paid no attention to the orders of General Washington, respecting 
the security of the passes, and that the advice of General Sullivan, 
on the same subject, was also disregarded, his patrols withdrawn, 
and the command outside the lines, where his knowledge of the 
ground rendered him peculiarly useful, taken from him and given to 
another ; 7 that, with an enemy encamped in full force within a few 

1 " At the same time, I would have you form a proper line of defence around your 
encampment and works, on the most advantageous grounds." " The woods should be 
secured by abatis, etc., where necessary, to make the enemy's approach as difficult as pos- 
sible. Traps and ambuscades should be laid for their parties, if you find they are sent 
out after cattle," etc. — Orders to Gen. Putnam, Aug. 25. 

2 Gen. Sullivan's letter to Congress, Oct. 25, 1777. 

3 Thompson's Long Island, i. p. 222. 

4 Gen. Sullivan to Cong., Oct. 25, 1777. The "patrol" which Gen. Clinton captured 
was a party of officers, not a regular patrol {ante, p. 266, note). 

6 This is shown by Gen. Howe, in his dispatch, where he says : " The General, learn- 
ing that the rebels had not occupied the pass, detached a battalion of light-infantry to 
secure it," etc. 

6 See Lord Stirling's letter to Gen. Washington, Aug. 29 ; Gen. Sullivan's letter to 
Congress, Oct. 25, 1777. 

7 Gen. Sullivan, to Congress, Oct. 25, 1777, says Lord Stirling was ordered to the 
command outside the lines, while he was ordered to remain within the lines, as Gen. 
Putnam's second in command. 


miles of his position, he quietly remained at Brooklyn, without 
reconnoitring that enemy's position, or sending out a scout ; that he 
withdrew guards and failed to remount them, where they were essen- 
tial to his safety ; and, finally, that to his ignorant, self-conceited 
inefficiency, the enemy is indebted for one of the greatest victories 
of the war, and his country for one of the most disastrous defeats, 
both mihtary and moral, which it ever experienced." 

In closing this chapter, it is proper to notice the very limited extent 
to which the Kings County militia participated in the battle. Previous 
to its commencement, they were ordered into service within the lines 
at Brooklyn, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Nicholas Cowenhoven, 
of Flatbush, and Major Barent Johnson, of Bushwick, the father of 
the late worthy Gen. Jeremiah Johnson. Many of them, however, 
embraced the earliest opportunity to join the British army on Staten 
Island, and others concealed themselves. As a consequence of this 
universal defection, the regiment was reduced to about two hundred 
men, and, after the battle, was still further reduced, by desertions, 
to about one hundred and fifty. This remnant left the island with 
the rest of the army, under command of Major Johnson, 1 and marched 
to Harlem, where they dispersed without leave and returned to their 
homes, where many of them were captured by Tories and incarcerated 
in the prisons at New York. This was not surprising, when we con- 
sider the example set them by their colonel, who left his command 
within the lines and went privately to Flatbush, where he was seen, 
shortly after, in company with two British officers. For this he was, 
upon his return to camp, placed under arrest and sent to Harlem for 
trial by the Committee of Public Safety. The witnesses were, how- 
ever, conveniently " spirited away," through the management of 
friends, and there being no one to appear against him, the colonel 
was released. After his return to his home in Kings County, he 
was engaged in certain transactions in the British commissary 
and barrack departments, and, with many others, was indicted be- 
fore the Circuit Court, at Albany, at its October term, in 1783, for 

1 Major Johnson accompanied the army to Jersey, where he was captured by the 
British, and returned home on a parole, given by Howe, in January, 1777. 



treason against the State, but, by the good management of Alexander 
Hamilton, he escaped trial. After the adoption of the Constitution 
of the United States, when the public debt was funded, he was one of 
the commission which investigated the claims of persons who had 
suffered loss of cattle and injuries done by American troops in Kings 
County before they left the island, in 1776. Col. Cowenhoven was 
afterwards appointed Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of 
Kings County, and died at New Utrecht on the 6th of March, 1793. 
In view of his evident sympathy with the British cause, we can only 
regard his loan of money, in 1782, to Major Wyckoff, as merely a 
politic concession to the rising fortunes of America. 1 

part n. 


August, 1776, to November, 1783. 

The people of Kings County, as we have before remarked, had un- 
willingly espoused the cause of liberty, and the few who had been 
persuaded or forced into rebellion, now found themselves abandoned 
by their countrymen to all its penalties. It was not strange, then, 
that they should eagerly accept the opportunity of withdrawing from 
a struggle in which they had no heart, and of throwing themselves 
upon the mercy and protection of the now dominant power of Eng- 

On the 17th of November, 1776, a large number of the freeholders 
and inhabitants of Kings County — availing themselves of a procla- 
mation of pardon issued by the British authorities 2 — submitted a very 
humble and loyal address to Lord Howe, wherein they state that, 
"reflecting with the tenderest emotions of gratitude on this instance 

1 On the back of one of Col. N.'s letters, dated Aug. 23, 1778, and offering Governor 
Geo. Clinton money for the use of the American prisoners then in the hands of the 
British, is the following endorsement in the Governor's handwriting : " Letter from N. 
C. He offers (by way of laying an anchor to windward) to furnish our prisoners on 
Long Island with as much money as they want." 

s July 14th, and subsequently Sept. 19th. 


of His Majesty's paternal goodness, and encouraged by the affec- 
tionate manner in 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 magnanimity and those 
enlarged sentiments which form the most shining characters," they 
beg leave to represent that they have all signed the Oath of Alle- 
giance, and proceed to say, " that we esteem the constitutional 
supremacy of Great Britain over these colonies and other depend- 
ing parts of His Majesty's dominions, as essential to the union, 
security, and welfare of the whole empire ; and sincerely lament the 
interruption of that harmony which formerly subsisted between the 
parent State and these her colonies." ' 

The submission of the rank and file was soon followed by that of 
the leaders, or, at least, the majority of them, who, in December fol- 
lowing, presented to Governor Tryon the following " wholesale clear- 
ance" of themselves from all complicity with the Bebellion : 

" "We, the members of the Provincial Congress, the County Com- 
mittee, and the Committees of the different townships, elected for 
and by the inhabitants of Kings County, feel the highest satisfac- 
tion in having it in our power to dissolve ourselves without danger 
of the County being desolated, as it was by repeated threats, some 
short time ago. We do hereby accordingly dissolve ourselves, 
rejecting and disclaiming all power of Congress and Committees, 
totally refusing obedience thereto, and revoking all proceedings 
under them whatsoever, as being repugnant to the laws and consti- 
tution of the British Empire, and undutiful to our sovereign, and 
ruinous to the welfare and prosperity of this County. We beg leave 
to assure your Excellency we shall be exceeding happy in obeying 
the legal authority of government, whenever your Excellency shall 
be pleased to call us forth, being from long experience well assured 
of your Excellency's mild and upright administration." This was 
signed by forty persons. 1 

The corps of nrilitia in Kings County, in January, 1777, further 
testified their " loyalty to their sovereign and zeal to the constitu- 

This document, with the names appended, will be found in Onderdonk's Bangs Co., 
;. 829. 


tion," by voluntarily contributing the sum of £310 8s. towards the 
expense of a new battalion, which was being raised about that time 
by Col. Fanning. 

These evidences of returning loyalty were graciously accepted, 
and the good people of Kings County no doubt felt themselves 
amply rewarded by the assurance of Lord Germaine, that " His 
Majesty has observed with great satisfaction the effusions of loyalty 
and affection which break forth in the addresses of his faithful sub- 
jects upon their deliverance from the tyranny and oppression of the 
rebel committees ; and the proof given by the inhabitants of Kings 
County of their zeal for the success of His Majesty's measures, by so 
generously contributing towards the expense of raising Col. Fan- 
ning's battalion, cannot fail of recommending them to His Majesty's 
favor." ' 

At this time, the American prisoners in New York were paroled and 
billeted on the inhabitants of this county, Congress having agreed 
to pay two dollars per week for their board. Col. Graydon, who, 
with the other officers of Col. Shee's and Col. Magraw's regiment, 
was quartered at Flatbush, gives the following humorous sketch 
of his accommodations, which will answer, we presume, for a 
portrait of most of the Dutch families at that day : " Though 
we were, in general, civilly enough received, it cannot be sup- 
posed we were very welcome to our Low Dutch hosts, whose 
habits were extremely parsimonious, and whose winter provision was 
barely sufficient for themselves. Had they been sure of receiving 
two dollars per week, Congress or ourselves being looked on as 
paymasters, it might have reconciled them. They were, however, a 
people who seemed thoroughly disposed to submit to any power 
that might be imposed upon them ; and whatever might have been 
their propensities or demonstrations at an earlier stage of the con- 
test, they were now the dutiful and loyal subjects of His Majesty 
King George III., and entirely obedient to the behests of their mili- 
tary masters in New York. Their houses and beds we found clean, 
but their living extremely poor. A sorry wash, made up of a sprink- 
ling of bohea and the darkest sugar, on the verge of fluidity, with half- 

1 Onderdonk's Kings Co., sec. 830. 


baked bread (fuel being among the scarcest articles at Flatbush) 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 supon, or mush, sometimes with 
skimmed milk, 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 sup- 
per soon became my best meal. * * * * Their religious, 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 example ; 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. Although 
little of the vernacular accent remained on the tongues of these peo- 
ple, they had some peculiarities in their phraseology. Instead of 
asking you to sit down to table, they invited you to sit by" 

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 dwellings became the prey of 
these wretches, who robbed friend and foe alike. The negroes, also, 
became their willing aiders and abettors, and frequently guided 
them in their predatory expeditions. The loyalists were all sum- 
moned to attend at headquarters, in Bedford, to be registered ; 
after which, they were ordered to wear a red badge in their 
hats, as a protection and a 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, in order to supply the unprecedented demand for cloth 
of the requisite hue. The haughty British officers, however, scarcely 


deigned to conceal their contempt for the newly-found loyalty of the 
" red rags," as they were termed, and in less than three months the 
scarlet emblems were doffed by all except a few negroes who courted 

The protection afforded to the people by the royal authorities, 
was paternal only in its severity. Long Island, New York city, 
Staten Island, and Westchester, during their whole subsequent 
occupation by the British, were kept under the most rigorous mili- 
tary rule. Elections were not allowed ; voting, except at annual 
town meetings, was prohibited ; 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, after a while, opened 
in New York city at the mayor's office ; and at length, in 1780, a 
similar court was established at Jamaica, for the greater convenience 
of the Long Island people. The old " Fly Market," at the foot of 
Maiden Lane, New York, was protected by a guard of soldiers, 
with sentinels on the ferry stairs ; and no farmer or other person was 
permitted to carry any goods or provisions to or from the city with- 
out a written pass, obtained either from the mayor's office or from 
Col. Axtell, at Flatbush, for which a charge of 2s. was exacted. The 
owner of every market-boat had to obtain a yearly license for the same, 
wherein the name of each person coming to the city was entered ; 
and these boats and licenses were frequently examined, to prevent 
the passage of unlicensed travellers. Officers of the British army 
and navy were alone exempt from this military examination at the 
ferry stairs. The price of wood, and of all kinds of farm produce, 
was regulated by proclamation, and the farmers themselves, their 
horses, wagons, and servants, could be at any time impressed into 
the king's service, at a stipulated price. 1 Woodland and brushwood 
was also remorselessly cut down by the British, to be used for fuel 

1 When the British were preparing, in 1777, to enter Pennsylvania and take Phila- 
delphia, the farmers of Kings and Queens counties were required to furnish horses, 
wagons, and drivers for the use of the army. They were designated by officers, under 
command of a (refugee) Captain Beman, of the Quartermaster's Department, and were 
ordered to appear, on specified days, at Bedford, where the value of horse and wagon 
was appraised and recorded in a book kept for the purpose. After their return from 
Philadelphia, where many were lost or damaged, a day was set apart for the owners to 
present their claims ; and these claims were paid, it was asserted, from a false record, 


and the building of fortifications ; and when at length the wood was 
exhausted, and the inhabitants began to be straitened for want of 
it, the Hessians dug up the meadows for peat, in spite of the ex- 
postulations of the astonished and indignant Dutch farmers. 1 During 
the summer months, the fields, from Red Hook to the heights of 
Cripplebush, were white with tents faced with scarlet ; and before 
their removal to New York, nearly all the fences were taken up and 
burned. The whole district occupied by the troops was a common, 
and most of the land remained unfenced till the British left the 
country. In the winter season every village was filled with British 
soldiers, wagons, etc., billeted in private houses or cantoned in tem- 
porary huts. This quartering of officers and billeting of troops 
among the people, was a serious annoyance. The first notice gen- 
erally given of such occupation was an abrupt " Well, madam, I've 

and at about tJdrty per cent less than the real valuation. Protest was futile, the un- 
lucky farmers were told to take what was offered tliem, or go without. As if to add 
insult to injury, they were graciously told by the commissioners, "Friends, there is a 
barrel of rum in the entry — help yourselves !" To which two of the indignant suffer- 
ers retorted : " We don't want your rum — give us our own — we can treat ourselves ;" 
an answer which subsequently cost them their woodlands, which were specially desig- 
nated to the barrack-masters, and cut down for the use of the army. The owners of 
this wood received only two dollars per cord, while the officials charged and received 
from the Government ten dollars. 

1 Furman, in his MS. notes, vol. ix., p. 376, preserves this fact relative to the dis- 
covery and use of peat in Kings Co. : 

"My father, who is now fifty-eight years old, says that previous to the Revolutionary 
War, the existence of peat in Kings County, and in the town of Newtown, Queens 
County, was unknown to the inhabitants ; and that the same was discovered by the 
British soldiery who were then and there encamped, in those places where wood had 
become scarce in consequence of its having been all cut off. They instructed the inhab- 
itants in the art of preparing this valuable article of fuel — which was found on land 
formerly considered as comparatively worthless — but which is now highly esteemed. 
It was on the land of my great uncle, William Furman, at the head of the ' Vlie,' in 
Newtown, that the first turf was thus cut. He remonstrated with the British officers, 
believing that they would ruin his land, and told them that they might cut all his 
wood, but should leave his meadow. They replied that all his wood would not serve 
the British troops about New York for a single month ; but that there was turf enough 
on his land to serve as fuel for the whole British army in America. So they cut it, 
regardless of his objections, and without paying him for it, as he was known not to be 
a loyalist, and had relatives in the American army. They also told him that the 
deeper it was cut, the better it was — which my great-uncle found to be true, and 
always afterwards used turf for fuel, from preference. It was truly a providential dis- 
covery for the Long Island people, who were beginning to be distressed for want of 
wood, which had nearly all been cut off by the British troops." 


come to take a billet in your house." The officers usually appro- 
priated one or more of the best rooms in the house to their own 
use, and kept a guard constantly parading to and fro before the 
door. The soldiers made themselves at home in the kitchen. 
These officers, too, required the utmost condescension from the 
inhabitants, who were expected, while addressing them, to hold their 
hats under their arms : and should a farmer, in passing, neglect to 
doff his hat, he ran a strong risk of a good caning ; although if he 
did it, the Briton rarely deigned to notice him or to return his civil- 
ity. As a natural consequence, insubordination arose among the 
slaves, who either ran away from or became less respectful to their 
masters, whom they saw so humbled before the British officers. 
When we add to this the carousing, gambling, profanity, and the 
many other vices of the camp which were introduced into these 
hitherto quiet and orderly villages by the presence of large bodies 
of troops, who spread gold and dissipation with equal liberality 
around them, we cannot envy the condition of the people. It is 
true that all this afforded a ready market for such of the farmer's 
produce as had not been previously pilfered by the numerous 
marauding gangs which prowled around the country, making equal 
booty from friend and foe. The farmers flourished on British gold ; 
but as there were no banks for its safe-keeping, and few oppor- 
tunities of investment, they were obliged to keep it by them, and 
were often robbed. The churches, also, except those of the estab- 
lished faith, were freely occupied as prisons, hospitals, storehouses, 
and barracks for troops : some were even wantonly destroyed. 

In short, between the oppressions of their so-called " protectors," 
the British, and the depredations of the American whale-boatmen, 
the good people of Kings County generally were in a most pitiable 
condition. These whale-boatmen were Americans (many of them 
refugees from Long Island), who lived along the Connecticut shore, 
and bore commissions from the governors of that colony and of New 
York, authorizing them to cruise in the Sound against British 
vessels. It became, after a while, no unusual thing for them to 
land, and, under pretence of carrying off British goods, to plunder 
Whig and Tory alike, until at length the whale-boat warfare degen- 
erated into downright piraeij. The dwellers along the shore were in 


constant dread of their visits, and would often climb to the roofs of 
their houses, where, spy-glass in hand, they anxiously scanned the 
horizon. If they discerned whale-boats in the bay, the alarm was 
immediately given by signal-guns or horn-blowing, and all valuables 
were hastily hid away, leaving only a few articles in the house ; and 
the robbers, after ransacking the premises, would curse the inmates 
for their poverty, and depart. In this way, stores were sometimes 
nearly emptied of their contents in an afternoon, and the goods re- 
placed next morning. If, however, the owners were once caught, 
they ran a good chance of being tortured until the goods were forth- 
coming. Another more honorable employment of whale-boats, and 
one in which they rendered good service, was that of surprising and 
carrying off distinguished loyalists, in order to exchange them for 
Whig prisoners. 1 

At this period, and during the war, the whole of the land em- 
braced between the brow of the Heights on the river and the pres- 
ent Fulton and Joralemon streets — now forming one of the most 
closely-built and beautiful portions of our city — was then under high 
cultivation. That portion of it nearest to Fulton street was either 
used for pasturage, with its beautiful crop of grass browsed upon by 
fat, well-kept cattle, or was kept, at times, in grain. The middle part 
was almost entirely occupied by fine and thrifty orchards of apple, 
pear, and other trees ; and the lower portion was used for excellent 
gardens, which furnished an abundant supply of small fruit and vege- 
tables to the New York markets. - This tract of land belonged to 
several owners, among whom were the Middaghs, Bamper, Colden, 
Debevoise, Kemsens. On the Heights (ante, p. 73) stood the man- 
sion of Philip Livingston, Esq., 2 afterwards known as the " Jorale- 
mon House," a large double frame-house, the more modern por- 

1 The whale-boats were made sharp at each end, the sheathing not over half an inch 
thick, and so light as to be easily carried on men's shoulders, either to be hid in the 
bushes or relaunched in the South Bay. Some were thirty-two feet long, and im- 
pelled by from eight to twenty oars, and would shoot ahead of an ordinary boat with 
great velocity, and leave their pursuers far behind. They were always on the lookout, 
and, in a calm, would row out of their lurking-places and board market-boats, or even 
cut off the detached vessels of a convoy. 

2 Philip Livingston and his brother owned the land comprising the farms subse- 
quently belonging to Joralemon and Hicks, which adjoined that of Whitehead Cornell. 
These farms were divided by a road leading from Red Hook Lane to a public landing 


tion of which was built by Mr. Livingston, just previously to the 
war, for his only son, who was then making the tour of Europe, 
and was to be married on his return, which, however, was pre- 
vented by his death abroad. The house was 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, 1 probably as a justifiable 
retaliation upon its owner, who was a prominent member of the 
Continental Congress. Attached to the house was an extensive 
garden, which the well-known taste and abundant means of Mr. 
Livingston had made the finest in this part of America, and which — 
to their credit be it said — was kept in good repair by the physicians 
and officers 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 Ealph Patchen property) on the southerly 
side of the present Atlantic street. Things remained thus until 
1780-81, when Admiral Arbuthnot 2 assumed the command of this 
station. He instituted various reforms, among which was the turn- 
ing out of the surgeons and physicians from their comfortable 
quarters in the mansion-house, which was forthwith appropriated to 

at " The Fishing Place." This spot, famous in the memories of old Brooklynites, lay- 
opposite the Livingston farms, between Cornell's Mills and the Remsen Farm, and was 
called '' Livingston Beach." 

1 Furman, MSS., vol. ix. pp. 184, 185 : "Dec. 9, 1839. My father tells me that at one 
period during the Revolutionary War he saw lying in the harbor of New York, when 
that city and Long Island were in the possession of the British army, eighteen line-of- 
battle ships and a great number of frigates and smaller vessels of war, with between 
eighty and ninety transports, belonging to the British navy." 

2 Admiral Arbuthnot was accompanied by Prince William, afterwards King William 
the Fourth, but then a midshipman in the Royal Navy. " The prince," says Furman, 
MSS., " was very fond of playing a game of ball called ' rackets,' and used to go very 
frequently with officers of the British army and navy ; and when they came to the 
' alley,' which was in John street, New York, and found the young men and appren- 
tices of the city playing, they, without any ceremony, would order them to discontinue 
and to leave the alley. This, of course, caused bad feeling on the part of the citizens 
towards the officers, which the former sought every opportunity of manifesting when 
they could do so with impunity. Thus James West, an apprentice of my father's 
uncle, James Hallett, a coachmaker in the city of New York (who established the first 
carriages for hire in that city, afterwards known as ' hacks'), considering himself 
insulted or wronged by Prince William in some matter about that ball-play, one night 
gave the prince a good knock-down in the street, and a friend with him did the samo 



the use of the sick sailors. After that the garden began to go to 
decay, until, at the close of the Kevolution, when the British left 
Brooklyn, little of it remained but the name. The principal disease 
among the sick was the scurvy, and they were buried from these 
hospitals, in the neighboring ground, and that, afterwards, of Heze- 
kiah B. Pierrepont, to the number of twelve and fifteen a day. 1 For 
many years afterwards, the remains of these poor fellows were from 
time to time, disinterred by the caving down of the brow of the hill 
all along this portion of the shore. On the banks of the river, a 
little east of the easterly line of the continuation of Furman street, 
and between Pacific and Warren streets, as now laid out, was a knoll 
of land, where several hundred British sailors and soldiers were 
buried in regular rows. The heads of the westernmost row were 
exposed to the lashing of the waves of the East River, by which they 
were beaten off from the trunks. On this knoll, thus enriched, a 
superior quality of asparagitis was afterwards raised for the New 
York markets. 

Furman, from whose manuscripts we gain many of these facts, 
states that the old house, afterwards occupied by Selah Strong, Esq., 
and which stood in what is now known as 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 become 
quite intimate during the Revolution, and who sold him the land on 
which it was erected. These Cornells were among the most respec- 
table citizens of old Brooklyn, and, as Furman says, " all staunch 
King and Church men." Whitehead Cornell, a native of Queens 
County, came to Brooklyn about the middle of the last century, and 
married into the old Seabring family, who occupied a portion of 
the Lubbertson property, near Red Hook, as described on pages 
63-67. By this marriage and probably, also, by purchase, 2 he be- 

1 Mr. William Furman used to relate that lie saw ten or twelve bodies buried in one 
grave, from the British hospitals, on the Livingston place. His son, the historian of 
Brooklyn, also states, in his MSS., that by their teeth they appear all to have been 
young or middle-aged men ; and that a negro man belonging to Mr. William Cornell, 
the subsequent owner of the place, made considerable money by disposing of the teeth, 
which he found on these burial spots, to the dentists in New York city. Artificial 
teeth, it must be remembered, were not then known. 

* The Seabrings, who were Whigs, left the Island with, or shortly after the depart- 

(River Front.) 

(Rear View) 

Page 30? 


came the owner of nearly, if not quite, all the Seabring estates in 
that vicinity. He, also, realized a handsome fortune by contracting 
to supply the British fleet on this station with meat ; the final set- 
tlement for which was effected after the war by his son John, who 
visited England for that purpose. The social and personal standing 
of the family, however, was in nowise affected by their loyalty to 
King and Church ; and their neighbors showed no disposition to 
molest them, after the close of the war. Whitehead Cornell divided 
his estate between his three sons — John, 1 Isaac, and "William. The 
former received sixty acres, including the old Seabring, or " Eed 
Mills," where he pursued the milling business ; the flour of his 
make enjoying a high reputation even in the English market. He 
was a high-toned, enterprising gentleman, and for many years a 
vestryman and influential member of St. Anne's Episcopal Church. 
His brother, William, received a tract of a hundred and fifty acres 
along the river, which he afterwards sold to Kalph Patchen, while 
Isaac received ninety acres, adjoining John's farm, upon which he 
erected a distillery. 

The fine old house known as the " Four Chimnies," and afterwards 
as the Pierrepont mansion, and which has been described (page 284, 
note 3), was erected, as is supposed, by a John Cornell, who may 
have been a brother of Whitehead. 2 On the wharf, at foot of pres- 
ent Joralemon street, was situated a brewery, belonging to Living- 
ston, and 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. 3 The old people used to say 

ture of, the American troops in August, 1776. The Cornelius Seabring house and mill 
were burned, or partially destroyed, by the British, and owing to this and the length 
of the war, they found themselves, on their return, much impoverished, and were 
obliged to dispose of their property, which was purchased, as we have stated, by their 
neighbors and relatives, the Cornells. 

1 Not, as near as we can ascertain, the John who kept the " St. George's Tavern," 
on the Heights, mentioned on page 220 ; and who was probably of another Queens 
County family. 

2 For genealogy of the Cornell family, see Bolton's Hist, of "Westchester County, 
New York, ii., pp. 552-557. 

3 This Distillery Dock, and a molasses distillery on the same, was built about 1766, 
by a Mr. Jones, a relative of the Livingstons ; and the distillery, together with the 
ferry-house, was burned in 1787. Here, subsequently, was located Mr. Hez. B. Pierre- 
pont's celebrated " Anchor-Gin" distillery. 


the best beer that tliey ever tasted, and that the hospitals used at 
the rate of twenty barrels a day for their sick. These patients also 
had the best of medical attention, with abundant supplies of vege- 
tables 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 hill (or Heights) between the present Orange 
and Clark streets, was a half-moon fort, garrisoned by Hessian 
troops, and having a battery of cannon overlooking the harbor. 1 
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 
Bamper, 3 an elderly gentleman of fortune, who was supposed to 

1 Ante, 247. On its site was subsequently placed a large hotel, brought from Flat- 
bush. It stood about the junction of the present Clarke and Columbia streets, where 
Mr. Henry C. Bowen's house now is ; was chiefly patronized by Southerners, and was 
kept by Edward Macomber, from Providence, R. I., the father of Edward Macomber 
who built the block corner of Fulton and De Kalb avenues, known as " Macomber's 
Block." The building was pulled down by David Leavitt, who sold the ground to 
Mr. Bowen. 

2 The family records say that this Lodewyck Bamper, a son-in-law of the Governor 
of the Dutch colony of Surinam, came to America at some period between 1720 and 
'30, in a vessel which was owned by himself, as was also the cargo, which consisted 
of drygoods and horses. The crew of this vessel were African slaves, belonging to 
Mr. B., who brought with him, as household servants, four females of the same race, 
named respectively Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. He seems to have been a man 
of great wealth, even for that day, as he brought with him 60,000 guineas, an immense 
amount of silver-plate for daily family use, including two complete tea-services, two 
large urns, one for coffee and the other for chocolate, tureens, mugs, tumblers, goblets, 
porringers, chafing-dish, ladles, forks and knives with solid silver handles ; also, the- 
richest dress fabrics, such as silks, satins, and costly laces, piles of finest Holland linen, 
and jewelry of every sort. Among the elegant furniture which they owned was a house- 
organ, which was always played when the family were at meals, by a person who 
acted as valet and musician. This organ (in 1842) was in use at the Lutheran church, 
corner of William and Frankfort streets, New York. Soon after his arrival here, Mr. 
Bamper purchased ground on the northwest corner of Beekman and Gold streets, upon 
which he erected a dwelling, after the fashion of the day, fifty feet front and a story 
and a half high, and wliich remained, with its exterior unchanged, until 1834 or '35. 
A garden extended, in the rear of the house, to Ferry street ; and, under the care of an 
imported professional gardener, was cultivated and filled with all kinds of fruits and 
flowers to which the climate was congenial. In the large walks of this garden were 
placed, in the summer-time, painted wooden statues, life-size, representing grenadiers 
in full dress and equipments complete, also female figures representing soldiers' wives 
and children. Mr. Bamper became a large purchaser in lands of the northern and 
western parts of New York State ; and also on Brooklyn Heights, where he established 


have retired from the Holland trade. 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 garden. 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. Cadwallader Colden, and afterwards owned and occupied by 
Samuel Jackson, Esq. 1 This 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 
this 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. Geo. Hicks. Past this old 
stone house ran a private lane or footpath, from Love Lane (which 
then led from Fulton 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. 

his country-house, above referred to, on the corner of Clark and Willow streets. It had 
■within it, when taken down, some curious carvings done for the Bampers. The property 
was bought by Henry Waring from Gideon Kimberly, who bought it from John Bar- 
barin. Mr. Bamper was largely interested in the establishment of a glass factory, 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 preserved among the curiosities of the Long Island 
Historical Society. The factory, however, did not have a long career, on account of an 
insufficient supply of the necessary kind of sand. Mr. and Mrs. Bamper were mem- 
bers of the Moravian church, New York. They had two daughters, one of whom, 
during the Revolutionary War, was married to Dr. John Noel Barbarin, from Nantes, 
in France — then a physician in the British service, and attached to the naval hospital 
at the Livingston mansion. Subsequently, towards the conclusion of the war, he 
resigned his position and settled at Brooklyn, in the practice of his profession. Nov. 
22, 1784, in Assembly, a petition of Noel Jean Barbarin, praying by law the privi- 
lege of being naturalized and becoming a citizen, was read and referred to Mr. Ford, 
Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Joseph Laurence. (Furman MSS.) He was the first settled phy- 
sician in this town, where he was very much respected and esteemed. A curious MS. 
record, in the French language, of accouchement cases, from 1791 to 1796, kept by Dr. 
Barbarin, is still in existence, and might prove interesting to some descendants of the 
" old families" of Brooklyn. His son, Aime J. Barbarin, was a resident of Brooklyn 
within the recollection of many old Brooklynites. 

1 Jackson leased it to John Wells, a distinguished lawyer of that day, who died of 
yellow fever in 1823. 


During the war, the British "Wagon Department for the army on 
this station, was located in Brooklyn, occupying an immense yard, 
with sheds, stables, blacksmith'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. 1 Joseph Fox, an Englishman, and an old and 
respected citizen of Brooklyn, was for many years one of the princi- 
pals of this wagon department. These wagons were, of course, used 
for the transportation of stores, baggage, and tents of the troops, 
but more especially for bringing in forage. Every few months, the 
British commandants in New York would issue general orders, im- 
posing upon the unfortunate farmers of Kings and Queens, and a 
part of Suffolk County, heavy assessments of grain, hay, straw, etc., 
and specifying the times at which it was expected to be in readiness 
for delivery to the forage-masters, at certain prices fixed by the 
order. At the time specified, the wagons would be sent out into the 
country, accompanied by military guards, and the grain was duly 
collected, the owners receiving from the forage-masters written re- 
ceipts, payable on presentation at the office of the Quartermaster- 
General. If, however, that officer or his subordinates took it into 
their heads that the farmer was secretly attached to the American 
cause, he was certain to be refused payment, and might esteem him- 
self lucky if he got off as easily as that. In the same manner, also, 
in the fall of every year, the Long Island counties would be assessed 
for many thousand cords of wood, to be cut down and delivered at 
certain points, for the use of the British garrisons in New York and 
vicinity. In this manner both Queens and Kings counties were 
utterly despoiled of the abundant forests which had been their 
pride ; and when the British finally left the island, scarcely a stick, 
except a small piece of oak woods, a few miles beyond Jamaica, 
which belonged to a strong Tory, had escaped the axe. All 

1 Gen. Johnson says that this was on John Rapelje's land, ten acres of which was taken 
in October, 1783, by the British Quartermaster, as a Forage and Wood Depot, enclosed 
with a high fence, and occupied until the evacuation. 

The conductors of British wagon department opened roads wherever they saw fit. 
One of these roads was opened nearly in a straight line from the Jamaica road, about 
one-half a mile beyond Bedford, to present entrance of Sands street, which shortened 
the distance to Jamaica considerably. 

1/ A P OF BROOKLAND ^FRRY, !N 1766 = 7 AND 1867. 



The ancient portion (printed in black) of this map is from Ratzer's (larger) "Map 
of New York and a part of Long Island" — drawn on a scale of 400 feet to the inch- 
in the years 1706 and '67. 

Over this, the street lines of the modern city (printed in red) have been drawn by 
Mr. Silas Ltjdlam, City Surveyor. 

1. The "Corporation House," or " Ferry Tavern," known during the Revolutionary 
War as Messrs. Looseley and Elms' "King's Head Tavern." (See page 311.) 

2. John Rapalje'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 the rib-bones 
of a whale. It opened, at the side of Mr. Thomas Everit's house, into a lane leading 
up to Mr. Cary Ludlow's house. 


the woodlands now in these counties has grown since the year 

At the foot of and on the northerly side of the old road (now 
Fulton street, near the corner of Front), was situated the "ferry 
tavern." It was a large and gloomy stone building, about sixty feet 
square and two stories high, which stood in such a way cornerwise, 
as to leave only thirty-five and a half feet for the entire width of the 
street between it and the houses opposite. From the circumstance 
of its being owned by the corporation of the city of New York, it 
was known as the " Corporation House," l and had been noted as a 
tavern for thirty years previous to the Kevolution. Its last incum- 
bent, before the Battle of Brooklyn, was Captain Adolph Waldron, 
who was also " the ferry master." Espousing the cause of the Bebel- 
lion, 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. 2 He 
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, 2 and catered to the tastes of their mil- 

1 Also, from some circumstance connected with, hoisting a coffin on the flagstaff of the 
building, known as "The Coffin House." It was the successor of the ferry-house, 
erected in 1746, by the corporation of the city of New York, on land purchased of Jacob 
Morris, in 1694 ; and which was burned down in 1748, as it was supposed, by the 
Brooklynites, who were then carrying on a long and bitter litigation with the corpora- 
tion concerning ferry rights (see Chapter on Ferries). Its site is now (1866) partially 
occupied by Nos. 19, 21, and 23 Fulton street. At the time of the Revolution, 
the East River, at high-water mark, came nearly up to Front street, as shown in 
the accompanying plan. 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 oppo- 
site side of Fulton street. 

2 Ante, p. 247. 

3 It is probable that 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 find a notice of a "Pubbc Auction of Brooklyn Hall," for " the benefit 
of the creditors of Charles Loosely," of " all the genuine household furniture, consisting 
of mahogany and other bedsteads, feather beds and mattresses, chintz and other cur- 
tains, blankets, sheets, etc. ; mahogany drawers, dining, tea, and card tables ; an elegant 
clock in mahogany case ; a curious collection of well-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 
billiard table in thorough repair ; near twenty globe lamps, fit for hall or passage, etc. ; 


itary friends and patrons with such shrewd energy and tact, that it 
became extensively 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, 1781, refers to it thus : " On crossing 
the East Eiver 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 fortune during this war." ' 
We shall have frequent occasion to refer to this headquarters of 
royalists and Tories, which subsequently seems to have been known 
by the name of " Brooklyn Hall." 

Just off from this old road, on what is now the westerly side of 
Front street, at its junction with Fulton, was the large stone house 
owned by John Eapalje, the Tory, which was confiscated after the 
Revolution, and afterwards sold by the Commissioners to Comfort 
and Joshua Sands, and by them to Abm. Bemsen (ante, 78, 79). 

1777, September 26th. The loyalists had the pleasure of welcom- 
ing Bivington, 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, or at least from July to November, and 
probably through the winter, the following regiments were encamped 
at or near Bedford, the 37th, 42d, 44th, 46th, and 17th light infantry; 
between Bedford and Bushwick, the 1st battalion light infantry ; and 
at Brooklyn ferry, the New York volunteers. 

A correspondent of Rivingtons 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 : " As the loyalty even of individuals ought, at 
this time, to be properly encouraged, you will infinitely oblige the 

wagons, horses, cows, etc.; two tenements adjoining the house ; a flagstaff, with ensigns, 
pendants ; and several hundred transparent and tin lamps, fit for an illumination." As 
will be seen in the following pages, landlord Loosely was profuse of illuminations on 
every possible occasion. 
1 Anbury's Travels, ii. 540. 


public and a number of your readers, by inserting a description of 
the grand and elegant illumination at the King's Head Tavern, 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 inhabitants 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, with- 
out its head, was placed near the 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 appro- 
bation 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 Bed- 
ford, and the 3d Prince Hereditary (350), and 4th Charles (300), at 

Gaine's Mercury, Sept. 27th, advertises " a cricket match for fifty 
guineas, between Brooklyn and Greenwich clubs, to be played this 
day at Loosely and Elms, 10 A. m." 

1780. In May, the newly-appointed Governor Robertson 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 rebuild houses, and 
manure and inclose lands." The fort here referred to was proba- 
bly the one erected at the junction of Pierrepont and Henry streets, 
and was by far the most thoroughly constructed and complete forti- 
fication erected by the British during their stay on Long Island. 
The land on which it was built, was, at the time, occupied by several 
fine orchards, which, of course, were ruthlessly levelled by the engi- 
neers of the army. The position was a very commanding one, 1 and 
the extremely level nature of the ground rendered the work one of 
great labor. Old inhabitants used to speak of having seen from 
two to three thousand British soldiers engaged upon these works 
at the same time, in digging trenches, and wheeling earth in bar- 
rows, to form the walls ; in addition to which, all the inhabitants on 
the island were assessed according to their respective counties for 
a certain number of days' work. 2 

1 We learn from Mr. Henry E. Pierrepont, of Brooklyn, that, according to careful sur- 
vey made for him in 1838, by Alfred Craven, the well-known engineer of the Erie rail- 
road, and latterly 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. 

We also learn from Furman's MSS., that when the British army evacuated New 
York, Messrs. Middagk, Bamper, Golden, and Debevoise, owners of the lands whereon 
the fort was built, commenced to dismantle the fortification, tearing down its gates, 
barracks, etc. ; quite forgetful of the fact that the property really belonged to the 
Government, although located on their premises. They at last quarrelled among them- 
selves as to the disposition of the wreck ; and the affair coming to the knowledge of 
Gov. Clinton, he issued an order, through the sheriff of Kings County, commanding 
them to desist from further dismantling the fort, and to render an account of all prop- 
erty taken away. Although extremely alarmed at this proceeding, the matter was 
afterwards amicably arranged between the Government and the proprietors, who 
finally obtained permission to complete the work of demolition. The ramparts, how- 
ever, remained until about 1836, since which time the ground has been fully occupied 
by one of the most elegant portions of our city. 

3 All the brushwood in the neighborhood of Newtown was cut down and made up 
into fascines, about twelve feet long and the size of a man's body, which the farmers 
were compelled to cart into Brooklyn, where they were to be used in supporting the 
earth walls of the fort. A man with two horses, or oxen, and a wagon, was obliged to 
labor for a week or ten days in cutting and transporting these fascines, or timber and 
other material for barracks. A large number of mechanics were also employed in 
the construction of a gate and drawbridge — a most substantial and costly work of great 



It is said to have been an exciting and exceedingly interesting 
sight to witness several thousand men, soldiers, mechanics, farmers, 

and laborers, all busily en- 

in erecting this exten- 
sive fortification, on lands 
which, a few months previous, 
had been covered only with 
thrifty orchards, under whose 
grateful shades cattle quietly 
grazed or reposed. Nature 
had yielded to the rude hand 
of war ; but years have again 
passed, and the same locality, 
under the inspiration of mod- 
ern civilization, has experienced 
a still more marvellous change ; 
so that the stranger who walks our thickly populated streets, can 
scarcely realize that he treads upon " Revolutionary ground." 

This fort was 450 feet square, with ramparts rising about forty or 
fifty feet above the bottom of the surrounding ditch, itself twenty feet 
in depth. 1 At the angles of the fort were bastions, on each of which 


weight, having a quantity of iron work about it, yet so admirably constructed as to be 
easily raised and lowered by one person. Besides these, some forty workmen were em- 
ployed in digging a well, in the exact centre of the fort — an undertaking of great labor 
and expense. Furman's MSS. says : " So deep were they obliged to go for water, 
that they almost despaired of ever finding it, but reached it finally. It is stoned -with 
freestone, regularly cut, and is probably the best constructed and most expensive well 
on the island, if not in the State, and is now used as a public well, a pump having been 
put in it for the upper part of Henry street. It was built by a man named Schofield, 
who received a guinea a day for superintending it. Schofield commenced the job a 
poor laboring man, workirig himself; but before long he wore ruffles to his shirt, and 
hired laborers to carry on the work, which, however, was well done." Under date 
of August 23, 1823, Furman's MSS. " record the frame of the first building erected 
on the site of the old British fort, through which Jackson's, alias Love Lane, 
passes, put up this day on Henry street. It is to be a two-story wooden dwelling- 
house, about thirty feet broad and fifty feet deep, owned by Samuel Jackson, Esq. 
At this time there are no houses south of Cranberry street." The well in said fort 
"has not been used since the evacuation, in 1783. It is now cleaned out, and a well- 
house built over it, for the purpose of supplying the above-mentioned house with water. 
Considerable part of the remains of the fort has been levelled within a year or two." 

1 In the earlier village days, these ditches of the old fort furnished an excellent place 
for target-firing, which was frequently practised there by the citizen soldiery. 


was planted a buttonwood-tree, which afterwards attained a very- 
large size. The barracks were very substantially constructed. In 
front of the fort, on the line of the present Fulton street, between 
Pierrepont and Clark streets, stood a row of small mud huts, erected 
by the British army sutlers. 1 The fortification was not completed 
in July, 1781, at which time it had only eighteen cannon mount- 
ed. 2 

On June 14, 1780, citizens of Brooklyn thanked the 76th Begiment, 
commanded by the Earl of Caithness, and afterwards by Capt. 
Bruce, for their constant good order and decorum during their resi- 
dence at Brooklyn. 3 

Gaine's Mercury, of July 2d, 1780, contains the following ad- 
vertisement, issued by Loosely and Elms : "Pro bono publico. 
Thursday next, bull-baiting at Brooklyn ferry. The bull is remark- 
ably strong and active ; the best dogs in the country expected, and 
they that afford the best diversion will be rewarded with silver col- 
lars." Such were the elegant and refined amusements with which 
the aristocracy of the British army whiled away their leisure ! 

A few days later, July 17th, an address was presented to Gov. 
Robertson, on the occasion 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. Cowenhoven, Rem Cowenhoven, Maj. Jeromus V. D. Belt, Adrian 
Van Brunt, Leffert Lefferts, and Johannes Bergen, who " concur 
with His Excellency in ascribing to the ambitious and self-interested 
views of a few who conceal from the multitude the offers of Great 
Britain, that our countrymen, once so happy, are brought to feel the 
miseries held up to their fears, to seduce them from the felicity they 
once enjoyed, subjected, as they now are, to a usurpation that has 
annihilated their commerce, shed their blood, and wasted their prop- 
erty, and is now dragging the laborious husbandman from the plough 
to the field of battle, to support their unauthorized combinations 
with designing popish and arbitrary powers. They cannot suffi- 
ciently applaud His Excellency for affording them the means of 

1 Furman's MS. Mem., ix., 376, on authority of Mr. Jacob Hicks, an old resident of 

2 Onderdonk, Rev. lucid., 101. 3 Onderdonk, Kings Co., p. 187. 


extricating themselves, and assure him of their loyal endeavors for 
His Majesty's service." 

About this time the 43d Eegiment were encamped near Brooklyn. 

This year was a lively one for the troops quartered here, if we may 
judge from the following advertisements : 

" Peo Bono Publico. — Saturday next being the birthday of His 
Koyal Highness the Prince of Wales, Loosely, agreeable to an hon- 
est old custom, wishes to see his royal and constitutional friends — 
dinner at 3. The evening to conclude with fireworks and illumina- 
tions. A good band of music. Kebels approach no nearer than 
the heights of Brooklyn." — Rivington, Aug. 9, '80. 

" Anniversary of the Coronation of our ever good and gracious 
King, 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, formerly 
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. 
2. A saddle, bridle and whip, worth £15, by ponies not exceeding 
13! hands : Tuesday, 1. Ladies' subscription purse of £50. 2. To 
be run for by women, a Holland smock 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, 
£50. No person will erect a booth or sell liquor, without subscrib- 
ing two guineas towards the expense of the race. Gentlemen fond 
of fox-hunting will meet at Loosely's King's Head Tavern at day- 
break during the races. 

"God Save the King played every hour." — Rivington, Nov. 4, 1780. 

In the early autumn of this year, Lieutenant-General Riedesel 
was .appointed by Gen. Clinton to the command of Brooklyn, a mark 
of especial confidence, as Long Island was then the great depot of 
supplies for the British army in New York, and was occupied by the 
best English troops ; but few of the German mercenaries being gar- 
risoned there. And, although the British were usually averse to the 
authority of any of the foreign generals, yet so great was the repu- 


tation which this amiable and talented soldier had won for himself, 
that all, and especially the officers, vied with each other in mani- 
festing their own good-will, as well as their appreciation of his 
merits. The general's 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. That 
his fears were not unfounded, was proved by the fate of one of his 
officers, Major Maibom, who, having just been exchanged, was one 
night surprised in his bed and hurried into a second captivity. 1 
Eiedesel knew that he was a prize much coveted by the Americans, 
and having recently suffered from the inconveniences and hardships 
of captivity, took especial pains not to be caught " napping." 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. 2 
The detail of guard-service had been much neglected by the English 
officers previously in command, but Eiedesel instituted very thor- 
ough and wholesome reforms in this respect. At a quarter to nine 
o'clock every morning the guards assembled at the rendezvous, 
where the parade was formed in four sections. The pickets who 
had been on duty during the previous night were also obliged to be 
present at this parade, but were allowed to return to their barracks 
at its conclusion. At half-past six o'clock in the evening was the 

1 Probably the one mentioned by Onderdonk, Kings Co., sec. 189 : " On Sunday night 
April 15th, Capt. Huyler, of Brunswick, made a descent on Michael Bergen's house, at 
Gowanus, and captured a Hessian major and ensign, with their waiters. They were in 
the centre of two picket guards, yet the address of Huyler was such that the guards 
were not alarmed until he was fairly out of reach." 

2 There were at this time (1781) quartered at Flatbush a battalion composed of Ger- 
man troops, with German officers, and commanded by Major Lucke. The exchanged 
Brunswick dragoons, who had been made prisoners at Bennington, were also stationed 
there, under Captain von Schlagenteuffel, sen., to whom, in general orders of April 29th, 
General Riedesel says, "Captain von Schlagenteuffel, sen., in locating (i. e. quartering) 
the officers of the regiment of dragoons, will make such arrangements that no officer 
rims the risk of being captured." And, on the 6th of May, he issued " special instruc- 
tions regulative for the different guards in and around Brooklyn." 


"appel'l," at which the troops were present with their muskets and 
full equipments. The general was always present at these morning 
and evening parades. During the night, three " officers' rounds" 
were made, and between each of them two patrols, commanded by 
subaltern officers, visited all the guards and posts in Brooklyn, the 
fort and the pickets. They also gave their particular attention to 
the sailors of the British navy, who were apt, when ashore, to get 
into pot-house broils. 

On the 22d of July, 1781, the general, with his family and at- 
tendants embarked for Canada, bearing with them the good wishes 
of the numerous warm friends whose courteous attentions had made 
their stay in New York and Brooklyn so pleasant. 1 

During the winter of 1780-81, the East Biver 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 
Tork. The Americans, however, transported some troops and can- 
non on the ice from New Jersey to Staten Island. — Furman MSS. 

1781. "Pro Bono Publico.— By permission, four days sport, on 
Easter Monday, on Ascot Heath. Purses of <£50, <£50, £100, £100." 
— Rivington, Feb. 12. 

" Grand Races at Ascot Heath postponed till June 6, on account of 
the King's birthday ; on which occasion it is expected every true 
subject will so strain his nerves in rejoicing, as to prevent this 
amusement being agreeable before that time. A hurling match on 
the 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, 

1 Max von Elkin's Life and Acts of Gen. Riedesel, published at Leipsic, 1856, ii. 321, 
333, 337, 340, 346, 359 ; for translations of which we are indebted to Dr. R. Barthel- 
mess, of Brooklyn. Also Mad. de Riedesel's Mem., pp. 249-252. 


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 Boast Beef of Old England !' will be sung 
with 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 thro' his veins, 
And barking numbers he disdains. 
Sooner than knavish dogs shall rule, 
He'll prove himself a true John Bull,." ' 

At this time (July 8) Brooklyn Fort, although yet imperfect, hav- 
ing but eighteen cannon mounted, had two bomb-proof magazines 
and a garrison of two hundred Brunswickers. " Cobble Hill," also 
in process of repair, was occupied by two companies. 2 The Fifty- 
fourth Kegiment were encamped at " Ferry Hill," two miles from 
Brooklyn, and at Bedford were two hundred grenadiers. 

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, 
Wyckoff, 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 fif- 
teen feet wide, with a board roof resting on the bank formed by the 
excavated earth. A large stone fireplace or two were arranged in 

1 Rivington, June 20, 1781. 

2 " Cobble Hill commanded Brooklyn Fort, but was made lower, for fear it might 
fall into the hands of the Continentals." — Onderdonk, p. 191. 



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. A small mound on Bergen street, just west of Franklin 
avenue, designated, 
until the ground was _ aj§| " - 

leveUed in 1852, the , j ., ■ 

position of the flag- awA^^W/;^ V " r \\ 

staff and the en- ~_]1 [| 

trance of the Bed- _ _ ""'-'■■"_ ri-^^^" 

ford camp. Many 


relics have been dug 

up on this camping-ground, and human skeletons are often discov- 
ered during the progress of grading the land. The site of every hut 
could still be distinguished in 1852. The officers were located out- 
side of this camp, in the adjacent woods, and wherever convenient 
and pleasant spots tempted them to pitch their tents. Headquar- 
ters were at the Leffert Lefferts house, yet standing on the corner of 
Fulton avenue and Clove Boacl, and family tradition states that the 
lamented Major John Andre was quartered at this house when he 
was called to New York on the interview with Gen. Clinton, which 
resulted in his being sent up the North Biver on the mission which 
terminated in his capture and execution as a spy. His personal 
effects were mostly taken in charge by his fellow-officers ; but a 
camp folding-chair belonging to him was for many years preserved 
in the Lefferts family, until recently presented to the Long Island 
Historical Society. 

In the Eoyal Gazette of August 8th, 1781, published at New York, 
Charles Loosely advertises a lottery of $12,500 to be drawn at 
" Brooklyn Hall." The same paper contains the following adver- 
tisement : " Pro bono publico. — Gentlemen 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 will 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 
harmony. Brooklyn Hall, 6th August, 1781." 

" B. Creed's Jamaica and Brooklyn Hall Stage Machine, 6s. a 
passage ; not answerable for money, plate, and jewels, unless entered 
and paid for." — Bivington, March, 1781. 

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. 

1782. In March of this year we find, in the Tory prints, some 
bitter complaining, on the part of the inhabitants of the county, 
against the rebel leaders, on account of heavy debts contracted by 
their prisoners, from May, '79, to Feb., '81, for board and washing, 
which, at $2 per week, had accumulated to nearly £20,000, for 
which their commissary had given notes of hand. Congress, how- 
ever, afterwards appropriated $30,000 to liquidate these debts. 

The Anhault Zerbet Regiment were at this time stationed at 

"A sweepstakes of 300 guineas was won by Jacob Jackson's mare, 
Slow and Easy, over Mercury and Goldfinder, on Ascot Heath. 
The two beaten horses are to run for 100 guineas a side, on Wednes- 
day nest, on the same ground." — Bivington, April 27, '82. 

" May 3, on Monday se'nnight the enemy (British) began 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. Courant, May 7, '82, 

This " canal" is more accurately described by General Jeremiah 
Johnson as a strong line of intrenchment, extending from the hill of 
Bern. A. Bemsen along the high lands of John Bapelje, 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. 


"Ascot Heath Baces. — Monday next a match for 60 guineas between 
Mr. Van Mater's Juniper and Mr. Byerson's Calf-Skin. To run the 
best of 3 two-mile heats." — Rivington, May 25, '82. 

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." 1 

As we have already seen, the enterprising landlord of " The King's 
Head" tavern was not insensible to the advantages of advertising ; 
and this summer, by way of tickling the humors of his patrons, and, 
perhaps, of aiding a lottery enterprise which he had in hand, he 
issued a newspaper. This, the first paper ever issued in Brooklyn, 
was printed upon a dingy sheet of 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 Brooklyn-Hall Supek-Extra 
Gazette," dated Saturday, June 8th, 1782, and its contents may be 
characterized as displaying more loyalty and " heavy wit" than lite- 
rary merit. A copy of this sheet, the only one known to be in exist- 
ence, can be seen among the curiosities of the Naval Lyceum, in 
the U. S. Navy Yard, in this city. 2 

" Baron de Walzogen, Capt. Commandant of the combined detach- 
ment of Brunswick and Hessian Hanau troops, now at Brooklyn 
camp, received an address from the inhabitants of New Utrecht, 
thanking him for the vigilant care, good order, and discipline pre- 
vailing 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 garri- 
son battalion of invalids, about one hundred in number, of whom a 
half were officers, was quartered at the houses of the different 
inhabitants. 3 

1 Onderdonk, Kings Co., 191. 2 See Appendix, No. 9. 

3 Onderdonk, Rev. Rem. Kings Co., 261. 


1783. In January of this year General Carlton appointed Mr. 
Ernest de Dieniar major of the fort at Brooklyn. 

" Subscription assembly at Loosely's, Brooklyn Hall, every other 
Thursday, during the season, for the gentlemen of the army and 
navy, public departments, and citizens. Half a guinea each night, 
to provide music, tea, coffee, chocolate, negus, sangaree, lemonade, 
etc"— Gaine, Feb. 24, '83. 

"Bace at Ascot Heath. A purse of 100 guineas, on April 9, 
between Calfskin and Fearnought, the best of 3 one-mile heats." — 
Rivington, April 5, '83. 

But the state of things had changed. No longer did the news- 
papers teem with festive advertisements and loyalist literature. 
The war was virtually ended by the provisional treaty of peace, 
signed November 30, 1782, and the British were about to leave the 
land where, for nearly seven years, their presence had rested like a 
hideous nightmare upon the people whom they sought to subdue. 
The " King's Head Tavern" blazed no more with festive illumina- 
tions, nor echoed to the sound of revelry. The raps of the auc- 
tioneer's hammer resounded through the halls where once the gay 
officers of the British army and their " toady" loyalist friends of Kings 
County had feasted, and sung, in harmonious revelry, loyal ballads 
to their sovereign. The sound of preparation for departure was 
everywhere heard, and the papers (significant indices of every pass- 
ing breeze of popular events) were now occupied with advertisements 
such as the following : 

" 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 10,000."— Rivington, May 26, '83. 

" Auction at Flatbush. — The Waldeck Stores, viz. : soldiers' 
shirts ; blue, white, and yellow cloth ; thread-stockings, shoe-soles, 
heel-taps, etc., etc." — Rivington, July 2, '83. 

" Saddle-horses, wagons, carts, harness, etc., at auction every "Wed- 
nesday, at the wagon-yard, Brooklyn." — Gains, Sept. 8, '83. 

" King's draft and saddle horses, wagons, carts, and harness for 
sale at the wagon-yard, Brooklyn." — Rivington, August 27, '83. 

Desertions also became frequent among the Hessians, who pre- 
ferred to remain in this country. Tunis Bennet of Brooklyn was 


imprisoned in the Provost for carrying Hessian deserters over to 
the Jersey shore. 1 

At length, after protracted negotiations, a definitive treaty of peace 
was signed at Paris, between the American and British commission- 
ers, on the 3d of September, 1783. And on the 25th of November 
following, Brooklyn and the city of New York were formally evac- 
uated by the British troops and refugees, 2 whose requiem was sung 
by ballad-singers in strains like these : 

" When Lord Cornwallis first came o'er 

The cannon roared like thunder ; 
If he should return once more, 

It will surely be a wonder. 
The refugees and Tories all, 

Asking mercy at our hands, 
Upon their bending knees do fall, 

To let them stay and enjoy their lands," etc. 

As soon as the armies of Britain had left these shores, and Lib- 
erty dawned again upon the land, so long deprived of hope and 
peace, numerous exiles returned to look after their property and 
interests. Brooklyn, which, during the war, had been wholly mili- 
tary ground, presented a sadder scene of desolation than any other 
town in Kings County. In 1776, after its occupation by the Brit- 
ish, 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 ruthlessly cut down for fuel, buildings were injured, fences 
removed, and boundaries effaced. Farmers were despoiled of their 
cattle, horses, swine, poultry, vegetables, and of almost every neces- 
sary 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 a lawless soldiery deemed worthy 
of possession, and much furniture was wantonly destroyed. 3 At the 

1 Rivington, Aug. 1, '83. 

2 On this memorable occasion the American flag was displayed from the same flag- 
staff, on the Pierrepont mansion, from wbich signals had been made during the battle 
of Long Island, in 1776. 

3 More serious outrages by the British soldiery were not infrequent, but redress was 
not easily obtained by the sufferers. " A Mrs. Lott, of Flatlands, was wantonly shot by 


close of this year's campaign, De Heister, 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 fre- 
quently stolen or destroyed. Stock became 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, how- 
ever, soon rendered it necessary for the British commanders to 
restrain this system of indiscriminate marauding, and to encourage 
agriculture. After the capture of General Burgoyne's army, rebel 
prisoners were treated with more lenity; and in 1778, the towns 
of Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, and New Utrecht were set apart 
as a parole-ground, for the purpose of quartering American officers 
whom the fortunes of war had thrown upon their hands. In these 
townj3, therefore, a greater degree 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, how- 
ever, remained a garrison town until the peace, and many farms were 
not inclosed until after the evacuation, in 1783. 

When, therefore, the inhabitants returned to their desolated and 
long-deserted homes, their first efforts were directed to the cultivation 
of their lands, the re-establishment of their farm boundaries, ami the 
restoration of their private affairs. This being accomplished, their 
attention was next turned to the reorganization of the town — whose 
records had been removed, and whose functions and privileges had 
been totally suspended during the seven years' military occupation 
by the British. 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 Leffert Lefferts, Esq., the previous clerk, for 
the town records. Lefferts deposed, 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 has since been identified, 

a soldier while sitting in her window ; three men of the 33d Regiment (under Colonel 
Webster, quartered at Lambert Suydam's) had killed one of his cattle and were skin- 
ning it, when he shot the three with one discharge of buckshot ; two were killed 
in Bush wick ; three in Newtown ; one killed at a shanty, by a man named Cypher, 
near the Half-way House." — Jeremiah Johnson. 


the subsequent fate of the records themselves is, to this day, un- 
known. 1 

Gradually, under the benign influences of Liberty and Law, order 
emerged from chaos. The few lawless miscreants who remained 
were speedily restrained from their mischievous propensities by the 
whipping-post and imprisonment, angry passions subsided, and those 
citizens who had hitherto viewed each other as enemies, became 


From the MSS. of the late General Jeremiah Johnson, we have 
selected the following incidents illustrative of the British occupation 
of Brooklyn : 

A Bebel-shot. — " In the summer of the year 1780, four British 
officers, who were in quarters in the Wallabout, were engaged in 
target-shooting in my father's orchard. They were provided with a 
chair to sit on, and a rest for their guns ; their target was placed 
against a large chestnut-tree, on the margin of a hill, some eighty 
yards off, and a servant was stationed below the ridge, with a staff, 
to designate the place on the target where their balls struck. They 

1 " This was John Rapalje, mentioned (on pp. 78, 79, and 312) as a prominent citizen 
and Tory, who had been employed by Mr. Lefferts as a clerk, and therefore knew 
which of the records were most valuable. He came to the house one day, and telling 
Mrs. Lefferts that he intended removing the papers to a safe place, went into the room 
used as an office, and there busied himself for some time, selecting what he pleased, 
packing the whole in a sack, and taking them away. — (J. C. Brevoort, Esq., on authority 
of Leffert Lefferts, son of Leffert Lefferts, the clerk in question.) These records and 
papers were taken to England by Rapalje, in October, 1776 ; and his lands were con- 
fiscated, and afterwards became the property of J. & C. Sands. After his death, the 
papers fell into the possession 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.) 


shot poorly. The writer was looking on, when one of the officers, 
after loading his gun, asked me whether I would try a shot. I 
replied in the affirmative, and, presenting the piece at arms' length, 
fired. The servant signalled the ball as having struck the bulVs-eye. 
The party looked at me with surprise and indignation, and ex- 
claimed : ' 'Tis no wonder the d — d rebels kill our men as they do — 
here is a boy who beats us !' I told them I could do it again, and 
left them to cogitate on the subject." 

Horse Racing. — A jockey or racing club was formed in the year 
1780, within the British lines. Bryant Connor, of New York, was 
Chief Jockey. Flatland Plain, then called " Ascot Heath," was the 
race-course ; it 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 New 
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 gentlemanly manner. Whether he ever found the 
thief afterwards is uncertain. 1 

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 be- 
fore. They were sentenced to be hung, but Parrot was pardoned 

1 In 1784, public races were run at New York, on the level of Division street. In the 
same year, Governor George Clinton (who assumed, though erroneously, that " it be- 
longed to him as an official franchise") leased Governor's Island to a Dr. Price, who 
built a hotel there and graded a handsome course on the same, on which races were 
run in 1785 and '86. Afterwards they were held at Harlem, Newmarket, Beaver Pond, 
New Utrecht, and on the Union Course. 


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 John- 
son, 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 fas- 
tened to the limb about four feet apart. Tench ascended the ladder 
first, followed by Cunningham'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 companion, in an undaunted man- 
ner, and was turned towards him and struck against him. They 
boxed together thus several times, hanging in mid-aii* about ten feet 
from the ground, until they were dead. The field and staff officers 
were inside the square, and after the execution Cunningham reported 
to the commanding officer (said to be General Gray), who also ap- 
peared to treat him with contempt. The troops then left the ground, 
and the bodies were buried under the tree." 

Militaky 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 pres- 
ent at these floggings, except at punishments of the 42d Highland 
Regiment, when only the other regiments were allowed to be wit- 
nesses. 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 be- 
tween 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 bis doom — doom — doom — doom." 

The officers often treated their men cruelly. General Johnson 
remembered to have seen Captain Westerhauge and Lieutenant Con- 
rady beat a corporal with their swords on his back, over his waist- 
coat, 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 commenced ; 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. 1 

Among the patriotic deeds of the adherents of the American cause 
in Kings County, we must not fail to record the loans of money fur- 
nished to the State Government by them. It was effected in the 
following manner. Lieutenant Samuel Dodge and Captains Gille- 
land 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 John- 
son as one who would risk all in the undertaking. It was therefore 
agreed that confidential officers should be exchanged, who were to act 
as agents in these transactions. Colonel William Ellison was fixed 
upon to receive the loan. He was exchanged in November, 1777, 

1 It may be worthy of note that 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 the author, 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. She also remembers to have 
seen the troops encamped in shanties and tents, between Rem Lefferts' and Peter 
Vandervoort's, now the house of James Debevoise, on Bedford, near Gates avenue. 
The officers were billeted on those families. 


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 Eem A. Eemsen's house, in the Walla- 
bout, while the lieutenant of the guard of the " Old Jersey" British 
prison-ship was quartered in the house. Eemsen 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. 1 

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. 
This odious and well-named " partial" tax, or a moiety of it, could 
be paid in State scrip, which the soldier had received for his ser- 
vices, 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. 



The Battle of Brooklyn, in August, and the capture of Fort Wash- 
ington, in November, 1776, placed in possession of the British nearly 
four thousand prisoners; and this number was increased, by the 

1 See General Johnson's MSS., and Onderdonk's Queens County, p. 316. 

* In the preparation of this chapter, we have drawn freely upon the narratives of 
Captain Thomas Dring (of which two editions were published, in 1829 and '31, and 
a privately printed edition, with annotations, by H. B. Dawson, in 1805) ; of the Rev. 
Thomas Andros, published in 1833 ; of Captain Alexander Coffin, jr., in his letter 
to Dr. Samuel Mitchell, in Hist. Account of Am. Martyrs, published iu 1808 ; The Ad- 
ventures of Christopher Hawkins, privately printed, with copious notes, by Charles 
I. Bushnell, Esq., in 1864 ; the Reminiscences, in print and MS., of General Jeremiah 
Johnson, of Brooklyn ; and the incidental descriptions in Memoirs of Rev. Andrew 
Sherborne, of Ebenezer Fox, Com. Silas Talbot, etc., all of which have become 
scarce books, and, to some extent, inaccessible to the general reader. 


arrest of private citizens suspected of complicity with the rebellion, 
to over five thousand, before the end of the year. The only prisons 
then existing in the city of New York were : the " New Jail," which 
still remains, in an entirely altered form, as the " Hall of Records," 
and the " Bridewell," which was located between the present City 
Hall and Broadway. These edifices proving entirely inadequate for 
the accommodation of this large number of captives — to whom they 
were unwilling to extend the privileges of parole — the British were 
compelled to turn three large sugar-houses, several of the Dissenting 
churches, the Hospital, and Columbia College, into prisons for their 
reception. 1 These buildings, also, were soon crowded to overflow- 
ing by daily accessions of captive patriots, who, in many instances, 
found not even space to lie down and rest upon the hard and filthy 
floors. Here, in these loathsome dungeons, denied the light and air 
of heaven ; scantily fed on poor, putrid, and sometimes even un- 
cooked food; obliged to endure the companionship of the most 
abandoned criminals, and those sick with small-pox and other infec- 
tious diseases ; worn out by the groans and complaints of their 
suffering fellows, and subjected to every conceivable insult and 
indignity by their inhuman keepers, thousands of Americans sick- 
ened and died. Almost preferable, by comparison, was the fate of 
those who, without a moment's warning, and at midnight, were hur- 
ried by the Provost 2 to the gallows and an unknown grave. 

1 These sugar-houses were Van Cortlaudt's, which stood on the corner of Thames and 
Lumber streets, at the northwest corner of Trinity churchyard ; Rbinelander's, on the 
corner of William and Duane streets ; and one on Liberty street (Nos. 34 and 
36) a little east of the Middle Dutch church, now occupied as the United States 
Post-office. The churches were the Middle Dutch church, above referred to, which 
was used as a prison for about two months, and afterwards converted into a riding- 
school for the British cavalry ; the North Dutch church, yet standing on William 
Btreet, between Fulton and Ann ; and the " Brick Church," which, until within a few 
years, stood in the triangle between Park Row, Beekman, and Nassau streets. Subse- 
quently, this last-mentioned, together with the Presbyterian church in Wall street, the 
Scotch church in Cedar street, and the Friends' Meeting House in Liberty street, were 
converted into hospitals. The French church, in Pine street, was used as a magazine 
for ordnance and stores. 

2 Captain William Cunningham, an Irishman by birth, and a brute by nature, who, 
during the occupation of New York by the British, held the post of Provost 
Marshal of the city. He subsequently suffered the same fate to which he had consigned 
so many victims — being hung for forgery in London, England, in 1791. In his dying 
confession, which appeared in the English papers in 1794, and which has always been 


arrest of private citizens suspected of complicity with the rebellion, 
to over five thousand, before the end of the year. The only prisons 
then existing in the city of New York were : the " New Jail," which 
still remains, in an entirely altered form, as the " Hall of Eecords," 
and the " Bridewell," which was located between the present City 
Hall and Broadway. These edifices proving entirely inadequate for 
the accommodation of this large number of captives — to whom they 
were unwilling to extend the privileges of parole — the British were 
compelled to turn three large sugar-houses, several of the Dissenting 
churches, the Hospital, and Columbia College, into prisons for their 
reception. 1 These buildings, also, were soon crowded to overflow- 
ing by daily accessions of captive patriots, who, in many instances, 
found not even space to He down and rest upon the hard and filthy 
floors. Here, in these loathsome dungeons, denied the light and air 
of heaven ; scantily fed on poor, putrid, and sometimes even un- 
cooked food; obliged to endure the companionship of the most 
abandoned criminals, and those sick with small-pox and other infec- 
tious diseases; worn out by the groans and complaints of their 
suffering fellows, and subjected to every conceivable insult and 
indignity by their inhuman keepers, thousands of Americans sick- 
ened and died. Almost preferable, by comparison, was the fate of 
those who, without a moment's warning, and at midnight, were hur- 
ried by the Provost 2 to the gallows and an unknown grave. 

1 These sugar-houses were "Van Cortlaudt's, which stood on the corner of Thames and 
Lumber streets, at the northwest corner of Trinity churchyard ; Rhinelander's, on the 
corner of William and Duane streets ; and one on Liberty street (Nos. 84 and 
36) a little east of the Middle Dutch church, now occupied as the United States 
Post-office. The churches were the Middle Dutch church, above referred to, which 
was used as a prison for about two months, and afterwards converted into a riding- 
school for the British cavalry; the North Dutch church, yet standing on "William 
street, between Fulton and Ann ; and the " Brick Church," which, until within a few 
years, stood in the triangle between Park Row, Beekman, and Nassau streets. Subse- 
quently, this last-mentioned, together with the Presbyterian church in Wall street, the 
Scotch church in Cedar street, and the Friends' Meeting House in Liberty street, were 
converted into hospitals. The French church, in Pine street, was used as a magazine 
for ordnance and stores. 

2 Captain William Cunningham, an Irishman by birth, and a brute by nature, who, 
during the occupation of New York by the British, held the post of Provost- 
Marshal of the city. He subsequently suffered the same fate to which he had consigned 
so many victims — being hung for forgery in London, England, in 1791. In his dying 
confession, which appeared in the English papers in 1794, and which has always been 

Sinai Diagr 
in tho Lyceum ai ti 

■by Gen. Jeremiah Johnson, and by him de 
tea Nivy Yard. Brooklyn. N. Y. 


Great, however, as were the sufferings of those incarcerated within 
the prisons of the city, they were exceeded, if possible, by those 
of the unfortunate naval prisoners who languished in the " prison- 
ships" of the " Walleboght." These were originally the transport- 
vessels in which the cattle and other supplies of the British army 
had been brought to America, in 1776, and which had been anchored 
in Gravesend Bay, and occupied by the prisoners taken in the Battle 
of Brooklyn. Upon the occupation of the city by the British forces, 
these soldiers were transferred to the prisons on shore, and the 
transports, anchored in the Hudson and East rivers, were devoted 
more especially to the marine prisoners, whose numbers were rapidly 
increasing, owing to the frequent capture of American privateers by 
the king's cruisers. 

" A large transport, named the Whitby''' says General Jeremiah 
Johnson, 1 "was the first prison-ship anchored in the "Wallabout. 
She was moored near ' Kemsen's mill,' about the twentieth of Oc- 
tober, 1776, and was then crowded with prisoners. Many landsmen 
were prisoners on board this vessel ; she was said to be the most 
sickly of all the prison-ships. Bad provisions, bad water, and 

held as authentic, he made the following statements in regard to his treatment of the 
American prisoners : " I shudder to think of the murders I have been accessary to, both 
with and without orders from Government, especially while in New York ; during 
which time there were more than two thousand prisoners starved in the different 
churches, by stopping their rations, which I sold. There were also two hundred and 
seventy-five American prisoners and obnoxious persons executed, out of all which num- 
ber there were only about one dozen public executions, which chiefly consisted of Brit- 
ish and Hessian deserters. The mode for private executions was thus conducted : a 
guard was dispatched from the Provost, about half-past twelve at night, to the Barrack 
street, and the neighborhood of the upper barracks, to order the people to shut their 
window-shutters, and put out their lights, forbidding them at the same time to pre- 
sume to look out of their windows and doors on pain of death, after which the unfor- 
tunate prisoners were conducted, gagged, just behind the upper barracks, and hung 
without ceremony, and there buried by the black pioneer of the Provost." Watson, 
in his Annals of New York, states that Cunningham hung five or six of a night, until 
the women of the neighborhood, distressed by the cries and pleadings of the prisoners 
for mercy, petitioned Howe to have the practice discontinued. Common fame charged 
Cunningham with selling, and even poisoning, the prisoners' food, exchanging .good 
for bad provisions, and continuing to draw their rations after their death, or, as they 
worded it, " he fed the dead, and starved the living." It was not till the spring of 
1783, towards the close of the war, that a monthly list of prisoners was printed in 
Rivington's Gazette. 

1 Naval Magazine, 467, 469 


scanted rations, were dealt to the prisoners. No medical men 
attended the sick, disease reigned unrelieved, and hundreds 'died 
from pestilence, or were starved, on board this floating prison. 1 I 
saw the sand-beach, between the ravine 2 in the hill and Mr. Kem- 
sen's dock, become filled with graves in the course of two months ; 
and before the first of May, 1777, the ravine alluded to was itself 
occupied in the same way. In the month of May, 1777, two large 
ships were anchored in the Wallabout, when the prisoners were 
transferred from the Whitby to them ; these vessels were also very 
sickly, from the causes before stated. Although many prisoners 
were sent on board of them, and none exchanged, death made room 
for all. On a Sunday afternoon, about the middle of October, 1777, 
one of the prison-ships was burnt ; the prisoners, except a few, who, 
it was said, were burnt in the vessel, were removed to the remaining 
ship. It was reported, at the time, that the prisoners had fired 
their prison, which, if true, proves that they preferred death, even 
by fire, to the lingering sufferings of pestilence and starvation. In 
the month of February, 1778, the remaining prison-ship was burnt 
at night, when the prisoners were removed from her to the ships 
then wintering in the Wallabout." 

" Better the greedy wave should swallow all, 
Better to meet the death-conducting ball, 
Better to sleep on ocean's oozy bed, 
At once destroyed and numbered with the dead, 
Than thus to perish in the face of day, 
Where twice ten thousand deaths one death delay." 

In 1779, the " Prince of Wales" and the " Good Hope" 3 were used 

1 A prisoner (see the Trumbull Papers, p. 76) thus speaks of the Whitby, in 1776 : 
" Our present situation is most wretched ; more than two hundred and fifty prisoners, 
some sick, and without the least assistance from physician, drug, or medicine, and fed 
on two-thirds allowance of salt provisions, and crowded promiscuously, without regard 
to color, person, or office, in the small room of a ship, between decks, and allowed to 
walk the main deck only from sunrise to sunset. Only two at a time permitted to 
come on deck to do what nature requires, and sometimes denied even that, and use 
tubs and buckets between decks, to the great offence of every delicate, cleanly person, 
and prejudice of all our healths." 

2 Where Little street now is. 

3 We find the " Good Hope" first mentioned in October, 1778. She then lay in the 
North River, and in January, '79, was designated, with the "Prince of Wales," as the 
depot for prisoners of privateers arriving in New York. In August, '79, forty-seven 
American prisoners were returned, under flag, to New London, who were taken out of 


as prison-ships. The latter vessel being destroyed by fire in March, 
1780, her plaee in the Wallabout was supplied, shortly after, by the 
" Stromboli," ' "Scorpion," 2 and "Hunter," all nominally hospital- 

the " Good Hope," and " it must (for once) be acknowledged, are all very well and 
healthy — only one hundred and fifty left." About this time, also, she was dismantled, 
and her sails, spars, etc., advertised to be sold. In September, 79, there were many 
sick on board. The New Hampshire Gazette, of November 2d, '79, says that, at one 
o'clock on the previous morning, nine captains, and two privates, effected their escape 
from this vessel, then lying in the North River. They confined the mate, disarmed 
the sentinels, and hoisted out the boat, which was on deck, and took with them 
nine stand of arms and ammunition. They had scarce got clear before an alarm 
was given, which brought upon them a fire from these vessels, which, however, did 
not harm them. The escaped men spoke in the highest terms of the commander 
of the prison-ship, Captain Nelson, who used the prisoners with a great deal of hu- 
manity. Rivington's Gazette, of March 8, '80, thus chronicles the destruction of 
this vessel: "Last Sunday afternoon, the 'Good Hope' prison-ship, lying in the 
Wallebocht Bay, was entirely consumed, after having been wilfully set on fire by 
a Connecticut man, named Woodbury, who confessed the fact. He, with others of 
the incendiaries, are removed to the Provost. The prisoners let each other down 
from the port-holes and decks into the water." The English Commissary, Sproat, writ- 
ing to the American Commissary, Skinner, in February, 1781, says of this vessel : 
" Carpenters ran a bulkhead across the prison-ship Good Hope ; the officers berthed 
abaft and the men before this partition. Two excellent large stoves were erected, one 
for the officers, another for the men. The hospital-ship was equipped in the same man- 
ner, and every sick or wounded person had a cradle, bedding, surgeons. In this com- 
fortable situation did the prisoners remain till March 5, 1780, when they wilfully burned 
the best prisov^sMp in the world (/) The perpetrators were not hanged, but ordered to 
the Provost. The ship lay in the Wallabocht, near a number of transports, whose 
people were so alert in snatching the prisoners from the flames, that but two out of 
some hundreds were missing. They were put in the nearest ship, the Woodlands, 
where they remained a short time, till the ships Stromboli and Scorpion were got 

1 The Stromboli was originally a fire-ship, and, like the Scorpion, was present at the 
siege of Quebec, in 1759. She came out here at the commencement of the Revolution, 
in company with the Jersey, in Commodore Hotham's fleet. She was commanded, 
when a prison-ship, from August 21st to December 10th, 1780, by Jeremiah Downer, 
and never had less than one hundred and fifty prisoners, and oftener over two hundred, 
on board. She was advertised for sale, December 6th, 1780 (in which advertisement 
she was still mentioned as a fire-ship), but no purchaser appeared. 

2 The Scorpion' was originally a sloop-of-war of four guns, and appears in the list of 
the navy as early as 1756. She was in the fleet, under Admiral Saunders, at the reduc- 
tion of Quebec, in 1759 ; came out here again at the commencement of the Revolu- 
tionary War, and formed one of Sir George Collier's fleet, which destroyed the towns 
of Fairfield, Norwalk, and Greenwich, Conn., in 1779. In 1780, she became a prison- 
hulk, and was anchored in the North River. Philip Freneau, who, with some three 
hundred others, was confined in her, has preserved, in poetry, an interesting and vivid 
picture of the sufferings of himself and fellow-prisoners : 

" Thou, Scorpion, fatal to thy crowded throng, 
Dire theme of horror and Plutonian song, 


n i 

sliips. 1 Many other old hulks — the "Old Jersey," the "John, 
the "Falmouth," 3 the "Chatham," the "Kitty," the "Frederick," 4 
the "Glasgow," the "Woodlands," the "Scheldt," and the "Clyde," 
were also converted into prison-ships. 

Of all these, the " Old Jersey," or the " Hell," as she was called, 
from the large number confined in her — often more than a thousand 
at a time 5 — and the terrible sufferings which they there endured, has 

Requir'st my lay — thy sultry decks I know, 
And all the torments that exist below ! 
The briny waves that Hudson's bosom fills 
Drain'd through her bottom in a thousand rills ; 
Rotten and old, replete with sighs and groans, 
Scarce on the waters she sustain'd her bones ; 
Here, doomed to toil, or founder in the tide, 
At the moist pumps incessantly we plied ; 
Here doomed to starve, like famish'd dogs, we tore 
The scant allowance that our tyrants bore." 

In December, 1780, her hull was advertised for sale by the naval storekeeper at New 
York, but was not purchased. 

1 The Hunter was originally a sloop-of-war. She was advertised for sale in Decem- 
ber, 1780, but found no purchaser. Captain Dring (see his Narrative, p. 71) thinks she 
was mainly used as a store-ship and medical depot. 

2 Alexander Coffin, who was a prisoner in the John, says (Hist. Martyrs, 32) that the 
treatment of the prisoners there " was much worse than on board the Jersey. We 
were subjected to every insult, every injury, and every abuse that the fertile genius of 
the British officers could invent and inflict. For more than a month, we were obliged 
to eat our scanty allowance, bad as it was, without cooking, as no fire was allowed." 

3 " I am now a prisoner on board the Falmouth, in New York, a place the most 
dreadful ; we are confined so that we have not room even to he down all at once to 
sleep. It is the most horrible, cursed hole, that can be thought of. I was sick and 
longed for some small-beer, while I lay unpitied at death's door with a putrid fever, 
and, though I had money, I was not permitted to send for it. I offered repeatedly a 
hard dollar for a pint. The wretch who went forward and backwark would not oblige 
me. I am just able to creep about. Four prisoners have escaped from this ship. 
One having, as by accident, thrown his hat overboard, begged leave to go after it in a 
small boat, which lay alongside. A sentinel, with only his side-arms on, got into the 
boat. Having reached the hat, they secured the sentinel and made for the Jersey 
shore, though several armed boats pursued, and shot was fired from the shipping." — 
Conn. Gazette, May 25, '80. 

4 Sherburne, who was a patient on the Frederick hospital-ship, in January, 1783, 
says that it " was very much crowded ; so that two men were obliged to he in one 
bunk." He and his bunk-mate were " obliged, occasionally, to lay athwart each other, 
for want of room," and the former finally died, stretched across Sherburne. He says 
" I have seen seven dead men drawn out and piled together on the lower hatchway, 
who had died in one night on board the Frederick." 

5 Andros (p. 12) says : " 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 

o a 


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

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

'6. The Quarter-deck, with its barricade aboxit ten feet high, with a door and loop- 
holes on each side. 

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

5. Accommodation-ladder, on the starboard side, for the use of the ship's officers. 
G. The Steerage, occupied by the sailors belonging to the ship. 

7. The Cook-room for the ship's crew and guards. 

8. The Sutler's room, where articles were sold to the prisoners, and delivered to 

them through an opening in the bulkhead. 

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

to walk. 

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 were confined. 
17, 18. Between-decks, where the prisoners were confined at night. 
1!). The Bowsprit. 

20. Chain cables, by which the ship was moored. 


won a terrible pre-eminence in the sad history of the prison-ships, 
of which, indeed, her name has become the synonym. She was 
originally a fourth-rate sixty-gun ship of the British navy, was built 
in 1736, and achieved a long and honorable career ; l but, in 1776, 
being unfit for further active service, was ordered to New York, as a 
hospital-ship. In this capacity she remained, in the East River, 
nearly opposite « Fly Market," until the winter of 1779-80, when she 
was converted into a prison-ship. For this purpose she was stripped 
of all her spars, except the bowsprit, a derrick for taking in supplies, 
and the flagstaff at her stern ; her rudder was unhung, and her figure- 
head removed to decorate some other vessel. Her portholes were 
closed and securely fastened, and their places supplied by two tiers 
of smaU holes, each about twenty inches square, and guarded by two 
strong bars of iron, crossing at right angles, cut through her sides, 
for the admission of air. These, however, while they " admitted the 
light by day, and served as breathing-holes at night," by no means 
furnished that free circulation of air between the decks, which was 
so imperatively necessary to the health and comfort of the prisoners. 
Thus stripped of every thing which constitutes the pride and beauty 
of a ship, this old hulk, whose unsightly exterior seemed almost to 
foreshadow the scenes of misery, despair, and death which reigned 
within, was removed to the solitary and unfrequented WaUabout, 
where she was moored with chain-cables, nearly opposite the mouth 
of Eemsen's mill-race, and about twenty rods from the shore. 

The appearance of the Old Jeesey, as she lay in the WaUabocht, 
is thus graphically described by Captain Dring.* Leaving New 
York, together with one hundred and thirty prisoners, brought in 

time they amounted to twelve hundred." This was in 1781. Dring says (p 69) • 
"During my confinement, in the summer of 1782, the average number of prisoners on 
board the Jersey was about one thousand." Alexander Coffin (Hist, of Martyrs p 29 
32) states that during his first captivity on the Jersey, in 1782, he found about 'one 
thousand one hundred American prisoners; and on his second imprisonment in Feb- 
ruary, 1783, he found " more prisoners than he left, though but very few of my former 
fellow-prisoners. Some of them had got away, but the greater part had paid the debt 
01 nature. 

'The complete history of the Jersey has been given by H. B. Dawson, in his edition 
of Drings Prison-ship Recollections, pp. 196-198; and by Charles I. Bushnell, in his 
notes to Adventures of Christopher Hawkins, pp. 202-214. 
* Dring's Narrative, p. 26. 


by the British ship Belisarius, he proceeded to the place of their 
imprisonment, under the charge of the notorious David Sproat, 
Commissary of Prisoners. "We at length doubled a point," he 
says, " and came in view of the Wallabout, where lay before us the 
black hulk of the Old Jeksey, with her satellites, the three hospital- 
ships, to which Sproat pointed in an exulting manner, and said, 
' There, rebels, there is the cage for you !' * * As he spoke, my eye 
was instantly turned from the dreaded hulk ; but a single glance had 
shown us a multitude of human beings moving upon her upper deck. 
It was then nearly sunset, and before we were alongside, every man, 
except the sentinels on the gangway, had disappeared. Previous to 
their being sent below, some of the prisoners, seeing us approaching, 
waved their hats, as if they would say, approach us not ; and we 
soon found fearful reason for the warning." While waiting along- 
side for orders, some of the prisoners, whose features they could not 
see, on account of the increasing darkness, addressed them through 
the air-holes which we have described. After some questions as to 
whence they came, and concerning their capture, one of the prison- 
ers remarked " that it was a lamentable thing to see so many young 
men, in full strength, with the flush of health upon their counte- 
nances, about to enter that infernal place of abode. 'Death,' he 
said, ' nad no relish for such skeleton carcases as we are ; but he 
will now have a feast upon you fresh comers.' " The new-comers 
were registered and sent below ; but the intolerable heat and foul 
air rendered sleep impossible ; and, when they sought the air-holes, in 
order to gain one breath of exterior air, they found them occupied by 
others, who seemed to be justified, by the law of self-preservation, 
in keeping possession, and who could not be induced, by any amount 
of persuasion, to relinquish their places even for a moment. Disap- 
pointed in this, and shocked by the curses and imprecations of those 
who were lying upon the crowded deck, and whom they had dis- 
turbed in passing over them, they were obliged to sit down in this 
stifling and nauseous atmosphere, which almost deprived them of 
sense and even of life, and wait for the coming morning. But 
dawn brought to their eyes only the vision of " a crowd of strange 
and unknown forms, with the lines of death and famine upon their 
faces "—a " pale and meagre throng," who, at eight o'clock, were 


1. The Hatchway-ladder, leading to the lower deck, railed round on three sides. 

2. The Steward's room, from which the prisoners received their daily allowance through an opening in 

the partition. 

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

4. Door of the Gun-room. 

5. 6, 7, S. The arrangement of the prisoners' chests and boxes, which were ranged along, about ten feet 

from the sides of the ship, leaving a vacant space, where the messes assembled. 
9, 10. The middle of the deck, where many of the prisoners' hammocks were hung at night, but always 

taken down in the morning, to afford room for walking. 
11. Bunks on the larboard side of the deck, for the reception of the sick. 




Sutler's room 

6. Gangways. 

The Booms. 




The Gal lev. 



10. The Cook's quarters 
The Gangway-ladder. 


The Officers' Ladder. 

The Barricade. 


e- Rooms. 


permitted to go upon deck, "to view for a few moments the morning 
sun, and then to descend again, to pass another day of misery and 

"On every side, dire objects met the sight, 
And pallid forms, and murders of the night." 

Dring gives the following minute description of the interior 
accommodations of the " Jersey" : " The quarter-deck covered about 
one-fourth part of the upper deck from the stern, and the forecastle 
extended from the stern about one-eighth part the length of the upper 
deck. Sentinels were stationed at the gangways on each side of the 
upper deck, leading from the quarter-deck to the forecastle. These 
gangways were about five feet wide, and here the prisoners were al- 
lowed to pass and repass. The intermediate space from the bulk- 
head of the quarter-deck to the forecastle was filled with long spars or 
booms, and called the spar-deck. The temporary covering afforded 
by the spar-deck was of the greatest benefit to the prisoners, as it 
served to shield us from the rain and the scorching rays of the 
sun. The spar-deck was also the only place where we were allowed 
to walk, and was therefore continually crowded through the day by 
those of the prisoners who were upon deck. Owing to the great 
number of the prisoners, and the small space afforded us by the 
spar-deck, it was our custom to walk in platoons, each facing the 
same way, and turning at the same time. The derrick, for taking in 
wood, water, etc., stood on the starboard side of the spar-deck. On 
the larboard side of the ship was placed the accommodation ladder, 
leading from the gangway to the water. At the head of this ladder a 
sentinel was also stationed. The head of the accommodation ladder 
was near the door of the barricade, which extended across the front 
of the quarter-deck, and projected a few feet beyond the sides of the 
ship. The barricade was about ten feet high, and was pierced with 
loop-holes for musketry, in order that the prisoners might be fired 
on from behind it, if occasion should require. The regular crew 
of the ship consisted of a captain, two mates, a steward, a cook, and 
about twelve sailors. The crew of the ship had no communication 
whatever with the prisoners. No prisoner was ever permitted to 
pass through the barricade door, except when it was required that 
the messes should be examined and regulated ; in which case, each 


man had to pass through, and go down between decks, and there re- 
main until the examination was completed. * * On the two decks 
below, where we were confined at night, our chests, boxes, and bags 
were arranged in two lines along the deck, about ten feet distant 
from the two sides of the ship ; thus leaving as wide a space unencum- 
bered in the middle part of each deck, fore and aft, as our crowded 
situation would admit. Between these tiers of chests, etc., and the 
sides of the ship, was the place where the different messes assem- 
bled ; and some of the messes were also separated from their neigh- 
bors by a temporary partition of chests, etc. Some individuals of 
the different messes usually slept on the chests, in order to preserve 
their contents from being plundered during the night." 

At night, the spaces in the middle of the deck were much encum- 
bered with hammocks, but these were always removed in the morn- 
ing. The extreme after-part of the ship, between decks, which was 
called " the gun-room," was appropriated by the captive officers to 
their own use ; while the lowest deck was assigned to the French 
and Spanish prisoners, who were treated with even more cruelty, if 
possible, than the Americans. 1 

The first care of a prisoner, after arriving upon the Jersey, says 
Dring, " was to form, or be admitted into, some regular mess? On 
the day of a prisoner's arrival, it was impossible for him to procure 
any food ; and, even on the second day, he could not procure any in 
time to have it cooked. No matter how long he had fasted, nor 
how acute might be his sufferings from hunger and privations, his 
petty tyrants would on no occasion deviate from their rule of deliv- 
ering the prisoner's morsel at a particular hour, and at no other : 
and the poor, half-famished wretch must absolutely wait until the 
coming day, before his pittance of food could be boiled with that of 
his fellow-captives." The vacancies in the different messes daily 
provided by death, rendered it comparatively easy for the new-comers 

1 This seems to have been the reverse of the rule observed in England, where " the 
American prisoners were treated with less humanity than the French and Spanish, and 
were allowed only half the quantity of bread per day. Their petitions for relief, 
offered by Mr. Fox, in the House of Commons, and by the Duke of Richmond, in the 
House of Lords, were treated with contempt ; while the French and Spanish had few 
or no complaints to make." — British Annual Register, 1781, p. 152. 

2 Sherburne's Mem., 108 ; Fox's Adv. in Rev., 100. 


to associate themselves with some of the older captives, of whose ex- 
perience they could, in various ways, avail themselves. These 
messes, consisting generally of sis men each, were all numbered ; 
and every morning, when the steward's bell rang, at nine o'clock, 
an individual belonging to each mess stood ready to answer to its 
number. As soon as it was called, the person representing it 
hurried forward to the window in the bulkhead of the steward's 
room, from which was handed the allowance for the day. This 
was, for each six men, what was equivalent to' the full rations of 
four men. 1 No vegetables of any description, 2 or butter, was 
allowed ; but, in place of the latter, a scanty portion of so-called 
sweet-oil, so rancid and often putrid, that the Americans could not 
eat it, and always gave it to the foreign prisoners in the lower hold, 
" who took it gratefully, and swallowed it with a little salt and their 
wormy bread." 3 These rations, insufficient and miserable as they 

1 That is, each prisoner was furnished in quantity with two-thirds of the allowance 
of a seaman in the British navy at that time ; viz., on Sundays and Thursdays, a pound 
of biscuit, one pound of pork, and half a pint of peas ; on Mondays and Fridays, a 
pound of biscuit, a pint of oatmeal, and two ounces of butter ; on Tuesdays and Satur- 
days, one pound of biscuit and two pounds of beef ; and on Wednesday, one and a half 
pounds of flour and two pounds of suet. 

2 Andros (p. 9) says : " Once or twice, by the order of a stranger on the quarter-deck, 
a bag of apples were hurled promiscuously into the midst of hundreds of prisoners, 
crowded together as thick as they could stand, and life and limb 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." 

3 Sherburne (111) says: "It was supposed that this bread and beef had been con- 
demned in the British navy. The bread had been so eaten by weevils, that one might 
easily crush it in the hand and blow it away. The beef was exceedingly salt, and 
scarcely a particle of fat could be seen upon it. * * * Once a week, we had a mess 
of what is called burgoo, or mush (the Yankees would call it hasty pudding), made of 
oatmeal and water. This oatmeal was scarcely ever sweet ; it was generally so musty 
and bitter, that none but people suffering as we did could eat it." He says, though, 
that large quantities of provisions were daily brought alongside of the ship, and as long 
as a prisoner's money lasted, he could get better than the ordinary fare. Andros (p. 17) 
says of the bread : " I do not recollect seeing any which was not full of living vermin ; 
but eat it, worms and all, we must, or starve." 

" In the month of March, 1779, flour and breadstuff's were very nearly exhausted in 
the British storehouses at New York. There was no good flour ; and the Hessians, 
who were in Brooklyn, drew damaged oatmeal instead of bread. This meal, which 
was baked in cakes, was unfit for use, and the writer has seen them cast to the swine, 
which would not eat them. The soldiers were mutinous. All the grain possessed by 
the farmers was estimated and placed under requisition. The timely arrival of a few 
victualling ships relieved the scarcity, and saved the British from a surrender to the 


were, were frequently not given to the prisoners in time to be boiled 
on the same day, thus obliging them often to fast for another twenty- 
four hours, or to consume it raw, as they sometimes did. The cook- 
ing was done " under the forecastle, or, as it was usually called, the 
Galley, in a boiler or ' great copper,' which was enclosed in brick- 
work, about eight feet square. This copper was large enough to 
contain two or three hogsheads of water. It was made in a square 
form, and divided into two separate compartments by a partition. 
In one side of the copper, the peas and oatmeal for the prisoners 
were boiled, which was done in fresh water ; in the other side, the 
meat was boiled. This side of the boiler was filled with the salt 
water from alongside of the ship, by which means the copper be- 
came soon corroded, and consequently poisonous, the fatal conse- 
quences of which are obvious. 1 After the daily rations had been 
furnished to the different messes, the portion of each mess was 
designated by a tally, fastened to it by a string. Being thus pre- 
pared, every ear was anxiously waiting for the summons of the 
cook's bell. As soon as this was heard to sound, the persons having 
charge of the different portions of food thronged to the galley ; and 
in a few minutes after, hundreds of talleys were seen hanging over 
the sides of the brick-work by their respective strings, each eagerly 
watched by some individual of the mess, who always waited to re- 
ceive it." Whether cooked or not, the food must be immediately 
taken from the boiler when the cook's bell again rang out the warn- 
ing note, and each mess then received its measured portions of 
peas and oatmeal. 2 Some, more careful than others, and fearful of 

Americans, to escape starvation. If the Hessians at this time received bread which 
the hogs refused, what may be supposed to have been the quality of that given to the 
prisoners ?" — Gen. Jeremiah Johnson, in Star, Dec. 12, 1§36. 

1 This is corroborated by Fox, who says : " The inside of the copper had become cor- 
roded to such a degree that it was lined with a coat of verdigris," and that the effects 
of this was evident " in the cadaverous countenances of those emaciated beings who 
had remained on board for any length of time." He also says : " The Jersey, from her 
size, and lying near the shore, was embedded in the mud ; and I do not recollect see- 
ing her afloat during the whole time I was a prisoner. All the filth which accumu- 
lated among upwards of a thousand men, were daily thrown overboard, and would 
remain there until carried away by the tide. The impurity of the water may be easily 
conceived, and in this water our meat was boiled." 

2 Sherburne (111) says : "The beef was all put into a large copper, perhaps five feet 
square and four feet deep. The beef would fill the copper within a few inches of the 


the poisonous effects of meat boiled in the "great copper," prepared 
their own food, by permission, separate from the general mess in 
that receptacle. For this purpose, a great number of spikes and 
hooks had been driven into the brick-work by which the boiler was 
enclosed, on which to suspend their tin kettles. As soon as we 
were permitted to go on deck in the morning, some one took the 
tin-kettle belonging to the mess, with as much water and such splin- 
ters of wood as we had been able to procure during the previous 
day, 1 and carried them to the galley ; and there, having suspended 

top ; the copper was then filled up with water, and the cover put on. Our fuel was 
green chestnut. The cook would commence his fire by seven or eight in the morning, 
and frequently he would not get his copper to boil until twelve o'clock , and sometimes, 
when it was stormy weather, it would be two or three o'clock. I have known it to be 
the case that he could not get it to boil in the course of the day. Those circumstances 
might sometimes be owing to a want of judgment in the cooks, who were frequently 
exchanged. These misfortunes in the cooks, would occasion many bitter complaints 
and heavy curses from the half-starved, emaciated, and imperious prisoners. Each 
mess would take its meat, thus half-cooked and divide it among themselves as it was. 
A murmur is heard, probably in every mess, and from almost every tongue. The cook 
is denounced, or perhaps declines any further service ; another volunteers his services, 
and, probably, in a few days, shares the fate of his predecessors." John Van Dyck, a 
prisoner on board the Jersey in May, 1780, says he went one day to draw the pork for 
his mess, " and each one of us eat our day's allowance in one mouthful of this salt 
pork, and nothing else." One day, called " pea-day," he went to the galley, with the 
drawer of a sea-chest for a soup-dish, and " received the allowance of my mess ; and, 
behold ! brown water and fifteen floating peas — no peas on the bottom of my drawer — 
and this for six men's allowance for twenty-four hours. The peas were all on the bot- 
tom of the kettle ; those left would be taken to New York, and, I suppose, sold. One 
day in the week, called ' pudding-day,' three pounds of damaged flour ; in it would be 
green lumps, such as the men could not eat ; and one pound of very bad raisins, one- 
third sticks. We would pick out the sticks, mash the lumps of flour, put all, with 
some water, in our drawer, mix our pudding and put it into a bag, with a tally tied to 
it, with the number of our mess. This was a day's allowance." He also relates an 
instance of cruelty on the part of Captain Laird, commander of the Jersey, who one 
day ordered two half-hogshead tubs, in which the daily allowance of rum for the pris- 
oners had been mixed into grog, to be upset on the main decks, in full view of the 
famished wretches, whose feelings of disappointment, as they saw it run through the 
ship's scuppers into the water, may be better imagined than described." Coffin also 
says that, " on the upper deck of the Jersey, hogs were kept in pens, by those officers 
who had charge of her, for their own use. They were sometimes fed with bran. The 
prisoners, whenever they could get an opportunity, undiscovered by the sentries, would, 
with their tin pots, scoop the bran from the troughs, and eat it (after boiling, when 
there was fire in the galley, which was not always the case) with seemingly as good 
an appetite as the hogs themselves." 

1 Dring (p. 98) mentions that this was an article which could not be purchased from 
the sutler, and the procuring of a sufficient quantity was " a continual source of trouble 
and anxiety." Sometimes the cooks would steal small quantities, which they sold to 


his kettle on one of the hooks or spikes in the brick-work, he stood 
ready to kindle his little fire as soon as the cook or his mates would 
permit it to be done. It required but little fuel to boil our food in 
these kettles ; for their bottoms were made in a concave form, and 
the fire was applied directly in the centre. And let the remaining 
brands be ever so small, they were all carefully quenched " and kept 
for future use." "Memory," says a survivor, "still brings before 
me those emaciated beings, moving from the galley with their 
wretched pittance of meat; each creeping to the spot where his 
mess were assembled, to divide it with a group of haggard and 
sickly creatures, their garments hanging in tatters around their 
meagre limbs, and the hue of death upon their careworn faces. By 
these it was consumed with their scanty remnants of bread, which 
was often mouldy and filled with worms. And, even from this vile 
fare they would rise up in torments from the cravings of unsatisfied 
hunger and thirst." The cook was the only one on board who had 
much flesh upon his bones. He was also a prisoner, who, despair- 
ing of ever regaining his liberty, had accepted his situation as one 
which, at least, would keep him from starvation ; and, considering 
the circumstances by which he was surrounded, displayed a com- 
mendable degree of good humor and forbearance ; although when, 
as sometimes happened, his patience became exhausted by the im- 
portunities and trickeries of the starving crowd around him, he 
would " make the hot water fly" among them. 

The necessary routine of daily service on board the ship — such as 

the prisoners ; and Dring mentions that once, while assisting at the burial of one of his 
comrades, he found a hogshead stave floating in the -water, which furnished his mess 
with fuel for a considerable time. At another time he managed to steal a stick of 
wood from a quantity which was being taken on board for the ship's use, by wliich his 
mess " were supplied with a sufficient quantity for a long time, and its members were 
considered by far the most wealthy persons in all this republic of misery." The mode 
of preparing the wood for use, was to cut it with a penknife into pieces about four 
inches long. This labor occupied muph of their time, and was performed by the differ- 
ent members of the mess, in rotation ; being an employment to them of no little 
pleasure. The quantity thus prepared for the next day's use was deposited in the 
chest, while the main stock was jealously guarded, day and night, by its fortunate 
owners, who even went into mathematical calculations, to ascertain how long it would 
probably last, if used in certain daily quantities. In a similar manner, by obliging 
each member of the mess to save a little each day for the common stock, a small sup- 
ply of fresh water was secured and carefully hoarded in the chest. 


washing the upper decks and gangways, spreading the awning, hoist- 
ing the wood, water, and other supplies which were brought along- 
side, etc. — was performed by a " working-party" of about twenty of 
the prisoners, who received, as a compensation, a full allowance of 
provisions, a half-pint of rum, and, what was more desirable than all 
else, the privilege of going on deck early in the morning, to breathe 
the pure air. When the prisoners ascended to the upper deck in 
the morning, if the day was fair, each carried up his own hammock 
and bedding, which were placed upon the spar-deck, or booms. The 
sick and disabled were then brought up by the working party, and 
placed in bunks prepared upon the centre deck; the corpses 
of those who had died the night before were next brought up from 
below and placed upon the booms, and then the decks were washed 
down. The beds and clothing were kept on deck until about two 
hours before sunset, when the prisoners were ordered to carry them 
below. " After this had been done," says Dring, " we were allowed 
either to retire between decks, or to remain above, until sunset, 
according to our own pleasure. Every thing which we could do 
conducive to cleanliness having then been performed, if we ever felt 
any thing like enjoyment in this wretched abode, it was during this 
brief interval, when we breathed the cool air of the approaching 
night, and felt the luxury of our evening pipe. But short, indeed, 
was this period of repose. The working-party were soon ordered to 
carry the tubs below, and we prepared to descend to our gloomy and 
crowded dungeons. This was no sooner done, than the gratings 
were closed over the hatchways, the sentinels stationed, and we 
left to sicken and pine beneath our accumulated torments, with 
our guards above crying aloud, through the long night, "All's 
well !" 

What these " accumulated torments" of the night were, may be best 
understood from Dring's words : " Silence was a stranger to our 
dark abode. There were continual noises during the night. The 
groans of the sick and the dying ; the curses poured out by the 
weary and exhausted upon our inhuman keepers ; the restlessness 
caused by the suffocating heat and the confined and poisonous air, 
mingled with the wild and incoherent ravings of delirium, were the 
sounds which, every night, were raised around us in all directions." 


Frequently the dying, in the last mortal throes of dissolution, would 
throw themselves across their sick comrades, who, unable to remove 
the lifeless bodies, were compelled to wait until morning before 
they could be freed from the horrid burden. Dysentery, small-pox, 
yellow fever, and the recklessness of despair, soon filled the hulk 
with filth of the most disgusting character. " The lower hold," says 
Andros. " and the orlop deck, were such a terror, that no man 
would venture down into them. Humanity would have dictated a 
more merciful treatment to a band of pirates, who had been con- 
demned and were only awaiting the gibbet, than to have sent them 
here." * And, again : " Utter derangement was a common symptom 
of yellow-fever, and to increase the horror of the darkness that 
shrouded us (for we were allowed no light betwixt decks), the voice 
of warning would be heard, ' Take heed to yourselves ; there is a 
madman stalking through the ship, with a knife in his hand.' 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 de- 
ranged and attempt, in darkness, to rise, and stumble over the bodies 
that everywhere 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 
already one on deck, the sentry would push them back with his 
bayonet." 2 This guard, which usually numbered about thirty, was 

1 Old Jersey Captive, p. 16. 

2 William Burke, a prisoner on board the Jersey for about fourteen months dur- 
ing the Revolution, says: "During that time, among other cruelties which were 
committed, I have known many of the American prisoners put to death by the 
bayonet : in particular, I well recollect, that it was the custom on board the ship for 
but one prisoner at a time to be admitted on deck at night, besides the guards or 
sentinels. One night, while the prisoners were many of them assembled at the grate 
at the hatchway, for the purpose of obtaining fresh air, and waiting their turn to go 
on deck, one of the sentinels thrust his bayonet down among them, and in the morn- 
ing twenty-five of them were found wounded, and stuck in the head, and dead of the 


relieved each week by a fresh party ; sometimes English — at others, 
Hessians or refugees. The latter were, as might have naturally been 
expected, most obnoxious to the prisoners, who could not bear the 
presence of those whom they considered as traitors. The English 
soldiers they viewed as simply performing their legitimate duty ; 
and the Hessians they preferred, because they received from them 
better treatment than from the others. 

A very serious conflict with the guard occurred 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 na- 
tional flags in a row upon the booms, which were immediately torn 
down and trampled under the feet of the guard, which on that day hap- 
pened to consist of Scotchmen. Deigning no notice of this, the pris- 
oners proceeded to amuse themselves with patriotic songs, speeches, 
and cheers, all the while avoiding whatever could be construed into 
an intentional insult to the guard ; which, 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 now 
continued their singing, etc., until about nine 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 terror. The helpless prisoners, retreating from the hatch- 
ways as far as their crowded condition would permit, were followed 
by the guards, who mercilessly hacked, cut, and wounded every one 
within their reach ; and then ascending again to the upper deck, 
fastened down the hatches upon the poor 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 
torment, it was not until the middle of the next forenoon that the 
prisoners were allowed to go on deck and slake their thirst, or to 

wounds they had thus -received. I further recollect that this was the case several 
mornings, when sometimes five, sometimes six, and sometimes eight or ten, were found 
dead by the same means." — Hist. Martyrs, 96. 


receive tlieir rations of food, which, that day, they were obliged t 
eat uncooked. Ten corpses were found below on the morning whic 
succeeded that memorable 4th of July, and many others were bacU 

Equal to this, in fiendish barbarity, is the incident related by 
Silas Talbot, as occurring on the Stromboli, while he was a prisoner 
upon that ship. The prisoners, irritated by their ill treatment, rose 
one night on the guard, " the commander being on shore, and sev- 
eral, in attempting to escape, were either killed or wounded. The 
captain got on board just as the fray was quelled, when a poor fel- 
low lying on deck, bleeding, and almost exhausted by a mortal 
wound, called him by name, and begged him, \for God's sake, a little 
water, for he tvas dying /' The captain applied a light to his face, 
and directly exclaimed : ' What ! is it you, d — n you ? Tm glad you're 
shot. If I knew the man that shot you, Td give him a guinea ! Take 
that, you d — d rebel rascal /' and instantly dashed his foot in the face 
of the dying man ! !" ' The conduct of the guards, indeed, accord- 
ing to all accounts, seems to have been as brutal as it was possi- 
ble to be, and was rivalled only by that of the nurses. These 
nurses, numbering about six or eight, were prisoners, and, according 
to universal testimony, were all thieves, who, callous to every senti- 
ment of duty or humanity, indulged in card-playing and drink- 
ing, while their fellows were entreating for water, and dying in 
their sight for want of those attentions which they refused to give 

Not less revolting than these scenes of cruelty and distress, was 
the manner in which the inanimate bodies of these martyred prison- 
ers were hastily and indecorously consigned to the earth — in some 

1 " Two young men, brothers, belonging to a rifle-corps, were made prisoners, and sent 
on board the Jersey. The elder took the fever, and, in a few days, became delirious. 
One night (his end was fast approaching), he became calm and sensible, and lamenting 
his hard fate, and the absence of his mother, begged for a little water. His brother, 
with tears, entreated the guard to give him some, but in vain. The sick youth was 
soon in his last struggles, when his brother offered the guard a guinea for an inch of 
candle, only that he might see him die. Even this was denied. ' Now,' said he, dry 
ing up his tears, ' if it please God that I ever regain my liberty, I'll be a most bitter 
enemy !' He regained his liberty, rejoined the army, and, when the war ended, he had 
eight large, and one hundred and twenty-seven small notches on his rifle-stock !" — Med 
Repos. Hex., ii., vol. iii., p. 72. 


cases, almost before they had become cold. 1 Brought up each morning 
by the working-party and placed upon the gratings of the upper deck ; 
their glazed eyeballs staring upwards towards the heavens ; their 
ghastly and pinched features contorted with the suffering through 
which they had passed ; their bodies stiff, stark, and naked (for their 
clothes, if they had any, were the perquisites of the so-called nurses), 
these corpses of the night awaited the only remaining insult which 
their captors could inflict upon them — the indignity of an unhonored 
and unknown grave. Soon the dead-boat was seen approaching from 
the Hunter, receiving her ghastly freight from the other vessels, on 
her way to the Jersey. Upon her arrival alongside, each corpse was 
laid upon a board, to which it was bound with ropes, a tackle at- 
tached to the board, and the whole lowered over the ship's side into 
the boat, without further ceremony. " The prisoners were always 
very anxious to be engaged in the duty of interment ; not so much 
from a feeling of humanity, or from a wish of paying respect to 
the remains of the dead (for to these feelings they had almost be- 
come strangers), as from the desire of once more placing their feet 
upon the land, if but for a few minutes. A sufficient number of the 
prisoners having received permission to assist in this duty, they en- 
tered the boat, accompanied by a guard of soldiers, and put off from 
the ship." Captain Dring, who assisted on one occasion of this sort, 
thus describes the burial, which will afford a correct idea of the gen- 
eral 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 

1 Captain Coffin (Hist. Martyrs, p. 35) mentions " that a man of the name of Gavot, a 
native of Rhode Island, died, as was supposed, and was sewed up in his hammock, and 
in the evening carried upon deck to be taken with others who were dead, and those 
who might die during the night, on shore to be interred (in their mode of interring). 
During the night it rained pretty hard : in the morning, when they were loading the 
boat with the dead, one hammock was observed by one of the English seamen to 
move. He spoke to the officer, and told him that he believed the man in that ham- 
mock (pointing to it) was not dead. 'In tcith him,' said the officer ; 'if lie is not dead, 
he soon will be.' But the honest tar, more humane than his officer, swore he never 
would bury a man alive, and with his penknife ripped open the hammock, when, be- 
hold ! the man was really alive. What was the cause of this man's reanimation, is a 
question for doctors to decide : it was at the time supposed that the rain, during the 
night, had caused the reaction of the animal functions, which were suspended, but not 
totally annihilated." This same man, Gavot, went afterwards in the same cartel with 
Coffin to Rhode Island. 


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 the side of a bank near the Wallabout. 1 Here a 
vacant space having been selected, we were directed to dig a trench 
in the sand, of a proper length for the reception of the bodies. We 
continued oar labor until our guards considered that a sufficient 
space had been excavated. The corpses were then laid into the 
trench, without ceremony, and we threw the sand over them. The 
whole appeared to produce no more effect upon 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. 2 
Having thus performed, as well as we were permitted to do it, the 

1 Sherburne (p. 109) says this was called the " Volley Bank." 

2 Andros (p. 14) says : " The first object that met our view in the morning, was an 
appalling spectacle — a boat loaded with dead bodies, conveying them to the Long 
Island shore, where they were very 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 disin- 
terred them." 

General Johnson (Recollections of Brooklyn and New York in 1776) says : " It was 
no uncommon thing to see five or six dead bodies brought on shore in a single morn- 
ing, when a small excavation would be dug at the foot of the hill, the bodies be cast 
in, and a man with a shovel would cover them, by shovelling sand down the hill upon 
them. Many were buried in a ravine of the hill ; some on the farm. The whole shore, 
from Rennie's Point to Mr. Remsen's door-yard, was a place of graves ; as were also the 
slope of the hill, near the house (subsequently dug away by Mr. John Jackson, and 
whence he obtained the bones for the • Dvy^bone Procession') ; the shore from Mr. Rem- 
sen's barn along the mill-pond, to Rapelje's farm, and the sandy island between the 
floodgates and the mill-dam, while a few were buried on the shore on the east side of 
the Wallabout. Thus did Death reign here, from 1776 until the peace. The whole 
Wallabout was a sickly place during the war. The atmosphere seemed to be charged 
with foul air from the prison-ships, and with the effluvia of the dead bodies washed out 
of their graves by the tides. We believe that more than half of the dead buried on 
the outer side of the mill-pond, were washed out by the waves at high tide, during 
northeasterly winds. The bones of the dead lay exposed along the beach, drying and 
bleaching in the sun, and whitening the shore, till reached by the power of a suc- 
ceeding storm ; as the agitated waters receded, the bones receded with them into the 
deep. * * * We have, ourselves, examined many of the skulls lying on the shora 
From the teeth, they appeared to be the remains of men in the prime of life." 


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 crowd- 
ed 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 pah' 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 ob- 
tained permission to carry them on board, for our comrades to smell 
them. . . . Having arrived at the hut, we there deposited our imple- 
ments, 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 its immediate 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 by us with feelings 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 interment 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, how- 
ever, 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 


We have already alluded to the poisonous and disgustingly impure 
nature of the water in which the prisoners' food was cooked. Equally 
deleterious in its effects was the water with which they were obliged 
to slake their constant and tormenting thirst. This was contained in 
a large water-butt, on the upper deck, and guarded by one of the 
marines, with a drawn cutlass. From the copper ladles, chained to 
the cask, the prisoners could drink as much as they pleased, but 
were not allowed to carry away more than a pint at a time. Dring 
estimates the daily consumption of water on board the Jersey at 
about seven hundred gallons, and a large gondola was constantly 
employed in conveying it from the Brooklyn shore. 1 Brackish as 
it was, when brought on board, the haste and exertions of every one 
to procure a draught, gave rise to fearful scenes of confusion, which 
often called for the interposition of the guard. 2 So much of the 
water as was not required for immediate use, was conveyed, 
through leathern hose, into butts, placed in the lower hold of the 
hulk ; and to this the prisoners had recourse, when they could pro- 
cure no other. These butts had never been cleaned since they were 
first placed there ; and the foul sediment which they contained, being 
disturbed by every new supply which was poured in, rendered their 

1 Dring (p. 91) presumes " that this water was brought from Brooklyn." Captain 
Coffin (Hist, of Martyrs, p. 30) says it was brought from New York city, in a schooner 
called the Belief — (well-named ; " for the execrable water and provisions she carried, 
relieved many of my brave but unfortunate countrymen, by death, from the misery and 
savage treatment they endured") — water which, he affirms, was worse than he had 
ever seen on a three years' voyage to the East Indies; "water, the scent of which 
would have discomposed the olfactory nerves of a Hottentot ; while within a cable's 
length of the ship, on Long Island, there was running before our eyes, as though in- 
tended to tantalize us, as fine, pure, and wholesome water as any man would wish to 
drink." General Jeremiah Johnson, in his Bev. Becoll., states that the Jersey was 
supplied daily from his spring, referred to above by Coffin. And this was probably 
the case — the water being brought from New York only when the Wallabout spring 
was temporarily exhausted, or when the boats were otherwise employed. Johnson 
says : " The water-boat of the Jersey watered from the spring daily, when it could be 
done. Four prisoners were usually brought on shore to fill the casks, attended by a 
guard. The prisoners were frequently permitted to come to the house to get milk and 
food, and often brought letters privately from the ship. By these the sufferings on 
board were revealed. Supplies of vegetables were frequently collected by Mr. Bern- 
sen (the benevolent proprietor of the mill) for the prisoners ; and small sums of money 
were sent on board by the writer's father to his friends, by means of these watering 

2 Dring (p. 92), and Boswell Palmer, in Dawson's Dring (p. 179), and others. 


contents a compound of the most disgusting and poisonous nature, 1 
to which is directly attributable the death of hundreds of the prison- 
ers on the Jersey. 

Near the Jersey, as before mentioned, lay three hospital-ships — the 
Scorpion, Stromboli, and Hunter — of whose interiors Dring (who, 
more fortunate than others, managed to maintain his health) says he 
could only form some idea " from viewing their outward appearance, 
which was disgusting in the highest degree." Their condition was 
probably preferable, in many respects, to that of the Jersey, as they 
were less crowded, and were provided with awnings, and with wind- 
sails at each hatchway, for the purpose of conducting the fresh air 
between decks, where the sick were placed ; and, what was still 
better, the hatchways were left open during the night, 2 the keepers 
having no apprehension of any danger from the feeble wretches 
under their control. Every day {when the weather icas good) a visit- 
ing surgeon from the Hunter — which was the station of the medical 
staff, etc. — came over to the Jersey and examined the sick who 
were able to present themselves at the gangway, on the upper deck. 
If a sick man was pronounced by the surgeon to be a proper subject 
for removal to the hospital-ship, he was hurried into the boat in 
waiting alongside — not being allowed to go below for the purpose of 
getting his clothes or effects (if he had any), which became the 
spoils of the nurses. The condition of the hospital-ships, however, 
was scarcely less crowded, filthy, and uncomfortable than that of 
the Jersey itself. Insufficient clothing, scarcity of blankets, the 
want of dry fuel to keep up even the small fires that were allowed, 
caused great suffering among the patients, 8 whose only provision 

1 Mr. Palmer (Dawson's Dring, p. 72) also mentions this water taken from the hold 
of the vessel, which was " ropy as molasses." 

2 Sherburne's experience (p. Ill) on board the Frederick hospital-ship, Freneau's on 
the Hunter, and that of Coffin on the John, contradicts this. 

3 Sherburne, who was a patient on the Frederick in January, 1783, says (p. 114) : 
" My bunk was directly against the ballast-port : and the port not being caulked, when 
there came a snow-storm, the snow would blow through the seams on my bed ;" which, 
however, he esteemed an advantage, when he could not otherwise procure water to 
quench his thirst. The sufferings which he endured from that cause alone, left their 
effects upon him until his death. He also mentions that a man near him in the ship 
was taken sick, and, while in that condition, had his feet and legs so badly frozen, that, 
at length, while they were being dressed, the toes and bottoms of his feet sloughed off 



■was a gill of ordinary wine, and twelve ounces of musty and poorly- 
baked bread, per day. The surgeons visited the ships only once in 
several days, their manner was indifferent and even unfeeling, their 
stay on board very brief, and their medicines very sparingly be- 
stowed. 1 The greatest neglect was exhibited by the nurses, of 
whose conduct all our authorities speak in terms of indignant repro- 
bation. These nurses seemed to take more interest in the death of 
their patients than in relieving their wants, and scarcely waited for 
the breath to leave their bodies before they despoiled them of their 
blankets, clothes, and even their hair. By day their duties were 
most carelessly performed, and with a heartlessness which added 
additional pangs to the sufferings of those who depended upon their 
assistance ; but at night there was " not the least attention paid to 
the sick and dying, except what could be done by the convalescent ; 

from the bone and hung only by the heel. Coffin also says, that " many of the pris- 
oners, during the severity of winter, had scarcely clothes sufficient to cover their 
nakedness, and but very few enough to keep them warm. To remedy those incon- 
veniences, we were obliged to keep below, and either get into our hammocks or keep 
in constant motion — without which precautions, we must have perished." 

1 Sherburne (p. 116). "Freneau, who, as a patient on the Hunter, had ample means 
of knowing whereof he spoke, has pictured, in scathing rhyme, the unfeeling conduct 
of these medical men. 

" ' From Brooklyn heights a Hessian doctor came, 
Not great his skill, nor greater much his fame ; 
Fair Science never called the wretch her son, 
And Art disdained the stupid man to own. 

He on his charge the healing work begun 

With antimonial mixtures, by the ton ; 

Ten minutes was the time he deign 'd to stay, 

The time of grace allotted once a day. — 

He drench'd us well with bitter draughts, 'tis true — 

Nostrums from hell, and cortex from Peru. 

Some with his pills he sent to Pluto's reign, 

And some he blister'd with his flies of Spain ; 

His Tartar doses walk'd their deadly round, 

Till the lean patient at the potion frown'd, 

And swore that hemlock, death, or what you will, 

Were nonsense to the drugs that stuff d his bill. 

On those refusing, he bestow'd a kick, 

Or menac'd vengeance with his walking-stick. 

Here, uncontroll'd, he exercis'd his trade, 

And grew experienc'd by the deaths he made.' " 


who were so frequently called upon, that in many cases they over- 
did themselves, relapsed, and died." 

Sherburne, 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 ex- 
hausted strength had given way under the pressure of the corpse, 
was in a dying state. The sick were unable to relieve them, and 
the nurses were not there. 

Captain Dring also describes the case of a poor boy, only twelve 
years old, confined with him on the Old Jersey, and who had been 
inoculated for the small-pox. " He was a member of the same mess 
with myself," Dring says, "and had always looked upon me as a 
protector, and particularly so during his sickness. The night of his 
death was a truly wretched one to me ; for I spent almost the whole 
of it in perfect darkness, holding him during his convulsions ; and it 
was heart-rending to hear the screams of the dying boy, while call- 
ing 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 mid- 
night gloom of our dungeon, I could not see him die, but knew, by 
placing my hand over his mouth, that his breathings were becom- 
ing 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." " 

The Jersey became, at length, so crowded, and the increase of 
disease among the prisoners so rapid, that even the hospital-ships 
were inadequate for their reception. In this emergency, bunks were 
erected on the larboard side of the upper deck of the Jersey, for the 

1 Dring's Narrative, p. 84. 


accommodation of the sick from between decks. The horrors of the 
old hulk were now increased a hundred-fold. Foul air, confine- 
ment, darkness, hunger, thirst, the slow poison of the malarious 
locality in which the ship was anchored, the torments of vermin, the 
suffocating heat alternating with cold, and, above all, the almost total 
absence of hope, performed their deadly work unchecked. " The 
whole ship, from her keel to the taffrail, was equally affected, and 
contained pestilence sufficient to desolate a world — disease and death 
were wrought into her very timbers." 

Notwithstanding the increasing mortality on board the Jersey, new 
arrivals more than supplied the vacancies occasioned by death, and 
the ship became unbearably crowded. In their despair, the prison- 
ers, early in June, 1782, bethought themselves of petitioning General 
Clinton, then in command at New York, for permission to transmit 
a memorial to General Washington, describing their pitiable condi- 
tion, and soliciting his influence in then behalf. The favor was 
unexpectedly granted by the British general, and three messengers j 
chosen by the crew from among their own number, were authorized 
to leave the ship on this embassy. In addition to the written me- 
morial which they bore, they were directed to state, in a manner 
more explicit than they dared to commit to paper, the peculiar hor- 
ror of their situation ; the miserable food and water on which they 
were obliged to subsist; and to promise him that if their release 
could be procured, they would gladly enter the American army, and 
serve during the remainder of the war as soldiers. 

In a few days after, the prisoners were summoned to the spar- 
deck to listen to the reading of General Washington's reply; in 
which he expressed his deepest sympathy with their condition, and 
his determination to mitigate its severities by every means within 
his power. To the messengers personally, he had fully explained 
that their long detention in captivity was owing to a combination of 
circumstances against which it was very difficult, if not impossible, to 
provide. " That, in the first place, but little exertion was made on 
the part of our countrymen to secure and detain their British prison- 
ers, for the purpose of exchange ; many of the British seamen being 
captured by privateers, on board which, he understood, it was a 
common practice for them to enter as seamen ; and that, when this 


was not the case, they were usually set at liberty as soon as the pri- 
vateer arrived in- port ; as neither the owners, nor the town or State 
where they were landed, would be at the expense of their confine- 
ment and maintenance ; and that the officers of the General Govern- 
ment only took charge of those seamen who ivere captured by the vessels in 
the public service. All which circumstances combined to render the 
number of British prisoners at all times by far too small for a regu- 
lar and equal exchange." Copies of the correspondence on the sub- 
ject with the British authorities were also submitted 1 by the general, 
whose interference was soon followed by an improvement in their 
fare — especially in the quality of the bread, and in the furnishing of 
butter instead of rancid oil. An awning was also provided, as well as 
a wind-sail, for the conducting of fresh air between the decks during 
the day — which, however, was of no advantage during the nights, as 
the keepers continued to fasten down the hatchways after dark. To 
their other privations, the prisoners were obliged to submit, hoping — 
almost against hope — that further favors might possibly be granted, 
although they saw " but little prospect of escaping from the raging 
pestilence, except through the interposition of Divine Providence." 

There was, indeed, one condition upon which these hapless suffer- 
ers might have escaped the torture of this slow but certain death, 
and that was enlistment in the British service. This chance was 
daily offered to them by the recruiting officers who visited the ship, 
but whose persuasions and offers were almost invariably treated 
with contempt, and that, too, by men who fully expected to die 
where they were. 2 In spite of untold physical sufferings, which 

1 The whole correspondence between the American and British authorities, relative 
to the condition of the American prisoners in the hulks, will be found in Dawson's 
Dring (Appendix I). From these letters, it will be seen that Washington had not been 
unmindful of the sufferings of his unfortunate countrymen — his first letter to the Brit- 
ish authorities being dated in January 25, 1781 ; — but his authority in the premises 
was limited, the real power to negotiate for the exchange of naval prisoners being 
vested not in him, but in the Financier of the American Government. Exchanges 
between the belligerents were to be made in kind; and owing, as above stated, to the 
course pursued by those engaged in privateering, in releasing captives without parole, 
or enlisting them in the American service, our Government had but few naval prison- 
ers to offer ; while, to accept the enemy's offer to receive soldiers in exchange, would, 
by furnishing him immediate re-enforcements in the field, have been subversive of the 
interests of the United States. 

2 Coffin, Dring, and others. 


might well have shaken the resolution of the strongest ; in spite of 
the insinuations of the British that they were neglected by their 
Government — insinuations which seemed to be corroborated by the 
very facts of their condition ; in defiance of threats of even harsher 
treatment, and regardless of promises of food and clothing — objects 
most tempting to men in their condition ; but few, comparatively, 
sought relief from their woes by the betrayal of their honor. 1 Arid 
these few went forth into liberty followed by the execrations and 
undisguised contempt of the suffering heroes whom they left behind. 
It was this calm, unfaltering, unconquerable spirit of patriotism — 
defying torture, starvation, loathsome disease, and the prospect of a 
neglected and forgotten grave — which sanctifies to every Ameri- 
can heart the scene of their suffering in the "Wallabout, and which 
will render the sad story of the " prison-ships" one of ever-increasing 
interest to all future generations. " They chose to die, rather than 
injure the Republic. And the Republic hath never yet paid them the 
tribute of gratitude /" 

At the expiration of the war, the prisoners remaining on board the 
" Old Jersey" were liberated, and the old hulk, in whose " putrefac- 
tive bowels" so many had suffered and died, was abandoned where 
she lay. " The dread of contagion prevented every one from ventur- 
ing on board, and even from approaching her polluted frame. But 
the ministers of destruction were at work. Her planks were soon 
rilled with worms, who, as if sent to remove this disgrace to the name 
of our common humanity, ceased not from their labor, until they 
had penetrated through her decaying bottom ; through which the 
water rushed in, and she sunk. With her went down the names of 
many thousands of our countrymen, with which her inner planks and 
sheathing were literally covered ; for but few of her inmates had ever 

1 Coffin (Hist. Martyrs, p. 35) says he never knew of but one who so enlisted. Fox, 
however, admits that some did enter the British service, and was himself one of a small 
party who enlisted thus for garrison duty in Jamaica — a step which they all bitterly 
repented afterwards. We have also similar testimony from other sources ; yet these 
were but rare exceptions to the pure spirit of patriotic heroism displayed, in so sur- 
prising a degree, by the great mass of the sufferers in the prison-ships. 

In many cases, forcible impressment of our brave sailors was practised by the British 
(see Fox, pp. 134, 135), and was justly characterized by Washington, in a letter to Lord 
Howe, in 1777, as " unprecedented." 


neglected to add their own names to the almost innumerable cata- 
logue. Could these be counted, some estimate might now be made of 
the whole number who were there immured ; but this record has long 
since been consigned to eternal oblivion," and the precise number of 
these unknown martyrs who perished in the prison-ships, and were 
buried in the loose sands of the lonely Wallabout, will probably never 
be accurately known. It was estimated, shortly after the close of the 
war, when the data were more easily attainable than now, that up- 
wards of eleven thousand died in the Jersey alone! 1 The statement 
was never denied, either officially or by those then resident in New 
York and elsewhere, who, from their connection with the British 
Commissary department, had full opportunities of knowing the 
truth. Calculating, as we safely may, the deaths on board the Jer- 
sey as averaging five a day, during the time (1779-80 — April, 1783) 
she was occupied as a prison-ship, 2 and adding thereto the large 
number transferred from her to the hospital-ships, where they died, 
as well as the hundreds exchanged from time to time, and who 

1 This estimate of 11,000, or, as elsewhere stated, 11,500, whether correct or not, 
undoubtedly originated in the following newspaper paragraph : 

" Fishkill, May 8, '83. 

" Tell it to the world, and let it be published in every newspaper throughout Amer- 
ica, Europe, Asia, and Africa, to the everlasting disgrace and infamy of the British 
King's commanders at New York : That during the late war, it is said, 11,644 Ameri- 
can prisoners have suffered death by their inhuman, cruel, savage, and barbarous usage 
on board the filthy and malignant British prison-ship, called the Jersey, lying at New 
York. Britons, tremble, lest the vengeance of Heaven fall on your isle, for the blood of 
these unfortunate victims. An American." 

2 Bring (p. 123) says : " The average number who died on board, during the period 
of twenty-four hours, was about five." Freneau, in his stinging rhyme (The British 
Prison-ship) says: 

" Each day, at least six carcases we bore, 
And scratch'd them graves along the sandy shore." 
Talbot (p. 106) states that while he was on board the Jersey, the number of deaths 
was reduced, by cool and dry nights (it being then October) to an average of ten, 
and this number was considered by the survivors but a small one when compared 
with the terrible mortality which had prevailed in the ship for three months pre- 
viously ! Johnson says, " it was no uncommon thing to see five or six dead bodiea 
brought on shore in a single morning." A letter from the Jersey, published in the 
Perm. Packet, of Sept. 4th, 1781, says: "We bury six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and 
eleven men in a day ; we have two hundred more sick and falling sick every day." 
And similar testimony on this point could be adduced ad infinitum. 


reached home only in time to die, 1 — the above estimate does not seem 
exaggerated if applied to the mortality, not of the Jersey alone, but 
of all the prison-ships. 

The Prison-ships, as we have already seen, were condemned ves- 
sels of war, totally unsuitable for places of confinement ; and, while 
the abstract right of the enemy to use them as such is unquestion- 
able, 2 yet there was not the least necessity of so doing, when, within 
a stone's throw, were broad acres of unoccupied land, much better 
suited for the purpose. Neither was there any real or pretended 
necessity for resort to the extreme measures which were adopted 
towards the American naval prisoners. It is true that, according 
to the law of nations, their claims for consideration, as subjects in 
rebellion, were not as great as those of captives taken in solemn 
war ; yet it is equally true that the main object of the war — the sup- 
pression of rebellion — did not justify the severity of treatment which 
these prisoners received, and which transcended that higher " law of 
humanity," which every nation is bound to observe and respect. It 
is evident that the Jeksey, which had once accommodated a crew of 
over four hundred, with full armament, supplies, etc., might, without 

1 At New London, in February, '79, arrived a cartel of one hundred and thirty of 
these poor victims of the prison-ships. In such condition were these men placed 
on board the cartel, that, in the short run between New York and New London, 
sixteen died on board ; and sixty, when they landed, were scarcely able to move, 
while the remainder were much emaciated. In November, 1781, one hundred and 
thirty-two prisoners arrived from the prison-ships, "mostly sick." In December 
of the same year, one hundred and thirty prisoners landed from New York, " in most 
deplorable condition ; great part since dead, and the survivors so debilitated that 
they will drag out a miserable existence. It is enough to melt the most obdurate 
heart to see these miserable objects landed at our wharves, sick and dying, and the 
few rags they have on covered with vermin and their own excrements." At New Lon- 
don, in December, '78, nearly one hundred and seventy -two American prisoners arrived 
from New York, the "greater part sickly and in most deplorable condition, owing 
chiefly to the ill-usage in their prison-ships, where numbers had their feet and legs 

Lieutenant Catlin, who was placed with two hundred and twenty-five men on board 
the Glasgow, to be sent to Connecticut as an exchange, says they were aboard eleven 
days, without fire, and with even less food than before ; and that twenty-eight died 
during the passage, from cold and ill-usage. Multitudes of such cases could be quoted. 

2 In evidence that the Americans did not question this right, we may cite the fact 
that, in 1782, a vessel, fitly named the Retaliation, was fitted up as a prison-ship, 
moored in the Thames river, near New London, Conn., and used as a place of confine- 
ment for captured British seamen. 


her stores, dismantled, and anchored in a protected situation, have 
easily been made comfortable for even the thousand prisoners which 
she is said to have averaged. That she was not so, and that she 
became a "festering plague-spot," was attributable largely to the 
conduct of those inferior officers under whose immediate care the 
prisoners were placed ; and who, by their disregard of the policy of 
their Government, their avaricious and shameful mal-appropriation 
of the supplies placed at their disposal by that Government for the 
use of the prisoners, and their frequent and uncalled-for severity, 
unnecessarily increased the sufferings which they should have miti- 

There is ample evidence, moreover, in the various narratives ex- 
tant concerning the prison-ships, that the prisoners themselves — 
demoralized by the accumulation of suffering to which they were 
subjected — were accountable, to a considerable extent, for much of 
their own suffering. 1 The same narratives also, when divested of 
the vindictiveness and exaggeration to which their writers not unnat- 
urally gave expression, furnish incontestable evidence that prisoners 
were, in some instances, treated with more consideration than is 
generally supposed. Friends were permitted to visit them and 

1 For example, although the leakage of the Jersey rendered necessary the frequent 
use of the pumps to keep her from sinking in the soft mud of the Wallabout, yet we 
have the testimony of Andros (p. 9) that the prisoners were only forced up to the 
winches, and to keep the pumps in motion, by the intimidation of an armed guard. 
He also states (p. 16) that " the prisoners were furnished with buckets and brushes to 
cleanse the ship, and with vinegar to sprinkle her inside ; out their indolence and despair 
were such that they would not use them, or out rarely." 

According to Dring, soon after the Jersey began to be used as a place of confinement, 
the prisoners established a code of by-laws for their own regulation and government — 
especially as regarded personal cleanliness, the prevention of profanity, drunkenness 
and theft, the observance of the Sabbath, etc. For a long time these laws were scrupu- 
lously observed ; but, as numbers constantly increased, and sickness, despair, and harsh 
treatment began to have their full measure of influence upon the prisoners, they exhib- 
ited the demoralization of despair ; and though the rules against theft, fighting, tyran- 
nical conduct, etc., were still enforced, it was not so much from principle, as from an 
instinct of self-preservation. Hawkins (p. 67) mentions a case of punishment inflicted 
by the prisoners of the Jersey upon one of their number, which was terribly severe. 

The prisoners, also, rendered desperate by their sufferings, took no pains to conciliate 
their keepers ; but, according to all accounts, showed an evident disposition to annoy 
the guard, the cook, and even the old marines who guarded the water-butt, and who 
always repaid these petty annoyances with interest, thus adding materially to the incon- 
veniences and horrors of their situation. Fox and others give many instances of this. 


to furnish tliein with articles necessary to promote their com- 
fort ; ' correspondence, under proper restrictions, was allowed with 
their families ; in some cases they were allowed to visit their homes, 
on their simple word of honor to return at a specified time ; 2 and 
even the reading of the funeral-service was not refused when de- 
sired. 3 From these well-substantiated facts, it is evident that the 
cruelties endured by the unfortunate inmates of the prison-ships, 
were not systematized aggravations practised by a great and civil- 
ized Government ; but the result, generally, of avarice, indolence, 
indifference, and unwarrantable abuse of power by hirelings, "clothed 
with a little brief authority," — a class proverbially despotic, cruel, 
and inhuman in then- treatment of the helpless. 

Time has softened the asperities engendered by the conflict of the 
Revolution ; and our own recent national experiences in the sup- 
pression of a similar revolt, have largely tended to dispel the historic 
glamour which has hitherto veiled the events of that period. De- 
plorable as some of these events were, and totally inexcusable on 
the ground either of justice or humanity, we can, at this time, bet- 
ter appreciate their causes, and understand — although we cannot 
excuse — the motives of the real actors therein. And, although His- 
tory cannot blot out from her imperishable pages the sad story of 
the prison-ships, yet Charity forbids that Vengeance should dictate 
the record against those who — however harshly their actions may 
be judged by man — have gone to receive their judgment before 
a Superior Tribunal. 

Although not in strict chronological sequence, we deem it ap- 
propriate to conclude this chapter with a narrative of the numer- 
ous abortive attempts to secure for the remains of these untold 
and unknown heroes of the prison-ships, a fitting and permanent 
place of sepulchre. 

1 Sherburne (p. 116) mentions that, through the kindness of some of the benevolent 
citizens of New York, all the sick on board the Frederick were constantly supplied 
with a pint each of Bohea tea (well-sweetened with molasses) each day. See, also, 
the Drowne correspondence, in Dawson's Dring, 173, and others. 

2 See Drowne correspondence, 168 ; also other authorities in manuscript. 

3 Ibid., 171. 


For several years after the close of tlie Revolution, the bones of 
those who died on board the prison-ships were to be seen, scarce 
earthed in the falling banks of the Wallabout, or strewn upon its 
shores, and bleaching beneath the winter's storm and the summer's 
scorching sun. And though, during this period, several patriotic 
individuals called the attention of Congress and of the public to 
these exposed and neglected remains, 1 yet no formal movement 
seems to have been made towards their proper interment until 1792, 
when the citizens of the town of Brooklyn, at an annual town meet- 
ing, resolved that the bones disinterred and collected by Mr. John 
Jackson 2 (who had recently become the owner of the "Remsen 

1 Among others, Joseph P. Cook, a member (from Connecticut) of Congress then in 
session in New York, writing under date of June 3d, 1785, from his lodgings in Brook- 
lyn, near the Wallabout, says : " Soon after we came to live on Long Island, several 
of us took a walk that way, and were struck with horror at beholding a large number 
of human bones, some fragments of flesh not quite consumed, with many pieces of old 
blankets, lying upon the shore. In consequence of a representation made to Congress, 
they were soon after taken up and buried. But walking along the same place, not 
many days ago, we saw a number more which were washed out ; and attempting to 
bury them ourselves, we found the bank full of them." 

2 John Jackson, a native of Jerusalem, Queens County, L. I., removed with his 
brothers, Samuel and Treadwell, to the village of Brooklyn, shortly after the close of 
the Revolution. It is probable that the brothers were possessed of some means, for 
they soon purchased large estates in Brooklyn, which could, at that early period, be 
had at very low prices. John Jackson, about 1791, purchased the large and valuable 
farm then known as the " Remsen estate," situated on the Wallabout, and comprising 
about thirty acres of land and thirty-five acres of pond, together with the old mill and 
dwelling-house — for which he paid the sum of $17,000. It was in making improve- 
ments on this farm that public attention seems first to have been attracted, by the dis- 
interment of the remains of those buried from the prison-ships — large quantities of 
bones being found in cutting away the high banks, which then formed the shore of 
the bay. In the year 1801, Mr. Jackson sold to the United States forty acres of this 
property, which has ever since been occupied by the Government as a navy-yard. In 
other instances than this, also, Mr. Jackson appears in Brooklyn history mostly in the 
character of a shrewd speculator — as the originator and President of the Wallabout 
Bridge Company — as the builder of a saw-mill on the adjoining meadow, to be moved 
by wind, which failed — as the vendor of a part of the same meadow (to Captain Isaac 
Chauncey, of the U. S. N.), for the purpose of erecting thereon powder magazines ; but 
the dampness of the place damaged the powder, and, consequently, the reputation of 
the magazines. Indeed, in his sale of land and water privilege to the United States 
for a navy-yard, he seems to have granted rather more of the mill-stream than his own 
title fairly included, and to have covered the excess by an ambiguously worded deed, 
which ultimately gave rise to some well-founded complaint on the part of the citizens 
of the town — to which the said water privilege belonged — and to an extensive cor 
respondence between them and the Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Jackson is deecribed, 


farm" — on which they were situated) should be removed to and 
buried in the graveyard of the Reformed Dutch church, and a 
monument erected over them. A committee, of which General 
Johnson was chairman, 1 was appointed to carry the resolution into 
effect ; but their application, in 1793, was refused by Mr. Jackson, 
who, being a prominent politician and a Sachem of the then 
influential Tammany Society, or Columbian Order, had conceived 
the idea of turning to a political use, and to his personal aggran- 
dizement, the large deposit of prison-ship remains of which he 
had accidentally become the possessor. In accordance with this 
plan, he subsequently offered to the Tammany Society an eligible 
piece of land upon his property in the Wallabout, for the purpose of 
erecting thereon a suitable sepulchre. The society accepted his 
offer; and on the 10th of February, 1803, an eloquent memorial 
was prepared, and presented by the learned and distinguished Dr. 
Samuel L. Mitchell to the House of Representatives, then in session 
in "Washington. From Congress, indeed, much was expected, as 
the subject of the application to them was purely national, and one 
which deeply interested the public sensibility. No measures were, 
however, adopted by that honorable body, and the matter rested until 
1808. 2 Or. February 1st of that year it was again revived by the 
Tammany Society, who appointed a Wallabout Committee, which 
proceeded to take immediate steps towards effecting the long-talked- 
of and long-neglected sepulture of the remains, of which upwards of 
thirteen hogsheads had been collected. They initiated an extensive 
correspondence, published a stirring appeal in the columns of the 
public press, invited the cordial co-operation of their patriotic fellow- 

by those who knew hini, as a large man, of coarse features and florid complexion, loud 
spoken, energetic in liis movements, and an ardent politician. 

1 This movement was undoubtedly made at the suggestion of General Jobnson himself. 

5 In the interim, however, the patriotism of a private citizen, Mr. Benjamin Aycrigg, 
reproved the hesitation of the Congress of a great people. As we learn from documents 
published in the Transactions of the American Institute for 1852, Mr. Aycrigg, shocked 
at the exposed condition of these remains, during the summer of 1805, made a written 
contract with an Irishman living in the Wallabout, by which the latter was to " col- 
lect all the human bones as far as may be without digging," and deliver the same to 
Mr. A. at a stipulated price — which was done, and the remains thus collected formed a 
portion of those which were subsequently interred in the vault erected by the Tam- 
many Society. A biographical sketch of Mr. Aycrigg will be found in Stiles' privately 
printed edition of the Hist. Account of the Interment of the Martyrs, etc., pp. 218-220. 



citizens in every part of the Union, and in various ways strove to 
arouse a national interest in the sacred trust which had been con- 
fided to their care. In this they were eminently successful, and the 
nation, aroused by their appeal, touched by the memories which 
clustered around those martyr graves amid the sand-hills of the 
"Wallabout, and shamed, it may be, by a consciousness of its own too 
great neglect, turned at last, with a quickened impulse of generous 
affection, towards the work of providing for those honored remains a 
place of final deposit. 

Indeed, so unexpected was the zeal manifested by the public, and 
so effective were the individual exertions made in behalf of this 
object, that the committee were induced, at a much earlier period 
than they had originally contemplated, to commence the building of 
the vault. On Wednesday. April 13, 1808, the corner-stone was laid. 
The imposing military and civic procession which took place on that 
occasion formed at the old ferry (now Fulton ferry, Brooklyn), under 
the directions of Major Aycrigg, Grand Marshal of the day, and 
marched through Main, Sands, Bridge, York, and Jackson streets, to 
the vault, on Jackson street, adjoining the Navy-yard. 

Arriving at the latter place, the artillery were posted on an adja- 
cent hill : the other parts of the procession took appropriate posi- 
tions, and Benjamin Bomaine, Esq., Grand Sachem of Tammany, 
assisted by the Wallabout Committee and the master-builders, laid 
the corner-stone of the vault, upon which was the following inscrip- 
tion : 

"In tlie name of the Spirits of the Departed Free — Sacred to the 
Memory of that portion of American Seamen, Soldiers, and Citizens who 
'perished on hoard the Prison-ships of the British at the Wallabout during 
the Revolution. 

" This is the corner-stone of the vault erected by the Tammany 
Society, or Columbian Order, which contains their remains. The 
ground for which was bestowed by John Jackson. — Nassau Island, 
season of blossoms. Year of the discovery the 316th, of the institu- 
tion the 19th, and of American Independence the 32d, April 6, 1808." ' 

1 Jacob Vandervoort, John Jackson, Burdett Striker, Issachar Cozzens, Robert Town- 
send, jr., Benjamin Watson, Samuel Cowdrey, Wallabout Committee. David & Wil- 
liam Campbell, builders. 


The completion of this ceremony was followed by national salutes 
from the Marine Corps and the Artillery, and solemn music by the 
bands. Then, before the procession and some two thousand citi- 
zens gathered in a circle around the door of the vault, Joseph D. 
Fay, Esq., a member of Tammany, pronounced a brilliant and elo- 
quent oration over " the tomb of the Patriots." At the conclusion 
of his address, the procession returned to the place of rendezvous at 
the ferry, where they formed a circle around the Liberty-pole, 1 near 
the market, gave three cheers, and dispersed to their homes. 

Upon the completion of the vault, the remains were removed 
thereto on the 26th day of May following, with a civic and mili- 
tary pageant unprecedented for splendor and impressiveness, and 
which was witnessed, as then estimated, by upwards of thirty thou- 
sand persons. 2 At the head of this procession rode a trumpeter, 
mounted on a black horse, and dressed in black relieved with red, 
wearing a helmet ornamented with flowing black and red feathers, 
and bearing in his right hand a trumpet, from which was suspended 
a black silk flag, edged with red and black crape, bearing the follow- 
ing motto, in letters of gold : 





VIRTUOUS patriotism! 

He was followed by the Chief Herald, in full military dress, and 

1 This Liberty-pole stood at the foot of Fulton street, Brooklyn, near the old market, 
which finally came to be regarded as a nuisance, and was torn down one night, in 1814, 
by a party of young «nen. The site of the market is now marked by the flag-staff 
which stands in the middle of Fulton street, near the Ferry-house. 

1 A full account of these ceremonies is given in a now rare volume, entitled, " An 
Account of the Interment of the Remains of 11,500 American Seamen, Soldiers, and 
Citizens, who fell victims to the cruelties of the British, on board their prison-ships at 
the Wallabout, during the American Revolution, with a description of the grand and 
solemn funeral procession, which took place on the 26th May, 1808, and an oration 
delivered at the Tomb of the Patriots by Benjamin DeWitt, M. D., a member of the 
Tammany Society, or Columbian Order ; compiled by the Wallabout Committee. New 
York : Printed by Frank, White & Co. 1808 : 96 pages, 12mo." A very elegant edi- 
tion, limited to one hundred and fifteen copies, was issued from the " Bradstreet Press," 
New York, in 1865, with notes and historical appendix, by the author of this history. 


mounted on an elegant white horse, richly caparisoned, bearing the 
staff and cap of liberty, from which was suspended an elegant blue silk 
shield, edged with red and black crape, the field covered with thir- 
teen stars in gold, emblematic of the original American constellation. 
Major Aycrigg, the son of a sufferer in the sugar-house, and Captain 
Alexander Coffin, himself twice a sufferer in the prison-ships, acted 
as his aids. The long line which followed was composed of cavalry, 
artillery, infantry, the members of the Cincinnati; the clergy, the 
Tammany Society, in the full and imposing regalia of their order, sur- 
rounding the thirteen coffins filled with the remains of the prison-ship 
dead, to which one hundred and four Kevolutionary veterans, headed 
by the Hon. Samuel Osgood and the Hon. Henry Eutgers, acted as 
pall-bearers ; the sailors, members of the Municipal, State, and Gen- 
eral Governments, foreign diplomatists, societies, trades, Masons, 
etc. The central feature of the procession, however, was the " Grand 
National Pedestal" as it was called, consisting of an oblong square 
stage, erected on a large truck-carriage, the margin of which repre- 
sented an iron railing ; below this dropped a deep festoon, which 
covered the wheels ; on the stage was a pedestal representing black 
marble, eight feet long, six feet high, and four wide, the four panels 
of which bore the following inscriptions : 



(Right side.) 


(Left side.) 

sires of Columbia! transmit to posterity the cruelties 
practised on board the british prison-ships. 


From a staff on the top of the pedestal was displayed a superb 
blue silk flag, eighteen feet by twelve, emblazoned with the arms of 
the United States ; the staff itself, eighteen feet high, being crowned 
by a globe, on which sat the American Bald Eagle, enveloped in a 
cloud of crap*. 


The " Genius of America" was represented by Josiah Falconer, a 
member of the Tammany Society, and the son of a Revolutionary 
patriot. His dress was a loose under-dress of light-blue silk, which 
reached to his knees, over which was a long flowing white robe, 
relieved by a crimson scarf and crape. He wore sandals on his 
feet, and on his head a magnificent cap, adorned with the most ele- 
gant feathers which could be obtained, all in the Mexican style. 
On the stage and around the pedestal, stood nine young men, each 
holding by a tassel the end of a cord connected with the flag. These 
represented Patriotism, Honor, Virtue, Patience, Fortitude, Merit, 
Courage, Perseverance, and Science, and were styled the " Attributes 
of the Genius of America." They were all dressed in character, 
with a plume of feathers in their hats, a white silk scarf, relieved 
with crape ; and each wore a scarlet badge, edged with elegant dark- 
blue silk fringe, in the shape of a crescent, inscribed in gold with 
the name of the attribute which he represented ; and each held also 
in his hand a blue silk banner, emblematic of the institution to 
which he belonged. This beautiful structure was drawn by four 
horses, dressed in ribbons and crape, and under the charge of two 

The procession, after passing through various streets, reached the 
East Biver, where, at different places, boats had been provided for 
crossing to Brooklyn. Thirteen large open boats transported the 
thirteen tribes of the Tammany Society, each containing one tribe, 
one coffin, and the pall-bearers. The Grand Sachem, Father of the 
Council, and other officers not attached to tribes, accompanied by 
the Chief Herald, his aids, and the Trumpeter, led the van, the 
boats following in order. The car was embarked on board a vessel 
specially constructed for the purpose, and transported under the 
management of several masters of vessels, who volunteered their 
services, the Genius and supporters retaining their positions. " This 
beautiful structure," says the account, " in its passage attracted the 
notice of every eye. From the current, it received a direction down 
the river, which made its course circuitous, describing a line of per- 
fect beauty ; the elegant standard floating in the wind, on which 
were seen the badges of each society, the white robes loosely flowing 
around the tall and graceful figure of the Genius, and the cloud- 


colored pedestal which supported them, presented to the imagina- 
tion of every beholder an object of the most pleasing admiration." 
* * * " Fleets of small craft were seen industriously plying to 
and from the city, extending from the southerly point of the city to 
Corlaer's Hook. 1 Pleasure-boats, with their colors waving half-mast 
high, and streaming far out in the wind, were sailing swiftly up and 
down the stream. Minute-guns were fired from all quarters. At a 
distance were seen volumes of smoke wheeling up the sky, succeeded 
in short intervals by the roaring of the cannon. The arms of the 
military glistened in the sun from the heights of Corlaer's Hook ; 
and on the hills of Brooklyn crowds of ladies eyed with serious con- 
templation the vast grandeur of the scene. The waters of the East 
Eiver foamed beneath the oars of a thousand boats, the sails of a 
hundred vessels swelled to the breeze, and a mild sun seemed to 
smile benignantly on the interesting scene." 

At Brooklyn ferry the procession formed again, and being joined 
by many citizens and ladies 2 of Brooklyn, marched to the tomb 
of the valiant. " It is impossible to describe the interesting effect 
of the procession marching over the green hills of Brooklyn. 3 The 
colors of the military waved in the wind, changing and turning to 
the sound of slow and most impressive music. High floated the flag 
of America, as if triumphant that the stain of ingratitude was this 
day to be wiped away. The procession streamed along the valley 
and over the hill, and arrived at the tomb of the martyrs amidst a 
vast and mighty assemblage. A stage had been here erected for 
the orator, trimmed with black crape. The coffins were placed in 
front, and the pall-bearers took their seats beneath the eye of the 
orator. The Genius of America, ' high upon the car,' stood on his 
right. The Tammany Society arranged itself before him, and citi- 

1 Foot of Grand street, East River. 

•2 « There, however, was displayed a lively mark of female patriotism and affection, 
as well as ingenious portray of fancy in the circumstance of arranging a beautiful 
group of ladies in the train of the Genius of Liberty. These fair daughters of Columbia 
gave the tear of sensibility to the memory of the brave, and exhibited the undissem- 
bling testimonial of virtuous hearts." — N. Y. Public Adv., May 27. 

3 The ground around the present Navy-yard was, at the time of these ceremonies, 
quite high ; *nd there were several eminences in the neighborhood, such as " Vinegar 
Hill" and " McKenzie's One Tree Hill," any one of which would have formed advan- 
tageous positions both for the artillery and the spectators. 



zen behind citizen covered the plain and the hill as far as the pros- 
pect extended. A detachment of the military marched to the south- 
east bank of the East River with the cannon, from whence they fired 
minute-guns for some time ; and were answered by the thunder of 
artillery from Corlaer's Hook, Fort Jay, and other military posts. 
As soon as the firing ceased, a solemn silence pervaded the multi- 
tude, and expectation sat on every countenance — the tomb was open 
to receive them — the remains of American Martyrs were about to 
be honored with the rites of sepulture." Amid the impressive 
silence which reigned, the Rev. Ralph "Williston addressed " the 
God of Battles" in " a most solemn, eloquent, and pious supplica- 
tion." Dr. Benjamin DeWitt then delivered the funeral oration, 
which he had prepared at the request of the Tammany Society, in 
a style and manner dignified, pathetic, and eloquent. " He de- 
scribed the heroic fortitude with which the martyrs endured inde- 
scribable misery, and while the audience listened to catch the rela- 
tion, tears of sympathy bedimmed their eyes. It was a solemn and 
sublime hour." 

At the close of the oration, the coffins were deposited in the tomb, 
the ceremonies were closed with the solemn benediction, " To the 
King Immortal, Invisible, the All-wise God, be glory everlasting. 
Amen !" and the procession returned to Brooklyn ferry, from whence 
its passage to the city was pleasant and expeditious. It was formed 
there again and proceeded to the Park, where a circle was formed, 
the Car of Liberty and the standards of the different societies were 
placed in the centre, and an air from the band was performed ; after 
which, by a signal from the Grand Marshal, the procession was dis- 

Thus ended the solemnities of a funeral procession which had 
excited more interest than any other that had ever taken place in 
America ; and which was, as the event proved, as grand in promise 
as it was empty in result. 

For awhile, after the temporary interment of the bones of the mar- 
tyrs, there seemed to be no doubt that a nation's gratitude would be 
converted into the gold which should build their monument. Tam- 
many Hall flamed with excitement. Committees were appointed to 
collect money, individuals proffered donations, the State itself con- 


tributed one thousand dollars. But all this fervid excitement soon 
collapsed. Tammany Hall, good at the beginning, did not keep up 
the stimulus. Some money was collected, but scattered — no one 
knew or cared where — private donations were not called for, and the 
sum appropriated by the . State was finally returned to its treasury, 
to be realized, it is hoped, with increase, at some future day, when 
the patriotism of our people shall finally make amends for the long 
delay of the past. 

So the bubble burst — the tide of population so surged in upon 
this favored region of Brooklyn, that the old elements were dissolved 
in the current of new-comers, and the very purpose of this vault and 
its wooden covering was well-nigh forgotten. In course of time, 
by an alteration of the grade of Jackson street, the walls of the 
vault were infringed upon ; and finally, the very lot on which it 
stood was sold for taxes ! Then Benjamin Komaine, the treasurer of 
the fund of 1808 — a true patriot, and fully earnest in his efforts to 
secure a monument — came forward and bought it. He had been 
himself a sufferer by imprisonment in the old sugar-house prison at 
New York, and he now took pleasure in rescuing from desecration 
the remains of those whose sufferings he had shared, and whose 
memory he revered. He erected an ante-chamber over the vault, 
and other appropriate adornments and inscriptions. 1 

1 These improvements, etc., are thus fully described in a little pamphlet published 
by him on the 4th of July, 1839 : 

The following inscriptions are now displayed in and about the sacred premises : 

"First. The portal to the Tomb of 11,500 patriot prisoners of war, who died in dun- 
geons and pestilential prison-ships, in and about the city of New York, during the War 
of our Revolution. The top is capped with two large urns, in black, and a white 
globe in the centre. 

" Second. The interior of the tomb contains thirteen coffins, arranged in the order as 
observed in the Declaration of Independence, and inserted thus — New Hampshire, 
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Dela- 
ware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

" Third. Thirteen beautifully turned posts, painted white, each capped with a small 
urn, in black ; and between the posts, the above-named States are fully lettered. 

"Fourth. In 1778, the Colonial Congress promulgated the Federal League Compact, 
though it was not finally ratified until 1781, only two years before the Peace of 1783. 

"Fifth. In 1789, our grand National Convention, 'to form a more perfect union,' did 
ordain ' the present Constitution for the United States of America,' to be one entire 
sovereignty, and in strict adhesion to the equally necessary and sacred State rights. 
Such a republic must endure forever !' 


The better to prevent any further desecration of this, to him, hal- 
lowed spot, Mr. Eomaine appropriated the tomb as a burial-place 
for himself and his family, and with that intent, placed there, many 
years before his death, the coffin in which he should be interred. 

The interior of the tomb, at this time, has thus been well described 
by an old resident of Brooklyn : l 

"One Saturday of school-boy leisure for that 'mischief which 
Satan finds for ' idle hands to do,' I determined to penetrate the 
depth of this tomb, and sought the building, fully bent on gaining 
the interior, and knowing all that could be revealed to the astonished 
eye. This was not very difficult — the fastenings were loose — and 
after some little toil, the exterior door swung open and revealed a 
sort of vestibule, in which were a few plaster busts of distinguished 
heroes, covered with the incrustations of dampness and neglect. 
There were steps leading below into a vault. These I fearlessly 

"Sixth. In the same year, 1789, in the city of New York, Washington began the 
first Presidential career. The wide-spread Eagle of Union, with a gilded sun and 
star in his beak, and standing erect on a globe, is now represented as waiting on 
Washington's command, and then as instantly raising bis flight in the heavens, and, 
like the orb of day, speedily became visible to half the globe. Washington had ap- 
peared, uncovered, before the majesty of the people, under the canopy, in front of our 
City Hall, when Chancellor Livingston administered to him the oath of office, and then 
proclaimed, Long live George Washington ! The air was rent with shouts of acclamation, 
and our goodly slap Union moved on our ways, a model for the Universe ! A witness 
to this scene declared that it appeared to him that the hosts of heaven, at that moment, 
were looking down with approbation on the act ; that he was deprived of utterance, 
and could only wave his hat among the multitude. I was also a witness to the scene. 
Then it was, at that moment, when our State sovereignty, not our equally sacred State 
rights, ceased to exist, and the sovereign power was proclaimed to be invested in the 
whole people of the United States, one and indivisible ! 

"Seventh. The Constitution of the United States consists of two parts — the supreme 
sovereignty, and the unadulterated State rights, one and inseparable. It, has" no par- 
allel except the sacred Decalogue of Moses, which proclaimed our duties to God and 
man, one and indivisible, six thousand years ago. 

" Eighth. In the ante-chamber of the tomb will be arranged the busts, or other in- 
signia, of the most distinguished deceased military men and civilians of the Revolution. 
The Governors and Legislatures of the old thirteen States, will confer a great favor by 
sending them to Benjamin Romaine, No. 21 Hudson street, city of New York." — Review. 

The Tomb of the Martyrs, adjoining the United States Navy-yard, Brooklyn city, in 
Jackson street, who died in dungeons and prison-ships, in and about the city of New 
York, during the seven years of our Revolutionary War. By Benjamin Romaine, an 
old native citizen of New York. New York : Printed by C. C. & E. Childs, jr., 80 Vesey 
street, 4th July, 1839. 8vo, pp. 7, and lithographic view of tomb, from which our 
engraving is copied. 

1 A. J. Spooner, Esq., in " Once-a-Week," Feb. 6, 1864. 

(As restored by Mr Romaine, in 1839.) 


descended, and then stood entranced and nearly paralyzed by a 
sense of awe which has not left me to this day. Standing, chiefly 
in perpendicular positions, around the vault, were thirteen immense 
coffins, each having thereon the name of one of the thirteen original 
States. I could see enough through interstices to show me that 
these were filled with bones, and I knew I was standing in the midst 
of that noble army of martyrs whose blood had gone up as a holy 
and acceptable sacrifice on the altar of American freedom. I have 
felt the thrill of other altar-places ; have felt deep emotions at the 
grave, and sublime sensations upon the mountain-tops ; but I am 
very sure that on no other occasion did I ever feel my whole nature 
so elevated to a sense of majestic reverence, as in the presence of 
that sublime and silent company. Besting on one or two of the 
coffins which were laid horizontally, was one smaller coffin of the 
ordinary size of one individual. This was vacant, but had upon its 
lid the name of ' Benjamin Bomaine,' as if it was intended that some 
person of this name yet walking among the liliputians of the earth 
should, in his dust, be placed here to he among these giant patriots, 
secure, if with them forgotten upon earth, to rise with them here- 

And there, in that vault, and in the coffin so long and so rever- 
ently prepared, was buried Benjamin Bomaine (at his death in 1844, 
at the advanced age of eighty-two) — fit sentinel of that group, who 
performed deeds of heroic sacrifice, the worthiest which pen, pencil, 
and monument can celebrate. 1 

1 Benjamin Romaine (or, as the name should be more properly spelled, Romeyn) was 
of French extraction, and a native of New York. At the commencement of the Revo- 
lutionary War he was a mere lad at school, preparing for admission to King's (now 
Columbia) College, but upon the occupation of the city by the British army, his fa- 
ther's family retired to the neighborhood of Hackensack, in New Jersey. His studies 
being thus interrupted by " war's rude alarms," he enlisted in the American army, and 
served several terms of six months each, finally attaining the rank of sergeant, and 
was engaged in several hotly-contested skirmishes. He was finally taken prisoner, and 
immured in two of the prisons in New York ; from which, after a confinement of seven 
weeks, he was released, by exchange, in October, 1781. After the close of the war, his 
family having suffered considerably in the loss of their property, young Romaine 
opened a school for both sexes in New York, where he soon established a very good 
reputation as a teacher — numbering among his pupils Washington Irving, Professor 
John Anthon, the late Judge J. T. Irving, and others since distinguished in the literary 
professional, and social circles of the city. 


Two years before his death, however, in the year 1842, the citi- 
zens of Brooklyn, through a highly respectable committee, petitioned 
the Legislature for leave to remove the bones, for the purpose of ap- 

In the spring of 1797, being then about thirty years of age, the condition of his health 
obliged him to relinquish teaching ; and as he had, by his economical habits and natu- 
ral thrift, accumulated a competency sufficiently ample for his wants, he never after- 
wards engaged in any regular business. 

In politics he was a Democrat, and in 1808 was Grand Sachem of Tammany So- 
ciety. He also held the office of Comptroller during the mayoralty of De Witt Clinton, 
to which he formed an antipathy which made him a violent " bucktail," as the mem- 
bers of the anti-Clinton wing of "Old Tammany" were called. In the War of 1812 
he was a strong Jeffersonian, and sustained the vigorous prosecution of the war, during 
which he held an important departmental position, with the rank of major. 

During the latter portion of his life, Mr. Romaine employed himself in the care of 
his extensive property in several parts of the city, and in literary pursuits. His read- 
ing was chiefly confined to history, politics, and the science of government, and his 
pen was constantly employed in contributing to the press (under the nom de plume of 
" An Old Citizen") articles upon the passing and important topics of the day. In 1832 
he published a pamphlet (State Sovereignty, and a Certain Dissolution of the Union. 
By Benjamin Romaine, An Old Citizen of New York. To the Hon. John C. Calhoun, 
now Vice-President of the United States. New York : J. Kennaday, Printer, No. 2 
Dey street. 1832. 8vo, 54 pages.), in which he vigorously assailed the doctrine of State 
rights as then advocated by the nulliriers of South Carolina, and with a prescience 
which, in the light of recent events, seems most remarkable, foretells the consequences 
of such principles. 

In literary, as well as personal character, Mr. Romaine may be said to have been 
distinguished, not so much for any personal range or brilliancy of intellect, as for 
soundness of understanding, elevated views, and high moral integrity. Although Mr. 
Romaine was not a professing Christian, but rather a moralist ; and although " Pope's 
Essay on Man" (which he knew by heart) was probably a greater favorite with him 
than the Bible, yet he respected and valued the ordinances of Christianity, and, in his 
own life, was a bright exemplar of all its virtues. In his personal habits he was 
remarkably cleanly and orderly ; liquor and tobacco, in any form, were very obnoxious 
to him, and his manner of life was extremely simple, frugal, and temperate. Possess- 
ing great pride of character, with very little vanity, he passed through life unostenta- 
tiously, but with comfort to himself, and with the respect of others. His personal 
appearance has been described as tall, slim, and commanding in figure, with great 
vigor of body and motion, and with a countenance displaying seriousness mingled 
with kindness and affability. 

Indeed, this kindness of heart was always manifested, except when he came in con- 
tact with Englishmen. Then his prejudices quickly and unmistakably manifested 
themselves, and amusing stories are yet related of the rough manner in which he 
would absolutely refuse to treat with any Englishman who applied to become a tenant 
of any of his houses. In fact, the recollection of what he had suffered, and of the horrors 
which he had witnessed in the British prisons, filled his mind with an intense hatred 
of British rule, and of anything pertaining to it, which he could never banish from his 

It was this, also, in great measure, which influenced him in 1839, when the lot in 
Brooklyn, on which the bones of the martyrs of the prison-ships had been buried, were 


propriate sepulture. Against this Mr. Komaine remonstrated. He 
said : " I have guarded these sacred remains with a reverence which, 
perhaps, at this day, all may not appreciate or feel, for more than 
thirty years. They are now in their right place, near the Walla- 
bout, and adjoining the Navy-yard. They are my property. I have 
expended more than nine hundred dollars in and about their pro- 
tection and preservation, i" commend them to the protection of the Gen- 
eral Government. I bequeath them to my country. This concern is 
very sacred to me. It lies near my heart. I suffered with those 
whose bones I venerate. I fought beside them — I bled with them." 
In consequence of this remonstrance, nothing was then done. 
But after the old man had passed away, in the year 1845, public 
attention was again called to the neglected condition of these re- 
mains, and the matter was also brought to the attention of the 
National Congress, by a report introduced by the Military Commit- 
tee to the House of Representatives, 1 recommending an appropria- 
tion of $20,000 for the purpose of affording a secure tomb and fit- 
ting 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 criminality, longer 
delay the necessary efforts for rearing the monument to the martyrs 
of the prison-ships," and an organization was formed for the pur- 
pose, entitled " The Martyrs' Monument Association," in which 
each Senatorial District in the State of New York, and each State 
and Territory, is represented. They set to work with commendable 
activity, selecting a fitting site — the lofty summit of Fort Greene — 
secured plans for the proposed monument, agitated the subject pub- 
licly and privately, solicited donations, etc., and " yet there is no 

sold for taxes, to become its purchaser; and it was this which, through all his subse- 
quent life, made him cling with jealous care to the custody of these remains — con- 
stantly protesting against any disposal being made of them, except by the General Gov- 
ernment, which he rightly considered as the only proper custodian. It has been a sin- 
cere pleasure thus to collect these facts concerning tbis patriotic and useful citizen ; 
and we can only regret that the diligent inquiries which we bave made have resulted 
in eliciting so little information concerning him. 

1 This report, drawn up by the Hon. Henry C. Murphy, of Brooklyn, forms Docu- 
ment No. 177, Rep. of Ho. of Reps., 1844-45. 



monument — no stone bearing the record of their patriotic devotion 
to principle, and their more than heroic death !" 

We understand that the " Martyrs' Association" still entertain 
hopes of ultimately securing their object, and that they have made 
progress in their endeavors ; that an appropriate lot of land on Fort 
Greene, or Washington Park, has been granted by the Common 
Council of the city of Brooklyn ; and, surely, we may hope that this 
attempt to honor the memory of the dead heroes will not prove 
abortive, as its predecessors have done. 

To the citizens of New York and Brooklyn are peculiarly appro- 
priate those solemn words of an ancient patriot, under circumstances 
not unlike our own — " Oh, my countrymen ! these dead bodies ask 
no monument. Their monument arose when they fell, and as long 
as liberty shall have defenders, their names will be imperishable. 
But, oh, my countrymen, it is we who need a monument to their 
honor ; ice, who survive, not having yet proved that we, too, could 
die for our country and be immortal. We need a monument, that 
the widows and children of the dead, and the whole country, and 
the shades of the departed, and all future ages, may see and know 
that we honor patriotism, and virtue, and liberty, and truth ; for 
next to performing a great deed, and achieving a noble character, is 
to honor such characters and deeds !" 





For the first few years succeeding the war, but little of inter- 
est can be gleaned concerning the progress of the town, or the 
doings of its inhabitants. They doubtless found plenty of- work for 
their hands to do in repairing 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 
present 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. 1 In this year, also, were the begin- 
nings of the " Brooklyn Fire Department." 2 In the fall of 1786, ad- 
vertisements of races and fox-hunts on Ascot Heath, Flatbush, and 
a fox-chase " from Mr. Dawson's, at Brooklyn Ferry," give evidence 
that there was still in the county a lingering taste for the gay sports 
with which, in days bygone, the British officers had so often whiled 
away their hours of leisure. The erection of that excellent institu- 
tion, " Erasmus Hall," at Flatbush, in 1787, proved that the higher 
interests of education and morality were properly appreciated by 
the inhabitants of Kings County; while the celebration of the 
Fourth of July, in the same year, by a number of gentlemen, at 
Dawson's, in Brooklyn — with toasts and the firing of rockets — may 
be accepted as gratifying testimony to their patriotism. 

1 See Hist, of Churches, in second volume. 

2 The history of the Department will be found in the second volume. 


1788. On the 7th of March of this year, Brooklyn was recognized 
as a town under the State Government. 

1794. It may amuse our readers to learn, that at a regular town- 
meeting, held in April of this year, it was " Resolved, That the Su- 
pervisors raise the sum of £19, 13s., 6d., which money has been 
expended for the purpose of building a cage and stocks." 1 

1795. In the summer of this year the " New," or Catherine street 
ferry, was established by William Furman and Theodosius Hunt — 
the former of whom was interested in a rope-walk, the head of which 
was in Main street, near the ferry, and extended northeasterly, over 
the shoals and water. 

1796. In the library of the Long Island Historical Society is a 
curious little duodecimo volume, entitled "The New York and 
Brooklyn Directory and Register, for the Tear 1796," printed at 
New York, " by John Buel, corner of "Water street and Fly Market, 
and John Bull, 115 Cherry st." This work, compiled by John Low, 
comprises within the last three pages a " Brooklyn Directory, con- 
taining the names of the inhabitants, alphabetically arranged, never 
before published" for that year, which our readers will find repro- 
duced in Appendix, No. 10. 2 It is, apparently, the work of a can- 
vasser, who went up. the " Old Road" (Fulton street) and down 
" New Ferry street" (Main street), gathering the names only of 
those persons living on or between the two streets, and does not 
seem to contain the names of any persons who lived further back 
from the ferry. It possesses peculiar interest, from the fact that 
it antedates, by twenty-five years, the earliest village directory — 
that published by Alden Spooner, in 1822. 

The sum of £49 4s. was this year raised by subscription for pur- 
chasing " a suitable bell for the use of the town of Brooklyn." This 
bell 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." 3 

1 Town Records. See, also, page 387. 

- This Directory, -with notes by the author of this history, was published in the 
Brooklyn Corporation Manual for 1864, pp. 139-143. 

3 Now " Poplar Place," a crooked alley running from Poplar to Fulton street, be- 
tween Henry and Hicks streets. Its original name was derived from one Buckbee, who, 
with his son Palmer, kept a small grocery on the corner of the alley and Fidton street. 


In the spring of this year, the Rev. Dr. John Henry Livingston, a 
distinguished scholar and member of the Reformed Dutch Church, 
established a theological school at the then village of Bedford, now 
embraced with the limits of Brooklyn. A Mr. Freligh, the first 
student licensed in Kings County, studied under him at the Cowen- 
hoven house, west of Mr. Brevoort's present dwelling, and boarded 
around among the neighbors. The school, however, was broken 
up in 1797. 

1798. Rev. Dr. Jedediah Morse's "American Gazetteer," issued 
this year, thus briefly disposes of Brooklyn : " A township in Kings 
County, N. Y., on the west end of Long Island, having 1,603 inhabi- 
tants, and 224 are electors, by the State census of 1796. There are 
a Presbyterian church, a Dutch Reformed church, a powder maga- 
zine, and some elegant houses, which lie chiefly on one street. East 
River, near a mile broad, separates the town from New York." 

VIEW OF BROOKLYN LN 179S — (As seen from the North). 

We take pleasure in presenting our readers with an interesting 
view, never before published, of the village of Brooklyn, as seen from 
a northerly point on New York Island, copied from a remarkably 
careful and evidently accurate sketch of New York City and Bay, 

The family was a very disreputable one — the old man finally dying of wounds received 
in attempting, with his son Palmer, to commit a burglary upon the house of James W. 
Smith. Palmer, a giant in stature, and possessing great courage and strength, was 
the terror of the slender police force of the village at that day, and many anecdotes are 
told of his exploits. He was subsequently hung, in San Francisco, by the Vigilance 


made by Mods. Jules Fevret de Saint Memin, a French artist, of 
some celebrity, who resided in this country between the years 1796 
and 1810. 

1799. 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. A stray 
" No. 87, vol. 2," dated Feb. 25, 1801, has come to our notice. It is 
a small, dingy sheet, purporting to be published " every Wednesday 
morning," and possesses little or nothing of interest to us of the 
present day. Its columns are mostly filled with New York adver- 
tisements. A few Brooklynites, however, seem to have possessed 
a spirit of enterprise, inasmuch as John Van Brunt advertises his 
house, situated about one hundred yards from the old (Fulton) 
ferry, as being an excellent stand for a tavern. John Harmer, 
painter and glazier, advertises his patent floor-cloth manufactory ; 
"William Carpenter, his tobacco and snuff factory ; Furman and 
Sands, their store at New (Catherine street) Ferry ; and Derick 
Amerman, his groceries. 

During this year, land, not exceeding an acre, was appropriated 
by the town for a public burial-place ; but the records bear evidence 
that, in 1800, the object had not been effected. 

1800. In an old scrap-book of this date, in the possession of the 
family of General Jeremiah Johnson, is preserved what may prop- 
erly be called the first ivritten history of Brooklyn. It consists of 
newspaper slips, undoubtedly cut from the columns of Thomas 
Kirk's paper, " The Long Island Courier," to which are added 
numerous manuscript corrections, notes, and even whole pages of 
new matter, in the well-known handwriting of General Johnson, to 
whom we probably do not err in attributing their authorship. That 
this careful arrangement 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 York (motto), Brooklyn: Printed by Thomas Kirk. 1800." 
The series consist of about six papers, which form an interesting, 
though diffuse, pot-pourri of historical facts, speculations, etc., from 
which we select a few samples for the amusement of our readers. 


" Kings County," says the author, " contains 4,495 inhabitants, 
including 621 electors : 930 of these are free white males, of ten 
and upwards ; 700 free white male under that age ; 1,449 free white 
females ; 1,432 slaves, and 46 free persons not enumerated. The 
inhabitants are chiefly of Dutch extraction. 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 influenced by pecuniary motives. It would certainly 
redound to the honor of humanity, could that blessing be effected 

After defining the boundaries of the township of Brooklyn, and 
enumerating the different settlements therein, 1 he mentions "Olym- 
pia," 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 

1 The town of Brooklyn at this period — and, indeed, until the incorporation of the 
village of Brooklyn — was divided, for ecclesiastical, school, and other purposes, into seven 
districts, retaining the same names which had descended from the " neighborhoods" or 
hamlets of the earlier settlements, viz. : " The Ferry" {het Veer) ; the " Red Hook" {de 
Roede Hock); "Brooklyn" {Breuckelen) ; "Bedford" (Betfort); "Gowanus" {Gaujanes 
or Gouanes) ; " Cripplebush" {het Creupelbosch) ; and " the Wallabout" {de Waal-bogM). 
(1) The Ferry District included all the lands and dwellings between the Wallabout 
Mill-pond and Joralemon street; and, afterwards, along Red Hook lane to District 
street, crossing from Brouwer's (afterwards Freeke's) mill-pond to Red Hook lane ; com- 
prising the first five of the subsequent city wards. (2) The Bed Hook District included 
the lands lying west of District street, and a line extending from the head of Brouwer's 
mill-pond to the corner of Red Hook road, and including Red Hook Point. (3) Brook- 
lyn District comprised the land south of the Ferry to Flatbush, between the estate 
formerly of N. R. Cowenhoven and the Post Road. (4) Bedford District included all the 
land east of Brooklyn line, including the north farm of Rem Lefferts, to the third division 
of woodlands, and along the line of Lot. No. 1 to the town of Bushwick. (5) The Gowa- 
nus District comprised that part of Brooklyn lying west of Brooklyn, Bedford, and 
Red Hook, and bounded southerly by the town of Flatbush and westerly by the town 
of New Utrecht. (6) Cripplebush District was bounded southerly by Bedford, easterly 
by the town of Bushwick, northerly by Wallabout Creek, and westerly by the easterly 
line of Garret Nostrand. (7) The Wallabout District was bounded westerly by the 
District of Brooklyn, easterly and southerly by Bedford, easterly and northerly by the 
town of Bushwick, and southwesterly, northerly, and westerly by the Wallabout Bay 
and the Ferry District.* 

• Gowanus, Red Hook, The Ferry, and Wallabout Districts are bounded northerly by the North and East 


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, pur- 
chased by them, in 1784, from the Commissioners of Forfeiture — it 
having been the property of John Eapalje, the loyalist. 1 The sur- 
vey, to which reference is made, was by Casimer Theodore Goerck, 
in 1788, and a copy of his map is still in existence. 2 John Jackson's 
Remsen estate was also included within the bounds of the prospec- 
tive village. Our 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 undertaking, by their willingness to 
dispose of lots at a reasonable price. * * * This village, contemplatively 
a city, comprehends at present an extent of land within the following 
boundaries, viz. : Beginning at two rocks called ' The Brothers,' situated 
in the East River, from those to Brooklyn Square, 3 through James street 
to Main and Road streets, to the seat formerly the residence of the Rev. 
Mr. Johnson, now Red Hook road, 4 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 neces- 
sary to remove them, that Brooklyn 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 proprietors of that 
soil to sell any part of it. 5 And, moreover, Olympia 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 Ferry. 

" Olympia is extremely well calculated for a city, on a point of land 

1 Ante, pp. 78, 79, 312. s Ante, p. 79, note 2. 

3 The neighborhood of the old Dutch village of Breuckelen, ante, pp. 45, 96, etc. 

4 Corner of Fulton avenue and Red Hook lane. 

5 The owners of these lands on the Heights were mostly of old Dutch stock, the 
Hicks, Middaghs, Joralenion, Patchen, Bamper, Golden, and others, and were averse 
to change or improvement. The Hicks and Middagh estates were the first to follow 
the example of their Yankee neighbors on the other side of the Old Ferry road. 


which presents its front up the East River, surrounded 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 desir- 
able advantages. As regards health in particular, it is situated on the 
natural soil — no noxious vapors, generated by exhalations, from dock-logs, 
water, and filth sunk a century under its foundation, are raised here. Sand 
and clay for building are in the village. Stone is brought from a short dis- 
tance. 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 

" Want of good title has been alleged by some against building here ; 
but it is ascertained, and from undoubted authority, that none was ever 
clearer or less entangled, and that reports here circulated what truth is 
obliged to deny. 1 

" The principal streets in this village are sixty feet, but the cross-streets 
are not so wide. They are not yet paved, though a vast number of peb- 
bles may be had here. Latterly, it appears to have had the appearance of 
a regular town. Edifices are erecting, and other improvements constantly 
making. When we observe the elevated situations, the agreeable pros- 
pects, the salubrity of the atmosphere, and the contiguousness to New 
York, with many other interesting advantages, it may claim, perhaps, 
more consideration than any part of the township." 

The following remarks cannot fail to give comfort to the would-be 
bridge-builders of the present day : 

" It has been suggested that a bridge should be constructed from this